Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.
Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.
Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network.
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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.
Troy Coughlin raced to the qualifying lead Friday in the Pro Mod Series portion of the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, the world’s most prestigious drag race.
Coughlin led the 34 cars attempting to qualify for one of 16 spots available for Sunday’s first round of eliminations with a performance of 5.945 seconds at 248.75 mph in his turbocharged JEGS.com Corvette.
"We've been testing a lot, and it's been running pretty good," Coughlin said. "Steve (Petty, crew chief) is just a mastermind at what he's doing. As long as we don't make any mistakes, man, it'll run pretty good."
After a relatively slow start to the season, the 2012 world champ won the most recent event in Norwalk, Ohio and is continuing his surge at this event.
"It's been a pretty good day," Coughlin said. "Jeggie's (brother, Pro Stock driver) qualified in the middle of the pack, we ended up No. 1 and (son) T.J.'s won in Super Comp and Super Gas first round. Pretty good day for JEGS.com."
Steven Whiteley was second with a 5.955 at 243.77 in his J&A Service/YNOT Racing ’68 Camaro, while former world champion Von Smith qualified third with a 5.955 at 241.97 in his Al-Anabi Racing ’69 Camaro.
Defending world champion and current points leader Rickie Smith qualified fourth in his nitrous-injected IDG Chevy Camaro with a performance of 5.985 at 243.68.
Defending U.S. Nationals Pro Mod winner Mike Janis, currently second in points, is outside the top 16 after the first session. The New York native sits 18th with a 6.166 at 239.82 in his Jan-Cen Racing late-model Camaro.
Sanderson Pushes To New Level In Gold Cup Title Fight
A tough lesson learned a year ago has helped drive Tim Sanderson to the brink of a championship this season.
Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, leads the Gold Cup class in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin entering the last two rounds of the season Aug. 30-31 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. Series veteran Sanderson holds a two-point lead, 140-138, over rookie Jerimy Daniel in the class for 2010-13 model Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.
Last season, Sanderson opened with four consecutive Gold Cup victories and appeared to be headed for his first championship in just his second year in the single-make Porsche series. But friendly rival Carlos de Quesada overcame early frustration with his car to surge to the title with six consecutive victories to close the season, edging Sanderson by four points.
"One thing I learned from last season is you can never underestimate anybody," Sanderson said. "I think Carlos, in fairness to him and his team last season, they had the car for two or three days literally before the first race. I know he was frustrated after the first race at Mosport that he wasn't more competitive. They turned it around. They brought it back hard for the rest of the season. We kept doing what we were doing, but at the end, they ended up with a few more points than we did.
"There's nobody I'd rather finish second to than Carlos de Quesada. That man is a pure gentleman and a great competitor and a great racer. I was proud to be second in the points behind him. But this season is a different season, and we're going into the final weekend on the other end of that equation. It's ours to lose, I guess."
The title chase dimension also is different for Sanderson in two other crucial ways in 2014.
First, the level of competitiveness has escalated considerably this season in Gold Cup. Last year De Quesada and Sanderson were the only drivers with a chance to win the title entering the final event of the season, and they were the only drivers to win a race in the class.
This year, all five Gold Cup drivers have a mathematical shot to wear the crown after Round 10 Sunday. And Sanderson, Daniel and 2011 Gold Cup champion Shaun McKaigue each have stood on the top step of the podium as a race winner this season.
"I think everyone has brought their A game to the series this season, which isn't a slight on anybody from last season, but I think the entire field, the game level has been raised, all the way from Platinum (Cup) right through," Sanderson said. "It's good. We've had a few little dustups as the season has unfolded, but I think everybody is driving to win, and I think everybody is driving as much as possible to bring it home in one piece."
This season's championship hunt also is different because of the addition of Daniel, from Candiac, Quebec.
Daniel, 21, is the only non-Masters (age 45 or older) competitor in the class this year. Sanderson, 52, admits Daniel's driving skill and youthful enthusiasm and vigor have forced him to elevate every aspect of his preparation for a race weekend.
"I've got a couple of kids of my own who are older than Jerimy," Sanderson said with a laugh. "When I look at him, I look at a young kid. He's got lots of energy; he's got lots of enthusiasm. I've got to try to contend with that in other ways: Show up at the racetrack ready to race, fit and with my head in the right place.
"Jerimy is a great competitor, and he's pushing the stink out of me. I hope I'm doing the same for him."
So far, Sanderson has responded to Daniel's challenge with successful aplomb.
Sanderson has finished on the Gold Cup podium in seven of eight starts this season in the No. 07 Alegra Motorsports/Northwest Atlantic Motorsports Porsche, with victories in Round 4 in June at Calabogie and Round 7 earlier this month at Trois-Rivières. He also races with a benevolent purpose, as his Racing for Joanne's House program has helped to raise awareness and funding in 2013 and 2014 for Joanne's House, the only shelter for homeless and at-risk youth in Durham, Ontario.
Plus Sanderson won the pole with a Gold Cup track record and set a Gold Cup race lap record while finishing second in Round 8 earlier this month at Trois-Rivières, so he enters the season finale this weekend at CTMP with confidence.
"We're looking forward to a great weekend of racing," Sanderson said. "I don't expect anything different with the car or the setup we have used before at Mosport. I think everything should be the same as before."
Much of that confidence is bred by the wisdom of experience. Sanderson has been around motorsports for most of his life as a fan or competitor. His initial experience behind the wheel came in open-wheel cars at driving schools, and he began racing in Porsche club competition about 14 years ago and also drove in Vintage Automobile Racing Association of Canada (VARAC) events.
Sanderson, a successful commercial retail real estate executive, then made the jump to the IMSA Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin in 2012.
His experience dovetails nicely with his approach to the sport. He's a thinker behind the wheel, enjoying strategic planning over reactive muscling and hustling of the car. He studies competitors' lines. He ponders inside the helmet, sometimes laps ahead of time, the best spot and opportunity to make a crucial pass.
That mentality has bred the consistency that is vital to every championship path.
"I've been doing this a long time and am taking the approach of letting things unfold and sitting back," Sanderson said. "The races are rarely won in the first corner or the first two corners, so as long as you can keep your competitors in sight, you've got a shot at the end. That's the way I approach my races and try to get ahead of the field.
"There's nothing more frustrating than building up a big 15-second or 20-second lead and then there's a full-course yellow, and you say to yourself, 'Geez, all of that hard work, and we're going to have a sprint to the finish.' So I just like to sit back and let it come to me a little bit. And I feel really good going into Mosport with that approach. It's a track I've been racing on. I can't count how many laps I have at that place, and I'm looking forward to it."
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 at CTMP will be provided on Twitter at @IMSALive.
Nathan's Famous and KaBOOM! Bring Ready. Set. PLAY. to Atlanta
The students of Whitefoord Elementary School and the surrounding community enjoyed a piece of Coney Island this week thanks to Nathan's Famous and KaBOOM!. The world famous hot dog company and the national non-profit dedicated to giving kids the balanced and active play they need to thrive partnered with the Whitefoord, Inc. to bring Ready. Set. PLAY. to the Atlanta area. Nathan's and KaBOOM! have staged similar events across the country as part of the Ready. Set. PLAY. program, which was created earlier this year to celebrate play and the "playmakers" who are making play possible in communities around the country.
Nathan's Famous and KaBOOM! chose to partner with Whitefoord, Inc. as a way to honor their commitment to not only the mental health of children, but the physical health as well. Whitefoord, Inc. is a unique community resource that connects quality healthcare and education services for children and families in and around Southeast Atlanta. In 2008, the community teamed up with KaBOOM! to build a new playspace in their neighborhood.
"We truly enjoy our partnership with KaBOOM! and are thrilled to collaborate on a program such as Ready. Set. PLAY.," said Mike Paribello, senior director of marketing for the John Morrell Food Group, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods and licensing partner of Nathan's Famous. "Through this program, we get to celebrate and honor the positive work schools and organizations, such as Whitefoord, Inc., are doing to support children and their communities by promoting and protecting active play. Plus, it's a fun way to bring a taste of Coney Island to youth and communities across the country."
"The fundamentals of balanced and active lifestyles begin at home with our parents and in our communities," said KaBOOM! CEO and Founder Darell Hammond. "With support from Nathan's Famous through Ready. Set. PLAY., we are able to bring play opportunities to communities across the nation and inspire kids and families to incorporate play in their everyday lives."
The fun-filled afternoon included the flavors of Coney Island with delicious Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs, carnival-like games, giveaways and much more. A drawing was also held at the event with four winners receiving tickets to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, August 31 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
"Whitefoord, Inc.'s mission is to partner with families and the community to ensure that all are healthy - mentally and physically - and children have what they need to succeed in school," said Ossie Mitchell with Whitefoord, Inc. "We are so thankful for the support from Nathan's Famous and KaBOOM! and are excited to get a taste of Coney Island throughReady. Set. PLAY."
For more information, please visit Nathan's Famous and KaBOOM! online.
SCCA Majors Season Just One Race From Finish In Topeka
The day began with 25-minute qualifying sessions to set the grids for Saturday afternoon on the track’s 2.2-mile configuration. Saturday’s Round 11 is the penultimate round in the Mid-States Conference season-long point championship, which counts the best eight finishes.
Pirelli World Challenge Announces Porsche GT-Cup Class for 2015
It's time to go racing again and the European Le Mans Series' teams and drivers are getting ready for the next round of the 2014 season, to be held at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France.
While participants will be in place from Friday, 12 September to get set up in the Paul Ricard paddock, and go through the administrative and technical checks that take place before every race, spectators are due from Saturday morning, 13th.
Following the mandatory drivers' briefing with race director Eduardo Freitas, cars will be on track at 10h30 for the first free practice session of the day. After almost two months' break, the teams and drivers from all the classes will be keen to work on their set ups and, during the 90-minute session, re-familiarise themselves with the 5.7km Circuit Paul Ricard layout. A second practice session will be held from 15h00 to 16h30 the same day.
On Sunday, 14 September the track opens at 08h30. The LMGTE and GTC entrants will open proceedings with their qualifying session at 09h00 for a period of 20 minutes. This will be followed by qualifying for the LMP2 prototypes between 09h30 and 09h50.
Spectators will have the chance to get close to the cars between 10h30 and 11h45 in the pit lane and to get their favourite drivers' autographs between 11h00 and 11h30.
During the pre-race period while cars go to the grid, spectators and aficionados of European endurance racing will be able to enjoy a good number of different entertainments, and the start of the 4 Hours of Paul Ricard will be given at 13h00.
Access to Circuit Paul Ricard's grandstands is free for all. Those who wish to enter the paddocks and take part in the Pitwalk and autograph session can purchase a ticket for €10 for the weekend. This ticket also gives access to the Roof Top Party, organised by the Paul Ricard circuit on the rooftop terrace of the main building.
Ricky Carmichael Teams Up With No. 1 College Football Coach, FSU's Jimbo Fisher, to Fight Fanconi Anemia
As Florida State University head football coach Jimbo Fisher readies his national championship team for this weekend's season opener in Dallas, he's also teaming up with motocross champion Ricky Carmichael to raise awareness for Fanconi anemia (FA) - a rare and incurable blood disorder affecting Jimbo's younger son, Ethan, and an 11-year-old motocross enthusiast from Texas named Gage Klein.
Jimbo and his wife, Candi - who spearhead Kidz1stFund to raise awareness and treatment options for FA - will join Gage, and his family on the field at AT&T Stadium for a pre-game surprise on behalf of Carmichael.
"When the Fishers shared Gage's FA story with me earlier this year, how his beloved race jersey is boxed up and his dirt bike is now retired in the rafters of his dad's shop, I knew I needed to get personally involved," said Carmichael. "My connection with the Fishers goes beyond our love for the Seminoles and my hometown, Tallahassee. They are my friends and their Kidz1stFund is a foundation I truly believe in."
When the Fishers introduced Carmichael to Gage, he invited the entire family to the 2014 Dallas Supercross - where Gage enjoyed exclusive access onto the stadium's race track and met one-on-one with Carmichael and many other motocross idols for pictures and autographs on the winner's podium. Gage also sat alongside race trainers and crew in press box seats during the big races that evening.
Gage's appearance on the kick-off game field with Ethan in Dallas, as well as the FSU football team wearing "I Fight Fanconi" Kidz1stFund helmet decals during the season opener, are both to show continued support in the fight against FA.
"Candi and I are overwhelmed with gratitude at Ricky's incredible efforts to spread the word about Kidz1stFund and personally make a difference in the lives of those living with FA," said Coach Fisher.
Ethan and Gage are 2 out of 130,000 people annually affected with FA, leading to birth defects, bone marrow failure and cancer diagnoses. Nearly 100 percent of patients need very risky bone marrow transplants before adulthood, and even then, survivors have an average life expectancy of 29 years old.
"Time is not on our side, and every move we make brings us one step closer to finding a cure for FA," said Candi. "The amount of support we've received over the years is incredible, and it only continues to grow."
In just three years, Kidz1stFund has donated more than $2.1 million to the University of Minnesota Children's Hospital, the largest treatment center for FA patients (like Ethan and Gage) in the country.
To make a contribution or learn more about the fight against Fanconi anemia, visitwww.Kidz1stFund.com.