Racing News (4646)
Racing News from around the World
Flowers or donations to the Wilson Children’s Fund to be sent to John White Funeral Directors, 188/190 Watling Street, Towcester, NN12 6DB (cheques to “John White Funeral Directors, Donations Wilson”).
Alternatively, donations can be made online at www.justinwilson.co.uk/donate.
The Sunday Group PR
The Aug. 30 race at Sonoma Raceway, won by Scott Dixon to also secure the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series championship in a thrilling tiebreaker over Juan Pablo Montoya, averaged 841,000 viewers on NBCSN, according to The Nielsen Company. Viewership peaked at more than one million in the final full quarter hour. It was the most-watched cable telecast of a Verizon IndyCar Series race since NBCSN acquired the rights in 2009 and the highest cable viewership since the Richmond race on ESPN in 2008.
For the year, combining NBCSN and ABC telecasts, Verizon IndyCar Series races averaged 1.144 million viewers - an increase of 16 percent over 2014. That follows a 19 percent viewership surge in 2014 over the previous year.
Full-season ratings for all Verizon IndyCar Series telecasts improved 15 percent to a 0.76 average in 2015, following a 20 percent upsurge in 2014. NBCSN ratings improved 36 percent to a 0.34 average this season, on the heels of a 32 percent increase last year.
Over the past two years, INDYCAR has increased average TV ratings and viewership by 36 percent and 38 percent, respectively.
"More fans found a lot to like with the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2015 and the growth in television ratings and viewership reflect that," said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. "Our TV audiences increased significantly as we approached the championship that went down to the very last lap. As it came down to the wire, motorsports fans were attracted by the thrilling racing and compelling rivalries."
Viewership of NBCSN telecasts averaged 507,000 in 2015, an increase of 34 percent, following a 34 percent rise in 2014. Total viewership on both media partners in 2015 increased from the year before, even with two fewer events.
The Sonoma race broadcast showed a 123 percent increase in viewership from the 2014 race and marked the third consecutive NBCSN telecast seen by more than 600,000 viewers, following the Aug. 2 race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the Aug. 23 event at Pocono Raceway. In fact, the final six NBCSN race broadcasts of the season each yielded more than 500,000 viewers - a number more than the past six seasons on NBCSN combined - and five of those telecasts saw viewership increases of 66 percent or higher from the year before. The final six races of the season were six of the 10 most-viewed ever on NBCSN. The Mid-Ohio and Sonoma races set a new benchmark and were NBCSN's two highest-viewed telecasts of the series.
Other key 2015 growth indicators include:
• NBCSN season-long coverage reached 6.409 million unique viewers, the highest total audience ever on the network for the Verizon IndyCar Series and a 47 percent increase from 2014;
• NBCSN viewership among key demographics improved substantially over 2014, with an increase of 32 percent among adults ages 18-49 and a 32 percent rise among adults 25-54;
• Viewership of ABC's broadcast of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race increased 8 percent over 2014. Full-season viewership of ABC broadcasts improved 1 percent.
With the victory at the second annual running of Edge of Summer MX, Tickle pocketed a cool $12K, while Alessi ($9K) and Hayes ($7K) also made out well in one of the richest one-off motocross events of the summer.
“Just to be here and hang out with my team and friends, do what we like to do and make some money,” said Tickle. “You can’t ask for much more than that. And I’d like to thank Soaring Eagle for putting on such an epic event to wrap up the summer’s racing season.”
Edge of Summer MX also marked the pro debut of amateur MX great Austin Forkner (Richards, Mo.). The 16-year-old phenom lived up to his top amateur billing, racing to a 2nd place finish in his heat race (behind Tickle) and a solid 4th place in the main event. Said Forkner: “I didn’t come here expecting to do very well with all these fast racers lined up in the gate. But getting a 2nd in the heat and 4th in the main … man, I’m happy.”
After winning the second Pro heat race, Tickle had the top gate pick for Saturday’s main event on the purpose-build SX/MX hybrid track. And there’d be no question on the start as Tickle yanked the holeshot against one of the better starters in the game (Alessi), with Ohio’s Levi Kilbarger in 3rd. Hayes would make short work of Kilbarger to grab the third podium position on lap two, with Minnesota’s Jesse Wentland and Forkner also moving up into the top five.
As Tickle and Alessi separated from the rest of the Pro class pack, Tickle would crank off a 1:26.995 fast lap on lap four, putting 4.5 seconds between he and Alessi. And try as Alessi might, he would lose the battle in multiple areas of the track where Tickle had the entire field covered.
“Broc rode great and you’ve got to give him credit,” said Alessi. “I can’t complain.”
Through the midway point of the 12-lap Pro main event Tickle would run 6.7 second up on Alessi, thanks much to consistent speed through the whoops and rocker section, but also from putting in a virtual mistake-free ride.
With the podium spots virtually on lockdown through the remainder of the race, track announcer Tim Cotter (MX Sports) keyed the several thousand fans in attendance to the remaining payout positions. And the Michigan fans quickly threw their support behind veteran racer Nick Wey (DeWitt, Mich.), who rallied back from a 15th place start (out of 20 riders) to place in the 8th and final payout position – earning a cool $1K for his efforts at Soaring Eagle on Saturday.
With one lap to go Forkner moved past Wentland and into 4th place, with Wentland holding on to 5th to round out the top five.
After successful testing at Nürburgring back in July, Tequila Patrón ESM entered this week’s event with confidence its Ligier JS P2 Hondas were ready to take on the field and give the team a pair of podium finishes. But for most of the race the fast setup eluded both cars, until late in the race when the team found a competitive pace but with too few laps left to make a podium finish.
The No. 30 team of Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and David Heinemeier Hansson gambled early on a yellow-flag pit stop but timing was against the team when the race quickly went back to green. All three drivers completed their stints and near the end of the race were able to run consistent lap times. The team had a mostly clean race, with a brief off-track in Turn 15 by Heinemeier Hansson the only incident.
The No. 31 Tequila Patrón ESM drivers Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek and Jon Fogarty also struggled early. Slightly off pace from the other LMP2 competitors, the No. 31 crew made the right adjustments to get the No. 31 running consistent laps as the race progressed. Turn 15 proved to be challenging for the No. 31 team as well, Brown went off-track in the same section as Heinemeier Hansson.
Tequila Patrón ESM now heads to familiar territory for the fifth round of the WEC. The Florida-based team heads home to the United States and the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. COTA marks the one year anniversary of Tequila Patrón ESM’s debut in the WEC. Last year, Sharp, Brown and Dalziel earned the team’s first WEC podium with a third-place finish.
The 6 Hours of COTA takes place on September 19, and is the team’s first United States-based race in the Ligier J2 P2 Honda prototypes. The last time Tequila Patrón ESM competed in the States was during the 12 Hours of Sebring in March 2015.
Dixon, 35, delivered the 100th Indy car victory for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and the team's 11th championship. He joins A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Sebastien Bourdais and Dario Franchitti as drivers with at least four championships. It was Dixon's 38th Indy car win, which is one behind Al Unser for fourth all time.
Montoya, who finished sixth in the race, and Dixon tied with 556 points.
Dixon, who started ninth in the 85-lap race on the 2.385-mile, 12-turn Sonoma Raceway road course, won the tiebreaker because he had more wins during the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The victory today was his third (Long Beach, Texas and Sonoma) of the 16-race season. Montoya earned a total of two victories (St. Petersburg and the Indianapolis 500) in the No. 2 Team Penske Chevrolet.
Montoya, who stood atop the standings since winning the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., entered the double-points Sonoma race with a 34-point cushion on second-place Graham Rahal and 47-point lead on Dixon.
Montoya won the 1999 Indy car title on a tiebreaker over Franchitti. The 2006 Verizon IndyCar Series championship also was decided on a tiebreaker, with Sam Hornish Jr. prevailing over Dan Wheldon.
"There was still a chance and that's what I was hoping for," Dixon said. "I don't know what to say. This season we had some big races, and this was the biggest. We were such a longshot. I knew the car was strong, but you never know until the last lap. That's what it came down to. You hope for it. We had to do our best job and that's what we did today and, luckily enough, it worked out."
Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 series champion, finished 6.1115 seconds behind Dixon. Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL Andretti Autosport Honda, won twice and had two other top 10s in the final four races.
Two other Chip Ganassi Racing Teams entries - Charlie Kimball (third) and Tony Kanaan (fourth) - finished in the top five and the fourth Ganassi car, driven by Sebastian Saavedra, led 12 laps early and finished 13th.
"My teammates were phenomenal. They helped all year and we won this together," Dixon said. "There is no one person that achieved this on their own and I just thank everybody so much."
Dixon's season started with 15th- and 11th-place finishes before he won at Long Beach in mid-April. He closed with seven top-10 finishes in the final eight races of the season.
Power, the 2014 series champion who had won three of the past five races at Sonoma Raceway and reset his year-old track record in earning the Verizon P1 Award for the pole Aug. 29, led 26 laps and finished seventh. He wound up third in the standings (63 points behind Dixon). Rahal finished a career-best fourth in the championship (-66 points) and Helio Castroneves was fifth.
The 20-year-old driver will compete in the Sept. 12 event at the 0.596-mile paved oval, an annual race that helps kick off the 10-day state fair at the Tennessee Fairgrounds. Mingus will bring sponsorship from Ms. Kelli's Karaoke Bar in downtown Nashville and 811, the underground damage prevention phone line, for the 100-lap event. He will also participate in an open test at the speedway on Sept. 11.
"I can't wait to get back to my home track," Mingus said. "There's nothing like going home, and the annual race at the state fair is always a great time. No points, no pressure, just good old-fashioned short-track racing."
Green-flag racing on Sept. 12 begins at 4 p.m. for nine divisions. For ticket information and additional event details, visit fairgroundsspeedwaynashville.com.
The third annual Military Appreciation Day is the continuation of Mazda Raceway’s almost 60 years of involvement with the armed forces since the facility was built in 1957 by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) on property once part of Fort Ord. The raceway will provide free general admission to active military and veterans with military ID, and one guest, who attend the Pirelli World Challenge/Mazda Road to Indy on Sat., Sept. 12.
Dwyer was gravely injured May 22, 2011, after stepping on an IED during his second tour of combat duty in Afghanistan. Since that time, he has gone through more than 50 surgeries and, despite losing his left leg above the knee, is now a Mazda-backed race driver in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series. He races with a custom-designed prosthetic that attaches to the clutch pedal and can be disconnected quickly for driver changes. His team, Freedom Autosport, currently leads the team point standings in the ST category. After winning at Lime Rock (Conn.) Park last year on Memorial Day weekend, he won again in dramatic fashion with co-driver Andrew Carbonell on May 2 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“It is an honor to have Liam Dwyer serve as the grand marshal for Military Appreciation Day,” said Gill Campbell, CEO/General Manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “Liam’s story of bravery, honor, and determination should be an inspiration to all of us, whether in the military or not. On top of everything else, he’s a great race car driver. All of us at Mazda Raceway welcome him and all of the military who will be here for Military Appreciation Day and throughout the weekend.”
Champions in 10 different classes of sports car and open wheel racing will be crowned at Mazda Raceway during the season finale event for both the Pirelli World Challenge and Mazda Road to Indy. Tight battles for final season point positions are on the line in the Pirelli World Challenge’s four Grand Touring classes (GT/GTA/GT Cup/GTS) and three Touring Car classes (TC/TCA/TCB) as well the three rungs of the Mazda Road to Indy: Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires; Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires; and Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda. Gates open each day at 7 a.m. for three days of almost non-stop on-track racing activity.
Tickets to the Pirelli World Challenge/Mazda Road to Indy weekend include a variety of options, from single day tickets to multiple-day and hospitality packages. For more information, visit MazdaRaceway.com or call 831-242-8200.
The experience began with a full day of testing sessions on Thursday, culminating in an official practice round in the afternoon. Robinson turned the fastest lap time in his No. 74 Chevrolet Camaro, with a Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger behind him, and Lewis' No. 72 Chevrolet Camaro in fourth. The Robinson Racing drivers then made an appearance on Sheboygan's Rock Station, 106.5 The Buzz, with host Otto, broadcasting live from the Tower.
Fast Five Qualifying for the Pony Wars began at 8:45 am on Friday, at which time both Robinson and Lewis once again found their stride around the 14-turn, 4.048-mile circuit. The twin 74 Ranch Resort Camaros qualified in the Top 5 of the TA2 Class: Robinson secured the second spot while Lewis came in fifth. In need of more seat time, several of the Trans Am drivers, including Robinson and Lewis, took to the .8-mile, hillside karting track after lunch.
On Saturday, August 29, 2015, the race day was marred with widespread fog, chilly temperatures, a persistent drizzle, and a damp track from the previous night’s rain storms. Despite these inopportune conditions, road racing fans were ready for the show and the green flag dropped promptly at 9:30 am CT for the Next Dimension 100 presented by 3-Dimensional Services Group, which included a 63-car field in the TA, TA2 and TA3 Classes.
“I came into the race really looking just not to tear up the car in the very wet and foggy conditions,” noted Lewis. “It was one of those days where anything could happen and you kind of knew something big would.”
With three full course cautions and multiple collisions, the mission for most was to just survive relatively intact and hopefully add a few points toward the championship.
“With Road America running pretty high on my favorite tracks list, I was really eager to get on the track,” said Robinson. “When the rain came Friday night, my excitement turned to dread because I had not yet run this Camaro in the rain. I knew I had the car control for it, and I just had to use everything in my ability to bring the car home. And with all the dangerous bits in the race, we came back without a scratch on both cars.”
Starting the race in second and maintaining that position for much of the 80-minute session, Robinson managed to finish in third and secure his sixth trophy, out of 8 races held so far in the 2015 season. He won at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; earned second place finishes at Sebring International Raceway and New Jersey Motorsports Park; and took home third at Road Atlanta, Brainerd International Raceway and Road America. Saturday’s race at Road America also marked Robinson’s fourth consecutive podium finish.
“It was a bittersweet podium finish, because I put some space between me and the competitors behind me in points, but I didn’t gain any on the front runner,” noted Robinson. “We still have four races to go, and those final races will be worth watching.”
Lewis began the race in fifth, falling back to ninth but avoiding the oil down and cars going off track. The “comeback kid” then powered through the obstacles and charged up to fourth; the last yellow flag fell just minutes before the checkered flag.
With Lewis’ fourth place finish at Road America, he emerged as the winner of the 3-Dimensional Services Group Triple Shot Showdown in the TA2 Class. Celebrating Trans Am racing at three historic tracks, the Triple Shot Showdown trophy was awarded to the drivers scoring the most points per class at Lime Rock Park, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Road America. Lewis placed seventh at Lime Rock and second at Mid-Ohio, setting a track record at Mid-Ohio for the fastest lap time in TA2. His results at the three tracks totaled 72 points. Lewis celebrated the Triple Shot Showdown win by turning the trophy into a vessel for dessert, filling the cup with root beer and vanilla ice cream. Robinson placed second in the Triple Shot Showdown with 68 points, bolstered by the win at Mid-Ohio.
“I want to thank the 3-Dimensional Services Group who sponsored the trophy and this really cool honor for me,” said Lewis. “I also want to thank the entire group at Robinson Racing, from Texas to Michigan, for all of their efforts. We are a family and this trophy is dedicated to them.”
The Next Dimension 100 at Road America will air on the CBS Sports Network on September 12, 2015 at 10:00 am ET. On September 5, 2015 at 10:00 am ET, CBS Sports Network will broadcast the TA2 race held at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
After 8 rounds of the 2015 Chase for the Trigon Trophy, presented by 3-Dimensional Services Group, Gar Robinson remains in second with 193 points, 11 points behind the leader and 18 points ahead of third. Shane Lewis moved up from fifth to fourth with 174 points, just one point behind third. In the 2015 TA2 Rookie of the Year standings, presented by Wilwood Disc Brakes, Gar Robinson maintains the lead, while Shane Lewis moved up one spot to second.
The next race, Round 9 of the Trans Am Championship, will be held at Virginia International Raceway, on Sunday, September 27, 2015, at 12:50 pm ET. For more information and to view images from the Road America race, visit www.GoTransAm.com and www.RobinsonRacingTeam.com.
In addition to the debut of WeatherTech as the new entitlement partner, the highly anticipated season will see the introduction of full FIA GT3 specifications in the GT Daytona (GTD) class and exciting new race cars in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class in addition to a full complement of competitors in the Prototype (P) and Prototype Challenge (PC) classes.
The IMSA Road to Daytona begins later this fall, with the first WeatherTech Championship test at Daytona International Speedway on Nov. 17-18. The annual Roar Before the Rolex 24 test will be held Jan. 8-10, 2016, followed by the 54th Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31. The twice-around-the-clock endurance classic will be the first event at the new Daytona International Speedway motorsports stadium upon the completion of the $400 million DAYTONA Rising project.
The 2016 season will feature a 10-race calendar for the Prototype class in the final year of its current technical configuration before shifting to new technical regulations beginning in the 2017 season. The GTLM, GTD and PC classes will have 11 races each as part of a schedule that includes a total of 12 WeatherTech Championship races. The combination of event purses, special awards and year-end point funds will exceed $4 million.
Entry forms have been distributed to current TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race teams and also are available for download by new WeatherTech Championship participants within the competitor section of IMSA.com. Entries will be accepted for review, through 5 p.m. ET onOctober 30, 2015. IMSA will review and confirm the selection of entries based on established criteria for the 2016 season.
Next up for the TUDOR Championship is the Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of The Americas on Saturday, Sept. 19. The race will be televised live on FOX Sports 2 at 12:30 p.m. ET and rebroadcast on FOX Sports 1 at 1:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 20.