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Indy racing legend Andy Granatelli passed away on Sunday in Santa Barbara, CA, due to congestive heart failure. He was 90. Granatelli was famous for his innovation in American open-wheel racing, kicking off his Indy career with an entry in the 1946 race. His creative streak didn't really kick off until the 1960s, though, when the Dallas, TX-born Granatelli began entering a series of wildly powerful supercharged Novi V8s in the Indianapolis 500. This was followed by the arrival of the (in)famous

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Dario Franchitti will heed the advice of doctors and retire from competitive racing. Franchitti, 40, was seriously injured at last month's Grand Prix of Houston when his Indy car speared off the track and into the catch fencing, injuring both himself and spectators. The Scottish driver suffered a pair of broken vertebrae, a broken ankle and a concussion in the crash.

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Acura will tease us yet again with its next-gen NSX when it makes an appearance at Mid-Ohio Raceway before the circuit's IndyCar race early next month. To be fair, the car's in-motion debut won't take the form of a production model – that's still a ways off – the vehicle will be a prototype. It'll be sporting custom graphics and an eye-catching paint (wrap?) job to draw the attention of the spectators, but really, we just want to hear this thing rounding the legendary road course at

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When the IRL and Champ Car reunited a few years ago, the fear among drivers from the latter series was that the calendar would remain dominated by oval speedways. But these days the resulting IndyCar Series races on more street circuits and road courses than it does speedways, and soon we'll be able to add one more as the series has announced its return to Houston, Texas.

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It's been a few years since single-seaters roared through America's Playground, but they could be back before we know it. And back in a big way, if the latest reports from the world of motorsport materialize.

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Indianapolis 500 100th Anniversary at Pebble Beach – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Lotus is back in IndyCars, and it's there to stay. After launching its own F1 team (in name, anyway) and announcing its intentions to expand further into other forms of motorsport, the legendary British firm revealed its sponsorship – together with engine partner Cosworth – of one of KV Racing's cars in the IndyCar Series, which former F1 driver Takuma Sato has been piloting (with limited success) this season.

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The Indy Racing League has yet to announce the selection of its new chassis, but in the meantime has announced new engine regulations that will take effect in 2012.

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For years Marlboro has been nearly synonymous with Penske, its racing cars (in open-wheels especially) adorned with the tobacco company's red-and-white color scheme for decades, even if their name hasn't appeared on the cars since 2005. But after 19 years in racing together, Marlboro parent company Phillip Morris ended its sponsorship of the motor racing dynasty earlier this year. Now it appears that Shell Oil could be taking its place.

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