Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.
Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.
Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network.
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IHRA travels to US 131 Motorsports Park this weekend looking to once again make history
Brothers Bobby and Dom Lagana are from New York. They talk like New Yorkers talk and they act like New Yorkers act. But when you ask either one where their home is on the racetrack, both will point to one place - the tiny town of Martin, Michigan.
For nearly two decades, US 131 Motorsports Park in western Michigan has acted as the official home track of the Lagana brothers, serving as the location of some of the team's greatest motorsports accomplishments. Bobby's first four-second pass and first 300 mph run? Both took place at US 131. Dom's professional drag racing debut? That too took place in Martin.
But of all of the accomplishments the team has enjoyed, perhaps their most noteworthy came at US 131 Motorsports Park just last year.
Seeking their quickest and fastest lap ever as a team, the Lagana brothers traveled to IHRA's annual Northern Nationals in 2013 hoping to make team history. Instead, the team skipped right past team history and right into the stratosphere of IHRA history.
After a couple of noteworthy runs on Friday night at last year's Northern Nationals, Dom and his team kicked things into overdrive and left it all on the track in front of a packed house the following evening, making the single fastest lap in IHRA and US 131 Motorsports history in the "Nitro Ninja" Top Fuel Dragster.
With the header flames burning bright right through the finish line, the numbers popped up on the scoreboard - 4.663 seconds at 330.79 miles per hour. Others had been quicker, others had been faster in the sport, but none had been faster in annals of the International Hot Rod Association, the place where the Lagana brothers cut their teeth and learned the world's fastest sport.
Now the Lagana brothers, and four of IHRA's most exciting professional classes, return to Michigan this Friday and Saturday for the annual IHRA Nitro Jam Northern Nationals at US 131 Motorsports Park.
"Looking back, that was an amazing night. We traveled to Michigan last year hoping to make our quickest pass ever in a Top Fuel car, but what we accomplished was our fastest pass ever and the fastest pass ever in IHRA," Dom said. "It was such a cool feeling to put our names up there with so many legends that we have raced with in IHRA. To be listed with guys like Clay Millican, Bruce Litton, Shirley Muldowney, Doug Herbert - all drag racing legends - is amazing."
Now, just one year removed from that historical pass, Dom and his brother Bobby return to US 131 Motorsports Park for another go at the IHRA Nitro Jam Northern Nationals this Friday and Saturday. And this time, the eldest of the two brothers and one of IHRA's most decorated racers, Bobby, will return to the cockpit of a Top Fuel machine alongside his brother in a Lagana family showdown at over 300 mph.
On the agenda this time - the 4.5 second quarter-mile barrier - one of the toughest obstacles in Top Fuel racing.
"We love going to US 131. We go there a couple times a year and we really enjoy racing on that track. When we get there, we will make some hits and get it dialed in, but if the conditions are right, we will try for the homerun," Bobby said.
If Bobby or Dom Lagana can get it done, it will be among the best passes in IHRA history. The current IHRA quarter-mile Top Fuel record is held by six-time IHRA champion Clay Millican at 4.484 seconds set at Rockingham Dragway in October of 2005. The speed record still stands with Millican at 328.14 mph, as Dom was not able to back up his run last year.
And that might not be the only history made this weekend.
IHRA will also welcome back Mountain Motor Pro Stock to the quarter-mile this weekend at one of the fastest tracks in the country. All season long the Pro Stock teams have pushed the records in the class to new heights, with Missouri native John DeFlorian and the Black Diamond Motorsports team currently holding the record at 6.224 seconds at 226.70 mph set in April. In Martin, DeFlorian will be joined by a season-high car count as nearly a dozen teams look to secure a spot in the eight-car field with only two races remaining in 2014. DeFlorian currently sits second in the standings behind Goforth Racing's Cary Goforth in his bright orange 2014 Chevrolet Camaro.
Rounding out the Northern Nationals professional field will be the nitro classes of Nitro Harley and Nitro Altered, along with the US 131 Motorsports Park debut of the Larsen Motorsports all-female jet team.
In Nitro Harley, Canadian Mike Scott leads the bike field in a close, four-rider race. Louisiana native Randal Andras is second, followed by Jay Turner and Mark Cox. In Nitro Altered, Ron Maroney in the "Blind Faith" entry holds a commanding lead over Don Blackshear. Finally, in Jet Dragster Elaine Larsen can close the deal on her first IHRA championship this weekend as she holds a firm lead over Dawn Perdue and Marisha Falk.
The 2014 IHRA Northern Nationals will take place this Friday and Saturday at US 131 Motorsports Park. For more information on the event, visit www.nitrojam.com or call US 131 Motorsports Park at (269) 672-7800.
Mee ready for first race at Road America
Every round of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda championship is important to Alta Velocita Racing (AVR) driver/team owner Jerome Mee, but there's no question the next two rounds of the series, Aug. 9-10 at the legendary Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, have been circled on Mee's calendar since the 2014 schedule was released.
Road America is one of the most challenging circuits in the world, with 14 turns - many of which demand high speed and even higher commitment - over its 4.048-mile layout.
The promoter test Thursday, Aug. 7 will be the first time Mee will step onto the 640-acre, park-like grounds where the famous track is located. He will turn his first laps at the circuit in the No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing machine that competes in the Lites 2 class of the series.
"I've been looking forward to racing at Road America the entire season," Mee said. "It's 4 miles, and it's probably the highest-speed track that we'll drive on all year."
Mee appreciates the history of Road America, a course tucked midway between Milwaukee and Green Bay that opened in 1955.
"It's a similar feeling to when I raced at Road Atlanta in the development series for Petit Le Mans," he said. "You have your obvious historic tracks in the United States including Indy (Indianapolis Motor Speedway), Laguna Seca, Sebring, Road America and Road Atlanta. Each is unique, but I think out of them all, Road America is a track that's designed to go fast for this type of car. The track accommodates speed because its design is long and straight. I think about Turns 1 and 2 and all the way to Turn 3, and it's almost a mile. You're flat out for a very long time, and to me that's very cool."
Mee has used virtual preparation for his first weekend at Road America. He has spent countless hours turning laps and learning the circuit's layout on Road America in the Xbox 360 game Forza Motorsport 4 at home in Houston.
"I'm a racing geek," Mee said, laughing. "Every night after my kids go to bed, I run about 20-30 laps on the simulator. It's more for track memory purposes. The Forza 4 game has the PC (Prototype Challenge) car on it, and that's about as close as you're going to get to the car I drive. It helps with the perception of speed and turning.
"Elevation is what you have to learn to adapt to quickly in person because the simulation doesn't give any concept of change of elevation or little nuances of the track."
The green flag will wave for Round 9 of CTPL competition, a 30-minute race, at 10:40 a.m. (CT) Saturday, Aug. 9. Round 10, a 45-minute sprint, takes off at 8:05 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 10.
Live timing is available at IMSA.com. Race details also are available on Twitter at @IMSALive.
Contenders Must Take Best Shot At Leader Hargrove As Stretch Run Starts At Trois-Rivières
They might deny or ignore it, but there's no question the clock is ticking for every driver trying to chase Ultra 94 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin Platinum Cup leader Scott Hargrove.
That sound will be amplified at Rounds 7 and 8 of the series, Aug. 9-10 at Trois-Rivières, Quebec, since the stretch run of the season starts on the historic street circuit near the banks of the St. Lawrence River. Just four rounds remain in the 2014 season, including this weekend, and Hargrove leads second-place Chris Green, 116-100.
Two 45-minute races for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned series are scheduled on the 11-turn, 1.53-mile (2.46 km) Circuit Trois-Rivières, the only track in Quebec in the championship. Round 7 is set for 3:05 p.m. (ET) Saturday, Aug. 9, with Round 8 at 9:20 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 10.
On-track action starts with practice sessions at 2:20 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, with qualifying at 9:20 a.m. Saturday.
Consistency has been a hallmark of Hargrove's march toward the Platinum Cup (2014 model cars) championship. Hargrove, from Surrey, British Columbia, has led the points after all six rounds of this season in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing Porsche. He has finished first or second in all six rounds, including four victories.
Green, from Montreal, also is using consistency to keep Hargrove in sight. He has finished on the podium in five of the six rounds this season in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports 911 GT3 Cup car.
Spencer Pigot, from Orlando, Florida, kept his title hopes alive with his first win of the season July 20 in Toronto in the No. 21 Alegra Motorsports Porsche. He is third in the standings with 82 points.
|Etienne Borgeat is among the Quebec-based drivers and teams in the spotlight this weekend.|
It appeared Pigot might gain significant ground on Hargrove and Green during his victory in Toronto. Hargrove collided with Green on the first lap of the race, with Green's car spinning and suffering damage and Hargrove forced to the pits to serve a penalty for the contact.
But Hargrove and Green both produced arguably their most inspired drives of the season to bob and weave through the field and salvage podium finishes, with Hargrove placing second and Green third.
Marco Cirone, from Toronto, is fourth overall in the Platinum Cup points and leads the Platinum Masters (age 45 and older) class in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. But his gap in Platinum Masters closed to 12 points over Carlos de Quesada after 2013 Gold Cup champion de Quesada won the Platinum Masters class round July 20 at Toronto in the No. 22 Alegra Motorsports entry for his first victory of the season.
2011 Platinum Cup champion Perry Bortolotti, from Kanata, Ontario, and Andre Belzile, from Drummondville, Quebec, also are staying close in the Platinum Masters chase. Bortolotti is third with 98 points in the No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche, and Belzile is fourth with 92 in the No. 93 GT Racing entry.
The best championship race in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin is raging in the Gold Cup (2010-13 model cars) class. Just 14 points separate the five regular drivers in the series. It's truly anyone's title to win - or lose.
Jerimy Daniel, from Candiac, Quebec, leads the Gold Cup with 104 points in his rookie season in the family-owned No. 75 TRC Porsche. Daniel swept both Gold Cup rounds July 19-20 at Toronto to lift his victory total to four this season.
Tim Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, is right behind Daniel with 102 points. Sanderson has finished on the podium in five of six rounds this season in the No. 07 Alegra Motorsports/Northwest Atlantic Motorsports entry.
|Quebec resident Martin Harvey is in contention for the Gold Cup championship.|
2011 Gold Cup champion Shaun McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, is third with 94 points in the No. 34 Fiorano Racing 911 GT3 Cup car. Tied for fourth at 90 points are Ilker Starck, from Toronto, in the No. 48 SCB Racing/Downtown Porsche entry and Martin Harvey, from Berthierville, Quebec, in the No. 08 Wingho Racing Inc. Porsche.
An Alegra intra-team duel will continue for Silver Cup honors between Masters competitors Keith Bass and Chuck Harris of Tampa, Florida. Silver Cup competitors race in 2005 ½ to 2009 GT3 Cup cars. Harris has swept all six Silver Cup rounds to take a commanding lead in the championship.
There will be equal amounts of pride and pressure this weekend for the five drivers and three teams based in Quebec since this is the only round of the series in the French-Canadian province. Quebec drivers include Platinum Cup competitors Green and Etienne Borgeat of Montreal and Belzile of Drummondville, and Gold Cup racers Daniel of Candiac and Harvey of Berthierville.
GT Racing, based in Mirabel, will field the Platinum Cup cars for Borgeat and Belzile. The team worked tirelessly over the last three weeks to repair and prepare the No. 93 Porsche driven by Belzile, which suffered heavy damage in a crash July 20 in Round 6 at Toronto.
TRC Racing, based in Candiac, fields Daniel's car, while Harvey's Wingho Racing Inc. is based in Berthierville.
For more information on the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, visit www.imsa.com and @IMSA on Twitter with the hashtag #GT3CAN. Live commentary for both races will be provided on Twitter at @IMSALive.
Motorsports Hall of Fame of America Drops Green Flag On $7.5M Fundraising Campaign
On the eve of their 26th Induction Class, the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America announced an ambitious $7.5M campaign to build a new, permanent home at Daytona International Speedway. The move coincides with the scheduled January 2016 completion of DAYTONA Rising, the Speedway’s $400 million renovation project currently underway.
“The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America celebrates every form of American motorsports," stated John Doonan, Chairman for the Board of Directors. "This is racing’s Cooperstown. And like Cooperstown, we will now have a permanent facility in which to showcase all of the special personalities that we have honored through time and to give this sport and its immortals the recognition they deserve.”
Once it’s completed, the Hall of Fame will be one of the main stops on every track tour – welcoming and enthralling hundreds of thousands of visitors per year.
“Daytona is the perfect home for the Hall of Fame,” said MSHF President Ron Watson, “because it is home or near home to all the forms of motorsports the Hall of Fame honors. The biggest stock car race, the biggest sports car race, the biggest motorcycle race, as well as an area known for great achievements in drag racing, powerboating and aviation.”
The Motorsports Hall of Fame of America represents the diversity of motorized competition including Open Wheel, Stock Cars, Motorcycles, Aviation, Drag Racing, Sports Cars and Powerboats. The 2014 class that will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Aug. 6 include Ole Bardahl, Raymond Beadle, John Bishop, Ricky Graham, Arie Luyendyk, Marshall Teague and Rusty Wallace.
“Motorsports is the intersection of people, technology, and sport," commented Al Speyer, Chairman for the Board of Trustees. "Thousands of companies, drivers, mechanics, and teams have contributed to this history. This campaign will allow us to take 26 years of proven success from a sport that dates back to the 19th century. Now is the ideal time for everyone who has participated and prospered from motorsports to join us in charting a fitting future for so many who deserve to be recognized.”
Plans call for a new 10,000 sq. ft. Hall of Fame exhibit area, featuring interactive displays, vehicles, images, artwork, stories and bronze sculptures of 216 icons of American motorsports. The $7.5 million will be used to develop displays that tell both the people and technology stories within motorsports.
“This new space elevates all aspects of our sport," added Elliott Forbes-Robinson, 2006 Hall of Fame Inductee/Board Member. "As an inductee it is thrilling to think about sharing space with such a diverse, yet select group of racers. This is an incredibly exciting time as we prepare to put our story in front of hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.”
The Motorsports Museum & Hall of Fame is operated by the Motorsports Museum and Hall of Fame of America Foundation Inc.
The NHRA prepares for the 60th annual U.S. Nationals
Winning the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is on the bucket list of every NHRA competitor. Besides winning a Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world championship, a victory in the most prestigious drag race on Earth can separate the all-time legends from the rest of the pack. For Top Fuel drivers Tony Schumacher and “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and Pro Stock driver Bob Glidden, their domination of the event at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis is what makes them “Indy’s Winningest Drivers”.
Seven Top Fuel world championships and a record 74 career victories are enough to cement Tony Schumacher as the greatest dragster driver ever but it’s his nine Indianapolis wins that really separate the U.S. Army dragster pilot from the rest of the field. His inaugural win at the hallowed dragstrip that sits in the heart of Indiana came a year after his first world championship and he has gone on to win eight more times including four in a row from 2006-2009.
“Every driver has certain tracks that they’re good at,” Schumacher said. “I am extremely fortunate that mine is Indy.”
Schumacher’s record of nine Indianapolis victories is tied by only one man, Bob Glidden in Pro Stock. Glidden, a native of nearby Whiteland, Ind., won the event nine times in 15 final-round appearances. His name became legend at the dragstrip following a run of 13 consecutive final-round appearances at the event, a feat that is unlikely to ever be matched.
“Indy was a very special place for us over the years,” Glidden said. “It was our home, we tested there and we had a lot of success there. It just seemed like when we raced there special things would happen.”
No name in drag racing is bigger than “Big Daddy” Garlits and he cemented his Indy legacy with his performances in Top Fuel dragster from 1964-1986. Garlits drove his Swamp Rat dragster to three consecutive victories during his comeback in the mid-1980’s, securing his spot in the NHRA history books.
"It means everything," Garlits said of the national event in Indianapolis where he claimed eight career victories. "It defines a driver's career."
During the weeks leading up to the running of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, NHRA is unveiling six of the most iconic moments in the history of the event that will remember the very heroes who made them. NHRA will conduct official presentations to honor each of the moments – including a ceremony honoring Schumacher, Glidden and Garlits, Indy’s Winningest Drivers, – in the Hot Rod Junction on Friday-Sunday of the Indy race weekend.
This is the sixth iconic moment that NHRA has announced it will celebrate during the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Earlier NHRA announced that on Sunday of race weekend “Big Daddy” Don Garlits will reenact his famous beard shaving scene that followed his triumphant 1967 victory; on Saturday Kenny Bernstein will be honored for becoming the first double-up winner at Indy; on Friday the harrowing 1970 Top Fuel final between Jim Nicoll and Don Prudhomme will be remembered; and on Saturday the 1978 Funny Car final where Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen defeated Don “The Snake” Prudhomme will be remembered.
The “Indy’s Winningest Drivers” presentation will also take place on Sunday of race weekend.
The most historic and tradition-rich event in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals has been contested annually since 1955.
The milestone 60th installment of the Labor Day weekend drag racing spectacular will feature more than 1,000 competitors in 12 categories during the event. The 18th of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series is also the final event in the regular season. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel); Robert Hight (Funny Car); Mike Edwards (Pro Stock); and John Hall (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the race that will once again be televised by ESPN2 in more than 10 hours of coverage.
On the racetrack, the 60th anniversary Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals will feature intense side-by-side racing at more than 320 mph, as drivers in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle compete for their share of the $2 million purse and battle for important world championship points. The race is the final regular season stop for the circuit and will establish the top 10 fields for the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Perhaps more importantly, drivers will compete to earn a permanent spot in NHRA history, as a Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals winner.
The race will also showcase the Traxxas Nitro Shootout, where the top drivers in Top Fuel and Funny Car will race for $100,000 bonuses, as well as the annual Mopar HEMI Challenge for Super Stock cars and thrilling competition in both the Lucas Oil Series and Pro Mod Series.
In addition, the event will feature fan-favorite Cacklefests, vintage racecars on display in the Hot Rod Junction, autograph sessions with many of the legends of the sport, a Monday edition of the SealMaster NHRA Track Walk, fireworks displays, and much more.
To purchase tickets for the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, fans can contact NHRA’s Ticket Sales Center at (800) 884-NHRA (6472), or get their tickets online at www.NHRATIX.com.
Nielsen Rolls to Road America Seeking More Success
During the month break from GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama racing, Nielsen returned to Europe for her first European Le Mans Series race at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.
"Racing in Europe again was great, and it is very cool to say that I've driven an actual Le Mans car now," Nielsen said. "The competition in the GTE class is always high."
Nielsen's Porsche 911 GT3 RSR car qualified 10th and climbed all the way to second before an on-track incident thwarted its progress.
"Unfortunately we had to retire before the race was over because I had a hit with an Aston Martin," Nielsen said. "I overtook, and as I was on the inside of him through the apex, he turned into the side of my front."
Nielsen's car sustained a broken steering rod, forcing an early retirement.
"Event though we struggled, there were a lot of positive elements to take away for the future," she said.
According to Nielsen, one major benefit of adding European Le Mans Series races to her schedule is more track time.
"I'm a driver who is still in the development phase, so more seat time is always a bonus," she said. "I will need a bit of time when I switch cars to get used to them, but it's always good to practice one's ability to adjust."
Nielsen made her first appearance at Road America on Aug. 1-3 for a National Auto Sport Association Midwest Region event, providing her with additional track time before her Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama races.
This will be a busier weekend than normal, as the series conducts three races - two scheduled for Road America and a make-up from Round 6 rained out in late May at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
GT3 Cup Challenge practice at Road America starts at 10:25 a.m. (CT) and 2:10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8. Three 45-minute timed races are scheduled, for 6:05 p.m. Saturday, and 9:50 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday. Visit FansChoice.TV to watch the races streamed live and get live race details on Twitter at @IMSALive.
Intensifying 450 Class Title Fight Resumes as Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Travels to Legendary Unadilla
After its final off week of the 2014 season the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, prepares for its stretch run to the respective titles in the 450 and 250 Classes. While Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen (450 Class) and Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Jeremy Martin (250 Class) continue to lead the way atop the standings, their challengers and the rest of the field in the series will look to close the gap at the Red Bull Unadilla National. Legendary Unadilla in New Berlin, New York, will host the 10th stop of the 12-round season this Saturday, August 9, and will also serve as the final round in 2014 to be featured on national network television on NBC.
Live broadcast coverage from Unadilla begins Saturday at 1 p.m. ET with the first motos of the 450 and 250 Classes on MAVTV, followed by a broadcast of the final 450 Class moto on NBC at 3 p.m. ET. The NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) will bookend an action-packed afternoon with live coverage of the final 250 Class moto at 4 p.m. ET.
Additionally, all the action can be seen as it happens online via live stream atProMotocross.com (first motos) and NBC Sports Live Extra (second motos).
At the previous stop of the championship from Washougal MX Park in the Pacific Northwest two weeks ago, the momentum in the 450 Class title fight took a major swing into Red Bull KTM Ryan Dungey's favor as he looks to continue to close his deficit to teammate Roczen. Dungey raced to his third win of the summer and his second triumphant effort in the last three rounds, but more importantly his dominant 1-1 outing resulted in a 10-point gain on Roczen, who had arguably one of his worst races of the season with a pair of third-place moto finishes. Now just 14 points separate the KTM duo with six motos remaining.
Roczen versus Dungey is heating up at the right time.
Photo: Simon Cudby / Racer X
While Dungey appears to be hitting his stride at the season's most critical point, a defining trait that has helped him become the second-winningest rider in the history of the sport, Roczen appears to be looking to get back into the groove that saw him win four of the first six races and six motos in that span. No doubt Dungey's vast championship experience in the premier class will give him an edge over the rookie Roczen, who is still in search of his first national title on U.S. soil, but it's been the German who's been the most consistent rider in the entire series this season. With three rounds remaining, Roczen's average finish is still an incredible 1.8, while Dungey has dropped his to 2.2 and continues to close. Additionally, Dungey has two Unadilla wins on his resume.
While the lead pair continues to duke it out, GEICO Honda's Eli Tomac has fully embraced the role of spoiler. The other highly touted rookie in the 450 Class has only been racing since the fifth round of the season, but he's been in the thick of the fight between Dungey and Roczen since making his premier class debut. After breaking through for his first career win at Spring Creek two rounds ago, Tomac knows the feeling of winning at the sport's highest level and wants nothing more than to experience that as often as he can during the final few rounds. If either of the KTM riders are a casualty of this, as each have at moments already this season, so be it. As a result, Tomac plays arguably the biggest role in the outcome of the championship battle despite not being in contention for it. Despite that, Tomac has still had an impressive climb of his own in the standings, already sitting inside the top 10.
With his success, Tomac has been a thorn in the side of both KTM teammates.
Photo: Simon Cudby / Racer X
As the drama builds in the 450 Class, Martin still looks comfortably in control of the 250 Class despite having virtually no championship experience in his second year of competition. At Washougal he rode patiently, keeping himself out of trouble and not forcing the issue but still serving as a fixture up front en route to third overall. When all was said and done, what could be considered a conservative effort by Martin saw him lose just two points in the standings to his closest rivals, his Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha teammate Cooper Webb and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett.
Even with the field breathing down his neck, Martin (19) continues to ride with speed and patience.
Photo: Simon Cudby / Racer X
As the season enters its final stage, Martin carries a 43-point margin over Webb and a 54-point lead over Baggett. Very few points have been traded between this trio throughout the bulk of the season, but Martin's incredible 5-0 start in motos, combined with some ups and downs by both Webb and Baggett, have put the Minnesota native into a comfortable position. Martin is in full control of his own destiny, as evidenced by his Washougal effort. He can afford to give up some ground to his contenders and still be in an enviable position heading into the final weekend of the season.
Although Martin's advantage makes for an incredible challenge for Webb and Baggett to surmount, the sport of motocross still boasts an element of unpredictability that is hard to match in the sporting world. All three of these riders have found themselves on the ground at some point this summer and another instance of that could have a major impact in how this championship plays out. Martin may be in control, but both Webb and Baggett know they need to give it everything they have all the way until the final checkered flag falls.
Webb needs more wins to close the gap on his fellow sophomore teammate.
Photo: Simon Cudby / Racer X
Unadilla is arguably the most globally recognizable track in all of motocross. Its European style layout combined with American flair has made for some of the sport's most iconic moments and it remains one of the country's most prominent symbols of American motocross. While the track doesn't feature any major changes this season, its sprawling nature nestled in the rolling hills of Central New York means high speed, big air and rough conditions. It's a challenge unlike anywhere else in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
Baggett has been Martin's biggest challenger this season, but hard luck has hurt his title hopes.
Photo: Simon Cudby / Racer X
Last year at Unadilla, Ryan Villopoto put himself in a position to clinch the 450 Class title by sweeping the day's motos and earning his sixth win of the season. In the 250 Class, Tomac went 1-1 for his fifth win of the year and also moved into clinching position for that title.
Joining the fold in the 250 Class this weekend will be graduates of the Rocky Mountain AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn's, which took place last week in Tennessee. Many of the sport's most promising young talent will make their professional debuts in hopes of making an impact and getting their careers off to a flying start. Leading this contingent will be AMA Horizon Award Winner RJ Hampshire, who won all six of the motos he entered en route to a pair of AMA National Championships. He will join the contingent of GEICO Honda riders. Another rider joining the professional ranks at Unadilla is two-time AMA National Champion Luke Renzland, who will ride under the CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha tent.
Marvin Musquin became the fourth different 250 Class winner this season at Washougal.
Photo: Simon Cudby / Racer X
Action for the Red Bull Unadilla National on Saturday, August 9, begins at 8:30 a.m. ET with timed practice. Opening ceremonies get underway at 12:25 p.m. ET, with the first gate drop scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.
Previous Round Results
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship
Motosport.com Washougal National
Washougal MX Park - Washougal, Washington
July 26, 2014
Round 9 of 12
450 Class (Moto Finish)
450 Class Championship Standings
250 Class (Moto Finish)
250 Class Championship Standings
MX Sports Pro Racing
MX Sports Pro Racing manages and produces the world's most prestigious professional motocross series - the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing. The industry leader in off road power sport event production and management, its mission is to showcase the sport of professional motocross competition at events throughout the United States. Through its various racing properties, partnerships and affiliates, MX Sports Pro Racing organizes events for thousands of action sports athletes each year and attracts millions of motorsports spectators. Visitwww.mxsportsproracing.com.
Alli Sports is a media, event and branded content company that specializes in action, adventure, and adrenaline based sports. Alli Properties include the Dew Tour, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, the Red Bull Signature Series and World of Adventure Sports presented by Go Pro. Alli Sports is a division of the NBC Sports Group. More information can be found at www.Allisports.com.
AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.
Lucas Oil Products
Based in Corona, Calif., Lucas Oil Products, Inc is the world leader of High Performance Lubricants and Problem Solving Additives and produces and markets 272 unique formulations in thirty four countries around the globe and is growing country by country, market by market every year. Through innovative product research and development, along with progressive marketing programs, Lucas Oil Products has established itself as the top-selling additive line in the American truck-stop industry. Lucas Oil is involved in an array of motorsports sponsorships, including the "Official Motor Oil of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship." Visit: www.lucasoil.com.
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Kelly Moss Looking To Break Away At Road America Homecoming
Kelly Moss Motorsports is gearing up for what could be a pivotal weekend for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama championship, and they are doing it in a big way. Kelly Moss is taking a 14-point Team and Platinum Cup Driver Championship lead Aug. 8-10 to its home circuit, Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, with the opportunity to break away from the pack with the weekend due to three rounds of race action.
The team won't have to go far. The Kelly Moss trailers will travel only 108 miles from team headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, to Road America, the Disneyland of road courses. That is equivalent to just 27 laps around the 14-turn, four-mile road course.
"It's our home track, and we have a lot of laps here," Kelly Moss Vice President Jeff Stone said. "We've had five days on the course already and that gives us the home-court advantage. Extra confidence for our team only helps as we push for more points and look to extend our championship lead."
After having a smaller-than-usual lineup last month at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), Kelly Moss will come to Road America with six entrants for the home race. The weekend will feature Rounds 6, 11 and 12 of the series, with Round 6 rescheduled after being rained out in May at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
"There's going to be a little more pressure on everybody with three races this weekend," Stone said. "That's 60 points at stake all at one place. More track time equals more risk but also more reward, and that's what we're looking for."
All six Kelly Moss drivers must pay attention to detail on the high-speed track, especially in the many fast corners. But the team also has its fair share of wins at Road America and feels ready to master the course.
"We've had a mix of bad luck here in the past," Stone said. "We've won a lot of races, but we've also had some bad luck, a few pretty bad incidents. But we hope we have that monkey off our back.
"The key is handling the high-speed parts of the track. Turn 1 is just high speed, and Turn 5 has some of the most intense braking we will see all season. The Carousel is it's own animal, and then, of course, you have the Kink. You have to have the setup to handle it and be able to coach your drivers through it, and we feel like we're ready for that."
Leading the charge is Colin Thompson, Platinum Cup driver points leader. Thompson increased his Driver Championship lead to 14 points, 152-138, over rival Angel Benitez Jr. with two hard-earned second place finishes at CTMP in the No. 14 car, with seven rounds remaining in the season. Thompson and Gold Cup/Gold Masters competitor William Peluchiwski were the lone Kelly Moss drivers in their respective categories at CTMP.
Joining Thompson in the Platinum Cup will be Dan Weyland, entered in the Platinum and Platinum Masters Championship. He is returning to the track for the first time since racing in late June at Watkins Glen International.
Peluchiwski will be back in his No. 74 Kelly Moss/Porsche of Bucks County Porsche to make a run for the top of the Gold Masters Championship standings. With 105 points, he is sitting in fourth place, only 19 points from third.
Also in the Gold Cup category will be teammates David Ducote, Wayne Ducote and Seth Davidow. Like Weyland, the three drivers will resume the series, racing their Porsche GT3 Cup cars for the first time since the Watkins Glen weekend.
That large group of drivers for Kelly Moss this weekend has a significant advantage as a hometown team: The shop is close if needed.
"It's good to be close for us," Stone said. "There have been times that we've had incidents, and without our shop being that close we may not have been able to continue. We've even helped other competitors. Last year Craig Duerson with NGT banged up his car. We got it to the shop, fixed it up, and he got the win the next day. This weekend everybody at Kelly Moss is on call and pulling double-duty to make it a success. It's all part of the job."
Kelly Moss will kick off the weekend by hosting an Open House Wednesday, Aug. 6 from 6-9 p.m. at its immaculate headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. The shop will be open to give a rare glimpse inside the impressive facilities. Championship winning driver Andrew Davis will be in attendance as well as other members of the Kelly Moss team.
Track action for the team will begin Friday, Aug. 8 with two practices. Qualifying for the GT3 Cup will take place at 8 a.m. (CT) Saturday, Aug. 9, followed by Race 1 later in the day at 6:05 p.m. There will be two more 45-minute sprint races Sunday, with the first at 9:50 a.m. and the second at 5 p.m.
Follow live timing at IMSA.com, live race commentary on Twitter at @IMSALive and live streaming video of all three races at www.fanschoice.tv.
OSTELLA EAGER TO CHECK VIEW FROM PODIUM AT ROAD AMERICA
Four races remain on the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship schedule, and David Ostella will use Road America as a checkpoint for the final stretch of the season.
The famous 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, will provide Ostella the opportunity to once again stand on the podium and prove his development as a driver in his rookie season with Performance Tech Motorsports in the Prototype Challenge class.
Ostella has honed his racecraft through hardship this season. Rough racing and driver error kept him from finishing at Sebring International Raceway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and held him to a ninth-place finish at Kansas Speedway. But in the last two races, Ostella finished fourth June 29 at Watkins Glen International as part of the Tequila Patròn North American Endurance Racing Cup and fourth again July 25 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard Grand Prix.
Finishing so close to the podium has inspired and annoyed Ostella.
"The goal is to get back on podium," Ostella said. "There has been a big learning curve this year with it being my first year ever in endurance racing. I think my driving style suits this type of racing, but I've learned a lot this year, too, with qualifying and how to stay better focused. It's just time to get back on podium."
Ostella has not seen Road America since 2010, when he raced in the Pro Mazda Championship presented by Cooper Tires. He will lean on teammate and Sheboygan, Wisconsin, native James French for help with data and learning the track.
"James will be a huge help there since it's his home track," Ostella said. "He'll help when we go over data. I'll be watching a lot of video of the PC car there before we go. I'll focus on my workouts this week, too, because it's such a long track I know it will be physically demanding.
"The goal here is to be consistent; you can't make too many mistakes without drastically slowing yourself down. It will be a good track to test my skills. I'll get a chance to see where my skill sets are at."
Ostella will take to the track at 4:40 p.m. (CT) Friday, Aug. 8 for the first practice session. Qualifying will take place at 5:05 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, with live streaming on IMSA.com. The Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, a two-hour and 45-minute race, begins at 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 10. Live timing will be available at imsa.com, and the race will be broadcast at 6:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday, Aug. 10 on FOX Sports 1.
Whether it’s the sight of rarely seen cars challenging the tricky Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca road course or the chances to meet legendary drivers, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is the place to be August 14, 15, 16 and 17.
In addition to visiting the Maserati heritage display that celebrates the automakers centennial, here’s what’s in store for visitors:
Italian Festival - Friday, August 15
On Friday, Derek Hill will take time out from driving the rare Maserati Tipo 151 to help celebrate everything Italian between noon and 12:30 p.m. on Italian Island. Hill will conduct a meet and greet and sign autographs for the many car clubs and guests attending the event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Additionally, guests will preview the stunning Alfa Romeo 4C, which is leading the way for the Italian automakers’ eagerly-anticipated return to the U.S. market.
For the truly inquisitive, there will be a Meet Revs Institute at 12:45 on the race paddock stage. This session goes into what Stanford University’s program is about and why they are measuring numerous data points on one of the entered race cars.
Mixing it up with a Legend - Saturday, August 16
It’s not often you can visit with a legend, and one who is knighted no less, but visitors on Saturday to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will have their chance to meet one. Sir Stirling Moss is one of the greatest drivers of his time - many victories having occurred in Maseratis - who competed in the golden age of motorsport.
Historian Murray Smith will conduct the engaging session at 12:30 in the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca marketplace where fans may bring their lunch, listen to stories and ask questions. The Saturday-only picnic is a popular activity that allows fans to engage with a driving legend, and sometimes surprise guests as well. Past participants include Dan Gurney, Sir Jackie Stewart, Bobby Unser, Bob Bondurant, Martin Brundle and Bob Tullius.
At 11:00, motorsports journalist and definitive author chronicling the Can-Am series, Formula One and others, Pete Lyons, will greet visitors with his new books and calendars.
Lyn St. James, who set the world record on a closed-course for women reaching 225.722 mph during the 1995 Indy 500 qualification weekend, will be driving in two races during the weekend and take time out to sign autographs and answer fans’ questions. She will meet visitors from 11:45 – 12:15 in the Marketplace just prior to the Sir Stirling Moss session.
Guests will also have the chance to hear tales from the storytellers, in a special Meet the Authors session at 11:45.
Art and Restoration - Sunday, August 17
Official track artist Bill Patterson will be on hand at 11:15 to sign event posters and conduct a live art demonstration that unfolds before everyone’s eyes. Patterson skillfully blends speed and art to create sensational colors.
Following Patterson at noon is an interview with Meet the Restorers. Learn firsthand what it takes to even begin undertaking a complete restoration from the experts.
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is one of the cornerstones of the renowned Monterey Classic Car Week. International visitors descend on the community to enjoy the myriad of activities that celebrate the automobile. Together, the events make the Monterey Week unlike any other automotive festival in the world.
Advance general admission tickets to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion are on sale beginning at $50 (Friday) and a three-day ticket at $130, which includes a complimentary souvenir magazine. Children 12 and under are free with a paying adult. Hospitality packages begin at $200 per person.
To purchase tickets or for more information, contact 800-372-7322 or visitwww.MazdaRaceway.com.