Racing News (7357)
Racing News from around the World
Adversity separates a good team from a great team in racing and Friday evening at the Madison International Speedway, Mason Mitchell Motorsports fought through adversity with 17-year-old Ryan Repko to earn an eighth-place finish in the Montgomery Ward 200.
Shortly before halfway, smoke came from underneath the No. 78 Champion Power Equipment Chevrolet. Luckily, the MMM team was able to diagnose the issue and repair a loose oil line under the yellow flag. The team was able to minimize the damage and only lose one lap in the repair
Repko and the No. 78 team spent the next 50 laps getting in position to receive the free pass. Finally, with 43 laps to go their patience paid off as they were the recipient of the free pass. After restarting from the 13th position, Repko worked his way back inside the top-10 for the first time in over 50 laps Driving like a veteran, Repko continued to pass cars and made a last lap pass to secure the eighth position in his ARCA debut.
“It was a wild and crazy evening,” Repko stated. “We were almost involved in a few wrecks and lost some spots and we had to charge our way back up through the field. Then before halfway we started smoking and had to fix a loose oil line. The MMM guys developed a plan and we only lost one lap. After getting back on the lead lap we had to charge to the front again.”
“I learned a lot honestly, I wouldn’t change anything with how the race went because I learned a lot and had to fight through adversity. I don’t doubt that we could have contended for a top-five, maybe even a win if we didn’t have our issue. I truly appreciate the opportunity that MMM provided this weekend. This is a great team that provides fast cars and never gives up.”
After four straight races, MMM will have a well-deserved off weekend from the track to prepare for one of the marquee races on the ARCA schedule at the Iowa Speedway.
MMM has one win at the Iowa Speedway with owner/driver Mason Mitchell when he captured the checkered flag in 2015 in front of his hometown crowd.
Raphaël Lessard, the young driver from Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, finished in 5th place at the 51st edition of the CRA/ARCA Redbud 400 race at Anderson Speedway in Indiana on Saturday night. In a hard fought 400-lap race, Lessard, who was in the Top-2 for most of the second half of the race, and until the very end, was forced to concede a place on the podium with under two laps to go.
Several heated competitions took place through the last 3 laps, when drivers aggressively battled for a chance at victory. Following a hard contact with Stephen Wallace, which Raphaël had finally overtaken, Raphaël had issues regaining control of his car, resulting in a disappointing 5th place finish for the driver who had been in the Top-3 the majority of the entire race.
The caliber of the drivers on the track was demonstrated during the qualification session when the Top-3 drivers - among them Lessard - all qualified within a thousand of a second. Lessard started 3rd, behind the wheel of the Toyota Camry #99 FRL Express/Toyota-TRD/JBLAudio prepared by David Gilliland Racing. Leading the field at times, and a serious contender for the win from the half way point, it is with disappointment that he settled for a 5th place finish.
Fifteen yellow flags set the pace for this action-packed race as Raphaël battled with competitors and incidents caused by slower cars. At some point during the race, in order to avoid an incident, Lessard chose to go off into the grass.
At every restart, the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) driver was in full control of his car, placing himself as the driver to beat. Never losing sight of the first position, he had a few good fights on the track with drivers as eager to win as him.
“At the beginning of the race everything was going great. I started from 3rd position and stayed there for a while. During restarts early in the race, I was always starting from the inside line, which was not working out for me, so I dropped to 7th position, yet climbed back up quickly. We had a different pit-stop strategy than the other cars on the track. This strategy paid off as when the drivers entered the pits, I was able to lead the race for several laps, even if the other cars were quicker than me because of their new tires,” said Raphaël.
“During 50 laps, I was 2nd behind Stephen Wallace and I was quicker than him but wasn’t able to overtake him as it is very difficult to pass on this track. I wanted the pass to be clean so I was waiting. He closed the door on me a few times, preventing me from passing. With one or two laps to go, once I had finally managed to pass him, Wallace knocked me hard, and I had trouble controlling my car from then on. I tried to come back but he was too far gone and I lost a few positions. Before this incident, the car was very fun to drive, thanks to David Gilliland Racing, my crew chief Seth Smith. Also, many thanks to my parents, my agent Robert Desrosiers, FRL Express and Toyota.”
One race added to Lessard's 2017 schedule
A 20th SLM race has just been added to Raphaël Lessard's 2017 race schedule and it happens to be his next race. Raphaël will participate in the 2nd annual Pro Stock / Super Late Model National Championship at Seekonk Speedway in Seekonk, Massachusetts on Wednesday July 12, 2017. It will be for Lessard a second race in a row offering $10,000 in prize money to the winner.
Derek Kraus charged from the back of the pack to finish fifth at Sonoma Raceway on Saturday in the Carneros 200 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event, his first race on a road course.
The 15-year-old series rookie from Stratford, Wisconsin looked more like a road racing veteran as he drove the No. 19 Carlyle Tools Toyota Camry through the field on the winding 1.99-mile track.
Kraus led the charge among the full-time Bill McAnally Racing drivers, who all finished in the top 10. Todd Gilliland was sixth in the No. 16 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota Camry, while Chris Eggleston was 10th in the No. 99 NAPA Filters Toyota Camry. With their top-10 finishes, the trio of BMR drivers maintained the top three positions in the championship standings.
“It was a really good run,” said Kraus. “We had a problem in qualifying. We found out we had something wrong with the front suspension. We had to take it out of the tech line and fix it. So, we had to start at the back.
“We got through the field well and the halfway break helped us to make adjustments,” he said. “After that, our Carlyle Tools Toyota was really good. It was really fun racing here. It was my first time on a road course. I’m really happy with a top-five finish.”
Gilliland, who started eighth on the grid, battled handling issues and was relieved to finish where he did.
“We had a really loose race car today,” said the 17-year-old defending series champion from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina. “It was probably an 11th or 12th place car, but we stayed positive and didn’t make mistakes. It was all good. We finished sixth our NAPA Toyota. It was a good points day and we’re looking forward to getting back on ovals.”
Eggleston, meanwhile, was disappointed about losing positions in a late-race incident.
“We felt like we had a good NAPA Filters Toyota,” said Eggleston, who started ninth. “We were saving the rear tires. At the halfway break some of the guys made good adjustments and our car kind of stayed the same.
“Todd got by us and I was trying to keep pace with him,” said the 2015 series champion, who hails from Erie, Colorado. “I got inside the (car) 55 going into Turn 11, and wheel-hopped into him. I apologize; that was my fault. It kind of ruined both of our days. I’m glad we got it back going at least. It could have been a lot worse.”
The day did not go as well for two additional BMR entries. Derek Thorn qualified fourth and ran in the lead pack in the No. 43 Campbell Motorsports/Racing for Autism Toyota Camry – but was sidelined by a mechanical issue. Will Gallaher, making his series debut in the No. 54 First Community Bank Toyota Camry, started 18th and finished 20th.
The race was won by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regular Kevin Harvick.
Gilliland retained his lead in the championship standings, with an 11-point margin over Eggleston. Kraus, who leads the rookie points, is third in the overall standings.
The Carneros 200 is scheduled to be televised on NBCSN on June 29 at 8 p.m. PT.
The Sonoma weekend included an opportunity for special guests of NAPA AUTO PARTS to get an inside look at the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series garage, with BMR providing special VIP Pit Tours on Saturday.
The next event on the circuit will be the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East-West combination race at Iowa Speedway on July 28.
Kevin Harvick made his NASCAR K&N Pro Series West return and he delivered.
The Bakersfield, California, native dominated the Carneros 200 at Sonoma Raceway. Harvick held off hard-charging Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender in Will Rodgers, while the rest of the field was more than nine seconds back.
Harvick won the 1998 West championship on his way up the NASCAR ladder, which culminated in winning the 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship. He drove the No. 4 Fields Ford for Jefferson Pitts Racing to his eighth victory of his career in the K&N Pro West Series.
"It always feels good to win no matter what it is," said Harvick. "The main objective was to come have fun, shine a little light on the series and shine a little light on how much talent is in the series. This particular series did a lot for me and to come back and be a part of it, see the health of it and see the young guys racing was the main objective.
"It's always fun to race in front of your home state fans. It's been a long time since I raced in this particular series here, so it was a fun weekend."
Rodgers, a 22-year-old from Murrieta, California, won his first Coors Light Pole Award earlier in the day and brought his No. 7 Solvang Brewing Company Ford home in second place, his best finish of his 14 K&N Pro Series West starts.
"For some funny reason, I had a feeling as far back as four weeks ago that it was going to be me and Kevin coming into turn 11 on the last lap," Rodgers said. "And sure enough, there we were. He ran a really good race, I learned a lot from him. We were able to lead some laps there in the beginning. It doesn’t feel too bad to finish second today."
David Mayhew came home in third, followed by Michael Self and Derek Kraus in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Championship points leader Todd Gilliland, Blaine Perkins, Todd Souza, Sheldon Creed, Chris Eggleston and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup driver Daniel Suarez rounded out the top 10.
Gilliland leads Eggleston by 11 points. Kraus is third (56 behind Gilliland), while Rodgers is 12 points back of Kraus in fourth.
The Carneros 200 will air on NBCSN on Thursday, June 29 at 11 p.m. ET.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will return to the track on July 28 for the annual combination race with the K&N Pro East at Iowa Speedway.
The 2017/18 FIA Formula E Championship calendar has today been revealed following the FIA World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) meeting in Geneva.
The calendar features a more compact schedule, including three double-headers and three new venues - Santiago, Sao Paulo and Rome. The fourth edition of the world’s first fully-electric single-seater racing series comprises the most races to appear on the calendar since its inception in 2014.
The Formula E cars will take to the track in the season-opener in Hong Kong for a second year running on December 2 & 3 - the first double-header to take place in Asia.
Formula E will stop at new locations in both South America and Europe - with races in the Chilean capital of Santiago in February, a first race in Brazil on the streets of Sao Paulo in March, and Rome in mid-April.
The electric street racing series will also be returning to the French capital for the third edition of the Paris ePrix on April 28, building on the success of the previous two events to be held around Les Invalides.
The penultimate event sees Formula E return to New York against the backdrop of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, with the season coming to a close once again over the course of two days in Montreal on July 28 & 29.
Alejandro Agag, Founder & CEO of Formula E, said: “It’s exciting news to welcome a number of new host cities on the Formula E calendar, as well as seeing existing locations build on the success of previous events. Formula E is continuing to expand the calendar and the number of cities in key markets, in addition to the growing list of partners and manufacturers joining the electric revolution. Our priority is to consolidate a calendar with long-term agreements with host cities - the schedule for season four is a step in the right direction.”
FIA President Jean Todt, said: “The FIA Formula E Championship continues to break new ground bringing motorsport and electric mobility to new urban centres around the world. In season four, we have some very exciting cities to explore across five continents, with venues in Sao Paulo, Santiago and Rome making their first appearance on the calendar. The impact of this exposure to millions of potential new fans will be fantastic, and the desire of the cities to be involved in the championship shows how much of a success Formula E has been over its first three seasons.”
To follow the latest news and information visit - www.fiaformulae.com
Alec Udell will return his focus back to the familiar seat of the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R prepared by GMG this weekend at Road America. With the resumption of the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) Sprint Championship on June 24-25 at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin-area track, the resident of The Woodlands, Texas will be back in the Clemson University blue and orange Porsche entered by GMG. With the two-driver PWC SprintX Championship placing him in another Porsche for the last several months, Rounds 4 and 5 of the GT class series with the single driver format means the Clemson rising senior will be back at the wheel of his own destiny.
The Pirelli World Challenge, North America's premier sprint GT road racing series, has broken its 2017 season into two championships with Sprint - single driver format for 50-minute races - and SprintX - 60-minute races with two drivers. Individual and a combined champion will be crowned at the season's end. Udell is currently in sixth-place in the Sprint Championship for GT Pro drivers. He did so on the shoulders of two GT-Am race victories to open his first year in the international GT3-spec cars when he scored back-to-back wins in the GTA class at St. Petersburg, Florida. Since moving to the full "Pro" category, the 21 year-old has remained competitive among the factory and pro championship drivers of the GT division holding his own in the top-ten of the season-long standings through the first three rounds. A total of ten races will be run in the Sprint Championship and another ten in the SprintX. Udell has been sharing the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3 R with Preston Calvert (Potomac, Maryland) for SprintX. That Championship resumes in August at Utah Motorsports Campus.
This weekend, Udell returns not only to the Euroworld Motorsports' entry representing the university at which he is studying mechanical engineering, but also to the classic 4-mile Road America circuit at which he is the defending race winner in the PWC GT Cup class. The Porsche Young Driver Academy graduate won both GT Cup races at this track in 2016 racing the Euroworld Motorsports GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car on his way to that class title.
Udell will have his first laps back in the No. 17 Euroworld machine on Thursday, June 22 with an 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. Central Time (CT) test session for GT cars. Another one-hour session will take place at 10:50 a.m. The first official PWC practice session for GT gets underway at 3:15 p.m. the same day and will last 30-minutes. On Friday, Practice 2 will be a 30-minute session beginning at 5:10 p.m. On Saturday, June 24, 30-minutes of qualifying will start at 8:35 a.m. setting the grid for Race 1 which takes the green flag at 4:30 p.m. the same day. Race 2 - whose grid is set based on lap times from Race 1 - will start the 50-minute clock running as the cars speed up the hill across the Road America start-finish line at 9:55 a.m. on Sunday morning, June 25.
The races can be watched live at www.world-challenge.com and on tape delayed broadcast on the CBS Sports Network, Sunday, June 25 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET).
The Trans Am Race Company (TARC) has announced that Jim Derhaag will depart the ownership group in order to better focus on his primary business, Derhaag Motorsports.
The three primary partners within TARC, David Jans, Mike Miller and Tony Parella, have entered into an agreement with Jim Derhaag to equally acquire his interest within the company—seeing the three each retaining an equal share. John Clagett and Simon Gregg will retain their minority ownership shares.
The move comes as a continuation of recent steps within the primary ownership to remove potential conflicts of interest within the ownership group. Mike Miller sold his championship winning TA2 team in late 2015; while, like Derhaag, Tony Ave departed the ownership in late 2016 to better focus on Ave Motorsports. DJ Jans, a prior Trans Am competitor and car owner, sold all of his Trans Am equipment in late 2016 as well.
“The ownership and I want to thank Jim for his dedication to the Trans Am Series over the years,” said John Clagett, President of TARC. “It was his initial idea to form the Trans Am Race Company; and without his initiative, vision and love for the Trans Am name, I think it’s safe to say we would not be where we are today. We applaud Jim for his decision—another step by the company and its ownership to remove what can be viewed as conflicts of interest. Derhaag Motorsports has been a staple in the Trans Am paddock since 1981, and we look forward to his continued participation in the Series.”
In addition to the departure of Jim Derhaag, the Trans Am Race Company is in the process of amending its bylaws to add a provision prohibiting any future owner from having ownership interests at the team or supplier level.
Derhaag was one of the original members of the ownership group who worked to save the Trans Am Series after SCCA Pro Racing made it evident they would not continue to fund the Series upon the conclusion of the 2011 season. Derhaag helped assemble the original ownership group of Mike Miller, Tony Ave, DJ Jans, Simon Gregg, Doug Harrington and himself, seeing the creation of The Trans Am Race Company.
Derhaag will continue to field Derhaag Motorsports in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli with Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, while running his company’s TA/GT-1 chassis construction and bodywork divisions.
The calendar officially says it’s summer now, but for the drivers chasing the World of Outlaws (WoO) Craftsman Sprint Car Series championship the heat has been on for quite some time. Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) driver Donny Schatz continues to carry the torch for the traveling Sprint car stars as they trek their way through the Midwest with stops this weekend in Iowa and Wisconsin.
After winning his 11th WoO A-Feature of the 2017 season Tuesday night at Granite City Speedway in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, Schatz leads the Outlaws back into action Friday behind the wheel of the TSR No. 15 Arctic Cat/Ford Performance J&J when the series makes their debut at West Liberty Raceway, a half-mile, dirt oval in eastern Iowa and Saturday night, it’s back to central Wisconsin for the eighth annual Jim “JB” Boyd Memorial at Beaver Dam Raceway.
The eight-time and reigning WoO champion has experienced a great deal of success in the state of Iowa during his 21-year WoO career. He is the most recent winner in the state with his victory at the famed Knoxville Raceway on June 10. The flag-to-flag victory was the 25th of his career at the track and 15th career WoO A-Feature win at the track. Schatz has scored 21 of his 240 career WoO A-Feature wins in the state of Iowa. In addition to adding to that win total, the Fargo, North Dakota native will also be looking to make West Liberty Raceway the 82nd different track where he’s raced to a WoO A-Feature triumph. Last season, Schatz was victorious in a pair of WoO debuts, scoring wins at Rockford Speedway and Angel Park Speedway.
Schatz has two career Beaver Dam WoO wins, and Saturday night, he’ll be looking to join Joey Saldana as a two-time winner of the “JB”. The event is being managed by SLS Promotions, which includes Scott Boyd, who is the son of the late Jim Boyd. In the 2010, the family began staging the race in honor of their father at the 1/3-mile, semi-banked, dirt oval. Saldana won the first two races, but a new driver has claimed the 40-lap A-Feature each year since. Schatz, who has finished inside the top-10 in all seven previous events, surged from 10th to win the race in 2015 and last year charged from 14th to finish third.
Tuesday’s victory for Schatz extended his lead in the WoO championship standings to 84 points over Brad Sweet through 37 of the 92 scheduled races in 2017. He is the only driver with double digit wins and his 29 top-five finishes also is most by any driver.
During a radio interview earlier in the day, Patrick Gallagher predicted that it would take a last lap pass to capture the Battery Tender Global MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires victory this weekend at Road America.
It turned out that he was the one making that pass when he won a drag race to the finish line and edged Bryan Ortiz (No. 4 Copeland Motorsports/Bella Racing) by .0263-seconds to score his fourth win of the 2017 season.
Dean Copeland (No. 18 Copeland Motorsports), who had been hooked up in the draft with his Copeland Motorsports teammate Ortiz in the final laps of the race, came home in third place and earned the Battery Tender “Hard Charger” Award after having started from 17th on the grid.
2009 Series champion Todd Lamb (No. 84 McDonalds/Winding Road Racing) came home in fourth, with 2016 Global MX-5 Cup champion Nathanial “Sparky” Sparks (No. 8 Mazda Road to 24 Scholarship) finishing fifth ahead of Hernan Palermo (No. 20 GHEC/ SP Racing).
Mark Drennan (No. 5 Winding Road Racing / TFB Performance) scored seventh ahead of Ashton Harrison (No. 3 Harrison Contracting/Racing Analytics) with Matt Cresci (No. 51 Mazda Road to 24 Scholarship) and Alex Bachoura (No. 33 Cypress Oral Surgery) completing the top ten.
The 40-minute race provided another thrilling round of Global MX-5 Cup action. Slowed by just one caution period midway through the event, the Road America round featured five different race leaders as the top seven drivers finished within two seconds of the race winner. The caution was a result of contact between Ara Malkhassian (No. 11 ALARA Racing) and Robert Stout (No. 28 Lucas Oil Products / Lucas Oil Racing TV) battling for the lead. Both cars retired from the race, but neither driver was injured.
Ortiz took the lead on the ninth lap, and held the point past the white flag. But after the drafting action separated from his Copeland Motorsports teammate Copeland, Gallagher pounced on the final lap to position himself for a sprint to the stripe. Crossing just a few feet ahead of Ortiz, Gallagher increased his championship points advantage with another victory.
“The Copeland Motorsports guys ran me clean, we worked together and that’s why we’re all on the podium,” said Gallagher, who only led the final six feet of the race. “I knew I was well ahead of Sparky (second place in the championship) so I was fine with finishing second and getting good championship points, but then I had a run up the hill. Then once I got into the side draft I was able to veer off to the left and just picked up about two miles per hour and shot across the line. This ModSpace / Howard Concrete Pumping car is fast and the McCumbee McAleer guys have it hooked up. Big hats off to Mazda, Battery Tender and BFGoodrich for making it such a great series.”
“I knew it was a long straight,” said Ortiz, who takes the rookie points lead as he targets the $50,000 scholarship from Mazda. “The car was great, my teammate (Dean Copeland) helped me a lot and he did an awesome job as well. I really thought I could hold him off (Patrick Gallagher), but he passed me. I’m very happy. But when you’re so close, second is not good. Those were my first laps in the dry at this track so I was practicing during the race and getting more comfortable. I still have a couple of things to learn from my teammate - I think he was faster than I was. But I’m happy, we got the lead in the rookie points again so that’s good. It was a good points day. We’ll make some changes and hopefully tomorrow is better.”
Copeland, who raced in the season-opening race at Barber and then stepped out of the car in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway round to focus on coaching his teammates, was right on the pace in his return to the cockpit as he made a massive improvement from 17th on the grid to come home third at the finish.
“After a very disappointing qualifying effort yesterday, we were really dejected,” admitted Copeland, who posted the fastest lap of the race with a 2:37.5332 flyer. “But this is my favorite track and I knew if it was dry and if we could get a clean run that we would march right up to the front. I’m not at all surprised that we’re standing up here (on the podium) with both of our cars. It was just a matter of getting here. I’m really let down for my teammate Bryan Ortiz - I really thought he had the win coming. Tomorrow will be a different ball game!”