Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 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
Mazda Motorsports has often told young Mazda racers just getting started in the sport that a blank car is a wasted opportunity.
"If you can’t sell the space to a business, give it away to a non-profit," stated Dean Case, communications officer for Mazda Motorsports.
Jason Cherry is currently working on a great project with the Autism Society of America on his Pirelli World Challenge Mazda MX-5. Cherry will be auctioning off his helmet during the SEMA (Specialty Market Equipment Association) show. Partnered with the National Autism Society of America (ASA) as their exclusive auto-racing driver, he gained the support of Bell Racing early on in the 2014 season as he created a distinct helmet covered with the global autism symbol of puzzle pieces painted by Savage Designs.
With the support of the Autism Society of America (ASA), Mazda Motorsports, Bell Racing, and the Pirelli World Challenge Series, the auctioning of the helmet will be promoted at the SEMA show. The winning bid from the online auction will directly go to the ASA, the nation’s largest and oldest grassroots non-profit organization. The proceeds will help establish the sibling scholarship fund created by Jason Cherry.
Jason has a brother with autism, so the effort here is very sincere and from the heart. If you have a moment, please check out the online auction. Bidding ends on November 9!
Larsen Motorsports announced today they have signed Shea Holbrook as a development driver. Holbrook is best known as a Touring Car driver and co-owner of Shea Racing. Her family-owned road racing team competes in the Pirelli World Challenge.
“Excitement doesn’t even express how I feel about this. I’m very grateful to Larsen Motorsports for this tremendous opportunity. Soon I’ll know what it’s like to move at speeds approaching 300 mph, but first I have a lot to learn before I get behind a machine with 4,500 pounds of thrust,” said Shea Holbrook.
Holbrook, 24-years-old has seen success in her seven year career as she became the first woman to win in the Touring Car division at the 2011 Long Beach Grand Prix. She also took several pole positions, podiums, and wins in her 2014 season finishing 2nd place in the Touring Car A Pirelli World Challenge Championships marking her best season to date. Already a proven driver, she now has a chance to become a part of a select group of people who have driven a jet dragster.
“It will be fun to see Shea adapt from road racing to drag racing,” said Chris Larsen CEO of Larsen Motorsports. “In addition to Shea’s strong racing background, she also holds a bachelors degree in Communications and a minor in Marketing, which will strengthen her role at Larsen Motorsports.”
Holbrook and Larsen Motorsports will soon be announcing a new affiliate coming onboard, making this incredible opportunity a reality. Holbrook has launched a crowdfunding campaign and marketing initiative to help raise funds to get her license with the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA).
The campaign was designed to create an opportunity for those who want to get directly involved with the future of Shea’s racing career. Her goal is to raise an additional $35,000 to help with things like an IHRA and NHRA jet license, safety gear, and other essential equipment. “It’s important to me that this campaign is successful and becomes a benchmark for future racers and athletes who want to take control of their own destinies by launching their own campaigns. In my case, I’m turning to you for support,” Holbrook said.
The campaign can be found on the Dark Horse Pros website or visit the direct link darkhorsepros.com/campaigns/75. The timeframe of the campaign is 30 days ending on December 2, 2014.
The 2014 European Le Mans Series came to a close at the Estoril circuit in Portugal and saw the Signatech Alpine team take the championship laurels for the top class of competition, LMP2. The other two categories, LMGTE and GTC, were won by the Russian SMP Racing team.
The season wasn't all plain sailing for the No.72 SMP Ferrari F458 driven by the Italo-Russian trio of Andrea Bertolini, Sergey Zlobin and Viktor Shaitar. The latter, 2013 GTC ELMS title holder, was keen to show his upward progress and win the LMGTE crown; that now done and dusted.
Despite three LMGTE podium finishes to their name during the 2014 season (wins at Imola and Estoril and second place at Silverstone) and three pole positions (Silverstone, Red Bull Ring and Paul Ricard) the team wasn't able to score big for the Red Bull Ring and Paul Ricard races. After a season-long battle with the No.55 AF Corse entry, SMP arrived at Estoril for the grand finale with a deficit of 21 points to the Italians. They therefore had to give it absolutely everything and not make any mistakes to clinch the c2014 LMGTE championship title, and hope for a little luck. That turned towards them when AF Corse's Duncan Cameron hit trouble early in the race and had to pass agonisingly long minutes in the pits, handing the Russians the title on a plate.
SMP Racing's cars also had to elbow their way to victory in the GTC class. With four podiums (3rd at Silverstone, Imola and Red Bull Ring, and a win at Paul Ricard), the points difference was a little less critical going into the final round as Olivier Beretta, David Markosov and Anton Ladygin were 'only' 18.5 points ahead of the Ferrari No.60 Formula Racing F458. The Russian Ferrari had absolutely to finish no lower than 6th place to steal the title from its Danish rival and in the end the points for the third place in which it finished gave the team its second consecutive title in the category.
Boris Rotenberg, team boss (also entered in the FIA World Endurance Championship) was delighted with the result: "First of all I would like to thank the organisers of the ELMS for their great professionalism in organising the events which allowed us to achieve these great results. Last year, which was a debut for the team, we entered and won the GTC class. Now we have two trophies – again in GTC and in the GTE, a class that was new for the team and which we won at our first attempt. Our team is dynamically developing and maturing. I am grateful to the technicians, mechanics, engineers and, of course, the drivers. We managed to create between us a very united team which was the basis for our success.”
Andrea Bertolini: “It was an incredible season with some ups and downs but the SMP team was focused until the end!!! We were always strong in terms of performance but we had some bad luck at Zeltweg and Ricard. The team has always made an incredible effort to be on top and everything was well organised. On Saturday at Estoril we had a "special" briefing where Boris gave us a strong motivating speech to be ready for Sunday. I'm very happy and proud to be part of the team and champion with SMP RACING!!!! Never give up and max attack! Thank you to everyone for this great season.”
Sergey Zlobin: “We wanted to win in two categories and we did it. We didn't quite reach our maximum programme as we wanted to take 1st and 2nd places in GTC, but we took 1st and 3rd. We have won the European Le Mans Series two years in a row and, for this we want to thank the team, the drivers, the organisers and all those who were with us. My special pride is the fact that our driver Viktor Shaitar has become a two-time winner of the European championship, earlier in the GTC class, and now in GTE. Kirill Ladygin - last year's winner in GTC – was a good example for Anton Ladygin, who repeated his brother's achievement this season. I am glad that the season went well, it all came together as it must.”
Viktor Shaitar: “The season with SMP Racing Ferrari in LMGTE was great for me. We had some highs and lows during the season and at the start of the final race at Estoril we had a tight chance to win. We put our biggest effort to the race and managed to finish first in class while the circumstances of the race led us to overall first position in GTE. My great thanks to the team and everyone who supported us in the season.”
Olivier Beretta : “My first season with SMP Racing has been a wonderful challenge for me, but it has also been a human adventure as I have been surrounded by great people that I now consider as friends! We have won this Championship which I am really proud of and I hope there will be more in the future! Boris is an amazing team leader and gives strength to SMP Racing. Long life to the team and keep pushing!”
Anton Ladygin: “This season was, for me, the first full season behind the wheel of the Ferrari 458 Italia GTC. In the GTC class there were a lot of strong crews. The whole year we successfully fought for the podium, but the hardest race was the last round in Estoril. At the start there were many dangerous situations, which sometimes we miraculously managed to avoid. I started in 8th position, and gradually we were able to reduce the gap and finish in 4th place. I am grateful to the SMP Racing team for the opportunity to participate in ELMS behind the wheel of a Ferrari.”
David Markozov: “Since the beginning of the season I have been very happy about the constant progress and the podiums at each race. We had strong rivals, many of them I saw previously only on TV, fighting side by side with us, and we won. It was an amazing feeling. Understanding of the champion's title comes gradually over time. The finish of the season was very positive. Our next objective is the world championship.”
For the second consecutive year the Signatech Alpine team claimed the European championship title, thanks to its consistency throughout the 2014 European Le Mans Series. With its 2013 title under its belt which guaranteed an invitation to participate in the LMP2 category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans plus its LMP2 ELMS title at stake, the French team led by Philippe Sinault was fired up and determined to do just as well in 2014, if not better.
The three-driver line up for the2014 odyssey included 2013 LMP2 champion Nelson Panciatici, one of the 2013 LMPC champions, Paul-Loup Chatin, and an ELMS newcomer, Oliver Webb.
With an Alpine A450b entered for the second year of the new-look ELMS, Signatech Alpine would go on to win the 2014 title with 78 points, four more than its biggest rival, the British JOTA Sport team (Zytek Nissan Z11 SN of Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell, Filipe Albuquerque) and 10 more than the Swiss NewBlood by Morand Racing team (Morgan Judd - Gary Hirsch, Christian Klien, Romain Brandela, Pierre Ragues).
The Alpine A450b's season started with a fifth place at Silverstone, followed by podiums for the next three rounds. Third at Imola, winners of the Austrian race, and on the second step of the podium at the team's home race at Paul Ricard, Nelson Panciatici, Paul-Loup Chatin and Oliver Webb arrived at Estoril in Portugal 10 points ahead of JOTA Sport, 18 ahead of NewBlood by Morand Racing and 23 points in advance of Race Performance. The four teams were all in with a chance of winning the championship at the season finale.
In front of a large crowd of Portuguese spectators and race fans, plus strong support for local star Filipe Albuquerque (JOTA Sport), Signatech Alpine should have led the battle throughout in order to maintain their title hopes.
But, in a hotly contested race, the team incurred two heavy penalties after which the drivers and entire team had to do everything in their power to bring the car home in fifth place. For its part, JOTA Sport had some issues and only finished on the third step of the podium which meant the French team left Portugal with the winners' trophy for the season for the second time in two years.
2014 has been a good year for Signatech Alpine as the Frenchmen also showed well at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with third place on the LMP2 podium and seventh place overall ... what will 2015 bring for such a well-balanced team?
Philippe Sinault (Team Principal Signatech Alpine): "I am pleased and proud of the work done by the entire team. It is difficult to retain a title, so keeping our European crown is all the more satisfying. We progressed further by always being in the race for victory and by adopting the right strategy each time. Despite a testing final round, the team remained calm just as we've done since our podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Thank you to Alpine for trusting us; together we have shared some great emotions. Sometimes it's hard, but we love it...roll on next year! Our goal for 2015? We would like to participate in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2015 with two cars ... watch this space!"
Nelson Panciatici: "Despite the penalties at our last race, we were able to clinch the title. I am pleased to be the first driver to successfully retain the LMP2 crown. The team showed that it was strong and we didn't win by chance. This superb season has once again seen the Alpine marque at the top and it is the result of all the hard work put in by the entire team. I want to thank every member of this team and my teammates."
Paul-Loup Chatin: "I think we had a perfect season despite the mistakes at the last round. The performances were there and I'm really happy. The three of us have bonded very well throughout the season as drivers, becoming friends as well, and we worked to use what we are each best at to be even stronger as a team. I'd like to say a big thank you to all the team at Alpine, Philippe, Nelson and Oliver; we have together established very strong ties. My goal for the future? Of course I'd like to run in LMP1 ... when the time comes."
Oliver Webb : "2014 has been one of the best years of my racing career. To be associated with Alpine and Renault as a factory driver and to win the championship with such a great team in my first year is unbelievable. Le Mans podium was a highlight for me and something that will never leave my thoughts. I hope to do the same in 2015 but even better!"
Erica Enders-Stevens reclaimed the Pro Stock points lead with one race remaining by earning a major victory at the NHRA Toyota Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Saturday.
Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Del Worsham (Funny Car) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also were winners at the penultimate playoff event in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
Enders-Stevens powered her Royal Purple Chevy Camaro to a 6.587-second pass at 209.36 mph to defeat reigning world champ Jeg Coughlin in the final. It was the fifth win of the season for Enders-Stevens and 11th of her career. She dominated at Las Vegas this season, also winning the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals in March. She will now head to the Auto Club NHRA Finals with a 17-point lead over Jason Line.
“I wanted to come in with a positive attitude,” said Enders-Stevens, who is trying to become the first female Pro Stock world champion in NHRA history. “When I walked in the gate on Thursday afternoon I had a good feeling. I was a nervous wreck in Reading. I’ve never felt that way in my racing career. I decided I was going to give it to God, keep the faith, do my best and let him do the rest. That quick mental change made everything run so much smoother today.”
Line, driver of the Summit Racing Chevy Camaro, entered the event with a 35-point advantage and reached the semifinals, falling to Enders-Stevens after a red-light start.
In Top Fuel, Massey claimed his third victory of the season by outrunning J.R. Todd in the final round with a 3.756 at 330.88 in his Red Fuel powered by Schumacher dragster. It was Massey’s 17th career victory and third at Las Vegas. With the win, he climbs to second in points, 109 behind series leader Tony Schumacher heading into the season finale.
“The car started off running extremely well,” Massey said. “We started running a new chassis this weekend and we wanted to see where it would lead us. It showed a lot of promise. For [crew chiefs] Phil Schuler and Todd Okahara and my entire team, we’ve been working so hard all season long to finally make good solid runs and be consistent on race day.”
Schumacher came into the NHRA Toyota Nationals with a 136-point lead over Doug Kalitta, but fell in the first round to Billy Torrence.
Worsham picked up his first Funny Car win since Richmond 2009 when he drove his Toyota Camry to a performance of 4.064 at 318.39 to take the victory over 16-time world champion John Force. It was Worsham’s first win of the season following runner-up finishes at Englishtown and Dallas. He denied Force a chance to climb within one point of series leader Matt Hagan.
“I think we’ve been to probably four finals and this is the first time we’ve won with Kalitta Motorsports,” said Worsham, who won a world championship in Top Fuel in 2011. “We’ve almost had lane choice and low elapsed time in all those finals and we didn’t bring out a big enough stick. Today, the big bat was out. This was all about the crew chief and the crew and the job they did today.”
Hagan fell to Worsham in the semifinals and holds a 21-point lead over Force heading to Pomona.
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hines, who entered Las Vegas with a 25-point advantage over Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson teammate Eddie Krawiec, raced to the win with a 6.965 at 191.02, defeating reigning world champ Matt Smith. Hines, who claimed his class-leading sixth victory of the season and 38th of his career, holds a 92-point advantage over Krawiec in his bid for a fourth world championship.
“I don’t want to play defense,” Hines said of his preparation for the Auto Club NHRA Finals. “I’m going to go on the offense. I don’t want to give up any bonus points during qualifying. I want to keep it over 80 points so we can roll into Sunday with the championship basically mathematically locked up.”
The NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship finale is Nov. 13-16 with the 50th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California.
Closing a successful season of racing in North America for the Scuderia Corsa team, driver Chris Ruud secured the Ferrari Challenge Series' championship in the Coppa Shell class during this weekend's races at the famous Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
This weekend's pair of Ferrari Challenge races were held as part of the Formula 1 World Championship weekend. While Ruud would have a relatively quiet weekend, he had amassed such a large point's lead that he secured the championship for the Coppa Shell class where he has secures seven victories out of a possible sixteen races this season.
"While the races this weekend were not my best when it came to finishing position, the Scuderia Corsa team gave me a fast Ferrari to race," said Ruud. "The Circuit of The Americas is a wonderful track. I am fortunate to have locked up the championship already and am looking forward to the Finali Mondiali in Abu Dhabi next month."
Competing in the Trofeo Pirelli class, John Horejsi was sidelined during Saturday's race due to a contact. Starting from the back of the field in Sunday's race, his progress through the field was cut short by an extended caution period. He would finish the race in 14th position in class.
"It was a challenging weekend, but it was still an amazing experience to drive at the Circuit of The Americas," said Horejsi.
Team owner Giacomo Mattioli expressed his joy in watching Ruud secure the Coppa Shell championship.
"Chris is really a big part of Scuderia Corsa and I'm thrilled to see him celebrate as champion," said Mattioli. "He has worked very hard and pushed himself all year to improve as a driver, and it is clear to see the results. Everyone at Scuderia Corsa is thrilled for him and we congratulate him on a great season. Ferrari Challenge is very important for us as it allows our clients the opportunity do what Ferraris were built for - competition. We enjoy the chance to share this experience and to watch Chris and John compete at this world-class facility."
Scuderia Corsa will compete at the Finali Mondiali, the traditional end-of-season celebration of Ferrari, at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, UAE, on December 3-6.
Four veterans from the 2014 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama relished the challenge of taking on some of the best single-make GT series drivers in the world during two Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup races Oct. 31-Nov. 2 at the Circuit of the Americas(COTA) in Austin, Texas.
2014 Platinum Cup champion Colin Thompson, Platinum Cup competitor Santiago Creel and Gold Cup drivers David Ducote and Bill Peluchiwski each participated in the event weekend that supported the United States Grand Prix, the only FIA Formula One World Championship race in America.
"Overall, I'm very satisfied," Thompson said. "Porsche puts on an unbelievable showing on a Supercup weekend. It's incredible. It's just great to be part of an international event here."
Ducote, from Houston, finished 21st and 19th, respectively, in the two races in a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car prepared by his team in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, Kelly Moss Motorsports. He improved his position after qualifying 25th for both 14-lap events.
Wisconsin-based Kelly Moss earned two entries in the Supercup field - for Thompson and Ducote - from Porsche Motorsport North America (PMNA) in recognition of Thompson winning the Drivers' Championship this season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.
All of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama regulars adapted to three new scenarios all weekend on the 20-turn, 3.4-mile circuit - standing race starts, competing on Michelin tires and taking on the intense competition in the pinnacle of Porsche's 19 global single-make series.
"It was my first-ever Supercup weekend," Ducote said. "It was a lot of fun. It was very challenging. It was my first time to do starts from a standing start. That was challenging.
"Kelly Moss really worked hard to give me a great setup. It was tough to compete with some of these guys. They're very, very fast. But I closed the gap with each session, and I felt pretty good about things coming away from the weekend. So I'm happy how it all worked out."
Creel, from Mexico City, finished 25th and 20th in a Porsche prepared by FÖRCH Racing by Lukas Motorsport. His solid result Sunday, Nov. 2 came after mechanics from the team worked all night to repair damage suffered in a rough-and-tumble race Saturday, Nov. 1, which included numerous accidents.
Thompson and Peluchiwski weren't as fortunate as Creel. Their cars suffered damage in separate incidents that curtailed their participation in the weekend.
Newly crowned Platinum Cup champion Thompson crashed in a late braking maneuver in his Kelly Moss-prepared Porsche, ending his race early Saturday. The car was unable to be repaired for the race Sunday.
The incident ended steady progress throughout the weekend for Thompson, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania. He qualified 18th and 16th, respectively, for both races, running quicker than some Supercup veterans.
"I can only take away the positives and learn from the negatives," Thompson said. "Unfortunately during the race, I messed up and ended my weekend for myself there by getting in a little over my head under braking. Overall, it was a very positive weekend. I learned an unbelievable amount being in this different environment in a far higher caliber of drivers."
2014 Gold Cup race winner Peluchiwski, from Chicago, was unable to compete in either race due to damage suffered in a crash in his Porsche prepared by the powerful VERVA Lechner Racing Team.
The weekends of two other former champions of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama also were shortened by accidents.
2012 Platinum Cup champion Sean Johnston - a Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup regular competitor since 2013 - finished 12th after spirited battles with rivals in the first race in his Team Project 1 Porsche. But he was hit twice while trying to avoid incidents on the first lap of the second race, and his steering rack was damaged. Johnston, from Mount Shasta, California, parked his Porsche shortly thereafter for safety reasons.
"After racing in Europe for the last two years, to be back here in the U.S. on home American soil, it's been great," Johnston said. "The circuit for me has been one of my favorite Formula One circuits that we've driven on all season in the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, and I'd absolutely love to come back here again.
"It's been a rough weekend in terms of results. The first race was good, the second one not so much. But in terms of an experience here, the atmosphere was great. Tons of fans, great facility, and I'd love to come back."
2013 Platinum Cup champion Madison Snow - who climbed to the GT Daytona class in 2014 in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship - was unable to race Sunday after damage to his Team Project 1 Porsche limited him to just five laps Saturday. Like Thompson, Snow performed well in qualifying, earning the 15th and 17th grid positions.
IMSA veterans Tomy Drissi and Mark Kvamme took a smooth, steady approach to avoid incidents and finish both races in their Porsches prepared by American team Muehlner Motorsports, regular competitors in the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Drissi, from Los Angeles, placed 22nd and 21st, respectively. Kvamme, from Columbus, Ohio, finished 23rd and 24th.
Texas driver Jeff Harrison performed well in his home Lone Star State. 2014 Pro Mazda Championship competitor Harrison, from Grapevine, Texas, placed 20th and 18th, respectively, after qualifying 24th for both races in a Porsche prepared by Konrad Motorsport Austria.
Nicki Thiim of Denmark won the first race, while Michael Ammermüller of Germany won the second. Earl Bamber of Great Britain clinched the season championship as the series conducted its final two rounds of 2014 at COTA.
While they didn't enjoy the view from the podium, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama veterans who raced this weekend at COTA want to compete again in a Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup event.
"Whether I do one-offs or whether I can make the whole season, over the next few years, I definitely will be a part of it," Thompson said.
Said Ducote: "I enjoy the environment. The drivers were all very good, very professional, courteous. The on-track activity was challenging, but at the same time, everyone raced clean and raced fair. I would love to come back and would love to do another Supercup race. Maybe even do one overseas. That would be fantastic."
One of the newest and most exciting additions to the IHRA's Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series in 2014 was the addition of a competitive Jet Dragster class. Comprised of four beautiful ladies in a four-car, jet-powered operation, the IHRA's Jet Dragster category blasted onto the scene in Tucson, Arizona in March and wrapped up its year at the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals in October with the crowning of the IHRA's inaugural Jet Dragster world champion - Elaine Larsen.
Owner of the Larsen Motorsports operation that fields the four-car team, Larsen won three times in 2014 and was the fastest car on the property nearly every race weekend. Thanks to that consistency, Larsen was able to claim a comfortable 209-point victory over Marisha Falk behind the wheel of the Miller Welding jet-powered dragster to claim IHRA's inaugural jet championship with the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series.
"I just can't believe we did it! The Miller Welding Larsen Motorsports jet dragster team proved strong all season long. And with the support from our fans and the series, we came out on top," Larsen said. "The 2014 season has had its highs and lows for our team. From taking out my engine in Tucson, to now bringing home the World Championship was an amazing ride. IHRA has allowed Larsen Motorsports a platform that enables our teams to showcase this category in a way that it has not been able to do for many years."
The inaugural Jet Dragster championship within the IHRA's Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series provided plenty of excitement in 2014. Contested at all 12 events on the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series North American Tour, the four-car team ran a traditional elimination system with qualifying followed by a two rounds of eliminations.
Larsen won three times this season; however she visited the final round seven times and was the No. 1 qualifier half a dozen times. Her victories came at San Antonio Raceway, Maryland International Raceway and Grand Bend Motorplex.
"Consistency won this championship," Larsen said. "Luck will give you good or bad races, but consistency wins championships. Our strategy was simple; don't change the car unless it was really throwing us a curveball. Thankfully, our car was spot-on most all year."
Behind Larsen in second was young Marisha Falk, who also had three wins this season and had low elapsed time of the season. Dawn Perdue finished third in the Jet Dragster championship with two wins, including the inaugural race at Southwestern International Raceway to open the season, while Kat Moller and Allison West rounded out the championship standings. Kat had the team's other win at Cordova International Raceway during the Summer Nationals, where she also recorded the team's top speed of the year.
"These ladies are fierce and we're all competing with one trophy in mind," Larsen said. "What's most important to me is that they all get to that finish line fast and safe every time. With many thanks to our partners, and without a doubt a ton of appreciation to everyone at Larsen Motorsports, we had another great year. Also, a very special thanks to my sponsor, Miller Welding Company, for supporting us on and off the track for over six years."
In addition to a great on-track show for the fans, Larsen Motorsports also debuted the brand new Jet Technology Center in 2014, an interactive experience where fans can learn the technology behind a jet-powered racecar. The JTC includes family activities, interactive demonstrations and driver autograph sessions at each Nitro Jam event.
With a successful season in the books, Larsen and the entire Larsen Motorsports operation will look to expand on their program in 2015 with additional drivers and additional support to increase the success and exposure of Jet Dragster as a competitive racing class.
"To me, it's about building some of the highest quality jet cars in the sport and bringing great entertainment to the IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series," Larsen said. "It has taken 11 years to get the LMS teams to what we are today. Larsen Motorsports is very excited to bring new talent to the motorsports industry and continue to help grow this very deserving category.
"We look forward to the 2015 IHRA Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series schedule and everything that we have in store. It is going to be our biggest year yet."
Rickie Smith took home his second consecutive world championship title with a victory during the final race of the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season Sunday at the NHRA Toyota Nationals. Pro Mod racing at this event is presented by Aeromotive, Inc.
Smith powered his nitrous-injected IDG Camaro to a 5.912 second pass at 242.63 mph, defeating No. 1 qualifier Don Walsh in the final round at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was Smith’s third win of the season and seventh of his career. He had previously clinched his second career title with his second round victory over Rick Snavely.
“I’m competitive and I feel I can drive these cars as good as anybody,” said Smith, a native of King, N.C. “I handle it in bad situations. Like I told my crew chief, it isn’t all about cutting lights. You’ve got to know where you want to stage up there. You got to know when it shakes, when to pedal. That’s where I have won these two championships, being able to drive the car when the car isn’t acting right.”
Smith becomes the only Pro Mod Series driver to claim multiple championships. He began the weekend as the No. 2 qualifier, defeating Danny Rowe in the first round on Saturday night. His 5.886 at 243.15 second round victory over Snavely sealed the deal for the title. He went on to beat 2012 Pro Mod world champ Troy Coughlin in the semifinals with a 5.945 at 242.54 to Coughlin’s losing 6.116 at 241.28.
Coughlin, driver of the JEGS turbocharged Corvette, finishes second in the points for the second consecutive year. He picked up victories at Norwalk and the NHRA Carolina Nationals, giving him six career wins.
Walsh backed up his No. 1 qualifying effort with a final round appearance. He defeated Pete Farber, Kevin Rivenbark and Von Smith en route to the final.
Robby Gordon capitalized on an uncharacteristic mistake by IndyCar veteran E.J. Viso and won Saturday’s SPEED Energy Formula Off-Road Presented by TRAXXAS race at the MGM Resorts Village. The same Stadium Super Trucks will conclude their 2014 season Thursday night at the MGM Resorts Village at 8 p.m.
Gordon held off an aggressive run by TRAXXAS driver Keegan Kincaid who took a spot on an SST podium for the third consecutive race. Burt Jenner in the Gladiator/House Beer truck came home third marking the first podium finish in his SST career.
“I had my sights set on E.J. Viso and Keegan who were running great races right in front of me,” said SPEED Energy driver Gordon when asked if he saw the great racing in his rear view mirror. “E.J. was running a great race and he clipped the K-Rail there a little bit – actually he clobbered it – and we capitalized. Viso’s contact forced the LIVE driver behind the wall.
“I really can’t wait until Thursday when we run our final race here in Las Vegas. It’s going to a great night with the SEMA Show in town and all the great Las Vegas race fans here for what will be the main event. If tonight is any indication Thursday night’s racing is going to epic.”
Crandon, Wisconsin’s Kincaid, who is a second generation dirt racing expert, ran the mostly asphalt circuit like a pavement expert. “I’m getting more and more comfortable and better on asphalt and I’m learning. I can’t wait to come back Thursday and put it on top of the podium.”
Jenner celebrated his first podium finish after many near misses throughout the season.
“I’m 36 years old and since was about five years old I have waited for this,” Jenner said. “I always felt I could hang with these guys and this proves it. I have in my pocket now and you can’t take it away from me. Hopefully this is the start of good things to come.”
The race course at MGM Resorts Village made for fantastic racing with wide sweeping turns and a jump that allows the high-flying truck to cross over opposing lanes of traffic directly in the middle of the circuit. Saturday’s completion among 10 drivers was as intense as any event in 2014 and Thursday night’s races will likely follow the same pattern.
“Racing in Las Vegas is one of the coolest things we get to do all season,” series promoter and founder Gordon said. “The course we have built at MGM is amazing and next week we will make it even better and with the SEMA Show in town the crowd will be electric. Being able to race in front of the off-road community and knowledgeable Las Vegas fans is a great way for us to finish our season.
SST will begin its 2015 season at the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, Australia Feb. 27-March 1 and follow that with a full slate of races with a schedule that will be announced in the coming weeks.
The SST race from MGM in Las Vegas can be seen on NBCSN Nov. 21 at 12:30 a.m. ET and 9:30 p.m.PT and (Nov. 20).