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The battle for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series title will resume this weekend in Italy, at the Autodromo di Franciacorta with Round 3 and 4 of the 2019 season. The 2,5-Km Italian track will host the European NASCAR Series for the third time with an event – the American NASCAR Weekend – gathering every year more fans thanks to exciting races and exhilarating trackside attractions. 

A record-setting 33 cars are entered in the NASCAR GP Italy, with 20 nationalities represented on the grid.


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In the ELITE 1 Division, the whole field is chasing Ander Vilarino and the #48 Racing Engineering Mustang. The Spaniard, who brought the team led by Alfonso de Orleans-Borbon to a spectacular NASCAR debut by picking up two wins at his home track of Valencia, has never raced at Franciacorta. On the other hand, defending champion Alon Day has won three of the four races held at the Italian track for CAAL Racing and will count on the NASCAR GP Italy to reduce the 13 points gap separating him from the leader. 

Second in points after the season opener, Stienes Longin is on a streak of four consecutive second-place finishes and looks poised to finally grab the first ELITE 1 victory. Loris Hezemans will definitely want to challenge for the first win of the season, as will 2018 Franciacorta race winner Lucas Lasserre, Frederic Gabillon, Marc Goossens and all the many ELITE 1 Division contenders. Among them, 1997 Formula 1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve rapidly found a solid pace at Valencia but is looking to rebound after being forced to retire while battling in the top-10 in Round 2.

Two rookies sit atop the ELITE 2 Division standings, separated by just one point: Giorgio Maggi and Vittorio Ghirelli. Both had an impressive debut in Spain and the Swiss driver also got his maiden win by taking advantage of a last-lap crash between Myatt Snider and Andre Castro. The two Americans were extremely competitive in Spain and will be chasing their first win again in Italy.

Pulling double duties in 2019, Martin Doubek is currently third in points and will count on his experience to capitalize at Franciacorta, as will Pierluigi Veronesi, Mirco Schultis and Jerry De Weerdt. Aiming to reverse a disappointing season opener will be 2018 Rookie Trophy winner Florian Venturi. 

The ELITE Club Division will return to action for the second round of the season with 2017 Champion Andreas Kuchelbacher looking to take the lead of the championship. 

All the ELITE 1 and ELITE 2 races from the NASCAR GP of Italy will be streamed live on Fanschoice.tv, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Youtube channel and Facebook page, on Motorsport.tv and on a vast network of social media profiles.


ELITE 1 DIVISION

Luigi Ferrara debuts on home soil - The 2018 TCR Italy runner-up Luigi Ferrara will make his Euro NASCAR debut at the wheel of the #42 Mustang fielded by 42 Racing by FS Motorsport. The Italian won the Porsche Carrera Cup Italy in 2008 and the 2005 Italian F3 Championship.

Hezemans returns to site of first podium - Junior Trophy leader Loris Hezemans will return to the track that marked a turning point in his 2018 season. After a troubled first event at Valencia and a crash on Saturday, the Dutchman earned his first podium finish at Franciacorta on Sunday, starting an impressive comeback.

Tuomaala off to a great start - With a win – the third of his career – and a third place at Valencia, Henri Tuomaala is leading the Challenger Trophy by two points over defending champion Kenko Miura. The Finnish drivers will race at Franciacorta for the first time.

ELITE 2 DIVISION

Lasse Sorensen enters NWES - 22-year-old Lasse Sorensen will debut in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series at the wheel of the #66 Dexwet-Df1 Racing Chevrolet Camaro. The Danish driver won the French Formula 4 Championship in 2014.

12 different countries in the top-15 - No less than twelve different countries and three continents are represented in the top-15 of the ELITE 2 Division standings, testifying the ever growing popularity of Euro NASCAR among drivers from all over the world.

Schultis leads a tight Legend Trophy - Mirco Schultis and Jerry De Weerdt split the first weekend of the season in Valencia and the German leads the Legend Trophy classification by four points on the Belgian. Michael Bleekemolen closely follows after collecting two podium finishes in his NASCAR debut.

NWES PR

Bret Holmes and the No. 23 Holmes ll Excavation Chevrolet team overcame an early-race incident to finish fifth at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville. Due to inclement weather, ARCA Menards Series officials were forced to cancel qualifying and postpone the 200-lap event until Sunday afternoon. Lining up based on practice speeds, Holmes started the race from the fourth position. Holmes was running in the seventh spot on lap 72 when another competitor spun in front of him and caused damaged to the left side of the No. 23 machine. The Munford, Ala., native pitted under caution for repairs and fuel. Returning to the racing surface, Holmes took the ensuing green flag from the ninth position. Holmes battled for track position and was scored sixth when a caution was displayed on lap 122. The Shane Huffman-led team pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Holmes restarted fifth and raced within the top five for the remainder of the main event. Holmes’ fifth-place finish on Sunday places him third in the championship point standings, 40 points behind the leader.

 

Start – 4th    Finish – 5th     Points Position – 3rd    

    
BRET HOLMES QUOTE:

“We had a really solid Chevrolet all weekend. I felt like this was the first race that we got the monkey off our back. We didn’t get to qualify, but I think racing during the day instead of at night played into our favor a little bit. We had a little run in during the race. It was a little body damage, which wasn’t bad. The pit crew recovered from that. They were on their game this weekend. Shane (Huffman, crew chief) made great calls all day long. I think overall, we brought a strong piece to the track this weekend. This was our first top-five finish of the season. I feel like we should have had it earlier this year, but I’m glad we have that milestone under our belt. It’s baby steps. Now we’re working towards a win. We just have to keep setting goals for ourselves, and we’ll be just fine.”
BHR PR

 GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton closed the deal Saturday night before a raucous, sold-out Las Vegas crowd and rode a fourth-place finish to his first Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship.


 Sexton, who picked up his first professional victory one week ago in East Rutherford, N.J., came into the final points race of the season with a nine-point cushion, looking to jockey last week’s winning momentum into a championship.  


 Despite the obvious pressures that go hand-in-hand with racing for such a prestigious title at a young age, the 19-year-old Wiseco-sponsored rider kept his composure, performed like a seasoned veteran and brought home the hardware. 


 “It feels super good,” said a beaming Sexton in the post-race press conference. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet but being only 19-years-old and winning my first Supercross championship is unbelievable. That was the longest 15 minutes-plus-one (lap) I’ve ever done. The track was gnarly but to do this for myself and for the team feels awesome. It couldn’t have happened any better.” 


 Sexton, who finished his 2019 Supercross campaign with 193 points, logged one win, four top-two and seven top- three finishes in nine races. The Illinois native won four heat races, earned seven podiums and never finished outside the top five. Still, with less than 10 points separating Sexton from his closest title competitor, the rider of the No. 23 Honda CRF250R knew the 2019 championship was anything but a foregone conclusion. 


 “I was just focusing on my race,” added Sexton who won the 250SX East Class heat race earlier in the day. “I was trying to go forward as best I could and still stay out of the carnage. I didn’t want to do anything too crazy or make a dumb mistake. It became really hard to decide if what I was doing was a good move or a bad move to go for it. I’m pretty proud of how I handled it. I didn’t know where Justin (championship contender Justin Cooper) was. I just knew he wasn’t in front of me and that’s all I cared about.”  


 While only one GEICO Honda rider left Las Vegas with the title, two others notched podium finishes in the season finale. R.J. Hampshire, who snagged the holeshot in both his heat race and the main event, finished second to eventual race winner and Western Regional 250SX Class Champion Dylan Ferrandis. Sexton’s fellow GEICO Honda teammate Cameron McAdoo came home third. Over 10 rounds, Hampshire rode one podium finish and five top fours into a fourth-place finish in the season-ending 250SX West Class points. 


 “Was a really cool day for my whole team,” explained Hampshire. “I rode well in practice and felt like my bike was working good. Got the holeshot in the heat and also the main. I struggled bad in the first half of  the main and really had to take a couple steps back to regroup and figure out what I needed to change. For once, I actually felt like a veteran and made a pretty smart call. I even let Chase by because I was getting so sketchy and I didn’t want to end up going down and taking him out with me. I followed him for a couple laps to hopefully learn something in the whoops. It started coming together then I saw my pit board said ‘4 laps, all out.’ I went for it and it paid off. I was able to get to second. Really happy to see the team have so much success on the night!”


 Across the paddock, in the premier 450SX Class pits, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen and Cole Seely finished fourth and sixth, respectively. While neither Roczen nor Seely broke through for a win in 2019, both riders were upbeat following the 17th and final Supercross race of the season. 


 “I’m pretty happy with how Las Vegas went,” commented Roczen. “I struggled in the heat (race), but we went back to an earlier setting and things were a lot better in the main. I still didn’t get the best start, but made some passes pretty quick, working my way into fourth. I actually felt good throughout the whole race and didn’t lose steam, which is what I’ve been fighting a lot this season. We’re still trying to fully figure out what was or is going on, but it seems to be a little better than before. I’m so happy to make it through a whole supercross season and am looking forward to heading into outdoors.”


 With only two weeks separating the end of the Monster Energy Supercross season from the beginning of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, there won’t be much downtime as teams prepare for the rigors of the 12-race outdoor schedule. 


 The first moto from the Bell Helmets Hangtown Motocross Classic from Prairie City SVRA in Sacramento, Calif., will be televised live on MAVTV Sat., May 18 beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 1 p.m., Pacific. Television coverage for the second moto will shift to NBCSN at 6 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m., Pacific.

Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns believes the Formula E championship is still wide open despite leading the drivers’ standings after securing his maiden win last time out.
 
The 27-year-old Dutchman picked up his first win in the all-electric race series last weekend during the incident-filled Paris E-Prix and now holds a narrow one-point margin over his nearest rival. That result saw his team become the first this season to secure multiple wins as they continue to enjoy their strongest ever season and lie just seven points off the top spot in the constructors’ championship.

Together with team-mate Sam Bird, who has also tasted victory this season and lies ninth in the standings, Frijns and his Envision Virgin Racing team now turn their attention to the glitz and glamour of Monaco for round nine of the series on Saturday, 11 May.

“The last Formula E event was the toughest race of my career so to come away with the win was an amazing feeling,” said Frijns. “Now Sam, myself and the whole team is gearing up for Monaco next weekend where we’re aiming to carry that momentum through, especially with the improvements we’ve made in qualifying which is going to be paramount on such a narrow circuit like Monaco.”

He added: “Although we’re leading the championship it doesn’t change our focus or approach, and there’s still a long way to go with many points up for grabs. For sure, the Formula E title race is still wide open with any of the top 10 drivers in contention.” 

Frijns and Bird will be two of the 22 drivers taking to the streets of Monaco next weekend for the Monaco E-Prix, the third time Formula E has raced there. The drivers will once again use a shortened, modified version of the iconic street track (1.765km), using the same famous start/finish line before turning right and immediately towards the harbour, before re-joining with the more familiar track configuration, including the well-known Tabac and Swimming Pool sections.
 
Bird added: “Monaco is such an amazing and iconic place to race so every driver looks forward to this event. Compared to other Formula E tracks, Monaco is a much smoother, more clinical circuit, but it’s still easy to damage the car and because it’s so narrow, there’s even more emphasis on qualifying. Sadly, I didn’t get the result I wanted last time out in Paris, but we’ve put that behind us and are now fully focused on getting a good result in Monaco.”

Sylvain Filippi, Envision Virgin Racing’s Managing Director, said: “Paris was an amazing result for the team and proof of the enormous effort, hard work and preparation that every one of them puts into every single Formula E race. Of course, that same mentality will go into Monaco and we know we have the car, the drivers, the team – and now the momentum – to deliver good results.”

UK fans can follow the team’s progress through the BBC’s live events platform – via the BBC Sport website, BBC iPlayer and BBC red button – as well as BT Sport, together with the team’s social channels and website.

For more information on Envision Virgin Racing, including access to the team’s media site, visit www.envisionvirginracing.com

The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli drivers delivered a race to remember on Saturday as the series celebrated 50 years of racing at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 

The 70-minute feature race that included the TA, SuperGT and GT classes ran at a relentless pace as the race went from flag to flag without caution. 

It was Ernie Francis Jr. who stole the show with a dominating 28.854-second win over the Burtin Racing duo of Lawrence Loshak and Tomy Drissi. After 66 Trans Am races, 48 podiums and 38 race wins, newly turned 21-year-old Francis finally got to sip the victory champagne in a glorious moment on the top step of the podium. 

“It was a great weekend for us as a team here at WeatherTech Raceway,” said Francis. “To sweep the weekend by winning qualifying and leading every lap of the race, it really builds morale for the team. We had a so many small gremlins that kept us from the podium this season, and to come all this way and finish where we did gives us hope to contend for the championship again.”

Starting from the dirty side of the track on pole, Francis’ wheels spun and allowed points leader Loshak to get the jump on the young Floridian driver going into Turn 1. Francis quickly recovered to reclaim his first-place position before crossing the stripe, commanding the race from green to checkered for his first win of the season and breaking Loshak’s two-race winning streak. 

“The start of the race was incredible,” said Loshak. “We had a great start and we took first. I thought it would be like Sebring and then I turned, and the car didn’t. I fell back, losing position but as gas fell off I started to gain speed and the steering came back. We definitely had bullseyes on our back this weekend. I am surprised at the pace the all the guys brought this weekend. It’s hard to be on top and it’s even harder to stay there. We just didn’t have a lot for Ernie this weekend, but while we didn’t win the race we won the weekend, still on top of the championship.”

Losing momentum, Loshak dropped to fourth as Chris Dyson and Drissi passed him. Meanwhile, Dyson, who built a 10-second gap between himself and third-place Drissi, started experiencing mechanical issues after he set his fastest lap of the race. The mechanical gremlins caused Dyson to pit, forcing him to give up his second place position. The CD Racing squad worked to get Dyson back on track, but the setback cost Dyson a possible podium as he was six laps down. 

“We had a tough day today,” said Dyson. “It’s a shame when mechanical things take you out of contention but that’s the difference between racing and other sports, you win as team and you lose as a team. The car was absolutely flying today. We had the speed to challenge Ernie but didn’t get the chance because a belt came off the water pump drive. We are going to be working our tails off leading up to Lime Rock. We’ve proven to have the speed to contend up front, as we’ve done all season, so we’re going to shake this race off and come back strong next round.”

With Dyson out, Drissi and Loshak diced for second and third. Racing door-to-door entering the Kink at the top of the notorious Corkscrew turn, Loshak overtook Drissi for second. Loshak then wheeled his gold No. 3 Penzoil/Elavon/GoShare Chevrolet Camaro into a healthy lead over his teammate, and ultimately finished where he started the race in second. 

Drissi’s blue Godzilla: King of Monsters Chevrolet Camaro crossed the line in third, his second podium of the 2019 season. 

“I love this track. It’s an absolute blast to drive,” said Drissi. “I had some good battles with Lawrence but just didn’t have enough in the end to contend up front.”

In the first of two integrated events with the National Championship, the Trans Am West Coast Championship also competed on the 11-turn, 2.28-mile WeatherTech Raceway circuit. TA class points-leader Simon Gregg clicked off another victory after also winning last weekend’s TA West Coast race at Auto Club Speedway, chalking his win tally to two. Michael Fine took second with California-native Michelle Nagai taking third. 

“I’m so proud of the team,” said Gregg.  “I felt like I had a good race and we had dramatic finish, finishing the race on a flat tire. The Derhaag Motorsports group have worked so hard to give me a good car for this trip to the west coast.”

Dirk Leuenberger in the Lux Performance Doge Viper drove a near perfect race to take the checkered in the SGT West Coast class. 

“It was great to be part of Trans Am history here at WeatherTech Raceway,” commented Leuenberger.  “After fifty years of Trans Am racing here, I can say I won at Laguna, and on my first visit to the track at that!”

After three years of grinding, Mitch Marvosh in the Wolf Entertainment Chevrolet Corvette, claimed his first Trans Am career win in the West Coast GT class. Roger Eagleton took second in the FiveStarPropMgmt/EnergyRealEst Ford Mustang with Beau Border in the APEX Race Parts CorteX Racing Ford Mustang finishing third. 

“It’s about time I won something in Trans Am!” said Marvosh. “I feel great to pick one up for the team. We’ve been at it for a few years and finally got a win. We took first on the start and never looked back.”

Winning everything he possibly could, Francis took home the first $500 Emco Gears Top Gear Award for winning the round and for leading the race by such a large margin, Francis was also awarded with the Cool Shirt Cool Move of the race. Kerry Hitt won the Masters award in the TA class following a seventh-place finish in the No. 19 Advanced Composite Products Inc. Cadillac CTSV.

The TA2 powered by AEM will close out the Trans Am SpeedFest weekend on Sunday with qualifying starting at 8:55 a.m. PT with the 100-mile or 70-minute feature (which ever comes first) starting at 1:10 p.m. PT. Fans can follow live timing and scoring on the GoTransAm.com website or on the Race Monitor App. 

As the end of the 2018/2019 Super Season is approaching, the WEC competitors gathered at the Belgium Spa-Francorchamps race track for the one before the last race of the season. Racing in Belgium was this week-end a matter of weather conditions, with bright sunshine, rain, hail- and snowstorms... For the first time in WEC, drivers had to deal with snow on the track... Matthieu Vaxivière and François Perrodo were joined by Frenchman Norman Nato, as Loïc Duval was on duty for the launch of the DTM Championship in Hockenheim, just across the Eiffel Massif.

Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

All along the race weekend, competitors had to deal with exceptionally changing weather conditions. The drivers of #28 TDS Racing Oreca07 started with a 35 lap FP1 on a dry track, followed by 22 laps in the rain for FP2. On Friday morning, the 24 laps of FP3 took place on a dry track, while qualifying was completed on both dry and wet...

And this was just a glimpse of what they were going to experience during the race... adding hail and snow coming up just a few laps after race start. Naturally, these extreme weather conditions involved a lot of off-tracks, spins, Full Course Yellows and Safety Cars. In the end, track direction interrupted the race six times (SC and FCY), for a total of 110 minutes, and stopping the race 11 minutes before the planned race end.

Matthieu Vaxivière started the race from LMP2 P7 position and managed to gain 4 places to be P3 as the Safety Car came out after 10 laps. 25 minutes later, after a strong hail and snow storm, the race was re-launched on a totally WET track. Victim of a slow puncture, Matthieu was forced to come in and lost five places on the LMP2 classification. Coming back on track 25th in the general classification (8th LMP2), he tried to make up for the loss, but a second 22 minutes Safety Car period (ByKolles LMP1) hindered him to better his position until the race started again on a drying track. After two FCY (#88 in the gravel bed and SMP Racing tire loss) and a 2h50 stint, Matthieu passed on the wheel to François. François was the luckiest of the three drivers regarding weather condition, as he had a full 35-lap race stint, without snow and only a short rain period. Norman Nato took over after 98 laps, he could not complete his stint as race direction decided to red flag the race 11 minutes before the programmed end.

FP1 DRY - 35 Laps - P7 - 2'04''909
FP2 WET - 22 Laps - P2 - 2'29''295
FP3 DRY - 24 Laps - P5 - 2'03''073
Qualification WET - P7 - 2'04''967 (Matthieu & François)
Race - P5

Defending Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence rolled to his second straight victory on Sunday with a win at the 39th annual Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals at Atlanta Dragway.
 
Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners in their respective categories at the seventh of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
 
Torrence, whose first career Top Fuel win came in Atlanta in 2012, used his 3.863-second pass at 320.20 mph in his Capco Contractors dragster to defeat Brittany Force’s 3.989 at 274.00 in a final round matchup that featured the top two qualifiers of the weekend and the two most recent Top Fuel world champs. It is the 29th career win for the Top Fuel points leader and third at the track.
 
Torrence, who became the first repeat winner in the class this season, also picked up round wins against Luigi Novelli, Scott Palmer and Shawn Reed to earn his second victory in three years at Georgia’s House of Speed.
 
“When you have a group of guys that sticks together and that continuity is there, that’s the reason for success,” Torrence said. “As a driver, I need to do my job and give them the best driving ability I possible can because they’re giving me the best race car they possibly can. My guys are second to none and I would put them up against anybody out here. We went down the track every time we needed to and we’ve had a really good car. It’s really cool to have Arby’s out here and be the first guy to ever win the Arby’s Southern Nationals.”
 
Force, the No. 1 qualifier, reached the final round with wins against Cameron Ferre, Antron Brown and Jordan Vandergriff. 
 
In Funny Car, Capps secured his first win of the 2019 season in his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, going 4.068 at 315.34 to win on a holeshot against Tim Wilkerson’s 4.052 at 310.05 in the final round. It also gives Capps his 62nd career victory, continuing his impressive string of 11 straight seasons with at least one win.
 
Capps beat Shawn Langdon, John Force and Don Schumacher Racing teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. to reach the final round, earning his third career win at Atlanta Dragway.
 
“An average race car driver could have probably won in that car today,” said Capps, whose first win with crew chief Rahn Tobler came in Atlanta in 2012. “This was a car you dream about driving. Rahn Tobler pulled out the vintage Rahn Tobler, and that just gave me more and more confidence. It was just amazing and to get a Hellcat win was huge.”
 
Wilkerson beat Cruz Pedregon, Bob Tasca III and points leader Robert Hight to reach the finals.
 
Five-time Pro Stock Motorcycle world champion Hines earned his second straight victory, third overall of 2019 and 51st in his career after going 6.865 at 195.05 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson to defeat Jerry Savoie in the final round. It also marked the 100th career win for Harley-Davidson in the class, a streak that Hines started with his first career victory in 2004. 
 
It was another noteworthy accomplishment for Hines, who became the first rider to claim 50 wins in the class last weekend and has three victories in four races to open the 2019 Pro Stock Motorcycle season. The class points leader beat Melissa Surber, Ryan Oehler and Hector Arana Jr. to reach the final round.
 
“It was a good day and my motorcycle is nothing like I’ve ever had in my career,” said Hines, who now has three wins at Atlanta Dragway. “It’s working really well and doesn’t do much wrong. All in all, it was a fantastic day. To get 100 wins for Harley-Davidson, it’s monumental. It was a very big struggle at first, and there’s been trials and tribulations, but it’s really nice to get the 100th.”
 
Savoie knocked off Cory Reed, Steve Johnson and Eddie Krawiec en route to the finals.
 
The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues May 17-19 with the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va. 
 
Mike Castellana claimed his second victory in three years at Atlanta Dragway in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service on Sunday, winning the 39th annual Arby’s NHRA Southern Nationals, where the series was presented by FuelTech. It is the fourth of 12 races during the 2019 season.
 
Castellana ran 5.825-seconds at 248.29 mph in his supercharged Al-Anabi Performance Chevrolet Camaro, picking up the final-round win when Jose Gonzalez suffered a red-light start.
 
It marks the ninth career E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod victory for Castellana, who qualified ninth and also earned round wins over Brandon Snider, Jeremy Ray and defending world champion Mike Janis, running a 5.809 at 248.48 in the semifinals.
 
“I knew everything would come together, but I didn’t expect it this quick,” said Castellana, who failed to qualify at the first three races of the season. “(Crew chief) Frank (Manzo) and my team do a great job. We feel real confident now. We’re making progress with the car and we’ll be ready for Virginia.”
 
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service continues May 17-19 with the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in Richmond, Va
A year ago, Acura Team Penske celebrated its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio with a sweep of the top two podium spots.
 
No. 6 Acura ARX-05 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) co-drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron came home second that day as their teammates in the No. 7, Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor, celebrated the victory. Following Sunday’s two-hour and 40-minute battle at the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, it was the No. 6 team’s turn to celebrate.
 
Montoya and Cameron turned the tables on the weekend-long battle with Mazda Team Joest in Sunday’s race – showing speed when it mattered most, both on the racetrack and on pit road. Montoya took the lead with an hour and 18 minutes remaining following the middle pit-stop sequence and the No. 6 Acura outmuscled Tristan Nunez in the Motul Pole Award-winning No. 77 Mazda RT24-P DPi, pulling away on a restart with 24 minutes remaining to win by 2.022 seconds.
 
“I think we just executed well,” Montoya said. “We had been unlucky with mechanical issues and stuff this year, but we executed today the way it needed to be.
 
“I think the pace was good, but it’s tough because if you push hard you go quicker, and you open up a bit of a gap. But you can catch the cars in the wrong place and the seven-second gap you had becomes a two-second gap. So you want to run at an easy pace and just see how the traffic comes. The big difference was I did a good job on the restart with cold tires, and I did a good opening lap. We have races and race tracks that suit our car are coming up and we should be able to get some good results. The key here is not to make mistakes and give in to pressures and stuff like that.
 
“Last year we had a lot of races where we would finish second and third, but could never get it done. If you had told me last year when I made the deal it was going to take me this long to win my first race, I would have said no way. So it’s nice to finally put it together, it’s a pretty big day.”
 
It was the first WeatherTech Championship win for Acura Team Penske since last year’s race at Mid-Ohio. Montoya picked up his first WeatherTech Championship win and his fourth IMSA win after recording three previous Rolex 24 At Daytona triumphs in GRAND-AM competition. For Cameron, the victory was his 13th in IMSA competition – including 11 in the WeatherTech Championship and one each in GRAND-AM and the American Le Mans Series.
 
“It’s really satisfying to win today,” Cameron said. “We definitely didn’t expect to have the year we had last year. Or even the first couple of races this year, so it’s really nice to have a really close to perfect race today.
 
“Juan did a great job on his stints. I was able to get up to the lead and turn it over to him. It really couldn’t have gone any better. Hopefully, we can get a bunch more wins from here now that we’ve reminded ourselves we do know how to do it. We just need to continue to execute, and there are a couple of tracks coming up that suit us, and suit our car, and I think we just need to take advantage at the ones where we can and find the difference in the tracks that we don’t.”
 
The victory wasn’t lost on Cameron for the importance of winning a race that their manufacturer sponsored.
 
“Obviously, it’s a super important day,” he added. “It’s great to see Acura so involved in our sport and this series, and this type of racing. Everyone wants to win the big marques enduros, but before that, it’s just as important to win the title sponsor races. Hopefully, they can continue to grow their involvement in motorsport, and we can continue to work with them.”
 
Mazda Team Joest swept the final two spots on the podium led by Nunez and co-driver Oliver Jarvis in second aboard the No. 77. Jonathan Bomarito and past IndyCar champion and Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay – standing in for regular driver Harry Tincknell – came home third in the No. 55 Mazda DPi, duplicating the team’s 2-3 performance at last year’s season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
 
Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani retained their WeatherTech Championship DPi points lead with a fourth-place run in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R. With 120 points, the No. 31 teammates now have a four-point lead over No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 DPi co-drivers Castroneves and Taylor, who finished fifth Sunday.
 
In the LMP2 class, No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA co-drivers Eric Lux and Matt McMurry scored a dominating victory, their first of the season in the WeatherTech Championship, after the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA driven at the time by Cameron Cassels encountered difficulties on the opening lap of the race.
 
It was McMurry’s first-ever victory in IMSA competition, and was the fifth IMSA win – but first WeatherTech Championship victory – for Lux.
 
“It feels good to have luck on our side this time, McMurry said. “I’ve had a couple of unlucky races before with a couple failures and incidents. So it was nice just to have a clean race where we could just put down laps and stay clean and end up on the top step of the podium.”
 
For Lux, it was his basically his first time in a prototype in over five years, and the feeling of winning wasn’t lost on him.
 
“Except for Daytona last year, it’s been five years since I’ve been in a prototype,” he said. “So it was quite a steep curve jumping back into it. But I couldn’t have asked for a better team to get back into it with. I’m happy to make this the weekend I came back and to end up on the top step of the podium.”
 
A television re-air of the Acura Sports Car Challenge will be on Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
 
Next up for the WeatherTech Championship is the 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit’s Belle Isle Park on Saturday, June 1. The race will feature the DPi and GT Daytona (GTD) classes.
 
NBCSN will televise the race live beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET, with live coverage also available via IMSA Radio on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio. Tickets are available now on DetroitGP.com.  
Despite his involvement in two separate incidents during the night, Josh Berry executed one of the best performances of his career on Friday night at Ace Speedway, winning The Race At Ace 125 for the CARS Late Model Stock Tour. It was Berry's 15th career victory in the series and an emotional one after his car owner, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., lost his mother just over a week prior.
 
In Hedgecock Pole Qualifying, Ryan Millington rocketed to the fast time award, the first of his CARS Late Model Stock Tour career. The youngster led the opening handful of circuits, but was challenged early on restarts.
 
Three laps into the race, caution flew for Trevor Ward's smoking car, but at the exact moment the caution was called, Justin Carroll and Layne Riggs made contact, leading to a five-car pileup involving Berry, Tommy Lemons, Taylor Gray, Sammy Smith and Jason York. Although damaged, all drivers except York were able to eventually continue. Carroll brought out the next caution six laps later when a loose wheel eventually separated itself from the car, causing him to spin in turn two.
 
Bobby McCarty took the lead from Ryan Millington on lap nine and appeared to be in the same form he was one year prior at Ace where he led nearly every lap en route to victory.
 
On a lap 30 restart, Zack St. Onge apparently missed a shift, a mistake which led the field to fan out and subsequently multiple competitors made contact in the first turn, leading to a multi-car incident where Brandon Pierce impacted the outside wall. Leland Honeyman, Jr., was also involved, ramping his machine over the entire right rear quarterpanel of Josh Berry before also making contact with the concrete which ultimately ended his night.
 
A slew of additonal minor cautions occurred through the middle stages of the race (laps 38, 55, 57, and 89) but Bobby McCarty continued to set the pace over his closest pursuer, Deac McCaskill, who shadowed the No. 22 for most of the event. Despite his issues early, Josh Berry worked his way up to third and passed McCaskill on lap 76 before chasing down leader McCarty under green.
 
The caution for Taylor Gray and Mini Tyrrell's encounter on lap 89 set up a pivotal restart for McCarty and Berry within sight of the finish. As the field raced into turn three, Berry eased into McCarty's rear bumper, moved him up the racetrack and stole the preferred line as the field raced into turn one. Following additional contact, Berry emerged as the leader and quickly opened up a sizeable advantage of Deac McCaskill who also bypassed McCarty during the same sequence.
 
Even a late-race caution for a single-car spin on lap 103 could not slow down Berry. He extended his lead to 2.421 seconds in the final 22 laps and handily beat Ryan Millington, McCaskill, McCarty and his JR Motorsports teammate Adam Lemke to the stripe. 
 
"At the beginning, when we got turned around, that wasn't good," Berry said in Edelbrock Victory Lane. "But, man, I felt calm. I could tell early on we had a good car, we just didn't get a good qualifying lap."
 
Before climbing out of the car, Berry pointed to the roof of the car where a memorial decal was placed in remembrance of his car owner's late mother, Brenda Jackson, who passed away just over a week prior. He then shared how important she was in his racing career. 
 
"It's obviously been a long week for everyone at JR Motorsports with the passing of Brenda," he said while visibly holding back some emotion. "Willie and Brenda are a large part of why I'm here. Ten years ago when I moved here to drive late models, they let me live at their house for like two months. Without them, and their hospitality doing that, I might not be here today. It's just been a long week for everyone this week. Dale, Kelley, L.W., I know they've been going through a lot so this one's for them.
 
"This has been a place we've struggled a little bit, but I don't know, I guess we just figured it out tonight," he continued. "There were a couple little things we were able to work on and make our car better. I think, for me, it had such a feel like Martinsville [last year] where I could get it turned and point it straight to come right off the bottom. It was just a matter of time until we kept picking them off and picking them off. I wanna thank the good Lord above that we didn't get caught up in a lot of trouble when we were back there in the back. We were able to sneak through it, there, and miss the big one on the front stretch because it was a bad situation and I didn't know which way to go."
 
The win, coupled with misfortune of his closest two point pursuers Taylor Gray and Brandon Pierce, extended Berry's point lead entering race five of the tour at Motor Mile Speedway on May 18. The CARS Super Late Model Tour will also be in action in yet another twin-bill race format, and the tour's first visit to southwestern Virginia since its inaugural season in 2015.
 
For more information on the CARS Tour, visit their website at CARSRacingTour.com, or follow them on Facebook (@CARSTour), Twitter (@CARSTour), Instagram (@cars_tour), and Snapchat (@carstour). The series also has its own YouTube channel, Roku channel (available through its TV website), and a new Amazon FireTV app released this week.
Former NHRA Pro Stock Champion, Tanner Gray, earned his first NASCAR victory over the weekend as he took the checkered flag in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Twin No. 1 at South Boston (Va.) Speedway. The win also marked DGR-Crosley's first K&N Pro Series victory of the 2019 season. 
Gray, who transitioned from NHRA to stock car racing in 2019 is seeing early success with his new team, DGR-Crosley. It only took Gray and his No. 15 Gray Motorsports/Valvoline Toyota team four races together to get their first win of the season. Gray is no stranger to Victory Lane, as he saw a plethora of success in a drag car winning a Championship and 11 Pro Stock National events over the last two seasons, but this weekend's win was special to Gray now that he has shifted his focus to NASCAR for the longevity of his career.
In his first race at South Boston Speedway, Gray and his No. 15 Toyota Camry had a strong start to the weekend after posting the fastest time in the opening practice session at the 0.4-mile track. He continued that positive momentum into qualifying where he earned his first-career Pole Award by posting a time of 14.977-seconds. In overtime of the WhosYourDriver.org Twin 100 race, Gray went head to head with Sam Mayer on the restart. Gray pulled away in the last lap to gain his first NASCAR career victory after leading a career-high 79 laps. 
The second race was postponed to Sunday afternoon when rain moved into the area Saturday night. Gray went on to finish fourth in the second WhosYourDriver.org Twin 100. A replay of Gray’s victory will air on NBCSN on May 8, at 6 p.m., ET. The second Twin 100 will air on May 9 at 6 p.m., ET on NBSCN. 
Gray on South Boston: "Man, this is awesome. It feels so good to get that first win. I'm really competitive, and I've been wanting to get this Camry to Victory Lane. It wouldn't be possible without all the guys at DGR-Crosley working hard in the shop. They work their butts off for us and always bring great cars to the race track for me. I felt like I've been letting them down lately, so it feels really great to see to see them all in Victory Lane.
It's funny that it's my fourth K&N race. I won my fourth Pro Stock race as well, so that's kind of funny. Had a lot of fun, it was really cool racing with Sam [Mayer] there at the end."
DGR Crosley PR
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