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IndyCar’s Appointment With Barber Is Rescheduled

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 23 2021

The 2021 IndyCar Series race at Barber Motorsports Park has been pushed back.

By Johns Sturbin | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

INDYCAR’s second preseason tweak of the 2021 NTT IndyCar Series schedule will compress four races into 15 days this spring, beginning with the revised opener at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Originally scheduled for Sunday, April 11, as Round 2 of a 17-race tour, Barber Motorsports Park has been moved back to Sunday, April 18. The switch will showcase the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst on NBC as one of a record nine series events to air on network TV in 2021. NBC will air the first two races and six of the first eight from April to June.

This will mark the first time Barber’s 2.38-mile/17-turn road-course will host the series opener. The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in Florida, originally scheduled on Sunday, March 7, as the 2021 opener, was moved to Sunday, April 25, on Jan. 7 due to ongoing concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic. That event on the Streets of St. Pete’s 1.8-mile/14-turn circuit will be followed by the season’s first two oval-track races on Texas Motor Speedway’s high-banked/1.5-mile layout in Fort Worth on Saturday and Sunday, May 1-2.

TMS’ doubleheader, which will be aired on NBC Sports Network, will serve as a prelude to the Month of May and 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  

“The schedule changes we’ve had, while partially prompted by ongoing pandemic conditions, give us a powerful start to the 2021 season,” Mark Miles, Penske Entertainment Corp. president/CEO, said in a statement from Indianapolis. “With six of our first eight races on network television and all in a more compact timeline, it’s an enormous opportunity to drive even more momentum as we deliver our exciting brand of racing to our fans.”

Barber Motorsports Park became a favorite among INDYCAR drivers when the series first tested on the undulating circuit in 2007. This year marks the 11th time the series will race there, a tradition that started in 2010. Two-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Josef Newgarden of Team Penske is the winningest driver at Barber, with three. Two-time/reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is the most recent winner.

“Zoom Motorsports and Barber Motorsports Park jumped at the opportunity to have our event showcased on NBC network television,” said Gene Hallman, CEO of Zoom Motorsports. “We are proud of the tremendous support that INDYCAR receives annually here in the heart of the Deep South. The facility and museum are world-class, and we look forward to highlighting George Barber’s vision in what has become a bucket list destination for all race fans.”

An updated listing of green flag times for the 2021 schedule will be announced at a later date.

REVISED 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES SCHEDULE

Sunday, April 18 _ Barber Motorsports Park, Birmingham, Ala. (NBC)

Sunday, April 25 _Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. (NBC)

Saturday, May 1 _ Texas Motor Speedway Race 1, Fort Worth (NBCSN)

Sunday, May 2 _ Texas Motor Speedway Race 2, Fort Worth (NBCSN)

Saturday, May 15 _ Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course (NBC)

Sunday, May 30 _ The 105th Indianapolis 500-Mile Race (NBC)

Saturday, June 12 _ The Raceway at Belle Isle Park Race 1, Detroit (NBC)

Sunday, June 13 _ The Raceway at Belle Isle Park Race 2, Detroit (NBC)

Sunday, June 20 _ Road America, Elkhart Lake, Wis. (NBCSN)

Sunday, July 4 _ Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio (NBC)

Sunday, July 11 _ Streets of Toronto (NBCSN)

Sunday, Aug. 8 _ Streets of Nashville, Tenn. (NBCSN)

Saturday, Aug. 14 _ Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road-Course (NBCSN)

Saturday, Aug. 21 _ World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Madison, Ill. (NBCSN)

Sunday, Sept. 12 _ Portland (Ore.) International Raceway (NBC)

Sunday, Sept. 19 _ WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Monterey, Calif. (NBC)

Sunday, Sept. 26 _ Streets of Long Beach, Calif. (NBCSN)

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Paretta Autosport, a new NTT IndyCar Series team led by female automotive and motorsport executive Beth Paretta, will field Simona De Silvestro in the 105th edition of the Indianapolis 500 in May.

The 2010 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, De Silvestro’s No. 16 car will be powered by Chevrolet. Team Penske will provide technical support to Paretta Autosport in preparation for qualifying and the race on Sunday, May 30. De Silvestro, a 32-year-old native of Switzerland, is a veteran of five starts in “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Paretta Autosport is an extension of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s “Race for Equality & Change” announced last July. Paretta Autosport aims to integrate women in the team in the areas of competition, operations and administrative roles including logistics, marketing and public relations.

“Today is the beginning of a commitment to gender equity in sport, to encourage women to work hard so they can earn their seat at the table or spot on the grid,” Team Principal Paretta said Tuesday in Indianapolis. “INDYCAR has been a leader and a welcoming place for women for many years because of the hard work of many women and men before us. Now we have a stronger commitment with INDYCAR’s ‘Race for Equality & Change’ to make sure opportunities continue in the future.

“Our team, along with our technical alliance with Team Penske, will work hard to give Simona the best car we can provide so she can achieve her best results. Competition drives us. The Indy 500 is the greatest race in the world, and one day soon we hope to have a woman’s face on the Borg-Warner Trophy.”

Mark Miles, president/CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp., welcomed Paretta’s group to the series. “Beth’s team addition to the INDYCAR ‘Race for Equality & Change’ program this year will ensure that INDYCAR and the Indianapolis 500 continues the legacy of having a female driver qualify for the 2021 Indy 500,” Miles said. “Of course, it will be up to Simona and the team to qualify the car for the grid, but knowing Beth, her team will be up for the task.”

Paretta’s history as an automotive and motorsports executive includes leadership roles with Street and Racing Technology (SRT) at FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), where she was the first female director to lead a performance brand and motorsports for an Original Equipment Manufacturer.

In that role, Paretta led successful racing programs that earned three national championships _ the NASCAR Cup Series title for Dodge with Team Penske in 2012; the IMSA GTLM championship with the factory Viper GTS-R program in 2014 and the Trans-Am championship with the Dodge Challenger TA2 in 2014. She also is a board member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.

In addition to her Rookie of the Year honors at Indy in 2010, De Silvestro also captured the Tony Renna Firestone Rising Star Award for her 14th-place finish. Her resume includes competing in Australian Supercars, as a Formula One development driver, in Formula E, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and, since 2019, as a works driver for Porsche.

“I’m very excited to have this incredible opportunity to return to Indianapolis and the Indy 500 with Paretta Autosport this year,” De Silvestro said. “My career really took off through my time competing in INDYCAR and the Indy 500, so returning to compete with Beth and her new team in alliance with Team Penske is a special and rare chance in my career.

“Being part of the goal of diversity and inclusion for everyone, and especially women in INDYCAR and in motorsports in general, is very important to me and how I would like to see the future of racing. I want to thank the NTT IndyCar Series for taking such an important leadership role in providing gender and overall diversity inclusion in motorsports.”

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Motorsports entrepreneur Robert R. “Rob” Dyson has been appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, effective Jan. 21, 2021.

Dyson, of Millbrook, N.Y., is chairman/CEO of the Dyson-Kissner-Moran Corporation, a privately-owned international holding company. He is a successful motorsports team-owner, winning driver and car collector.

Dyson has served on the IMS Museum board since 2011 and succeeds Tony George as chair. George, who represented the board for 35 years, has assumed the role of board chair emeritus.

“The entire board is extremely grateful to Tony for his leadership and commitment to the Museum,” Dyson said. “He has provided wise governance and vision through a lot of changes at the Museum, and thanks to his leadership, the Museum is in a great position to tackle the challenges and opportunities in front of us.”

As a race fan, Dyson has a personal connection to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and its history. “I have loved the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1962, when as a boy I watched my first Indy 500 with my father, in seats our family is fortunate to still have today,” Dyson said. “The Museum celebrates the brave drivers, historic competition cars and the related stories about an incredible place.

“The Museum not only provides race attendees the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of the Speedway and its history but also serves as a year-round attraction, bringing visitors to Indianapolis from all over the world. Its extensive collection of Indy cars and related artifacts, stretching back to the earliest years of the Speedway, provides an immersive experience of the Speedway’s and the sport’s heritage. It’s an honor to be selected to head the Museum’s board.”

Dyson’s Indy car collection includes the historically-significant 1961 Kimberly Cooper Climax _ first rear-engine car to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 with Sir Jack Brabham at the wheel. Dyson also owns a 1913 Isotta Fraschini Tipo IM and the 1978 Budweiser McLaren M24B driven by three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Rutherford.

Dyson’s accomplishments as a driver include the 1981 Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) GT2 national championship and overall victory in the 1997 Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

Dyson also is a longtime team-owner, scoring a number of victories and championships in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) series. Dyson co-drove a Dyson Racing Ford-powered Riley & Scott Daytona Prototype to victory at the 1997 Rolex 24.

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, January 23 2021
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