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Racing News from around the World
The 17-year old, Charlotte, North Carolina, native and 2015 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion became just the fifth driver to win the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title in their championship season.
Byron edged HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks teammate Dalton Sargeant on a tiebreaker to earn the honor. Both finished with 99 points in the rookie standings and Byron earned the Rookie of the Year by virtue of finishing higher in the overall standings.
Byron joined Joey Logano (2007), Ryan Truex (2009), Kyle Larson (2012) and Ben Rhodes (2014) to earn both the rookie of the year and series championship in the same season.
“It feels really good to be awarded the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award and join such a great group of winners,” Byron said. “There was such great rookie talent in the K&N East this year and it feels good to come out on top. To win both the Rookie of the Year award and the championship is such a rewarding experience for me and my team.”
Byron earned four wins, three poles, five top fives and 11 top 10s in 14 races while leading a series-high 740 laps.
The 2015 season saw 34 talented rookie drivers vying for the elite title in the K&N East, including Byron’s teammates Sargeant, Rico Abreu and JJ Haley, who finished second, third and fourth, respectively, in the Rookie of the Year standings.
Rookies accounted for eight wins, with Kyle Benjamin, Abreu, Dillon Bassett and Collin Cabre also visiting Victory Lane.
“This season started off fast paced with the rookies,” said Byron. “My team and I knew early on Sargeant would be tough competition after his second-place finish at New Smyrna. We counted on Abreu and Dillon Bassett challenging us as well. We figured that if we won the championship, the Rookie of the Year honors would be ours, too, so we set out to do just that.”
“Our first win at Greenville Pickens Speedway really jump started us and the season. We just kept our heads down and did the best we could to finish the best we could.”
The highest finishing rookie in a race receives 10 points, second receives nine, third gets eight and so on. So despite leading the championship standings, Byron entered the finale Saturday at Dover International Speedway one point behind Sargeant. He finished ninth at Dover and Sargeant was 11th to clinch the award.
Earning the Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors in the K&N East has gone a long way toward advancing a driver’s career in recent seasons. Starting with Logano in 2007, every Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the series have gone on to compete in NASCAR’s national series, including four drivers – Logano, Austin Dillon (2008), Alex Bowman (2011) and Larson who are full-time in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.Byron will be formally recognized as the 2015 Sunoco Rookie of the Year at the NASCAR Touring Series Awards on Saturday, Dec. 12 in the Charlotte (N.C.) Convention Center at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
“Tanner is a great addition to our development group,” said Rob Fuller, President of LFR Chassis. “He comes from a racing family that knows what it takes to be successful in this industry. That is a huge advantage in itself. It’s a great feeling as a company to be announcing our lineup this early in the year. Now we can focus on building top-notch race cars and securing the right crew members for these young drivers. Next season can’t come soon enough!”
Both of Gray’s father and grandfather are experienced race car drivers themselves. His father ran dirt modified cars and his grandfather ran everything from late models on dirt and asphalt to sprint cars and some drag racing.
Gray is looking to continue in his family’s footsteps and build on his racing experience. He previously raced Junior Dragsters when he was eight years old and moved on to 600 Micro Sprints at age 13. Gray has since run Outlaw Karts at Millbridge Speedway and tested 360 Sprint Cars and Midgets.
After making a few laps in a late model stock car, Gray knew he wanted to try his hand at asphalt racing and connected with the LFR Driver Development Group.
“I’m really excited to try my hand at Super Late Model racing with the LFR team,” said Tanner Gray. “I only have a handful of laps on asphalt under my belt, so it’ll be something new and different for me. They have great coaching here at LFR, so I’m sure I’ll learn a lot and have a great time out at the track.”
Gray’s first test with the LFR Driver Development Group will be on October 7 at Motor Mile Speedway. He will then go on to compete in 30 races with the team next year, starting in February with Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway.
Jeff Fultz, the Late Model Division Director at LFR, is also excited about the chance to work with Gray in this next step of his career.
“I’m looking forward to working with Tanner,” said Fultz. “He seems really eager to learn and that’s always a great thing to be around. It’ll be fun to help mold his driving style as he moves on to this next stage of his career.”
Fans can get to know Gray and follow his ride with the LFR Driver Development Group by connecting with him on Twitter at @tannergray5 and on Instagram at @t_gray15.
The new chassis, which is the result of unprecedented collaboration among the world’s top governing bodies for sports car racing -- IMSA, the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Automobile Club l’Ouest (ACO) -- will be built by the four constructors approved and announced earlier this summer: Dallara, Onroak Automotive, ORECA and Riley/Multimatic. DPi and new LM P2 cars coming online in 2017 will be eligible to compete in the top Prototype class for overall race wins.
IMSA’s DPi philosophy allows for cars to be powered by a wide range of engines from the world’s leading automobile manufacturers. The cars also will feature manufacturer-specific bodywork and styling cues.
Beginning with the 2017 season, this unique approach will usher in a new chapter of prototype racing. It is expected to attract several major automobile manufacturers seeking to showcase and develop their technologies in the most challenging environment possible - endurance sports car racing – including marquee North American events such as the Rolex 24 At Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Six Hours of The Glen and 10-hour Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.
“We believe the DPi philosophy represents an attractive combination of safety, technology and relevance,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton. “It is a modern, international prototype that will provide participating manufacturers, teams, drivers – and especially our fans – with a wide variety of great cars and outstanding competition.”
In contrast to the LM P2 version of the car which will exclusively feature a standard “spec” engine supplied by Gibson Technology, DPi technical regulations allow many different engines, including those used in existing FIA GT3 race car applications.
DPi and LM P2 cars will be homologated (approved) for a minimum of four years, from 2017 through 2020 to enable participants to leverage their investments, thus providing increased stability for all involved. To achieve performance parity in the top Prototype class, IMSA will utilize a Balance of Performance (BoP) methodology for both the DPi and LM P2 specifications.
IMSA also announced that closed-cockpit LM P2 cars built between 2014 and 2016 will be eligible (grandfathered) to compete in the WeatherTech Championship during the 2017 season. Open-cockpit LM P2 cars and current Daytona Prototypes will no longer be permitted in IMSA competition after the 2016 season.
Super Boat International, President John Carbonell commented, “We were very fortunate with the storm front moving on a different path than expected. We continued to monitor the weather hourly, as the day progressed and we knew we could get all three races in. The weather actually turned nice during the races right up to the last couple laps of the day. For safety precautions, we flagged the race so everyone could return to safe harbor.”
During the 7th annual running of Bright House Clearwater Super Boat National Championships, the smooth waters provided for fast speeds off Clearwater Beach, Florida. The race conditions proved to be some of the flattest seas from years past.
In the Superboat Unlimited class, Bob Bull (owner/driver) and throttleman, Randy Scism, ran the CMS 3, 52’ MTI, with what Scism referred to as a “no excuses day”. Scism went on to say, “All the big guys were here today so there are no excuses. We got a good start, a good lead and just managed power from that point on to maintain our lead. The boat handled great, and Bob did a great job driving.” Asking owner, Bob Bull, of the two boat race team, about his feelings on the day, the win and title, he elaborated on his entire crew’s efforts and performance and said “It was fun.. we had a great day.”
Cleveland Construction did what all teams need to do in this high performance motorsport… run smart and be there at the end. The team ran strong and kept it together in the Superboat class, that encountered some usual attrition, giving them a well earned 1st place.
Twisted Metal Motorsports took the checkered flag first in the Superboat Extreme Class, but after inspections, were penalized for a datalogger infraction and relinquished first place to Team Hooters. The Hooters/Instigator team of Meyer and Stanch ran a competitive race and held the their position throughout the day.
In the Superboat Stock class, driver, Robert Nunziato and throttleman, Dan Lawrence in the 32’ Doug Wright, The Hulk, dominated the oval-course from start to finish and earned first place for the day. But, it was Papa Pilar’s 4th place finish that earned them the National Title Crown.
Team Phantom took 1st place in the Superboat Vee class over 3-time season winner Sun Print. However, a second place finish earned #51 Sun Print enough points to win the National Championship.
The 2015 Super Boat National & Florida Champions: 03 CMS — National and Florida Champion 1 Hooters Instigator — National and Florida Champion 5 WHM Motorsports — National Champion / 4 Cleveland Construction — Florida Champion S-5 Papa's Pilar Rum — National Champion / S-29 Talbot — Florida Champion 51 Sunprint — National and Florida Champion P3-2 2nd Amendment — National Champion / P3-3 Developer — Florida Champion P4-1 Two Cruel — National and Florida Champion
The next race for Super Boat International is the 35th Annual Key West World Championship, which will be held November 8th - 15th in Key West, Florida. To watch coverage of the upcoming race if you are unable to attend, visit new.livestream.com/sbi/keywest2015.
Official Results: Superboat Unlimited 1. CMS 2. Miss GEICO 3. Marine Concepts Speed Racer 4. Lucas Oil Silverhook 5. Alex and Ani 6. Envy
Superboat Extreme 1. Hooters Instigator 2. Outerlimits 3. Freedom 4. Twisted Metal
Superboat 1. Cleveland Construction 2. Team Amsoil 3. Sailor Jerry Autonation 4. WHM 5. STIHL
Superboat Vee 1. Phantom 2. Sun Print 3. LSB Lilly Sport Boats 4. Mr Technology 5. Boatfloater.com
Superboat Stock 1. The Hulk 2. Talbot Excavating 3. Smart Marine 4. Papa’s Pilar Rum 5. Joyland 6. FJ Propeller
Manufacturer Prod 3 1. The Developer 2. 2nd Amendment 3. VooDoo Offshore Racing
Manufacturer Prod 4 1. Two Cruel 2. Pump It 3. Christies Photographies 4. Fast Forward 5. Team Raven 6. No Vacancy
If you missed this year’s Bright House Clearwater National Championship, you can catch up on all of the action by visiting http://livestream.com/sbi/clearwater2015, where you can view the race from the comfort of your home!
McGaha, in the Harlow Sammons Racing Harlow Sammons of Odessa Chevrolet Camaro SS, ran a 6.492/213.64 mph final round in what turned out to be the quickest Pro Stock race in NHRA history. McGaha won for the third time this season, having taken the first to victories of his career at Denver and Sonoma in the summer.
Anderson ran a 6.484/214.59 mph in his KB Racing Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro SS, but McGaha was 0.042 seconds quicker off the line. Anderson, a four-time Pro Stock champion, was seeking a Reading victory after a pair of semifinal berths the last two seasons.
The victory moved McGaha up three positions in the Pro Stock Countdown to the Championship standings to third behind Anderson and points leader Erica Enders, who has a 72-point advantage with three events left.
McGaha was the No. 2 qualifier from Saturday’s lone round of time trials. He beat Val Smeland in the opening round and Jonathan Gray’s Gray Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro SS on a red-light start. McGaha topped Bo Butner in his Jim Butner Auto Sales Camaro SS to put him in the final round.
Anderson entered eliminations as the No. 4 qualifier and beat a trio of Chevrolets to reach the final: John Gaydosh (Gaydosh Performance), KB Racing teammate Jason Line (Summit Racing Equipment Camaro SS) and Larry Morgan (Fireaide Camaro SS).
John Force Racing’s Brittany Force advanced to the Top Fuel semifinals in her Monster Energy Drink/Chevrolet Top Fuel Dragster. The No. 1 qualifier in Top Fuel, Force beat Dave Connolly with a
3.725.331.53 mph to pass to earn a second-round bye. However, Force fell in the semifinal to Tony Schumacher in a matchup of top-four points contenders in the category.
In Funny Car, John Force Racing’s Robert Hight couldn’t carry the momentum from his 41st career No. 1 qualifier honor into eliminations. He fell to John Hale in the first round. Seven-time Reading Funny Car winner John Force in the Peak Antifreeze Chevrolet Camaro SS lost to eventual runner-up Chad Head. Courtney Force, with her Traxxas Radio Control Cars Chevrolet Camaro SS, lost in the first round to Cruz Pedregon.
The next stop for the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Race Series is the 30th annual AAA Texas NHRA FallNationals on Oct. 15-18 from Texas Motorplex near Dallas-Fort Worth.
The worlds most prestigious championship will once again consist of 12 rounds of competition in its 44th season, composed of 24 motos that will take the star-studded field of international riders to 11 different states, including the highly anticipated return of the Southwick National in Southwick, Mass., for the first time since the 2013 season.
"When we made the decision to leave Southwick at the conclusion of the 2013 season there was always a belief that we would return there in the near future. We are proud to say that the time has come to bring the championship back to the sandbox, filling a void many fans and members of the industry have felt the last three years," said MX Sports Pro Racing President Davey Coombs. "We are excited to return to the passionate fans in New England and showcase one of the most beloved and unique venues of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship."
The 2016 season will open with back-to-back rounds in California, once again kicking off with the iconic Hangtown Motocross Classic just outside the state capital of Sacramento on May 21. The oldest round of the championship has served as the season opener for nine of the past 12 seasons and surprisingly is the only track in the championship at which defending champion Dungey has never won. From there, the series will travel south to the heart of the motocross racing community in Southern California with its annual visit to Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino on May 28 over Memorial Day Weekend.
The championship will make one more stop in the western portion of the country at Colorado’s picturesque Thunder Valley MX Park just outside Denver on June 3 before heading east for the heart of the 2016 season. Following the first off weekend of the summer, Mount Morris, Pennsylvania’s High Point Raceway (June 18) will start a six-week stretch that will take the world’s best riders to Muddy Creek Raceway in Blountville, Tennessee (June 25), Buchanan, Michigan’s RedBud MX for Independence Day (July 2), the sands of Southwick MX Park (July 9), Spring Creek MX Park in Millville, Minnesota (July 16), and Washougal, Washington’s Washougal MX Park (July 23).
Following a final two-week break in action, the stretch run of the 2016 season will span across three consecutive weekends, beginning at the hallowed grounds of Unadilla MX in New Berlin, New York, on August 13. Southern Maryland’s Budds Creek MX Park, in the shadow of the nation’s capital of Washington D.C., will host the penultimate round of the championship on August 20 before a pair of champions are crowned at Lucas Oil Pro Motocross’ newest venue of Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana, on August 27.
“The 2016 championship schedule consists of the most renowned facilities in all of American motocross and fittingly comes to an end at the sport’s newest track that is quickly making a name for itself after just two seasons,” added Coombs. “It was a year to remember for Ryan Dungey and Jeremy Martin in 2015, but they will need to fend off an exceptionally talented field of challengers at the country’s finest race tracks if they hope to make even more history and defend their titles. It’s sure to be an incredible season of motocross.”
2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Schedule
|May 21||Hangtown Motocross Classic||Prairie City SVRA||Sacramento, California|
|May 28||Glen Helen National||Glen Helen Raceway||San Bernardino, Califronia|
|June 4||Thunder Valley National||Thunder Valley MX Park||Lakewood, Colorado|
|June 18||High Point National||High Point Raceway||Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania|
|June 25||Tennessee National||Muddy Creek Raceway||Blountville, Tennessee|
|July 2||RedBud National||RedBud MX||Buchanan, Michigan|
|July 9||Southwick National||Southwick MX Park||Southwick, Massachusetts|
|July 16||Spring Creek National||Spring Creek MX Park||Millville, Minnesota|
|July 23||Washougal National||Washougal MX Park||Washougal, Washington|
|August 13||Unadilla National||Unadilla MX||New Berlin, New York|
|August 20||Budds Creek National||Budds Creek MX Park||Mechanicsville, Maryland|
|August 27||Ironman National||Ironman Raceway||Crawfordsville, Indiana|
Mazda Awards $300,000 in Scholarships to Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich TiresWritten by Adam Sinclair Tuesday, 06 October 2015 13:37
“We’ve been surrounded by sharks all season, so this is a very interesting setting,” said Joao Barbosa, who joined Christian Fittipaldi in repeating as Prototype (P) champions for Action Express Racing.
Other series champions crowned at the event were Patrick Pilet in GT Le Mans (GTLM); Jon Bennett and Colin Braun in Prototype Challenge (PC); and Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell in GT Daytona (GTD). Each driver champion received the Bishop-France Award, replicas of the series’ perpetual trophy.
"Obviously winning the championship the way we did in the final laps of the season was very exciting for the fans and for the series," Fittipaldi said "The competition was much stronger this season and we had what we had for the championship fight. It was great to deliver the championship for everyone who works so hard at the shop and track to give us incredible race cars.”
The festive evening also included reigning American Idol winner Nick Fradiani, who introduced the opening and second half of the festivities with a trio of performances.
The seven champions also received TUDOR Grantour Chrono Fly-Back Timepieces, presented by Russell Kelly, Brand Manager of TUDOR Watch USA.
“The championship battles in all four TUDOR United SportsCar Championship classes went down to the final race of the season, and given Saturday’s unprecedented conditions, you are all worthy champions,” said IMSA President Scott Atherton.
Team championship-winning Action Express Racing (P), Porsche North America (GTLM), CORE autosport (PC) and Scuderia Corsa (GTD) – also received paintings of their race cars commissioned by Continental Tire. Motorsports artist Bill Patterson executed the painting of the Action Express Corvette DP on the main stage while guests filed in to the Aquarium ballroom.
The championship marked the fifth consecutive PC team title for CORE autosport, dating back to American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón competition, and second straight for Bennett and Braun as drivers.
“Our team manager, Morgan Brady, warned us at the beginning of the year that this could be the most competitive season of all in PC,” Bennett said. “Morgan was not wrong. The quality of competition in PC is improving every year, and it was a tough season. We didn’t have nearly as many wins as we’ve had in the past, but we did have a solid season. Our keys were reliability and perseverance.”
Scuderia Corsa only led the GTD standings at one point of the season – at the checkered flag of Saturday’s rain-drenched Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.
“Last season, we led most of the year and lost it in the last two races,” Bell said. “To reverse that process here is definitely the way to go, leading for the first time in the final race and winning the championship. It’s very satisfying winning it with a new team – Scuderia Corsa. We’ll never forget the treacherous conditions in the final race, and to come out without making any mistakes was great. Frankly, it was a dream season.”
Chevrolet, Porsche and Ferrari were recognized as winners of the manufacturers’ championships – Prototype, GT Le Mans and GT Daytona, respectively. Michelin was the winning GTLM tire manufacturer.
The winners of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, recognizing the four iconic endurance races on the schedule, were officially honored. Barbosa and Fittipaldi also repeated in Prototype; Corvette Racing with Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in GTLM; PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Mike Guasch, Tom Kimber-Smith and Andrew Palmer in PC; and TI Automotive/ViperExchange’s Al Carter and Cameron Lawrence (GTD) were champions of the unique competition that awarded points at different segments of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.
“It was a tough year, so to come away with the Patrón Endurance Cup is a nice consolation for what could have been,” Magnussen said.
Among the other presentations:
- Winning the TOTAL Pole Awards were Ricky Taylor (P), James French (PC) and Dion von Moltke (GTD).
- The Continental Tire “Driving Confidence Award” for most racing miles went to Action Express (P) for the second consecutive year, following its perfect 2014 season by completing all but one lap in 2015. CORE autosport won in PC for the second consecutive year, while Alex Job Racing’s No. 22 Porsche won in GTD.
- The VP Fuels Front Runner Award, presented to the team leading the most laps during the second half of the season, went to RSR Racing in PC/GTD and Porsche North America in P/GTLM.
- The No. 3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R won the DEKRA Green Challenge Award for having the cleanest, fastest and most efficient car.
- BMW was presented the Green Racing Manufacturer Award.
The evening ended with a look to the future, with Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood giving an update on DAYTONA Rising.
“Only 100 days to go,” Chitwood said of the $400 million transformation. “It will be finished and ready, creating the world’s first true motorsports stadium. Everyone will be amazed when they show up for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 30-31.”
The next scheduled activity in preparation for the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will be a two-day test at Daytona International Speedway on Nov. 17-18.
Rev Racing drivers finally hit the track at 12:30 p.m., without qualifications or practice. The delay and lack of track time, however, didn't slow down Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate Collin Cabre. The 21-year-old from Tampa, Florida, scored his first K&N Pro series East career victory.
Cabre became the sixth driver from the NASCAR Drive For Diversity Program to win a NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race and gave Rev Racing, which has fielded the competition team for the program since 2010, its 17th win.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect having had no opportunity to practice or feel out the track,” said Cabre. “The car just felt great and my crew guided me into a comfort zone. I realized we not only had an opportunity to be competitive, but to actually win this thing. I put everything I had into it and we won.”
Cabre started the race in 12th position, as the starting lineup was set according to the rulebook. Cabre's No. 2 UTI/NTI Toyota crossed the finish line 6.454 seconds in front of series veteran Eddie MacDonald. Cabre will finish his rookie season 10th in overall point standings.
“I think the best thing about working with Collin this season was his willingness to listen and take in as much information as we could throw at him,” stated Crew Chief Matt Bucher. “Every situation we’ve run into this year, he has never doubted what we have done or asked of him. This goes a long way with our confidence in him and his confidence in us as a crew. The more he races, the better he gets and I’m sure Dover won’t be his last trip to victory lane.”
Kenzie Ruston, driver of the No. 4 Sunoco Toyota, started in 11th position and finished the race in 13th position. Ruston had her best ever Dover finish, as historically this track has posed a challenge. Ruston will finish the season 11th in overall point standings.
Devon Amos, driver of the No. 6 Honda Generator Toyota, started in 15th position and finished the race in 12th position. Amos fluctuated back and forth several spots throughout the race, battling for position as the checkered approached. Amos will finish the season 14th in overall point standings.
Jay Beasley, driver of the No. 4 Special Smiles Toyota, started in 10th position and finished the race in 21st position. As the green flag waved, Beasley quickly moved up several spots to P7. Approaching lap 15 Beasley had a left front tire blow, which forced him to the garage for timely repairs. His crew got him back on the track to finish the Drive Sober 125 for his return to the K&N Pro Series. Beasley will finish the season 16th in overall point standings after missing three races this 2015 season.
Rev Racing drivers will focus on the 2015 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine, as it is set to take place October 19th -21st at Langley Speedway. Other participants competing for the 2016 class will be announced this week.
Rev Racing PR