Regional Racing News
Regional Racing News

Regional Racing News (8)

Motor racing is as much a competition for drivers as it is for engineers building the cars themselves. The engines provide the power that allows race cars to outrun each other on the racetrack and drivers - or should we call them pilots? - are the ones that provide the brain behind the brawn.

As such, motor racing is not something luxury car brands can ignore. In Formula 1, we have seen Ferrari, McLaren, and other dedicated brands' engines outperform their competition. Due to its F1 performance, Ferrari has become more than just a luxury car brand: a pop culture icon. It has inspired a variety of manufacturers to build Ferrari-themed products, and even gaming venues like the Royal Vegas Casino have their own share of Ferrari games. Not that it would be obvious - the Royal Vegas' "Good to Go" slot machine never mentions Ferrari. The choice of color, in turn, is a strong hint for the game designer's preference. Te game is one of the most-played at the Royal Vegas, showing that many of its players have a weak spot for motor racing.

There are other luxury brands - ones that you might not even expect - building race cars that perform pretty well on the racetrack, some of them with notable results during their career.

Aston Martin

Aston Martin is a pop culture icon in itself, as it provided the world with some of the finest Bond cars of all time. The iconic British car manufacturer is perhaps best-known for these - but its racing cars - especially the Vantage line - have also made a name for themselves.

The Aston Martin V8 Vantage N24 was revealed in 2006, meant to compete in the Nürburgring 24 Hours endurance race - and its performances were quite notable. Driven by Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez, development engineer Chris Porritt, development driver Wolfgang Schuhbauer and German journalist Horst Graf von Saurma-Jeltsch, the car managed to finish fourth in its class. Other racing versions of the Vantage line include the Vantage GT2 (built to be used in FIA GT Championship, American Le Mans Series, Le Mans Series, and 24 Hours of Le Mans), the Rally GT (used in the Race of Champions), and the Vantage GT3, scheduled to compete in the FIA GT1 World Championship and the Blancpain Endurance Series.

Lotus Cars

Lotus was another iconic British luxury car brand, known for their uniquely designed supercars. Their engines were quite successful at the races, too. Between 1963 and 1978, Lotus F1 cars were driven by racers like Jim Clark, Graham Hill, Emerson Fittipaldi, and Mario Andretti. Lotus engines have competed in a series of other categories, including GP2, GP3, and the Indianapolis 500.

Bentley Motors

Bentley is another British car brand, synonymous with luxury. It is a brand with a long history - Bentley Motors has been registered in 1919 - and an equally long rap sheet. While the company hasn't entered any official races on its own for decades, private racers have used their cars to compete ever since the 1922 Indianapolis 500 (which the car - a modified street model - has completed successfully)

Today's racing Bentley model is called Continental GT3 and has been used for racing since 2014. Its first full race was the Blancpain GT Series in 2014, which it finished fourth, followed by the Silverstone round of the Blancpain Endurance Series, which it won. The GT3 went on to win the Blancpain Sprint Series in 2015, end the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series 3 points below the top spot, and perform well in the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour.

Credit Image Source: Guardian

Great Britain’s Tai Woffinden faces a huge task to retain his Speedway World Championship going into the final two races of the 2016 season. The 26-year-old triumphed by 16 points in the last campaign to win the crown for the second time. However, he will be forced to make up a 16-point deficit at the next two circuits to beat out his rivals Jason Doyle and Greg Hancock. The Brit is backed at +5000 in the latest Speedway betting odds to win the crown for the third time in four years and become only the third man to win back-to-back titles.

Let’s take a look at the three main contenders for the crown, beginning with Woffinden and his bid to make history.


Woffinden’s Challenge

Credit Image Source: Wales Online

The 26-year-old had an underwhelming start to the season in Slovenia, despite enjoying a solid session in the heats as he qualified for the semi-finals with eight points. However, he was bested by Denmark’s Peter Kildemand, forcing the reigning champion to settle for fourth place. Woffinden enjoyed another strong performance in Poland, qualifying for the second semi-finals. After finishing Matej Žagar he knew he would have to up the ante in the final to claim the victory in Warsaw, and duly delivered.

The Brit was the top scorer in the heats in Denmark as he recorded victories in three of his five races. He qualified for the final with a second-place finish in his semi, but could only muster a third-place finish in the last race, adding just three points to his total as Maciej Janowski clinched the victory. He eased into the latter stages of the Czech Republic Grand Prix with two wins   during the heats, but completely bombed out in the first semi-final, finishing in fourth. On home     
soil he rebounded with in the competition’s final phase, ending behind Antonio Lindback to add another 16 points to his grand total.

Woffinden put forward his worst display of the season in Sweden, failing to make the latter stages of the race. The Brit put those demons to one side in the next Grand Prix in Poland, edging into the semi-finals in eighth place, but he raised his game to win his semi before finishing second in the final to close the gap on Doyle, who had overtaken him in the overall standings. Another step back would occur in Germany as Woffinden finished third in his semi-final, taking only 10 points from the meet. An 11-point performance would follow at the Swedish Grand Prix as he failed to make the final, leaving the Brit with an uphill challenge in the quest for his third crown.

Doyle’s Surge Towards the Title

Credit Image Source: LeicesterLions.co.uk

The Aussie had an encouraging start to the season as he won two races during the heats in Slovenia to qualify for the semi-finals, where he finished second to reach the final before notching another two points by ending up as runner-up to Kildemand. However, Doyle failed to reach the latter stages of the competition in Poland and Denmark, notching just 12 points. After those disappointments the 30-year-old was off the pace of Woffinden and compatriot Chris Holder and in desperate need of a response in the Czech Republic.

He duly delivered with a series of fine performances in the heats, where he claimed two victories, and finished in the top three in each of his five races to leave him on 11 points in the semi-finals. He went on to win both the semi-final and final to end the Grand Prix with 17 points. Doyle suffered a setback in his charge for the crown at the British Grand Prix, despite   producing the second best performance during the heats. He won three of his five races to leave him on 12 points entering the semis, only to finish last to miss out the final.

His response to the disappointment has left him in contention for the crown as he finished second behind Hancock in Sweden, claiming the same amount of points as the American. The Aussie would follow that up with a resounding victory in the second Polish Grand Prix of the season, ending with 16 points. He was even better in Germany earning one point extra to leave him trailing Hancock by only two points.

Doyle would produce the performance of the campaign in Stockholm, winning the tournament with a season-high 19 points to take the outright lead. Should he maintain his form he will have the chance to win his maiden World title.

Could Hancock Spoil the Party?

Credit Image Source: racemagazine.se

The three-time World champion stands between both Woffinden and Doyle in their quest for the crown, and he will use all of his experience to ensure that it is him standing aloft with the trophy come the end of the campaign. Hancock had a stuttering start to the season in Slovenia as he edged into the semi-finals of the Grand Prix, but failed to progress, accumulating just 10 points in the first meet. However, solid performances in Denmark got him on the right track, taking 28 points combined from the two races to slide behind the early pacesetters in third place.

The 46-year-old won four of his five heats in the Czech Republic to qualify in first position for the semis, and he had no problem reaching the final, adding a further three points to his total. Only a fine ride from Doyle prevented him from clinching the win, although he did claim more points       
from the meet than the Australian. After an underwhelming performance at the British Grand Prix, he bounced back with his first win of the season in Sweden. His 17 points moved him to the top of the leaderboard, collecting four victories on the circuit in a dominant spell of riding, especially in the latter stages of the competition.

Inconsistency could halt his charge for the title as he has produced poor displays in two of the last three meets, including a nine-point outing in Stockholm. His third-place finish in Germany has kept him within striking distance of Doyle, but with only two races remaining in the season the veteran will have to be at the peak of his powers. The American produced a 21-point performance in Australia last year, and a repeat may be the only way that he will be able to overhaul Doyle to the Championship.

How Will The Championship Be Decided

All three riders will be battling it out in the final two races, but all have proven to be inconsistent. Doyle has never won the crown before and despite his healthy advantage over the other two, his lack of experience could play a part. Woffinden and Hancock will be aiming to capitalize on any mistakes made by the Aussie, who will know he will have to be flawless to lift the trophy for the first time in his career.

The slipstream draft proved to make or break the hopes of many drivers looking to notch wins in Round Nine of the Northern Conference SCCA U.S. Majors Tour, part of the SafeRacer Club Racing Program. Less than ideal track conditions drew the front runners in many classes closer together for extended periods during each group's 20-minute races.
 
Another factor that led to close racing was warm July temperatures, as a result of nearly cloudless skies over the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course. The sun warmed the asphalt to the point where many drivers felt it was too slick to put the throttle down as they would like.
 
Group One featured a close Touring 2 battle between Mark Boden, of Buffalo Grove, Illinois, and John M. Buttermore. In his No. 4 BMW M3, Boden crossed the finish line just 0.434-second in the lead. The win marked Boden's first in the Northern Conference points chase.
 
Group Two offered a pair of victories that were decided on the last lap of the 10-lap race. On all but the last go-around Herb Nobel was the class leader, but following a pass that utilized the slip stream William B. Cobb, of Cambridge, Wisconsin, rode his No. 28 Clueless Racing CNB Milton Bana to the Formula 500 win.
 
The story in Formula Vee was quite different. Bruce Livermore, of Stillwater, Minnesota, came out on top of a three-car breakaway to the finish. Heading into the final lap, Livermore led the closely-contested, three-car battle and was able to place his No. 37 BBBuilds/Veetech Mysterian X-M2 in the right place at the right time to take the win.
 
Group three produced another race decided on the final circuit of the course. Michael Froh, of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, scored the F Production win after getting around Michael Hart following the white flag. Hart turned his fastest lap of the race on the last lap, but it wasn't enough to keep Froh, in his No. 72 Mazda Miata, behind him.
 
GT-2 also proved to be a nail-bitter of a race. John Kachadurian, of Denver, Colorado, got to the line before AJ Henriksen, but only by 0.129-second. Kachadurian, in his No. 80 Kachadurian Group/Grey Fox Racing Porsche GT3 Cup, was the leader as both drivers received the white flag, but Henriksen made things interesting with a never-give-up final lap that kept things interesting right to the line.
 
Group four also showcased an extremely close race in American Sedan, of which Philip Smith, of New Albany, Ohio, came out on top. In his No. 47 Hoosier Tires/Ilmor Racing Chevrolet Camaro, Smith crossed the line with Edward Honsni only 0.686-second arears.
 
Based on the finishes seen in the first four groups, it only stood to reason that the 27 drivers in the Spec Miata field would put on a show worthy of note. Kyle Webb, of Centerville, Ohio, was the first to pass under the checkered flag, but it was no easy win. Webb drove his No. 99 Nova Brown not forgotten/ATL Speedway Mazda Miata to the win, but only 0.043-second ahead of Justin Hille, with Justin Elder less than 0.6-second behind. On Lap six of eight, it looked like Webb may not be in the right  place to capture the win as he was shuffled back to fourth. But he was able to claw his way back to the front and score his second Northern Conference win.
 
Racing from Road America resumes on Sunday, at 9:10 a.m. (CDT). Seven race groups will take the historic 4-mile course for 12-lap feature races.
 
Additional information on the Road America Majors, including a schedule of events and results, can be found at SCCA.com/RoadAmericaMajors. For more information on the Majors program, visit SCCA.com/Majors.
 
the inception of the CARS Tour plenty of talk occurred about drivers and teams being able to perform “double duty” competing in both the Late Model Stock and Super Late Model divisions at a single event. The amount of teams that then registered for both divisions for the upcoming 2015 season with plans to perform double duty on a regular basis, made it appear that several were going to follow through with those intentions. 

 

Flash forward to the midpoint of the current season and despite several close calls for a driver to pull off the accomplishment none have done so. Tyler Ankrum, was one of those drivers, having brought his brand new Super Late Model machine to Tri-County at the tour’s last outing just to make the decision to leave it in the trailer and not compete. The tight schedule, long days, and difference in racecars has shown competitors that competing in both events in a single night is no easy feat.  

 

However; veteran racer Clay Rogers will take the challenge head on that many have relinquished with all intentions of becoming the first driver in the short history book of the CARS Tour to officially pull off the “double-duty” feat next Saturday July 11th at Motor Mile Speedway in Radford, Virginia. The Troutman, North Carolina native has won behind the wheel of both types of machines, with one of those victories being a Snowball Derby win in the seat of a Super Late Model and the other the largest paying Late Model Stock event in 1999 at Concord Speedway where Rogers claimed $65,000 for his win.

 

The uniqueness of the situation comes as Rogers is competing for two different car owners. Rogers will kick off the night driving the Chad Mullis owned machine for 125 laps of Late Model Stock racing, before ending the night behind the wheel of Bob Schacht’s brand new Super Late Model for the final 125 laps of his busy weekend.

 

While Rogers is looking forward to the challenge of “double duty” at a CARS Tour event he also realizes that he has his work cut out for him to find success in both races.

 

“Knowing my luck it will be 104 degrees that day. Usually I prefer the longer races but being mid-July I’m kind of glad each race is 125 laps, “ joked Rogers. “It’s going to be a challenge no doubt with the two cars being totally different from one another. It’s not like I’m driving a Super Late Model and Pro Late Model. These are different machines all together. But I really think we can compete for a win in both races. Both cars are really nice pieces, and I’ve got a ton of confidence in both teams that Bob (Schact) and Chad (Mullis) have assembled. Hopefully I’ll also be the first to win both races too.”

 

The Food Country USA 250 presented by Heritage Truck Centers kicks off with qualifying at 4:30pm followed by racing at 7pm. Tickets for the event are $20 for adults, $10 for youth (7-12), with kids six and under admitted free. Tickets will be available for purchase at the gate the day of show. For more information about Motor Mile Speedway visit www.motormilespeedway.com.

 

The final hour of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International saw its fair share of action and excitement, not least of which was the first repeat Prototype (P) class winner of the 2015 season by the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP driven by Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante.

 

The team’s first victory of the year came at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May.

 

After a 14-minute stoppage for rain with less than two hours remaining, then-race leader Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP made contact with the tire barrier at the exit of Turn 10. Needing fuel to make it to the finish, Christian Fittipaldi pitted the No. 5 Mustang Sampling/Cedar Tree Corvette DP under green anticipating a caution due to the large debris left on the track from No. 10. The caution did not come until later, and the No. 5 team also was penalized issued for speeding through pit lane.

 

The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP of Joey Hand inherited the lead. He led under a lengthy full-course caution in wet conditions and took the the green flag on a restart with 16 minutes left, running low on fuel.

 

Hand lost the lead to Westbrook when he pitted for fuel. Shortly thereafter, the race’s final full-course caution came out for an incident involving the No. 007 Aston Martin Vantage GT Daytona car of Kuno Wittmer. Westbrook took the checkered flag under caution.

 

Hand and co-driver Scott Pruett finished second, followed by Fittipaldi and co-driver Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 entry. The result enabled the No. 5 team to continue to lead the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup Prototype standings after three of four races.

Van der Zande, Hedlund, Popow Give Starworks Motorsport Second Straight In PC

There’s something about wet weather that seems to agree with Starworks Motorsport and Renger van der Zande, as the team picked up their second consecutive Prototype Challenge race victory in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. The team also won in the wet last month at the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers.

 

This weekend, van der Zande joined forces with Alex Popow and Mike Hedlund for the victory, as regular co-driver Mirco Schultis was unavailable. It was van der Zande’s fifth career TUDOR Championship victory and Popow’s ninth victory across TUDOR Championship, American Le Mans Series and GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series competition. It was the first win for Hedlund.

 

Mike Guasch, Tom Kimber-Smith and Andrew Palmer finished second in the No. 52 Cuttwood/Spyder ORECA FLM09 for PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports; followed by Martin Plowman, Daniel Burkett and Matt McMurry in the No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports ORECA FLM09. The PR1/Mathiasen team continues to lead the Patrón Endurance Cup standings heading to the season-ending Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda in October.

NEWS AND NOTES

·        The No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ric Man Construction/GO-PUCK/Braille Batteries ORECA FLM09 driven by Conor Daly pulled out to a solid early lead, but fell back due to an ill-timed pit stop and a pair of on-track incidents.

 

·        The next event for the TUDOR Championship will be the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix Presented by Hawk Performance on Sunday, July 12.

QUOTEBOARD

Richard Westbrook, Driver – No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP

"We had plenty in the tank actually. When Michael pitted the last time when he came in under his own, I knew we’d be in good shape and that was it until the end. It was super fun out there, especially when it was raining out there and we were on slicks. I think the officials did a great job today, with the red flagging and the standing water. They made some great tough calls today. But without the wiper at the end, it was tough to even see the safety car at the end. Then when it came out with the caution at the end, it was all about keeping if off the paint and just bringing it to the end."

 

Michael Valiante, Driver – No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP

“I wasn’t feeling great over the last three days, but Richard and I were talking before the race just to stay safe during these conditions. We didn’t have the pace, but we tried to keep our head down and keep out of trouble. At one point we lost a windshield wiper and it made it hard to see. Then we had some electrical issues, but we kept trying, and took advantage of the (No.) 01 car there at the end.  It’s great to be leading the championship now, but I’ve learned from past years of racing that you can’t focus on that.”

 

Joey Hand, Driver – No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP

"We ran dry; we couldn’t have done our last lap. We did as much as we could leading up to the yellow. So at that situation we decided to try and build a gap and they told me to build one as big as possible. But it was so bad with the water on the mirrors, you couldn’t see out the back. It was so weird in the wet, I really like the rain, when they said go for it, I could just go for it. When I woke up this morning, I thought, today’s the day. It was crazy and it was hectic, but that’s what I live for, that’s why I like to race."

 

Renger van der Zande, Driver – No. 8 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09

“I knew we were strong in the wet, you could see that in the race. We had a 30-second gap, up until the pit stop. We replaced a rear wing, because we had confidence we could get it back. (Team owner) Peter Baron is a master at tactics for the race. For the next race we are really sorted with the car. The speed is in there, we are on a roll and if nothing happens we can fight here for the championship.”

 

Alex Popow, Driver – No. 8 Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09

“I’m finally happy to win the Sahlen’s Six Hours. I’ve been here with Starworks team for the last five or six years, every time something happens. We have been one of the fastest cars out there, but it was always something. This car, the team did a great job, it was a fast car right off the truck. We kept the car running right. Renger did an awesome job in the rain, keeping the car straight. Just a great job. We did some changes on the car during the race, but every single call the team made was perfect. It was great."

New week, new track and it’s like déjà vu with Kenseth bringing home a win. For the second week in a row Matt Kenseth lead team mate Kyle Busch to the checkered flag by over a half-second to bring home back to back wins in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Kenseth leading 106 laps to capture his seventh win of the season and for the first time in 31 career starts.

"I felt really confident with my car today, but to have a fast car and to be able to do all the right things with adjustments and strategy and pit stops and all that stuff and be out front and win is two different things. So I'm thankful to be part of this group, and it honestly doesn't really seem real that we won yet today." Kenseth said.

Following closely behind JGR team mates was Biffle who drove his was from sixth up to third on the last restart, championship contender Johnson brought his car home in fourth followed by McMurray to round out the top-five.

"They just had a special car. Sometimes you unload with them, and they're just phenomenal. The 20 had that here this weekend. We tried everything to try to keep up with him and to get pace with him, but it was tough to do." Busch said.

Note: Kahne spun on lap 252 and damaged the front end of the car is all but out of the chase falling to 13th and 71 points behind Kenseth.

Twice broken record, and that’s exactly what Ryan Newman did on Friday at New Hampshire when we went out and turned a lap which broke Kasey Kahne record set earlier in the day. But not stopping there Newman on his second circuit during qualifying went out and backed up his first lap with another record breaker of 27.904 seconds at 136.497mph to grab the pole for Sunday’s event.

"Everything about qualifying weighs in to having a better chance in the race, with the pit selection and with track position to start and, obviously, knowing you have a fast race car," said Newman

This was Newman’s seventh  career pole at the “Magic Mile” following behind him was Kahne with a lap slightly over 136 mph and Gordon with a 136.063 mph laps all of which breaking the old track record set back in July by Brad Keselowski.

"I came off Turn 4 (approaching the green flag) just wiggling and sliding, and I thought, 'OK, maybe I can make up for it in (Turns) 1 and 2, and then off of 2 really bad, and at that point, it was just all about regrouping and trying to put a second lap together." Gordon said.

"I was shaking when I got out of the car," Gordon said, "because that first lap was so hairy and on the edge that, the second lap, I had to really try to get the car to run really straight and not make any mistakes, but I knew we had a lot of ground to make up.

NOTE: Edwards will start in 26th after getting into the wall and requiring the team to work on the right rear of the car.

Well that didn’t take long for Cole Custer to back up a win. Custer who just back in August at Iowa became the youngest winner in the NASCAR K&N Series at just 15 year old again returned to victory lane this weekend at New Hampshire, leading 60 of the scheduled laps.

Making what would just be his 15th start in the lower feeder division of the NASCAR K&N series turned the fastest lap in Friday qualifying to take the pole for the North American Power 150, which is his second pole of the season after also securing it back on August 2nd at Iowa.

In addition to being the youngest winner in the NASCAR K&N Series Custer also wrote his name in the history books becoming the youngest winner at New Hampshire.

“The guys bring a great car to the track, I have to thank Gene Haas and Haas Automation. All the guys did great, the car was perfect” Custer said.

Following behind Custer was Daniel Suarez who took home his fifth top-three finish in the last hand full of races, Cale Conley, Ben Rhodes, and Dylan Presnell rounded out the top-five.

Brett Moffitt who finished in the seventh spot was able to cut Dylan Kwasniewski’s points lead down to just 23 point with just two races remaining after Kwasniewski who was battling for the lead with eventual race winner Custer got spun on lap 34 to finish out the race with his worst finish of the season in 24th.

NOTES: For those at home the race will be tape delayed broadcast will be on Fox Sports 1 on October 4th. Also the series will move on to Dover International Speedway next Friday.