Racing News (7345)
Racing News from around the World
Despite only being 13 years old, Sam Mayer has already spent most of his life in a race car with his sights set on a Bojangles’ Summer Shootout championship this summer at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mayer won Tuesday night’s K1 Speed Young Lions race in a last-lap pass for the lead, proving he will be a strong competitor in the race for the championship.
The Franklin, Wisconsin, native is not new to racing or the lifestyle that comes with it. His father, Scott Mayer, is a former Indy car and Grand Am driver, so racing is in Mayer’s blood. At the age of four, Mayer was determined to start racing and jumped into a kart. By the age of 10, he had already won two national championships in the United States Pro Kart series and the Route 66 series. Mayer finally moved up to a Legend Car when he was 11 years old, and he quickly learned it was not the same.
“I had to be at least five feet away from the wall because I was uncomfortable,” said Mayer, who drives the No. 22 Farbo Motorsports Legend Car in the K1 Speed Young Lions division. “I could only go half-throttle because I didn’t know the car at all.”
Mayer leans on his previous racing experience as he attempts to dominate the Young Lions division. In the first three rounds, Mayer has finished in the top five in every race. His No. 22 Legend Car is often stalking the leaders, looking for a chance to steal the lead. On Tuesday night, Mayer waited patiently in third behind the leaders when they wrecked about 50 feet from the finish line. Mayer took advantage of their mishap and passed them to take the checkered flag.
With dreams of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in his mind, Mayer prepares to gain more experience and become a force to be reckoned with in the Legend Car. He is determined to win the Young Lions championship this summer as he looks ahead to a national Legend Car championship later this year. Charlotte Motor Speedway is known for its tough competition, and Mayer is ready to take on this challenge to be in contention for the title.
“The competition is tough,” Mayer said. “There’s a lot of diversity in the drivers who are looking to get everything they can get and you just have to be aggressive back.”
The Bojangles’ Summer Shootout will continue on Tuesday night with a full night of racing and the special Media Mayhem school bus showcase. Local media personalities will take their shot at racing on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s frontstretch quarter-mile in another hotly contested school bus slobberknocker.
Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing beginning at approximately 7 p.m.
Single-day admission to the Bojangles’ Summer Shootout costs just $8 for adults and is FREE for children under 13. Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 1-800-455-FANS (3267)
MDM Motorsports is excited to announce that Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) driver Daniel Suárez will drive for the team in Saturday’s NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Carneros 200 at Sonoma Raceway located in Sonoma, Calif with sponsorship from ARRIS.
Suárez currently drives the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota Camry in the MENCS for Joe Gibbs Racing. He made a name for himself in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) in 2013, scoring nine top-10 finishes and six top-five finishes, propelling him to a third-place finish in the overall points standings. In 2014, he made both his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) debuts. In his first full-time NXS season, he scored 18 top-10 finishes, eight top-five finishes, and scored three-poles, finishing fifth in series points. In 2016, he scored his first career NXS victory, beating Kyle Busch at Michigan International Speedway in June of that year. He went on to win two more races that season. Those three wins combined with 27 top-10 finishes, 19 top-five finishes, and three poles, propelled him to the 2016 NXS Championship.
“I’m really excited to be making my first K&N Pro Series West start this weekend in Sonoma,” said Suárez. “I’m very appreciative to everyone from ARRIS and MDM Motorsports for allowing me to go out, have some fun and learn my way around Sonoma on Saturday afternoon. It should be a great race and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
MDM Motorsports enters the weekend having won eight races already these season in the NKNPSE, as well as the ARCA Racing Series Presented by Menards. Currently, the team leads the NKNPSE points standings with driver, Harrison Burton.
In addition to Suárez, Saturday’s Carneros 200 will feature 2014 MENCS champion Kevin Harvick and June 2017 MENCS Pocono winner Ryan Blaney.
The Carneros 200 at Sonoma Raceway is scheduled for Saturday, June 24 at 4:00p local time. The race will air on NBCSN, June 29 at 11:00p ET.
MDM Motorsports PR
In April, Richmond International Raceway (Richmond) launched a new grassroots digital platform, RacingVirginia.com, with the mission to promote racing at the grassroots level along with more than 26 motorsports venues in the Commonwealth. Today, the Racing Virginia platform grows as Team Racing Virginia (TRV) is launched to showcase a group of outstanding young racers who are poised to be a big part of the future of motorsports.
The backbone of any sport is its future and in Virginia, the racing scene has a strong population of young drivers who are developing their skills at local tracks. TRV was formed to promote and support the future development of local drivers and race teams under the Racing Virginia platform. All members of TRV are from Virginia, under 18 years of age, and compete regularly in the Commonwealth, or in a national touring series.
The inaugural class of TRV racers include Chase Burrow, Macy Causey, Zach Lightfoot, and Timmy Tyrell. The class was introduced to fans and media at Richmond International Raceway.
“Racing Virginia was formed to help grow motorsports at the grassroots level, and that’s not limited to tracks,” said Mike Waddell, Richmond Vice President of Marketing & Communication. “Our goal is to help shine the spotlight on outstanding athletes who are beginning their racing journey and making an impact in the Virginia racing community. The four athletes in Team Racing Virginia are already amazing drivers, and we look forward to following them as they move up and are part of the extraordinary youth movement we are witnessing in the sport. The next Denny Hamlin, Elliott Sadler, or Kyle Larson are getting their starts at local tracks and Racing Virginia is committed to showcasing those efforts and telling the stories of the people behind the wheel.”
Chase Burrow is the driver of the No. 0 in the Sportsman division at Bill Sawyer’s Virginia Motor Speedway. This is Burrow’s first year racing on a dirt track, but he began his racing career in Arena Racing USA. He was named the 2013-14 Arena Racing USA Rookie of the Year in the Youth Division and won consecutive championships in the division in 2015-16. Burrow comes from a long line of racers starting with his grandfather Linwood Burrow, who is the Director of Track Services at Richmond.
Macy Causey is a Yorktown, V.A. native and comes from a long line of racers. Her grandmother, Diane Teel, was a trailblazer in NASCAR when she became the first woman to win a NASCAR sanctioned race in 1978. Causey has been successful in numerous divisions, starting her career in a dirt sportsman car and eventually winning a championship in the Bandoleros series. In 2015, Causey was honored with the NASCAR Virginia State Rookie Award as well as the Rookie of the Year award at Langley Speedway. Last year, she received the 2016 NASCAR Young Racer Award and was invited to participate in NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program for the second consecutive year.
Smithfield native Zach Lightfoot was diagnosed at age five with Asperger’s Syndrome, but has overcome to become a prominent racer in Virginia. Lightfoot’s first season behind the wheel was in 2013 with the Hampton Roads Kart Club (HRKC), where he collected nine wins to earn the HRKC JR 1 Sportsman Championship and Rookie of the Year award. He continued his success the following year as he repeated as HRKC champion and won the Rookie of the Year award and Bandolero Championship at Langley Speedway. In 2015, Lightfoot was awarded the Langley Speedway INEX Bandolero Track Championship as well as the INEX Virginia State Bandolero Championship. He is currently competing in the Legends division at Langley.
Timmy “Mini” Tyrell of Manassas, V.A. began racing go karts at King George Speedway in 2011, and quickly moved his way up the racing ranks. Currently, Tyrell races late model stock cars at Shenandoah Speedway, where he became the youngest late model winner at the track at age 10. He also competes in Arena Racing USA at the Richmond Coliseum. Tyrell has a passion for raising funds and awareness for pediatric cancer. “Mini’s Mission” was created after Tyrell learned his best friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age six. Since that time, Tyrell and “Mini’s Mission” has raised over $420,000.
All four drivers will be featured throughout the year on the Racing Virginia’s website and social channels. Visit racingvirgina.com to read their driver profiles.
Richmond’s 2017 NASCAR season concludes with two nights of racing “under the lights” on September 8-9. The fall race weekend, presented by Who’s Your Driver, will see history on display as Dale Earnhardt Jr. makes his final, career, two-race appearance at Richmond.
Fan Appreciation Weekend kicks into high gear Saturday morning with a full schedule of interactive events for NASCAR’s best fans, including the return of Gridside Live, which moves to The Classic Amphitheater. Stay connected to Richmond’s primary social channels on Twitter and Facebook as more announcements are set for the coming weeks, outlining some new, unprecedented elements to the Richmond fan experience, giving our Richmond Nation season ticket holders unparalleled access.
Witness history in the Federated Auto Parts 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Saturday, September 9 as the regular season champion will be crowned along with Earnhardt’s final regular season Cup race at Richmond. Saturday night is also the last chance for many drivers to make it to the playoffs. The NASCAR weekend gets started on Friday, September 8, when the rising stars of tomorrow compete along with Earnhardt in the Virginia529 College Savings 250 NASCAR XFINITY Series race following practice and qualifying for both series.
Tickets are available now for both the Monster Energy Series and NXS races at Richmond. To purchase tickets, visit rir.com or call 866-455-7223.
Ready to get back to good ole classic short track racing, ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards newbie Justin Fontaine (@driverFontaine) treks to Madison (Wisc.) International Speedway eyeing a career-best finish in Friday night’s Montgomery Ward 200.
Armed with the support of AM Racing and their development team Win-Tron Racing, Fontaine heads to the Badger State looking to shake off the disappointment of Michigan International Speedway last week, but showcase his talent in the first of a three-race short track stretch for the ARCA tour.
Last weekend in the Great Lakes state, Fontaine powered to strong practice times and even showcased a better qualifying performance at the 2.0-mile oval, but an oiled track sent the Asheville, N.C. native into the wall just seven laps into the 100 lap Corrigan Oil 200, prematurely ending his day.
Reflecting on his first Motor City experience, Fontaine is grateful for the experience, but ready to put last week in the rear-view mirror and focus out the windshield on racing under the lights Friday night.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back in our No. 33 ProMATIC Automation Toyota this weekend,” said Fontaine.
“This Win-Tron Racing team has been able to bring some very fast race cars to the track for me to drive. Now, we just need some luck.”
“I was a little too conservative in my ARCA return at Elko Speedway earlier this month, but I’ve learned from that. Now, I’m ready to go to Madison and see what we can pull off.”
Even though he doesn’t have any prior experience at Madison’s half-mile oval, the AM Racing developmental driver will lean on Win-Tron Racing team principal Kevin Cywinski and AM Racing crew chief Bill Henderson.
“I am really gelling with my team right now,” added Fontaine, the cousin of NASCAR Truck Series driver Chris Fontaine. “Bill knows what I’m looking for in our ProMATIC Toyota and I’m able to give him the feedback he needs to make the car better. Plus, Kevin’s a veteran of Madison hailing back from his racing days. I’m really optimistic that we can practice, qualify and race in the top-10.”
“We must keep making progress,” he added. “It’s showing. I think that’s one reason we were so competitive at Michigan. Once we finish inside the top-10, we can focus on finishing inside the top-five and then winning races.”
“The team I’m with is capable of winning and I think if I’m in the right position, I can win. We just need everything to come together to make it all happen. Maybe Madison will do the trick. I’m thrilled to race in tight quarters again.”
Currently 20th in the series’ standings, Fontaine has a career best finish of 11th at Elko (Minn.) Speedway earlier this month.
While sticking with a heavy ARCA schedule for now, Fontaine’s focus is expected to turn towards the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where he’ll compete in a limited schedule this summer in an AM Racing entry.
The Montgomery Ward 200 (200 laps / 100 miles) is the ninth of 20 races on the 2017 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Fri., June 23 with an hour and a half practice session planned from 1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 5:00 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag later in the day shortly after 8:00 p.m. The event will be broadcasted live on MAVTV, while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the week’s activities. All times are local (CT).
AM Racing PR
No doubt about it: Austin Blair was full of surprises on Saturday at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Illinois.
Thanks to a last-minute opportunity, Blair was a surprise entry in the ARCA Midwest Tour Illinois Lottery 50, the support race for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Drivin' for Linemen 200. The 17-year-old from Fairview Heights, Illinois surprised many of the series veterans in his debut in an asphalt Super Late Model.
In a turn of events that could have been ripped from the pages of a Hollywood script, Blair was presented the opportunity to drive the Justin Oertel-prepared CJ Materials & Recycling KBM Toyota Camry in the early afternoon.
“On Friday afternoon I was just helping the speedway staff to prepare for the NASCAR race," Blair began. "Then just a few hours later I was busy getting my gear bag ready to go racing on Saturdaynight. Series promoter Gregg McKarns knew that Justin had a back-up car in the trailer and worked with me to make it all come together.”
Blair raced Quarter Midgets and Bandoleros extensively from 2006-2010 before graduating to Midgets on California dirt tracks for Cory Kruseman at the age of 11. At 12 years of age he began driving the K&N asphalt Midget in the United States Auto Club Ignite Series at tracks in Nevada and California. Most recently his career has included karting, road racing and Midget racing in the St. Louis region. The St. Louis ARCA Midwest event was his first-ever time competing in a full-bodied race car.
Blair had only a few minutes before practice to meet the crew and look over the car. Blair qualified 10th in the 22-car field at 33.771 seconds for an average speed of more than 133 mph. In the Illinois Lottery 50, Blair ran as high as third place in the early going before a right-front tire issue forced a pit stop with just eight laps remaining. Following the tire change, Blair was able to work his way back up to 12th place in the final rundown.
“When I was passing the fourth-place car on lap 10 we made just a little bit of contact in turn one and I believe that’s what got the tire,” Blair explained. “It was really starting to fade away just prior to the caution period so the tire change saved us. Justin really had the KBM Toyota dialed in and we really had a legitimate shot at a top-three finish.
"That was my first time ever racing anything where I was actually sitting on the left side of the car," Blair added. "I hadn’t planned on making a pit stop but that went well and we had a good finish. I can't complain at all about how our day turned out -- especially when you consider I was hanging banners on the fences yesterday and was racing today. I have to thank Gregg McKarns for his endorsement and Justin Oertel and everyone at Kyle Busch Motorsports for taking a chance on me. Hopefully I met their expectations.”
Blair, a senior at nearby Father McGivney High School, is still finalizing his racing plans for the remainder of 2017 and 2018.
“I ran the Chili Bowl in January with the Jake Neuman Racing team and we have plans to run at least four races in the POWERi National Midget series next month. I had to reschedule my non-wing Sprint Car debut for Cory Kruseman at Ventura earlier this year due to weather so I’m still trying to figure out when that will take place. My family and sponsors had been working on an ASCS Sprint Car to race later this year but I really enjoyed the ARCA Midwest Tour, so we might want to wait before we put a wing on anything. I want to race everything at least once and have to be ready to take advantage when opportunities present themselves. I know, at some point, I’m going to have to make a decision as to what form of racing to concentrate on. I really enjoy it all.”
Austin Blair PR
Matt Brabham driving the DeVILBISS No. 83 truck captured Saturday’s thrilling second round of the SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks (SST) Darwin Triple Crown at the Hidden Valley Raceway besting Mesa, Arizona driver Gavin Harlien to the line after a tremendous battle between the two throughout the race.
Jumping out to an early lead from his fifth starting position Matt Brabham from Gold Coast, Queensland wasted no time setting the pace of the event working his way past truck after truck to the front. Following in the Toyo Tire tracks of Brabham was Detroit and Texas overall winner Gavin Harlien of Mesa, Arizona.
Harlien showed how fast his Royal Purple Synthetic Oil truck was today sliding back and forth all over the track, going off in the grass, and still able to come within a truck length of Brabham for the lead. As Harlien would challenge Brabham for the lead multiple times, he would never be able to keep the No. 55 truck in front of the smooth driving Brabham.
While the two young hot-shoes were battling hard for the lead, savvy off-road veteran Robby Gordon of Orange, California was making a charge to the front of the pack from his seventh starting position. After a late race red flag that saw Gold Coast, Australia driver Paul Morris flip over on his side. Gordon used that to his advantage to dive to the inside of multiple trucks on the restart including Harlien placing Gordon in the second position.
The last corner would see Harlien get by Gordon for second place, as the Gordon truck would run out of fuel. Spitting and sputtering the SafeCraft Safety Equipment truck would coast to a third place finish.
Brabham would go on to capture his third victory of the 2017 season ahead of Harlien, and Gordon.
TruFuel 50:1 driver Jeff Hoffman of Phoenix, Arizona would continue his weekend of respectable finishes racing hard in the top five again throughout Saturday’s event to be recorded in the fourth position.
Craig Dontas from Adelaide, South Australia finished fifth in the Shannon’s Insurance entry driving a great race, keeping all panels on the truck to break his bad luck streak that started after capturing victory at the Clipsal 500 back in March. Fellow South Australian Greg Gartner from Penola would start in the second position, and drop back to mid pack by Lap-2 after getting off track several times. Settling into a good rhythm the driver of the R & J Batteries truck would be credited with the sixth position.
Race 1 winner Paul Morris of Gold Coast, Queensland was credited with the seventh position in the Morris Finance truck after making contact with the wall thru the front stretch chicane. After coming to a complete stop Morris would climb up the tire barrier, and tip over bringing out the red flag. The SST recover crew would tip the No. 67 back on four Toyo Tires and let him continue.
Bill Hynes of Nazareth, Penn. would be credited with the eighth position after encountering transmission issues on the warm up lap in the Road Pod Transport Transformed truck. After starting from the first position and leading the first two laps not having completely working transmission would be too much for the veteran driver, as the rest of the field would navigate past him as he struggled to keep pace.
Romain Grosjean calls it “two different circuits in one” and Kevin Magnussen says “it’s a mixture of Monza and Monaco”. It is Baku City Circuit, a 6.003-kilometer (3.730-mile), 20-turn street course that hosts the Azerbaijan Grand Prix June 25.
The two Haas F1 Team drivers and 18 of their counterparts blast down two enormously long straights in a dumbbell-shaped layout that runs counterclockwise. The Herman Tilke-designed track blends old and new amid fast straights and slow corners. It winds through a modern, Eastern side where swank hotels and high-end shops reside, to a historic area where the streets are narrow and steep before returning to the mainstraight. A sharp left turn greets drivers at the end of that straight, not too dissimilarly from the Tilke-designed Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, home to the United States Grand Prix. It’s a unique and challenging layout that is augmented by Baku’s notorious winds, which are always prevalent. In fact, City of Winds is the unofficial, but literary, name for Baku.
Winds of change have been blowing all year in Formula One, with this new generation of higher-downforce racecar breaking track records at every circuit visited thus far in the 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship. Baku could buck that trend, however, as the track hosted its first grand prix last year when the lower-downforce cars of the previous era produced significant straight-line speed.
The higher-downforce cars of today aren’t as quick in a straight line, but thanks to a wider front wing, larger barge boards, a lower and wider rear wing, a taller and wider diffuser and tires 25-percent wider than last year, these current-generation Formula One cars dart through corners at speeds never seen before this year.
With 20 turns built into Baku City Circuit, drivers will test the boundaries of the world’s fastest city circuit in an effort to make up the lost speed on the two main straights – the 2.2-kilometer (1.367-mile) mainstraight along the promenade and a 1-kilometer (.621-mile) stretch that takes drivers away from Azadliq Square. Grosjean’s “two different circuits in one” and Magnussen’s musing of Baku being “a mixture of Monza and Monaco” are apt.
Because Baku City Circuit is so new, there is still plenty of learning to be had. Grosjean finished 13th in last year’s race after a potential points-paying result was derailed by debris getting caught in his car’s radiator intake. Finishing right behind Grosjean was Magnussen, whose 14th-place drive came with his former Renault team.
Speaking of Renault, Haas F1 Team comes into the Azerbaijan Grand Prix locked in a tight battle with the factory-backed squad. Renault is seventh in the constructors standings, only three points ahead of Haas F1 Team. But with point-paying results in five of the seven races run this season, Grosjean and Magnussen are eyeing another points-paying effort in Baku to not only bolster their respective 12th- and 13th-place positions in the driver standings, but to also take hold of seventh in the constructors standings and potentially fight with sixth-place Williams, which currently enjoys a seven-point margin over Haas F1 Team.
In 2016, Haas F1 Team scored points in just five races. With that tally already having been equaled in 2017 with still 13 races remaining, the American outfit believes Baku can be the scene of another points-scoring effort that can surpass its 2016 mark and keep the midfield battle as tight as the corners around Baku’s historic Sabayil Castle.
Jordan Taylor was one lap from adding a 24 Hours of Le Mans victory to an incredible 2017 season that has seen him take five-consecutive wins in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, including the Rolex 24 At Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
But then, disaster struck the No. 63 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. On the final lap, Taylor encountered a punctured right-rear tire, forcing him to surrender the lead – and the victory – in the GTE Pro class to Jonny Adam in the No. 97 Aston Martin. He limped the car home to take a third-place finish for himself and co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, behind the Aston and the UK-based No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT.
“The whole race, everyone was so close and so evenly matched and Antonio had a cut tire and had to come in,” Magnussen said. “That put us behind everybody and on a different strategy than everyone else. That also meant that we would not be catching the slow zones the same as everyone else and that really started to bite us.
“So, we fell further and further back. Until we got back on the same strategy as everyone else, it was an uphill fight. But the car was good and the team worked fantastic the whole time. Antonio and Jordan drove perfect throughout the whole race. When we perform like this as a team, it’s difficult not to be disappointed with the outcome. Podium at Le Mans is pretty decent, it’s just not what we came for.”
Meanwhile, in the GTE Am class, Townsend Bell and Bill Sweedler earned their third straight Le Mans podium result with a third-place run in the No. 62 WeatherTech Ferrari 488 GTE fielded by Scuderia Corsa that they shared with full-time WeatherTech Championship racer Cooper MacNeil. Bell and Sweedler won the GTE Am class last year, and finished third in 2015. Bell held the class lead early on and the car was a fixture in the GTE Am top five throughout.
For MacNeil, it was his second trip to the podium in 2017, following a WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class win in the BUBBA burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach alongside co-driver Gunnar Jeannette in the No. 50 WeatherTech Mercedes-AMG GT3.
“We ran a really clean race,” MacNeil said. “We had a couple of minor issues all race. I didn’t put a wheel wrong all race and that is how you have to run here at Le Mans. We gave it all we had. We ran to plan, did the stops and driver changes and ran our race. We kept it clean and the great work from the Scuderia Corsa and Kessel guys got us up on the podium. The WeatherTech Racing Ferrari ran great the entire 24 hours.”
Elsewhere, full-time WeatherTech Championship competitor and 2015 GT Le Mans (GTLM) champion Patrick Pilet earned a top-five result in the No. 91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR he co-drove with Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz.
The overall race victory in the topsy-turvy race went to the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid co-driven by Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. It was a war of attrition in the LM P1 class, and the winning car battled back to win after spending more than an hour in the garage for repairs after Bamber lost front axle drive with 18-and-a-half hours remaining.
The LM P2 class victory went to the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA-Gibson shared by Ho-Pin Tung, Thomas Laurent and Oliver Jarvis. The No. 38 team finished second overall, one spot ahead of another LM P2 car, the No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA co-driven by Nelson Piquet Jr., David Heinemeier Hansson and Mathias Beche.
Next up for the WeatherTech Championship is the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday, July 2. It marks the halfway point in the 12-race WeatherTech Championship season, and also represents the third round of four in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Cup.
Gar Robinson captured his second consecutive TA2 victory with a win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s Indianapolis Muscle Car Challenge, Round 5 of the 2017 Trans Am Championship. Robinson endured a race-long battle with fellow championship contender Dillon Machavern and made a vital pass for the lead with eight of the 42 laps remaining to clinch the coveted Indy win in Trans Am’s first appearance on the legendary Indy track.
“This win is absolutely up there,” said Robinson. “I was watching the end of Le Mans this morning and that got me in the mood for today. A win at Indy, following a win at Detroit, I don’t think you can really top that. To do this with my crew, all the hard work they put in, and my father, all the help he gives—I don’t, and can’t, thank them enough. It’s such a great opportunity to come race here. There’s no way to really describe this, it’s Indy! We got a win at Indy!”
Robinson, in the No. 74 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro, began the race on pole of the 25-car field and held the position until a full course caution on lap 19 for debris on course. The field would restart on lap 24, with Dillon Machavern, in the No. 24 Heritage Motorsports Ford Mustang, overtaking Robinson through turn one. The two would continue nose-to-tail through lap 34 before Robinson finally made his move on the back of the Indy course, capturing first position and successfully defending it through the checkered flag. The move would later be named the COOLSHIRT Systems Cool Move of the Race.
“That really was a harebrained idea,” said Robinson. “I was following him around, trying to discover where I could make a move. I felt like we had a faster car, having pulled ahead for a little bit earlier on, I just hunkered down and threw the No. 74 in there—and the crew gave me the car to make it happen. Dillon ran really hard today; I’m always happy to race him.”
Machavern would undergo one more battle over the final laps of the race, this time with Robinson’s teammate Shane Lewis, in the No. 72 Pura Vida Tequila/ 74 Ranch Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Lewis began the race from the back of the field, coming off a penalty from the previous round at Detroit, and proceeded to charge through the field, gaining six positions on the first lap and claiming fourth position on the 17th.
Over the final stretches of the race, Machavern and Lewis would go side-by-side multiple times, including the final lap with Machavern just edging Lewis before entering the front straight and taking the checkered for second position. The finishes marked the fourth podium of the year for both Machavern and Lewis. Machavern would also set the fast lap of the race, a 1:31.557 around the 2.439-mile Grand Prix course.
Fourth place would be captured by Lawrence Loshak, in the No. 5 Pennzoil/ ETE Reman Chevrolet Camaro—tying his best finish of the year. Loshak would start fifth, and climb as high as third. Fifth place was secured by Cameron Lawrence, No. 19 Class Auto Centers Chevrolet Camaro, after a 35th lap pass on Adam Andretti, in the No. 44 ECC/ Anchor Bolt & Screw Dodge Challenger.
For their efforts in repairing the No. 19 after heavy damage in Round 4 at Detroit, the first-year Class Auto team was awarded the PitBoxes.com Crew of the Race; while Crew Chief Wesley Sumen took home TraqGear Crew Chief of the Weekend.
The TA2 top ten was completed by Adam Andretti, Curt Vogt, John Atwell, Keith Prociuk and Matt Parent. The seventh place finish marked a career high for Vogt in his seventh TA2 appearance.
One day prior, the Trans Am Series held an additional 102.6 mile, 42-lap competition, the Trans Am Speedway Showdown, featuring the TA, TA3 and TA4 classes with 34 entries participating. Ernie Francis, Jr., claimed his fourth consecutive TA class win; while Mark Boden secured a TA3 victory and debutant Andrew Entwistle won TA4.
The Trans Am Series was joined on the weekend by the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association holding their Brickyard Vintage Racing Invitational, including the Indy Legends Pro-Am as well as the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup series
The Trans Am Series will now head north to Brainerd International Raceway for the Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic, Round 5 of the 2017 Trans Am Championship.
Broadcast: This weekend's event will be broadcast, tape delayed, on CBS Sports Network.
Trans Am Speedway Showdown (TA, TA3, TA4) – Jul 08, 12:00p.m. ET
Indianapolis Muscle Car Challenge (TA2) – Jul 15, 12:00p.m. ET
Clay Millican piloted his Parts Plus / Great Clips dragster to his first career Top Fuel victory Sunday at the 17th annual NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals at Bristol Dragway.
Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Alex Laughlin (Pro Stock) were also winners in their respective categories at the 11th event of 24 on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule.
Millican, a Tennessee native, raced a 3.825-second pass at 316.38 mph to defeat Leah Pritchett, who raced a 3.881 at 307.09 in her Papa John's dragster. He became the 103rd different driver to win in Top Fuel. This was Millican's 254th NHRA Top Fuel start and the ninth final round of his career.
“I love what I do,” Millican said. “There were times I ever wondered if this was going to happen. I don’t deserve this credit. I’m really happy for David Grubnic and all of the boys who work on this car and I mean that one-hundred percent."
Millican battled past Kyle Wurtzel, Brittany Force and Steve Torrence en route to the finals. Pritchett squared up against Troy Coughlin Jr., Scott Palmer and Shawn Langdon before falling to Millican in the final round. Millican is seventh in points while Pritchett moved from third to second with the runner-up finish. Torrence now has possession of the Top Fuel points lead.
Defending Funny Car world champion Capps raced to his fifth victory this season and 55th of his career in the NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T. He won on a holeshot against Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger R/T with a pass of 4.054 at 317.05.
“We’ve gotten a few lucky rounds, but it’s been preparation in the off season,” Capps stated. “We had runs on Sunday against four of the toughest cars, drivers and crew chiefs combined. You read down the list of people we had to beat in a new car that was prepared. There are not very many teams that are that prepared to pull a car out and have a quicker set-up than we were.”
Capps ties John Force with most Funny Car victories at Bristol Dragway with four apiece on their resume.
Before entering the final round, Capps defeated Alexis DeJoria, Robert Hight and teammate Matt Hagan. Beckman sailed past Cruz Pedregon, Courtney Force and teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. before seeing Capps for the second consecutive final round. Beckman defeated Capps in the finals at the event in Englishtown.
In Pro Stock, Laughlin clinched his first Wally of the season and second of his career with a perfect reaction time in the finals. He powered his Gas Monkey Energy Chevrolet Camaro to a 6.718 at 205.04 to defeat Bo Butner in his Jim Butner’s Auto Chevy Camaro. Laughlin is the eighth different Pro Stock winner this season.
“We didn’t really have anything handed to us; we had some good matchups all day,” Laughlin stated. “I definitely feel like I had a point to prove. We have a competitive car on the starting line. I came into this weekend with the confidence to win.”
Laughlin raced past Alan Johnson, No. 1 qualifier Jeg Coughlin and rookie Tanner Gray before facing Butner in the final round. Butner lined up against Wally Stroupe and two-time world champion Erica Enders en route to his fourth final round appearance this season.
The 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at the 11th annual Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals June 22-25 at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park.
While the layout may have been new, the tradition was much the same when the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship made its annual visit to southwest Pennsylvania for the Red Bull High Point National at the venerable High Point Raceway.
RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing riders Broc Tickle and Justin Bogle rode into Round 4 with momentum on their side and kept the wheels turning with solid efforts in both premiere 450 Class motos.
Tickle parlayed a pair of fourth-place finishes into a third-place overall showing to collect his first podium of the 2017 Pro Motocross campaign. The top-three effort powered the Holly, Mich., rider from eighth to fifth in points where he now paces sixth-place Bogle by three markers as the series closes out the first third of the season.
“Saturday was an awesome day,” commented Tickle. “I always enjoy riding at High Point. It gets rutted and the track is normally pretty rough. That usually suits my riding style. It was a hot one. I thought the new layout was awesome. It flowed a little better than last year. We dealt with a wet track in practice and it developed into a good race track. We ended up going 4-4 on the day for third overall. I was stoked to get the holeshot in the second moto and to finish out the day with my first podium of the season.”
Bogle logged a 7-9 effort Saturday afternoon and was scored ninth overall at day’s end. The 24-year-old 450 Class sophomore slipped to sixth in the championship where just three points separate him from Tickle for a spot in the top five.
“It was a good day, but I was hoping for a little more,” explained Bogle. “The track was rough and muddy. I had a really good first moto going but ended up getting together with another guy and going down. I was running up front at the time and only ended up losing a few spots but that was still the end of any chance for a podium. I struggled a little bit in the second moto and wound up ninth. Wasn’t the final result I was hoping for but they knew we were there. We’ll get back to work this week and be ready for Muddy Creek.”
Next weekend, the 12-race Pro Motocross tour rolls through the Volunteer State where Tennessee’s Muddy Creek Raceway will host the series on Saturday afternoon.
The first moto of Round 5 from the Tennessee National will be televised live on MAVTV Sat., June 24 beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 10 a.m. Pacific. Television coverage for the second moto will shift to NBCSN at 3 p.m. EDT, noon Pacific.
All motos can be streamed live on the NBC Sports Gold app. NBC, NBCSN and MAVTV will combine to provide extensive television coverage over the course of the 12-round season. Capping off each round of the championship will be exclusive one-hour highlight shows on NBCSN, each airing within a handful of days of every National.