Motorsport

  • Kane Wins The Battle and The NSSS War

    Queenslander Darren Kane drove his #36 Nissan Ultima bodied Super Sedan into the history books at Speedway City as he won a dramatic A-Main at the final round of the National Super Sedan Series (NSSS). In what was a nail bitting finish to the series the victory also saw Kane clinch his fifth NSSS Title over South Australian Dave Gartner, who unfortunately failed to finish the final after a massive hit to the turn one concrete wall.

    The huge Easter Sunday crowd were treated to some top class Sedan racing throughout the night with the series lead changing on several occasions. In fact going into the final Kane only led Gartner by 4 points setting up a winner take all scenario for the 40 lap final.

    Going into the final Tasmanian Brad Smith was a red hot favourite having secured two heat wins and the Super 7’s but his quest for the round win ended on lap one as he slammed the front straight wall. Smith was able to re-join at the tail of the field but he would never recover.

    From this point Kane would actually lead the entire race journey but it was far from a boring event as the top four drivers, Darren Kane, Ryan Alexander, Dave Gartner and Kodee Brown, were rarely separated with the drivers lapping the venue at a lightning pace.

    The race would turn on its head on lap 18 as the leaders attempted to lap Bill Miller, who was driving the Jamie Agius owned machine, with Gartner riding the right rear of Alexander’s car slamming the State Champion hard into the wall. After the incident Gartner was devastated and was lost for words as his Championship campaign came to an end.

    On the restart the race was quickly under a red light as Trevor Ware, who was now running fourth, rode out a massive barrel roll in turn three totally destroying his Insane Chassis. The incident forced the event to be shortened to 35 laps.

    The remaining laps were run with Kane holding onto the lead over Ryan Alexander with Kodee Brown, Mick Nicola and Michael Miller the only drivers on the lead lap.

  • Kenseth Suspended

    NASCAR suspended Matt Kenseth for the next two Sprint Cup Series events Tuesday for his role in a crash with Joey Logano late in Sunday's race at Martinsville Speedway.
     
    NASCAR officials issued no other penalties to the driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota, but did place Kenseth on probation for the next six months.

    Moments after the ruling was issued, Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Kenseth would appeal the penalty. "The appeal will challenge the severity of the penalty which is believed to be inconsistent with previous penalties for similar on-track incidents," the JGR statement read. "There will be no further comments from JGR personnel during the appeal process."

    NASCAR announced it would expedite the appeals process.

    Kenseth and Logano wrecked on Lap 454 of the Goody's Headache Relief Shot 500, with Kenseth's No. 20 entry making heavy contact with Logano's Team Penske No. 22 Ford. The collision carried both cars into the Turn 1 wall, severely damaging both.
     
    The run-in was the latest chapter in escalating tensions between the two rivals during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs. Though Kenseth attempted to blame the crash on a deflated tire or mechanical issue, the altercation was widely perceived to be retaliation for hard racing between the two in recent weeks.

    Kenseth was multiple laps down at the time of the incident because of an earlier crash. Logano was out front and had led nearly half of the race to that point. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, said Sunday evening that those two factors weighed heavily in the minds of race officials, who parked Kenseth's No. 20 for the rest of the day shortly after the two cars came to rest.
     
    "In our minds, that's a little bit different than two drivers really going after it coming out of Turn 4 for a win versus what happened tonight," O'Donnell said.

    O'Donnell reiterated that stance in Tuesday's penalty report from the sanctioning body.
     
    "Based upon our extensive review, we have concluded that the No. 20 car driver, who is no longer in the Chase, intentionally wrecked the No. 22 car driver, a Chase-eligible competitor who was leading the race at the time," O'Donnell said in a statement. "The No. 20 car was nine laps down, and eliminated the No. 22 car's opportunity to continue to compete in the race.
     
    "Additionally, we factored aspects of safety into our decision, and also the fact that the new Chase elimination format puts a premium on each and every race. These actions have no place in NASCAR."
     
    Two weeks earlier at Kansas Speedway, Logano pressured and eventually spun Kenseth in a late-race battle for the lead. Logano, having already advanced to the next round in the Chase with a win the previous week at Charlotte, continued on to victory and was unapologetic for his aggressive racing in his post-race remarks.

    Kenseth's postseason hopes ended the following week at Talladega Superspeedway, where he said in pre-race interviews that Logano "should have stopped running his mouth, A, and No. 2, he's lying when he said he didn't do it on purpose."
     
    NASCAR instituted its unwritten "boys, have at it" code in 2010, allowing drivers to settle differences amongst themselves with minimal intervention from competition officials. But NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France, in a Tuesday morning appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, said there were limits to how far self-policing should go.
     
    "What we want to prevent happening is drivers or anyone participating in NASCAR to take events into their own hands and control outcomes of races," France said. "That's a very serious thing to us, and we'll be dealing with that."

    This story will be updated.

  • Kevin Swindell Undergoes More Surgery

    Third-generation racer Kevin Swindell continues his recovery from significant injuries suffered Thursday night at Knoxville (Iowa) Raceway.

    Swindell underwent a second surgery on Monday at Des Moines Mercy Hospital and is making progress in his recovery. His father, hall of fame sprint car racer Sammy Swindell, posted the following statement on Twitter:

    “Kevin underwent a second surgery today at Des Moines Mercy Hospital to address one of two fractures suffered in his back following last week’s accident at Knoxville Raceway. Both surgeries have been successful and the doctors are heartened by his progress.

    “The doctors are also running tests on and monitoring a spinal cord injury that Kevin received during the accident.

    “We realize there is a long battle ahead, but Kevin has remained positive throughout the process and is prepared to fight to regain his health. We’re all hopeful for a Friday discharge and the next steps in recovery.”

    The statement continued, thanking the hospital staff who is treating Kevin Swindell and the fans who have shown support for the four-time Chili Bowl Midget Nationals winner:

    “We would like to especially thank the doctors, nurses and the staff at Des Moines Mercy Hospital for their outstanding work and the care they have provided Kevin. Additionally, we want to let the sprint car community and all of the fans who have reached out to the three of us know that we are grateful for your ongoing support, prayers and donations.

    “We remain optimistic about Kevin’s progress and will provide updates as they become available.”

  • Kevin Ward Jr. family files wrongful death lawsuit against Stewart

    The family of a young driver struck and killed by Tony Stewart's car on an upstate New York sprint racing track filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the NASCAR star Friday.

    The lawsuit was filed as Stewart returns to Watkins Glen International on the one-year anniversary of the fatal crash.

    The lawsuit accuses Stewart of gross negligence, saying he gunned his engine and put his car into a skid as 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. walked onto the track after a crash at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Aug. 9, 2014. The car struck Ward, and he was killed.

    Ward Jr however was competing under the influence of a banned hallucinogenic substance and after the accident walked aggressively onto the track directly in the path of Stewarts moving car.

    A grand jury declined to indict Stewart, who at the time called it "100 percent an accident." There was no comment from Stewart, who was with his crew in the garage before a final practice Friday afternoon. Stewart-Haas Racing, the NASCAR Sprint Cup team Stewart co-owns, also declined comment.

    Ward's parents, Kevin and Pamela Ward, requested a jury trial seeking unspecified monetary damages, claiming wrongful death, reckless conduct, gross negligence and their son's terror and suffering.

    "Our son was truly the light of our lives and we miss him terribly every day," they said in a statement. "Our hope is that this lawsuit will hold Tony Stewart responsible for killing our son and show him there are real consequences when someone recklessly takes another person's life."

    There was no immediate comment from Stewart.

  • Kinser to Race in Australia

    It has been confirmed by multiple sources that Krag Kinser will be racing Downunder in the upcoming season.

    Schedule is a little sketchy but we hear he will be running in the car that a recently retired competitor vacated due to ongoing medial issues.

    Kraig Kinser, the oldest son of sprint car legend Steve Kinser, is the 2004 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year. Kinser has 16 series wins to his credit. His first World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series win came in 2004 at Cottage Grove (Ore.) Speedway. The following year Kinser won the Knoxville Nationals – he and Steve Kinser are the only father/son duo to ever win the coveted prize.

    After a brief hiatus in NASCAR, Kinser returned full-time to the World of Outlaws in 2008. In 2012, Kinser scored a, to date, career-high four wins.

    He returns in 2015 with his family owned Steve Kinser Racing.

    Remember you hear it here first on The Motorsport Channel.

  • Kinser to Undergo Surgery, Miss Aussie Summer

    Kraig Kinser driver of the 11K sprint car has likely concluded his season with the World of Outlaws for 2015 due to a reoccurring back injury caused by a previous racing incident.

    30-year-old Kinser was found to have two herniated disks in his lower back (L4/L5 and L5/S1), irritating his sciatic nerve. Kraig will undergo surgery this week with no specific date of his return to the 2015 World of Outlaws season.

    The SKR team has not yet confirmed the plans for the remainder of the season however Mikey Kuemper (Kraig’s brother-in-law and crew chief) will be steering the 11K until further arrangements have been made.

    The operation also throws his Australian Summer plans out the window as a lengthy recovery is in order.

    Kinser was marked to drive the s4 of South Australian Trevor Green in Sydney and then on to the Classic. Green will either have to keep current pilot Adam Wray in the car or find another suitable steerer .

  • Knoxville Nationals Post Race Media Conference

    Hear what the top three had to say in the post race media conference from the Knoxville Nationals.

    1.     15     Donny Schatz Fargo, ND
    2.     29     Kerry Madsen St. Marys, NSW, Aust
    3.     49     Brad Sweet Grass Valley, CA

    Click Here To Listen

  • Kyle Busch dominates for XFINITY win at Atlanta

    Scratch another race track off Kyle Busch's checklist.

    In what evolved into a two-man battle against Kyle Larson on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion continued his mastery in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, beating Larson to the finish line to win the Heads Up Georgia 250.

    The victory was Busch's first at the 1.54-mile track and the 77th of his career, extending his own series record.

    But the outcome was far from a foregone conclusion when Busch led the field to green on the final restart with 29 laps left. Busch was strong in the short run, but Larson would start to close dramatically 20 laps into a green-flag run.

    That's exactly what played out over the final 29 laps, as Larson began cutting into a lead that had reached more than 1.5 seconds. Making up ground in the top lane through Turns 1 and 2, Larson's No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet was within eight car lengths of Busch's No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with two laps left when Larson's progress was impeded by the lapped car of Ryan Preece through the first corner.

    Larson lost ground, and Busch crossed the finish line with a lead of .466 seconds.

    "I actually thought that last run was going to be too long," Busch said. "(Crew chief Chris) Gayle did a good job of making some adjustments to our car, and it helped me. It helped me definitely on the front side of a run, for the first 20 (laps), and I don't think it hurt me from there on to the end of the race.

    "But Larson was just better than us. He could close and close and close. Lapped traffic, they were really nice to me. I think they screwed him up a couple of times. So I kind of appreciated those guys."

    Erik Jones, Busch's JGR teammate, rallied from an early penalty -- beating Busch, the pole winner, to the start/finish at the start of the race after Busch spun his tires -- to run third, followed by Paul Menard and series regular Ty Dillon, who earned a free pass to the lead lap under the final caution, took four tires and charged into the top five from 11th on the restart.

    Larson clearly had a problem with lapped traffic, but he wasn’t sure he could have passed Busch for the victory, even if he had pulled up to his rear bumper.

    "I definitely would have gotten closer to him, but it would have been still tough to pass him," Larson said. "He was saving his tires, I think, running the bottom, and I was running pretty hard at the top. He would definitely have moved up in front of me there in (Turns) 1 and 2, and it would have been tough to get underneath him."

    Elliott Sadler came home ninth and retained the series lead by three points over seventh-place finisher Daniel Suarez and five points over Dillon.

  • Kyle Busch wins XFINITY race at Michigan

    In his first NASCAR XFINITY Series race back from a broken right leg and left foot, Kyle Busch proved conclusively that he hasn't lost a step.
     
    Taking advantage of contact between the Chevrolet of Kevin Harvick and the Ford of polesitter Joey Logano—as those two drivers were battling for the lead—Busch passed Chase Elliott for the lead on Lap 122 of 125 and held on to win Saturday's Great Clips 250 at Michigan International Speedway.
     
    Busch's series-best 71st victory, his second at the two-mile track, came nearly two months after the driver of the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was sidelined by a brutal Feb. 21 crash into a concrete wall in Turn 1 at Daytona International Speedway.

    Busch returned to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series action in the Sprint All-Star Race in May, but deferred his XFINITY Series comeback to Saturday's race at Michigan.
     
    "It feels good," Busch said after climbing from his car in Victory Lane. "This is only a preliminary for what we’ve got to do on Sundays (in the Sprint Cup Series), but it's a start. You've got to start somewhere, right?
     
    "I can't say enough about this team. (Crew chief) Chris Gayle did an awesome job today with this race car. We messed up a little bit today on a pit call, but we made up for it. Hard racing today, man. It was crazy, the side-by-side action we got here. The track's kind of widening out, lending itself to some cool action."
     
    After a restart on Lap 116, the race unraveled for Logano and Harvick. As the two drivers fought for the lead in Turn 3, with Logano to the outside, Harvick's Chevrolet got loose and washed up the track into Logano's Ford.
     
    The right rear of Logano's Ford brushed the outside wall, but both drivers were able to continue, albeit after losing several positions. Harvick finished sixth, and Logano, who led a race-high 54 laps came home seventh.
     
    Harvick took responsibility for the incident.
     
    "I just got loose underneath him," Harvick explained. "I had a huge run down the back straightaway. That late in the race, I figured I need to try to win the race, and I got in there, and he was on the outside of me, but it was too late to not have contact at that point.
     
    "So totally my fault. I just got loose under him going for the win."
     
    Harvick's mea culpa was little consolation for Logano, who had the race's dominant car for most of the day.

    "We were racing for a win here, and it just seems like he drove in there pretty hard trying to slide me," Logano said. "I drove up in there, too, and he got loose underneath me and got into my left rear and up we both went into the race track.
     
    "It's unfortunate. I had a fast Discount Tire Ford, obviously the winning car, leading a ton of laps and up there at the end of the race. I was racing hard, and he just drove over his head a little bit."
     
    Despite his runner-up finish, Elliott left Michigan disappointed he couldn't find a way to keep Busch behind him in the closing laps.
     
    "I'll be honest—second does not feel good, to me at least," Elliott said. "I thought we had a car good enough to compete today… We finally got ourselves in position there. We had two even-numbered restarts where we were six and fourth (in the preferred outside lane) that put us in position there to have an opportunity on that last restart.

    "Obviously, the 22 (Logano) would have been really hard to beat, and Kevin got into him by accident and moved him up the race track. Obviously, that opened up our opportunity to have a shot at the win… (Kyle) is really good at what he does, and I don’t really have an excuse for it. So, yeah, he outran me."
     
    Kyle Larson finished third, followed by Chris Buescher, who extended his series lead to 25 points over Ty Dillon, who came home 13th. Elliott is third in the standings, 35 points back.

  • Late pass gives Reddick victory at Dover

    Tyler Reddick had a score to settle with Dover International Speedway, and on Friday he did just that, winning the Lucas Oil 200 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race in his second start at the Monster Mile.

    Reddick passed Erik Jones on Lap 193 of 200 and finished 1.255 seconds ahead of Daniel Suarez, who drove past third-place finisher Jones in the closing laps to take the runner-up spot.

    The victory was Reddick’s second of the season in the No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford, and in the driver’s view, it atoned for last year’s eighth-place finish, in which Reddick underestimated the physical toll high-speed racing at Dover can exact.

    Specifically, his leg fell asleep as the race progressed.

    "After what happened to myself last year, not knowing a lot about the g-forces in the corners here—I was kind of green when it came to asphalt racing," Reddick said. "We had a top-five truck last year, and to have something like that impede our progress in what would have been our first top five… to have something like that mess up what could have been potentially a breakout day for us are the things you can’t have happen in racing.

    "I really wanted to come back here and run really strong, just like I want to run strong every given race. But (last year) gave me a little bit of extra fuel for the fire, and I knew I had to run good here—and we did."

    Daniel Henrick posted a career-best fourth-place NCWTS finish in his first race at Dover. Series leader Matt Crafton ran fifth but saw his margin narrowed to 11 points by Reddick, who is second after six races.

    Ben Kennedy came home sixth, followed by Keystone Light Polesitter Ryan Blaney, Brandon Jones, Johnny Sauter and Tyler Young. Suarez, Jones, Kennedy and Blaney, who finished among the top seven, are all NASCAR Next alums.

    Though Jones, lost one position to Reddick in the series standings, he moved closer to Crafton, now trailing the two-time defending champion by 14 points. Sauter is fourth, 40 points behind Crafton, and could be considered the only other driver within realistic striking distance of the leader at this point in the season.

    Like Jones, Suarez used a two-tire call to gain track position in the late stages of the race but felt race traffic hindered him in the closing laps.

    "To be honest, I feel like we had a faster truck," said Suarez, a member of the 2014 NASCAR Drive for Diversity class, who posted his best finish to date in the series. "Traffic was everything. I was talking with my crew chief Jerry Baxter through the radio during the middle of the race. I told him, ‘I don’t care about tires, I need the track position.’

    "For sure the track position was very important. Erik Jones he changed just two tires in the last pit stop and he was able to almost get the win and he was driving away, but traffic was a big problem for him and for me and I feel like for everyone. Traffic was something that was a gamble, but overall I feel like we learned some good stuff for tomorrow (in the NASCAR XFINITY Series race)."

    A collision between winner Reddick and Jennifer Jo Cobb turned nasty as Cobb stormed onto a hot track to show her displeasure.  Something she will undoubtedly look back on and say that was very a very stupid thing to do.

    NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Race - Lucas Oil 200
    Dover International Speedway
    Dover, Delaware
    Friday, May 29, 2015

    1. (4) Tyler Reddick, Ford, 200, $55620.
    2. (5) Daniel Suarez(i), Toyota, 200, $33106.
    3. (2) Erik Jones #, Toyota, 200, $32003.
    4. (19) Daniel Hemric #, Chevrolet, 200, $23957.
    5. (3) Matt Crafton, Toyota, 200, $23604.
    6. (18) Ben Kennedy, Toyota, 200, $21965.
    7. (1) Ryan Blaney(i), Ford, 200, $20663.
    8. (12) Brandon Jones #, Chevrolet, 200, $20060.
    9. (16) Johnny Sauter, Toyota, 200, $19612.
    10. (25) Tyler Young, Chevrolet, 199, $20313.
    11. (20) Ray Black Jr. #, Chevrolet, 199, $19115.
    12. (13) Spencer Gallagher #, Chevrolet, 199, $18810.
    13. (10) Cole Custer, Chevrolet, 198, $16450.
    14. (15) Brandon Brown, Chevrolet, 196, $16339.
    15. (22) Timmy Hill, Chevrolet, 195, $18878.
    16. (21) Austin Hill, Ford, 192, $16317.
    17. (27) Korbin Forrister #, Chevrolet, 190, $18258.
    18. (17) John Wes Townley, Chevrolet, 178, $18147.
    19. (24) Travis Kvapil, Chevrolet, 178, $15786.
    20. (14) Timothy Peters, Toyota, Accident, 136, $18426.
    21. (7) Cameron Hayley #, Toyota, 136, $17815.
    22. (6) John H. Nemechek #, Chevrolet, 136, $17704.
    23. (31) Tim Viens, Chevrolet, Rear End, 127, $17594.
    24. (28) Ryan Ellis, Chevrolet, Accident, 90, $17484.
    25. (8) Justin Boston #, Toyota, Accident, 65, $16273.
    26. (32) Norm Benning, Chevrolet, Suspension, 61, $16012.
    27. (23) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, Ignition, 56, $14902.
    28. (26) Justin Jennings, Chevrolet, Accident, 33, $14570.
    29. (11) Mason Mingus, Chevrolet, Accident, 32, $14432.
    30. (9) Jesse Little, Toyota, Accident, 32, $13932.
    31. (29) Tyler Tanner, Chevrolet, Vibration, 15, $12432.
    32. (30) Jennifer Jo Cobb, Chevrolet, Accident, 12, $11432.

  • Laverty Q&A: “I knew I had a lot to learn in the first year”

    Eugene Laverty chats about his debut season in MotoGP™, his recovery from injury and his aims for 2016.

    Aspar MotoGP Team’s Eugene Laverty finished in 22nd in the 2015 MotoGP™ championship standings with 9 points. In 2016 the team have switched to Ducati machinery and Eugene will be riding a GP14.2:

    Eugene, first up, how is your left wrist after you broke it at the private test in Jerez at the end of last year and, of course, your right wrist injury from Sepang?

    “That was the nice thing about the first few laps in Sepang, we tested out the left wrist and it felt okay. I did some supermoto in January and there was still a bit of pain there, but once I got on the Ducati there was no problem at all. There is still a little bit to come from the right shoulder. It is improving bit by bit, but should be fine for Phillip Island. Obviously it didn’t help that I injured my right wrist in Sepang. It was a bit confusing with the right wrist injury, as it was a similar injury to one I received 10 years ago. It seems that perhaps the old injury actually saved me, because all of the damage looked the same and the bruising was huge but I hadn’t broken it…well we think so. The Clinica Mobile were convinced it was fractured due to the bruising, as there was a lot, but it is moving again and it is what it is. The main thing is to get back on the bike again.”

    How would you summarise your first full season in MotoGP™ last year?

    “In some aspects it was positive, but what we had aimed for when I first signed the contract was far from what we achieved. The team did a great job but we were on under-par machinery I guess. It was tough; MotoGP has never been as tough. Sometimes we were within 1-1.5s and myself and Nicky were riding the wheels off the bike, so to only get four point-scoring finishes was disappointing and was definitely not our target at the start of the year. I ended up with nine points and I would like to have got that in one race rather than across the whole season! In that respect I am positive that on the Ducati we can step up to where we should be.”

    So would you say your team’s switch to Ducati machinery was a positive one for you?

    “It definitely was! I worked with Luigi (Dall’Igna) in WorldSBK’s and he has carried across the same mentality and approach to Ducati in MotoGP. He is very involved, loves racing in his heart and he wants the best for me. He listens to what I have to say about the bike too, which is positive because we are not a factory team, yet he personally comes by to see how things are going.”

    How important is that kind of support from a manufacturer?

    “That is why they are ahead with the electronics. They got the jump on their rivals with the electronics because they were on the case last year. Where as with Honda, because we were down the pecking order our comments weren’t going to be listened to, which is a shame as my teammate Nicky (Hayden) was obviously a former MotoGP World Champion. When I worked with Luigi in WorldSBK he was key to developing a bike that could win races every weekend. I think we know what we are capable of and given the right machinery we can be aiming for points scoring finishes regularly.”

    Having come from the Open class last year, how excited are you about the technical changes for 2016?

    “I am excited, and that’s the reason I came to MotoGP. I signed a two-year contract with this change in mind. I knew I had a lot to learn in the first year. Despite the bike last year not being what we had hoped for, it was still enough for me to learn. Obviously I was never going to be able to fight at the front in my first year in MotoGP, it takes time to learn a different category. Now, with a year under my belt the roles have been switched, as now everyone has to learn the new tyres and electronics. I think it was a good time to move and definitely this year will be a much more even playing field.”

    With so much to adapt to in 2016, the new bike, tyres and electronics, the Sepang test must have been frustrating for you…

    “It was frustrating as I didn’t really get to test at all. At the Valencia test I had an initial run on the bike with last years Open electronics. My first real go on the 2016 software with the Michelin tyres was at the private test in Jerez. We were just starting to work our way few some small gremlins with the new ECU when I had my crash and got injured. Then again in Sepang we had the same thing. We did a few laps to work out some electronic issues, then there was the mechanical problem that caused the crash and I didn’t really get to ride. On the final day I just tried to get out there to “get back on the horse,” but the pain was too much and I wasn’t able to ride, which was frustrating. I think you can say I am looking forward to Phillip Island!”

    Despite your woes in Sepang, how encouraging was it for you to see Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) on the same bike as you (GP14.2) in third on the combined timesheets?

    “That was the biggest positive point for me and it was why I was able to smile on the second day despite not being able to ride. That is because I knew that no matter what happened last year, unless it snowed or something crazy happened with the weather, we weren’t going to be able to be up there. So to see Hector put in that time on the same level of equipment that we have, it gives us reason for optimism and means that we can get stuck in. Okay we are not on the factory Ducati, but it isn’t a big gap. The bike is still a great bike and it is not that far behind, as you can see by what the Pramac team achieved last year on the GP14.2.”

    Bearing in mind what happened in Sepang, what are your aims for the Phillip Island test?

    “I need to get comfortable on the bike, get some laps in and put in some decent runs. In the last two tests I was trying to fix some little teething problems before my crashes happened, so I was in and out of the pits trying to get them sorted. Now I am just looking forward to being able to ride the bike and stay out on track for 6-8 laps and feel comfortable on it as it still hasn’t felt like my bike. In Valencia it started to feel like my bike, but since we switched to the 2016 electronics, I haven’t been able to make much progress, so I am just keen to get out there, put a handful of laps together and try and feel at home.”

    What are you aims for the season?

    “It is so difficult to know, because the Pramac guys did such a great job on the bike last year. I definitely want to reduce the gap to the guys at the front. Last year we were often 1.5-2s off pole position, and we have to reduce that substantially. It may sound crazy, but as I mentioned earlier, last year I scored nine points over the course of the season, I would like to achieve that in one race this season. That’s a seventh position finish in a race, so to be in and around there is the aim.”

  • Le Mans, MotoGP Style

    The French round is one of the most illustrious in the MotoGP calendar - here we look back at the history of the French GP.

    Since the start of the World Championship in 1949, the Grand Prix of France has taken place 52 times, the first one on the 8895-meter Albi track in 1953.

    Since then, the gala round of the World Championship was held on eight different track layouts, including Rouen, Reins, Clermont-Ferrand, Le Mans, Paul Ricard, Nogaro and Magny-Cours.

    In the modern GP era, the Grand Prix has hosted some fantastic races, such as the battle in 1988 between Paul Ricard, Wayne Gardner, Eddie Lawson, Christian Sarron and Kevin Schwantz.

    After a race full of overtaking, a few corners from the end the Australian was ahead and was almost in sight of the finish line, but the engine of his Honda NSR 500 suffered a threat of seizure and he lost all chance of victory, although he could cross the finish line in fourth position ahead of Wayne Rainey.

    1991 was unique in that were two rounds of the World Championship in the same season on French soil; one GP at Paul Ricard in France and a second round, where Brazil was replaced by Le Mans with two races remaining, in which Rainey earned the second of his three world titles with Yamaha.

    Grands Prix in France have often proved favourable for Spanish riders. Carlos Cardus (uncle of the current Moto2 ™ rider Ricky Cardus) achieved his first victory at Le Mans in 1989 in the 250cc class and the next year he would do the same after beating his main rival for the title, John Kocinski, who was pushing too hard to catch the Spaniard and crashed.

    Alex Crivillé won the 1998 French GP at Paul Ricard to become the first Spanish rider to lead the provisional standings of the 500cc World Championship. The following year, he finally won the title.

    In the French GP in 2001 Max Biaggi took his first victory in 500cc as a Yamaha rider and in the following year, in the MotoGP era, Le Mans was the setting for the first front row composed entirely of machines with four-stroke engines.

    Later in 2003, Le Mans witnessed the first ‘triple’ domination from Spanish riders in the World Championship, with Dani Pedrosa achieving victory in 125cc, Toni Elias in 250 and Sete Gibernau in MotoGP™.

    During the 2007 season, at the French GP at Le Mans Suzuki achieved their only win in the MotoGP class, beating Australian Chris Vermeulen in an epic race in the rain. That was also the first victory for Bridgestone tyres in the wet.

    In 2009 Jorge Lorenzo achieved the second of his four victories in the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, in a chaotic "Flag to Flag" race in which his teammate Valentino Rossi suffered a fall.

    Since the arrival of MotoGP™ in 2002, the most successful riders in Le Mans have been Rossi (2002, 2005 and 2008) and Lorenzo (2009, 2010 and 2012) with three wins each. They are followed by Sete Gibernau with two wins in 2003 and 2004. Behind them, Marco Melandri, Chris Vermeulen, Dani Pedrosa, Casey Stoner and Marc Márquez have one victory each.

    Who will be the next winner of the French GP? Will a Ducati finally win at Le Mans?

  • Lineups for the 55th Annual FVP Knoxville Nationals

    A Main (50 laps)

    1. 15, Donny Schatz, Fargo, ND
    2. 29, Kerry Madsen, St. Mary's, NSW, Aust.
    3. 7, David Gravel, Watertown, CT
    4. 71m, Joey Saldana, Brownsburg, IN
    5. 49, Brad Sweet, Grass Valley, CA
    6. 2, Danny Lasoski, Dover, MO
    7. 51, Paul McMahan, Nashville, TN
    8. 24, Terry McCarl, Altoona, IA
    9. 41, Jason Johnson, Eunice, LA
    10. 93H, Sheldon Haudenschild, Wooster, OH
    11. 1B, Dale Blaney, Hartford, OH
    12. 16, Shane Stewart, Bixby, OK
    13. 1z, Lucas Wolfe, Mechanicsburg, PA
    14. 21, Brian Brown, Grain Valley, MO
    15. 9, Daryn Pittman, Owasso, OK
    16. 17w, Bryan Clauson, Noblesville, IN
    17. 29w, Danny Dietrich, Gettysburg, PA
    18. 19M, Brent Marks, Myerstown, PA
    19. 3A, Billy Alley, Bennet, NE
    20. B Main Transfer 1
    21. B Main Transfer 2
    22. B Main Transfer 3
    23. B Main Transfer 4
    24. 12, Lynton Jeffrey, Prairie City, IA
    25. 24R, Trevor Canales, Roseville, CA (subbing for Rico Abreu)

    B Main (22 laps, top four to A)

    1. 12x, Wayne Johnson, Knoxville, IA
    2. 89, Cody Darrah, Red Lion, PA
    3. 1, Sammy Swindell, Germantown, TN
    4. 1D, Justin Henderson, Sioux Falls, SD
    5. 7TAZ, Tasker Phillips, Pleasantville, IA
    6. 40, Clint Garner, Sioux Falls, SD
    7. 19s, Stevie Smith, Broken Arrow, OK
    8. 3G, James McFadden, Brisbane, QLD, Aust.
    9. 27, Greg Hodnett, Spring Grove, PA
    10. W20, Greg Wilson, Benton Ridge, OH
    11. 13, Mark Dobmeier, Grand Forks, ND
    12. 10H, Chad Kemenah, Alvada, OH
    13. 18, Ian Madsen, St. Mary's, NSW, Aust.
    14. 35AU, Jamie Veal, Warrnambool, VIC, Aust.
    15. 2KS, Craig Dollansky, Elk River, MN
    16. 01, Christopher Bell, Norman, OK
    17. 45, Tim Shaffer, Aliquippa, PA
    18. 82, Dusty Zomer, Sioux Falls, SD
    19. 7D, Dustin Selvage, Indianola, IA
    20. 55W, Logan Wagner, Harrisonville, PA

    C Main (15 laps, top four to B)

    1. 11K, Kraig Kinser, Bloomington, IN
    2. 56, Davey Heskin, St. Michael, MN
    3. 83, Aaron Reutzel, Clute, TX
    4. 67H, Sam Hafertepe Jr., Sunnyvale, TX
    5. 17B, Bill Balog, Brookfield, WI
    6. 11, Steve Kinser, Bloomington, IN
    7. 1a, Jacob Allen, Hanover, PA
    8. 9P, Parker Price-Miller, Kokomo, IN
    9. 13x, Jac Haudenschild, Wooster, OH
    10. 70, Dean Jacobs, Wooster, OH
    11. 44w, Austen Wheatley, Lake Stevens, WA
    12. 7s, Jason Sides, Bartlett, TN
    13. 3, Tim Kaeding, San Jose, CA
    14. 1s, Logan Schuchart, Hanover, PA
    15. 88N, DJ Netto, Hanford, CA
    16. 1x, Don Droud Jr., Lincoln, NE
    17. 96, Bronson Maeschen, Pleasantville, IA
    18. 55, Brooke Tatnell, Sans Souci, NSW, Aust.
    19. 17A, Austin McCarl, Altoona, IA
    20. 95, Matt Covington, Glenpool, OK

    D Main (12 laps, top four to C)

    1. 99, Brady Bacon, Broken Arrow, OK
    2. 17, Josh Baughman, Odessa, TX
    3. 4R, Jon Agan, Knoxville, IA
    4. 0, Bud Kaeding, Campbell, CA
    5. 71x, Tyler Courtney, Indianapolis, IN
    6. 22, Tony Shilling, Knoxville, IA
    7. 44, Chris Martin, Ankeny, IA
    8. 28, Brian Paulus, Sedalia, MO
    9. 47, Jeff Swindell, Bartlett, TN
    10. 11N, Randy Hannagan, Pittsboro, IN
    11. 21AU, Jordyn Brazier, Sydney, NSW, Aust.
    12. 31B, Shane Golobic, Fremont, CA
    13. 71A, RJ Johnson, Tampa, FL
    14. 81x, Lee Jacobs, Dalton, OH
    15. 7x, Kaley Gharst, Decatur,, IL
    16. 9K, Kevin Thomas Jr., Cullman, AL
    17. 2L, Logan Forler, Boise, ID
    18. 5v, Colby Copeland, Roseville, CA
    19. 4, Dakota Hendrickson, Omaha, NE
    20. 2LX, Ed Lynch Jr., Apollo, PA

    E Main (10 laps, top four to D)

    1. 23, Jimmy Light, West Springfield, PA
    2. 20N, Hunter Schuerenberg, Sikeston, MO
    3. 29c, Willie Croft, Roseville, CA
    4. 19, Bob Weuve, Newton, IA
    5. 25, Dylan Peterson, Sioux Falls, SD
    6. 23M, Lance Moss, Cherryville, NC
    7. 17J, Joey Moughan, Springfield, IL
    8. 69, Mike Moore, Des Moines, IA
    9. 15m, Bobby Mincer, Burlington, IA
    10. 81, Austin Johnson, Pleasant Hill, IA
    11. 75, Glen Saville, Razorback, NSW, Aust.
    12. 4s, Danny Smith, Chillicothe, OH
    13. 35, Skylar Prochaska, Lakefield, MN
    14. 93, Glenndon Forsythe, York, PA
    15. 1P, Curtis Evans, Norborne, MO
    16. 17M, Todd Mickelson, Minot, ND
    17. 55XM, Brandon Wimmer, Fairmount, IN
    18. 96AU, Bruce White, Merrylands, NSW, Aust.
    19. 84, Scott Bogucki, McLaren Vale, SA, Aust.
    20. 31c, Justyn Cox, Clarksburg, CA
    21. 20, AJ Moeller, Rockwell, City, IA
    22. 19P, Paige Polyak, Tiffin, OH
    23. 7R, Roger Crockett, Medford, OR
    24. 56B, Ryan Bernal, Hollister, CA
    25. 49J, Josh Schneiderman, West Burlington, IA

     

    A total of 10 Aussies racing tonight with 8 trying to make the A through the alphabet.

  • Lowndes wins his 100th race from 888 Races

    Craig Lowndes has earned his 100th V8 Supercars race win in spectacular fashion at the SKYCITY Triple Crown Darwin.

    Lowndes – who debuted in the category full-time in 1996 – has been on the verge of cracking triple figures since Tasmania in March, and today achieved the amazing feat that further cements him as a great of the sport.

    The Red Bull racer adds 100 wins to an illustrious list of results, including three Championship wins, five Bathurst wins and top five finishes in the Championship for the past 10 consecutive years.

    Funnily enough, today's race was number 888 in the Championship!

    And it was another wild race, this time on soft tyres. Both front-row starters Rick Kelly and Fabian Coulthard charged into turn one, with Kelly unable to pull up his Nissan, tagging Coulthard and later getting a drive-through penalty.

    As they ran off the road, Lowndes drove through for the lead and sailed home to the end of the 21-lap race for a 1.839sec victory over Supercheap Auto Racing’s Tim Slade.

    “It’s quite incredible – we’ve been close a number of times the last couple of rounds, but this one is obviously very special for me,” an emotional Lowndes said after getting out of the car.

    “Credit to these guys – it’s been a fantastic career, amazing to work with these guys [at Red Bull]… all the stars aligned … it’s an amazing feeling.”

    Lowndes said given they had been talking about 100 wins for so long he wasn’t sure how it would feel – but the fan favourite celebrated with a great burnout and was rapt on the podium.

    “We thought we were in for a chance on the soft tyre, that altercation at turn one just opened the doors and it’s very special,” he said.

    Cars scattered on the first lap of the race – after the incident that allowed Lonwdes the lead, Nick Percat copped a big hit, his Repair Management Australia Racing Commodore suffering significant damage after a battle involving rookie Andre Heimgartner, as well as Jamie Whincup and Will Davison.

    A safety car was deployed early but the restart was tame as drivers focused on finishing.

    DJR Team Penske’s Scott Pye put in a stellar performance finishing fourth, James Courtney and Garth Tander recovered from their first race incident to come home inside the top 10 and Mark Winterbottom held onto the Championship lead with a seventh place finish.

    But Lowndes was the star of the show, winning the 888th Championship race and claiming his 100th win.

    He still sits second in the Championship, 29 points behind Winterbottom.

  • Lynton Jeffrey - Knoxville 2015

  • Madsen Scores at Junction Motor Speedway

    After a season of podium finishes and consistent runs that had yet to result in a win, Kerry Madsen finally ended his year-long World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series winless drought with a victory at Junction Motor Speedway's NAPA Auto Parts Sprint Car Extravaganza presented by Mid-Nebraska Land Development on Tuesday night.

    Madsen led flag-to-flag at the track in McCool Junction, Neb. and became the 20th different driver to win an Outlaws feature this season.

    "We got on a roll last year and somehow we got off it," Madsen said. "And the last month we have been working so hard to try to get our racecars better and we had a great week last week and tonight. You can just never feel complacent when you're on the front row with Donny. I was pushing hard, there probably wasn't really another line, but you're just expecting some big slide job. So every lap you drive as hard as you can. Just great to get the result."

    Madsen, who came in to 2015 after a season that saw him in victory lane six times, last won an Outlaws feature on Sept. 7, 2014 at Antioch (Calif.) Speedway.

    Joey Saldana kicked off the night at Junction Motor Speedway by scoring his season-leading 13th quick time in qualifying and set a new track record of 13.528 seconds. Saldana's fast lap beat the old 13.586 second record set by Daryn Pittman in 2013.

    When the series hit the track for the 30-lap feature temperatures had fallen to an unusually cold 55 degrees and the challenge of the night was amped up with a sustained 10 mph wind.

    Madsen and Donny Schatz took up positions on the front row. Madsen jumped out to an early lead with Schatz trying to chase down the No. 29 American Racing Custom Wheels car.

    "I caught it really well and got (Donny) right where I wanted him in one and two, got the slider, we had that little bit of moisture in the bottom of three which made it easy," Madsen said of his move for the lead.

    He caught the back of the field by lap six and began working his way through.

    The only caution of the night flew on lap 11 and proved pivotal for Saldana who spent the early half of the race in third. When the green flag once again fell, Saldana battled Schatz through turns one and two and dove low in three and four, trying a slider on Schatz's No. 15 Bad Boy Buggies/Chevrolet Performance car for second. As the two cleared turn four, Saldana had taken over the position.

    "We just tried something there through three and four and it worked," Saldana said.

    Madsen again caught the back of the field on lap 18 and Saldana tried to close the gap on him. Madsen however had built up a persistent one and a half second lead.

    As the laps wound down, Schatz caught Saldana in traffic. On laps 27 and 28, Schatz tried to make the move around the No. 71m Motter Equipment car for second but, despite getting side-by-side, was not able to make it work.

    "We were fast there at the end of the night and were able to get up to Joe," said Schatz, who closed out the night with a third place finish. "It wasn't our best performance in a long time but we'll take it and lick our wounds and go on to the next one."

    Saldana, who finished the night in second, said his Motter Motorsports team is doing what they need to and the consistency is there, they just need to find that little something extra to put them over the top.

    "I felt like we had a really good car, it just came up short," Saldana said. "We'll take it and move on to the next race. We're a consistent car, we've just got to get a little bit better and a little out here is hard to do. We've just got to keep digging, doing what we're doing."

    CONTINGENCY WINNERS - MSD Ignitions ($25 cash): Jacob Allen; MSD Ignitions ($50 cash): Kerry Madsen; Sweet Manufacturing ($100 cash): Joey Saldan; Penske Shocks ($50 cash): Donny Schatz; Mobil 1 ($50 cash): Shane Stewart; JE Pistons ($50 cash): Brad Sweet; Lincoln Welders ($50 cash): Shane Stewart; VP Racing Fuels ($50 cash): Daryn Pittman; Edelbrock ($50 cash): Jason Johnson; Comp Cams ($50 cash): Jason Johnson; Cometic Gasket ($50 cash):Jason Johnson;Super Flow ($50 cash): Kraig Kinser; Sweet Manufacturing ($50 product certificate): Joey Saldana;KSE Racing Products ($100 product certificate): Logan Schuchart; Comp Cams ($50 product certificate): Kerry Madsen;Mobil 1 (20% off Mobil1RacingStore.com): Jacob Allen; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): David Gravel; JE Pistons (Set of Rings): Jacob Allen.

    SEASON WINNERS: Donny Schatz - 23 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 14, Stockton Dirt Track on March 21, Silver Dollar Speedway on March 28, Placerville Speedway on April 8, Calistoga Speedway on April 12, Devil's Bowl Speedway on April 26, Eldora Speedway on May 8, Eldora Speedway on May 9, Williams Grove Speedway on May 15, Weedsport Speedway on May 17, The Dirt Track at Charlotte on May 22, Knoxville Raceway on June 13, Huset's Speedway on June 14, Granite City Speedway on June 17, River Cities Speedway on June 19, Dakota State Fair Speedway on June 20, Beaver Dam Raceway on June 27, Lakeside Speedway on July 1, Dodge City Raceway Park on July 4, Cedar Lake Speedway on July 11, Lebanon Valley Speedway on July 26, Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 8, Knoxville Raceway on Aug. 15); Shane Stewart - 7 (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5, Keller Auto Speedway on April 17, Salina Highbanks Speedway on May 1, Crawford County Speedway on June 12, Eldora Speedway on July 17, Eldora Speedway on July 18, Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on Aug. 8); Daryn Pittman - 3 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 13, Antioch Speedway on March 29, New Egypt Speedway on May 19); Brad Sweet - 3 (Volusia Speedway Park on Feb. 15, Calistoga Speedway on April 11, I-96 Speedway on June 25); Rico Abreu - 2 (Thunderbowl Raceway on March 14, Stockton Dirt Track on March 22); Dale Blaney - 2 (Attica Raceway Park on May 29, Lernerville Speedway on July 21); Paul McMahan - 2 (Perris Auto Speedway on April 18, Tri-State Speedway on May 3); Joey Saldana - 2 (Kokomo Speedway on June 3, Cedar Lake Speedway on July 12); Christopher Bell - 1 (Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 on May 2); Brian Brown - 1 (USA Raceway on March 7); Cody Darrah - 1 (Lernerville Speedway on July 21);Danny Dietrich - 1 (Williams Grove Speedway on July 25);Stewart Friesen - 1 (Ohsweken Speedway on July 28); Greg Hodnett - 1 (Lincoln Speedway on May 13); Tim Kaeding - 1 (Thunderbowl Raceway on March 13); Danny Lasoski - 1 (I-80 Speedway on June 5); Kerry Madsen - 1 (Junction Motor Speedway on Aug. 18);Terry McCarl - 1 (The Dirt Track at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 5); Jason Sides - 1 (Dodge City Raceway Park on July 3);Stevie Smith - 1 (Williams Grove Speedway on July 25).

    World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series Statistical Report; Junction Motor Speedway; McCool Junction, Neb.; Aug. 18, 2015

    A-Main - (30 Laps) - 1. 29-Kerry Madsen [1]; 2. 71M-Joey Saldana [3]; 3. 15-Donny Schatz [2]; 4. 51-Paul McMahan [6]; 5. 49-Brad Sweet [9]; 6. 2-Shane Stewart [4]; 7. 9-Daryn Pittman [5]; 8. 1S-Logan Schuchart [15]; 9. 1M-Danny Lasoski [8]; 10. 87-Aaron Reutzel [17]; 11. 44W-Austen Wheatley [10]; 12. 41-Jason Johnson [14]; 13. 7S-Jason Sides [7]; 14. 11K-Kraig Kinser [11]; 15. 7-David Gravel [12]; 16. 95-Matt Covington [13]; 17. 1A-Jacob Allen [18]; 18. 99T-Skylar Gee [19]; 19. 3A-Billy Alley [16]. Lap Leaders: Kerry Madsen 1-30. KSE Hard Charger Award: 1S-Logan Schuchart [+7]

    Qualifying - 1. 71M-Joey Saldana, 13.528; 2. 2-Shane Stewart, 13.547; 3. 29-Kerry Madsen, 13.570; 4. 15-Donny Schatz, 13.603; 5. 9-Daryn Pittman, 13.636; 6. 7S-Jason Sides, 13.740; 7. 1M-Danny Lasoski, 13.769; 8. 51-Paul McMahan, 13.790; 9. 49-Brad Sweet, 13.796; 10. 44W-Austen Wheatley, 13.806; 11. 11K-Kraig Kinser, 13.814; 12. 7-David Gravel, 13.818; 13. 95-Matt Covington, 13.890; 14. 41-Jason Johnson, 13.912; 15. 1S-Logan Schuchart, 13.915; 16. 3A-Billy Alley, 13.975; 17. 87-Aaron Reutzel, 14.063; 18. 1A-Jacob Allen, 14.234; 19. 99T-Skylar Gee, 14.661

    Heat 1 - (8 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 9-Daryn Pittman [2]; 2. 1M-Danny Lasoski [1]; 3. 71M-Joey Saldana [4]; 4. 11K-Kraig Kinser [6]; 5. 29-Kerry Madsen [3]; 6. 49-Brad Sweet [5]; 7. 1S-Logan Schuchart [8]; 8. 95-Matt Covington [7]; 9. 99T-Skylar Gee [10]; 10. 87-Aaron Reutzel [9]

    Heat 2 - (8 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 51-Paul McMahan [1]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz [3]; 3. 7S-Jason Sides [2]; 4. 2-Shane Stewart [4]; 5. 7-David Gravel [6]; 6. 44W-Austen Wheatley [5]; 7. 41-Jason Johnson [7]; 8. 3A-Billy Alley [8]; 9. 1A-Jacob Allen [9]

    Qualifier 1 - (8 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 1M-Danny Lasoski [1]; 2. 11K-Kraig Kinser [2]; 3. 49-Brad Sweet [4]; 4. 29-Kerry Madsen [3]; 5. 1S-Logan Schuchart [5]; 6. 95-Matt Covington [6]; 7. 99T-Skylar Gee [7]; 8. 87-Aaron Reutzel [8]

    Qualifier 2 - (8 Laps - Top 6 finishers transfer to the A-feature) - 1. 15-Donny Schatz [1]; 2. 7S-Jason Sides [2]; 3. 44W-Austen Wheatley [4]; 4. 7-David Gravel [3]; 5. 3A-Billy Alley [6]; 6. 41-Jason Johnson [5]; 7. 1A-Jacob Allen [7]

    Dash - (6 Laps, finishing order determined first 8 starting positions of A-feature) - 1. 29-Kerry Madsen [2]; 2. 15-Donny Schatz [1]; 3. 71M-Joey Saldana [4]; 4. 2-Shane Stewart [3]; 5. 9-Daryn Pittman [5]; 6. 51-Paul McMahan [8]; 7. 7S-Jason Sides [6]; 8. 1M-Danny Lasoski [7]

  • Maiden win for Shane Van Gisbergen & McLaren in Silverstone

    The #58 Von Ryan Racing McLaren of Rob Bell, Shane Van Gisbergen and Kevin Estre took the win in the second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit. The car took its first pitstop during an early Full Course Yellow-situation and acquired enough of an advantage to hold on to the lead until the end. The #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 of championship leaders Vanthoor, Frijns and Vernay took second despite suffering some electronic problems, with third going to their team-mates of the #3 Audi. Seven different brands were represented in the top-10 overall. In Pro-Am the #888 Triple Eight Racing BMW led for two thirds of the race, but after the last pitstop the #32 Leonard Motorsport Aston Martin took lead and held on to that position until the chequered flag. The Am Cup went to the #15 BMW of Boutsen Ginion-duo Grötz-Ojjeh, leading for most of the race, with their competition fighting for the other podium places.

    An impressive field of 61 cars thundered towards Silverstone’ Copse Corner at the start of the second round of the 2015 Blancpain Endurance Series. Wolfgang Reip started from first after his teammate Alex Buncombe had conquered pole and while the Belgian managed to hold on to the lead in the #23 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN GT-R, behind him Rob Bell moved the #58 Von Ryan McLaren from fourth to second.

    Those positions did not change until 45 minutes into the race, when the evacuation of the stranded #16 Akka ASP Ferrari caused a Full Course Yellow-situation. Von Ryan Racing decided to pit both their cars and once the first round of pitstops was completely cycled through, that proved to be a golden decision. Shane Van Gisbergen had a 42 second-lead over Robin Frijns in the #1 Audi, and even though he had to save fuel to compensate for the early pitstop, the New Zealand driver managed to give the car to Kevin Estre with a healthy lead.

    ISR Racing used a second Full Course Yellow-situation to move its #75 Audi up to second, but an inspired Laurens Vanthoor swiftly moved the black-and-blue Audi back to second. With the threat of the second Von Ryan McLaren gone after making contact with the #8 Bentley, the fight for third was now between Marco Bonanomi in the ISR Audi and Stéphane Ortelli in the #3 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8. Ortelli had already passed the #73 MRS GT Racing Nissan at the beginning of his stint and managed to close the gap towards Bonanomi completely. Eventually passing the #75 Audi was not necessary to claim third for Ortelli, for Bonanomi incurred a five second-penalty for not respecting the track limits.

    Meanwhile in front, Kevin Estre had little trouble in holding to his lead, taking an emphatic first win for Von Ryan Racing, which was also the maiden Blancpain GT Series win for the new McLaren 650S. Frijns’ and Vanthoor’s second place increases their lead in the Blancpain GT Series driver standings, as well as the advantage of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT in the team standings.

    In the Pro-Am Cup Joe Osborne started the race at the wheel of the #888 Triple Eight Racing BMW and by using the same tactics as Von Ryan Racing in Pro, the Z4 even moved up to third overall, enjoying a healthy lead in the Pro-Am Cup. The second pitstop negated that advantage though, with other teams being able to makte their final pitstop during the second Full Course Yellow-period. Once all pitstops were done the #32 Leonard Motorsport AMR Aston Martin was in the lead, and despite Jann Mardenborough in the #22 Nissan GT Academy Team RJN GT-R charging hard, Stuart Leonard managed to bring the ‘Bumblebee’ Aston Martin he shared with Michael Meadows and Paul Wilson home in first. Third in Pro-Am went to one of the stalwarts of the Blancpain Endurance Series, with the drivers of the #14 Emil Frey Racing Jaguar taking an emotional maiden podium finish.

    In the Am Cup, polesitter Fabien Barthez’ lead was short-lived when his #16 Akka ASP Ferrari lost a wheel after making contact with another car. After a couple of laps of interesting skirmishes the #15 Boutsen Ginion BMW appeared in the lead and Olivier Grötz and Karim Ojjeh brought the car home in first. The #24 Team Parker Racing Audi looked set for a podium finish, but in the dying minutes of the race the #25 Glorax Racing Ferrari of Mancini-Birzhin-Mastronardi and the #42 Sport Garage Ferrari of newcomers Hamon-Samon-Paillard managed to climb to a top-3 position.

    Shane Van Gisbergen (#58 Von Ryan Racing McLaren): “The team made a great tactical choice. We knew we could do it, but it was still tough to save fuel and still keep a good lap time. I had a good run through the traffic, and did as many laps as possible. It is pretty exciting to win my first win in Europe and I already received the congratulations of my dad in New Zealand, even though it is 4 am over there.”

    Laurens Vanthoor (#1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8): “Our goal this year is to win championships, so taking a win in the first race and finishing second here is not bad. At the beginning of my stint I did my best to catch the #75 Audi, but I knew that it would be very difficult to catch Kevin in the McLaren. They were the better team this weekend, had a better strategy and thoroughly deserve the win.”

    Stéphane Ortelli (#3 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8): “It was a tough final stint, but that is exactly what I like. The duel with the Nissan was nice and fair and I was happy I could get past, because they were quicker on the straights. This is an important podium for the team and it’s a good feeling to share a podium finish with Frank (Stippler, ed.) for the first time in our careers, even though we have been racing for the same team for some years now.”

    Michael Meadows (#32 Leonard Motorsport Aston Martin): “It was pretty nerve wracking for us when Stuart was doing the final stint, being chased by Mardenborough. But he did exactly what he needed to do and drove a superb final stint. We had a very good race, a very clean race for once, and it paid dividends in the end.”

    Karim A. Ojjeh (#15 Boutsen Ginion BMW): “Our race engineer did a fabulous job of getting us in when there was a Full Course Yellow and we took advantage of that. When I started the final stint we had a healthy lead, thanks to a absolute fantastic stint of Olivier, so there was not that much pressure on me. The car was awesome, so I could keep it cool and get it to the finish.”

  • Montoya Leads Indianapolis Motor Speedway Opening Day

    Opening Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was highlighted by a significant jump in speed in the on-track debut of superspeedway aero kits from Chevrolet and Honda. Twenty-one drivers surpassed last year's fastest lap of Opening Day as drivers turned more than 1,800 laps in preparation for this month's 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.

    Footage from Opening Day practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is now available Click Here.

    "It's faster, for sure, no doubt about it. Speeds are going to be up," 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay said. "The difficult part for teams and drivers is balancing the clouded read you get from a big tow and new tires versus getting a read on the new car."

    Juan Pablo Montoya, who 15 years ago won the Indy 500, recorded the fastest lap at 226.772 mph (39.6874 seconds) on the 2.5-mile oval as 28 driver/car combinations became acclimated to the aero kits and developed a baseline for practice that begins May 11. The fast lap on Opening Day last year was set by Will Power at 223.057 mph.

    "(Having the fastest lap) is good for Verizon and for Chevy and for everybody that is paying attention. But I think the time sheet, as always, is irrelevant until you get to the race or until you get to qualifying," Montoya said.

    Montoya, the Verizon IndyCar Series championship points leader in the No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, was 0.0533 of a second faster than teammate and three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves. Marco Andretti was third on the speed chart at 226.268 mph and the fastest of the Honda contingent. Scott Dixon, driving a Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet, was fourth at 225.881 mph and Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske was fifth at 225.641 mph.

    Takuma Sato (225.571) was sixth in an AJ Foyt Racing Honda, followed by Simona de Silvestro (225.317) in an Andretti Autosport Honda and two-time defending Indianapolis 500 Verizon P1 Award winner Ed Carpenter (225.257) in a CFH Racing Chevrolet. Hunter-Reay was ninth in an Andretti Autosport Honda (225.208) and Sage Karam, who made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the 2014 Indy 500, was 10th (224.931) in a Chip Ganassi Racing Teams Chevrolet.

    A rookie orientation test and refresher test for drivers who had not competed in a Verizon IndyCar Series oval race since last May also was part of the on-track activity.

    Gabby Chaves of Bryan Herta Autosport completed the three phases of the rookie program that examines car control, placements and a consistent driving pattern at various speed parameters. Stefano Coletti was out of the country and will run through the rookie phases May 11 in a KV Racing Technology Chevrolet.

    Overall, 1,845 laps were turned without incident.

    A balance between aerodynamic drag reduction and maintaining sufficient downforce is the hallmark of both manufacturer superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork kits. Different approaches were taken by manufacturers to achieve optimal performance in conjunction with their 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engines, and it is reflected in their base platforms.

    Both manufacturer packages include a variety of individual aerodynamic components fitted to the Dallara rolling chassis that make them markedly different from the road/street and short oval kit that has been utilized in the first four races of the Verizon IndyCar Series season. Additionally, multiple options are available to teams to explore during practice for qualifications May 16-17 and the May 24 race.

    "We have a laundry list of changes to try and luckily we have time to work with it," Andretti said of the aero options.

    Verizon IndyCar Series teams return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 7 for a Promoter Test on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in preparation for the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis on May 9. Pagenaud was the winner of the inaugural road race in 2014 while with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

    Daly Will Be 'Fueled By Bacon'

    Smithfield Foods will be the primary sponsor of Conor Daly's No. 43 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda at the Indianapolis 500. The team's third entry will be called the Fueled By Bacon Special in reference to Smithfield, the global food company founded in 1936 that is the world's largest provider of high-quality pork products.

    "We've been in motorsports, as most people know across the country, now in (NASCAR) Cup," said Bob Weber, Smithfield's vice president of corporate marketing. "It's exciting for us to finally step forward with the Indy 500. It's the next logical step for us. Our motorsports has proven very effective for us, not only in expanding our brand nationally, but also in generating sales for our company."

    Daly, who made his Verizon IndyCar Series debut in the 2013 Indianapolis 500 with AJ Foyt Racing, participated in today's open test on the 2.5-mile oval.

    Clauson Ready for Second Indy 500 Chance

    Despite a three-year absence from the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," Bryan Clauson feels on more even footing with the competition as practice began today for the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race - thanks to the new superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork kits that debuted with the oval test.

    Clauson, the multiple champion in the U.S. Auto Club national series for sprint cars and midgets, made his one and only Indy 500 appearance in 2012 as a benefactor of an INDYCAR scholarship that funded his ride with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing (now CFH Racing). Clauson started 31st and finished 30th, retiring after just 46 laps with mechanical problems. The Noblesville, Ind., resident has had a year to prepare for this opportunity after being named to drive the No. 88 KVSH Racing/Jonathan Byrd's Chevrolet in May 2014.

    He spent Opening Day going through the mandatory driver refresher program to get himself back up to speed at a methodical pace. Clauson, 25, believes the fact everyone else has little experience with the new aero kits will work to his benefit.

    "I guess it's probably a good year to come in again because everybody is starting, not necessarily from scratch, but not everybody knows what they have when they rolled in here this morning," Clauson said. "So we're all kind of starting from the same level to some degree. It's been too long for me (since driving an Indy car) to sit here and say that I could tell you the difference between it. It seems like the aero kits are definitely more efficient from what we've seen and definitely add some intrigue."

    Making Entrepreneurs Out of Lemonade

    A group of local young entrepreneurs met today with the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers they are paired with to raise funds for charity on Lemonade Day Greater Indianapolis, May 16 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

    A total of 10 lemonade stands will be set up on Pagoda Plaza that day. The young business owners selected to operate the stands will sell their individually prepared beverages to fans attending the first day of qualifications for the 2015 Indianapolis 500. Portions of the proceeds from each stand go to charities designated by the driver teamed with each stand. Among the charities benefitting from the day will be: the Julian Center (Juan Pablo Montoya), Susan G. Komen (Pippa Mann), Indianapolis Humane Society (Will Power, Simon Pagenaud) and Indy Family Foundation (Ed Carpenter).

    The stand owners and drivers held an introductory session this morning to prepare for the big event. Lemonade Day is an annual national initiative directed at teaching children the fundamentals of starting and operating a business, as well as giving back to their community. Scott Jones, local entrepreneur and founder of Cha Cha, spearheaded bringing the program to Indianapolis in 2010.


    POST-PRACTICE DRIVER QUOTES:

    JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, fastest of the day): "It's OK. (Having the fastest lap) is good for Verizon and for Chevy and for everybody that is paying attention. But I think the time sheet, as always, is irrelevant until you get to the race or until you get to qualifying. Everybody is posting times in the draft and it's a matter of who is doing the best in the draft. I'll tell you, the Hondas are looking strong - I think they were doing a lot of race work at the end, so we'll see."... (On switching from today's oval test to the Angie's List Grand Prix of Indianapolis road course): "It's going to be a little bit of work for the team this week to switch the cars over, but it is what it is, and it's the same for everybody. This is a pretty cool road course and the race last year was pretty amazing. With the long straights and the draft, it's pretty exciting and it should bring really good racing."

    MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda, third fastest of the day): "It's interesting. I think there are definitely still some gremlins to work out. We have an overwhelming laundry list of changes to try. Luckily we have a lot of time to work with it, but we're going to need some time. I don't really want to go into a lot of detail, but there are a lot of things to work out still. I'm not thoroughly pleased with my car now. The good thing about that is we're still in the hunt speed-wise."... "I enjoy the road course. It's tougher on the (team) because for me, you can wake me up and I'll drive whatever and wherever. But I enjoy this layout with the long straightaways, we're going to see a lot of different downforce levels and a lot of games being played. From that standpoint, it's fun. We're trying to find the ultimate lap time, do you want to trim, do you not? And it's going to be the same for everybody."

    GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Steak 'n Shake Honda):  "It was a good first day testing the aero kit. We also had to mileage out an engine, which we successfully did, but we have a little work to do with the handling of the Steak 'n Shake car. It's better than last year, but we're not where we need to be. It's the first on-track day of the month, which is good, so there is a lot of time ahead of us. The team is a little split up right now over the two cars, but once we get a full staff in here it will be a lot easier."

    DAVEY HAMILTON (No. 24 Robert Graham Special Chevrolet, filling in for Townsend Bell, who was racing sports cars at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca): "It's cool to be back and in a race car. Townsend couldn't be here today. We're just running the car to shake it down and do a system check. We're doing a few baseline runs. It's definitely not a full test; just for today and then Townsend will take over."

    JUSTIN WILSON (No. 25 Andretti Autosport Honda): "The day started off really good, but as soon as it got a little hotter it got a little difficult and we started to slide around quite a bit. All in all I'm quite pleased with the first day, there is still a lot to work on and lots to try and understand with the new aero kits and the new downforce levels. We're not sure what is a typical baseline for running race run trim or qualifying trim, so we're just working it all out."

    CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV/Cinsay Honda): "The first day with the new Honda oval aero kits - our first time at IMS with the new aero kits. Today was just a learning day. I feel really good with the car and I think we had a fast car all day. Here in Indy, it comes down to whoever has the best tow, the least amount of aero. It's only the first day; we still have a lot of testing to go, but it feels pretty good."

    SIMONA DE SILVESTRO (No. 29 TE Connectivity Honda): "Today was a pretty good first day.... I think our speed was OK. For me, it was a really good day just being with the team and learning a little bit on the oval. I think we're all pretty happy with the test day, and for sure we have some work to do, but I think we'll be OK. I'm just happy to be back in the car here in Indy."

    ORIOL SERVIA (No. 32 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda):  "I enjoy driving here almost every time. It felt really good, I felt at home immediately and it helped that I was with the team I drove with last year. Everything felt like it was only yesterday that I drove an Indy car here instead of a year ago. The team did a great, great job. It already felt better than last year. We just went through a lot of changes and gathered data. We have a whole week now to look at the data and basically understand the new aero package. We have wind tunnel figures, which is good, but it's not the same as being on track so both cars tried different things to gather as much data as possible. Graham (Rahal) and I did a lot of laps today, but this week the engineers have a lot of work ahead of them to go through. I'm feeling pretty good. It's quite amazing to see how different the two aero packages are and yet are still so close in speed."

    PIPPA MANN (No. 63 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "First off, it was just absolutely fantastic to finally be back in an Indy car after almost a year sitting out on the sidelines. It's great to be reunited and continue the strong relationship with my team at Dale Coyne Racing. I'm pretty happy with our performance on day one since we were able to get over 223 miles per hour. We have some work to do next week to help polish out everything, especially the driver. We certainly knocked the rust off today and I am really looking forward to getting in the car on a more consistent basis come next week. It was also great to get the INDIEGOGO logos on the pink Indy car and out on track today for people to see because our partnership with INDIEGOGO is so important to help us raise money in the fight to end breast cancer forever."

    GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda, who completed his Rookie Orientation Program): "This was a very special day for me to be out there in an Indy car and to work with the new aero kits. The car felt great, very comfortable. I can leave today with a very positive feeling and I'm very happy with the teamwork. This is the first time I have gone over 200 miles per hour. It's very different. I thought it would be closer to what it was like in an Indy Lights car. When you're running 30 miles per hour faster than you have ever gone before, everything comes at you a lot quicker. That was the first thing I noticed, how quickly I am completing laps. We managed some pretty good results, top three in the trap times. We kept finding more speed all day. Now we can focus on trying to build a strong consistent race car."

  • MORCOM AND MOSTERT WIN HI-TEC OILS BATHURST 6 HOUR

    Nathan Morcom and Chaz Mostert have combined to win the inaugural Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour Production Car race at Mount Panorama.

    In a fast-paced race, the pair rebounded from a 10-position grid penalty assessed for a technical infringement in qualifying to win a fast-paced and strategic race that claimed several of the key outright contenders early in another tough day on the Mountain.

    Mostert started the race and quickly charged into the top three, electing to make their first of four compulsory pit stops during an early safety car intervention after just eleven laps.

    The DPO BMW was then rarely outside of the top four for the remainder of the day, ultimately winning the race by just over two minutes ahead of the Sherrin Rentals BMW 135i.

    The Sherrin team had hovered around the lead of the race all day however the final stops saw them return to the field at the tail of the lead lap – only seconds ahead of the leader - and needing a Safety Car to catch up the nearly full lap they’d lost.

    Ultimately, the final hour of the race ran without interruption meaning the Mostert / Morcom BMW remained relatively unchallenged at the end of the race.

    “In the last stint we were conserving and looking after the car. It had done five hours and it would’ve been a shame for something to go wrong in the last hour and we were just nursing it around,” Mostert said.

    “It’s been a great weekend and great to be part of the event. It’s all down to the boys on the car, the way they did the engine change on Friday night was incredible and they’ve worked so hard.

    “The trophy and the champagne is down to them.”

    Morcom, already a Bathurst race winner in Formula 3 and Formula Ford, said the team effort was what got them over the line for the biggest win in his still-young career.

    “We couldn’t ask for anything better - the car has been sitting around since the last time me and Chaz raced it in 2012. We’ve been prepping it for the last couple of months with the plan to get both of us in the car and it all goes back to the boys who prepare it.

    “Chaz did an awesome job, the car’s still straight, nice and clean and no scratches and it’s good to get the first six hour win under our belt.”

    Unlike the outright win, the battle for the final spot on the podium came down to a brutal exchange between Mitsubishi drivers David Wall and Michael Caine in the final 10 minutes of the race.

    A tyre failure within the final two hours dropped Wall – and teammate John Bowe – off the lead lap and ultimately dropped them into the fight for third with the Caine / Gerry Murphy Massel-supported Evo X.

    With the later-specification car significantly quicker on the straights, the pair ultimately collided at Murray’s corner within the final eight minutes of the race.

    Both cars ended in the gravel however both were remarkably able to resume (though with heavy damage) with Wall re-passing a limping Caine soon after their contact.

    “Our car is 30km/hr slower in a straight line than the top 10 or 12 cars, so I was just holding my defensive line,” Wall explained.

    “When we got down to Murray’s I moved once to the left and he went to the right and I think he basically mis-judged and hit my right rear. Luckily she’s four wheel drive, we used the speed limiter to get out of the gravel but the damage was pretty bad.”

    Caine – who ultimately limped his damaged car to fourth and second in the A1 class – unsurprisingly had a different view.

    “I think he knew that I was a bit quicker,” he said.

    “I went around the outside coming into the last turn. The footage will show what the reality is.”

    Jim Pollcina and John O’Dowd (Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X) finished fifth, ensuring the race finished with two BMWs and three Mitsubishi’s in the top five.

    Mount Panorama again claimed plenty of key contenders who looked likely to score a strong result – most notably the Garth Walden / Ben Porter Mercedes Benz A45 AMG that led a bulk of the early running.

    Electronic issues claimed that car after completing 48 laps while the Dylan Thomas / Terry Nightingale CXC Global Mitsubishi also had a share of the lead in the opening two hours before a misfire ended their day a lap later.

    Adam Proctor and Mark McHenry were cruelly denied a top six finish in their Subaru WRX Sti after they were forced out within the final 20 minutes of the race.

    Mark Eddy and Francious Jouy combined to seal Class C in their Renault Megane RS265, finishing an outstanding 8th outright and only six laps behind the winning BMW.

    Chris Reeves and Mark Caine won Class D in their Toyota 86 by a full lap, while Dimitrios Agathos and Mark Duckworth drove their Nissan Pulsar to the Class E win, completing 114 laps and finishing 22nd outright.

    Lindsay Kearns and Colby Cowham won the invitational class in their Falcon Saloon Car, running as high as eighth at one stage before fading to a still-strong 15th outright at the line, with 116 laps in the books.

    33 of the 50 starters were classified as finishers with 125 laps (776km) completed by the winning car.

    Bathurst Motor festival organisers announced a record three-day event attendance of 16,151 for the debut of the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour.

  • MOTOGP - Rossi: “I‘m very happy to come back to Europe”

    Valentino Rossi is excited to be heading to the Circuito de Jerez with a six-point at the top of the MotoGP™ World Championship standings.

    "The Doctor" arrives in Spain excited to add another top finish to his list of successes achieved in Argentina, Texas and Doha. Over the first three races he scored two sensational wins and a third place. He currently leads the championship by six points and is confident he can continue his momentum in Jerez. Rossi has claimed six premier class wins at this circuit in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009, two second places in 2008 and 2014, and a third place in 2010.

    Valentino Rossi:

    “I‘m very happy to come back to Europe! These first three races have been very positive, although some of these circuits are not my favourites nor of the Yamaha! Yet my YZR-M1 has behaved very well and we rode nice races! To go to Jerez, after the victory in Argentina and holding first place in the championship, is certainly very positive. However the most important thing is that we're doing a great job with the guys of the team. We must continue to work well together.

    The championship is still very long! I feel good and returning to Europe is nice. I really like the Jerez GP. The track is beautiful and also the atmosphere is fantastic. It also has very fast turns and I like that a lot.

    I did good races at this circuit in the past and I'll try to have a good race also this year!”