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Haley Puts Finishing Touches On Title Run

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Published in Racing News
Friday, 30 September 2016 21:05

Justin Haley and Kyle Benjamin led the way as NASCAR's youth movement conquered the "Monster Mile."

It was Haley who lifted the big championship trophy at Dover International Speedway, while Benjamin took the final NASCAR K&N Pro Series East checkered flag of 2016.

Haley brought home the No. 5 Off Axis Chevrolet with a fourth-place finish in the Dover 125 to put the finishing touches on his first championship season. 

The 17-year-old from Winamac, Indiana, put together a title-winning run with remarkable consistency. His Dover finish was his 13th top five in 14 races. He collected two wins along the way, with a worst finish of eighth-place, to claim the crown over Benjamin by 22 points.

Haley also became the fourth consecutive driver for HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks to win the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East title. He followed Dylan Kwasniewski (2013), Ben Rhodes (2014) and William Byron (2015). He is also the eighth straight teenager to win the K&N Pro East crown, and joins 16-year-old Cayden Lapcevich as a NASCAR champion this season. Lapcevich won the NASCAR Pinty's Series title in Canada earlier this year.

Benjamin did everything he could in his No. 40 Ranier Racing with MDM Chevrolet. The 19-year-old NASCAR Next alum from Easley, South Carolina, led the most laps (84) and won for the third time on the season. A late caution pushed the race to 126 laps, but Benjamin was able to pull away from the field on the green-white-checkered finish to secure the victory.

Rain washed out qualifying and Haley started on the pole. He led 42 laps before Benjamin took over.

Fellow NASCAR Next alum Jesse Little came home second, followed by Dominique Van Wieringen with her third straight top five finish. Rev Racing and NASCAR Drive for Diversity driver Ruben Garcia Jr., also a NASCAR Next alum, was fifth. With Van Wieringen, from Ontario, Canada, and Mexico native Garcia, three countries were represented in the top five.

NASCAR Next drivers Harrison Burton and Tyler Dippel finished sixth and seventh respectively, followed by Riley Herbst, Chad Finley and Trey Hutchens III.

The top eight drivers were under 21.

Garcia’s Rev Racing teammate Collin Cabre, the defending race winner, finished 21st after being sidelined with a flat tire on Lap 102 while running second.

The Dover 125 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m.

Behind Haley and Benjamin, Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidates Tyler Dippel and Hunter Baize finished third and fourth, respectively, in the championship standings. Noah Gragson rounded out the top five.

Haley, Benjamin and other top performers from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will be honored on Saturday, Dec. 10 in Charlotte for the NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Awards celebration. The event will be held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame at the Charlotte Convention Center for the seventh consecutive year.

NASCAR PR

For years, Dover International Speedway has had a special relationship with the Fire Service, and the men and women who protect us on a daily basis.

From the drivers on the track, to the crews in the pits, to the fans in the stands, many members of the Fire Service are on hand each race weekend to keep everyone secure, and to serve as a safeguard in the event of a dangerous incident.

Just one week ago, two veteran firefighters – and heroes – lost their lives while responding to a house fire in nearby Wilmington, Del., just 50 minutes north of the track.

Lt. Christopher Leach, 41, and Senior Firefighter Jerry Fickes, 51, lost their lives, while Ardythe Hope and Brad Speakman remain in critical condition at Crozier-Chester Medical Center in Chester, Pa.

The local and national community of firefighters has been mourning this tragic loss, but on Friday at the Monster Mile, many were treated to what was described as a “healing moment.”

Kyle Benjamin, driver of the No. 40 Chevrolet, proudly sported the Wilmington Fire Department crest on the hood of his car, and had all firefighters and quite a few fans on his side as he drove to his first career win at Dover International Speedway.

Benjamin said it was an honor to carry the WFD crest on the hood of his car, and also felt like Lt. Leach and Sr. Firefighter Fickes were on his side in the race.

“I felt like it brought us a little luck today, having it on the hood,” he said.

Following the victory, dozens of the at-track Fire Service members swarmed to Victory Lane, not just to celebrate the win, but also to celebrate their fallen brothers.

“They were telling me that [firefighters] are like brothers, and it’s hard losing somebody that close to you,” Benjamin said. “It’s tragic what happened so it was really neat to get to have them in Victory Lane.”

Keith Stockman of the Goodwill Fire Co. in New Castle, Del., was one of the Fire Service members on hand in Victory Lane, and said the moment was a bright one in a week that’s been filled with sorrow.

“My dad is retired from [Wilmington Fire Department] and I knew both firefighters that passed away,” Stockman said. “And for the driver to put this on his car and then go ahead and win, it means so much to the Fire Service.”

Sadly, members of the WFD were not able to be on hand for the victory, as they are attending memorial services for their fallen brothers this weekend. However, Stockman said he made sure his fellow firefighters up north knew who to pull for today.

“I sent pictures back to everyone that was at the funeral, and they all told me to wish him good luck,” he said. “Then for him to come out and win, it’s not a burden off of our shoulders, but it’s part of the healing and helps out. It’s a big deal for us right now.”

Dover International Speedway will also honor the firefighters with a moment of silence before the start of the Sunday, Oct. 2 “Citizen Soldier 400” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

Dover Motorsports PR

Herbst Charges To 8th-Place Finish At Monster Mile

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Published in Racing News
Friday, 30 September 2016 21:01

Riley Herbst charged from 18th on the grid to finish eighth at Deleware’s Dover International Speedway on Friday as the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East wrapped up its 2016 season.

 

It marked the third top-10 finish in three K&N East races this year for the 17-year-old from Las Vegas, who wheeled the No. 16 NOS Energy Drink Toyota Camry for Bill McAnally Racing.

 

Herbst, making his first visit to the track known as the Monster Mile, was 14th quickest in practice; but had to start from the 18th spot after qualifying was cancelled due to weather and the field was set by points. He picked off cars one at a time, working his way forward. Herbst broke into the top 10 just past Lap 100 and then gained a couple more positions in the final two laps after a late-race restart.

 

While Kyle Benjamin won the 126-lap race, Justin Haley finished fourth to capture the series championship. 

 

Herbst’s finish was his best in the three K&N East races he ran this year. He finished ninth in making his series debut in the season opener at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway in February and followed that up with a 10th-place finish at Bristol (Tennessee) Motor Speedway in April.

 

Herbst ran the three K&N East events in addition to running the full schedule in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West this season. He is sixth in the K&N West championship standings and third in rookie points, with one event remaining of a 14-race schedule. Herbst has seven top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 13 starts.

 

The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East season finale from Dover will be televised on NBCSN on Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. ET.

BMR PR

ARCA Truck Series Rookie of the Year candidate Armani Williams was one of 17 drivers from across the country selected to participate in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Combine for an opportunity to compete in the top driver development program in motorsports.

Williams, one of three drivers from the state of Michigan will head to Florida for a national tryout at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway from Oct. 10 – 12.

He is also the youngest male in the Combine and third youngest of the participants.

The 13th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine invites promising ethnically diverse and female drivers from across North and South American to test their skills over a three-day period as NASCAR evaluates talent for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Class of 2017.

“I’m very humbled by this opportunity to compete in this year’s NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Combine,” said Williams. “I’m focused about going to New Smyrna and doing what I know how to do and hope that will be enough to be selected for such an elite class for 2017.

“There aren’t words to describe what this means to me or my family. For the last several years, we have eaten, lived and breathed racing and know this is an opportunity because of the endless effort and support from my family that I’ll have the opportunity to continue my dream of becoming a professional race car driver.”

Williams, a 16-year-old African-American driver is believed to be the first Combine participant that has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Autism is often misunderstood. It is a neurological development disorder that affects people in many different ways. Most often those diagnosed with Autism battle some social challenges and learning disabilities. Yet, many individuals are bright, talented and extremely focused in areas they find interesting. Today, over 3.5 million people in the United States live with Autism every day.

“No matter what happens in New Smyrna, this opportunity is a blessing,” added Williams. “This chance proves that with hard work, determination and confidence in yourself – things can happen. I’ve been through a lot of battles even before I’ve been on the race track – but since turning my attention to becoming a race car driver, I’ve realized how much of a role model I’ve become for others. It’s because of them, my family and my sponsors that all this is possible.”

Launching his racing career at the tender age of eight, Williams has steadily and methodically built his own resume competing at local short tracks near and around his hometown with a recent emphasis on Super Mini Cup cars, where he enjoyed modest success.

His triumphs in Michigan and Indiana eventually led him to the next stage of his racing career, the ARCA Truck Series which is a pickup truck racing series which runs on numerous short tracks throughout the Midwest. Sanctioned by the Automobile Racing Club of America, the series races mid-sizes trucks with V6 and V8 engines. The 2016 season consists of a 14-race schedule which launched earlier this season at Toledo Speedway.

This weekend after nearly a two-month break, Williams returns to competition in his No. 4 Race4Autism Chevrolet Colorado at Lorain County Speedway in Amherst, Ohio for SPEAR Motorsports.

“It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve been in a truck, but I’m excited to get back after it,” he said. “It’s our next to last race and even though we’ve had a couple bumps in the road during the summer stretch – we want to bounce back and produce the finishes like we did at the beginning of the season with top-five finishes.”

For more on Armani Williams please visit his ALL NEW website, teamarmaniracing.com, like him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @TeamArmaniRacin.

Armani Williams PR

Local Racing Standout Taking Her Talents to Florida

Written by
Published in Racing News
Friday, 30 September 2016 13:53
McKenna Haase, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, will be one of 17 drivers vying for a roster spot in the motorsport industry’s top driver development program. Haase, the first woman to win a sprint car feature at the venerable Knoxville Raceway in only her second year of racing, will be part of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) Combine in Florida Oct. 10-12 at New Smyrna Speedway.

“Having the D4D Combine be the next step in my journey is a huge honor and blessing,” said Haase, a finance major at Drake University. “I've had so many exciting experiences in my career but being picked for the combine has been one of the most exciting moments yet.”

Now in its 13th year, the annual NASCAR D4D Combine invites promising female and diverse drivers from around the globe to test their mettle over a three-day period, to identify which drivers will compete as part of the 2017 NASCAR D4D Class. Rev Racing, owned by Max Siegel, operates the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program. This year’s list of hopefuls includes 13 women and four men ranging in age from 15 to 25.

D4D Combine participants will be evaluated on not only their racing skill but will also undergo a series of strength and agility exercises, and media training at nearby Bethune-Cookman University. Poise, in and out of a stock car, is one of the things NASCAR and the Rev Racing competition directors will measure when scrutinizing drivers during their time at New Smyrna Speedway.

Established in 2004, the Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program has helped more than 30 drivers make a splash in NASCAR. Three of its graduates, in particular, have been especially successful: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kyle Larson, in addition to NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Daniel Suárez and Darrell Wallace Jr.

In August, Larson won his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race to become the first graduate of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity and the NASCAR Next programs to win at the sanctioning body’s top level.

“I understand how challenging the D4D Combine can be, especially my first year, but I have thought about what might be next,” said Haase. “I'm fully willing to travel / move for the next step in my career and follow my heart.”

Time will tell if Haase will make a name for herself in NASCAR, too. But for now, she will be looking to earn a spot in the 2017 NASCAR D4D Class through the combine.

Fans can follow the NASCAR D4D Combine live on Twitter at @NASCARDiversity and @RevRacing.

Iowa Speedway PR
Alex Prunty’s incredible rookie season in Super Late Models sees him continue to lead in the Kulwicki Driver Development Program (KDDP) “Kulwicki Cup” point standings. The 23-year-old Lomira, Wisconsin driver has won SLM features on his home track at Slinger and at the Dells Raceway Park. Prunty has scored more than 15 top-five finishes, including seven second-place finishes. He was a legitimate challenger for the Slinger Speedway SLM championship, finishing a strong third in the points.

With the month of October remaining to decide the 2016 “Kulwicki Cup” champion, Prunty holds the lead over Jay, Maine’s Dave Farrington Jr., with rising racing star Michael Ostdiek and West Coast hot shoe Jeremy Doss in hot pursuit.

“Alex has had an impressive season for a rookie driver in Super Late Model racing against some of the toughest competition out there,” said KDDP executive director Tom Roberts. “Dave picked up his first career wins at Beech Ridge this season and challenged for the track championship all season long before finishing third in points. Michael has really come on strong and is turning heads on a weekly basis now. Jeremy won the prestigious Montana 200 and is positioned to make a strong run to the finish in his attempt to win our program’s championship.

“The current point standings certainly reflect the importance of all the factors that go into winning our prestigious award,” Roberts said. “Our voting advisory board members place tremendous value on community involvement, social media activities and other off-track functions and I applaud them for that. Alex continued to receive the most bonus points from our voting board members, with Dave and Michael running a close second and third. I expect the off-track activities by our drivers during October to be quite impressive.“While Quin Houff, Cody Haskins and Brandon Setzer may not be among the frontrunners in the Kulwicki Cup competition, they have been tremendous representatives for the KDDP,” said Roberts. “Quin and Brandon still have races on their schedules and can certainly make their presence known during the month of October.”

The 2016 “Kulwicki Cup” point standings, through Sept. 18, look like this:

1) – Alex Prunty – 895
2) – Dave Farrington Jr. – 814
3) – Michael Ostdiek -- 802
4) – Jeremy Doss – 790
5) – Quin Houff – 533
6) – Cody Haskins – 431
7) – Brandon Setzer – 322

These seven drivers are competing this season for the 2016 “Kulwicki Cup” award that will pay one driver a $54,439 bonus at the organization’s banquet that will be held in Charlotte in December.

The KDDP points system is based on a combination of judging input from members of the advisory board and the drivers’ on-track performance. Board members are asked to rank the drivers from first to seventh in their job of representing the organization and points are awarded for those rankings. Each voter is given 10 discretionary “bonus” points to award the drivers for “exceptional contributions” to the program. Community engagement, program representation and social media activities account for as much as 60 percent of the points total. The remaining 40 percent of the points come from actual racing statistics. Race wins award 10 points, with 2nd-5th-place finishes getting 6 points, 6th-10th 4 points, 11th-15th 2 points and 15th-plus 1 point. A driver’s best 15 finishes are considered.

“Since our competition cut-off date was two weeks ago for this voting period, several drivers’ accomplishments (win by Farrington and top-five finishes for Ostdiek, Doss and Setzer) were not included in this vote, but will be considered in the final points,” said Roberts. “Some of our drivers have yet to compete in 15 races. Those facts certainly will make an impact in the overall point standings. What I expect to see from our drivers on and off the track heading down the stretch adds up to a competition for the 2016 Kulwicki Cup they’ll likely be talking about for years to come.”

KDDP PR

Seventeen drivers from across the country will compete for spots in the top driver development program in motorsports, NASCAR Drive for Diversity, during a national tryout at Florida’s New Smyrna Speedway from Oct. 10-12.

The 13th annual NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine invites promising ethnically diverse and female drivers from across North and South America to test their skills over a three-day period as NASCAR evaluates talent for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Class of 2017.

“This year’s NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine will feature some incredible talent and we’re excited to watch these young drivers compete,” said Dawn Harris, NASCAR director, multicultural development. “NASCAR’s first-class development program has produced the likes of Kyle Larson, Daniel Suárez and Darrell Wallace Jr., so it will be fun to see who rises to the top at New Smyrna.”   

In partnership with Rev Racing, NASCAR Drive for Diversity offers racing opportunities in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for one full season, providing drivers with equipment, mentoring, and competition experience.

"This is an unbelievable opportunity for these up-and-coming drivers; something I am very proud to be a part of for the sixth-consecutive year," said Jefferson Hodges, Rev Racing director of competition. "To see past Drive for Diversity participants compete across all three NASCAR national series speaks volumes for the solid foundation Rev Racing provides these drivers in their budding careers.”

This year, there are 13 female drivers competing for spots with Rev Racing. Returning this fall is Macy Causey, who at 14 years old was the youngest combine participant in NASCAR Drive for Diversity history in 2015. Also participating are Hailie Deegan, daughter of Brian Deegan, the most decorated athlete in freestyle motocross history, and Hope Hornish, the niece of 2006 Indianapolis 500 winner and current NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Sam Hornish Jr.

Drivers under consideration to return to the team in 2017, but who will not compete at the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine, include current NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series drivers: Jairo Avila, Enrique Baca, Collin Cabre, Madeline Crane, Ruben Garcia Jr, and Ali Kern. Collin’s brother, Chase Cabre, is also among the drivers selected to compete in this year’s combine.

Driver combine participants will be evaluated on their driving skills, take part in a physical fitness assessment and receive additional training at Bethune-Cookman University.

The NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine has proven successful in identifying and developing future stars of the sport. Current NASCAR Drive for Diversity members have garnered four top fives and 13 top 10s combined in the NASCAR K&N East and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series this season and are looking to repeat last year’s season-ending victory by Cabre at Dover International Speedway.

Program graduate, Kyle Larson, earned his first victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series this year at Michigan International Speedway. Also this season, fellow graduate and NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Daniel Suárez became the first Mexican-born driver to win a NASCAR national series race. Suárez and fellow NASCAR XFINITY driver Darrell Wallace Jr., another NASCAR Drive for Diversity alumnus, are currently competing in the inaugural NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase. 

Fans can follow the Combine live on Twitter at @NASCARDiversity and @RevRacing.

Below are the invitees to the 2016 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine:

First

Last

Age

City

State/Country

Ali

Kern*

23

Fremont

Ohio

Amber

Balcaen

24

Winnipeg

Canada

Ariel

Biggs

22

Castaic

California

Armani

Williams

16

Grosse Point

Michigan

Chase

Cabre

19

Tampa

Florida

Collin

Cabre*

23

Tampa

Florida

Enrique

Baca*

25

Monterrey

Mexico

Hailie

Deegan

15

Temecula

California

Hannah

Newhouse

19

Twin Falls

Idaho

Hope

Hornish

19

Defiance

Ohio

Jairo

Avila*

21

Alhambra

California

Jay

Beasley

24

Las Vegas

Nevada

Kayli

Barker

19

Las Vegas

Nevada

Luis

Rodriguez

22

Miami

Florida

Macy

Causey

15

Yorktown

Virginia

Madeline

Crane*

18

Meansville

Georgia

McKenna

Haase

19

Carlisle

Iowa

Nicole

Behar

18

Otis Orchards

Washington

Reegan

May

22

De Pere

Wisconsin

Ruben

Garcia Jr.*

20

Mexico City

Mexico

Santiago

Tovar

23

Mexico City

Mexico

Taylor

Jorgensen

20

Stockbridge

Georgia

Walter

Thomas III

18

Indianapolis

Indiana

* Current NASCAR Drive for Diversity drivers eligible for 2017 program; will attend but not compete in combine

NASCAR PR

Trans Am unveils 2017 Championship Schedule

Written by
Published in Racing News
Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:31
The Trans Am Race Company has announced a 13-event schedule for the 2017 Trans Am Championship that sees the vast majority of venues return from its 50th Anniversary season with the key addition of Indianapolis Motor Speedway on June 18th alongside the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association.  

The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, an invitational exhibition in 2016, will now feature as a full-fledged stop on the 2017 circuit for the TA and TA2 classes—bumping the number of events for class competitors to 13.  However, TA and TA2 competitors will have only 12 finishes count towards the Championship with the lowest finish from the first five events of the season automatically dropped. 

“We are very pleased with our 2017 Championship schedule,” said John Clagett, President of The Trans Am Race Company.  “Trans Am will retain all of our marquee weekends such as Mid-Ohio and Road America alongside NASCAR XFINITY, while formally adding Detroit and the legendary Motor City 100 to our Championship schedule.

“We also are making our return to the Formula Drift weekend at Road Atlanta,” added Clagett, “joining a coveted weekend at Watkins Glen (The US Vintage Grand Prix Weekend) and starting a new tradition on the legendary track at Indianapolis.  When you take everything into consideration, we can say with confidence that the 2017 Championship schedule is the finest we could secure for our fans, competitors and stake holders.” 

Although they will once more feature on the Trans Am schedule, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Road Atlanta, Watkins Glen and New Jersey Motorsports park will be visited by Trans Am on new dates— changes that bring about a more balanced schedule for the 2017 season.  

“Following up Trans Am’s 50th Anniversary season was never going to be an easy task,” continued Clagett.  “However, with the minor tweaks throughout the schedule and the addition of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Detroit to our slate of world-class tracks, Trans Am is poised for another successful year in 2017.”

2017 Trans Am Championship Schedule:

Venue Venue Partner
March 5 Sebring International Raceway SVRA
April 9  Homestead-Miami Speedway  
May 6 Road Atlanta Formula Drift
June 3-4 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Indy Car
June 18  Indianapolis Motor Speedway SVRA
July 2 Brainerd International Raceway  
August 12 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course NASCAR XFINITY
August 26 Road America NASCAR XFINITY
September 10 Watkins Glen SVRA
September 24 Virginia International Raceway SVRA
October 8 New Jersey Motorsports Park  
November 4 Circuit of the Americas SVRA
November 11 Daytona International Speedway HSR
The 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale will see the final appearance of the current-generation Daytona Prototype sports car, with a trio of Corvette Daytona Prototypes battling for the Prototype class title in Saturday’s 10-hour Petit Le Mans presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort at Road Atlanta (FOX Sports GO, FS1, Live, 11 a.m. ET).

 

Action Express Racing has a pair of Corvette DPs separated by only one point, 285-284, entering Round 11 of the 2016 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with Wayne Taylor Racing seven points behind the leader with 278 points.

 

Dane Cameron and Eric Curran took over the championship lead with a second-place finish at the most recent race at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas in Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP. They lead teammates and defending two-time Prototype champions Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi, drivers of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP. Recently crowned IndyCar champion Simon Pagenaud will co-drive the No. 31 Corvette DP at the finale, while Filipe Albuquerque will join the No. 5 team.

 

“I have no words to describe it, because it’s one thing to win three championships – or even four – but it’s something different when you manage to win three in a row,” Fittipaldi said. “We want to win it badly, and we’re going to do our very best. It’s very close, only one-point difference – it’s wide open. We’re racing our teammates, but at the end of the year, they’re our competitors also. I want to win it, but if the No. 5 is not on the top step, for sure I want the No. 31 to win.”

 

Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor won the most recent race at Circuit of The Americas in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. They will be joined at the finale by Max Angelelli. A fourth Corvette DP is the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing entry, with Marc Goossens, Ryan Dalziel and past IndyCar and Indianapolis 500 champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.

 

With new Prototype race cars set to debut with the 2017 season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, Petit Le Mans also marks the final race for the Panoz DeltaWing Racing Coupe and the current Mazda Prototype cars. The 2017 Prototype class will include new Daytona Prototype international (DPi) race cars powered by a variety of different engine manufacturers, as well as new global LM P2 race cars powered by spec Gibson V8 engines.

 

Fittipaldi competed in the first DP race – the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona – and won that event overall in both 2004 and 2014.

 

“We’re moving on to different technology and a different type of car,” Fittipaldi said. “We’re grateful for the DPs’ longevity in the sport. I first ran a DP in 2003, and fundamentally, it’s still the same car, the same chassis. It definitely did a lot of work out there and it generated great racing for the drivers and fans. But it’s time for a change, and I think the new cars are going to be awesome for the sport.”

 

Racing the No. 0 Panoz DeltaWing Racing Coupe for the final time will be Katherine Legge, Sean Rayhall and Andy Meyrick. Mazda Motorsports, meanwhile, has shown considerable speed throughout the 2016 season and gets one more chance at a victory with its current-generation Prototype from either the No. 55 Castrol/ModSpace entry for Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez, or the No. 70 of Tom Long and Joel Miller. Spencer Pigot is entered to drive in both Mazdas.

 

Tequila Patrón ESM, which opened the season with victories in the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, returns with Scott Sharp, Johannes van Overbeek and Pipo Derani in the No. 2 Tequila Patrón Honda Ligier JS P2. The team enters the event trailing Fittipaldi and Barbosa by two points in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup, 35-33, a competition encompassing the four longest races on the WeatherTech Championship schedule.

 

A similar entry to the No. 2 machine is the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Curb Records/AERO Honda Ligier JS P2 of Ozz Negri, John Pew and Olivier Pla. Both the No. 2 and No. 60 prototypes are eligible to compete next season at 2016 performance levels, but both teams already have announced other plans for 2017. Tequila Patrón ESM announced last week it will field a pair of Nissan-powered Ligier DPi cars for the full WeatherTech Championship season, while Michael Shank Racing will field a pair of brand-new Acura NSX GT3 race cars in the GT Daytona class.

Sportscar Vintage Racing Association announces 2017 schedule

Written by
Published in Racing News
Thursday, 29 September 2016 14:20
The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) announced today a 15-race event schedule for 2017 that continues to enhance its national platform as the premiere vintage racing series in North America. The SVRA is growing its marquee events at legendary courses such as Sebring, Road America, Watkins Glen, Sonoma, Mid-Ohio, Portland, Virginia International Raceway (VIR) and Circuit of the Americas (COTA). An important highlight of the schedule is an expanded relationship with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a second weekend of racing. The SVRA will not only present its popular Father’s Day weekend Brickyard Invitational but also a new event, “The Open Wheel World Challenge,” one week earlier, June 8-11.

“We are proud to work with world-class venues strategically selected on both coasts and in the middle of the country,” said Tony Parella, SVRA president and CEO. “This national platform provides access to essential markets for our sponsors and are conveniently located for our member race teams and our growing fan base.”

The new event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is expected to showcase as many as 500 cars. SVRA officials describe it as homage to the 50th anniversary of Formula Ford racing. In addition to Formula Ford, any open wheel road racing car, including Formula One, Formula 5000, Indy cars, Indy Lights and Formula Junior will be invited. Specific race groups will be established that combine cars of similar speed and will focus on rules for Monoposto, FIA, and SCCA race cars.

In addition to traditional racing venues the SVRA is the featured motorsports competition event of the year for the Amelia Island Gran Prix in March and October’s Coronado Speed Festival. The Amelia Island race meet takes place immediately following one of the top automotive events in the world, The Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance in north Florida. The Gran Prix is presented at the Fernandina Beach Municipal Airport and delivered promising attendance in its inaugural event earlier this year in a community with an evident car and motorsports culture.

The Coronado Speed Festival off the coast of San Diego taps into the robust car culture of Southern California. Like Sebring and Fernandina Beach, the Coronado Island celebration is staged at another airport race course, the Naval Air Station North Island and fills its grandstands. It is also an excellent example of the speed festival model the SVRA has developed for its event weekends throughout the year. These festivals provide fans with an immersive environment of various arrive and drive experiences as well as other activities such as its “show and shine” car shows for local owners, the Motostalgia collector car auctions, music concerts with iconic bands and more.

Many of the SVRA weekends extend their influence beyond the racing venue to become integral to the larger community. This is never more apparent than with the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix and the Grand Prix Festival of Watkins Glen. This is essentially a local holiday as on Friday of that weekend the vintage racers of SVRA join other proud car owners to present tours of The Glen’s original 6.6-mile public roads course where America’s first major road race was held in 1948. These are features of a massive street party where hugely valuable cars aredisplayed along the main drag of Franklin Street to create a setting that looks like a car guy’s version of Mardi Gras.

A crescendo of the season, the SVRA National Championships, will be presented at COTA to close the calendar on a high for the fourth year in a row in 2017. In this invitational drivers from across the spectrum of vintage racing converge and compete for the title of national champion in their car class on America’s only Formula One world championship facility.

In addition to the vintage racers of SVRA the professional Trans Am series, International GT and Historic Trans Am all are expected to appear at select 2017 events. Those details will be announced in coming weeks.


SVRA 2017 SCHEDULE

February 10-12    Spring Vintage Classic, Spring Mountain, NV
March 2-5    Sebring Vintage Classic, Sebring Intl Raceway, FL
March 16-19    Amelia Island Vintage Gran Prix, Fernandina Beach, FL
March 25-26    Willow Springs Historics, Willow Springs, CA
April 28-30    S. California Historic Sports Car Festival, Auto Club Speedway, CA
May 18-21    Spring Vintage Festival, Road America, WI
June 1-4    Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival, Sonoma Raceway, CA
June 8-11    Open Wheel World Challenge, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IN
June 14-18    Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IN
June 22-25    Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, OH
July 27-30    Portland Vintage Racing Festival, Portland Intl Raceway, OR
September 6-10    U.S. Vintage Grand Prix, Watkins Glen Intl, NY
September 21-24    Heacock Classic Gold Cup, Virginia Intl Raceway, VA
October 13-15    Coronado Speed Festival, Naval Air Station, North Island, CA*
November 1-5    US Vintage National Championship, Circuits of The Americas, TX


*Pending U.S. Navy approval
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