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Todd Gilliland Earns First Late Model Stock Car Win

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Published in Racing News
Sunday, 29 March 2015 12:16
Todd Gilliland earned his first Late Model Stock Car victory with a dramatic come-from-behind effort at Southern National Motorsports Park Saturday night. Veteran Deac McCaskill dominated most of the 150-lap race, but Gilliland made a late pass to lead the final two laps for a victory in the inaugural race for the Championship Auto Racing Series (CARS) Late Model Stock Tour.

 

The 14-year-old son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Gilliland rolled off third for the X-1R Performance Products 300 at the 0.4-mile asphalt oval in Lucama, N.C.  Gilliland's No. 98 bounced around the top 10 for the entire event, but made his push toward the front in the waning laps.


On the race's final restart with three laps to go, Gilliland squeezed to the inside of McCaskill, racing door to door for a lap before finally sliding past him for the lead. The teen kept the field in his mirror for the final two laps to take the checkered flag.

 

"That was a battle those last few laps to get past him, but I just had to stay mentally tough," said Gilliland. "My crew chief, Chris Lawson, was coaching me through it the whole way. I just stayed on his bumper, and then I had to use my bumper a little bit, but I got by him. It feels great to get my first Late Model win."

 

The Sherrills Ford teen earned his first Limited Late Model victory last May at Ace Speedway (Altamahaw, N.C.). Saturday night's win is Gilliland's first in the higher-horsepower late model car.

 

"I couldn't be prouder of him," said David Gilliland, who will make his 300th Sprint Cup start Sunday at Martinsville Speedway. "He's a great young man and a great race car driver. I think he proved a lot tonight. I'm so glad I was racing in Martinsville this weekend so I could drive down to see this race.

 

The David Gilliland Racing team raced with support from Country Chevrolet, Core Power, Norfleet Developments, Racing Electronics, Eibach Springs and Performance Racing Warehouse.

Breaking Limits PR

JOPLIN, Mo. - Dalton Sargeant captured his first career NASCAR touring series victory on Saturday at the Kern County Raceway from the pole. Sargeant, 17, captured the victory by holding off David Mayhew all race long to lead 75 of the 160 laps. The NAPA Auto Parts 150 had to be extended after a late race caution put the event into overtime.

David Mayhew led the other 85 laps of the day but could not keep Sargeant behind him to take the victory. Mayhew started the event in fourth behind the wheel of his No. 17 MMI Services Chevrolet. The California native captured his 44th top 10 finish at Kern.

Noah Gragson also made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut on Saturday. After starting from eighth, Gragson was able to stay clean all night long. By this being his first start in this series, it certainly gives the driver momentum heading into his next K&N West division start.

James Bickford made his 15th career NASCAR K&N Pro Series start Saturday night at the Kern County Raceway. Bickford is a 17-year old driver from Napa, California and is one of the fan favorites in the series. He brought home a fourth-place finish last night after starting the event from fifth.

Brandon McReynolds, son of NASCAR broadcaster Larry McReynolds, had problems in the 2015 K&N Pro Series West opener. After starting the event from second, McReynolds had to bring his car down pit road with only four laps complete. Team discovered radiator problems that forced them to finish 27th.

The race can be viewed Friday, April 3rd at 6:30 p.m. Et. on NBCSN. The next race for the series will be at Irwindale Speedway. Live coverage of practice, qualifying and race will be provided by NASCARhometracks.com and Speed51. NBCSN will carry the race on Thursday, April 16 with the time still to be determined.

Sargeant Finishes What He Started At Kern

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Published in Racing News
Sunday, 29 March 2015 09:38
Rookie Dalton Sargeant earned his first NASCAR victory and he held off a series veteran to do it.

Sargeant out-lasted David Mayhew to win the K&N Pro Series West season opener Saturday night at Kern County Raceway Park, as a pair of late cautions pushed the NAPA Auto Parts 150 to 160 laps.

The 17-year-old Boca Raton, Florida, native picked up right where he left off in February at Florida's New Smyrna Speedway where he finished second in the K&N Pro Series East opener.

Sargeant won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award presented by Coors Light earlier in the day and the No. 55 GALT Ford led the final 58 laps. Sargeant, who drives for HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks in the K&N Pro East, is racing the K&N Pro West for the first-year Jefferson Pitts Racing team.

Sargeant’s Jefferson Pitts' teammates, Noah Gragson and Gracin Raz, finished third and sixth respectively.

Mayhew led 85 laps before Sargeant took control on Lap 102. Despite challenging Sargeant on every lap, the 33-year-old Atascadero, California native was unable to get past the rookie and settled for second.

Last year’s Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner, James Bickford finished fourth, and Chris Eggleston rounded out the top five.

Jonathan White, Brett Thompson, Christian McGhee and Alex Schutte completed the top 10.

The NAPA Auto Parts 150 will air on NBCSN on Friday, April 3 at 6:30 p.m. ET.

The K&N Pro Series West will return to the track at Irwindale on April 11.

NASCAR PR

Ed Jones and Max Chilton led the way for European powerhouse open-wheel team Carlin as the Dallara IL-15 and turbocharged 2.0-liter Mazda MZR-R engines made their official track debut today with a pair of practice sessions for this weekend's Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires season-opening Mazda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg Presented by Peninsula Pipeline.
 
Jones was fastest in this morning's opening practice session with a time of 1:07.1401 (average speed 96.515 mph), which was already faster than the existing race lap record of 1:07.2141 set by Sebastian Saavedra in 2009. A heavy rain shower precluded any activity in the scheduled afternoon session, so Jones' morning time remained as the fastest.
 
"The car is great to drive, especially through some of the fast corners," said Jones. "It's been a great experience. Carlin has done a very good job with the setup of the car. Obviously, it was a guessing game this morning, since we haven't been to this track before and so many of the other teams have. And it's been a matter of building myself up; I struggled a bit at the beginning of the session but it got better and better. I'm really looking forward to the dry weather and finally racing the car."
 
Carlin teammate Max Chilton, who raced for the past two years in Formula 1 and is helping the team with its initial foray to North America - with eyes fixed firmly on the Verizon IndyCar Series in the future - set the second fastest time at 1:07.4733.
 
"It's a very good stepping stone into IndyCar and I hope I'll get to drive an Indy car one day," said Chilton. "It's been a successful, albeit short day for us, as I was P1 for much of the session until Ed pipped me at the end. We've been at the top of the charts at most of the tests. The hard work starts tomorrow by getting a good qualifying position for the race, since it's not particularly easy to overtake on a street circuit. I think either of us can go for the win but I'm going to try my hardest to get that."
 
Fellow series newcomers Scott Hargrove, from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, and his Florida-based 8Star Motorsports team, turned the third fastest time at 1:07.5363, followed by Colombian Juan Piedrahita, who has joined defending champion team Belardi Auto Racing for his sophomore Indy Lights season and Matthew Brabham, with Andretti Autosport. Brabham, who became the first driver to win consecutive MAZDASPEED scholarships after winning the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda in 2012 and the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2013, finished fourth in his rookie season of Indy Lights in 2014.
 
"The Dallara IL-15 really is a fantastic car to drive," said Hargrove. "It was a great start to the weekend to finish P3 this morning. The 8Star car was phenomenal right out of the gate. For me to be P3 not having tested since January is a great start. I've raced in St. Pete for four years now and each year it gets bigger and better."
 
The Indy Lights cars will return to the track for qualifying tomorrow morning, March 28, at 9:30 am ET. The green flag for the first of two races will fly at 2:25 pm.
 
French Pair Buret and Latorre Fastest in Pro Mazda
French rookie drivers Timothé Buret and Florian Latorre topped the timing charts today during practice for the Allied Building Products Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which will comprise the first two rounds of the 2015 Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
 
Buret, 19, from Montpellier, France, was fastest in this morning's opening practice session with a time of 1:12.6605 (89.182 mph) on the 1.8-mile, 14-turn downtown street circuit, driving for defending champion team Juncos Racing. Californian Neil Alberico (Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing), who finished third in the 2014 title-chase, was just 0.1339s slower, followed by Malaysian Weiron Tan (Andretti Autosport) and Canadian Garett Grist (Juncos Racing).
 
This afternoon's second half-hour session was held on a damp track, so times were slightly slower. Latorre, who won last year's Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda, as well as a MAZDASPEED scholarship to graduate into Pro Mazda, led the way with a 1:13.6933 lap in a second Cape Motorsports entry, followed by Englishman Raoul Owens (JDC MotorSports) and Canadian Dalton Kellett (Andretti Autosport).
 
Qualifying for the first of two Pro Mazda races will take place tomorrow morning at 8:45 am ET, followed by the first race at 1:30 pm ET.
 
Jake Eidson Heads the USF2000 Time Charts for Pabst Racing
Americans Jake Eidson and Aaron Telitz led the way after two practice sessions for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, which will constitute the opening two rounds of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
 
Eidson, 19, who splits his time between Littleton, Colo., and Destin, Fla., was fastest in both sessions for Pabst Racing, turning a best lap of 1:14.9865 (86.416 mph) in the afternoon session which was interrupted by a rain shower.
 
Aaron Telitz, from Birchwood, Wis., was just over a tenth of a second slower for St. Petersburg-based Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing.
 
USF2000 cars will begin the track activities tomorrow (Saturday, March 28) with a half-hour qualifying session starting at 8:00 am. The first race will start a little later in the morning at 10:15.

Power Leads Opening Day of Practice at St. Petersburg

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Published in Racing News
Friday, 27 March 2015 20:25
Reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Will Power kicked off the "aero era" by recording the quickest lap time in today's initial practice session for the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

Power's lap of 1 minute, 1.4709 seconds in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet breezed past the 2014 Verizon P1 Award-winning lap of 1:01.8668 produced by Takuma Sato on the 1.8-mile temporary street circuit.

"It's awesome to be at an event where times actually count," stated Power. "Obviously not today, but tomorrow and Sunday. Good testing, and obviously, Team Penske has definitely made ground over the winter over the other teams. I think it's going to be a pretty interesting four-way battle amongst the team and Scott Dixon is right in there as well. I expect those five to be the championship contenders." (Comparing the performance of the car at St. Pete from last year to today): "I think it's just (about) understanding last year's mechanical balance of the car with the new aero stuff and just going through basic changes to see what they do. It was pretty straightforward for us. I think we rolled off pretty good with all four cars." (Which is contributing more to Chevrolet's dominance, the engine or the aero kit?): "I think it's both. I think they're better with the engine and the aero right now. It's hard to say which is more. I think they did a very good job with the aero kit, Chevy did."

Power was among five drivers, including Team Penske teammates Juan Pablo Montoya (1:01.6996) and Helio Castroneves (1:01.7000), to better last year's pole time, even without the Firestone Firehawk alternate tires that they'll be allowed to use in the three rounds of Saturday qualifications.

 "It's a long offseason for us, but to be honest with you, the last couple months have been pretty busy for us doing a lot of testing and preparation for this," Montoya added. "It's fun for me, second year back and I feel a lot better than last year. I think we have gained a lot over the winter with the car and I think it made a lot of difference." (On comparing how his car performed here last year and today): "Last year was a tough year for us at the beginning. We knew that. Normally I'm really good at remembering everything about every track and last year I think this was such a blur for me. I was so overwhelmed with everything that I didn't really pay too much attention to details. But I felt really good straight away (this year) that all of the work we did over the winter with the car made me really, really happy. I'm really comfortable with the car." (Did all four Team Penske drivers try different things today?) "Each engineer knows what their driver wants and it seems each one is doing his own thing. We have the data there, we have all the information. If somebody makes a change that works, we all know about it. We all drive so different. It's not so much the driving, it's the feeling that we want out of the car is so different. You look at us driving, it looks pretty similar but what we want the feel to be is very different. To get that feel, we achieve it in very different ways."

As a steady rain fell through the afternoon, no drivers turned laps in the companion session. Another practice session is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday preceding qualifications for the 110-lap race Sunday (3 p.m. ET, ABC).

Last year at St. Petersburg, James Hinchcliffe's lap of 1:02.9326 topped the first session.

"It was pretty straightforward for us. I think it's just understanding last year's mechanical balance of the car with the new aero stuff and just going through basic changes to see what they do," said Power, who won the season-opening race in March 2014 and earned the St. Petersburg pole four straight years from 2010-13.

"The kits produce massive downforce, low drag and the cars are absolutely glued to the track. Obviously, as we go along in the year we are going to learn more and more about what we need to push for wins."

Scott Dixon (1:01.7777) and Sebastien Bourdais (1:01.8439) also were quicker around the circuit than the 2014 pole time using the Chevrolet aero/engine package. Second-year driver Jack Hawksworth (1:01.8713) was quickest of the 12 Honda drivers.

Bourdais' track record of 1:00.928 (106.710 mph) set in qualifying for the inaugural Indy car race in 2003 could come under assault.

"We had a pretty good day in the No. 11 Team Hydroxycut-KVSH machine," commented Bourdais. "We thought we had learned a lot of things at the Sebring test earlier this week, but they didn't quite carry over. So, we back pedaled quickly and went back to a more conventional street course setup that we know better. I didn't manage to do the perfect lap, but it put us back in a position that we are familiar with, in the top-five. We obviously couldn't make any progress in the afternoon session due to the rain. But looking forward to tomorrow, hopefully we will put it all together and have a good qualifying for the first race of the year."

Both manufacturers developed aerodynamic bodywork platforms for street/road course and short ovals along with a speedway package under INDYCAR regulations. The Chevrolet and Honda aero kits also look distinctly different.

There are multiple combinations of components that crews can utilize to tailor the package to suit drivers and a particular racetrack to optimize performance. They've had two weeks of on-track testing available to decipher the characteristics of the road/street and short oval package. The speedway aero kits are scheduled to be delivered to teams April 1 and make their competitive debut at the Indianapolis 500.

"There's a noticeable speed increase from last year and that's from downforce without a lot of drag penalty," said CFH Racing driver Josef Newgarden, who was 10th on the time chart. "They're very efficient packages and Chevrolet and Honda have spent millions of dollars into making the best aerodynamic pieces that they can.

"Everything on the car is lot more refined and it's just faster. That's the big difference in plain terms."

Added 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner and 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay: "Racing, first of all, is all about innovation and development and that's what we have with the aero kits. The engine manufacturers have been tasked to put on as much downforce as efficiently as possible, and what you see is a complete transformation of this Indy car where Chevy has its own look and brand and Honda has its own look and brand and stamp on the car.

"The performance is up, track records will be broken this year, and they look like you need to wear protective gloves around them, so they look awesome. They look like they should, which is incredibly fast and somewhat scary."

2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series Champion Chase Elliott joins NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan and Virginia’s own Timothy Peters as early headliners to race against host Denny Hamlin in the eighth-annual Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at South Boston Speedway on April 23. This 200-lap charity Late Model race showcases the best Late Model racers in the region against NASCAR counterparts with event proceeds benefiting the Denny Hamlin Foundation and its on-going support of Cystic Fibrosis research and treatment.

The trio join three more Virginia stock car racing natives Hermie Sadler, Jeb Burton and Gray Gaulding in going to battle against the likes of Late Model drivers Matt Bowling, the 2014 Showdown winner, and CE Falk, who was the first Late Model winner of the Showdown in 2010 at Southside Speedway.

“With a record amount of drivers committed to run the Short Track Showdown, this event looks to be one of the most competitive fields that we have seen,” said Hamlin, another Virginia native who last won the Showdown in 2011 at Richmond International Raceway. “None of these drivers like to lose, they are all as competitive as I am. Anyone of them can make it to victory lane.”

For racing fans wanting to get up-close to the drivers, the first 25 fans to purchase a “Suite Package” priced at $200 will be invited to join the drivers in the infield for the drivers meeting and an exclusive meet and greet with select celebrity drivers that will include autograph signing. (All proceeds from the Suite Package will go to the Denny Hamlin Foundation).

New for 2015, and an experience for the entire crowd to enjoy, Danville Toyota and Scion is sponsoring a fireworks show that will take place immediately following the 200-lap main event.

Advance tickets to the Short Track Showdown are available by calling the track ticket hotline at 1-877-440-1540. A limited amount of the 1,100 advance-discounted tickets are still available for $20. After the first 1,100 advance tickets are sold, the price increases to $25. Children ages 6 and under are free with an Adult ticket purchase. Season passes are not honored for this special event. The “Suite package” costs $200 and includes a meet and greet, autograph signing, and an invitation to the driver’s meeting. For more information, visit the South Boston Speedway website at southbostonspeedway.com and dennyhamlinfoundation.org.

Denny Hamlin Foundation PR

In his first full season of AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael's Road to Supercross, Team Babbitt's Monster Enegry/AMSOIL Kawasaki rider Chris Blose has experienced a little bit of everything in this highly competitive sport. With his dominant win last weekend in New Orleans, Blose seized control of the Race to the Championship and now enters the second stop of the six-round playoff battle in Austin, Texas, as the points leader.

 

Much like he did  in the Race to the Championship, Blose kicked off the 2015 season with a win in Cincinnati, but he soon found out how harsh AMSOIL Arenacross can be thanks to a big crash at the second round in Grand Rapids. Since then he has worked through injury, even missing some races, in hopes of being completely healthy for the Race to the Championship and his run to potentially win the first title of his career.

 

AMSOIL Arenacross caught up with Blose, who says he is back at 100-percent health, to get his thoughts on his first year and his intention to stay on top of the championship standings.

Chris, lets just start this by saying this has been quite the season of ups and downs for you. Can you talk about your first full season competing in AMSOIL Arenacross?

 

Yeah, this season has definitely had a lot of ups and downs up until this point. In the second round I had a really big crash involving tuff blocks and it really bruised my back. Since then, throughout every weekend it was kind of like 'lets just get through the weekend, get as many points as I can, and go for wins if I can.' But until I was 100 percent again I didn't want to over do it. My main focus up until this point has been to get back healthy, stay up and put in solid rides. I am now all healed up and feel like I am 100 percent.

 

You mentioned earlier in the season[that], you have never had injuries in your entire career as bad as you have had this season. What keeps you battling through and continuing to race every weekend despite the injuries?

 

I never had a choice in my mind; I had to battle through. It is the Race to the Championship; I had to stay top 10 in points, which meant I still had to go out there and do the best I could. I mean, it was very painful and even to the point where I needed help getting on my bike, but it seemed as though once I was on my bike I was fine and ready to go for the most part.

What were you feeling when you couldn't even get on your bike and you still had to race?

 

I mean, honestly going to the line and not being able to physically mount my bike on my own was a huge reality check that I could get hurt even more at any moment. To be able to go out and do what I love is awesome, but at the same time I was completely nervous because I didn't want to re-injure myself or get even more hurt. Yes, It was kind of a mental battle every weekend but in my mind ultimately I had no choice. I would say it was completely worth the risk because now I am where I want to be, fighting for this championship. For me, it may sound crazy, but I like pain, it pushes me harder and I feel like I have to man up and get the job done and fight through it. It makes me want to do better knowing I want to beat the pain and the competition. I know a lot of people would have folded and not raced after the injury that I had but it wasn't the case for me.

 

You started the Race to the Championship the same way you entered the season, with a win. What are you planning to change to keep things moving forward as the Race to the Championship continues?

 

I'm not changing a single thing. My mentality from day one has been to go out and win, and that's how I am going to continue. I have to take it race by race, but at the same time I am going there to win and obviously deal with the cards that get played out. But, I need to be consistent as possible and not do anything dumb. So I am always going out to win and be consistent. 

 

What is your game plan to win the title?

 

I can't give out my game plan - it's top secret!

 

What makes you feel you are the most qualified to win this championship?

 

You ask any rider that question and their response will be they want to win the championship and they feel as though they deserve it, but in the end only one person can win it. I feel like with my experience, my speed and my determination, I can do it. I know what it's like to fight for something and have to push my way back to the top. Failing is not an option for me and I will do whatever it takes to stay on top now. I want this championship more than anybody and up until the Race to the Championship I had a lot of bad luck, but now I feel awesome on the bike. Everything is starting to click for me and I just really cant wait for these last five rounds. I feel like all of the unfortunate circumstances are behind me. Yes, I was in the wrong place at the wrong time before, but now it's my time to shine.

 

The 11th round of AMSOIL Arenacross, and the second weekend of the Race to the Championship, kicks off this Saturday, March 28, from Austin, Texas, for the championship's debut inside Frank Erwin Center. Racing begins at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT/7 p.m. CDT night.

 

Tickets for each round of AMSOIL Arenacross are on sale now!

 

The entire AMSOIL Arenacross season is now airing on FOX Sports 1, including re-airs on Fox Sports 2. Check out the Arenacross.com TV listings for a full schedule.

 

Live timing and scoring from each round of the AMSOIL Arenacross season returns for the 2015 season! To follow the intense racing action live, log onto www.Arenacross.com

 

Andretti Autosport confirmed today that Justin Wilson will join its Verizon IndyCar Series program for part of the 2015 season. The 36-year-old veteran driver will pilot the No. 25 Honda for the Grand Prix of Indianapolis as well as the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500. Wilson has competed in the Verizon IndyCar Series for 11 seasons, totaling seven wins, 26 podium finishes, eight pole positions and 700 laps led.

                        "I'm thrilled to be joining Andretti Autosport," said Wilson. “It's a fantastic opportunity for me and this should be a strong program. I'm looking forward to continuing my relationship with Honda and to working with Ryan (Hunter-Reay), Carlos (Muñoz) and Marco (Andretti). Thank you to Michael (Andretti) for bringing me on board and giving me this great opportunity. I know that the team has everything in place to do well, and I'm really confident about what the group is capable of this year.”

Hailing from Sheffield, England, Wilson began karting at the age of nine and just a year later began to receive international recognition becoming a finalist in the McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year, providing the beginning stages of his campaign to Formula One racing.

                        After winning the FIA Formula 3000 championship title in 2001, the Englishman graduated to Formula One in 2003 and earned his first championship points in the United States Grand Prix. After moving his focus to the United States in 2004 he transitioned into IndyCar competition, taking his first victory in 2005. Wilson has also stayed active in IMSA competition winning the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“We are so happy to be able to confirm Justin has joined our IndyCar program for both races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” said team owner Michael Andretti. “Having Justin on the team has been something we’ve been looking at for quite some time, so we’re excited to finally make it happen. Adding him to the roster for the Indy races is definitely going to be something special as we work to defend our 2014 victory.”

Wilson’s addition to the four-time IndyCar championship winning team comes on the heels of Simon de Silvestro’s confirmation with the Michael Andretti-led organization. Today’s announcement brings the Indianapolis-based team’s count to five total Verizon IndyCar Series drivers filling seats for 2015.  The season kicks off this weekend on the streets of downtown St. Petersburg, FL for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Pete, which will air live on ABC Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Two Chevrolet Corvette teams took the points lead in their respective classes after Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, Round 2 of the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.

 

Action Express Racing used its victory by the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Corvette DP to capture the lead in the Prototype (P) class of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, while Corvette Racing’s No. 3 Corvette C7.R scored its second triumph of the season, which opened with the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.

 

Two rounds now remain in the Patrón Endurance Cup, which encompasses 52 hours of racing for $300,000 in post-season awards. The competition continues with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, June 28, and closes with the 10-hour Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 3.

 

Action Express led two of the three segments at Sebring – coming up one point shy of a perfect 15 – to take over the Prototype lead with 27 points. Wayne Taylor Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates are tied for second with 21 points each, with VisitFlorida.com Racing fourth with 20. On the drivers’ ledger, Christian Fittipaldi, Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais hold a two-point lead over Ganassi’s Scott Dixon (27-25).

 

The No. 3 Corvette Racing team also holds a six-point lead in GT Le Mans. Jan Magnussen, Ryan Briscoe and Antonio Garcia won the Sebring race to extend the gap over the team’s No. 4 Corvette C7.R driven by Tommy Milner, Oliver Gavin and Simon Pagenaud in the team and driver standings, 29-23. Team Falken Tire and the No. 911 Porsche North America entrants are tied for third with 19 points each.

 

The Daytona-winning No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT held on to a three-point lead in GT Daytona (GTD) over the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia, 27-24. Viper drivers Al Carter and Cameron Lawrence lead Ferrari pilots Bill Sweedler, Townsend Bell and Anthony Lazzaro by the same margin.

 

The closest battle is in Prototype Challenge (PC), where the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team with drivers Mike Guasch, Tom Kimber-Smith and Andrew Palmer took a one-point lead over the No. 54 CORE autosport team of Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and James Gue, 30-29. After taking the lead in the closing half-hour en route to winning the Rolex 24, PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ran the table at Sebring, scoring a perfect 15 points. A year ago, CORE autosport won the three opening races to win the title.

 

Points in the Patrón Endurance Cup are awarded at specific intervals throughout each race – every four hours in the Twelve Hours of Sebring – with the leader at the end of each segment scoring five points, four points for second, three points for third, and fourth place on back receiving two points. Points will be scored at midway and the finish at Watkins Glen, and at four hours, eight hours and 10 hours at Petit Le Mans.

 

The Patrón Endurance Cup round winners at each endurance event receive a limited edition bottle of Gran Patrón Platinum, numbered and signed by Francisco Alcaraz, the creator of the Gran Patrón Platinum recipe and Tequila Patrón’s Master Distiller and Blender.

 

Racers started time runs in race 7 making impressive passes. As eliminations began the race was plagued by another unusual rain storm which positioned itself directly over the drag strip. As a heavy down pour halted the racing action for an hour, along with another two hours of track prep before it got back underway. An additional time run was given to all racers due to the newly prepped track. Once race 7 was completed, race 8 began with no more stops for weather. Racing concluded at 1:20 am on Sunday morning.

 
Top Eliminator (Box)
Points Leader: Bill Pollard - 322
Race #7

Robert Owens of Malabar, Fla. started the day off as the No. 1 qualifier with a pass of 5.975 ET. Owens continued through eliminations running within .01 seconds of that qualifying run each pass. In the finals, Owens faced off against David Bledsoe of Pembroke Pines, Fla. Bledsoe in his '06 Mullis dragster red lighted at the start giving Owens the victory. Owens dialed in a 5.97, running a 5.966 ET at 114.23 mph in his final pass. 

 
Race #8
In race 8 it was Bruce Liberman of West Palm Beach, Fla. that made an impressive move in the points standings during this race. After race 7 Liberman found himself in the 13th position, 112 points out of the lead, which all changed when he took his Spitzer dragster to victory. After finishing runner up in race 7, David Bledsoe found himself in the finals again facing Liberman for the win. Bledsoe dialed in a 4.75 hitting it right on the mark with a pass of 4.750 ET at 144.94 mph. Liberman dialing in at 4.95 missed his mark by .001 as he ran a 4.951 ET at 139.52 mph. Overall, it was Liberman taking victory from his .010 RT to Bledsoe's .015 RT. By taking victory, Liberman moved up to 3rd place in the points.
Super Eliminator (No Box)
Sponsored by Chassis Engineering
Points Leader: Sonny Freeland - 427 
Race #7
In No Box, Doug Parlamento of Lake Worth, Fla. qualified first and never looked back. Knocking out Sonny Freelan, the 2015 points leader, in round 3 Parlamento marched his way into the finals. John Taylor of Ft. Pierce, Fla. faced off against Parlamento for the final. In the end it was Parlamento with a dial in of 7.10 seconds running a 7.11, 97.97 mph to take victory over Taylor. 
 
Race #8
In race 8 of No Box it was Jeremy Jarosz of Boca Raton, Fls who qualified first. Jarosz was knocked out in round 4 by Ethan Doty of Margate, Fla.. Doty continued on to the final to face the 2015 points leader Sonny Freeland from Hollywood, Fla. In the final it was Freeland dialed in at 6.12 seconds to run a 6.177, 102.14 mph to defeat Doty dialed in at 9.67 seconds, running 9.770, 75.62 mph. The victory has now extended Freeland's points lead to 93.
Junior Dragster
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Points Leader: Jennifer Craft - 332
 
Race #7
Chase Purdy of Palm City, Fla. qualified in No. 1 position with a pass of 8.868 seconds. Purdy battled his way into the semi finals where he faced Bailey Ferraro from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. This race was decided right on the starting line as Ferraro fired a .011 second reaction time to Purdy's .086 on the tree. In the finals it was Ferraro facing Jennifer Craft of Melbourne, Fla. The result of this race was again decided on the starting line except it was due to a red light from Ferraro with a -.010. Craft won after dialing in 7.90 second to run a 7.912 at 82.56 and taking over the top spot in the points lead.
 
Race #8
In race 8 of Junior Dragster, Jennifer Craft continued her day of consistent runs all the way to the semi finals until she faced Amanda Foley, from Pompano Beach, Fla. Both drivers dialed in at 7.90 seconds. Foley ran a 7.913 to Craft's 7.904 but the win light to Foley. She fired a .014 reaction time on the tree to defeat Craft who reacted at .043 seconds. In the finals Foley faced an opponent she had not faced all day as Jimmy Cavanaugh of Melbourne, Fla. Both drivers red lighted at the tree but it was Foley with the -.003 second reaction that took the win over Cavanaugh's -.043.  The win moves Foley into the second spot in the points race.
Street Bike
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Points Leader: Tom Ivy - 277
 
Race #7
Tom Ivy, 2015 points leader, of Southwest Ranches, Fla. was knocked out in round 2 by Carl Mitchell of Miami Garden, Fla. Mitchell dialing in at 7.36 ran a 7.446, 100.31 mph but was defeated by Rodney Pimetal of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. in the semi filnals. Clarence Goins also from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. dialed in a 6.68 as he faced Pimetal, in at 7.80, for the finals. The win light went to Pimetal running a 8.066, 90.95 mph to Goins' 6.831, 109.99 mph. The .524 reaction time of Goins hurt him as Pimetal had a start of .169 as he took victory. 
 
Race #8
After getting knocked out in the second round of race #5 Joshua Howard of Stuart, FL made it to the final round in this race. Howard had stiff competition as he faced Tom Ivy who was hot off the win earlier in the day. Once again it was Ivy taking home victory as he dialed in a 5.34 to run a 5.480 ET at 112.27 mph. After two wins in the same day Ivy increased his points lead in the championship to 65 points over second.
Points Leaders
 
Top Eliminator (Box)
Sponsored by South Florida Choppers 
Driver Name - Car #
Hometown
Body
Points
1) Bill Pollard - 2462
Lake Worth, Fla.
'03 Cavalier
322
2) Randy Weber - RX84
Loxahatchee, Fla.
'12 Miller
312
3) Bruce Liberman - LX75
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Spitzer
262
 
Super Eliminator (No Box)
Sponsored by Chassis Engineering
Driver Name - Car #
Hometown
Body
Points
1) Sonny Freeland - 2XYA 
Hollywood, Fla.

 

427
2) John Taylor - T209
Ft. Pierce, Fla.
'73 GTX 
334 
3) Richard Mortell - 0X47  
Lake Worth, Fla.
'96 Corvette 
323
Junior Dragster
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Driver Name - Car #
Hometown
Body
Points
1) Jennifer Craft - 276X
Melbourne, Fla.
'06 Jr. Dragster
332
2) Amanda Foley - 211X
Pompano Beach, Fla.
Jr. Dragster
314
3) Kyle Philhower - 038X
Pompano Beach, Fla.
Jr. Dragster
272
Street Bike
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Driver Name - Car #
Hometown
Body
Points
1) Tom Ivy - 511
Southwest Ranches, Fla.
Suzuki
277
2) Rodney Pimetal - 78
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
'07 Suzuki GSXR
225
3) Clarence Goins - 50
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Kawasaki
202
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