Davison denies Lowndes in Barbagallo finale

An emotional Will Davison has answered his critics in the best possible fashion today, taking victory in the 200km race this afternoon at the Perth SuperSprint.

Following a promising, but ultimately disastrous run in Tasmania that culminated in his now infamous clash with James Courtney, the win today left the Erebus Motorsport V8 driver feeling vindicated. The clash with Courtney showed just how much a podium result would mean to the team ­– and today they were able to celebrate the best kind.

“I’m not a believer in karma, but to be honest … I won’t lie, you do start wondering when you’re going to win again, so it feels pretty damn special,” said Davison.

As a surprise victor, Davison rained on the parade of near-centurion Craig Lowndes as he passed the Red Bull Racing Australia driver with five laps remaining in the 84-lap fixture, scuttling any chance of a famous 100th victory for Lowndes.

“I’m one of CL’s [Craig Lowndes] biggest fans and I’ve got a lot of respect for him sitting on 99 there,” Davison said.

“But as much as that would have been a great headline, you don’t feel sorry for someone on 99 race wins.

“We’ve been working pretty hard for this, we wanted to do it clean, it’s very, very special for the team.”

Davison described the race as a ‘dream’, labelling his run as perfect across the tough test of man and machine.

“It was one of those races where everything just came together,” he said.

“It was about staying calm and to be honest, second was going to be an amazing result for us.

“I couldn’t believe when I started seeing CL have some big slides with about five or six laps to go. That actually drew me to go even smoother, just to really give us that tyre [life]. I just drove real smooth. They’re the races you dream of,” Davison said.

Davison and Lowndes started seventh and eighth on the grid, and after passing yesterday’s dominant Pepsi Max Fords drove away from the field.

On lap 79 of 83 Davison made the dive at turn six and passed the Red Bull Commodore for the race lead.

Lowndes looked as if he was in the box seat as the soft versus hard tyre battle played out – but the Erebus E63 crashed the party in Perth, delivering Davison his first win for the team and first win as a driver since Townsville 2013.

Lowndes was philosophical about how close he got to his personal milestone, but is not stressed about being in the ‘nervous nineties’.

“It would have been nice to get the 100th win today, particularly here in Perth where I broke the record two years ago,” Lowndes said.

“Ultimately, it wasn’t to be and we just didn’t quite have the tyre left at the end of the race to defend against Will. There wasn’t much I could do about it.”

Third place was also unpredictable, with Fabian Coulthard coming from the back of the grid after an off in the sand at turn six ruined his qualifying. He powered on through a cool suit failure and recovered the day in his Freightliner Commodore.

“To start the day 24th and finish thirrd was pretty cool,” Coulthard said.

“The guys and the strategy was awesome. No-one gave up. That was the message that I got today. Everyone said don’t stress, what’s happened has happened so take it in your stride, and that is exactly what I did.”

Pole man Chaz Mostert was the first Ford home in fourth, with Holden Racing Team pair James Courtney and Garth Tander fifth and sixth, with James Moffat, Nick Percat, David Reynolds and Michael Caruso rounding out the top 10.

Shane van Gisbergen, who came into the race with an additional set of new tyres thanks to a ballsy strategy call yesterday was 14th, with Saturday double-winner Winterbottom in 15th.

It was a forgettable day for Jamie Whincup, finishing 19th after spearing off track early.

Result: V8 Supercars Race 9, Barbagallo 

1 Erebus Motorsport V8 Will Davison Mercedes E63 AMG 83 01:25:26.7265
2 Red Bull Racing Australia Craig Lowndes Holden Commodore VF 83 01:25:32.3340
3 Freightliner Racing Fabian Coulthard Holden Commodore VF 83 01:25:34.1004
4 Pepsi Max Crew Chaz Mostert Ford Falcon FG/X 83 01:25:38.8487
5 Holden Racing Team James Courtney Holden Commodore VF 83 01:25:41.5978
6 Holden Racing Team Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF 83 01:25:43.4909
7 Nissan Motorsport James Moffat Nissan Altima 83 01:25:46.9039
8 Repair Management Aust Racing Nick Percat Holden Commodore VF 83 01:25:51.2885
9 The Bottle-O Racing Team David Reynolds Ford Falcon FG/X 83 01:25:51.5624
10 Nissan Motorsport Michael Caruso Nissan Altima 83 01:25:51.8276
11 GB Galvanizing Racing Dale Wood Holden Commodore VF 83 01:25:55.3320
12 Team Cooldrive Tim Blanchard Holden Commodore VF 83 01:25:57.0039
13 Nissan Motorsport Todd Kelly Nissan Altima 83 01:25:57.8053
14 Team Darrell Lea STIX Shane Van Gisbergen Holden Commodore VF 83 01:26:01.6450
15 Pepsi Max Crew Mark Winterbottom Ford Falcon FG/X 83 01:26:02.2944
16 Team BOC Jason Bright Holden Commodore VF 83 01:26:02.6148
17 Walkinshaw Racing Lee Holdsworth Holden Commodore VF 83 01:26:03.0823
18 Wilson Security Racing GRM Scott McLaughlin Volvo S60 83 01:26:07.6341
19 Red Bull Racing Australia Jamie Whincup Holden Commodore VF 82 01:25:32.5140
20 Nissan Motorsport Rick Kelly Nissan Altima 82 01:25:32.6822
21 Wilson Security Racing GRM David Wall Volvo S60 82 01:26:04.7346
22 Erebus Motorsport V8 Ashley Walsh Mercedes E63 AMG 77 01:25:44.5818
23 Supercheap Auto Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore VF 69 01:26:23.2185
DNF Super Black Racing Andre Heimgartner Ford Falcon FG/X 78 01:21:12.3104
DNF DJR Team Penske Scott Pye Ford Falcon FG/X 78 01:21:12.6623

Championship Standings

1 Craig Lowndes 717
2 James Courtney 665
3 Mark Winterbottom 643
4 Fabian Coulthard 641
5 Jamie Whincup 630
6 Shane Van Gisbergen 595
7 Garth Tander 595
8 Chaz Mostert 545
9 David Reynolds 486
10 Rick Kelly 431
11 Jason Bright 429
12 Will Davison 399
13 Todd Kelly 394
14 Nick Percat 349
15 James Moffat 332
16 Dale Wood 331
17 Scott McLaughlin 318
18 Tim Slade 311
19 Lee Holdsworth 309
20 Tim Blanchard 298
21 Michael Caruso 288
22 Andre Heimgartner 272
23 David Wall 237
24 Ashley Walsh 194
25 Scott Pye 143
26 Marcos Ambrose 125

Waldron Expands with Toowoomba Speedbowl Acquisition

News broke today of Barry and Felicity Waldron’s purchase of the operational rights to Toowoomba Speedway.

It comes as no big surprise to some as the Waldron duo add to their portfolio of venues under management.

Late last year they took control of Sydney Speedway and proceeded to immediately improve the dated facility.

Capital earthworks including the now famous “Turn One Bar”, pit upgrades and the impressive BIG screen are just some of the much needed and well overdue improvements to the venue.

Company spokesperson Steve Green said,
“The venue will enjoy an injection of personnel; expertise and energy that it’s hoped will bring a wide range of positives along with it.

There are many reasons why the time is right for Barry and Felicity to bring Toowoomba into their speedway family.  It begins with the basic premise that we’d like to lift the profile and the standard of the sport in that region.

The Toowoomba region is considered a home base for Barry and Felicity Waldron as well so there’s an emotional connection to the expansion.”

Personnel from the new owners other venue “Sydney Speedway” will lend much of their energy and expertise to the initiatives at Toowoomba and the team are looking forward to working with the Downs Speedway Club over the next few weeks to begin the process.

Plans for the 2015/2016 season ahead are being formulated forthwith with announcements on the direction, marketing initiatives, schedule and proposed developments to be announced soon.

Search continues for Targa Tasmania oil spill saboteur

TASMANIA Police is search­ing for a Targa “terrorist” who poured oil on a stage in an act of sabotage condemned by officials and drivers.

Four-time Targa cham­pion Jason White slammed the “act of stupidity” as police launched an investigation into the incident at Mole Creek, about 2.6km into the opening stage of day four.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s not just sabotaging the event it’s making things extremely unsafe for everyone,” White said.

“It was not the fact we couldn’t run the stage, but that someone could do something so stupid.

“It hasn’t bothered us at all, but it’s going to be a danger to the general public for God knows how long.”

He said the oil would stain the corner on Caveside Rd, ­especially in the wet.

“Whenever it rains it’s going to leach out and be a nasty one, and it’s part of the tourist highway through that part of the world,” he said.

“They are going to have to put up a caution sign or something because I’d hate to see a tourist come round there and slip on it and have a crash.”

Targa’s sweep team has been told to be extra vigilant today as the event heads to Hobart from Strahan over another six stages, although the senseless sabotage is expected to be a one-off.

Police praised the sweep crew — the last car through each of the 39 stages before they are declared “live” for the competition — for making the discovery.

Inspector Scott Flude was dumbfounded by the oil ­dumping.

“Had this discovery not been made prior to the race commencing, the conse­quences could have been very serious,” Insp Flude said.

“Further, this could have ­affected anyone using the road.”

Targa officials were more concerned for the safety of the public than having to downgrade one of its stages.

“It’s not just for what is does to Targa but, far more importantly, it can endanger the lives of the general public,” said Targa Tasmania media manager Ian Chesterman.

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!”

Honda superspeedway kit features multi-options

Reduced drag and increased engine performance equals speed on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval, and Honda Performance Development COO and vice president Steve Eriksen believes its Verizon IndyCar Series entries in the 99th Indianapolis 500 Mile Race will have all three with its superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork platform and 2.2-liter, twin-turbocharged V-6 engine.

Honda’s superspeedway aerodynamic bodywork package on the No. 29 TE Connectivity Andretti Autosport entry to be driven by Simona de Silvestro unveiled today at Indianapolis Motor Speedway features a range of options available to teams to utilize for qualifications and the 200-lap race. The platform was designed, developed and supplied by California-based Honda Performance Development, and the aero kit will make its public on-track debut May 3 during a Promoter Test at IMS. Chevrolet's superspeedway aero package also will be on track May 3.

Practice opens May 11, with qualifications May 16-17 and the 99th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on May 24. Ryan Hunter-Reay, driving the No. 28 DHL Honda for Andretti Autosport, won the 2014 Indianapolis 500.

"I expect an increase in speed (in practice and qualifications), but I won't say how much," Eriksen said.

The superspeedway package includes a variety of individual aerodynamic components fitted to the Honda-powered Dallara chassis but is 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. The front wing of the superspeedway kit contains fewer components to reduce drag and a rear wing element that Eriksen said is wide "like a glider." The rear wing main plane has "swan neck" supports that are carried over from Honda's sports car program, where HPD engineers learned that they helped with air flow over the rear wing. The rear wing main plane is unique to the Indianapolis 500, though an entry has the option to run the main plane to be used on the other three big ovals.
"One of the great things about IndyCar is that this aero kit has to operate over such a diverse range of circuits, it's unlike any other racing series, and it's a real challenge to make a kit that is going to work on every track well. But we welcomed it and have enjoyed doing it," Eriksen said. "The process really started with us looking at what has made us successful. The Indy 500 wins that we've had we look at and say, 'What did we do well and what could we do better in the future.' We wanted to build on that experience to build the best kit possible, and I think we've done that."

There will be differences between the Honda and Chevrolet superspeedway kits, within both manufacturers’ qualifying and race specs to achieve maximum performance, and within their respective teams that likely will run different elements – even asymmetrical on the cars – during practice.
“We’re excited to unveil our superspeedway aero kit, the newest element in this era of enhanced manufacturer competition in the Verizon IndyCar Series,” HPD president Art St. Cyr said.  “Coupled to our proven Honda Indy V-6 engines, these aero kits are the products of thousands of hours of research, development and testing, as we seek to give our drivers and teams the tools they need to win the race that Honda holds as its most important goal each season: the Indianapolis 500.”

Both manufacturers, under INDYCAR regulations, designed components in “legality boxes” that complement the standard components of the rolling chassis. Areas open for development in these legality boxes include sidepods, engine cover, rear wheel guards, front and rear wing main planes and end plates, superspeedway front wing main plane, and the Indianapolis 500 rear wing main plane. Standard components for all cars include the underwing, road course front wing and rear wing main planes, nose, mirror housing and roll hoop fairing.
The road/street and short oval and superspeedway aero kits were developed by utilizing the latest in Computer-Aided Design and Computational Fluid Dynamics technology, then validated using Driver-In-Loop simulators. The process allowed the aerodynamic direction to be determined before full-size components were created.

Full-scale wind tunnel testing was used to confirm performance characteristics and develop aero maps to be used during manufacturer on-track testing from early October 2014 through mid-January 2015.

NHRA Kansas Nationals offers nitro blast Memorial Day weekend

The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series returns to venerable Heartland Park Topeka on Memorial Day weekend for the 27th annual NHRA Kansas Nationals, May 22-24.

The best in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock will again face off to get their hands on the coveted Wally during one of the most exciting events of the year. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel), Courtney Force (Funny Car), and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

The NHRA Kansas Nationals is a tradition-rich event in the heart of the Midwest, where drag racing history has been made repeatedly, leaving fans on the edges of their seats. Heartland Park Topeka was the site of the first four-second and 300-mph passes in Funny Car, set by Chuck Etchells and Jim Epler, respectively, as well as the site of the 100th win by a female driver in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, achieved by Force last season.

The NHRA action is sure to heat up Memorial Day weekend, annually one of the biggest and most anticipated weekends of auto racing in the United States.

Last year in Top Fuel, Massey scored his second win of the season and second in Topeka, defeating 2013 world champ Shawn Langdon to win the event. Massey won one more race, in the Countdown to the Championship, and ended the season in third place in points. The driver of the Red Fuel dragster already has a win this season in Gainesville and will try to make it two for the year at the multipurpose facility in the Kansas capital city.

Three-time Top Fuel world champ Larry Dixon has two wins at the facility, his last in 2009. Dixon, driver of the C&J Energy Services dragster, has had an interesting start to the year. He walked away from a spectacular high-speed crash in Gainesville and rebounded to post a runner-up finish in Las Vegas. Others to watch in the Top Fuel field include 2013 Topeka winner Langdon, 2012 world champ Antron Brown, 2006 Topeka winner and recent Houston champ Doug Kalitta, Las Vegas winner Richie Crampton, 2014 Topeka No. 1 qualifier Brittany Force, and J.R. Todd.

The Force family has hit a number of milestones at speedy Heartland Park. The 16-time Funny Car world champion, John Force, has nine wins in Topeka, the most for any driver in a Pro category, but none since 2008. At the event last year, John’s daughter Courtney raced to the 100th victory by a woman in Mello Yello Series history. She also secured the No. 1 qualifying spot, as did sister Brittany in Top Fuel, marking the first time in history that sisters were top qualifiers at the same event.

The Force team returns to Heartland Park Topeka with a different look in 2015. Armed with a new sponsor and manufacturer, the elder Force will attempt to drive his Peak Antifreeze Chevy Camaro SS into the winner’s circle for the second time this season following his win in Las Vegas. Courtney will pilot her new-look Traxxas Chevy Camaro SS in search of a second Topeka victory. John Force Racing teammate Robert Hight has two victories at Heartland Park Topeka at the controls of his Auto Club Camaro SS.

Two-time Funny Car world champ Cruz Pedregon has four wins at the track and will be gunning for a fifth after a runner-up finish at the event last year. Ron Capps, this season’s winner in Gainesville and Houston, would love to tie Pedregon with four wins at the facility. His Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman, who won the Charlotte event in March, claimed a victory here in 2012 en route to his first Funny Car world championship. Notably absent from the Topeka winner’s circle is two-time and defending world champ Matt Hagan. Three-time national event winner Alexis DeJoria, Del Worsham, two-time world champ Tony Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson, and Chad Head are a few of the other Funny Car competitors who are expected to compete for victory in the Sunflower State.

Defending Pro Stock winner Johnson will be looking for a fourth Topeka win. He has struggled to start 2015, but Topeka has proven to be a productive venue for the driver of the Magneti Marelli Dodge Dart.

Perhaps the hottest drivers to start the Pro Stock season are reigning Pro Stock world champ Erica Enders-Stevens, who has won the last two events on the schedule, and four-time world champ Greg Anderson. Enders-Stevens leads the Pro Stock points and is looking for her 14th victory and first at the NHRA Kansas Nationals. Anderson, driver of the Summit Racing Chevy Camaro, was the winner in Gainesville and runner-up in Charlotte and has a successful pedigree in Topeka with four wins.

Shane Gray secured a victory in Topeka in 2011 and will try to score his first of the season. Jason Line, Vincent Nobile, V. Gaines, and Chris McGaha also figure to be major factors in the 200-mph factory hot rod category.

As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds and enjoy cherished face time with and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.

Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food, and fun for the entire family.

NHRA’s Baptism by Nitro campaign will make its first appearance in Topeka. Inspired by the popular phrase “baptism by fire,” commonly used to describe when an individual is thrust into a new situation, experience, or environment, Baptism by Nitro is NHRA’s call to encourage longtime fans to introduce a family member or friend to the heart-pounding atmosphere of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series.

Throughout the 2015 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season, NHRA fans are encouraged to share first-time Baptism by Nitro fan experiences on social media. Prizes will be given all year to the best nitro rookie reactions captured in the pits or in the grandstands and posted to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. All posts should include the hashtag #BaptismbyNitro and tag @NHRA.