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The Mazda Club Racer Shootout is the single largest prize in club racing.  Since 2007 Mazda has annually promoted one talented club racer to the professional ranks.  The $75,000 prize funds a drive in the 2015 SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires.  

 

The heart and soul of Mazda Motorsports is club racing, and supporting those racers who have invested in racing a Mazda.  The criteria for the shootout is to identify the aspiring professional racer who has the best range of skills required to succeed.  These skills include speed, consistency, race craft, technical feedback, and off-track business, marketing and PR skills.  History has shown that a driver will be limited in success if they are lacking in multiple areas.

 

John Doonan, Director of Motorsports, noted: “Our shootout has become a signature event for Mazda Motorsports. Without exception, every driver who won the shootout proved to be competitive in MX-5 Cup, with several developing solid professional careers.  Each year we tweak the competition.  This year marks the inclusion of iRacing simulation racers and a new set of business criteria for the judges.”

 

In past years, typically a dozen to 18 racers qualified for the first level of the competition.  Each has won a recognized championship over a minimum number of competitors.  The next step is for the racer to submit a business presentation and video, which will be reviewed and scored by a team of motorsports and marketing professionals.  From those proposals, the finalists will be selected and advance to the winner-take-all shootout. 

 

The final shootout will be at Buttonwillow Raceway Park on December 2nd where the racers will be tested on the track for their technical skills. 

 

The 15 currently identified semi-finalists for 2014 are as follows:

 

Club/Series                                                                                        Racer                         

Skip Barber Racing School (Summer Series)                                   Sam Adams

NASA Eastern States Championships (PTE)                                    Ben Anderson

SCCA National Championship Runoffs (Formula Mazda)                Mike Anderson

SCCA National Championship Runoffs (T4)                                     Danny Bender

NASA Eastern States Championships (Spec Miata)                         Alex Bolanos

Canadian Touring Car Championship – B-Spec Champion              Normand Boyer

iRacing MX-5 Cup (Season 3)                                                           Steven Diem

NASA Spec Miata Teen Challenge (West)                                        Joey Jordan

SCCA National Championship Runoffs (Formula Atlantic)               Conner Kearby

iRacing MX-5 Cup (Season 2)                                                           Evan Maillard

NASA Spec Miata Teen Challenge (Rocky Mountain)                      Zachary Munro

Toyo Tires Spec Miata Championship (Canada)                               Aaron Pettipas                     

SCCA National Championship Runoffs (E Production)                     Matt Reynolds

SCCA National Championship Runoffs (Spec Miata)                       Erik Stearns

Skip Barber Racing School (Winter Series)                                       Jim Wilby

 

There are a few remaining slots that will be identified between now and November 9th:

 

Club/Series                                                                       Season concludes on:                       

NASA Spec Miata Teen Challenge (Texas)                                      November 2nd           

Worldspeed Formula Car Championship                                           November 9th

NASA Western States Championships (Spec Miata)                        November 9th

NASA Western States Championships (TBD)                                   November 9th

                                                                                                           

Additional information about the Mazda Club Racer shootout can be found at www.mazdamotorsports.com

 

Formula One drivers Felipe Massa, Sergio Perez and Esteban Gutierrez have been confirmed for the Austin Fans' Forum on Wednesday, Oct. 29, ahead of the United States Grand Prix.

Fans will be able to hear from and ask questions of the drivers at the Forum, which is set from 6 to 7 p.m. at the iconic Gibson Showroom at 3601 S. Congress Ave., in the Penn Station complex in South Austin. CNBC's Brian Sullivan will host the Forum.

As the official Media Partner of the Forum, Crash.net will be providing a live stream on www.crash.net and on www.circuitoftheamericas.com, with an on-demand version available online after the Forum.

The Fans’ Forum will start at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5.30 p.m. Registered attendees will be emailed this week with details of the free transportation service provided from downtown Austin to the Forum, and back again afterwards.

Attendance at the Forum is free of charge, but fans must have registered before the event to be able to attend via www.circuitoftheamericas/lksjdfi. Entry will be strictly on a first-come, first served basis.

Courtney Force and Erica Enders-Stevens are no strangers to making history in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. But the pair of talented female drivers both have a chance to leave their biggest marks on the NHRA history books with two races remaining in the 2014 Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.

 

Force is third in the Funny Car standings in her 10,000-horsepower Traxxas Ford Mustang, while Enders-Stevens sits in second in Pro Stock, 35 points behind leader Jason Line in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro.

 

The history on the line is huge as Force and Enders-Stevens both have the opportunity to become the first female world champions in their respective classes. Each can take the next step toward accomplishing their goals at the penultimate race in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, the 14th annual NHRA Toyota Nationals, Oct. 30-Nov. 2 at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Force and Enders-Stevens’ pursuit of their historic championship titles will be two of the major storylines.

 

“Of course it’s crossed my mind, as far as being the champion is concerned,” said Enders-Stevens, who won the spring race at Las Vegas this season. “That’s every driver’s goal and it's our team’s goal as well. We’re going to do everything that we can to get it done. It’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid to be competing at this level – and not just competing, but contending for a championship. It’s really exciting, really humbling, but we’re having fun. We’re excited to get these next two races underway.”

 

Enders-Stevens is one of six females who have competed in Pro Stock competition since the class was formed in 1970. She is by far the most successful female to have raced in the 200 mph factory hot rod division. Meanwhile, Force is one of 14 women who have competed in Funny Car competition since the class formed in the late 1960s. However, with seven career victories she is the winningest female to ever drive one of the wildly unpredictable machines. Earlier this season she earned the 100th win by a female in NHRA history and six months later would like to stake her claim to another milestone moment: first female world champion in Funny Car.

 

“My focus as a driver is to do my job these next two races and put everything I've got into it,” Force said. “I need my full focus and most importantly confidence in myself and my team for these next two races. I would love to think about what it would be like to be a champion, but at this time it is still too early to think of what could be and I just need to think of right now and how to do my job the best I can.”

 

Antron Brown (Top Fuel), John Force (Funny Car), Shane Gray (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the NHRA Mello Yello Series playoff event that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2.

 

Enders-Stevens, the first female to win in Pro Stock, would like to sweep the Las Vegas races in the ultra-competitive Pro Stock class in 2014 after winning the race and the K&N Horsepower Challenge bonus event in March. That victory jump-started her banner season and sent her into the points lead that she held for most of the regular season.

 

Enders-Stevens added three more victories and entered the Countdown in second place. She dropped as low as fourth after a second-round exit in Dallas, but back-to-back semifinal finishes pushed her back to second and within striking distance of Line. She has continued to credit a talented team led by crew chiefs Rick Jones and Rickie Jones, but Enders-Stevens will take the same approach into Las Vegas she has all year even if the magnitude of the event has heightened.

 

“We’re not preparing any different than any other race,” Enders-Stevens said. “The guys have been working really hard in the shop, trying to find more horsepower. I’m excited about the future with this team. This is our first year together, and we’ve been able to accomplish a lot, and I know the sky is the limit for our future. I feel blessed to have the opportunity."

 

Courtney Force heads into the final two races 72 points behind Matt Hagan. Sandwiched between them is her father, reigning and 16-time world champion John Force, who trails Hagan by 36 points. He also clinched the championship a year ago at this event by knocking off Courtney in the final round. Determined not to let that happen again, she has been hard at work preparing for the NHRA Toyota Nationals.

 

“I talked with my crew chief (Ron Douglas) about ways to improve my driving and I’m getting mentally prepared for the upcoming race,” Force said. “I’ve taken this time to relax after four races in a row and I am excited and feeling confident going into Las Vegas. We are in a good position and need to keep our focus round by round if we want a shot at this championship.”

 

It has been a dream season for Force as she also became the first female to win consecutive events in the class after posting back-to-back victories in the Countdown at Dallas and St. Louis. She has four victories this season and also posted a runner-up finish at Atlanta. Her Traxxas Mustang was consistently one of the quickest cars in the class as she raced to four No. 1 qualifying positions, one coming during the Countdown.

 

“It is definitely surreal looking back at this season and what we have accomplished as a team,” Force said. “I’m so proud of our achievements this year and couldn't have done it without every single member on our team. We've come a long way since just my rookie year, but we've still got a long way to go and a lot to learn.”

 

In Top Fuel, Brown, the 2012 world champ, is a two-time winner at Las Vegas, but the driver currently in command is seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher. After winning three of the first four races of the Countdown, Schumacher, an eight-time winner at The Strip, holds a 134-point lead over Doug Kalitta. Steve Torrence sits in third, reigning world champion Shawn Langdon is fourth in points while other Countdown competitors include Spencer Massey, reigning Auto Club of Southern California Road to the Future Award winner Brittany Force, Khalid alBalooshi and J.R. Todd.

 

In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Smith was victorious last season en route to his second championship ring. But the 2014 season has belonged to Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammates Andrew Hines and Eddie Krawiec. Both have won this event three times and Hines holds a 25-point advantage over Krawiec. Hector Arana Jr. is in third and other marquee challengers in the two-wheel category are Steve Johnson, Angie Smith, Scotty Pollacheck, John Hall, Hector Arana Sr. Michael Ray, Jerry Savoie and Angelle Sampey.

 

The event will also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and see which driver will be crowned world champion at the season finale in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series.

              

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

              

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

                            

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, Oct. 31, with sessions at 1 and 4 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Nov. 1, at 1 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2.

 

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway at (800) 644-4444 or visit www.LVMS.com.  For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.

 

Porsche is continuing its longstanding legacy of recognizing and developing young talent, as five standout North American drivers are learning to hone their skills on and off the track during the third annual Young Driver Academy Oct. 19-20 at Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Alabama. 

Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) and Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) invited Austin Cindric, Scott Hargrove, Elliott Skeer, Colin Thompson and Sloan Urry to participate in the two-day, all-encompassing program.

 

Hargrove, Thompson and Urry are veterans of the North American one-make IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge championships. Hargrove, from Surrey, British Columbia, won the 2014 season title in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin. Thompson, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, won the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama championship in 2014. Urry, from Park City, Utah, finished fourth in the USA series in 2014 and second in 2013.

 

Skeer, from San Diego, made his debut in 2014 in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and is a multiple race winner in entry-level single-make North American sports car competition. Cindric, from Mooresville, North Carolina, completed his second junior open-wheel championship season in North America and raced in Red Bull Global Rallycross in 2014 after extensive, successful short-track oval and karting experience.

 

The Young Driver Academy provides promising North American drivers with an opportunity to reap the numerous benefits of a program based on Porsche's European Junior selection process. PMNA and PCNA emphasize evaluation and development of the young drivers during the Academy, with the goal of discovering and nurturing talent in the United States and Canada that can reach maximum potential..

 

"We are now in our third year of the Porsche Young Driver Academy here in North America," said PMNA president and CEO Jens Walther. "In that time, we have welcomed many of the sports' top young talents to Barber Motorsports Park, and we continue to witness their progress up the ladder of sports car racing. While those invited are part of a small sampling of the remarkable driving talent available in the United States and Canada, we are proud to see the graduates of this program competing worldwide. This is not a competition but an opportunity for these drivers to learn skills that will provide ongoing benefit to their racing career both on and off the racetrack. We have seen the results in the success of the first two years. This year's class promises to have that same level of impact on the future of motorsports."

 

The comprehensive Academy experience includes classroom training in racing technique and media/sponsor relations, as well as off-track driver skill evaluation. All five drivers also will turn laps on the challenging 17-turn, 2.38-mile circuit at Barber Motorsports Park in identically prepared Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.

 

Classroom and track instruction will be led by Porsche racing legend and lead Porsche Sport Driving School instructor Hurley Haywood, Porsche factory driver Patrick Long and GT racing champion Andrew Davis. Owen Hayes, director of operations for Porsche Motorsports North America, Dave Engelman, media relations manager - Motorsports and Brand Heritage, and other Porsche representatives and industry professionals also will provide training and evaluation.

 

The first two classes from the Young Driver Academy have continued to advance their careers at a high level of performance, further emphasizing Porsche's commitment to identifying and developing talent in North America.

 

Class of 2013 members David Ostella and Madison Snow climbed to the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in the 2014 season. Ostella drove in the Prototype Challenge class for Performance Tech Motorsports. Snow raced in the GT Daytona class with Snow Racing in a Porsche 911 GT America car.

 

Fellow Class of 2013 members Angel Benitez Jr. and Michael Lewis finished second and third, respectively, in the ultra-competitive Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama championship.

 

2012 Young Driver Academy participant Sean Johnston raced for the second consecutive season in 2014 in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup and Porsche Carrera Cup Germany with Team Project 1.

 

Fellow 2012 participant Cooper MacNeil won the 2013 American Le Mans Series GTC championship in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, raced in the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans in a Porsche and finished third in the GT Daytona class championship of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship driving a Porsche 911 GT America. Another member of the Class of 2012, Kyle Marcelli, competed in a wide variety of elite-level machinery in 2014, including Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona in the TUDOR Championship, and in a Porsche in the Grand Sport class of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.

 

The final member of the 2012 class, Spencer Pigot, finished third in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin and won the Pro Mazda junior open-wheel championship.

 

Test & Tune Presented by R.J.S. Racing Equipment
Wednesday, October 22 

Run Whatcha Brung! Gates open at 6 pm. $20 to race. $10 to spectate. All racers must tech in by 10 pm. 

 

R.J.S. Racing Equipment will be selling diapers, parachutes and pit mats on October 22 and 29 during Test & Tune at PBIR. For more info, visit www.rjsracing.com or call their Jupiter, FL office at 1-844-904-7223. 

For all cars that run 10.99 or faster in the 1/4 mile, it will be mandatory to have either a diaper or an approved belly pan to race at PBIR's Drag Strip as of November 1. For complete racer tech rules, visit www.tinyurl.com/pbirtech.

 

Please note that Test & Tune on the Drag Strip is cancelled on the following dates: October 24, 31; November 5, 7, 19, 21; and December 24, 26, 31.

MTW Promotions Presents Mud Bog
Saturday, October 25
 
Want to get muddy while watching jacked up trucks challenging each other in drag duels? Come on out to PBIR on October 25! Spectator and crew tickets are just $15. Racer gates open at 1 pm, and racer tickets are $30. Spectator gates open at 4:30 pm, and the drag racing action starts at 6 pm.

Cars Under the Stars
Saturday, November 22
 

Join the Palm Beach Driving Club at the 2nd Annual Cars Under the Stars on November 22 for a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Palm Beach International Raceway to benefit Place of Hope. Ride-alongs with celebrity drivers, live music, food and more!

 

Dick Moroso Memorial
5-Day Bracket Championship
November 21 - 25
 
Presented by Madaris Window & Insulation and The Screen Shop, this is one bracket race you don't want to miss! On each day of this 5-day event, the winner takes home $10,000! This year, we pay tribute to the gentleman who founded the concept of big bucks races, Dick Moroso. 
 

33rd Annual Bennett Auto Supply Citrus Nationals
November 28 - 30
 
This legendary event on Thanksgiving weekend brings together a Pro Mod Race with Bracket Races and a Pro Show! Presented by South Florida Chevy Dealers, the 33rd Annual Bennett Auto Supply Citrus Nationals features more than $43,000 in payouts! The Pro Show includes Jet Funny Cars, GOJO Firebird and Top Secret, plus Superwinch, the Wheelstander. Spectator tickets are just $20 per day on Saturday and Sunday. 
 

For more information on upcoming events, connect with us at www.RacePBIR.com and www.Facebook.com/PalmBeachIntlRaceway. 
 
For details on the Palm Beach Kart Center at PBIR, call 561-578-5641 and visit www.pbkarting.com.
Visit www.RacePBDC.com to learn more about the Palm Beach Driving Club, featuring weekly track sessions for Members at PBIR.   

Tickets on sale for Putrajaya ePrix

Written by
Published in Racing News
Thursday, 23 October 2014 12:58

Following the spectacular season-opener to the FIA Formula E Championship in Beijing, tickets for the series’ second race – the Putrajaya ePrix – are now on sale.

Taking place on Saturday, November 22 2014, four types of fan tickets are available ranging from general admission – priced from just 50 Malaysia Ringgit (MYR) equivalent to 12 Euros – to the premiere grandstand seating option at 715 MYR or 155 Euros. Children’s tickets (aged 3- 12) will also be offered with a 50% discount from now until raceday. 

"The Putrajaya circuit is designed with precision, factoring in the city’s environment and Formula E’s sustainable commitment, to provide a robust racing circuit for the drivers," Dato’ Sri Johann Young, CEO of Formula E Malaysia, said. "Having support from the relevant authorities and the respective sponsors, we will build a race that provides a lasting impression for all spectators on the day.”

At 1.59miles (2.56km) and featuring 12 turns, the Putrajaya street circuit is located near the Perdana Putra housing the Prime Minister’s Office, using much of the main high street and passing several of the city’s most recognisable buildings such as the Ministry of Finance. It also encompasses the beautiful Seri Wawasan Bridge and Putra Mosque and will see drivers tackle a mixture of straights, slow to medium speed corners, a hairpin plus a tight first-corner chicane. 

“After the fantastic racing we witnessed in Beijing, we’re hoping for even more excitement in Putrajaya for Round Two," Francesca Triossi, Formula E’s Ticketing and Merchandising Manager, added. "Of course, with all Formula E events, fans have more than just great racing to look forward to with plenty of off track entertainment on offer such as driver autograph sessions, eBike displays, racing simulators and music.”

For more information on Formula E visit www.fiaformulae.com, or alternatively try the dedicated Putrajaya website www.fiaformulae.com.my 

 

 Jim Hargrove has been a loyal customer at OpenRoad Auto Group in British Columbia for years, and each time he stopped by the dealership he would share the story of his talented racing son, dropping off press clippings and brochures to owner Christian Chia.

 A regular competitor in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin series, Chia politely listened to Hargrove's updates about his son competing in open-wheel racing across North America but never thought much more about it. That changed in early 2014 when Chia had a scheduling conflict that prevented him from competing in the first round of the season in mid-May at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 

Chia decided to call Hargrove and set up a meeting with his son Scott to see if he would be a viable substitute driver for the race weekend despite never having sat in a Porsche GT3 Cup car.

 

"Scott's only 19, and our meeting was so much fun," Chia said. "I was definitely nervous because I wasn't sure how he realistically thought he could go straight from open-wheelers to GT3 cars and be taken seriously." 

 

Eventually Chia decided to take a chance on the 19-year-old - with one request.

"I told him not to make a fool of himself and to bring the car back in one piece," Chia said. "A podium would purely be a bonus but certainly not the objective."

Christian Chia

 

Hargrove's race weekend started on rocky ground with rough weather and a brand-new car from Germany that the team had not shaken down before practice. But any doubts about Hargrove were erased almost immediately. Hargrove put the Porsche on pole and won both rounds of competition on Victoria Day weekend.

 

"We really took notice of Scott then," Chia said. "But part of me was thinking maybe he had beginner's luck, and I wanted to see if he really was something special."

 

As the OpenRoad Racing team began preparing for the second event of the season, in mid-June at Calabogie Motorsports Park, Chia decided to give Hargrove another chance.

 

Hargrove won the pole for Round 3 by nearly a second, eventually taking home second place and another win in Rounds 3 and 4 of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, respectively.

 

After Calabogie, Chia left Hargrove in the car to give him a fair shot at earning the championship.

 

"It was difficult for me to step out of the car because by nature I'm a competitor," Chia said. "I run a team because I am passionate about racing. At the same time, when I spot a talent like Scott's, I want to help nurture it. Also, he's from Vancouver like me. We don't have a strong race culture and community here, so that was another meaningful part for me."

 

With Chia's blessing to continue in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing Porsche, Hargrove never looked back and went on to win the 2014 Platinum Cup championship despite stiff competition from veteran competitors Chris Green and Spencer Pigot.

 

"The caliber of drivers Scott was competing against was fantastic," Chia said. "Scott and Spencer are staunch competitors in the Pro Mazda series, as well, so that added an extra dimension of excitement."

 

Hargrove and Chia found they made a great combination as driver and car owner, but their partnership did not stop at the end of the racing season. Chia is opening a new Porsche center in Vancouver, and Hargrove has signed to be an ambassador at the venture.

 

"Porsche is a very dynamic brand, and because of that we often like to engage with the local community of Porsche owners," Chia said. "We think that Scott will be a great resource for Porsche owners to learn more about the dynamic nature of Porsche from a young man who drives these cars at the limit of their capabilities."

 

Chia has no regrets about the 2014 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin season that saw him don a team owner hat instead of a racing helmet. But he is ready to get back behind the wheel in 2015.

 

"Between owning the team and driving behind the wheel, I'll always choose to be a driver," he said. "We'll be fielding another car next season, and I'd certainly like to be doing the driving!"

 

For the latest updates on Chia's ventures with OpenRoad Racing, visit openroadautogroup.com/openroad-racing-team. For updates on the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin series, follow @IMSA on Twitter. Join the conversation using #GT3CAN.

 

The eni FIM Superbike World Championship returns to the famed Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on California’s scenic Central Coast for a third consecutive year July 17-19, 2015, and its only U.S. appearance.
 
“We continue to be pleased with the growth of the fan base for the Series,” says Gill Campbell, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca CEO/general manager. “With the continuation of GEICO as title sponsor, it seems clear that the U.S. motorcycle industry also sees this as an important event in which to reach out to their enthusiasts.”
 
Nearly 50,000 fans saw the exciting action over three days as the Superbike World Championship continues to gain greater recognition in the U.S. It’s no surprise being that California is home to Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, Ducati and Suzuki. Visitors ride to Monterey, with twenty four percent of tickets buyers coming from Southern California to enjoy the sights and sounds of world class motorcycle racing. Additionally, the open paddock format brings fans together with their favorite riders to take pictures and ask for autographs and an open press conference area allows for everyone to listen in and take part in the show.
 
World Superbike is an important production-based bikes series and holds races across the globe, fielding a grid of nearly 30 riders of a dozen different nationalities on eight competitive manufacturer brands. Each of the fourteen rounds has a two race format and the results of each race are combined to determine two annual World Championships, one for riders and one for manufacturers.
 
Tickets for the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round go on sale in December and will be available online at www.MazdaRaceway.com or by calling the ticket office at 800.327.7322.

 The 2014 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season has been one of the most exciting seasons in drag racing history and it will come to a fitting end at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, Nov. 13-16, at the 50th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals.

 

The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle will once again battle for the coveted race victory and world championship titles at one of drag racing’s most tradition-rich events. Shawn Langdon (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car), Rickie Jones (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the season-ending race that will once again be televised nationally on ESPN2.

 

As part of the 50th anniversary celebration, NHRA will feature many of the sport’s greatest legends and those drivers will share some of their favorite memories from 50 years of the Auto Club NHRA Finals.  “The King of Speed” Kenny Bernstein, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, “TV” Tommy Ivo, Tom “The Mongoose” McEwen, Ed “The Ace” McCulloch, Shirley “Cha Cha” Muldowney and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme will be featured during the event and participate in a series of special NHRA Legends Chats and a special autograph session on Saturday afternoon in the popular Hot Rod Junction.

 

The NHRA Legends Chats will run from 10 a.m. until noon on Saturday and the special legends autograph session will take place between Saturday’s pro qualifying sessions. Fans can attend the Legends Chats and autograph session by obtaining a special commemorative 50th Anniversary NHRA Legends Card, which will be available on a first come, first served basis at the Hot Rod Junction.

 

NHRA fans also will play an important role in the 50th anniversary celebration as they will help decide the most iconic moments in the history of the Auto Club NHRA Finals. Fans will vote for their favorite moments from the event via interactive pages set up on NHRA’s social media channels.

 

On the track, world championship titles and race victories will be up for grabs at the fabled drag racing facility that sits just east of downtown Los Angeles.

 

Seven-time world champion Tony Schumacher is the points leader in Top Fuel. Schumacher has shined in past opportunities to earn world championship titles at Pomona and if he’s successful this season it will be a record eighth championship for the driver of the U.S. Army dragster. After a ho-hum regular season, Schumacher hit his stride in the Countdown to the Championship playoffs, posting victories at Charlotte, Dallas and Reading. A four-time winner of the Auto Club NHRA Finals, Schumacher will try to close out his late season surge in style with another victory.

 

Doug Kalitta, Steve Torrence, defending winner and world champ Langdon and 2012 champ Antron Brown are all still in contention but will need extraordinary performances in the final two races of the season to catch and pass Schumacher.

 

Other drivers to watch in Top Fuel include Atlanta and Topeka winner Spencer Massey, reigning Auto Club of Southern California Road the Future Award winner Brittany Force, Pomona and Sonoma winner Khalid alBalooshi, Englishtown and Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals winner Richie Crampton and Denver winner J.R. Todd.

 

In Funny Car, Hagan took home the Auto Club NHRA Finals victory last season, but was disappointed his win didn’t include a world championship trophy as well. Following his recent win in Pennsylvania, Hagan enters the final stretch with a lead over John Force, and the Virginia cattle rancher’s Mopar Express Lane / Rocky Boots Dodge Charger is primed to make a run for a second world championship crown and first since 2011.

 

Force earned his 16th world championship title last season and this year his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang has been one of the quickest and fastest cars on the circuit. However, it’s going to take one of his best efforts to secure a record 17th world championship.

               

Force’s daughter Courtney is also a top contender for the championship, as she earned back-to-back playoff victories at Dallas and St. Louis and sits third in points at the controls of her Traxxas Mustang. She became the first female to post four wins in a season in Funny Car and the first woman to win back-to-back races in Funny Car. A world championship would be the icing on the cake to wrap up a dream season for the 26-year-old racer, which also included earning the 100th win by a female driver in the Mello Yello Series and passing her sister Ashley as NHRA’s winningest female Funny Car driver.

               

In addition to the trio of championship challengers, the list of potential event winners in Funny Car is deep, and includes three-time season winner Alexis DeJoria, Bristol winner Tommy Johnson Jr., four-time season winner Robert Hight, Ron Capps, Tim Wilkerson, Del Worsham and Cruz Pedregon.

 

In Pro Stock, one of the most intense playoff battles could be settled at Pomona. Jason Line leads the pack in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro and is followed by history-chaser Erica Enders-Stevens, a four-time winner this season who is trying to become the first female to win an NHRA world championship title in Pro Stock. Hot on her heels is Dave Connolly, Shane Gray and Allen Johnson.

               

The 2014 world championship in Pro Stock Motorcycle is coming down to Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammates Andrew Hines and Krawiec, the winner of this event last season. Hines currently holds the points lead over Krawiec, but the pair have gone back and forth during the season, both posting five wins each. Both riders are looking for their respective fourth world championship titles and may likely have to defeat each other head-to-head in Pomona to claim the season crown.

               

Special celebrations throughout the weekend are scheduled to highlight this significant milestone event. In addition to the NHRA Legends Chats and special autograph session featuring the legends, there will be several NHRA-exclusive Cacklefests showcasing the vintage dragsters of the sport’s early days, a special car corral in the Hot Rod Junction featuring a wide variety of vintage dragsters and classic race cars and The SealMaster Track Walk, where fans can walk on the famed Auto Club Raceway at Pomona track prior to Sunday’s final eliminations. The SealMaster Track Walk also will feature several of the sports legends.

               

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and enjoy some cherished face time and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

               

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.

               

The event also will feature thrilling competition and world championship finishes in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series.

               

Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying begins Friday, Nov. 14, with sessions at 11:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. The final two qualifying sessions will take place Saturday, Nov. 15, at 11:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 16.

 

To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRATIX.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.

2014 IHRA Mod Champion - Mark Pressey

Written by
Published in Racing News
Thursday, 23 October 2014 12:46

It is amazing how one seemingly insignificant decision can have such a profound impact on a person's life. Or, in the case of IHRA Mod ET World Champion Mark Pressey, an entire racing season.

For Pressey, the 2014 racing season simply wasn't supposed to happen. Pressey finished last season with a broken car and, following a trying winter, the veteran racer out of Newport, Michigan had no intention of getting his car ready for the season. But one man changed all of that, encouraging Pressey to fix the car and get it ready for racing.

Just a few months later, that motivation led to Pressey earning the IHRA Mod ET World Championship at the Summit Racing Equipment World Finals at Memphis International Raceway.

"We ended last year with the car smoking and not running well at all. To be honest with you, I didn't mess with it at the end of the year. I just buttoned it up and put it in the barn," Pressey said. "But my buddy Rich West wouldn't let me sit around. He said to me, 'no way are you sitting it out, we are getting it fixed' and from there it has just been an awesome year."

That year included four finals, two wins and a track championship at his home track of Ubly Dragway before qualifying for the Summit SuperSeries with a runoff victory at the Division 5 Summit Team Finals. From there, Pressey put together a solid afternoon in Memphis that included one great package and two double-breakout victories to advance to the final against Division 7 Summit Team Finals runoff winner Benny Gossett out of Caprock Motorplex.

In the final Pressey got the jump at the line, posting a .022 reaction time to Gossett's .038, followed by a 10.159-second pass on a 10.14 dial at 129.74 mph to just edge Gossett, who had a 9.175 on a 9.17 at 140.33 mph. With that pass, Pressey secured the Mod championship and left him with only two words for his friend who wouldn't let him sit it out - thank you.

"What an amazing year. I really want to thank my good friend Rich who helped get me here, along with my son Jimmy who was crew chief for the weekend, Nick Janowiak and his girlfriend Amanda who came out to support me from Ubly Dragway, my entire Quick Temper team and everyone that cheered us on from home," Pressey said. "This is really a bit overwhelming, but we had a great weekend and the car ran great. What can I say, it is a Mopar."

On his way to the final, Pressey recorded wins over Gordie Stevens, Sambo Tyra and Bobby Arnett, producing double-breakout victories over Stevens and Arnett and a breakout victory over Tyra. Gossett had wins over Ernie Humes, Greg Sauvage and Kris Bunch on his way to the final.

Despite the stellar finish to the race, Pressey actually began the weekend with more issues with his car. During the only test and tune session of the weekend, Pressey's car began backfiring and failing to reach full power. Nervous, Pressey returned to the pits and gave the car a quick overhaul hoping to fix the issue.

"When we unloaded on Thursday, the car didn't want to run. During our first three passes the car was missing, popping and didn't want to reach a certain RPM. So we took the car back to the pits, pumped the fuel out, flushed the carb, put in new plugs and went back to work. Our next pass we went a dead-on 10.19," Pressey said. "We are thankful we had good weather on Thursday for the test and tune. After that the car was flawless."

With the win, Pressey not only gets the title of world champion, but he claims an awesome prize package that includes $10,000 from Summit Racing Equipment, a brand new 26' trailer from Performax Trailers, a $2,500 gift certificate from Trick Flow, a Gemini two-post Auto Lift, nearly $10,000 in prizes from Chicago Wheels, Hughes Transmission and Converter, Armor Coat Ceramic Header Coating, Rock Racing Battery, Jones Transmission and K&N, a vacation to Aruba and more.

"We saw a lot of weather, a lot of ups and downs and spent a lot of time just sitting and waiting, but we did it," Pressey said. "Thanks again to all of my friends. I went through some stuff over the past year, but I have some great friends that supported me. What an exciting year and what an amazing program IHRA puts on. It was a great experience for all of us."

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