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.
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Races in two different locations brought two different results for Scuderia Corsa this weekend.
At the Ferrari Challenge race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, Chris Ruud would score twice for Scuderia Corsa as he finished second in each day in the Coppa Shell class.
"I am glad that I was again able to podium in both Saturday and Sunday's race," said Ruud. "Especially here at my 'home' track in front of a large group of family and friends. I'm also really happy to extend my lead in the points championship at the same time. Road America is one of my favorite tracks across all of North America, and this weekend did not disappoint in that regard."
Competing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship at the Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia would be forced to retire early after sustaining damage in an incident. Starting driver Jeff Westphal passed several cars in his opening stint, but sustained damage when he was caught up in an incident involving lapped GT-Daytona class cars.
The Scuderia Corsa team worked hard to repair the damage and return Westphal to the track, but after running more laps elected to retire the car from the race. Teammate Alessandro Balzan was unable to get behind the wheel of the car.
"We knew that this weekend was going to be a bit of a struggle, but to have our race end this way is really frustrating," said Westphal. "I hate it for the team because they dug and dug all weekend to make the car much better, and with no cautions in the race it would have really suited us. All we can do now is move on and try to get it back at the next race at Indianapolis."
Scuderia Corsa's technical director, Roberto Amorosi, was torn in his emotions from the weekend.
"On one side, I'm thrilled that Chris was able to continue his great season with another weekend of success," said Amorosi. "He has done an incredible job all season, and it was quite a thrill to see him stand on the podium in front of his friends and family. John Horejsi continued his improvement in the Ferrari with each session and earned his best result of the year.
"Unfortunately, we encountered some bad luck with our IMSA team in Canada. Jeff was doing a great job and two cars in front of him started an incident that he could not avoid. It's really unfortunate also because Alessandro was unable to drive and score any points. We are already working on our no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia to come back even strong at Indy."
Scuderia Corsa will compete next at the TUDOR Championship race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24-25. The next North American Ferrari Challenge race is September 19-21 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York.
With six rounds down and six more to go, the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, made its annual stop in Maryland for the GEICO Motorcycle Budds Creek National. The 25th annual stop at the legendary facility presented the toughest weather conditions to date in 2014, providing an opportunity for some new riders to emerge at the forefront of the 250 and 450 Classes. In the end, each division's leading title contender outlasted his respective points leader to put the momentum in their favor heading into the second half of the season.
Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett each made their return to the top of the podium and earned their third consecutive victory at Budds Creek.
With a legacy highlighted by his raw, world-class speed, Team Yoshimura Suzuki's James Stewart surprisingly landed his first Oakley Bomb Award of the 2014 season at Budds Creek with a time of 1:57.748. Stewart acknowledged the challenge that lied ahead on the difficult, rutted track, but was happy to be back amongst the top riders in the 450 Class with hopes of continuing that dominance into the motos. Following Stewart's time was Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen with a time of 1:58.217, once again establishing himself at the forefront of the division.
For the sixth time in seven rounds this season, the fastest rider in the 250 Class was Valli Motorsports Yamaha's Christophe Pourcel, who held the distinction of being the only 250cc rider to break the 2:00 minute mark with a time of 1:59.331. Pourcel praised the track, referencing the good prep and the nice day that was on hand for racing. Watching his lap times on the timer mounted on his handlebars, Pourcel was able to monitor his progress and capture the Oakley Bomb Award on his last lap of qualifying. Behind him was Rockstar Energy Racing's Jason Anderson who put in a great time of 2:00.105 and parlayed that effort to earn his first career win in Moto 1.
The Motosport.com Holeshot Award is brand new to Lucas Oil Pro Motocross this season and it awards $500 to the rider who gets the holeshot of each moto - in both the 450 Class and 250 Class - at every round of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. A total of $2,000 will be up for grabs at each event between the two classes, thanks to Motosport.com.
At Budds Creek, it was a pack of Yamaha's that raced to the front of the pack and around the first turn of the opening 450 Class moto. When the gate dropped, all three Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX riders were at the forefront, with the Justin Brayton taking the Motosport.com Holeshot Award for the first time this season ahead of his teammates Josh Grant and Phil Nicoletti. However, Brayton was unable to maintain the pace of the lead pack, ultimately finishing 14th. In Moto 2, Yamahas were once again first to the turn, but Dungey found a way to sneak up the inside and got a great drive up the hill to earn his fourth Motosport.com Holeshot Award of the season. The two-time series champion never looked back, going wire-to-wire to earn his second overall victory of the season.
In the 250 Class, Pourcel got the jump off the gate, leading the pack around the first turn, but it was GEICO Honda's Justin Bogle on the inside lane who powered up the hill past Pourcel to take the Motosport.com Holeshot Award in Moto 1, ultimately finishing fourth. In Moto 2, Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha's Jeremy Martin fought hard using the inside lane to get in front of a first turn pile up that caused multiple riders to go down. Powering up the hill, Martin secured his fourth Motosport.com Holeshot Award and began to pull away from the rest of the riders. Baggett later caught Martin, who settled for second overall on the day with 2-2 results.
The RC Hard Charger Award is entering its sixth season in 2014. Named after Ricky Carmichael, the most winning motocross rider of all time, the award recognizes the one competitor at each of the 12 rounds of the championship who overtakes the highest number of his fellow racers in any of the four championship motos between the 250 and 450 Classes.The award is a testament to "The Greatest of All Time" or "The GOAT" and his never-give-up attitude over the span of a career that warranted 10 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross titles and 102 wins - two feats that will likely never be duplicated. All recipients of the RC Hard Charger Award are given a custom-designed trophy.
After getting caught up in a first turn incident caused by Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Dean Wilson put his head down in the second 250 Class moto to claw his way forward from a 37th starting spot to finish 16th, passing 21 riders along the way. Although Wilson did not go down after the first turn pileup, the bike was in need of attention from his team in the mechanics area. Wilson sat nearly one minute behind the leaders and 10 seconds back of the first rider ahead of him once he returned to action. Other honorable mentions go to Musquin, who went from 34th to 14th after his second moto crash and Soaring Eagle/RCH Racing Suzuki's Ivan Tedesco, who came from dead last in the first 450 Class moto to go from 38th to 19th. Additionally, privateer Chris Proscelle was impressive, climbing from 39th to 20th in the second 450 Class moto.
Hosting the annual Summer Nationals with the International Hot Rod Association's professional drag racing series from 1997-2002, Cordova Dragway Park, famous for its incredible fan and racer hospitality and blazing fast track, produced one of the premier, must-see events on the IHRA schedule. Now, after a 12 year wait, the IHRA is finally back in the Quad Cities.
The facility, located on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, will host the IHRA's biggest summer spectacular as the Summer Nationals return to Illinois for three full days of drag racing action capped off with the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series professional competition July 18-19.
Featuring one of the biggest nostalgia Nitro Funny Car races in the country, plus action in Nitro Harley, Nitro Altered, Pro Stock, Jet Dragster and more, fans will be in for a treat when the IHRA returns to Cordova Dragway Park for a massive celebration of all things drag racing.
"Having this event back at Cordova Dragway Park is a big win for the racers, fans and businesses in the Quad Cities area. It has been more than a decade since the IHRA last raced at Cordova Dragway Park and I am thrilled to be able to bring this unique and exciting event back to Cordova," said Scott Gardner, President of IHRA Motorsports and former manager of Cordova Dragway Park. "This event, coupled with an already stellar lineup of great racing events held throughout the year, will only help elevate the tracks reputation as a leader in providing world class motorsports entertainment in the Quad Cities region."
Race fans will enjoy over two dozen nitro-powered race machines when IHRA returns to Cordova Dragway Park as the track hosts competition in Nitro Funny Car, Nitro Harley and Nitro Altered, plus racing in the powerful mountain-motor Pro Stock division, the world's only Jet Dragster class, a full weekend of sportsman racing with the Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour and more.
And this year, every lap matters as the stars of the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series push their machines to the limit in their chase for the 2014 IHRA World Championships. Already this season, IHRA fans have witnessed multiple records in three professional classes shattered by the intense competition.
Among the record-setting performances in 2014 have been great showings from IHRA's Nitro Funny Car class, made even bigger at the Summer Nationals as Cordova hosts one of the biggest Nitro Funny Car races of the year.
IHRA's only completely open field will welcome more than a dozen of the fastest Funny Cars in the world trying to make an eight-car field and take home one of the most coveted trophies of the year.
"While all of the classes present something unique and exciting, there is no denying the star power of the Nitro Funny Car class at Cordova," Gardner said. "We are going to have the world's best in nostalgia Funny Car racing gathered in one spot competing for, what I believe, will be one of the most sought after wins in the history of this class."
California native Jason Rupert currently leads the IHRA Nitro Funny Car championship standings in the Bays and Rupert "Black Plague" '69 Camaro coming off of four Nitro Jam victories in the first six races and a brand new elapsed time record set in North Carolina earlier this year. Rupert will be joined by fellow 2014 Ironman winners John Hale in the "Mike Burkhart" tribute Camaro and Mike McIntire Jr. in "McAttack" Camaro, along with former Cordova finalists in Top Fuel from the early years in Bruce Litton and Paul Romine, both of which will be entered in Funny Car at the Summer Nationals.
Other drivers scheduled to compete in the Clash at Cordova include "Mr. Explosive" Mark Sanders, Tim Boychuk in "Forever Forward," Ronny Young in the world famous "Blue Max," Mike Halstead in "Candies & Hughes," Marc White in "Flashback," Shawn Bowen in "Violator," Bazz Young in "Down Under Thunder" and more.
The event promises to be one of the biggest nostalgia Nitro Funny Car races ever held with six nostalgia champions represented in the field. The race will feature former champions Hale, a two-time DRO champion, three-time NHRA Heritage Series champion Rupert, two-time DRO champion Romine, former Nitro Jam champion Steve Nichols and 2013 DRO champion Bowen.
Also making history in Cordova will be the debut of the world's only Jet Dragster championship program being contested by the four fastest women in drag racing - the Larsen Motorsports jet team. This four-car team is made up of four very talented female competitors with vastly different backgrounds. From a 19-year-old college student, to a female test pilot and an entrepreneur who holds the operation together, the team will compete in 300 mph, side-by-side jet-powered drag racing action.
IHRA's other nitro divisions will include Nitro Harley and Nitro Altered, two radical and extreme classes that are among the most popular in the world for their death-defying competition.
Iconic racer and previous Cordova finalist Jay Turner leads the 220 mph nitro-powered motorcycle class, joining points leader Randal Andras, Canadian Mike Scott, Mark Cox and more. Nitro Altered, another extreme class once banned from organized competition due to the extreme danger behind the wheel, will include Arizona native Ron Maroney in "Blind Faith," Las Vegas native and third generation racer Kyle Hough in "Nanook, the popular "Arizona Thunder" driven by Mike Hilsabeck, "Bullet Bob" driven by Don Blackshear, Ron Hope in "Rat Trap" and more.
Among the special attraction's at this year's event will be a once-in-a-lifetime fire burnout, just like the ones done in drag racing's glory days, performed by one of the sport's all-time greats in Hope.
Wrapping up the professional competition will be the thunderous Mountain Motor Pro Stock division. With powerful 800+ cubic inch powerplants guiding these cars more than 220 mph down the quarter-mile, the intense competition between the Black Diamond Motorsports team, consisting of Kevin Bealko and John DeFlorian, and the Goforth Racing Team, made up of Cary Goforth, Dean Goforth and Todd Hoerner, will resume, alongside former IHRA champion Pete Berner, two-time event winner this season John Konigshofer and more.
In addition to all of the on-track action, the 2014 IHRA Summer Nationals will feature an all-new and fully interactive Fan Fest pit experience. Fans can tour the pits, meet the drivers and take part in a number of fun family activities including the Larsen Motorsports Jet Technology Center, a hands-on look at the design and technology behind a jet-powered racing team, and the Hollywood Cars of the Stars featuring real cars from famous movies and television shows such as the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard, the DeLorean from Back to the Future, the Batmobile from the 1960s Batman television series and more.
In addition to the professional action, the Summer Nationals will also include two full days of sportsman racing competing on the IHRA's Summit Racing Equipment Pro-Am Tour presented by AMSOIL. Racing for that series will take place Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets to the 2014 IHRA Summer Nationals can be purchased in advance at www.nitrojam.com or at the gate day of show.
Showtime is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information on the 2014 IHRA Summer Nationals, visit www.nitrojam.com or call Cordova Dragway Park at (309) 654-2110.
SERKET Racing driver Mark Llano picked up the first two podium finishes of his career in Rounds 9 and 10 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
"It has been an unbelievable weekend," Llano said. "I was very excited to get my first podium, let alone add another one in the same weekend, especially at such a tough track like this."
It was Llano's second trip to the historic, fast and challenging track.
"One of my teammates last season described this track as a monkey with a knife," Llano said. "You have to expect the unexpected and be focused every turn of every lap."
The first podium for SERKET Racing came in Round 9 Friday, July 11. After a rough qualifying in the backup car which saw him start 25th overall, former Marine Llano put down consistent laps to make his way through the field. He climbed as high as second in the Gold Masters class before finishing the race in third position.
"It was an unbelievable race," Llano said. "It was tight racing, but it was just incredible. I was able to stay out of some of the trouble other drivers got caught in. NGT and the crew gave me an incredible car, as well. I can't thank them enough."
Llano used the same strategy during the second race Saturday, July 12. After a solid start, he drove his way through the field to gain eight spots to gain his second podium finish and the Yokohama Hard Charger Award, which is given to the driver who gains the most spots from the green flag to the checkered flag.
"It was a great morning and an amazing weekend," Llano said. "The competition is just insane. The car setup was perfect, and the Yokohama tires were just like glue on the track. The more I pushed, the more the tires seemed to grip the track.
"I also have to thank all the fans that came out to support us. I saw a bunch of veterans outside of Turn 5 who had an American flag. They would put it in the air every time we passed by. That just gave me more motivation. I'm very thankful for the series and for all those involved."
SERKET Racing will be back on track Aug. 9-10 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Earlier this month , the Key West City Commission reached a unanimous agreement to keep Super Boat International, the largest sanctioning body of professional offshore powerboat racing in North America, in Key West for a minimum of the next 5 years. In the agreement, the city would be responsible for about 55 percent of costs for security, police, emergency personnel, cleanup and other services. SBI would reimburse the city for the remaining 45 percent
“The city of Key West has committed to work with us to keep SBI and offshore racing here for at least the next 5 years," commented President of SBI, John Carbonell. "The economic impact is very significant for our community here and I’m proud to see how everyone is working together.”
"We're going to begin construction on that park [at the Truman Waterfront where the race boats are staged] and they wanted to make sure that we would accommodate them," added Current Mayor of Key West, Craig Cates. "We want them back, and we will make the accommodations they need.”
"If you look at the statistics, there are two large events in Key West, one being the Super Boat World Championship. We bring in, documented, over $30 million from this event, which, if you add in the taxes and revenue that's brought in, it's huge, “ comments Larry Bleil, president of the Conch Republic Powerboat Racing Association.
Carbonell and his entire team are already working hard in preparation for the upcoming 34th Annual Key West World Championship Event this November 2nd – 9th.
Christina Nielsen completed the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park weekend with a podium finish and respectable consistency in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. The young woman from Aarhus, Denmark, steered clear of on-track incidents Friday, July 12 to take third in Round 9, the first of two 45-minute sprint sessions for the series.
Nielsen, who qualified fifth, fought off competitors through the race and capitalized on the incident that took place between two competitors ahead of her. Once in the third position, she made her charge to the front, turning consistently quick laps. But with the clock running out, she was unable to gain position.
"It's nice to be at the top and to show that we are competitive," Nielsen said of the first race. "We struggled a little bit in the race. But we didn't make any major mistakes during the race, and that is why we ended where we were. Basically, it's nice to see that we are getting pretty close to having all of the boys behind us."
Keeping her consistency in Round 10 on Saturday, July 13, Nielsen ran a clean race with ease. Nielsen focused on putting her previous experience here in a Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada race in May to good use, finishing just off the podium in fifth.
"It is very normal that drivers go faster when they have been away from a track and come back," Nielsen said. "So it was great to keep that rhythm and show people that we are a part of the top. Our lap times were very consistent, and we showed a good speed."
Looking ahead, Nielsen will pull double-duty for the remainder of the race season with European Le Mans Series team IMSA Performance. The team has no ties to the International Motor Sports Association, which sanctions the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.
Nielsen will join Nicolas Armindo, her former teammate for the 2013 Petit Le Mans with NGT Motorsport. She replaces driver David Halliday for the final three races of the season in the Matmut Porsche RSR.
"Very excited to be back in Europe to race since it will be my first race this year in Europe," Nielsen said. "It will be my first time in the RSR, so there will be a lot to catch up on, but I am looking forward to it."
Nielsen's next Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama race will be Aug. 9-10 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Her first race with the European Le Mans Series is July 19-20 at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.
As teams, drivers, media and fans are all ready to tackle the third round of the 2014 European Le Mans Series this weekend at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Austria, it's a good opportunity to look at the championship standings in each category at the mid-season point.
In LMP2, the top class of the series, the battle is on between Thiriet by TDS Racing, which currently leads, ahead of JOTA Sport and Signatech Alpine, the three LMP2 podium finishers at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Twelve points separate the Montpellier-based team and its drivers Ludovic Badey, Pierre Thiriet and Tristan Gommendy (35pts) from the Britons from Kent, JOTA Sport (Simon Dolan, Harry Tincknell and Filipe Albuquerque - 27 pts), while Paul-Loup Chatin, Oliver Webb and Nelson Panciatici's 25 points place the Signatech Alpine drivers and their car in third place overall. All tied on 24 points behind the top three are the Swiss team, Race Performance, and its drivers Franck Mailleux and Michel Frey, together with Sébastien Loeb Racing (Jan Charouz/Vincent Capillaire) and Greaves Motorsport (Matt McMurry/Tom Kimber-Smith).
The No.43 Morgan Judd of Swiss team NewBlood by Morand Racing is in 7th place with 15 points for the car and its drivers Gary Hirsch (CH), Romain Brandela (FR) and Christian Klien (AUT), but with a home race ahead for the Austrian, the team is hoping to move up the order.
The second Greaves Motorsport entry, the No.28 Zytek Z11SN, and Pegasus Racing's Morgan Nissan have eight points each (8th and 9th), and are ahead of the Murphy Prototypes ORECA 03 Nissan (10th) and the No.50 Larbre Compétition Morgan Judd (11th).
In LMGTE, the Russian SMP Racing team has the lead thanks to second place at Silverstone and victory in Italy. Together with its drivers Andrea Bertolini, Sergey Zlobin and Viktor Shaitar, it has 44 points on the board, 13 more than the No.55 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia of Duncan Cameron and Matt Griffin (31 pts each) and Michele Rugolo (25 pts). Third in LMGTE is JMW Motorsport and drivers Daniel Zampieri, George Richardson and Daniel McKenzie who all have 25 points. Austrian entry AT Racing (No.56 F458 Italia - 4th) will be racing in front of a home crowd at the end of this week, and Alexander Talkanitsa Sr and Jr and Pierre Kaffer are currently 5th in the driver standings with 24 points.
At IMSA Performance Matmut, its two Porsche 911 GT3 RSRs (Nos.76 and 67) are respectively placed 5th and 13th in the standings, while Frenchmen Raymond Narac, Nicolas Armindo and David Hallyday have amassed 23 points (6th). Erik Maris, Jean-Marc Merlin and Eric Hélary are in 15th place in the LMGTE drivers table with one point each. The No.81 Ferrari 458 of Kessel Racing is 6th with 19.5 points - as are its drivers Matteo Cressoni and Thomas Kemenater (7th) - while the No.80 sister car is 12th.
Team Sofrev ASP holds 7th in the tables (Fabien Barthez/Anthony Pons/Soheil Ayari - 8th in the driver standings) with 16 points and the two AF Corse Ferraris, Nos.54 and 65 are 8th and 14th, while the No.86 Porsche of Gulf Racing UK is holding 9th place with six points. The British team's Aston Martin Vantage is 11th with 2.5 points, and the No.82 Porsche of Crubilé Sport is 10th.
Of the 16 cars entered in the GTC class of the 2014 ELMS, it is the No.60 Formula Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 and its drivers Johnny Laursen and Mikkel Mac which lead the class with 41 points. Jan Magnussen, the third Dane in the line-up, didn't take part in the Italian round and therefore is in 7th place with 15 points but he will be back in Austria. Anton Ladygin, Olivier Beretta and David Markozov have 36 points after two appearances with the No.73 SMP Racing F458 GT3. The other two SMP Ferrari Racing entries, Nos.71 and 57 are 5th and 14th. Team Ukraine (Alessandro Pier Guidi/Andriy Kruglyk/Sergii Chukanov) is 3rd in the class with 25 points.
The two McLaren MP4 12C GT3s (Nos.99 and 98) of the French ART Grand Prix team are respectively 4th and 8th , with their drivers 5th on 22 points (Alex Brundle/ Karim Ajlani/Ricardo Gonzalez) and 10th with 10 points (Grégoire Demoustier/Kevin Korjus/ Yann Goudy). The 14 points on the board of the sole BMW Z4 on the grid puts the No.78 in 6th place in the GTC Teams' standings, ahead of the No.59 F458 GT3 of French team Sofrev-ASP (10.5 pts). AF Corse has three entries from the Prancing Horse marque, and they are 9th (No.63), 15th (No.62) and 16th (No.95). The Audi R8 LMS Ultra of Sébastien Loeb Racing didn't run at Silverstone so they are on just 8 points (10th), while the No.93 Porsche of Pro GT by Almeras and the No.75 of ProSpeed Competition are 12th and 13th .
The full classifications for Teams and Drivers following the second round in Imola can be found HERE.
The 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring is this weekend on the Austrian circuit in the Styrian mountains. The first ELMS free practice session will take place at 10h30 on Saturday, 19th July followed by qualifying for the Auto GP Championship. The second free practice session will begin at 15h00 while, on Sunday, ELMS competitors will be qualifying at 9h30 (LMGTE and GTC) and 10h00 for LMP2. The start of the 4 Hours of Red Bull Ring will be given at 14h00.
Three-time AMA Pro SuperBike champion Josh Hayes took another major step toward updating that descriptor to 'four-time' on Sunday afternoon at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as he closed out the GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round with a convincing victory, his fourth in a row.
The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha ace, racing on the No. 4 Yamaha R1, moved past the holeshooting Martin Cardenas on the 23-lap race's opening circulation. The contest was pretty much decided at that point, save for 18 more precision laps executed at breakaway speed. The race was red flagged and called official with 19 laps complete due to a crash by rider Marcel Irnie.
Hayes' biggest challenge figured to come from rookie teammate Cameron Beaubier, who opened the race from the front of the grid after claiming his second pole position of the 2014 season on Saturday. However, the 21-year-old failed to capitalize on his prime starting position at launch and was shuffled back to fourth, corralled behind Cardenas and his Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing teammate, Roger Hayden, while Hayes eked out a gap in front.
Beaubier found his way into third on lap 4 and then moved into second on the following circuit, but by then he already trailed Hayes by more than two seconds.
Beaubier demonstrated similar pace at that point but was unable to make significant progress whittling away at the gap, and the consistent 39-year-old eventually wore him down.
Hayes boasted a commanding multi-second advantage with just three laps remaining when the race was red flagged and ultimately called complete. The win is the 46th of Hayes' remarkable career and his fourth in succession, both on the season and at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
As a result, Hayes now leads the title chase with more than a full race's points allotment in hand and only four contests left in play. Two of those races will take place next weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and it's not inconceivable that he could lock up the crown as early as Sunday.
"What a beautiful day," said Hayes after claiming his fifth win of the season. "I can promise you it's never as easy as it looks. The last few laps I was actually having a pretty hard time. I was just trying to stay focused which can be pretty hard to do when you're riding by yourself. Cameron had a little carrot out there in front of him. I didn't have much to look at. I was more running like a scared rabbit, looking at the pit board. It's a little bit of a different game."
Beaubier was credited with second while Hayden, who passed Cardenas while working lap 7, came in third. With his runner-up result, Beaubier now moves into second in the points as well, 40 back of Hayes (175-135), and one up on Hayden in third.
"I think I rode OK," said Beaubier. "I got a pretty rough start and was behind Rog and Martin and was able to pass them. But by that time Josh already had a second or two. I put my head down and started clicking off the laps. Overall, I'm pretty happy to get out of here with second place, especially after the weekend I had at Barber, throwing a couple bikes down the road. It's good to get some confidence back heading to Mid-Ohio."
Hayden was hoping for a little more than third, but was happy with his day overall.
"I got a decent start but the first couple of laps I was having trouble getting by Martin," said Hayden. "Then Cam got by me and he got Martin. Finally, I got by Martin and I was trying to catch Cam in the middle of the race. I was starting to make inroads but the last couple of laps I was starting to make a couple mistakes because I was pushing pretty hard. That was pretty much it. It was a pretty good ride for me - Barber didn't go very good so I feel like this was a bit of a rebound."
Once it settled in, the race took on a processional shape with more than a second's worth of padding separating every rider in the top ten - most of those gaps near the ten-second range.
KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore finished in fifth behind Cardenas, while ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony suffered his first finish outside the top five all season long in sixth.
Team AMSOIL Hero EBR's Cory West and Proto-Tech Spain Yamaha's Bernat Martinez took seventh and eighth, respectively, while third Yoshimura pilot Chris Clark and Porter Racing Kawasaki's Sebastiao Ferreira completed the top ten.
Hayes will now take his mammoth championship lead and all the momentum across the country into the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend in just a few days' time.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Jake Lewis won his first AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday. The 18 year-old started strong and won a difficult but decisive victory on his Motosport.com/Meen Yamaha entry in the 20-lap final.
"It's just a huge weight off my shoulders," said Lewis. "It's been an up-and-down year. Last year, I was close to winning and this year I've been close to winning, so it's just a huge weight off my shoulders to get the first win. Qualifying fifth - I was a little bit disappointed with that, but I knew it was going to be a heck of a race. I was sitting on the grid thinking, 'I'm going to win this race,' because last year I was so close to winning. I got off to a good start, went into the lead in Turn 2 and never looked back. That's been my weakness throughout my career - looking back - so I just put my head down and stayed focused and clicked off lap after lap and got into a good rhythm and brought home the win.
Lewis beat second place finisher JD Beach on the Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha machine, making it three runner-up finishes this year for Beach.
"Jake was riding great and he got his first win," said Beach. "I was really wanting that win, but it was a really good race. Hopefully, next weekend we can put something together. I have one of the best bikes out there so all I need to do is get a little bit better of a start and do fast laps and hopefully we can get the win."
The battle for third was a war between Danny Eslick and Jake Gagne, two previous race winners this season. Eslick and Riders Discount Racing Triumph beat Gagne and RoadRace Factory/Red Bull by defending passing attempt after passing attempt over the final three laps.
"Being up here on the podium is huge," said Eslick. "Obviously, I had the big win at Daytona and that's been the top of the year for me. But all I could think about were the races I've been losing since Daytona and not being on the podium. Yeah, Daytona was awesome but I want to be up here week-in and week-out with these guys. It's just huge for the Riders Discount team and Attack Performance. ... It's just good to be up here on the podium."
Gagne was third before losing ground when the leaders hit traffic. By the time he could regroup, Eslick had made his way past.
"We had a great battle but I couldn't make a pass stick," said Gagne.
Dane Westby and Yamalube/Westby Racing snatched back fifth from Beach's teammate Garrett Gerloff. Westby regained the spot with two laps left to finish in front of the factory rider.
Polesitter Jason DiSalvo tagged onto Westby early, but lost further ground after Gerloff came by. DiSalvo finished the contest a shade over 21 seconds back, but ahead of Blake Young (GN Gonzalez Racing) and Jake Zemke (GEICO Motorcycle Racing). Benny Solis rounded out the top ten.
Kaleb De Keyrel was the top AMA Pro SuperSport regular in the race, taking 17th spot on his De Keyrel Racing entry.
AMA Pro Road Racing will be back in action next weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio for the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend on July 19-20.
About AMA Pro Road Racing
AMA Pro Road Racing is the premier motorcycle road racing series in North America and is universally regarded as one of the most competitive road racing organizations in the world. The series is comprised of four production-based classes: AMA Pro SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Learn more about AMA Pro Road Racing at www.amaproracing.com/rr/.
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.
For additional information contact:
(AMA Pro Racing Communications)
Motorcycle and road racing fans soaked in the action under sunny skies at the eni FIM Superbike World Championship, GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend. The international racing series’ only U.S. stop attracted 49,408 people, which is 20 percent more than last year’s crowd of 41,175.
And what a show the fans saw. Tom Sykes of Kawasaki Racing Team thrilled Saturday crowds by scorching the track and setting a new World Superbike Championship track record of 1’21.811. Sykes’ time was .582 seconds shy of the 1’21.229 track record set in 2012 by MotoGP Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa.
Two Tissot Superpole battles on Saturday and two races on Sunday provided fans with plenty of World Superbike action. After 25 thrilling laps, Italian Marco Melandri of Aprilia Racing Team won the opening race of the day ahead of Aprilia teammate Sylvain Guintolo of France. Reigning world champion Britain’s Tom Sykes of the Kawasaki Racing Team took the third podium spot.
Race two on Sunday featured two restarts, daring passes, several crashes that brought out red flags and a stunning finish that carried Tom Sykes across in first. Second went to Guintolo and third to Britain’s Jonathan Rea of Pata Honda World Superbike.
“The World Superbike fan experience is one of the best in motorsports,” said Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “Riders are accessible and press conferences open to the public, which attracted enormous crowds, and the overall atmosphere is filled with equal parts racing and entertainment.”
The AMA Pro Road Racing was compelling over the three days and featured the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona Sportbike, AMA Pro Superbike and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Each race had numerous lead changes and hard-fought battles for the lead.
Adding to the weekend’s appeal was the Marketplace that featured scores of vendors, motorcycle manufacturer displays, autograph sessions and an off-road driving course. Saturday evening was capped off with the Kawasaki Ninja Nights Fan Party.
It was a celebratory homecoming for Kawasaki, not only for Sykes’ victory, but for the world debut of the Kawasaki Ninja 30th anniversary edition. Kawasaki first introduced the Ninja at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 1984 and returned to commemorate the occasion to the delight of Kawasaki owners.
“The weekend attracted an international audience to the Monterey Peninsula who filled hotels, restaurants, purchased goods and supplies in our stores, and experienced the true charm of our coastal community,” added Campbell. “Then when you add in millions of television viewers who devoutly tune in for each race, the amount of exposure Monterey received is invaluable.”
The next event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, August 14-17. This world-renowned historic car race features 550 authentic and period-correct race cars that span nearly every era of motorsports.
Extreme Speed Motorsports was confident heading into Sunday’s Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). Following second- and fourth-place qualifying efforts on a track that showed some favoritism to the Tequila Patrón prototype machines, ESM’s day came to an abrupt end following electrical and exhaust system issues in the two-hour, 45-minute race.
Both the No. 1 and No. 2 Tequila Patrón Honda Performance Development ARX-03b (HPD) racing machines were unable to finish the race but ranked seventh and eighth on the unofficial scoring sheets in the sixth round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Scott Sharp started from the outside pole in the No. 1 machine. He shuffled back to fifth in the opening laps but found a steady pace in the third position. Sharp advanced to second place before the scheduled pit stop and driver change to Ryan Dalziel on Lap 38.
In standard Dalziel-style, he set a pace and began catching and passing the competition. Dalziel reached third position and pitted once as scheduled. On Lap 85, as he was coming out of Turn 5b, he felt a drop in power. Dalziel pitted and the team removed the engine cover and determined the car needed to be taken to the paddock. Upon further inspection, there was an issue with the exhaust system and the No. 1 team was forced to retire from the race.
Ed Brown started strong in the race for the No. 2 Tequila Patrón HPD. From the fourth spot on the grid, Brown fought to maintain his position. On Lap 7, Brown overdrove in Turn 5b and spun. He was able to regain his composure and the car, and return to the race in ninth position.
Near the end of his stint, Brown was behind position-battling GT competitor cars that tangled in Turn 3. With nowhere to go, Brown made contact with one of the race cars and caused some minor damage to the left front. He was able to complete his stint and pit on Lap 41 for the scheduled driver change.
Johannes van Overbeek started his stint from the eighth position. He was running seventh and radioed the crew about having an electrical issue. By the time he pitted, smoke filled the cockpit and the team began full inspection on the race car. There was a small electrical fire which caused damage to the battery. The team repaired the damage and sent van Overbeek back on track.
Only able to complete a few more laps, van Overbeek pitted again and the team re-evaluated the race car. With less than 30 minutes in the race, the No. 2 Tequila Patrón HPD retired from the race.
“We’ll take what we learned here to Indy and hope our luck swings the opposite way there," stated Ed Brown.
Next up for Extreme Speed Motorsports is the Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 24-25.