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Reigning NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series world champion Rickie Smith raced to the NHRA Pro Mod Series victory Monday at the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious race. Pro Mod racing was presented by JEGS at the event.
Smith ran his ’68 IDG Camaro to a 5.901-second pass at 245.72 mph, defeating Pete Farber in the final. It was Smith’s second win of the season and sixth of his career. Smith, the runner-up at Indianapolis last season, defeated Danny Rowe, Jeff Naiser and Troy Coughlin on the way to the final.
Farber drove his CRC Brakeleen Dodge Daytona to the final round with victories over Steven Whiteley, Steve Matusek and Billy Glidden. It was his second final round appearance of the season, following a victory in Bristol. Farber was appearing in his first Indianapolis final.
The NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series will head to Charlotte, N.C. for the Pro Mod portion of the NHRA Carolina Nationals, Sept. 12-14. The event is the seventh of 10 races on the 2014 schedule.
SVRA Returns to Road Atlanta in 2015
The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) announced today the addition of Road Atlanta to its 2015 East Coast schedule. This event will be the opening race of the season and will take place February 19-22, 2015 at the world renowned Braselton Georgia race course.
“Since 2012, our members have consistently reiterated that Road Atlanta was a must-do track for our East Coast schedule, “ commented SVRA President and CEO Tony Parella. “With this race falling the weekend before our Sebring date competitors have the chance to run two races in ten days while only making one trip. In addition, we are offering a special promotion for all racers to get a third event free. Any racer who enters both Road Atlanta and Sebring will get their base entry fee waived at Road America, Mid-Ohio, Pocono, Watkins Glen or VIR. This promotion is our first major step in lowering the cost for entries at SVRA events.”
Road Atlanta President and General Manager, Geoff said, “Tony and I have been working for more than a year to put a date together and we’re very pleased to welcome SVRA back to Road Atlanta. In his two years at the helm of the organization Tony’s vision and drive have transformed Vintage racing in the United States and we’re honored to host the opening event of the 2015 SVRA East Coast schedule.”
The 12 turn, 2.54 Road Atlanta circuit is located on 750 acres of rolling, park like land 35 miles north of downtown Atlanta. The fast, sweeping turns and dramatic elevation changes have been challenging amateur and professional racers since its opening in 1970. The course has hosted virtually every major amateur and professional road racing series in the United States, including the Tudor United Sports Car series, the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) National Championships, the American Le Mans series (ALMS) and the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), to name a few. The facility attracts more than 320,000 visitors each year and was recently name one of America’s six best road courses by Car & Driver magazine.
Force and Line claim wins, while Schumacher, Hagan, Lines and Krawiec secure top seeds at NHRA Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals
John Force took home the Traxxas Nitro Shootout victory Sunday, concluding an action packed day of racing at the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race.
Force, a 16-time Funny Car world champ, pocketed $100,000 and bragging rights when he beat teammate Robert Hight with a 4.061-second run at 317.19 mph in the Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang. He defeated fan vote/lottery winner Tim Wilkerson and two-time season winner Alexis DeJoria to reach the final. It was Force’s second Traxxas Shootout win and seventh career victory in an NHRA all-star race. Force will look to conclude the weekend tomorrow with his fifth Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory.
“It was a win-win situation,” Force said of running against his teammate in the final. “We couldn’t lose. All of the sponsors were on all of the cars. We just couldn’t lose it.”
Hight, driver of the Auto Club Ford Mustang, was appearing in his first Traxxas Shootout final round. He is a three-time and defending Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals winner and will be going for a fourth tomorrow.
In other racing on Sunday, Jason Line claimed the rain-delayed Brainerd victory and the No. 1 qualifying position in Pro Stock. Tony Schumacher (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) joined Line as No. 1 qualifiers and will lead their categories into Monday’s 11 a.m. eliminations at the final NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event of the regular season. Following this event the top 10 fields in each class will be set for the six-race Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, which starts Sept. 12-14 at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, N.C.
In the Brainerd final, Line raced to a 6.596 at 207.40 in the Summit Racing Chevy Camaro to defeat reigning world champ Jeg Coughlin in the JEGS.com/Mopar Dodge Dart. It was Line’s third win in a row and the first time he has achieved that feat. It was Line’s 35th career victory and the win propelled him into the top spot in Pro Stock points. Line’s 6.589 at 210.01 from Saturday qualifying was good enough to also secure the No. 1 starting position. He will face Rodger Brogdon in the opener as he goes for his first U.S. Nationals victory.
“It was very Brainerd-ish,” Line said of the cloudy and rainy weather conditions that delayed racing for a bit on Sunday morning at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. “Our car ran very good. Our Camaro was very fast this weekend. It was a little bit weird to win Brainerd at Indy. But it’s the first thing I’ve ever done well at in Indy.”
In Pro Stock qualifying, Vincent Nobile was second with a 6.601 at 208.49 in the Mountain View Tire Camaro. He will race Matt Hartford in the first round. Shane Gray’s Gray Manufacturing Camaro qualified third with a 6.603 at 209.17 and will face Aussie rookie driver Shane Tucker.
With their results in qualifying, V Gaines and Chris McGaha clinched their spots in the Countdown to the Championship. Greg Anderson and Jonathan Gray will face off tomorrow in the first round, a matchup that will be critical in deciding the final transfer spot for the Pro Stock top 10.
In Top Fuel, Schumacher ran a 3.748 at a track record speed of 328.54 in his U.S. Army dragster during the Traxxas Nitro Shootout final, which was quick enough to earn the No. 1 qualifying position. It was the third top starting spot of the season for Schumacher and 75th of his career. He will go for a record-breaking 10th Indianapolis victory when he meets 2012 world champ and 2011 event winner Antron Brown in the first round.
“You think you’re going to run an easier car when you’re No. 1,” said Schumacher of his matchup with his Don Schumacher Racing teammate. “Before he even ran, the bump was .84. You were running a bad to the bone car no matter what. As a teammate, I’m happier he got in and I have to race him than had he gotten bumped.”
Steve Torrence qualified second with a 3.753 at 326.16 in the Capco Contractors dragster. He will race J.R. Todd in the first round. Brainerd winner Morgan Lucas was third in the Lucas Oil dragster with a 3.757 at 322.81, good enough for a matchup with No. 14 seed Khalid alBalooshi.
With his qualifying result, Todd secured the final Top Fuel spot in the Countdown to the Championship.
In Funny Car, Hagan sped to a track record time of 3.998 at 316.01 in the Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger during the fourth session to claim the No. 1 qualifying position. It is the first time a Funny Car has completed a run quicker than four seconds at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. It was the first No. 1 qualifier of the season for Hagan and 16th of his career. He will face Bob Bode to open eliminations.
“It was just a phenomenal run,” said Hagan, who is looking for his first career Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory. “Especially after those guys (The Mopar Express Lane crew) having such a late last night when we banged the blower off of it and they had to pull another body out and another motor out.”
Jack Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car world champ, had a much needed qualifying effort, securing the No. 2 position with a performance of 4.004 at 312.13 in his Valvoline Max Life Dodge Charger. Beckman trimmed six points off 10th place Tim Wilkerson’s lead, which is now 10 points (less than one round) for the final transfer spot for the Countdown to the Championship. He will pair against Blake Alexander in the first round. Wilkerson will race Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first round.
Courtney Force qualified third with a 4.005 at a track record speed of 322.73 in the Traxxas Ford Mustang. The run occurred during the first round of the Traxxas Nitro Shootout when she defeated Brainerd winner Ron Capps.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Krawiec posted a 6.829 at 196.56 on the Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to earn his sixth No. 1 qualifying position of the season and 20th of his career. He faces Shawn Gann in the first round as he seeks his first Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals victory.
“That’s definitely one I’d look to put a check next to,” said Krawiec. “We learned some stuff today. That was the key to moving onto Monday here. It’s not often you get five qualifying sessions, but when you do you need to take advantage of it.”
Jerry Savoie was second on the Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki with a 6.878 at 194.18. He will open eliminations with Chaz Kennedy. Reigning world champ Matt Smith qualified third on his Matt Smith Racing/Stockseth Racing Buell with a 6.888 at 193.54 and will face Adam Arana in the first round.
Following qualifying, John Hall, Michael Ray and Smith claimed their spots in the Countdown to the Championship. Three spots remain in Pro Stock Motorcycle, with six riders still mathematically in contention. Steve Johnson holds down the 10th spot, and is followed by No. 2 qualifier Savoie in 11th, 63 points back.
Strong French showing on the ELMS grid for home race
After a well-deserved pause the time has come for the next, and penultimate, round of the 2014 season which will feature 10 cars in the LMP2 class, 13 in LMGTE and 15 for GTC. The large number of national teams and drivers is no doubt be a major highlight for the French round of the ELMS, with more than 10 cars and around 30 drivers representing the Tricolore at the Varois track.
Following its win in Austria, the French Signatech Alpine team tops the overall standings as it goes into its home race. Suffice to say that Paul-Loup Chatin, Nelson Panciatici and Oliver Webb, who will be driving the No.36 Alpine A450b-Nissan, are fired up and ready to give their fans something to cheer about at Paul Ricard. However, JOTA Sport won at Imola and has set every pole position since the beginning of the season, and will be determined to take the fight to them with its No.38 Zytek Z11SN Nissan in the hands of Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Filipe Albuquerque. Thiriet by TDS Racing Racing will also be planning to fully play a part in its home race with its new car, the No.46 Ligier JS P2 entry driven by Pierre Thiriet, Ludovic Badey and Tristan Gommendy.
Among the other Frenchmen in the race, it's a welcome return for Pierre Ragues who has been confirmed for the last two rounds of the season alongside Gary Hirsch and Christian Klien at NewBlood by Morand Racing (No.32 Morgan Judd). Forced to miss the Austrian round, the Irish Murphy Prototypes team will be back in business at Paul Ricard with its No.48 ORECA 03R Nissan with a line up to be confirmed soon. Franck Mailleux partners Swiss Michel Frey and Venezuelan Rodolfo Gonzalez at Race Performance (No.34 ORECA 03 Nissan) and the trio will also be making every effort to get good results for Mailleux's home race. Meanwhile, Julien Schell will be heading the line- up for the No.29 Pegasus Racing Morgan Nissan with Nicky Leutwiler and Jonathan Coleman.
Greaves Motorsport is entering its two Zytek Z11 SN Nissans, the No.28 for Luciano Bacheta and Mark Shulzhitskiy, and the No.41 for Matt McMurry. The teammate for the youngest ever driver at the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be the very experienced Johnny Mowlem, the 2013 ELMSLMGTE Driver Champion. Finally the French Sébastien Loeb Racing team is due to make its return to the championship at the Varois track with the No.24 ORECA 03 Nissan.
Nine Ferrari 458 Italias, two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs, a Porsche 911 RSR and an Aston Martin V8 Vantage make up the list of the 13 cars entered in LMGTE for the French round. AF Corse field three F458s for Piergiuseppe Perazzini, Marco Cioci and Michael Lyons (No.54), Duncan Cameron, Matt Griffin and Michele Rugolo (No.55) and a French trio for the No.70, François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Yannick Mallegol. The two Kessel Racing Ferraris, No.80 and 81 will be driven respectively by Michael Broniszewski and Giacomo Piccini, and Thomas Kemenater and Matteo Cressoni. The line-up for the No.56 AT Racing entry will be Alexander Talkanitsa Sr and Pierre Kaffer, while the French SOFREV-ASP team has every intention of figuring strongly in its home race with the No.58 Ferrari of Fabien Barthez, Anthony Pons and Soheil Ayari. The other two cars from the Prancing Horse marque are JMW Motorsport's No. 66 (Daniel McKenzie and George Richardson, with a third driver to be announced) and SMP Racing's No.72 which will feature its regular crew.
Normandy's IMSA Performance Matmut team will enter its two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs, the No.67 for Erik Maris, Jean-Marc Merlin and Eric Helary, while the No.76 will be in the hands of Raymond Narac, Nicolas Armindo and the only female driver on the grid, Christina Nielsen. Finally the British Gulf Racing UK team will run the only Aston Martin Vantage V8 on the grid for Roald Goethe, Stuart Hall and Daniel Brown, while the team's new Porsche 911 RSR will be driven by Mike Wainwright, Adam Carroll and Ben Barker.
Sébastien Loeb Racing is due to make its return for the French round with the sole Audi R8 LMS on the grid. The Porsche GT3 R of Prospeed Competition will be in the hands of Max van Splunteren, Gilles Vannelet and Mike Parisy, and the sole BMW Z4 GT3 of Team Russia by Barwell will be driven by Leo Machitski, Timur Sardarov and Jonny Cocker. The Pro GT by Almeras team will see its French trio of Franck Perera, Lucas Lasserre and Eric Dermont at the wheel of the No.93 Porsche 997 GT3R, and the line-ups of ART Grand Prix's two McLaren MP4 12C GT3s remain unchanged with Kevin Korjus, Grégoire Demoustier and Yann Goudy in the No.98, and Ricardo Gonzalez, Karim Ajlani and Alex Brundle in the No.99.
The nine remaining cars of the 38 entries on the grid are all Ferrari 458s. Three are for SMP Racing with the No.73 currently leading the overall standings (Olivier Beretta, David Markozov, Anton Ladygin), the No.71 of Kirill Ladygin, Aleksey Basov and Luca Persiani and the No.57 of Boris Rotenberg, Mika Salo and Maurizio Mediani. While the two AF Corse Ferraris, No.63 and 95, are back with the same drivers, Le Castellet will also see the return of the No.94 (present at Imola only) driven by Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Andrea Rizzoli. The No.60 Formula Racing F458 will be looking to make its mark again in the hands of Johnny Laursen, Mikkel Mac and Jan Magnussen, while the No.59 SOFREV ASP entry will again feature the French trio of Christophe Bourret, Jean-Luc Beaubelique and Jean-Philippe Belloc. The GTC class also welcomes a new team to the ELMS, the Italian Team Ombra which is entering the No.92 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 for Mario Cordoni and Marco Zanuttini.
The 4 Hours of Paul Ricard marks the beginning of the second part of 2014 European Le Mans Series season. It's back to zero for everyone and there is all to play for in both the teams and drivers classifications. The race promises to be exciting and fast-paced with many French teams and drivers fired up to perform well at their home race.
It's all happening on the 13th and 14th September at Circuit Paul Ricard. Pit action will start on Saturday at 10h30 for the first free practice session, with qualifying on Sunday from 09h30. The start of the 4 Hours of Paul Ricard will be at 13h00 (local) and the chequered flag will be shown at 17h00.
Access to grandstands is free, while access to the paddock and pitwalk is €10 for the weekend (free for children under 16, who must be accompanied). In addition, holders of a paddock access ticket will be able to join the Roof Top Party on Sunday from 12h30 to 20h00 on the rooftop terrace of the main building.
Walsh leads qualifying Saturday during the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series action at Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals
Don Walsh raced to the qualifying lead Saturday during the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing is presented by JEGS.
Walsh ran his late model Chevy Camaro to a top performance of 5.863 seconds at 252.61 mph to move around Friday top qualifier Troy Coughlin. If Walsh’s run holds during the final qualifying session on Sunday, it will be the fifth career No. 1 qualifying position for Walsh and first since 2012.
Coughlin, the 2012 NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series world champ, is currently No. 2 with a 5.866 at 248.52 in a late model Corvette. Jeff Naiser also ran a 5.892 in his Naiser Racing ’69 Camaro to sit third in the qualifying order.
Pro Mod qualifying will conclude Sunday morning and eliminations will begin later that afternoon.
Hargrove On Cusp Of Title After Wire-To-Wire Victory
The ultimate finish line is in sight for Scott Hargrove after he earned his fifth victory of the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin season Saturday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Hargrove, from Surrey, British Columbia, only needs to start the season-ending Round 10 at 4:15 p.m. (ET) Sunday to clinch the Platinum Cup (2014 car models) season championship in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing Porsche.
"It was kind of a perfect race from a driver's standpoint," Hargrove said. "I started on pole, got the lead on the start and was able to pull a gap early on and then just kind of maintain the gap for the rest of the race. Phenomenal result for these guys. I am thrilled to be here and can't wait to finish off the championship tomorrow."
Hargrove led the 45-minute race from the pole to the checkered flag, as he has finished first or second in all nine events this season. The race ended under caution due to contact between Platinum Masters competitors Perry Bortolotti and Carlos de Quesada with six minutes remaining in the race.
Chris Green, from Montreal, finished second in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche to sustain his slim championship hopes. Green trails Hargrove by 18 points. The winner of each race earns 20 points.
Spencer Pigot, from Orlando, Florida, finished third in the No. 21 Alegra Motorsportsentry. Marco Cirone, from Toronto, placed fourth and was the first Platinum Masters (drivers age 45 and older) finisher in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. De Quesada, from Odessa, Florida, continued after the late incident with Bortolotti to round out the top five in the No. 22 Alegra Motorsports Porsche.
Hargrove eased away from Pigot and Green early in the race, maintaining a gap of around one second. Pigot passed Green for second in Turn 1 on the first lap, and Green needed to regain the spot to keep his title hopes alive.
Green pulled off that crucial pass with 25 minutes remaining on the 10-turn, 2.459-mile (3.957 km) circuit. But he never got a chance to threaten Hargrove, who led by 1.899 seconds at the halfway point of the race
Hargrove extended that lead to 3.202 seconds with 17 minutes remaining. Green sliced the gap to 2.350 seconds with 13 minutes left but never approached Hargrove until the field was bunched under the race-ending caution period with six minutes remaining.
"Those guys were definitely quick, and I had to push for the whole race," Hargrove said. "The OpenRoad Porsche was so good. I was able to run consistent lap times all race long, matching my best lap of the race even at the end."
|Platinum Masters podium finishers (from left): Carlos de Quesada, Marco Cirone, Andre Belzile|
Cirone earned his fifth Platinum Masters win of the season and only needs to start the race Sunday to clinch his second consecutive championship in the class for drivers age 45 and older.
He dominated the class during the race, leading by a margin of 18 seconds over teammate Bortolotti with nine minutes remaining. Cirone leads de Quesada, 168-158, in the Platinum Masters standings.
"The race was, I guess, very lonely," Cirone said. "I had no one around me for 45 minutes. So I just concentrated on my line and tried to get good lap times.
"I couldn't catch those three fast cars, kids. Although I tried the first couple of laps and I thought: 'If I continue to do this, I am going to kill myself! So I better back off and save the car for tomorrow.' But we got the win, and that's what's important for the championship."
The race for second place in the class was fraught with drama between Bortolotti and de Quesada.
De Quesada pulled to within two-tenths of a second of Bortolotti 10 minutes into the race, and the two drivers sailed around the track in lockstep for nearly the next half-hour.
With six minutes remaining, the pair approached the Gold Cup car of Martin Harvey. Bortolotti and de Quesada made contact between Turns 3 and 4 while trying to pass Harvey, with Bortolotti and de Quesada hitting the tire wall in Turn 4.
De Quesada was able to continue under caution in his Porsche to finish second in the class, but Bortolotti's race ended with a heavily damaged No. 84 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. Bortolotti, from Kanata, Ontario, was unhurt.
Race officials assessed de Quesada with a 44-second penalty after the race for incident responsibility with Gold Cup competitor Jerimy Daniel earlier in the race, but de Quesada still kept second place in Platinum Masters despite the time penalty.
Bortolotti's exit allowed Andre Belzile to inherit third in the No. 93 GT Racing entry. Belzile, from Drummondville, Quebec, earned his third podium finish of the season.
|Gold Cup podium finishers (from left): Jerimy Daniel, Tim Sanderson, Ilker Starck|
Tim Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, edged closer to his first Gold Cup championship with his third victory of the season in the No. 07 Alegra Motorsports/Northwest Atlantic Motorsports Porsche.
He will clinch the title by finishing second or better Sunday in the class for 2010-13 model cars. Sanderson leads Daniel by four points entering the finale.
Consistency has been the blueprint for success this season for Sanderson, and that smooth, steady approach played a key role in his victory Saturday.
Daniel, from Candiac, Quebec, led Sanderson by 2.2 seconds eight minutes into the race and appeared to have the speed in his No. 75 TRC car to earn victory. But he slid and spun out of the lead in Turn 5 with 30 minutes remaining after contact from de Quesada, handing the top spot to Sanderson.
But Daniel didn't quit. He charged through the field, braking late and smoking his Michelin tires, in a furious effort to catch Sanderson.
Daniel pulled to within .489 seconds of Sanderson with 15 minutes remaining in the race, and the duel for the title and race victory was on. Sanderson led Daniel by just two points entering this event.
But Sanderson maintained that gap for the next nine minutes, until the race-ending caution.
"We just tried to drive our race," Sanderson said. "Unfortunately, Jerimy had a little spin, but you know we had a spin in Trois-Rivières. The racing gods were with us today, I guess! He (Daniel) was pushing me, Ilker (Starck) was pushing me, and that's what it's all about, the good competition."
Ilker Starck finished third in the No. 48 SCB Racing/Downtown Porsche entry. Starck, from Toronto, earned his fourth podium finish of the season.
|Silver Cup podium finishers (from left): Keith Bass, Chuck Harris|
Chuck Harris cruised to his eighth victory in nine rounds this season in Silver Cup (2005½-2009 car models) in the No. 50 Alegra Motorsports Porsche.
Harris, from Tampa, Florida, needs to start the race Sunday to clinch his first championship. He leads the Silver Cup championship standings by 14 points.
"It was a little slippery out there, but it was clean all the way to the end," Harris said. "I had a good time out there. The guys that were going for it were going for it hard to protect their position in the points. It was a good race."
Keith Bass, from Tampa, Florida, finished second in the No. 49 Alegra Motorsports Porsche.
Round 10 of the 2014 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin - the final race of the season - is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. (ET) Sunday. The race is 45 minutes.
For more information on the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, visit www.imsa.com and @IMSA on Twitter with the hashtag #GT3CAN. Live commentary for both races will be provided on Twitter at @IMSALive.
ROUND 9 POST-RACE QUOTES:
SCOTT HARGROVE (No. 69 OpenRoad Racing, winner): "It was kind of a perfect race from a driver's standpoint. I started on pole, got the lead on the start and was able to pull a gap early on and then just kind of maintain the gap for the rest of the race. Those guys were definitely quick, and I had to push for the whole race. The OpenRoad Porsche was so good. I was able to run consistent lap times all race long, matching my best lap of the race even at the end. Phenomenal result for these guys. I am thrilled to be here and can't wait to finish off the championship tomorrow."
CHRIS GREEN (No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports, second): "I'll leave that start to the officials. They are trying to be consistent, so we'll see how consistent they are with that one. At the end of the day, though, I got behind Spencer (Pigot) and followed him. He was fast for a while, so I figured I wouldn't fight it out with him. I knew I had a better car. Spencer made a couple of mistakes, and it gave me the opportunity to get by him. I started creeping up on Scott (Hargrove). Traffic didn't play out in my favor, and once again Scott wins under yellow. Another second place. What can I tell you? One more tomorrow."
SPENCER PIGOT (No. 21 Alegra Motorsports, third): "It started off well. We got second at the start but started falling off struggling with grip in the car and gradually dropped back. But we're on the podium again, so a big thanks to Alegra and everyone that helped prepare the car."
MARCO CIRONE (No. 88 Mark Motors Racing, first, Platinum Masters): "The race was, I guess, very lonely. I had no one around me for 45 minutes. I had a terrible start and then I got by Jerimy (Daniel). Etienne (Borgeat) spun in front of me. So, yeah, I was just all by myself. So I just concentrated on my line and tried to get good lap times. It was like a practice run out there because there was nobody to race against. I couldn't catch those three fast cars, kids. Although I tried the first couple of laps and I thought: 'If I continue to do this, I am going to kill myself! So I better back off and save the car for tomorrow.' But we got the win, and that's what's important for the championship."
CARLOS DE QUESADA (No. 22 Alegra Motorsports, second, Platinum Masters): "It was a crazy race. We had (Jerimy) Daniel in front of us. He kept locking it up everywhere. Perry got by him, and I was able to get by him. He locked up really bad in Turn 5A and got sideways there. When we came out of there, I tried just basically catching up with Perry and caught up with him. I came around Turn 3 and we had caught up to the McDonald's car (Martin Harvey). We got down there, and Perry tried making the pass on him and the guy moved over. Unfortunately he (Bortolotti) got the worst end of that. My car was just hobbling along at that point. Not the way I like to finish a race."
ANDRE BELZILE (No. 93 GT Racing, third, Platinum Masters): "I had such a bad start, so I had to recover from there so I could catch up to Shaun. That was it. Ilker (Starck) was in front of me, and he was fast today. So he had a great race. I am on the podium, obviously, because I saw Perry (Bortolotti) crashing. I hope he's OK. He would have deserved to be here on the podium. The car looked bad, but I saw him standing, so I hope he's OK."
TIM SANDERSON (No. 07 Alegra Motorsports/Northwest Atlantic Motorsports, first, Gold Cup): "We've enjoyed this track for many years. I've been coming here since I was a very young boy. We've done a lot of laps here. We just tried to drive our race. Unfortunately, Jerimy (Daniel) had a little spin, but you know we had a spin in Trois-Rivières. The racing gods were with us today, I guess! He (Daniel) was pushing me, Ilker (Starck) was pushing me, and that's what it's all about, the good competition."
ILKER STARCK (No. 48 SCB Racing/Downtown Porsche, third, Gold Cup): "The race was great. The guys did a good job getting the car in a good position for us to at least finish on the podium. I guess with the weather change, it was cooler this morning, and we thought we'd be really competitive and maybe win this race. But either way, the car started falling off toward the end, so I made the best out of it and brought the car home in third place. Thanks again to my team and Downtown Porsche."
CHUCK HARRIS (No. 50 Alegra Motorsports, first, Silver Cup): "It was a little slippery out there, but it was clean all the way to the end. I had a good time out there. The guys that were going for it were going for it hard to protect their position in the points. It was a good race."
KEITH BASS (No. 49 Alegra Motorsports, second, Silver Cup): "It started well, and we kept up quite a bit, but just didn't have the pace as it went on and on. So I came in second and had a great day."
Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin
The IMSA Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin produces intense, exciting competition for semi-professional and aspiring professional drivers in one of the world's most successful and iconic race cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. The series is one of Porsche's global single-make Cup Challenge series and is the perfect platform for aspiring drivers to ascend to the highest levels of GT competition, such as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The 10-round series races in 2014 at four classic Canadian road and street courses, providing thrills for drivers and fans.
The International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) is the sanctioning body of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the road-racing series resulting from the merger of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. IMSA also sanctions the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, as well as four single-make series: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama; Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin; Ferrari Challenge North America; and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. IMSA is the exclusive strategic partner in North America with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) which operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The partnership enables selected TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Schumacher, Capps score wins, while Beckman, Line and Savoie take qualifying leads at Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals
Tony Schumacher raced to the $100,000 payday in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout on Saturday , closing out an action packed day of racing at the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race.
Schumacher, a seven-time world champ and the winningest Top Fuel driver at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis with nine career victories, defeated Richie Crampton in the specialty bonus event final round with a 3.748-second run at 328.54 mph at the controls of his U.S. Army dragster.
It was the first Traxxas Nitro Shootout victory for Schumacher and the run also locked him in as the Top Fuel qualifying leader with two remaining sessions. He broke the track record for speed with his final pass of the night.
“These are the eight best cars as a whole,” Schumacher said of the competition in the Traxxas Nitro Shootout. “They’re cars that have gone out and won races and continuously find themselves in final rounds. It’s very satisfying (to win).”
Crampton, appearing in his first Traxxas Nitro Shootout, ran a 3.798 at 318.24 in his GEICO/Lucas Oil dragster. He defeated No. 2 seed Antron Brown and defending race winner Shawn Langdon en route to the final.
In Top Fuel qualifying, Steve Torrence’s Capco Contractors dragster ran a 3.753 at 326.16 to place him second in the qualifying order. Brainerd winner Morgan Lucas sits third following a 3.575 at 322.81 in his Lucas Oil/GEICO dragster.
In other racing on Saturday, the weather-delayed Funny Car and Pro Stock events from Brainerd continued at Indianapolis.
In Funny Car, Ron Capps drove his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger to a Brainerd victory over John Force with a 4.026 at 320.36. It was his second win of the season and 43rd of his career. Capps has five career wins at the Brainerd event.
“It was hard waiting all this time,” Capps said of the delay from Brainerd. “It was cool knowing you were going to race Force, knowing you’re going to do it at Indy of all places on a Saturday night under the lights. We knew that was going to happen regardless.”
Force was appearing in his fifth final in a row. With the result, Force’s Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang passed John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight to take over the No. 1 spot in the Funny Car points.
The Pro Stock semifinals featured Jason Line posting a 6.589 at 210.01 in his Summit Racing Chevy Camaro to defeat Dave River and Jeg Coughlin Jr. clocked a 6.638 at 207.88 in his JEGS.com Dodge Dart to defeat Vincent Nobile. Line’s run was good enough for the provisional No. 1 qualifying position. The Pro Stock final will run on Sunday during the fourth qualifying session at 11 a.m.
“The Summit Camaro is on a rail right now,” said Line, who will be going for his 35th career victory tomorrow. “It's definitely the best race car that I've ever had. It's taken us a long time to get here, but it's a great feeling – especially in today's Pro Stock, where it's tough to have any kind of an advantage. Right now, it feels like we actually have a little one."
Line was followed in qualifying by Vincent Nobile who posted a 6.601 at 208.49 in his Mountain View Tire Chevy Camaro. Shane Gray currently sits third with a 6.603 at 209.17 in the Gray Manufacturing Camaro.
Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) joined Schumacher and Line as qualifying leaders of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals following the second and third qualifying sessions during the final event of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season.
Beckman, currently 11th in the Funny Car points and chasing Tim Wilkerson for the final Countdown to the Championship transfer spot, shot to the top of the leaderboard with a track record time of 4.004 at 312.13 in his Valvoline MaxLife Dodge Charger. Beckman is seeking his first No. 1 qualifying position of the season.
“It’s really hard to complain right now,” said Beckman, the 2012 Funny Car world champ. “It wasn’t just that run. We’ve made three good runs. Maybe we weren’t at the top of the qualifying sheets, but the car did what it was supposed to do, what we predicted it to do.”
Del Worsham ran a 4.016 at 317.12 to land his DHL Toyota Camry in the provisional No. 2 spot. Matt Hagan’s Mopar Express Lane Dodge Charger is third following a 4.021 at 318.99.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Savoie ran a 6.878 at 194.18 on a Suzuki. He is looking for his second career No. 1 position following his top qualifying effort at Sonoma last month.
“I’m happy to be No. 1, but I know we can do better,” Savoie said. “As a racer, you always want to go faster. You’re always looking for one little thing that you can improve on. We’ll come back tomorrow and try again and see if we can do better.”
Eddie Krawiec currently sits second following a 6.904 at 194.74 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson. Hector Arana Jr.’s Lucas Oil Buell ran a 6.906 at 194.27, good enough for the provisional No. 3 position.
Qualifying will conclude on Sunday with sessions at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. for Monday’s 11 a.m. eliminations.
Schumacher, Worsham, Line and Krawiec lead qualifying at Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals
Tony Schumacher raced to the Top Fuel qualifying lead Friday at the 60th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race.
Del Worsham (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Eddie Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were qualifying leaders at the final regular season race in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Following this event the top 10 fields in each class will be set for the six-race Countdown to the Championship playoffs, which starts Sept. 12-14 at zMAX Dragway near Charlotte, N.C.
Schumacher, a nine-time winner of this event, powered his U.S. Army dragster to a leading run of 3.777 seconds at 322.65 mph.
“It’s huge to get that run,” Schumacher said. “Now we can go out and try to dominate the weekend and win the Traxxas Nitro Shootout and the race. We have the opportunity to do something special here and win this race for a 10th time.”
Schumacher was one of only two drivers to record an elapsed time in the 3.7-second range. Steve Torrence, runner-up and No. 1 qualifier here one year ago, was second in his Capco Contractors dragster with a 3.786 at 318.09.
“It wasn’t anything special,” Schumacher said. “The car could’ve gone quicker. Mike (Green, crew chief) was turning knobs and pulling levers trying to make adjustments because a lot of cars weren’t making it down the track.”
Defending winner Shawn Langdon was third in his Al-Anabi Racing dragster with a 3.808 at 313.29 and current series points leader Doug Kalitta is 16th after his Mac Tools dragster launched hard but ultimately slowed near mid-track and posted an opening-day best of 5.066 at 137.36.
Former U.S. Nationals winner Worsham topped the Funny Car qualifying order with a 4.044 at 313.73 in his DHL Toyota Camry. Worsham is ninth in the points standings and says that every point is critical this weekend.
“It was a great run,” Worsham said. “Every run throughout the season is very important, but to get down to the final race of the (regular) season and you’re not locked into the Countdown, you’re paying attention. There’s pressure every run, but there’s a little bit added pressure here to make the Countdown. This sport comes down to a lot of pressure. I tell people every single run down the (track) for NHRA is like the last lap of the final straight of a NASCAR race; it’s that important.”
Ron Capps was second in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger with a 4.052 at 316.01 and Matt Hagan sits third in his Rocky Boots/Mopar Charger with a 4.067 at 318.47. Series points leader John Force, a four-time Indy winner, is 11th overall with a 4.865 at 168.94 in his Castrol GTX High Mileage Ford Mustang.
Force and Capps will decide the Brainerd final round tomorrow during the day’s final qualifying session.
In Pro Stock, new points leader Line continued his recent hot streak with a leading effort of 6.623 at 208.78 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevy Camaro.
“It feels really good to get a good run under our belt,” said Line, who has won the last two races and is still in contention for the rain-delayed Brainerd event, which will be completed at this event. “Both of the Summit cars ran pretty sporty, so it's a good day to be racing a Chevy Camaro. At least I know I have a good horse. A lot of times when you leave one (track) you wonder if it's going to be as fast (at the next one).”
Three-time U.S. Nationals winner Dave Connolly was second in his Charter Communications Camaro with a 6.637 at 208.01, while six-time Indy winner Greg Anderson is third in his Summit Camaro with a 6.643 at 208.10.
In tomorrow’s Brainerd Pro Stock semifinals, which will also be held during the day’s second session, Line will face Dave River and Jeg Coughlin will race Vincent Nobile. The Brainerd Pro Stock final will be held on Sunday during the day’s first session.
Three-time world champ Krawiec, who is seeking his first Indy victory, rode to the Pro Stock Motorcycle qualifying lead with a run of 6.930 at 193.57 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson.
“My Harley-Davidson has been awesome,” Krawiec said. “This is also a home race, and we want to do well for our guys. That was a good run, but I think there is a couple of hundredths left. I actually thought that low E.T. would be about a 6.89, but it’s warm and humid and there is a lot of water in the air. Personally, I don’t care if low E.T. is a 7.15; I just want to be the quickest rider out here.”
Past Indy winner Hector Arana Jr. qualified second on his Lucas Oil Buell with a 6.931 at 192.96 and 2012 U.S. Nationals winner Andrew Hines is third on his Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson with a 6.953 at 192.14.