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.
Contact Adam: Email
Over the fourth of July weekend, Super Boat International crowned 7 winners in the fleet of 41 boats for the running of the 30th Annual Suncoast Superboat Grand Prix. All the class winners included Two Cruel (P4), Black Pearl (P3), The Hulk (Superstock), Sun Print (Superboat Vee), Team STIHL (Superboat), Team Instigator (Superboat Extreme) and Miss GEICO (Superboat Unlimited).
This year’s event was a milestone for the City of Sarasota and Super Boat International (SBI). In its 30thyear, Super Boat still wows the crowd with one of the biggest holiday parades in the State of Florida and the Sunday finale of the world’s fastest offshore race boats. Suncoast Children’s Charities continues to raise record amounts and SBI delivers one of the largest professional boat races in the United States.
President of SBI, John Carbonell, expands on the success of the event, “This was an all around group effort for another successful event. From the local group and volunteers, to our staff and the race teams that put on a great show, it was just a terrific weekend. Two of our larger teams, Team Envy and Spirit of Qatar, showed their commitment by bringing all their equipment and their largest boats to the event and they didn’t even race.” Their choice would have been to race; but for new equipment and long lead-times on parts, their teams and equipment were not quite ready to run safe and competitive races. Chris Cox, owner of Team Envy commented, “ I just wanted my team to have fun, even knowing we weren’t going to race. Also, we wanted to show our commitment to SBI and the wonderful Sarasota people for their efforts.” The Spirit of Qatar was committed to doing the same, knowing their engine package would not be ready for race day. It’s teams like those and the competing teams that showcase the true professionalism of Superboat racers.
Team Cleveland Construction experienced an unfortunate accident with a rollover in turn one early in the race. The quick response of the Super Boat rescue team assisted the racers on-scene and, fortunately, both driver and throttleman were uninjured.
Each class of racing saw some very competitive action on the course. The Superboat class with 7 entries is always a very close battle with Team Broadco and WHM Motorsports on the heels of Team STIHL all race long. The Superboat Stock class, another class with 7 entries that always keeps the fans on their feet, has seen The Hulk rise to the top with two wins after three races.
The next race on the Super Boat circuit is the 6th Annual Great Lakes Superboat Grand Prix, Aug 1st– 3rd. Join us in Michigan City, IN and, if you cannot make it, watch it live online at http://new.livestream.com/sbi/michigancity2014.
Shelby American, a wholly owned subsidiary of Carroll Shelby International, Inc. (CSBI:PK), will auction serial #1 of the Barrett-Jackson Edition Shelby GT at this years Barrett-Jackson Reno-Tahoe auction, taking place from July 31 Aug 2 in Reno, Nevada. The convertible muscle car, clad in black with red stripes, is slated to be sold before an international audience on Aug. 1 (Lot #725). This 2008 model year program was created by Shelby American, Barrett-Jackson and Ford Motor Company; production was limited to 100 badged and serial numbered cars.
This convertible was the first prototype for the Barrett-Jackson series Ford Shelby GT, said Joe Conway, CEO of Shelby American and co-CEO of Shelby International, Inc. This unique GT is a celebration of the collaborative endeavors between Shelby American, Barrett-Jackson and Ford Motor Company. Were especially excited about auctioning serial #1 at the very auction that inspired its creation.
The Barrett-Jackson edition Ford Shelby GT comes equipped with a small block 4.6 liter Ford Mustang GT engine that is enhanced to 319HP with 330 lb. per feet of torque. The car also includes an upgraded suspension, featuring special springs, dampers, sway bars and 3.55 to 1 gear ratio rear end. Additionally, this model features a Hurst shifter, hood scoop, hood pins, side scoops, special badging, a billet grill with Mustang pony, light bars on the convertibles and a Shaker 1000 stereo system.
The 100 Shelby GT Barrett-Jackson Mustangs were the only GTs offered in all black with red stripes in the 2008 model year, said Shelby American Executive Vice President of Operations Gary Davis. This particular car is the first of only 10 convertibles with a manual transmission. Its a rare, exceptional muscle car for the true collector and enthusiast.
The Barrett-Jackson edition Ford Shelby GT cars are the most exclusive limited production Shelby cars built to date. Available in both coupe and convertible body styles, the 2008 Barrett-Jackson Shelby GTs were sold through Arizona Region Ford dealers. The purchase price of each car included a $250 donation to the Carroll Shelby Childrens Foundation.
On Wednesday, July 9, E.dams-Renault’s Sebastien Buemi topped the timesheets for a second time at Donington Park during the third day of official pre-season testing for the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship. In dry conditions, the 25-year-old Swiss racer posted a 1:31.910s early in the afternoon session using the full GP circuit.
“Today has been good and very productive but it’s not about trying to set the fastest time, it’s about getting a better understanding of the car and the different mapping settings,” said Buemi. “The car has been reliable all day and the team have done a good job. It’s great to be in a car that you can rely on and know you can push when you need to. We still have a few issues to work on but overall it was a productive session.”
His time narrowly beat out Lucas di Grassi’s best time from last week’s two-day test with the Abt driver ending the day third overall. Ex-Formula 1 driver Jerome d’Ambrosio finished second with the Belgian taking advantage of being able to test both China Racing cars.
By the halfway point it was Di Grassi who led the way before Buemi lowered the benchmark beating his previous best lap by over a second and ending the day the only driver to break into the 1:31s. Venturi’s Stephane Sarrazin, also using two cars due to an absent Nick Heidfeld, finished fourth ahead of Virgin Racing’s Jaime Alguersuari who only ran in the afternoon stint with team-mate Sam Bird finishing eighth from his morning run.
Nicolas Prost (e.dams-Renault) and Mahindra’s Racing Bruno Senna finished sixth and seventh respectively with Audi Sport Abt’s Daniel Abt and Jarno Trulli (Trulli) rounding out the top 10.
Trulli’s team-mate Michela Cerruti also enjoyed positive running to finish 13th with the Italian saying: “It's been much better. I’ve done a few laps and can understand a lot more about the tyres and the brakes and how to warm them up. I'm happy with the work we did today. We didn't have any special problems, the next goal is to concentrate on performance.”
Testing, which remains free to members of the public, continues tomorrow where rain is expected all day. For more information on Formula E visit www.fiaformulae.com.
FIA Formula E Championship – Day 3, Donington Park – Test results (Combined times):
1. Sebastien Buemi, e.dams-Renault, 1:31.910s
2. Jerome d’Ambrosio, China Racing, 1:32.035s
3. Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport ABT, 1:32.260s
4. Stephane Sarrazin, Venturi, 1:32.462s
5. Jaime Alguersuari, Virgin Racing, 1:32.495s
6. Nicolas Prost, e.dams-Renault, 1:32.671s
7. Bruno Senna, Mahindra Racing, 1:32.809s
8. Sam Bird, Virgin Racing, 1:32.858s
9. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT, 1:32.875
10. Jarno Trulli, Trulli, 1:33.165s
11. Oriol Servia, Dragon Racing, 1:33.844s
12. Karun Chandhok, Mahindra Racing, 1:34.249s
13. Michela Cerruti, Trulli, 1:34.538s
14. Scott Speed, Andretti Autosport, 1:34.871s
15. Mike Conway, Dragon Racing, 1:35.643s
16. Katherine Legge, Amlin Aguri, 1:35.936s
17. Fabio Leimer, Amlin Aguri, 1:36.184s
18. Franck Montagny, Andretti Autosport, 1:39.568s
On Wednesday, July 9, the International Hot Rod Association™ (IHRA) and IRG Sports + Entertainment™ announced that Spokane County Raceway, located in Airway Heights, Washington just outside of Spokane, has become IHRA's newest member track and IHRA's first on the West Coast, effective 2015.
Spokane County Raceway, which boasts one of the largest motorsports facilities in the northwest, will instantly become an important hub for the IHRA as the sanctioning body looks to make its presence felt for the first time in the western half of the United States. In addition to providing a number of new and exciting options for area racers, plans are already in place to add IHRA's most popular series, the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series, to the Spokane County Raceway calendar in 2015.
"We are thrilled to welcome Spokane County Raceway to the IHRA member track family. Spokane is a great track with a dedicated racer base and a facility that is second-to-none in the northwest," said Scott Gardner, President of IHRA Motorsports. "Over the past few years the IHRA has enjoyed a great deal of growth and expansion. We have seen the IHRA become a dominating force in Canada, make a shift to the southwest with our company-owned track in Arizona and we have added other facilities in New Zealand, the Bahamas and other parts of the world."
The exciting nitro-powered IHRA series features professional competition in a number of fan-favorite classes including nostalgia Nitro Funny Car, Nitro Harley, Pro Stock, Jets and, special to this event in 2015, 10,000 horsepower, 320 mph Top Fuel Dragsters. All of that will take place in addition to a full weekend of sportsman competition. And to add to the excitement, the entire Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series event at Spokane County Raceway will air as part of IHRA's national television series in 2015.
Not since the mid-1980s has Spokane County Raceway played such a pivotal role in hosting a national drag racing championship as it will with the IHRA's Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series.
"It takes courage to be the first at something and we applaud Spokane for being the first facility in that region to join IHRA," Gardner continued. "It is obvious in talking with everyone at the facility that they want to bring new opportunities to their racers and fans and we look forward to being a partner in making that happen."
By partnering with the IHRA, facility General Manager Craig Smith hopes to provide a foothold in bringing IHRA drag racing to the western United States while providing his racers and fans with more racing opportunities in the years to come.
"Myself, along with the Advisory Board for Spokane County Raceway, are very excited about the new opportunities IHRA will bring to our community, sponsors and racers," said Craig Smith, General Manager at Spokane County Raceway. "Bringing Nitro Jam to Spokane is a huge step forward with national television coverage and professional drag racing for all of our great fans to enjoy."
Over the past two decades, the International Hot Rod Association has made major headway in bringing its motorsports programs to the world. Currently, the IHRA sanctions more than 100 facilities in 31 states, five Canadian Provinces and five countries. With the addition of Spokane County Raceway, the IHRA now hopes to see even more growth in the one area of the country that its presence is currently not strongly felt. With it, IHRA hopes to bring its extremely popular Summit Racing Equipment sportsman programs to a brand new audience.
"IHRA's Summit sportsman programs are second-to-none in providing racer-friendly competition, ease of participation and national-level drag racing to everyone, from the dedicated class racer to the local weekend bracket racer," said Skooter Peaco, Vice President of IHRA Motorsports. "We look forward to providing these great programs to the racers at Spokane and making the transition to the IHRA an easy and exciting experience for all."
And to further assist in the crossover to IHRA, many of the IHRA sportsman classes and rules closely resemble those racers are already familiar with.
In addition to the great new options for racers, spectators will enjoy the debut of the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series in 2015 as the best racers in North America travel to Washington next season. Details on the 2015 IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series season will be announced later this year.
Founded in 1974, Spokane County Raceway features a quarter-mile drag strip, a paved oval, road course, mud drags and more. Spokane County, which owns the 315-acre facility, purchased the track in 2008.
Can Mikhail Goikhberg be defeated in Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park?
Going into Rounds 7 and 8 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda series from July 10-13 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, the rest of the field will attempt the seemingly impossible and try to defeat points leader Mikhail Goikhberg. Goikhberg has been almost perfect through six of 14 rounds this season in the International Motor Sports Association Development Series, dropping just two of 120 available points. He has won five races, with the only blemish a runner-up finish to Tony Bullock in Round 3 in early June at Kansas Speedway.
That impressive march through a talented field could continue July 10-13 for Rounds 7 and 8 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. It's the only Canadian visit of the season for the series. Goikhberg lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia, so a victory in Canada would be sweet in the No. 10 JDC Motorsports entry.
Goikhberg, 27, finished a close third in the championship in 2013 and entered this season as the title favorite after series champion Sean Rayhall graduated to the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and runner-up Ryan Booth moved to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires junior open-wheel series.
Goikhberg's closest competitor this season is Craig Duerson, 50, from Gulfport, Mississippi. Duerson has finished on the podium in four of six rounds this season but was scoreless in the No. 27 Performance Tech Motorsports entry at the last event, in late June at Watkins Glen. He is second in points with 68.
Duerson boasts plenty of speed, as in early June he became the first Masters (age 40 and older) competitor to win an overall pole in the series since September 2012. This is Duerson's first season in the series, as he won the Platinum Masters (age 45 and older) championship last season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama before moving this year to the open-cockpit Prototype Lites cars with his son Hayden Duerson.
Two Canadian residents besides Goikhberg will line up on the starting grid at CTMP, Canada's most prestigious natural road circuit, which features 10 turns on an undulating, fast, 2.459-mile layout. Veteran Masters competitor Michal Chumlecky, from Windsor, Ontario, returned to the series last month at Watkins Glen and will continue at his home track in the No. 31 Eurosport Racing entry. Guy Laporte, from Montreal, will make his third and fourth starts of the season in the No. 68 Quorum Racing/Performance Tech Élan DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine. Laporte made his season debut last month at Watkins Glen.
2013 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama champion Madison Snow will continue in the series in the No. 29 car fielded by standout TUDOR United SportsCar Championship team Extreme Speed Motorsports after making his series debut last month at Watkins Glen.
Snow, 18, from Lehi, Utah, climbed this season to the GT Daytona class of the TUDOR Championship after winning the Porsche GT3 USA title last season with seven victories in 16 starts. He created a magic memory in GT3 USA competition last July at CTMP, edgingAngel Benitez Jr. by .011 of a second for victory in one of the most thrilling duels in series history.
Rising young star Matt McMurry, from Phoenix, will drive the No. 20 JDC Motorsports entry as the teammate of Goikhberg. McMurry is 12th in the standings - just 10 points out of sixth -- after six rounds. He joined JDC last month at Watkins Glen. McMurry, 16, made history June 14-15 by becoming the youngest driver in the 91-year history of the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving an LMP2 prototype for British team Greaves Motorsport.
The new ONE Motorsports team will expand to four drivers at this event. SCCA veteran Lee Alexander, from Las Vegas, will drive the No. 48 entry, joining Bullock, Masters title contender John Falb and Todd Slusher at ONE.
Brian Alder, from Marysville, Ohio, has dominated the Lites 2 class in his No. 22 BAR 1 Motorsports entry this season, winning the first four rounds of the season. But Jerome Mee, from Bellaire, Texas, stopped that streak with a victory in Round 5 last month at Watkins Glen and will challenge Alder again at CTMP in the No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing entry.
Practice starts at 9 a.m. (ET) Thursday, July 10, continuing at 9:45 a.m. July 11. Qualifying starts at 3:40 p.m. Friday, July 11. The 30-minute Round 7 of the season takes the green flag at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, July 12. Round 8, a 45-minute race, starts at 9:50 a.m. Sunday, July 13.
For die-hard NASCAR fans in attendance at the Daytona International Speedway last weekend, it seemed as though the weather was against getting any racing done at the track. The event began with knockout qualifying on Friday which was waved off early due to rain. The scheduled three rounds of qualifying were reduced to one, with David Gilliland the beneficiary – and the pole winner for Saturday’s Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola.
Qualifying began with a 25-minute Round One for all 44 cars entered; 24 cars then advanced to a 10-minute Round 2 which never took place. The format would’ve then advanced 12 cars to Round 3, a five-minute sprint for the pole.
Gilliland, driving the No. 38 Love’s Travel Stops Ford, led Round One with a fast lap of 199.322 mph. And while he was considered somewhat lucky Friday, it should not be overlooked that when it comes to high-speed restrictor-plate qualifying, he’s good. This marks his second Daytona pole; his first came in the 2007 DAYTONA 500. He has one other NASCAR Sprint Cup Series pole, at 2.66-mile Talladega Superspeedway in October 2006. Friday’s effort also earns him a spot in the 2015 Sprint Unlimited At Daytona.
Gilliland acknowledged having extra confidence at the biggest tracks on the schedule, saying the Coke Zero 400 is “something we circled on the calendar at the start of the year. And restrictor plate racing … it’s the great equalizer and we feel like we have a 100-percent chance, as good as anybody, of winning Saturday night.”
Reed Sorensen qualified second (199.221) in the No. 36 Golden Corral Chevrolet. Qualifying third was Landon Cassill (199.194) in the No. 40 Newtown Building Supplies Chevrolet. The 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Bobby Labonte (198.970) will start fourth in the No. 33 Thunder Coal Chevrolet, while reigning and six-time series champion Jimmie Johnson (198.790) will start fifth in the No. 48 Lowe’s Patriotic Chevrolet.
When fans started pouring into the facility early Saturday, the rains started pouring down from the heavens as well. Early in the afternoon, the normally bustling Midway section of the track was almost entirely closed, leaving the assembled masses huddled in whatever covered areas they could find to get out of the weather. Although NASCAR made numerous announcements throughout the afternoon about the lightning in the area, as well as the need to get under cover for safety, thousands of fans started to try and weather the storm at roughly 6:00 p.m.,and the air titans took to the surface in what amounted to a parade of sorts.
After more than three hours of on-screen entertainment, a concert by country-music star Lee Brice, and pre-race ceremonies that almost everyone in the stands knew were simply to fill time, NASCAR announce that the 56th annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway had been postponed. As mentioned earlier, the weather had been bad most of the day, and was getting progressively worse as the evening rolled on. This begs the question as to why the race wasn't rescheduled earlier, allowing fans to retreat to the relative comfort of their hotels instead of the humid rainy track?
When weary fans started to awaken on Sunday morning, the forecast for the day had not improved. Many weather forecasters were calling for increasing showers by 11:00 a.m., which so happened to coincide with the exact start time for the advertised 160-lap, 400-mile race. That unfortunate fact didn't deter the greatest fans in sports, and those who were able to return did so hoping for a miracle of sorts.
Upon returning to the world center of racing, it was immediately apparent that the track was ill-prepared to handle the crowds that chose to try and witness the rescheduled event. Many of the volunteers who manned the admission gates, security posts and refreshment stands were not able to come back for another day of racing, leaving the facility understaffed and leaving many fans discouraged. The Midway was mostly packed up as well, which made for a long walk into the track.
It was obvious from the drop of the green flag that the forecasted storms were foremost on the minds of drivers and crews n the race. The rains came again Sunday, bringing out the first caution period on Lap 7 and leading to a red flag that lasted 25 minutes and 43 seconds. After the restart, mayhem ensued and on Lap 21 a crash involving 16 cars on the frontstretch brought out the first yellow. The crash was high-profile to say the least; the list of drivers involved included five former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions – Brad Keselowski, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson.
That crash seemed almost minimal compared to what transpired on Lap 98, when 26 cars tangled in the backstretch, bringing out another red flag that lasted almost five minutes.
Aric Almirola avoided both melees, two strokes of luck that preceded a third. With heavy rain visible in the area, and light mist falling on parts of the track, NASCAR threw the red flag with 112 laps (of the scheduled 160 laps) in the books. After nearly an hour and an increasingly heavy downpour, NASCAR declared the race official, giving Almirola and Petty Motorsports the historic victory that was accented by a most-appropriate sponsorship for the No. 43 Ford on the holiday weekend, from the United States Air Force.
While Almirola welcomed the rainout, he didn’t consider it an absolute necessity to win Sunday. His Ford, after all, led the second-most laps on the day, 14, including the last seven.
Said Almirola: “We don’t feel like this race was handed to us.”
By mid-afternoon, Richard Petty Motorsports’ famed No. 43 was back in Daytona’s Gatorade Victory Lane thanks to Aric Almirola’s rain-shortened win in the 56th Annual Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola. Thirty years ago – July 4, 1984 to be exact – Petty won this race, the last of his 200 career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories.
“Thirty years ago, that’s history; today is the future,” Petty said.
For Almirola, it was his first Sprint Cup victory, coming at what he considers his “home” track. He is a Tampa, Fla., native and attended Daytona races regularly as a youth, dreaming of driving on the famed track. The win almost assures Almirola of a berth in NASCAR’s season-ending “playoffs,” the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
“Obviously, this is really special,” Almirola said. “I grew up just two hours away. I sat in these grandstands watching the DAYTONA 500, watching the 400. And all the history behind the 43 car, I’m really appreciative of that.”
Brian Vickers (No. 55 Aaron’s/FSU National Championship Toyota) finished second, while Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet) rounded out the top three; Busch led the most laps on the day, 36.
Many of the fans, and several drivers, questioned the timing of the red flag that finally ended the event. There have been many excuses given by NASCAR for their decision to end the race so early in the day, but the most obvious logic behind calling the event official is probably because they simply gave up.
Given the forecast, they were lucky to have gotten so much of the race completed in the first place. As soon as the rain began o fall, the grandstands began to empty. Even if they had decided to resume the event, it would have been to a virtually empty facility, and that just doesn't work. Still, NASCAR needs to look at the plans they have in place for rain delays, as well as scheduling. The weather is becoming more and more unstable, and the rain shortened Coke Zero 400 is, as they say, just the tip of the iceberg.
Tickets to next year’s 57th running of the DAYTONA 500 and other Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 events are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.
Fans can follow the latest NASCAR news on Twitter, using the hashtag #NASCAR. Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest for the latest news throughout the 2014 season. Fans can also follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.
Nearly halfway through the 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, something has to give.
Three drivers have combined to win the first seven rounds of the 16-round season in one of the most exciting single-make series in the world. And in no coincidence, that trio -Colin Thompson, Angel Benitez Jr. and Michael Lewis - comprises the top three drivers in the championship, locked in a tight race for the Platinum Cup drivers' title.
Rounds 9 and 10 of the series will take place Friday, July 11 and Saturday, July 12 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. It's the only visit of the season to Canada for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, one of 19 globalPorsche single-make championships.
A trend has emerged through the first seven rounds this season, as one driver has won all available rounds at each of the four venues the series has visited.
Benitez, from Valencia, Venezuela, swept the season-opening two rounds in mid-March at Sebring International Raceway in the No. 05 Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport 911 GT3 Cup car. Lewis, from Laguna Beach, California, followed with a sweep in early May at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian Porsche. Benitez won the only round contested on Memorial Day weekend at Lime Rock Park, as rain washed away the second round.
Thompson, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, broke through with his first two series victories June 27-28 at Watkins Glen International in the No. 14 Kelly Moss/Porsche of Bucks County entry. Those victories propelled Thompson to the points lead, 116-112, over Benitez. Lewis is third, with 102 points - still within one race worth of points of the top.
Both of Thompson's wins at The Glen came after he pulled off thrilling, risky passes of Benitez for the lead on the last lap, heating the rivalry between the 20-something stars from a simmer to a boil.
There could be a repeat of those last-lap theatrics on the fast, 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit at CTMP, if history is any indication. 2013 season champion Madison Snow edged Benitez by .011 of a second in the first round last year at Canada's most prestigious permanent road circuit. But Benitez rallied to beat Sloan Urry by 3.469 seconds in the second round at CTMP.
A handful of other drivers could challenge for the Platinum Cup (2014 model cars) podium in both races at CTMP.
Runaway Platinum Masters (drivers age 45 and older) championship leader Kasey Kuhlman, from Cincinnati, has finished third overall in Round 4 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and Round 8 at Watkins Glen in the No. 15 Wright Motorsports entry. Two strong finishes at CTMP, coupled with problems for any of the leading three drivers, could launch Kuhlman into the title race, as he is fourth with 89 points.
Urry, from Park City, Utah, has three podium finishes this season in the No. 20 JDX Racing Porsche and is fifth in the standings with 84 points.
Christina Nielsen, from Aarhus, Denmark, finished second at Lime Rock Park in the No. 25 NGT Motorsport entry for her first career podium in the series. Nielsen is racing in North America for the first time this season after competing in various open-wheel and Porsche series in Europe and the Middle East.
Nielsen competed in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin event in May at CTMP to gain more experience on the rolling, challenging circuit. She is sixth in the GT3 USA standings with 69 points.
This will be a special event for 16-year-old series rookie Jesse Lazare, the only full-time Canadian driver in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. Lazare, from Montreal, drives the No. 31 Door Doctor/Moorespeed Porsche managed by 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Price Cobb.
The Platinum Cup Team Championship is tense and tight. Just 15 points - less than one race worth of points - separate the top three teams. At the top, Kelly Moss/Porsche of Bucks County leads Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport, 118-117.
Racing for Drivers and Team championships also remain tight in the Gold Cup (2010-2013 model cars) class.
Patrick-Otto Madsen, from Boca Raton, Florida, took the championship lead at Watkins Glen and is atop the standings with 110 points in the No. 99 ANSA Motorsports Porsche. Fred Poordad, from San Antonio, Texas, is second at 101 points in the No. 02 Competition Motorsports 911 GT3 Cup car.
Madsen and Poordad are looking over their shoulders at Michael Levitas, charging hard after winning both Gold races at Watkins Glen. Levitas, from Baltimore, is third in the Gold Cup championship with 96 points in the No. 35 TPC Racing Porsche.
Just 18 points separate the top four teams in the Gold Cup Team Championship - ANSA Motorsports, Competition Motorsports, Wright Motorsports and TPC Racing - entering CTMP.
Practice at CTMP starts at 10 a.m. (ET) and 3:25 p.m. Thursday, July 10, with qualifying at 10:35 a.m. Friday, July 11. Two 45-minute races are scheduled. Round 9 of the season starts at 5:40 p.m. Friday, with Round 10 at 10:10 a.m. Saturday, June 28. Both races will be streamed live at FansChoice.TV, and live updates on all on-track sessions will be provided @IMSALive on Twitter.
The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama continues its 10th season at CTMP, offering two unique classes of racing to fuel the competitive spirit of drivers and teams.
The two class divisions in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama are Gold Cup and Platinum Cup, with each class featuring a Masters Championship (for drivers 45 and over). Each class is awarded with a podium at the end of every race, with individual champion honors at the end of every season. Points are awarded by finish in class.
All Platinum Cup drivers will race this season in the 2014 version of the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, developed for Porsche one-make Cups worldwide and based on the street version of the current Porsche 911. The 3.8-liter power unit featured in the new 911 GT3 Cup car produces 460 horsepower and a maximum engine speed of 8,500 rpm. The new 911 GT3 Cup also includes a new Porsche six-speed sequential gearbox with a mechanical slip differential, with an electro-pneumatic paddle shift system creating faster, more efficient gear changes.
The 2010-2013 versions of the 911 GT3 Cup car will compete in the Gold Cup class, while the new 2014 model will race for Platinum Cup honors.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama
The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama enters its 10th season in North America as the one of Porsche's largest single-make Cup Challenge series in the world. The series produces intense, exciting competition for semi-professional and aspiring professional drivers in one of the world's most successful and iconic race cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Racing is divided into two classes - Platinum Cup, featuring the new 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, which is based in on the current seventh generation of the street car, and Gold Cup, which is comprised of the previous version (2010-2013) of the race car. The series is the perfect platform for aspiring drivers to ascend to the highest levels of GT competition, such as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The series races at classic American road courses, providing thrills for drivers and fans.
The International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) is the sanctioning body of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the road-racing series resulting from the merger of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. IMSA also sanctions the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, as well as four single-make series: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama; Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin; Ferrari Challenge North America; and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. IMSA is the exclusive strategic partner in North America with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) which operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The partnership enables selected TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Two years ago at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), a hard-charging Johannes van Overbeek made a late-race pass that put Extreme Speed Motorsports (ESM) in a position to take its first GT class win. It was a memorable day for ESM and Tequila Patrón – and a finish the team would like to repeat this weekend for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix, the seventh round of TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
“When you look at the schedule, there’s always a few that stand out as great places and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is one of mine," stated owner/driver Scott Sharp. "We’ve run well there every year, back in the Ferrari days and with these HPDs. We won in 2012 and we’re ready to go back to the track and be on the podium. We’re excited. We’re pumped up because the Honda prototype produces so much downforce, it should be unbelievable around Turns 1, 2, 3; it’s pretty breathtaking."
A few things have changed since that 2012 win: ESM switched to the Honda Performance Development (HPD) ARX-03b racing machines, Ed Brown and van Overbeek co-drive the No. 2 prototype and Ryan Dalziel is co-driver with Scott Sharp. This year, ESM addedmagicJack as an associate sponsor on the black and green Tequila Patrón-sponsored cars. ESM drivers and crew have downloaded the magicApp to their phones and can now call friends and family and avoid roaming charges this weekend while in Canada.
As a result, ESM can focus on the task at hand – winning. Sharp, co-driver of the No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD has six wins at Mosport – three in Trans Am (1992, 1993, 1994), two in prototypes with co-driver David Brabham (2008, 2009), and one GT win (2012) with van Overbeek. Dalziel has two podium finishes at CTMP, one in the PC class and another in GTC. The Scot looks to add an ESM prototype win to that list of achievements.
“We really need to get our season turned around and I’m hoping Mosport can do that for Scott and I," added Dalziel. "We’re going back to the two-hour and 45-minute race and I couldn't be happier. There is one thing that’s guaranteed and that is Mosport will be a lot of fun.”
The daunting 2.459-mile, 10-turn permanent road course will be challenging this weekend with three classes of cars competing. An entry list that includes 12 Prototypes, 19 GT Daytona (GTD) and 10 GT Le Mans (GTLM) race cars will provide an interesting mix in traffic. The ESM Tequila Patrón Honda HPDs should prove their prowess on the fast corners. Patience and managing traffic are two keys to any race, especially this weekend.
“It will be a tricky race," stated driver Ed Brown. "Traffic is always a factor. Plus we’re back to the two-hour, 45-minute race. The No. 2 guys always have a great strategy; we’ll be smooth in our pit stops and driver changes. We’ll do everything we can on our end; we just need a little luck to fall our way.”
Last year, Brown made gains in the Prototype car at CTMP by posting some of his quickest laps ever at the circuit. Now with more than a year of prototype seat time, Brown’s expectations of his race have soared. He and van Overbeek are seeking their second win of the season. The duo last appeared on the podium at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in early May as race winners.
“Canadian Tire Motorsport Park should be a great track for the ESM Tequila Patrón Honda prototype," van Overbeek stated. "The team knows how to make cars quick there and the prototype likes quick corners, which make up more than half of Mosport. Racing with the GTD class will an add additional challenge as they are very fast in the straight but less in the corners. If we prepare and work on all the things in our control, Ed and I will have a good outcome; there's nothing more I'd like than to have another win with Ed.”
The two-hour, 45-minute TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix Presented by Hawk Performance on July 11-13 is the seventh race of 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Qualifying for prototype cars takes place at 6:05 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 12. Green flag is 2:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, July 13.
Television coverage of the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix starts at 2 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.
The 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, has officially reached its halfway point. As the world's best riders gear up for six more thrilling rounds of action, legendary Budds Creek MX Park in Mechanicsville, Maryland, is preparing to celebrate 25 years as a round of the most prestigious motocross championship on the planet. The GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National, the seventh stop on the schedule, will commence on Saturday, July 12, to mark a quarter century of competition in Southern Maryland, in the shadow of our nation's capitol.
Live broadcast coverage from Budds Creek begins Saturday, July 12, at 1 p.m. ET with the first motos of the 450 and 250 Classes on MAVTV, followed by final moto coverage of both classes on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) at 3 p.m. ET.
Despite having to go head-to-head against a star-studded 450 Class loaded with veterans and a trio of former champions in Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey, Team Yoshimura Suzuki's James Stewart, and Discount Tire Racing/TwoTwo Motorsports' Chad Reed, Red Bull KTM rookie Ken Roczen has been the most consistent rider in the premier division by far through the first half of the season. No other competitor has been able to come close to matching Roczen's average finish of 1.58, which is highlighted by six moto wins, five moto runner-ups, and one third-place moto score, and his ability to respond to any challenge has been the hallmark of his success to this point.
Roczen (94) continues to put the pressure on his 450 Class rivals as the
second half of the season begins.
Photo: Simon Cudby / Racer X
When it appeared as though his closest challengers were possibly closing in, Roczen countered and now boasts a three-moto winning streak to go along with back-to-back overall victories. With four wins in six starts, the German has set a standard that will be hard for any of his rivals to live up to over the course of the next 12 motos, barring a major misstep from the former world champion. As a result of his second career 1-1 moto sweep last weekend at RedBud, Roczen now enjoys a points cushion that extends beyond one full moto (26 points), allowing for some wiggle room should he encounter any adversity.
The only rider to provide a constant threat to Roczen throughout the first half of the season is his Red Bull KTM counterpart Dungey. As the second winningest rider in series history, there isn't an active rider more familiar with success than Dungey, but even he has appeared frustrated at times in his inability to maintain the torrid pace of his teammate. While Dungey sits comfortably in second in the 450 Class standings, his continued attempts to bring his performance consistently to the level of his teammate have led to uncharacteristic mistakes and the loss of valuable points. While a 2.5 finishing average is still exceptional and would surely be good enough to win a title most of the time, Dungey still faces an uphill climb to catch his teammate atop the standings. In fact, Dungey has only outscored Roczen on two occasions this season, each as a result of a moto win.
While Roczen and Dungey continue to separate themselves from the pack, Team Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard further asserts his hold on third, while GEICO Honda's Eli Tomac continues to blossom just two rounds into his 450 Class career. After a third-place overall effort in his debut, Tomac took one step forward at RedBud to finish in the runner-up spot behind Roczen. While he isn't a title threat this season, Tomac has nothing to lose with the sole intention of winning from here on out. As a result, his significant role in the outcome of the title fight is undeniable and will constantly be a storyline for the remainder of the summer.
Dungey knows how to win at Budds Creek and could make a statement on Saturday.
Photo: Simon Cudby / Racer X
After his toughest outing of the season brought his closest 250 Class challengers within striking distance of the points lead, Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Jeremy Martin responded to the pressure by capturing his third overall win at RedBud. Martin was at his best on a day when his rivals experienced misfortune, which allowed him to regain valuable points and move back to nearly a full moto advantage (23 points) in the 250 Class standings.
Through the first 12 motos, three riders have proven they can win each time the gate drops and as a result, have distanced themselves from the rest of the division in the points. Martin has six moto wins to his credit this season, while his Yamalube/Star Racing teammate Cooper Webb has two, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett has four. Collectively, this trio carries a 31-point lead over the rest of the field and appears to be the ones that will battle it out for the title.
While Martin's blazing 5-0 start to the season has been the biggest reason for his position atop the standings, he's handled the spotlight like a veteran, despite being in just his second season of competition. When it looked as though he might lose his grasp on the championship, he rebounded in impressive fashion. That elite level of riding has in turn led to even better performances by fellow sophomore Webb, who has won two of the last three motos after five runner-up finishes and outdueled his teammate for the first time this season in the second moto at RedBud. Webb has shown no intimidation to the task at hand and as a result the Star Yamaha tandem continues to flourish off one another.
Webb (front) and Martin (back) have been within sight of one another for the majority
of the first half of the season.
Photo: Simon Cudby / Racer X
While he may appear to be a lone solider in this fight, Baggett's near three seasons of additional experience and his 2012 title outweigh any advantage in the Yamaha camp. His Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammates Dean Wilson and Justin Hill happen to be two of the top riders in the 250 Class, which is motivation enough, while his desire to end the control Yamaha has had atop the points since the opening round has helped him take things to the next level. Despite having a DNF to his record this season, Baggett is in the thick of the championship and is potentially still the favorite thanks to his past experience.
While the championship picture appears to have taken shape, many other competitors in the 250 Class have risen to the occasion this season and will ultimately play a role in how the title fight unfolds. GEICO Honda's Justin Bogle is on the verge of a breakout ride, while Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin appears to be hitting his groove at a crucial time. Moreover, Valli Motorsports Yamaha veteran Christophe Pourcel is still surprisingly winless this season and the confidence in Rockstar Energy Racing's Jason Anderson is growing each week. A former champion in his own right, Wilson has nothing to lose after missing three rounds with an injury and would surely like to help his teammate win a title if it meant he could return to the top step of the podium. With six rounds and 24 motos remaining, the 250 Class is far from being decided.
Baggett could gain valuable ground in the 250 Class championship with
a third straight win at Budds Creek.
Photo: Simon Cudby / Racer X
Budds Creek has been an integral part of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship since 1989 and in turn has become one of the most renowned tracks in the world, allowing it to earn global recognition in hosting additional events like the 2007 Motocross of Nations. With its iconic mix of sand and clay, multiple elevation changes, and wide range of obstacles, Budds Creek is a fast, fluid, and fun track that will push any rider to his limits. Combine that with the hot, humid weather of the East Coast in the summer and you have the makings of one of the most challenging rounds in the championship. The winners of this race are a true who's who of motocross history as the best often rise to the occasion there.
Last year at Budds Creek, Dungey earned his second straight 450 Class victory at the track after a thrilling battle with Ryan Villopoto. In the past four years, Dungey boasts three wins in Mechanicsville, which bodes well in his hopes of slowing the momentum Roczen currently has. In the 250 Class, Baggett also emerged victorious for the second straight season for his lone overall win of the 2013 season. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team has won eight straight years as Budds Creek, something the rest of the 250 Class field will surely be aware of on Saturday afternoon.
Action for the GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National this Saturday, July 12, 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
Red Bull RedBud National
RedBud MX - Buchanan, Michigan
July 5, 2014
Round 6 of 12
450 Class (Moto Finish)
450 Class Championship Standings
250 Class (Moto Finish)
250 Class Championship Standings
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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.
MAVTV is a television network with its roots deep in the automotive world. With an unparalleled line-up of motorsports events and exclusive automotive reality shows, MAVTV is the answer for motor-heads from all walks of life. But MAVTV is much more than a motorsports destination, with original action/adventure programming, live MMA and an unbelievable library of blockbuster movies - MAVTV is a network the whole family can enjoy. A network by the people and for the people, made in America and American Real. Visit: www.mavtv.com.
(Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship PR)
Round 8 of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge takes place at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, just 40 miles (65 km) from driver James Vance's home in the Toronto suburb of Stouffville. Vance considers the beloved, challenging track - known by many by its first name, Mosport - as his home track and is thrilled to race July 12 at a familiar venue.
"I am completely excited for this weekend," Vance said. "I know the MX-5 cars really well, and I love racing them. My team (C360) is supportive of me doing this. I'm excited for the extra track time. I know I'm really fast in the car, and think I can shine in the series because last year I was running up front and now I have more experience.
The knowledge of the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit and the area will help ease the stress of the weekend, as Vance will pull his first weekend of double-duty racing with his teamCompass360 Racing in the SportsCar Challenge and Sick Sideways in the Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup. Vance also will race with the MX-5 team in August at Road America and in October at Road Atlanta.
"The most frustrating part of this season is that I haven't been able to break out and really show my potential in Continental (Tire SportsCar Challenge)" Vance continued. "I've had to learn to lean on my teammates some. Luckily, I have a great one in Jon Miller."
With new plans in place with C360 teammate Miller, Vance will be equally as focused on success in his No. 74ExpoSystems USA Honda Civic Si in the Street Tuner class.
"We'll be focused on getting the No. 74 back on track," Vance said. "We've got a new plan going into the weekend. Jon and I will have our own engineering plan worked out with the team for our car. We'll be basing it more of how we feel in the car rather than looking to our teammates."
Vance's sponsor ExpoSystems USA will provide homecoming grandeur by setting up a Formula One-style garage structure. The structure is made of aluminum framing and will feature custom graphics. The unique structure will be on display and available for tours throughout the weekend, with dates and times to be announced. Unique setups similar to C360's are available for purchase on the company's website, www.exposystems.us.
The race weekend begins for Vance at 8 a.m. (ET) Thursday, July 10 for MX-5 Cup Practice 1. The series will hold two 45-minute sprint races. at 8 a.m. and 4:20 p.m. Saturday, July 12.
The SportsCar Challenge schedule begins at 1:40 p.m. Thursday, July 10 for Practice 1. Qualifying for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Series takes place at 2:40 p.m. Friday, July 11. Finally, the green flag drops over Round 8 at 1:15 p.m. Saturday, July 12. Live timing will be available at scoring.imsa.com, with live updates at @IMSALive on Twitter. The race will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 20th.