Racing News (11518)
Racing News from around the World
The first session of the 2020 Drivers Recruitment Program took place at the NWES test track at Fontenay Le Comte, France on November 7-8. In two days of testing, 13 drivers coming from 7 different countries took the wheel of a Euro NASCAR car: Zach Banks, Tobias Dauenhauer, Marcel Lenerz, Liroy Stuart, Antoine Sansone, Pim and Lorenzo Van Riet, Patrick Gaillard father and son, Deo Alves, Francesco Garisto, Luigi Ferrara, and Charles Lacarre.
The drivers selected came to the French test with the most diverse background, from karting and touring cars to GT racing and Formula 1. They worked under the guidance of the NWES organization and 2010 Champion Lucas Lasserre and had the opportunity to meet NASCAR Whelen Euro Series President-CEO Jerome Galpin after completing several runs both in wet and dry conditions. The best drivers among those taking part in the NWES Drivers Recruitment Program will receive financial support for their 2020 season in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series.
Both 21-year-old GT driver Tobias Dauenhauer and Marcel Lenerz, who made his GT racing debut in 2019 were enthusiastic about the opportunity to drive the NWES cars.
“It was just amazing, the V8 sound is fantastic and the car is so much fun, it’s pure racing. I love the fact you have no electronic aids, so it’s the driver who makes the difference. All my runs were in wet conditions, I had to be very smooth with the throttle, but I had a lot of fun. I would really like to join the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, I think it’s a great opportunity and an ideal step for young drivers to become professionals. I want to thank NWES, Wolfgang Koepp, Hendriks Motorsport and Toine Hezemans for giving me this opportunity, it was a wonderful experience,” said Dauenhauer.
“It was really impressive and cool, it’s pure race driving, with no electronic filters between you and the car and the sound is just impressive. It was also my first time on a race car with an H-pattern gearbox and was really funny, even in the wet. My goal is definitely to race in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series next year,” added Lenerz.
The Recruitment Days saw both very young talents and experienced veterans take the track on the powerful V8 Euro NASCAR cars.
“I found myself immediately at ease with the car. You have to drive it in a very clean and craft your driving technique. It’s very easy to perceive where the limit is, but I think it will take a lot of effort to constantly drive around that limit,” declared 17-year-old Francesco Garisto, who drove in Formula 4 and GT in his young career. “I don’t even have a driving license, so this was my first time with an H-pattern gearbox and it was a lot of fun! My goal is definitely to be on the grid in 2020. There is still a lot to do but that’s my goal for next year.”
“It was the first time for me on a race car since 1985 and I have to say I really enjoyed myself, it was a fantastic experience. The car is so pure and clear, it’s just you and your right foot on the throttle, a steering wheel, an engine and a gearbox. It’s up to you to find the right feeling. It is such a great car to drive,” concluded former Formula 1 driver Patrick Gaillard. “The whole team was very friendly and the atmosphere in the pit box was so relaxed. As I said, I really enjoyed myself and I want to thank the NWES organization for this opportunity. I’ll do my best to be on the grid in 2020.”
The next Drivers Recruitment Days will take place in France at the NWES test track at Fontenay Le Comte on December 12-13.
One lucky driver at California’s Madera Speedway will once again be the recipient of a Premier Marketing Package courtesy of McCallister Precision Marketing during the track’s annual banquet on Nov. 16.
Andretti Technologies, the advanced technology arm of Andretti Autosport, has expanded its portfolio in announcing today a partnership with NTT IndyCar Series competitors Meyer Shank Racing to provide engineering and development support through the 2020 season.
As part of the new relationship, the Meyer Shank Racing engineering team for driver Jack Harvey and the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Honda will be staffed by veteran race engineers with Andretti Autosport experience. The team will receive technical and development support and will work alongside the five full-season Andretti entries.
Founded in late 2014, Andretti Technologies was the powertrain provider for the Andretti Formula E program for Seasons 3 and 4. The technical organization led by Michael Andretti entered into a similar partnership with Harding Steinbrenner Racing for the 2019 NTT IndyCar season, the first of a number of initiatives to establish Andretti Technologies as a service provider within motorsports and beyond.
Competitors in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires – the top rung of the world-renowned Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires driver development ladder system – will turn their attention to the Sunshine State in just over a month’s time for a two-day Series Open Test at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Fla., on December 11 and 12.
Sebring has long been a popular off-season locale for teams, being renowned as the best portrayal of a street circuit – which typically offers precious little track time – and will be extremely relevant heading into the 2020 calendar opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.
“There’s no better place to get ready for St. Pete and Toronto than Sebring,” said reigning Indy Lights champion Oliver Askew. “St. Pete is smoother than Toronto, which is as bumpy as Sebring if not bumpier, but it’s the low-grip factor that makes it such a relevant testing ground. Sebring also has a good mix of both high and low speed corners and heavy braking zones – it’s in the top-five tracks in terms of braking force.
“It’s hard to simulate the kind of walls you encounter on a street course, but Sebring has a few corners where, if you’re an inch off the line, it can bite you. It’s dusty and it gets really hot during the middle of the day, so track temps and lap times change quite a bit. It’s a good place to work on street course setups, to test in hot weather and get used to those conditions, and to gel with the team early in the testing season.”
The 1.8-mile, 11-turn Sebring Club Course will play host to a field that will include the debut of Exclusive Autosport, race winners in both the Indy Pro 2000 Series Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, which will now compete on all three levels. The team announced its intent to enter two cars in 2020 at the season finale in September.
HMD Motorsports is looking to expand from a two-car team to a three and possibly four-car squad for 2020 and already has the third car in their possession. The team was no stranger to podium results in 2019, guiding English rookie Toby Sowery to his first career win and third place in the championship, and fellow rookie David Malukas, of Chicago, Ill., to a pair of podium results.
Indy Lights stalwarts Andretti Autosport, Belardi Auto Racing and Juncos Racing are expected to return to the track with a full complement of drivers, and the potential for another new team entry to the Indy Lights paddock is in the works.
“A lot of teams head to Sebring for winter testing, and to this year make it an official series’ two-day test benefits all of our teams as well as new drivers looking at the series,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “We have high expectations for an increased field size next season, although 2019 produced some outstanding competition, and we will be closely following our two most recent champions – Oliver Askew and Patricio O’Ward – as they make their full season NTT IndyCar Series debuts.
“We’ve had some exciting announcements of late including the introduction of the CFP [Cockpit Frontal Protection] device, new series partner Bell Helmets, the creation of the Construction Contractors Club and the return of Hi-Tide Boat Lifts and the rewarding Kids On Track program. We have additional news in the pipeline as we look to make 2020 one of our best seasons yet for the Road to Indy.”
Competitors on the Road to Indy will be vying for an increased prize package in 2020 with over $2.7M on deck in race and season-ending prizes and awards including an Indy Lights scholarship package valued at $1M for entry into three IndyCar races in 2021, including the 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500.
The cones have all been picked up and packed away for the 2019 Tire Rack SCCA® Solo® season, which means it’s time to name this year’s Solo Triad winners!
There are two ways to claim a Solo Triad award. The first is for competitors to win one Tire Rack Championship Tour event, one Tire Rack Match Tour date and a Tire Rack Solo National Championship all in the same class. The other option is for drivers to claim two Tire Rack Championship Tour wins and a Tire Rack Solo National Championship, also all in the same class. Although events with fewer than three competitors within a class were not counted, ladies were given the opportunity for a qualifying win through the Ladies Index.
The 2019 Solo Triad winners are as follows:
- Josh Luster; Charlotte, NC; Washington DC Region; A Street
- David Marcus; Windermere, FL; Florida Region; B Street
- Mike Leeder; Madison, WI; Milwaukee Region; D Street
- Philip Mitchell; White Lake, MI; Detroit Region; H Street
- Jennifer Bedell; Hillsborough, NC; North Carolina Region; Solo Spec Coupe Ladies
- Grant Reeve; Sturbridge, MA; New England Region; Super Street R
- Alex Piehl; Pittsburgh, PA; Allegheny Highlands Region; Street Touring Hatch
- Brian Karwan; Frederick, MD; Washington DC Region; Street Touring Roadster
Solo Triad winners receive a special trophy and their names are entered into a drawing, conducted at the following year’s Tire Rack Solo Nationals, for one free SCCA Lifetime Membership. The name selected this year from 2018 Solo Triad winners was that of Tara Johns.
Additionally, both Formula Junior A racer Mason Herrick, of McPherson, Kansas, and Formula Junior B racer Olivia Hammac, of Cape Canaveral, Florida, earned the McClintock-Berry Award. Mason for his wins at Tire Rack Championship Tour events in Mineral Wells, Texas and Lincoln, Nebraska, and Olivia for her wins at Tire Rack Match and Championship Tours in Bristol, Connecticut, with both claiming an in-class victory at the Tire Rack Solo National Championship.
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.
Photo: Clockwise from upper left: John Luster, Alex Piehl, Brian Karwan, Grant Reeve, Philip Mitchell, Mike Leeder, Jennifer Bedell, David Marcus. Mason Herrick (center left) and Olivia Hammac (center right).
Photo Credit: Rupert Berrington
The third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship started on high notes for the Cool Racing Team. They arrived in China with a strong determination, Alexandre Coigny and Antonin Borga knew from the start that they would need some time to discover the track that they had only tested on simulator. But thanks to Nicolas Lapierre's great experience and strong advises, both Swiss drivers adapted quick to the new circuit.
In both Free Practice 1 & 2, ORECA #42 set the overall best LMP2 laps.
The drivers continued to work hard on the track during third Free Practice on Saturday morning before heading to the Qualification in the afternoon. One that will stay in every team member's mind for the a long time.
As usual, Nicolas and Antonin shared the qualifying duty in Shanghai, and while Nico set a fantastic 1:48.089 chrono - which is also the overall best LMP2 lap time on this circuit - Antonin did not relax and put all his energy into this qualifying. In the end, with a very good 1:49.210 lap time from Antonin, meaning a 1:48.649 average qualifying chrono, our drivers took their first WEC pole position, while it's only their third race in the world championship.
ANA42 took the start from third row (6th overall and 1st LMP2). Antonin brilliantly managed not only to keep his position in the first lap, but also to not make any mistake while in the middle of the field, until #37 DC Racing passed him to take the lead in the category. Behind him and hunted down by #36 Signatech Alpine (A. Negrao) and the second DC Racing of A. Davidson, Antonin did not leave anything to chance, fighting hard. An electrical problem ended prematurely the race of the team. ANA42 does not score any points in Shanghai, as it did not meet the chequered flag.
Williamson’s runner-up finish to Decker in Can-Am World Finals clinches Canadian’s first Super DIRTcar Series championship10 Nov 2019 Written by Speedway Digest Staff
The entire 2019 Super DIRTcar Series season came down to Saturday night’s Can-Am World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. Seven-time champion Matt Sheppard was on the pole opposite the hottest driver on the tour, Mat Williamson, who was seeking his first crown.
Williamson had a slight 18-point advantage in the title bout, leaving him almost no room for error.
After letting Billy Decker power past both of them, Sheppard and Williamson battled side-by-side and when the crimson Carolina clay settled, Williamson was second behind Decker — two spots ahead of Sheppard — to become the first Canadian driver in history to win the Super DIRTcar Series Championship.
Gypsum Racing’s Decker bookended his Super DIRTcar Series season with trips to Victory Lane in the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park and Saturday night’s win in the season finale. Michael Maresca, a 24-year-old Pierrepont, NY driver, made an impressive run to third.
Williamson, his family racing operation, and the Buzz Chew No. 88 combined to put together one of the greatest seasons of Big Block Modified racing ever. His season started out with strong runs and consistent finishes, but he ended it with a NAPA Super DIRT Week Billy Whittaker Cars 200 Championship and the overall Super DIRTcar Series Championship. That alone accounts for $90,000 of winnings.
Looking back, Williamson never let a cloud of doubt enter his vision.
“I had belief is these guys the whole time,” said Williamson, of St. Catharines, Ontario. “I just had to believe in myself and know that we could do it. The team is second to none. They deserve this and they’ve worked harder than anyone. We had our growing pains, but we worked harder and stuff got better.”
One of the turning points in the season came after a poor result at Weedsport Speedway, a track where Williamson has long struggled. The Buzz Chew team came back to it with resolve and made a podium run to prove they could succeed anywhere.
“We’ve always struggled at Weedsport,” he said. “Not just us but my own team with my own car. I kept working harder. There was a point when Buzz did not want to go back to Weedsport because we sucked there. We kept telling Buzz, ‘Stick with it. Stick with it. We’ll work on it and get better and better.’ We got beat at Merrittville, at home, and we knew we had to get better and we learned some stuff there. We brought that to Weedsport, and Brewerton and Mohawk.”
Williamson carried a freight train of momentum throughout the final third of the season and he needed every bit of it to defeat Sheppard.
He admitted to doing the math while racing for position. With Sheppard and Decker swapping the lead, Williamson became a huge Decker fan.
“When Matt got by Billy [Decker] there, I got a little nervous,” he said. “I’ve always liked Billy, but I was the biggest Billy Decker fan ever. It was nerve-wracking man. … From the moment I woke up I knew we were going to do good things today.”
Sheppard’s chance to add another Championship to his Hall of Fame résumé was handicapped before he even took the green flag. Unfortunately, Sheppard’s motor lost a cylinder during the pace laps.
“I dropped a cylinder,” Sheppard said. “I just kept the foot to the floor trying to keep it going the best I could, but I don’t think it would have mattered. If I would have won the race, Mat still came in third.”
No one knows what it takes to win Super DIRTcar Series Championships like Sheppard. He gave full credit to Williamson and his team.
“They deserve it, they had the most consistent year and that’s what this Championship is about,” Sheppard said. “This isn’t NASCAR with playoffs. We won the most races and had really good finishes but, in the end, we had more bad nights than they did. Hats off to them, the driver, the crew and the team. Everyone there did a great job. They did what they needed to do and that’s why they’re the Champions.”
If Sheppard could point to one moment in the season that changed the Championship outlook, it would have to be the Billy Whittaker Cars 200 where he broke an axle as a result of incidental contact with Michael Maresca.
“Oswego is the big one … the thirty-first really hurt,” he said.
However, Sheppard was content with the result and knows he and his team did everything they could do to be there at the end.
“I’ve been on both ends of it before,” Sheppard noted. “This isn’t the first Championship I’ve lost by a few points. Luckily for us we’ve been on the good end more than the bad end.”
Decker kicked off 2019 with a win on the first night of the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park and capped it with a win at the Can-Am World Finals at The Dirt Track at Charlotte.
“Charlotte’s been a pain in my side, but now I have a much higher opinion,” Decker said. “It got away from us (Friday) night. This win is a product of LJL Racing and the Gypsum Wholesaler team. The team is fun to be a part of. Losing yesterday had me down pretty hard and we came out swinging today. What a great race car. It feels good to get a win here at the Can-Am World Finals.”
Third-place runner Maresca was a rocket in the second half of the race.
“I found that top side, and it was kind of tricky racing Mat and Matt. I had to give them a lot of room. They were racing for a Championship, so I was just trying to be respectful of them,” Maresca said.
Maresca still feels guilt over the contact me made with Sheppard at NAPA Super DIRT Week despite Sheppard clearing him of full responsibility.
“I feel I messed that Championship up enough and I feel bad about it,” Maresca said of the contact with Sheppard at Oswego. “I just wanted to race clean and hopefully earn those guys respect.”
Larry Wight picked up 11 positions to finish 11th and that was good enough to be the KSE Hard Charge of the race.
FEATURE (40 Laps) — 1. 91-Billy Decker [$8,000]; 2. 88-Mat Williamson [$4,000]; 3. 7MM-Michael Maresca [$2,500]; 4. 9S-Matt Sheppard [$1,800]; 5. Z8-Max McLaughlin [$1,600]; 6. 111-Demetrios Drellos [$1,400]; 7. 25-Erick Rudolph [$1,300]; 8. 35-Mike Mahaney [$1,200]; 9. 5H-Chris Hile [$1,100]; 10. 19-Tim Fuller [$1,000]; 11. 99L-Larry Wight [$900]; 12. 84-Gary Tomkins [$800]; 13. 98H-Jimmy Phelps [$700]; 14. 15-Billy Pauch [$650]; 15. 49-Billy Dunn [$600]; 16. 54-Steve Bernard [$600]; 17. 26-Ryan Godown [$600]; 18. 27J-Danny Johnson [$600]; 19. 83-Brian Swartzlander [$600]; 20. 21A-Peter Britten [$600]; 21. 28ZT-Gary Lindberg [$600]; 22. 2L-Jack Lehner [$600]; 23. 2RJ-Ronnie Johnson [$600]; 24. 5st-Tyler Siri [$600]; 25. 18AP-Anthony Perrego [$600]; 26. 42P-Pat Ward [$600]; 27. 37-Paul StSauveur [$600]; 28. 20-Brett Hearn [$600]; 29. 98T-Tyler Thompson [$600]; 30. 3-Justin Haers [$600]; 31. 19W-Justin Wright [$]
KSE Hard Charger Award: 99L-Larry Wight[+11]
Super DIRTcar Series PR
Derek Kraus captured the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship in the season finale on Saturday at ISM Raceway, driving the Bill McAnally Racing No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry to a fourth-place finish in the Arizona Lottery 100.
The 18-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Stratford, Wisconsin secured the title by just taking the green flag. He wrapped up his season with a 49-point lead in the standings; the largest margin since the series adopted its current point system in 2012.
This marks a record ninth series championship for BMR – the fourth in five years for the Roseville, California-based team. BMR took home the series titles in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2010, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
BMR’s Hailie Deegan – an 18-year-old NASCAR Next driver from Temecula, California – finished just behind Kraus in fifth, driving the No. 19 Monster Energy / NAPA Power Premium Plus Toyota Camry. She ended the season third in the championship standings, the highest ranking by a female driver in the final standings in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East or West.
Series rookie Brittney Zamora – a 20-year-old from Kennewick, Washington – added to BMR’s success by finishing seventh in the No. 99 NAPA Filters / ENEOS Toyota Camry on Saturday and wrapping up her freshman effort fifth in points; putting all three BMR drivers in the top five of the final championship standings for 2019.
Kraus and Deegan faced a big challenge in Saturday’s race, after their qualifying times were disallowed due to a technical issue in post-qualifying inspection. Zamora started seventh, while Kraus rolled off 16th and Deegan 17th.
Kraus charged ahead at the drop of the green flag and was in the top 10 by Lap 8. Deegan was close behind, while Zamora slipped back in the first half of the race. Kraus continued moving up and was in the top five by Lap 75, with Deegan eighth. Zamora’s team made adjustments to her NAPA Filters Toyota at the midway break and she was began to move to the front, as well.
All three drivers avoided some late-race scrambles, which led to two green-white-checkered finishes.
With the championship clinched at the drop of the green, Kraus said his focus was going after the win.
“We struggled in practice,” he said. “We were really tight, but we were able to adjust on it a little bit and got it good for qualifying. We qualified sixth, then didn’t make it through tech after qualifying. So we had to start in the back.
“We made our way through the field and started fourth on the last restart,” he said. “I thought maybe something would happen between the front two, but it didn’t and we finished fourth. So we had a good solid run in the last race of the season.”
Kraus took a moment to reflect on his three years at BMR and winning the K&N West title.
“It means a lot to me to be the champion of this series,” he said. “It’s really exciting to me. Everyone at Bill McAnally Racing works their tails off on these race cars to get them as good as they are. I can’t thank the guys enough for being behind me.”
Kraus wrapped up his year with five wins, 11 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes in 14 series starts. In addition, he also scored two wins earlier in the year in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and led the standings in both divisions in the first half of the season.
Saturday’s race was second of two events over the weekend for Kraus, who was pulling double duty at ISM Raceway – also racing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. He was sidelined early in that race on Friday night, after contact from another truck sent his No. 19 ENEOS Toyota Tundra into the wall.
Deegan, who earlier this season became the first woman to lead the championship standings of a series at the regional or national levels of NASCAR, finished her second year in K&N West with two wins, eight top-five, and 11 top-10 finishes in 14 starts.
Zamora, with a runner-up finish in the rookie points, concluded her freshman year with six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 14 starts.
The BMR team got their Arizona weekend rolling early, with two special appearances for NAPA AUTO PARTS in the Phoenix area on Thursday.
Guests from NAPA’s Phoenix Distribution Center were in attendance at the track on Saturday and were treated to a VIP experience that included a special pit tour and a chance to meet the BMR drivers.
The Arizona Lottery 100, which was won by Ty Gibbs, will be televised to a national audience on NBCSN on Nov. 14 at 3 p.m. PT.