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.
Contact Adam: Email
Strong Second Place for Scuderia Corsa in Virginia
At the end of two hours and forty-five minutes of hard fought racing in the Oak Tree Grand Prix, Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Westphal celebrated with their Scuderia Corsa crew as the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia finished in second position in the GT-Daytona class.
Not too long after the checkered flag fell in Virginia, Mike Hedlund took the checkered flag at the Pirelli World Challenge race at Sonoma Raceway in fourth position, scoring a career-best finish.
The no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia qualified in ninth position, and Westphal advanced up to third position during the opening stint. At the first pit stop, Westphal turned the car over to Balzan who remained at the front of the field thanks to fast pit work by the Scuderia Corsa crew. Balzan battled past a number of Porsches to work back to second position, where he would finish.
"Today, we achieved more than the maximum performance possible," said Balzan. "Jeff did a terrific job in his stint and the Scuderia Corsa crew did an amazing job in the pit stops. Second position is amazing. I was driving past the maximum on every lap but it was clear that every time we closed the gap to the leader they could simply open it back up. It is hard to compete this way but we did everything that we could and it is a great result."
At the World Challenge race in Sonoma, Hedlund would enjoy a successful first weekend in World Challenge with Scuderia Corsa. Competing in the doubleheader weekend, Hedlund would finish in sixth position in Saturday's race while finishing in fourth position on Sunday - with a late-race full course caution period taking away his chance at finishing on the podium.
"We had a podium car today, and without the last full course caution period, we could have passed for a strong third place," said Hedlund. "My Ferrari of Silicon Valley / Tequila Patron Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 performed flawlessly. I would like to thank all our fans at the track today who came by and wished us well, as well as Giacomo Mattioli and his Scuderia Corsa team for preparing an excellent car for this entire weekend."
For his part, Mattioli would enjoy seeing his team compete for a podium result - despite the handicap Ferrari has with the current Balance of Performance that overly penalizes the 458 in GTD.
"It was a great weekend all around for Scuderia Corsa," said Mattioli. "Mike was very impressive at the Pirelli World Challenge in Sonoma and we are looking forward to more weekends in the series. In the TUDOR Championship, this result feels like a victory to me. We consolidated the lead of Ferrari in the manufacturer championship and we reduced the gap in the team championship. There are two races to go and Scuderia Corsa doesn't lift."
The next TUDOR Championship race will be September 19-20 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
MX Sports Pro Racing Congratulates 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Champions Ken Roczen and Jeremy Martin
MX Sports Pro Racing wishes to congratulate newly crowned 450 Class Champion Ken Roczen and 250 Class Champion Jeremy Martin, along with their respective teams-Red Bull KTM team and Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha-on a successful 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship season.
In a highly anticipated championship battle that went down to the last moto of the 12th and final round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen maintained his composure to capture his first career 450 Class title at Utah's Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday. In the 250 Class, Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha's Jeremy Martin clinched his first career title one round early in Indiana, where he finished the season in a strong manner with a 1-1 sweep at Utah's finale.
Roczen became the first German native to win an American motocross title.
Photo: Simon Cudby
With five overall wins and eight moto wins, the most of anyone in the 450 Class, Roczen was the most consistently dominant rider in the premier division. The German native surrendered the season-opening victory to his teammate Ryan Dungey, but a 1-1 sweep at round two projected Roczen into a position to take over the championship points lead at round three and he maintained possession of the points leader's red number-plate background for the duration.
Ken Roczen was able to clinch his first career 450 Class title in the final moto at the season finale.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Roczen is the first German native to win a Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship title and is the 23rd different 450 Class champion in the series' 43-year history. Additionally, he joins an elite group of riders who hold the distinction of winning the title in their rookie season, including Dungey (2010), Ricky Carmichael (200) and Jean-Michel Bayle (1991).
Jeremy Martin put forth an impressive performance en route to his first career title in the 250 Class, where he controlled the championship points lead and red number plate background through all 12 rounds. The 21-year-old began his sophomore professional season on fire in the 250 Class after sweeping the first five motos in a dominant fashion. Martin tallied five additional moto wins to total 10 for the season, while capturing five overall wins, the most of anyone in the 250 Class, and even two holeshots. Additionally, Martin led 41 percent of all laps in the 250 Class.
Congratulations to Jeremy Martin and the entire Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha team!
Photo: Simon Cudby
It was a banner year for Martin, the Star Racing team and Yamaha, who each experienced important milestones during the 2014 season. In addition to race-specific highlights for the Yamaha, Jeremy Martin's 250 Class title gave the brand its first AMA Motocross Championship in this division since Jeff Emig's title in 1992, which is perhaps the most impressive feat of them all.
It was a banner year for Jeremy Martin, the Star Racing team and the Yamaha brand.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Both Roczen and Martin will return in 2015 to defend their respective Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship titles. The opening round will take place Saturday, May 16 in Rancho Cordova, California with the Hangtown Motocross Classic. For more information, please visit www.promotocross.com.
MX Sports Pro Racing
MX Sports Pro Racing manages and produces the world's most prestigious professional motocross series - the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing. The industry leader in off road power sport event production and management, its mission is to showcase the sport of professional motocross competition at events throughout the United States. Through its various racing properties, partnerships and affiliates, MX Sports Pro Racing organizes events for thousands of action sports athletes each year and attracts millions of motorsports spectators. Visitwww.mxsportsproracing.com.
Alli Sports is a media, event and branded content company that specializes in action, adventure, and adrenaline based sports. Alli Properties include the Dew Tour, Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, the Red Bull Signature Series and World of Adventure Sports presented by Go Pro. Alli Sports is a division of the NBC Sports Group. More information can be found at www.Allisports.com.
AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.
Lucas Oil Products
Based in Corona, Calif., Lucas Oil Products, Inc is the world leader of High Performance Lubricants and Problem Solving Additives and produces and markets 272 unique formulations in thirty four countries around the globe and is growing country by country, market by market every year. Through innovative product research and development, along with progressive marketing programs, Lucas Oil Products has established itself as the top-selling additive line in the American truck-stop industry. Lucas Oil is involved in an array of motorsports sponsorships, including the "Official Motor Oil of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship." Visit: www.lucasoil.com.
MAVTV is a television network with its roots deep in the automotive world. With an unparalleled line-up of motorsports events and exclusive automotive reality shows, MAVTV is the answer for motor-heads from all walks of life. But MAVTV is much more than a motorsports destination, with original action/adventure programming, live MMA and an unbelievable library of blockbuster movies - MAVTV is a network the whole family can enjoy. A network by the people and for the people, made in America and American Real. Visit: www.mavtv.com.
(Lucas Oil Pro Motocross PR)
The 12th and final round of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, signified the series' second ever visit to Miller Motorsports Park, just outside of Salt Lake City, for the Zions Bank Utah National on Saturday. With a title yet to be decided in the premier 450 Class, the spotlight was on the Red Bull KTM duo of Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey over the final two motos of the summer as 20 points separated the teammates entering the afternoon. Roczen was a fixture at the forefront of the field all afternoon, but ultimately rode patiently to ensure he would clinch the title in his first season of 450 Class competition with a fourth-place finish, ending the summer with a 14-point advantage over Dungey.
Out front on the 450 Class, Team Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard continued his strong close to the season and was dominant en route to his first career win, posting a 1-1 effort to become the division's 62nd different winner. In the 250 Class, Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Jeremy Martin capped off his championship-clinching effort from a week ago with a decisive outing of his own, posting his third 1-1 effort of the season to finish out 2014 with a class-leading five victories.
Roczen became the first German native to win an American motocross title.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Canard, undoubtedly the hottest rider in the series coming into Utah, kept the momentum going in the opening 450 Class moto, surging past GEICO Honda's Eli Tomac off the start and holding off Roczen to earn the Motosport.com Holeshot Award. As the riders slotted into position, Canard, Roczen, Dungey and Tomac immediately established a four-rider breakaway that would last the entirety of the moto. Canard withstood constant pressure from Roczen throughout the early stages of the moto, but as they began to make their way through lappers, Roczen almost went down after contact with another rider, allowing Canard to open a comfortable lead and dropping Roczen into the clutches of his teammate in third.
While Canard comfortably pulled away out front, Roczen, Dungey and Tomac did battle for the podium. On Lap 14, Dungey made the pass on Roczen for second, only to give the position back a few laps later when a lapper altered his line. As that sequence of events unfolded, Tomac encountered his own misfortune and lost touch with the leaders. Dungey fought back and was able to re-pass Roczen with two laps remaining. Out front, Canard cruised to his third moto win in his last four attempts, nearly seven seconds ahead of Dungey, who gained two valuable points on Roczen in third. Tomac was fourth with Toyota/Yamaha/N-FAB/JGRMX's Josh Grant rounding out the top five.
Canard was in a league of his own in Utah.
Photo: Simon Cudby
It was more of the same from Canard in Moto 2, once again capturing the Motosport.com Holeshot Award ahead of Roczen. The duo set a torrid pace on the opening lap to open a small gap on their rivals, while Dungey overcame a start outside the top five to move into third by the end of the opening lap. While Canard maintained control of the lead, Dungey soon began to put pressure on his teammate for second and after applying pressure for a few laps, was able to make the move on Lap 5. Dungey closed in to within a couple seconds of Canard, but could never mount a serious challenge.
Canard capped off his perfect day nearly eight seconds ahead of Dungey in second, while Tomac also made his way past Roczen to finish third.
Canard won four of the last five motos to close out the season on a high note. He earned his first career moto win at Unadilla two weeks ago and finished second overall in the two rounds leading into Utah. The victory came in his 26th career 450 Class start.
"I've gotten more comfortable [the last few weeks]. It's no secret we made bike changes and it was instant for me in gaining more confidence," explained Canard. "I really have to attribute that to the team and I've had a lot of fun. I've been through such a roller coaster career I thought that if I didn't win today then it would be hard to win [ever]. I just wanted to put two motos together to give us [momentum] going into next year."
Dungey's consistent 2-2 effort landed him second overall, while Tomac (4-3) earned the tiebreaker over Roczen (3-4) to grab the final spot on the podium.
Roczen is the first German native to win a Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship title and is the 23rd different 450 Class champion in the series' 43-year history. Additionally, he joins an elite group of riders who hold the distinction of winning the title in their rookie season, including Dungey, Ricky Carmichael and Jean-Michel Bayle.
"I've been trying to play it cool [all weekend] but I'm not going to lie, I've been really nervous about today," said Roczen. "I just didn't want to talk about it and [wanted to] go out there and ride. I just pumped myself up for the motos and went, but it was honestly hard to put it out of my mind. I just went out there and did what I needed to do and made it happen, which is a huge accomplishment."
Roczen's title triumph was the second ever for KTM in the 450 Class and was the brand's second premier division crown in three years. It's also the first 1-2 championship sweep for the team.
Dungey was strong on Saturday, but couldn't overcome the points deficit.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Despite already clinching the 250 Class title last weekend, Martin didn't let up on Saturday. After his teammate Cooper Webb grabbed the Motosport.com Holeshot Award in the opening moto, Martin applied consistent pressure after starting second and was able to make the pass for the lead on Lap 5. Once in front, Martin was untouchable and opened a comfortable margin that he was able to maintain throughout the remainder of the moto.
Behind the Yamaha duo out front, the battle for the final spot on the podium was an exciting one. Strong starts by Rockstar Energy Racing teammates Joey Savatgy and Jason Anderson allowed the pair to jockey for the position early, but Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett soon made their presence felt by surging to the front. Musquin fought his way into third on Lap 4, but lost it to Baggett just one lap later. Although Musquin kept him honest for the entirety of the moto, Baggett withstood the pressure.
Martin took his ninth moto win of the season over 14 seconds ahead of Webb, with Baggett in third and Musquin fourth. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Chris Alldredge recorded a career-best fifth-place finish in just his third career pro start.
Martin bookended the 2014 season with 1-1 victories.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Savatgy grabbed another strong start in the second moto, claiming the Motosport.com Holeshot Award over Martin. However, it didn't take long for Martin to assume the lead and check out on the field. Savatgy soon came under fire from Musquin and GEICO Honda's Justin Bogle, while Baggett and Webb also began their marches toward the front.
Musquin took over second from Savatgy on Lap 3, bringing Bogle with him. The duo did battle for six laps before Bogle got the best of the Frenchman, which allowed both Webb and Baggett to close in. On Lap 10 Musquin lost a pair of spots to the hard-charging tandem, dropping to fifth. As Webb looked to assume control of the final podium spot, Baggett found a way by and set his sights on Bogle.
Martin won by nearly 18 seconds over Bogle, who held of Baggett in third. Webb followed in fourth to ensure his spot on the overall podium.
"I found something with my bike setup that helped last week and I think that played a key factor in how comfortable I felt and how well I did today," said Martin. "To be able to go 1-1 today was nice because it shows why I won the championship. I got good starts and chose good lines and it all worked out really great. I wanted to really enjoy it today and I did."
Baggett wrapped up the runner-up spot in the 250 Class championship.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Baggett's 3-3 scores earned the runner-up spot in the overall classification and also clinched second in the final 250 Class championship standings over Webb, who tied Baggett in points for the afternoon but finished third overall (2-4) following the second moto tiebreaker.
"I showed up and rode my bike to the best of my abilities today. Some days I do that and some days I don't. It's as simple as that," explained Baggett. "The track was much better this year and I was able to fight my way to the front. I just charge all the way to the checkered flag and where I end up is where I end up. Today that was good enough for second."
The 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship schedule was released in conjunction with the season finale and will kick off with the Hangtown Motocross Classic in Rancho Cordova, California, on May 16.
With all hands on deck and James French behind the wheel, the No. 38 Dash Neighborhoods/Phillips 66 PC car finished third. French, from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, started seventh after TUDOR United SportsCar Championship qualifying.
"I am very happy with third place today," French said. "I would feel terrible if David (Ostella) had to start seventh. I also was happy for the final yellow, not for the reason that it happened, but that it happened. It gave me a second chance to get to the front. We also had made a few changes before the race that I think worked. Everybody on the team obviously did a fantastic job. Hopefully David can end up on the podium tomorrow, too."
In the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda portion of the 45-minute race, Robert Alon started and finished fourth in the No. 9 Performance Tech entry.
"Before the restart, I was running third with a big gap, and I felt like I had it," Alon said. "But on the restart, I just wasn't able to keep my position. (Andrew) Novich was able to just plow through the field and get by me. I had been battling it out with Christian (Potolicchio) and had a great race with him for position. It was a good race. We'll try for the podium tomorrow."
Teammate Joel Janco didn't fare as well. A mechanical problem 13 laps into the race sent him spinning into the wall adjacent to Turn 5, ending his race early. The team will work through the night to find the problem so Janco can try to race tomorrow.
"Unfortunately, we haven't concluded exactly what happened," Janco said. "I know the team is working hard to find out what broke and sent me into the wall. Hopefully we can find out what it was. I think I'll be all right for tomorrow. We'll see how my neck feels before making any decisions."
Team Principal Brent O'Neill is happy with his PC car's positioning for the final segment of the Oak Tree Grand Prix at VIR, which starts at 10:45 Sunday. The race will be streamed live on IMSA.com.
"They all had been doing a great job out there," O'Neill said. "Robert really did a good job. This is his first year racing anything, so to be able to be running up front with guys like (Mikhail) Goikhberg is really impressive. Joel today just had an unfortunate race. It happens in racing. We'll fix it, and he'll have a good race tomorrow, I'm sure.
For updates on the team, follow Performance Tech Motorsports on Facebook.
Skeen, Mills, Baldwin Secure Saturday Sonoma Round 13 Wins
Goikhberg, Alder Lock Up Season Titles with Victories at VIR
Mikhail Goikhberg and Brian Alder sealed Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season championships in style with victories in Round 11 Saturday at Virginia International Raceway.
Goikhberg, from North Vancouver, Canada, clinched his first Lites 1 season title with his seventh victory of the season in the No. 10 JDC Motorsports entry. He held off pole sitter Andrew Novich by .214 of a second at the finish after a fierce final-lap charge by Novich in the No. 61 Comprent Motor Sports entry.
"We're the champions," Goikhberg said. "I don't care what happened in the race, I'm just as happy as I could be. It took longer than I thought, but now it's done. I'm so happy. There just aren't any words at this time to describe my emotions. I'm really, really happy."
|Lites 1 podium finishes (from left): Andrew Novich, Mikhail Goikhberg, Matt McMurry|
Alder, from Marysville, Ohio, earned his second consecutive Lites 2 championship in the No. 22 BAR1 Motorsports entry.
"I'm glad we could secure it (championship) and win the race in good fashion," stated Alder. "We had a good race. We were able to take the lead in Turn 1 and never look back. The car was great. Todd (Slusher) was putting in laps quicker than me, so we were lucky to get through the traffic really well and keep that gap. On the restart, he was right behind me, and we were able to maintain the lead and grow a gap as the L1 cars were coming through us. Overall, a great race, and it's great to win the championship. I just want to thank Top 1 Oil for their support all year."
Goikhberg earned the title in his third season in the IMSA Development Series with JDC Motorsports. Goikhberg finished a distant second to Tristan Nunezin the championship in 2012 and a close third behind Sean Rayhalland Ryan Booth in 2013.
"Life teaches you sometimes you just have to wait for good things to happen," Goikhberg said. "It's really gratifying to have done this over the three years with the same group of guys at JDC Motorsports."
Matt McMurry, from Phoenix, finished third in the No. 20 JDC Motorsports entry, 1.717 seconds behind his winning teammate. It was second consecutive podium finish for McMurry, 16, who was runner-up in Round 10 two weeks ago at Road America.
"We started in second place, and going in to Turn 1 someone pushed us off and then I was in the very back," McMurrary added. "I battled my way back up to second. On a yellow, I got right behind Mikhail (Goikhberg), but on one of the restarts Andrew (Novich) got by me, and they got away a little bit and I just couldn't catch back up to them. But still finished third, so I'm happy considering we went all the way to the back. I think we can do a little bit to the car before tomorrow, and with new tires I think we'll be good."
Robert Alon, from Encino, California, finished fourth in the No. 9 Performance Tech entry. Enzo Potolicchio, from Hollywood, Florida, rounded out the top five and was the first Masters (age 40 and over) finisher in the No. 4 8Star Motorsports Élan DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine.
|Pole winner Andrew Novich|
Goikhberg passed Novich for the lead early in the 45-minute race during which the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda cars shared the 17-turn, 3.27-mile circuit with the Prototype Challenge class of theTUDOR United SportsCar Championship. But Novich hung tough, staying within a second of Goikhberg for the next 15 minutes.
Then Novich, from Novato, California, went off track due to a clutch problem. McMurry climbed to second, 15.223 seconds behind Goikhberg, after turning blistering laps to rally from 14th place after dropping through the field during a first-lap incident.
But then Joel Janco hit the barrier in Turn 5 due to a mechanical problem in his No. 125 Performance Tech Motorsports entry, causing a full-course yellow. Goikhberg's lead evaporated, but he was able to fight off McMurry on the restart with eight minutes remaining.
Novich clawed his way through the field and pulled to within a car length of Goikhberg on the final lap despite his clutch nearing failure. But Goikhberg held off Novich through the final turns for victory and the season title.
Potolicchio earned his first Lites 1 Masters victory of the season with a strong performance.
"It was difficult.," stated Potolicchio. "We've been struggling with some gearbox issues, and the setup wasn't the ideal. My son (Christian Potolicchio) was battling for second place in the championship, and now I think he fell back to third. But there's still a long way to go with three more races. 8Star has to figure out what other people have and the advantage on speed, but we'll keep working. We have a great engineer and a great team, and everybody's motivated to get us the best car possible. But I won Masters and am taking something home. And my team won the PC race, so it was a good day, obviously, for 8Star Motorsports."
|Lites 1 Masters podium finishers (from left): Michal Chlumecky, Enzo Potolicchio, Don Yount|
Michal Chlumecky, from Windsor, Ontario, avoided numerous incidents that exploded in front of him to earn his third runner-up Masters finish of the season despite running a limited schedule in the No. 31 Eurosport Racing entry.
"It was very exciting," Clumecky stated. "There was a lot of action and a lot of activity in front of me, and I was very fortunate to avoid most of it just by the skin of my teeth. It was pretty close on several occasions. But this is a wonderful facility. It's my first time here, and I absolutely love the track, and I'm just happy to be where I am today. It was really slippery out there today. It was considerably more work than I expected to keep the wheels to the pavement, but it was a good time today."
Don Yount, from Dallas, earned his fifth Masters podium finish of the season in the No. 28 Yount Motorsports entry. Yount fought his way to the podium after he was shoved off track in a Turn 1 incident that knocked his steering out of alignment.
"It was an incident in Turn 1 that I probably got in the dirt," commented Yount. "So it may have knocked me out of alignment, and I got hooked back pretty far. But it was fun. I love the track, and I got to move up through the field. It was a lot of excitement. Everybody played relatively pretty nice even though there was a lot happening."
Alder earned his eighth Lites 2 victory of the season. He has finished first or second in Lites 2 in all 11 rounds this season.
|Lites 2 podium finishers (from left): Todd Slusher, Brian Alder, John Salmon|
Todd Slusher, from Las Vegas, finished second in Lites 2 in the No. 62 ONE Motorsports entry after battling back from a couple of off-course excursions due to contact. Slusher was turning the quickest times in Lites 2 over the closing laps, but he fell 6.025 seconds behind Alder at the finish.
"I got knocked off in Turn 1 at the start of the race, and I was about 25 seconds down and I worked my way back up to the leader," stated Slusher. "We had some traffic, we had some incidents on track. I made a couple of mistakes, and after that I just had to claw my way back again. And then we had the restart, and I was right behind my leader (Brian Alder), and again we had some more traffic. And it got really nasty in the esses, a lot of cars coming through. We're not sure why we started the way we did, but be that as it may, we had a little bit of contact out there, and I lost my position. There was a couple laps to go, and I finished P2, so I'm really happy. My car was fast. I think I drove it pretty well. I was putting down good lap times. So there's lots of encouragement there even though I didn't get P1."
John Salmon, from nearby Lynchburg, Virginia, finished third in the No. 46 V.I.P.E.R. entry in his Lites 2 season debut.
"It was very hectic," added an exhausted Salmon. "We had a little mechanical issue in the middle, and I just wanted to be sure I could finish. The guys here, we're based here, they got me back out there so I could come back out and finish out. It's such an honor to be out here and run. What a pleasure."
Round 12 of the season, a 45-minute race, is scheduled to start at 10:45 a.m. (ET) Sunday. For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter.
Surprises are the order of the evening in Round 11 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series
For the second time this season, the drivers and crews of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO, have overcome the difficulties of a short, three-week break between the last race weekend and this one. As usual, these professionals have come through with flying colors, as evidenced by the great performances that the drivers and cars put on here at Wild West Motorsports Park tonight. With the series returning for its second visit of the season to the Reno, NV area, it's time for Rounds 11 and 12 of the 2014 championship season, with the first of those two rounds rolling out on track tonight, greeted by an enthusiastic crowd and unseasonably cool conditions. Some impressive streaks were on the line tonight, and of course the championship battles are still on in earnest, so there was plenty to be excited about, and the evening's racing did not disappoint.
First out on track were the Modified Karts, and after drawing a zero inversion after qualifying, pole sitter Cole Mamer would certainly be a difficult young man to catch after starting from pole. Mamer did indeed grab the early lead in his #535 Trophy Kart/Simpson machine, with points leader Brock Heger second in the #511 Spy/Justice Brothers entry, Christopher Polvoorde third in the #594 Horizon Solar Power/The Palms River Resort truck, Darren Hardesty Jr. fourth in the #599 Bilstein Shock Absorbers/Off Road Warehouse kart, and Travis PeCoy fifth in the #573 FMF/Oakley truck. Over the entire first half of the race, every driver within the top five drove quickly and cleanly, and at the Competition Yellow, their running order was as yet unchanged. On the restart lap, though, there was finally a change, as PeCoy got by Hardesty Jr. at turn six to move into fourth. Unfortunately for PeCoy, though, a rollover in turn five by Broc Dickerson forced a full course yellow, and under the "last completed lap" rule, PeCoy was forced to concede his position back to Hardesty Jr. before the restart. When racing did resume, PeCoy drove a nice inside line out of turn two and up the hill into turn three, getting himself alongside Hardesty Jr. to try and make the pass for a second time. He held alongside through turn three, then made the pass on the outside in the next corner. Hardesty Jr. passed PeCoy back at turn five, but PeCoy got by again in turn seven, and this time, the move stuck. Out front, the top three drivers were still running closely, while just behind, Hardesty Jr. was determined to get his fourth spot back from PeCoy. On lap 14, Hardesty Jr. threw it hard into turn six, trying to get PeCoy on the inside. However, Hardesty Jr. ended up driving his left rear up the right door of PeCoy's kart, and while Hardesty Jr. got away and back up to fourth, PeCoy appeared to stall, and that dropped him back several positions. Hardesty Jr. got the black flag as a result, and with both he and PeCoy now out of the top five, it was Isabella Naughton and Eliott Watson who'd taken their places. Out front, Mamer sped to a wire-to-wire win, and he climbed atop the podium for the fourth time this season. Second went to points leader Heger, third to Polvoorde, fourth to Naughton in the #554 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension/Maxxis entry, and fifth to Watson in the #503 Fox Racing Shox/Kar Tek Off Road machine.
Next up were the Pro 4 Unlimiteds, and the question was still, as it has been for a while now: could anyone beat Kyle LeDuc? LeDuc and his #99 Monster Energy/Toyo Tires Ford were out front at the end of lap one, but they were followed closely by Rob MacCachren in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford, Ricky Johnson in the #48 Red Bull/Discount Tire Ford, Doug Fortin in the #96 Fortin Racing, Inc./Toyota of Escondido Toyota, and Carl Renezeder in the #1 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan. Johnson got by MacCachren out of turn one to move into second on lap two, and on the same lap, Renezeder got by Fortin on the long pull up to turn four to move into fourth. On the next lap, Johnson then got alongside LeDuc going up the hill to turn four, and with a very impressive pull, he moved ahead as they reached the top, giving Johnson the lead. Jaws were dropping up and down the stands, as few drivers had managed to pull LeDuc like that so far this season, and it was starting to look like someone might actually be able to get the better of the points leader. On lap four, Renezeder got by MacCachren on the inside at turn one, moving himself up to third, and later in the lap, Greg Adler took over fifth after passing Fortin going into turn four. Two laps later, an impressive Adler now had his #10 ProComp/Lund Ford right on MacCachren's tail. On lap seven, LeDuc over-rotated and shot to the inside of turn two, which cut off the path that Renezeder had picked. Renezeder tagged the inside barrier as a result, causing him to damage his right front suspension, and in the melee, both MacCachren and Adler got past. At the end of the lap, Fortin got by Renezeder as well, and it was now Johnson, LeDuc, MacCachren, Adler, and Fortin in the top five. On lap nine, Johnson the turned too tight at turn two, and he nosed into the inside barrier. The silly mistake caused no real damage, but both LeDuc and MacCachren got by, leaving Johnson no doubt kicking himself. On the next lap, Johnson somehow made the same mistake a second time, and though he only glanced the barrier this time, both Adler and Fortin got by him, with Fortin getting by Adler in the process. Out front, LeDuc wasn't quite looking like his dominant self, and on lap 15, he suddenly slowed coming out of turn two, allowing both MacCachren and Fortin to get by and into first and second. LeDuc's truck suddenly lurched back to life again, but it was now obvious that he didn't have anything for the leading two drivers. With about a lap and a half to go, Fortin had already been closing somewhat on MacCachren, and up to the final lap, he continued to tighten the gap. However, a cooling issue struck near the end of the penultimate lap, forcing him to back out of it just a little. MacCachren was clear out front as he took the win, ending LeDuc's hugely-impressive win streak at eight. Fortin took second, his best result yet since joining the class with his all-new truck this season, and third went to Johnson, who got by LeDuc in the closing moments. LeDuc finished fourth, and fifth went to Adler.
With the season already two thirds finished, reigning Pro Lite Unlimited champion Brian Deegan was facing a difficult task if he hoped to close the gap to current points leader Sheldon Creed. Creed's consistency has been stellar, as he's stood on the podium in eight of the first ten rounds, and has never finished worse than fifth. Deegan came into tonight's race 28 points adrift, but driving like the three-time class champion that he is, he went straight into the lead in his #38 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford. Brandon Arthur, the first-time winner from one round ago, ran in second, with a resurgent Casey Currie in third, RJ Anderson fourth, and Kyle Lucas in fifth. On lap two, Currie got up the inside of Arthur going into turn one, and after forcing Arthur wide, both he and Anderson got by, taking over second and third spots in the process. Just behind, Myles Cheek got around Lucas for fifth as they exited turn three, but Lucas was resilient and re-took the position before the lap's end. The next lap saw a full course caution fly after Ryan Beat rolled in turn two, and when racing resumed on lap seven, Currie was now trying to make a move on Deegan for the lead heading into turn one. However, Deegan took Currie's line away, and when Currie checked up a little too much to avoid contact, Anderson got by and into second spot. Further back, Creed moved his #74 Traxxas/A.M. Ortega Dodge up to fifth after passing Lucas at turn one, and by lap's end, he'd also passed Arthur to move into fourth. Lucas then got back inside the top five after making a nice outside pass on Arthur at turn one on the next lap, before a full course caution flew at the end of the lap following Justin Peck's rollover in turn two.
When racing resumed on lap ten, Anderson made a serious run at Deegan for the entire lap. The two diced heavily, often running door-to-door, neither driver willing to give an inch. However, despite Anderson managing to nose ahead on more than one occasion, Deegan came out ahead once again at the end of the lap. Currie then managed to get back past Anderson for second with a good drive through turns two and three on lap 11, ahead of yet another full course caution, this time for a rollover by Jimmy Fishback in turn two. Racing picked up again on lap 15, with Justin "Bean" Smith now moving up to fifth in his #19 Competitive Metals/BFGoodrich Tires Ford after making a terrific restart. On the very next lap, Anderson then bicycled and rolled in turn one, forcing the race's fourth full course yellow. Anderson was able to get re-fired, but he was now well back in the pack, and when the green flag waved again on lap 18, it was now Deegan, Currie, Creed, Smith, and Arthur in the top five. Kyle Hart got by Arthur early on the restart lap, but the field was then slowed again, this time by the fifth and final full course yellow, after Myles Cheek rolled down in turn two. On the previous restart lap, Currie had managed to nose ahead of Deegan more than once, despite Deegan's best efforts to shut the door on Currie at every turn, so this time around, Currie must've been feeling like he really had a shot at getting into the lead. However, with just two laps to go to the checkers, Deegan really laid down some solid driving, and managed to pull a few lengths on Currie before the stripe. Deegan picked up a hard-fought win, with Currie taking a solid second in the #2 Monster Energy/Bilstein Shock Absorbers Jeep, and Creed rounding out the podium in third. Fourth went to Smith, and after a mid-pack stack up on the final restart lap caught Hart out, Lucas came through to finish fifth in the #25 Lucas Oil/Loctite Ford.
In Pro Buggy Unlimited, it was Eric Fitch, first-time winner one round ago, who went straight into the lead again here tonight in his #97 Parts On A Shelf/BFGoodrich Tires Racer. Chad George ran second in the #42 Mickey Thompson/Performance Utility Supply Funco, with Garrett George third in the #71 Gray Area Technologies/Anenberg Funco, Dave Mason Jr. fourth in the #65 Loan Mart/B&R Buggies Alumi Craft, and Taylor Atchison fifth in the #30 Skull Canyon Zipline/OMF Performance Products Alumi Craft. On lap two, Kevin McCullough got by Atchison out of turn four to move up to fifth in his #62 ProAm/Redline Performance Foddrill. Then, on lap three, an uncharacteristic mistake from Chad George caused him to run wide at turn two and then, more or less, stall out. Most of the field streaked past and put a sizeable gap on the points leader, putting his streak of ten consecutive podium finishes in serious jeopardy. The race continued, and by lap five, Mason Jr. had closed right in on Garrett George. Mason Jr. was really applying the pressure, but after three laps of doing so, he suddenly saw McCullough go flying past, as McCullough got a great outside line and an even better drive out of turn three. McCullough shot up to third spot as he pulled away up the hill to turn four on lap eight, while just behind, Sterling Cling got around Atchison to move into fifth. The top five drivers were still running pretty close together, and on lap eleven, Mason Jr. got back by McCullough early in the lap, re-taking a provisional podium spot in third. Cling also got by McCullough on that lap, and it was now apparent that McCullough was suffering with a right rear suspension issue. One lap later, another driver hit trouble, as Garrett George broke the shifter clean off inside his cockpit, ending his race in a snap (pardon the pun) just before turn three. This forced a full course yellow, as George's car was stranded in the middle of the track, and when racing resumed, it was now Fitch, Mason Jr., Cling, Atchison, and McCullough in the top five. When racing resumed, Steve Greinke got a great restart, and by the exit of turn one, he'd gone from sixth to third in his #1 SC Fuels/Fortin Racing, Inc. Racer. Mason Jr. then slowed coming out of turn four, ending his strong run just short of the white flag. With a lap to go, it was now Fitch, Greinke, Cling, Atchison, and Brandon Blyth in the top five, but on the final lap, a big incident coming out of turn three caught out multiple drivers, and among them were both Cling and Blyth. At the stripe, it was Fitch who backed up his maiden win in Round 10 with a second consecutive victory here in Round 11. Greinke finished second, with Atchison scoring his first career podium in third. Fourth went to a wounded McCullough, and fifth was Chad George, who benefitted from the late-race dramas to salvage a solid finish. However, a second major streak did come to an end tonight, as George's fifth place finish was his first run outside the top three all year.
The final race of the night was Pro 2 Unlimited, and as has been the case so many times this season, Brian Deegan took the early lead in his #38 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford. Right behind Deegan came Bryce Menzies in the #7 Red Bull/KMC Wheels Ford, with Marty Hart third in the #15 ReadyLift Off Road Suspension/Maxxis Ford, Rob MacCachren fourth in the #21 Rockstar Energy Drink/Makita Power Tools Ford, and Carl Renezeder fifth in the #17 Lucas Oil/General Tire Nissan. The top five held their positions over the opening six laps, though MacCachren had made several moves to try and get by a stubborn Hart. On lap seven, Menzies suddenly got alongside of Deegan coming out of turn four, and by the exit of turn one on the next lap, Menzies had taken over the lead. Deegan did his best to battle back, but Menzies pulled him convincingly up the hill to turn four, solidifying his position out front. Meanwhile, MacCachren was now really applying the pressure to Hart, but still, "The Cowboy" refused to yield. On lap 11, MacCachren finally got a great run through turns two and three, and was positioned correctly to get a better drive out of three for the long pull up the hill to turn four. MacCachren pulled ahead and into third spot, and with Hart then half spinning coming out of turn four and dropping to fifth on the next lap, MacCachren was clear as he and Deegan started closing in on Menzies. A tangle up between Greg Adler and Myan Spaccarelli out of turn two, as well as Patrick Clark's being stopped in a dangerous spot, forced a full course caution on lap 13, and as the field circulated under yellow, it was determined that Renezeder would be black flagged for contact with Hart earlier in the race. When racing resumed, that meant that Hart was now in fourth, with RJ Anderson just behind in fifth. Deegan got a great restart, moving alongside Menzies by the start/finish line, and into the lead coming out of turn one. Perhaps a bit flustered, Menzies then ran wide at turn two, which allowed MacCachren to slip through. On the next lap, Jeremy McGrath moved up to fifth spot after Anderson had been tagged twice by Robby Woods, but on the final lap, Anderson battled back by to re-take that fifth place. Up front, Deegan got his sixth win of the season, and in the process, dealt a crushing blow to all other points challengers. MacCachren took second, with Menzies third, Hart fourth, and Anderson fifth in the #37 Polaris RZR/Monster Energy Ford.
It's certainly been a thrilling night of racing here at Wild West Motorsports Park. The best news is: we get to do it all over again tomorrow night! Just as quickly as Round 11 was run, so tomorrow night we will have Round 12 of the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, presented by GEICO. Gates will open to the public at 1:30 pm tomorrow afternoon, with qualifying kicking off right at the same time. Following qualifying, fans will have a chance to tour the pit area and meet their favorite drivers while the crews put the finishing touches on the race vehicles, before the fire breathing beasts take to the track for the evening's racing. Opening Ceremonies will be at 7:30 pm, with the first race of the night, Modified Kart, immediately following.
About the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series:
The Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series is the evolution of the long-standing support of short course racing by Forrest Lucas and Lucas Oil Products. Steeped in the Midwest tradition of short course off-road racing infused with a West Coast influence, Lucas Oil Off Road Racing brings intense four wheel door-to-door action to challenging, fan-friendly tracks. Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series: This is Short Course. For more information, please visitwww.LucasOilOffRoad.com.
(Written by Scott Neth for the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series)
CFH Racing Signs Newgarden for 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series
Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (SFHR) and Ed Carpenter Racing (ECR) announced today the signing of Josef Newgarden to drive the No. 67 entry in 2015 for their newly merged Verizon IndyCar Series team, CFH Racing. The one-year contract includes a second year option.
Newgarden, in his third consecutive season with SFHR, has captured two second- place finishes in his young Verizon IndyCar Series career under the guidance of owners Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman.
"Over the last three years, we have focused to build our team with Josef front and center, and we are extremely excited to continue that progress into 2015," Fisher said. "In working with our guys, everyone is proud to build on the continuity that it takes to be successful in an increasingly competitive Verizon IndyCar Series.
"I know how much effort Josef and our team put toward being the best and am looking forward to delivering even more tools for them to work with at CFH Racing next year."
Newgarden, 23, has shown continued progress and improvement in his Verizon IndyCar Series career, including a second-place finish, five Firestone Fast 6 qualifying runs and three front-row starts in the 2014 season.
"Sarah and I have the best of both worlds," SFHR co-owner Wink Hartman said. "Josef will be in the seat of the 67 car next year as we are now a two-car team. Continuing with Josef gives me great pride. He is the next star of the Verizon IndyCar Series."
Ed Carpenter, current driver/team owner for Ed Carpenter Racing and future co-owner of CFH Racing, is looking forward to working with Newgarden, a native of Nashville, Tennessee. Carpenter won the Indianapolis 500 pole position in 2013 and 2014 and captured a victory at Texas Motor Speedway in 2014.
"I am very happy that Josef has signed with CFH Racing," Carpenter said. "I think he has shown great potential, and it is my hope that CFH Racing will help him fully reach his potential and that we can win many races together.
"I have seen Josef mature a lot over the past few years, and I really look forward to working with him and continuing his development. I see him as one of the premier talents in this series for the future, and we are very proud to have him on our team."
Newgarden will start on the outside of the front row in the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma on Aug. 24 and will look to capture his first Verizon IndyCar Series win when the green flag drops at 4:40 p.m. (ET).
"I'm really excited about the merger between Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and Ed Carpenter Racing," Newgarden said. "Wink and Sarah extending an offer to keep me around for another year is first and foremost. They are the ones who gave me an opportunity to start my IndyCar career, and I'm happy to continue that with them for another year.
"I decided to stay here because I believe in our group and everything that we've built and where we are going. It's a very strong situation that's on the rise, and I think next year is the year to capitalize on it.
"Ed (Carpenter) has been one of the biggest guys who has helped me in my career so far in IndyCar. He was one of the first to stick his hand out and lend some advice. I really believe in Ed and his group and what they've done. I think he will add many strengths to our unit and that we will be one strong entity for the whole 2015 season."
Further details on CFH Racing's multi-car operation, including manufacturer choice, logo, personnel and sponsors will be released in the near future.
Rhys Millen wins Red Bull Global Rallycross Daytona
Rhys Millen became the fifth different winner in six Red Bull Global Rallycross races this season when he took the checkered flag at the inaugural Red Bull Global Rallycross Daytona, held at the historic Daytona International Speedway. Millen, driving for his own Hyundai-backed team, beat Hoonigan Racing Division's Ken Block and Subaru Rally Team USA's Bucky Lasek to the line on a hot Florida day.
"To my team, really is where I need to tip my hat," Millen said. "The car put a huge smile on my face in our test on Monday. We came here and, in the first time all year that we had a track this long, we were very surprised with where we were and how amazing the car brakes and turns into tight corners. That was the recipe to get the job done here."
Millen, who qualified fourth, overcame a cam belt failure in Friday's heats to take the win in his semifinal and earn the top starting position in the main event. A strong start enabled him to jump out to a commanding lead, as Block separated himself from the field to make a late charge from second. In the end, Millen's gap was large enough to preserve the victory, even as his engine failed on the final lap.
In post-race inspection, the winning car was found to have equipment not permitted under section 14-9.1 of the Red Bull GRC rulebook. Upon further inspection by the Red Bull GRC technical team, it was found that this equipment did not provide any performance advantage. The win will stand, but the team will be penalized 50 points and a fine will be imposed by the series.
In GRC Lites, Mitchell DeJong had his second perfect weekend of the season, posting the fastest time in qualifying, winning both of his heats, and taking the main event victory. Alejandro Fernandez and Tyler Benson completed the podium, with each driver earning his best career finish.
Though his four-race podium streak was snapped, Nelson Piquet Jr. maintained his points lead by 40 over Block, who jumped from fifth to second in the championship. DeJong extended his championship lead in Lites to 66 points over Kevin Eriksson.
Full Supercars results of Red Bull Global Rallycross Daytona are as follows:
- Rhys Millen, #67 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
- Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
- Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
- Patrik Sandell, #18 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru Rally Team USA WRX STI
- Tanner Foust, #34 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo R
- Joni Wiman, #31 Olsbergs MSE Ford Fiesta ST
- Nelson Piquet Jr., #07 SH Racing Rallycross Ford Fiesta ST
- Austin Dyne, #14 Barracuda Racing Ford Fiesta
- Scott Speed, #77 Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Polo R
- Emma Gilmour, #27 Hyundai/Rhys Millen Racing Veloster Turbo
- Steve Arpin, #00 Royal Purple Racing/OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
- Pat Moro, #59 Chevrolet Sonic Racing/PMR Motorsports Sonic
Provisional Supercars points through Round 6 of the Red Bull Global Rallycross championship are as follows:
- Nelson Piquet Jr., 245
- Ken Block, 205
- Scott Speed, 190
- Joni Wiman, 188
- Steve Arpin, 170