Motorsport

  • Charlotte All Stars race wrap footage now available

    With a deft move with three laps left in Saturday night’s NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Denny Hamlin delivered the first victory in the non-points showcase event to Joe Gibbs Racing and to Toyota.
     
    As he drove into Turn 1 to start Lap 97, with Kevin Harvick glued to his bumper and ready to make a run at the $1 million first prize, Hamlin moved up a lane in the corner and took Harvick's line away, causing Harvick’s No. 4 Chevrolet to lose momentum.

    Watch it at www.rubberdown.com.au

  • Chase Elliott wins Daytona 500 pole

    Chase Elliott's rookie campaign just got a jump-start.  Faced with the daunting prospect of succeeding Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, the 20-year-old Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate drove the same chassis to the same result Gordon accomplished last year—the pole position for the Feb. 21 Daytona 500 (on FOX at 1 p.m. ET).

    In the money round of qualifying for the Great American Race, Elliott toured 2.5-mile Daytona International Speedway in 45.845 seconds (196.314 mph), edging Matt Kenseth (196.036 mph) by .065 seconds for the top starting spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series opener.

    Elliott and Kenseth are the only drivers whose positions for the Daytona 500 are now locked in. The balance of the field will be filled and ordered in Thursday night’s 150-mile Can-Am Duel qualifying races.

    "I've never qualified on the front row here before, so that certainly takes off some pressure for later in the week," Kenseth said.

    "This is a very, very cool day," Elliott said after Earnhardt, the last qualifier, failed to knock him off the pole. "I don't know that this opportunity has sunk in yet, much less sitting on the pole for the Daytona 500.

    "So this is very cool. I think the big thing is just the team and the Daytona 500 qualifying is about the team guys and the effort they put into these cars and it's nothing special I did. It's really what kind of work they did this offseason to make it happen.

    "Jeff (Gordon) knows all about that and I just wanted to give a big thanks to NAPA Auto Parts and all of our partners at HMS on this No. 24 car. This is very special and a great way to start the season."

    Elliott's first Sprint Cup pole was a milestone in many other respects. At 20 years, 2 months and 17 days, he is the youngest-ever winner of a Daytona 500 pole, supplanting Austin Dillon (23 years, 9 months 27 days in 2014).

    Should Elliott win the race next Sunday, he would displace Trevor Bayne as the youngest winner of the event often referred to as NASCAR's Super Bowl.

    This was the 10th Daytona 500 pole for Hendrick Motorsports and the third for the No. 24 Chevrolet, with Gordon winning the previous two in 1999 and 2015. Elliott completed the fourth father/son combination to win poles for the 500, joining Richard and Kyle Petty, Bobby and Davey Allison and Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

    In fact, Earnhardt Jr. was fastest in the first round of Sunday's qualifying session, posting a lap at 195.788 mph, but he slipped to third in the final round and will start on the outside of the front row in the first Can-Am Duel.

    Kyle Busch posted the fourth fastest lap in the final round and will start from the second spot in the second Duel. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Jimmie Johnson were fifth and sixth, respectively, in the final round.

    The qualifying times of the Nos. 4 and 14 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolets, driven by Kevin Harvick and Brian Vickers, were disallowed after NASCAR discovered track bar infractions during post-qualifying inspection. Those cars will start from the rear in their respective Duels.

    Ryan Blaney powered the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford to a seventh in Sunday's time trials. As the fastest "open" car (required to qualify on speed), he is locked into the Daytona 500. Matt DiBenedetto, the second fastest of the open cars (and 24th overall) also is locked into the field.

    The No. 78 Furniture Row Toyota of Martin Truex Jr. failed to post a time after NASCAR inspectors noticed that one of the roof flaps was out of compliance. The car was on the five-minute clock at the time and the problem could not be corrected in time to make a qualifying run. As a consequence, Truex will start from the rear of the field in the second Can-Am Duel.

  • Darcy Ward Suffers Spinal Injury

    Aussie Solo Rider Darcy Ward has gone under the knife in Poland after suffering a suspected spinal injury.

    The 23-year-old Aussie, widely viewed as one of world speedway’s brightest talents, crashed on his fifth ride during Zielona Gora's home clash with Grudziadz.

    Riding for his team "Pirates" the team statement said that Ward had "no lower body feeling at this time".

    Team boss Neil Middleditch, who Ward lodges with during the season, is due to fly to Poland early tomorrow.

    Poole number one Chris Holder altered his travel plans to be with Ward.

    Pirates promoter Matt Ford told the Daily Echo: “We know it to be a very severe accident.

    “He’s our son and we all feel that, especially people like Neil and myself who have worked with him and been great friends and admirers of him.

    “Everyone in the club is praying for better news than the news we are currently receiving.”

    Swindon loanee Ward had been due to feature against his parent club in an Elite League clash at Wimborne Road tomorrow.

    From all at The Motorsport Channel we wish him a speedy recovery.

  • 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
  • Denny Hamlin wins Sprint Unlimited in overtime finish

    Denny Hamlin was able to stay out of the late-race trouble that plagued his competitors and wheeled his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota into Victory Lane at the Sprint Unlimited for the third time in his career. This win also marks Joe Gibbs Racing's fourth victory out of the last five Sprint Unlimited races.

    Hamlin was in the lead when a caution came on the white-flag lap. Joey Logano finished in second with Paul Menard taking third.

    On Lap 73 (of a scheduled 75), a big wreck with Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Aric Almirola and Casey Mears created a green-white-checkered finish scenario and brought out the new "overtime line" rule NASCAR implemented days prior to the event. The race went 79 laps.

    Kyle Larson and Casey Mears took fourth and fifth, respectively.

    Brian Vickers brought out the "Big One" on Lap 23, which also involved Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch and AJ Allmendinger. Vickers who was filling in for the injured Tony Stewart officially exited the race by Lap 40 along with Bowyer and three-time Sprint Unlimited winner Harvick.


  • Dixon Wins Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway

    Scott Dixon made his victory in the Firestone 600 look easy, though the three-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion said it was one of the most hotly-contested and unpredictable in recent memory at Texas Motor Speedway.

    Dixon led 97 of the 248 laps in the No. 9 Energizer EcoAdvanced Chevrolet to earn his second victory of the Verizon IndyCar Series season and his second at Texas Motor Speedway in the fast-paced race on the 1.455-mile, high-banked oval.

    The 191.940 mph average speed set a track race record, aided by a lone caution for debris.

    Chip Ganassi Racing Teams teammate Tony Kanaan finished 7.8000 seconds behind in the No. 10 NTT Group Chevrolet. Helio Castroneves, who has won four times at TMS, finished third in the No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet.

    It was the 99th Indy car victory for team owner Chip Ganassi, and Dixon, his longest-tenured driver, picked up his 37th Indy car win - fifth on the all-time list. Dixon, who also won at Long Beach in mid-April, stretched his streak to 10 years with multiple wins.

    "It's never easy. Even toward the second-to-last stint we were just trying to make changes to the car," said Dixon, who grabbed the lead in a pit-stop exchange on Lap 194 and led all but one lap the rest of the way.

    "It didn't start awfully good because we had a lot of understeer in the car, but once we got the balance right, the car was basically on rails. With the pit-stop exchange we got the lead, and then the car was just very good in traffic and were able to keep the speed up. I knew, once we got the balance right, we could get up there and duel with (Kanaan) to the end.

    "This racing is great and you've got to give Firestone a lot of credit. They give us a tire that is very durable and safe."

    Dixon also won at the superspeedway on June 7, 2008 - one of six victories on the way to his second Verizon IndyCar Series championship. He is third in the 2015 standings through nine of 16 races - 43 points behind front-runner Juan Pablo Montoya heading to the June 14 Honda Indy Toronto, where he swept a doubleheader on the street circuit in 2013.

    Kanaan, who earned his 121st Indy car top-five finish, led 57 laps mid-race. Overall, there were 14 lead changes among nine drivers.

    "One-two for the team, I'm happy," said Kanaan, who won at Texas Motor Speedway on June 12, 2004, and returned that October to celebrate his only series championship. "It was a great race."

    With a fourth-place finish, Montoya increased his points advantage to 35 over Team Penske teammate Will Power. Marco Andretti, who started 11th in the No. 27 Snapple Honda for Andretti Autosport, placed fifth for his third consecutive top five. Power, the pole sitter, led seven laps but faded to 13th in the No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

    Hinchcliffe Issues Start Command

    Injured Verizon IndyCar Series driver James Hinchcliffe gave the pre-race command for drivers to start their engines via video on Texas Motor Speedway's "Big Hoss" 20,633-square-foot HD display screen along the track's backstretch.

    Carter Brothers on the Spot for Andretti Autosport

    It was a busy few days in Texas for two members of the Andretti Autosport team, and a winning one. Brothers Cole and Dane Carter serve as spotters for Andretti drivers in both the Verizon IndyCar Series and in rallycross, and both were competing in the Lone Star State this weekend.

    That meant the Carters were shuttling between Texas Motor Speedway for the Firestone 600 and Austin for the X Games. Dane spots for Marco Andretti on Verizon IndyCar Series oval tracks and Tanner Foust in rallycross events. Cole spots for Carlos Munoz in Indy cars and Scott Speed in rallycross. Andretti and Munoz finished fifth and sixth, respectively, at TMS a few hours after Speed took home the gold medal for winning the X Games rallycross competition.

    "A lot of people don't think spotters are ever used or needed in rallycross, but they're required," said Cole, 32 and the younger of the two Carters. "It doesn't seem like it because the guys always seem to run into each other. They're a lot more involved, actually. It's kind of like you have to do the race strategy and the spotting all at once because things happen so fast and it's a short race."

    After flying to Fort Worth from Indianapolis on Thursday, the Carters made the 200-mile drive to Austin for a three-hour rallycross practice session and returned that night to be at TMS for Firestone 600 practice and qualifying Friday. They went back to Austin late Friday night for the X Games heat races and final today, then scurried back to TMS in time for the Firestone 600.

    Cole and Dane both raced for years primarily in sprint cars and midgets. They are the sons of 17-time Indianapolis 500 starter and 1985 pole sitter Duane "Pancho" Carter, a longtime spotter working this weekend for Tristan Vautier in the No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda.

    "It's easy to be a spotter if you were a driver," said Dane, 36. "Former drivers, a lot of times they know what drivers want to hear, what they don't want to hear. Sometimes you get people (spotting) that will just talk too much. They say spotters talk a lot, but with Marco, there's very little we talk about. It's just short and concise, just what he needs to hear."

    Football Great Haley Prefers to Take It Slow

    Charles Haley, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August and was honorary starter for the Firestone 600, was invited to take his 1968 Ford Mustang convertible out for a few laps on the 1.455-mile, high-banked Texas Motor Speedway oval. He politely declined.

    "That's my girlfriend; we keep it real slow. Nothing over 45 (mph)," said Haley, who won a record five Super Bowl titles with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers.

    The former defensive end/linebacker does appreciate the speed of the Verizon IndyCar Series cars and the mental fortitude of the competitors.

    "You have to be a little nuts to drive," he said, "but it's very exciting to watch on TV and now to see it in person."

    POST-RACE QUOTES

    WILL POWER (No. 1 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "It was tough day for the Verizon Chevy Team.  We got a bit blindsided there and chose the wrong downforce level for tonight but I think our problems were deeper than that. We just need to take a good look at what we missed. We'll go back and look towards better results in Toronto."

    JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 2 Verizon Team Penske): "Our Verizon Chevy was really quick. We came out of the pits there leading and we made a mistake with the front wing. I asked to take wing out and they went the wrong way. I started leading when I was full stiff bars and full on the weight jacker, and it was still really pointy and I said, 'This is going to get really loose,' so I just backed off and let a few people by and it just started wearing the right rear tire. By the time I stopped (again), I lost half a lap. You saw how good I was at the end, how I caught Helio. If that would've been the case (all race), we probably would've won the race, but it is what it is."

    HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 AAA Insurance Team Penske Chevrolet): "Mentally, physically it was incredible tonight. One of the toughest ones - especially because we have to control the car, plus at the end with the temperature, the front end of my car was getting a lot nervous.  The AAA car was actually strong. We chose in the middle of the downforce (level). We knew that the Ganassis had more downforce than us and in the end they ended up getting the best way. A good day for the championship and points, we're still fourth, but at least we're closer to Juan Pablo (Montoya) and we'll keep going.... Some of the close calls were incredible. To be honest, I was like, 'Ahhh!' and I closed my eyes. Sometimes it was like, 'That's going to be a close one.' With drivers that you can trust, when you run in the front like that all the time, it's great to run like that. It's fun, it's challenging. But stupid drivers, when they have no idea what they're doing, it's dangerous. I felt safer doing that type of stuff tonight than running 12th or 13th at Indianapolis. Because you know that everybody's going to give an inch, it's small, but they're going to give an inch. Very happy that we were able to finish in the top three."

    STEFANO COLETTI (No. 4 KV Racing Technology Chevrolet): "I am really happy to finish the race. I was struggling for the first 150 laps and then I started to understand a little more about how the car reacts on ovals and how to take the line and where to apply the throttle in the corners. In the end I started to have fun in the last 50 laps and pass cars. We were going faster and faster as the race went on and I said I wasn't confident at the start of the race, but now I feel a bit more comfortable."

    RYAN BRISCOE (No. 5 Arrow/Lucas Oil Schmidt Peterson Honda): "It was a really good effort. I was pleased to be able to move our way through the field and it was a lot of fun. I had a really good car and I'm really proud of the effort by the whole Arrow Electronics team, their pit stops are impressive. We were constantly talking throughout the race to make improvements on the balance and we had to work with it a lot but I was really happy. I'm not sure what happened at the end. I was hoping for a top five finish but I think the strategy kind of played out a little bit differently. We dropped a couple of spots right at the end but it was a great effort."

    JAMES JAKES (No. 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda): "We said we wanted to get top tens until the end of the year but honestly, I'm a little bit disappointed with ninth. I felt we had a better car than that and the No. 7 SPM MediaTech Honda was pretty solid. The crew did a great job all night and we just came up a bit short by going off strategy like that. We can still count it as a good finish and add some points. Now we move on to Toronto."

    SAGE KARAM (No. 8 Lexar Chevrolet): "It was a good race. I'm not thrilled with a 12th-place finish, but I'm also not disappointed. I think the main objective for this race, especially after the last few weekends, was just to complete all the laps and finish the best we could. This is a very difficult track and it was my first time ever racing here, so I didn't know what to expect. Every stint we were pretty loose and I was holding onto the car quite a bit, but it was a very difficult, challenging race. The Chip Ganassi Racing cars were competitive all night and I'm really happy for my teammates with the one-two finish. I made a little mistake and the car got loose which put me above the apron and I ended up getting a drive-through penalty. That put me out of contention for the top-10, but I'm just going to take it as a learning experience and move forward into this weekend in Toronto."

    SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Energizer EcoAdvanced Chevrolet, Race Winner): "A lot of credit goes to the Team Target engineering group for the option that we went with which was on the high downforce level. Another big thanks needs to go to Team Chevy for giving us so many good options to run with and the power they've given us as well. Once we got the balance right and we got some front wing in the car with some tire pressure changes, the car was basically on rails. That allowed us to run up there with TK and really push him along. After that pit stop exchange, we were able to take the lead and the car was just fantastic in traffic. I think that was the key to winning this race. We found out last year that not being able to run well in traffic was a huge disadvantage, so we made sure to correct that for this year. It was just one of those nights where you get towards the end and you just hope that there wasn't going to be any yellows. I knew we had a good car. We just had to get it dialed in. I can't thank the crew enough. This Energizer car, I told you, we had a run with this thing where we would constantly win. I am just over the moon with it, over the moon."

    TONY KANAAN (No. 10 NTT Group Chevrolet): "That was definitely a tough race, but it always is here at Texas Motor Speedway. We saw the setups the Penske guys were running and they saw ours and I think both sides were so different that we were just thinking that someone definitely got it right and someone didn't. We decided to run more downforce and it worked in our favor. It was really close, good racing here tonight and in my opinion at least, I thought it was a lot of fun. You always want to win but I'm so happy for Scott, he ran a really good race. And while a second isn't a win, I'll take those championship points."

    SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS (No. 11 Team Hydroxycut - KVSH Racing Chevrolet): "The Hydroxycut team definitely made progress since last year. The car was actually pretty good. I tried to drive it a little to free and killed the rear tires a couple of times. Then under a yellow, we decided to pit and it was too early, so we didn't beat the pace car out and got penalized. I also made a mistake. I thought it was a drive through penalty and it was a stop and go, so I had to come back in and we went down another lap. Toward the last part of the race we showed we had a good car. The last two stints were strong, but to make up two laps... We got very little out of a pretty good race and a solid race car, but it is what it is, now it is on to the next one."

    GRAHAM RAHAL (No. 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Honda): "After running so well last night, and yesterday in general, this was a shock to us. We're pretty disappointed in the performance; the car was extremely loose. This hurts us in the championship because we lost some ground. We didn't see this yesterday in those conditions even on old tires so it is a shock for sure to see the handling today like we had. It was a bad day but we will work hard to recover from this and be strong in Toronto."

    PIPPA MANN (No. 18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Overall I think we had a pretty solid race.  We were hoping to have a slightly better car after how well we ran last night in practice.  I had a lot of confidence coming in to tonight but we were just that little bit off and that hurt our result some. It is really hard when you can go a few laps longer than everyone else and then you are hanging on when they are just flying around you on brand new tires.  I'm really happy to bring the No. 18 car home for a good finish and hopefully this will be the start of a run of good finishes for this car."

    TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda): "Well I had a great, great start. I passed like five cars in the first few laps. The car felt really good and stable but, unfortunately, halfway through that first stint the rear went really loose and I couldn't keep that pace.  I was just hanging on for the rest of that stint. Then we had a couple of issues with the weight jacker and had to reset the car under yellow.  I ended up with a mechanical failure. I think we were a bit stronger than we showed but I'm thankful to Dale (Coyne) for having me drive for him again this weekend and thankful to all the guys for their hard work.  Too bad we couldn't finish it."

    ED CARPENTER (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka CFH Racing Chevrolet): "We were just riding around, finishing the race when something let go in the car. We were in no way, shape, or form in contention. It's disappointing. We've been strong here for the past couple of years. We have good road course cars right now. We just haven't been able to get this package sorted out for the ovals. A big part of that weight falls on my shoulders. I feel I need to do more to help these guys."

    SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 22 Avaya Team Penske Chevrolet): "An up and down night for sure for the Avaya Chevrolet team. The car was really good out front with the downforce setup we had on the car. Unfortunately we had an electrical issue with our weigh jacker, which through the balance of the car off until we got a chance to reset the system under the second caution. But when we did that the engine shut down all the way into the pit stall and we lost several spots. An unfortunate situation for sure, but the guys continued to work on the car to make it better, but with our downforce setup it was just not the best in traffic. Now we go to Toronto - which is a place that I love - to try to get this team to Victory Lane."

    CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 26 AndrettiTV Cinsay Honda): "I think I gave 100 percent, everything I could. We needed to save a little bit more fuel than the other guys. We did one less pit stop. It was hard to save fuel, so we lost some positions there. We finished sixth - a great position, and I think I did quite good with our stops and pushing hard. It was good for experience, another top 10, and now we're looking forward to Toronto."

    MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 27 Snapple Honda): "We were sort of just hanging on to it tonight. Seemingly lacking a bit of grip and pace to the front runners, so we had to get the top five the way we did it. It was an awesome job by my Snapple guys. We just need to keep hanging in there, that's all we can do."

    RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "Unfortunately, I think there's something wrong with this car - it's the same one we had at Indy - and we're going to 'kitchen sink it' as they call it, for the next oval race. We're just going to come back with a different tub, a different everything because it's not this difficult. There's no excuse for this... I'm just glad I brought it back in one piece - it was loose the whole night no matter what we did to it. Meanwhile, my teammates (Marco Andretti, Carlos Muñoz) were adding front wing the whole night trying to get the front to grip up..."

    JOSEF NEWGARDEN (No. 67 Hartman Oil CFH Racing Chevrolet): "We're not sure what happened yet, we just lost drive. It was a tough weekend. We struggled all weekend with the car's handling. We did everything we could to make it better. We did a good job keeping it in the race. We just didn't have enough for everyone. Capping it off with losing drive was a hard way to end the weekend. We put up a good fight. We did everything we could to be competitive. It was a tough weekend where nothing really went our way. All we can do is go to Toronto and have a solid weekend."

    CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet): "Today was a big day for Chip Ganassi Racing with the first and second place finish - a huge congrats to Scott, Tony, Team Target, and the NTT DATA Chip Ganassi Racing Team. We're a little disappointed to not come home with a top-five finish, especially with those guys at the end saving fuel. We definitely had the pace and the No. 83 Levemir FlexTouch Chevrolet was really solid all night. We just had to make some adjustments during some stops to get in the position to go fight for a higher position out there when we could. I think the one restart took a little more out of the tires than I was expecting, but we fought through it and were able to make up some positions. Overall we had a really good, well-fought race, and we can use this momentum heading into Toronto next weekend."

    GABBY CHAVES (No. 98 Bowers & Wilkins/Curb Honda): "We constantly improved the car throughout the race, made our way through the field pretty well. We had a couple of slower stops, but all my crew and everyone on the team did a fantastic job to improve the car and give me a car I was comfortable racing with.  Two top 10s in a row is really good progress, and we're just looking forward to continuing to improve on this momentum going onto the next few races."

  • Driver Interviews - Knoxville National 2015

    Driver interviews direct from Knoxville by "The Motorsport Channels Kaylene Oliver.

    Brooke Tatnell
    Glen Saville
    Jordyn Brazier
    Lynton Jeffrey
    Shane Golibik
    Terry McCall

    Click on the Audio Podcast Link to listen.

    Lots more to load and more every night.

  • East Coast Logistics Crispy Memorial To Murcott

    After an intense rain system passed through Brisbane on Friday afternoon many parts of the river city were left more than a little damp and AusDeck Patios Archerfield Speedway was no exception. Despite clear skies all day Saturday the infield area of the track remained far too wet and the event was postponed until Sunday 03 May 2015. It would be an afternoon event, with racing starting from 1pm, and concluding by 6pm. Several of the nominated drivers were unable to make the Sunday afternoon event, leaving twenty-five Sprintcars to contest another round of the East Coast Logistics Crispy Memorial Series. David Murcott was the standout from the beginning, setting quick time, winning a heat and taking race honours at the end of the 30-lap A-Main event. Andrew Scheuerle put in another strong and consistent run to finish the night in second with Darren Jensen filling the final podium position. Bryan Mann and Kevin Titman rounded out the top five.

    Qualifying got underway with the sun still quite high in the sky. David Murcott was in the first group to hit the track and quickly set an unbeatable benchmark when he stopped the clock at 12.039 seconds. Bryan Mann, Kevin Titman, Darren Jensen, Andrew Scheuerle and Steven Rowell were all less than half a second slower, with Mick Sauer, Brent Kratzmann, Mitchell Gee and Brent Aprile rounding out the top ten. Lachlan McHugh, in his first qualifying run in a Sprintcar, qualified in eighteenth with a qualifying time of 13.168 seconds, and made it into the top eighteen inversion on a very difficult track. McHugh was relegated rear of the field for his heats as it was his maiden night of Sprintcar competition.

    Mike Walsh and Steven Johnson started the front row for the start of heat one. The first start was aborted, officials deeming Johnson to have jumped the start and relegated the Q27 racer to the second row for the restart. Second time around it was Mike Walsh and Mick Sauer who led the field to the green, with Sauer managing to secure the lead by turn one. Steven Johnson took to the high line in turn two trying to find a way past Mike Walsh, only to get a little too high in turn three, clip the wall with his right rear, and invert the Brisbane Yamaha #27 racer. Johnson was not injured in the crash but was out of the race. Walsh and Sauer again led the field to the start with Walsh this time securing the lead by the time they hit turn one. Steven Rowell ducked underneath Andrew Liebke as David Murcott ran around the outside in turn one. By turn two both Rowell and Murcott had made their way in front of Liebke, only to come together, allowing Liebke to slip back through. Meanwhile Sauer was trying to slip back underneath Walsh as they raced down the back straight, only for the race to once again be brought under caution, this time for David Murcott who had slowed to a stop in turn three after the incident with Rowell. Walsh and Sauer led the field for the fourth attempt to get heat one underway, with Walsh again securing the lead. David Murcott however was on a mission and wasted no time once the lights went green. Murcott instantly took the highline and made his way past both Rowell and Liebke by the end of the second corner, and Brett Thomas, in his first night in a Sprintcar for a number of years, just half a lap later. Murcott now had Mick Sauer in his sights, and while it took a couple of laps, the reigning Australian Champion slipped underneath Sauer as they raced down the main straight before setting out after Walsh and the race lead. Walsh had built a comfortable lead but it only took Murcott a few laps to close the gap and take advantage when Walsh ran a fraction wide in turn two. David Murcott went on to take the race win ahead of Mike Walsh, Mick Sauer, Brett Thomas, Andrew Liebke, Anthony Lambert and Bruce Marshall. Steven Rowell and Steven Johnson both failed to finish the event.

    Heat two saw Richard Morgan and Ben Hilder share the front row for the start, with Morgan getting the jump and quickly settling into the race lead. Hilder settled into second as Bryan Mann took to the high side and ran around the outside of Brent Kratzmann and Brandon Rawlings, before putting the pressure on Hilder and making his way into second by the end of the first lap. Andrew Scheuerle searched for a way past Brandon Rawlings, while Brent Kratzmann and Lachlan McHugh battled at the rear of the field. Mann gradually closed in on Richard Morgan and the race lead, and was just attempting a bold outside passing move for the race lead as the duo exited turn two, when the race was brought under caution for the spun car of Lachlan McHugh in turn three. Richard Morgan led the restart with just two laps to run and Bryan Mann right on his tail. Further back in the field Brent Kratzmann managed to slip past Andrew Scheuerle, the two putting on a great show for the fans as they raced towards the chequered flag. Richard Morgan went on to take the win ahead of Bryan Mann, Ben Hidler, Brandon Rawlings, Brent Kratzmann, Andrew Scheuerle, Kristy Bonsey and Lachlan McHugh.

    Heat three rolled onto the track with Callum Walker to start from pole position with Mark Pholi alongside. Walker led them to the first corner, with Pholi challenging hard on the high side while Darren Jensen and Mitchell Gee argued over positions mid-field. Walker and Pholi were side-by-side coming our of turn two when Walker got a little crossed up and retreated to the inner bike track for a moment. Walker rejoined the race once he had settled the car but had lost positions to Brent Aprile, Darren Jensen and Mitchell Gee, and quickly faded to the rear of the field. Aprile, Jensen and Gee were embroiled in an intense battle, with Gee managing to slip underneath Jensen. Brandon Haynes spun to a stop in turn four and brought the race under caution, with Mark Pholi to lead the restart with eight laps still to run. Darren Jensen managed to slip underneath Mitchell Gee as they raced down the back straight, but an uncharacteristic spin in turn four left the Q75 racer stranded on the track and brought the race under caution once more. With barely a lap of the restart completed the race was again stopped, this time for Kevin Titman who had slowed to a stop in turn four with mechanical issues on the Q59 racer. Titman was unable to restart the event, retiring to the infield after completing just four laps. Mark Pholi again led the restart and while Brent Aprile put all kinds of pressure on Pholi for the remaining five laps, he couldn’t quite get the job done. Mark Pholi walked away with the heat win, with Brent Aprile forced to settle for second. Mitchell Gee crossed the line in third and led Brandon Haynes, Jason Bottin, Darren Jensen and Callum Walker across the line. Kevin Titman did not finish the race.

    Heat four started with Callum Walker and Ben Hilder from the front row with Andrew Liebke and Mitchell Gee close behind. Walker and Hilder raced side-by-side into turn one, with Hilder eventually managing to secure the race lead. Walker settled into second while Brent Aprile had quickly made his way from fifth to third in just half a lap. Aprile spent a couple of laps searching for a way past Walker, while Walker did a great job holding off his more experienced rival. However track conditions got the better of walker and he spun the Q33 racer in turn three, bringing the race under caution. Hilder led the restart from Aprile and Mitchell Gee, with David Murcott in fourth. Aprile was all over the back of Hilder, the two putting on a breath-taking show for the crowd, while further back in the field Steven Johnson was trying to find a way underneath Kristy Bonsey. Still it was hard to take your eyes from the battle for the lead as Aprile committed to the high line, running around the outside of Hilder as they navigated turns three and four. Once in front Aprile began opening a sizable lead and weaving his way through lapped traffic. He slammed the wall coming out of turn two but had built enough of a margin that while he slowed briefly he was able to maintain his lead. Brent Aprile went on to take the win, with a margin of 1.897 seconds on second placed Ben Hilder. Mitchell Gee crossed the line in third ahead of David Murcott, Andrew Liebke, Steven Johnson, Kristy Bonsey, Callum Walker and Bruce Marshall.

    Brett Thomas and Richard Morgan shared the front row for the start of heat five, with hard-chargers Kevin Titman and Brent Kratzmann out of the second row. The first start was aborted, officials deeming Thomas to have jumped the start. Thomas was relegated to the second row for the second attempted start, with Kevin Titman now from pole position. Titman got the initial jump but Morgan was quick to challenge on the high side and had basically secured the lead when Titman got too sideways in turn two and lost several car lengths. Brent Kratzmann was quick to move and quickly blasted around the outside. Titman found himself in the middle of a very intense battle with Kratzmann, Andrew Scheuerle and Brett Thomas. Scheuerle challenged Titman before Titman put all kinds of pressure on Kratzmann, eventually slipping underneath the Q4 racer as they raced through turn four. Titman set out about chasing down Richard Morgan in the race lead, spending several laps closing the gap before giving it everything he had. It was a spectacular battle as Titman relentlessly searched for the right way past Morgan, while Morgan ran a smooth and consistent line, continually denying Titman every time he was challenged. Richard Morgan went on to take the win ahead of Kevin Titman, Andrew Scheuerle, Brent Kratzmann, Brett Thomas, Bryan Mann, Anthony Lambert and Lachlan McHugh.

    The sixth and final heat of the night rolled onto the track with Mike Walsh and Steven Rowell set to lead them away. Walsh got the jump on the start, but Rowell was strong on the high line, stealing the lead through turn one, only for Walsh to fight back hard on the low line through turn two to regain the lead. By turn three Rowell had slipped back underneath Walsh to take control of the race, leaving Walsh to defend his position from Mark Pholi. Darren Jensen was on his way forward when the race was brought under caution for the spun car of Brandon Haynes in turn four. Steven Rowell led the restart from Mike Walsh and Darren Jensen with Jensen and Mark Pholi both making their way past Walsh over the next few laps. Rowell opened a sizable lead, leaving Jensen and Pholi to argue over second and third, and while Rowell slammed the wall at one stage, he was able to maintain his lead and went on to be the first to greet the chequered flag. Darren Jensen and Mark Pholi battled all the way to the line, with Jensen crossing the line in second and Pholi forced to settle for third. Mick Sauer was fourth past the chequered flag, leading Brandon Rawlings, Mike Walsh, Jason Bottin and Brandon Haynes home.

    Next up was the B-Main event, with eleven cars taking to the track for twelve laps. Andrew Liebke started from pole position with Mike Walsh alongside and Brett Thomas and Callum Walker right on their tail. Liebke got the best start and quickly settled into the race lead, with Walsh in second followed by Thomas and Steven Johnson. Johnson managed to slip underneath Thomas at the end of the first lap while further back in the field Anthony Lambert was working the high line trying to make his way into a transfer position. Lambert soon made his way into fifth, just one spot shy of a transfer, and joined the battle that was unfolding as Steven Johnson and Brett Thomas each tried to find a way past Mike Walsh. Thomas had just managed to slip back under Johnson when behind them Callum Walker drifted too high coming out of turn two and slammed the concrete wall hard. Walker tried to limp the broken Q33 racer off the track but didn’t quite make it to the infield and the race was brought under caution. Andrew Liebke led the restart from Walsh, Johnson and Thomas, with Lambert still in the hunt for a transfer position. Liebke got a brilliant start and immediately opened a small but comfortable lead, while the battle raged for the minor places. Brandon Haynes had a truly spectacular run, slipping underneath Anthony Lambert, Brett Thomas and Steven Johnson in little more than a lap, but ultimately faded as all three drivers eventually found their way back past. Steven Johnson caught Mike Walsh and gave it everything as the two put on a spectacular show. Neither was willing to give up without a fight, with Johnson eventually able to secure the advantage. Andrew Liebke went on to take the win, nearly three seconds ahead of second placed Steven Johnson. Mike Walsh crossed the line a very respectable third while Brett Thomas secured the final transfer to the A-main in his first night of Sprintcar competition in quite some time. Anthony Lambert crossed the line in fifth ahead of Brandon Haynes, Jason Bottin, Kristy Bonsey, Lachlan McHugh and Bruce Marshall. Callum Walker did not finish the event.

    Eight cars lined up for the 6 lap Dash event, with Brent Aprile and Darren Jensen from the front row and Bryan Mann and David Murcott out of the second row. Both Aprile and Jensen got a great start and they drag raced side-by-side into the first corner. Unfortunately slight contact between the pair as they exited turn one launched Aprile into a series of quick, low to the ground, flips. Aprile was quick to exit the wreck but would sadly be out for the rest of the evening. With Aprile out of the event, Bryan Mann was promoted to pole position for the restart but Jensen had a brilliant run on the high line and quickly secured the race lead. David Murcott instantly challenged Mann for second and while Mann held on for the first lap, Murcott ran the highline perfectly and made his way into second. Andrew Scheuerle briefly challenged Mann for third, while Murcott closed in a little on Jensen. Still there was no stopping Darren Jensen out in front, the Q75 racer taking the win ahead of David Murcott, Bryan Mann and Andrew Scheuerle. Mark Pholi finished fifth and led Richard Morgan and Steven Rowell across the line. Brent Aprile did not finish the event.

    Darren Jensen and David Murcott led the field of seventeen cars, missing only Brent Aprile, around for the start of the 30-lap A-Main event. Jensen got the initial jump on the start and led the way into turn one, but Murcott positioned the A1 racer perfectly through turn two, to almost effortlessly slide underneath Jensen and steal the lead with just half a lap completed. Bryan Mann and Andrew Scheuerle argued over third and fourth while Richard Morgan and Mark Pholi were embroiled in their own battle. Brent Kratzmann and Mitchell Gee had a great battle and were soon joining by Kevin Titman who was having a truly spectacular run, predominately on the high line and putting all kinds of pressure on Gee as they entertained the crowd. Behind them the battle between Mick Sauer, Ben Hilder and Brandon Rawlings was really starting to heat up, the trio often wheel-to-wheel as they traded positions several times, while B-Main transfers Andrew Liebke, Steven Johnson and Brett Thomas continued their battles from the B-Main event. The race was however brought under caution when Mitchell Gee, Ben Hilder and Steven Rowell came together in turn four. Rowell ended up on his side, Gee had a flat left rear and Hilder suffered sufficient damage to end his race. All three were unable to restart the event.

    David Murcott led the restart from Andrew Scheuerle, who had managed to find a way past Darren Jensen, with Jensen in third ahead of Bryan Mann with seventeen laps left to run. Bryan Mann and Darren Jensen had a great battle but it was Kevin Titman and Richard Morgan who captivated everyone's attention for several laps as they relentlessly raced wheel-to-wheel and exchanged positions several times, with Titman eventually emerging in front and setting his sights on Brent Kratzmann. Titman was on a mission and was spectacular to watch, while Kratzmann refused to give up, fighting hard to maintain his position. Titman managed to get his nose in front as they crossed the line, just moments before Steven Johnson spun to a stop in turn three and brought race under caution.

    David Murcott, Andrew Scheuerle, Darren Jensen and Bryan Mann led the restart with just thirteen laps left to run, but all eyes were again on Titman as he worked the high line beautifully to make his way in front of Mark Pholi. Mann and Jensen argued over the final podium position, while Brandon Rawlings and Mick Sauer raced two abreast for several laps, but there was no touching David Murcott out in front. Murcott went on to take the win, with Andrew Scheuerle in second and Darren Jensen hanging on to finish third. Bryan Mann and Kevin Titman completed the top five with Mark Pholi, Brent Kratzmann, Richard Morgan, Brandon Rawlings, Mick Sauer, Andrew Liebke, Steven Johnson, Brett Thomas and Mike Walsh rounding out the finishers. Steven Rowell, Mitchell Gee and Ben Hilder all failed to finish the event.

  • Enders-Stevens: 'We're definitely headed in the right direction'

    Erica Enders-Stevens, driver of the Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro, is the defending NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Pro Stock world champion and recently scored her second event win of the season at her home event in Houston. It was her third final-round appearance of the year, and she has been the No. 1 qualifier at two events. She also won the K&N Horsepower Challenge specialty race in Las Vegas for the second consecutive year. She took part in a recent NHRA media teleconference to talk about her season to date.

    Q: Erica, it seems that Las Vegas kick-started the season a little bit for you guys. What did you find either going into that race or at that race that kind of was a breath of fresh air to the team?

    Enders-Stevens: We kind of struggled a little bit at the beginning of the year, as all teams have with the rule changes and the tire and the fuel. The key to our success in Vegas was staying after the Charlotte event on Monday and doing some testing. We made some significant changes to our race car and definitely headed in the right direction. So Vegas has been really great to my team and me over the last few years. I was very happy to be able to get everything lined up in order to go into that event and come out with a double win again.

    Q: We race in Vegas twice a year. Does it give you that little bit of comfort at the start of the season thinking you can sort some stuff out and boost the season?

    Enders-Stevens: Yeah, absolutely. We love going to Vegas because of our past success there. But had we not gone to Charlotte or stayed at Charlotte and tested, we would not have run like we did in Vegas this spring. That was crucial to our success there. Vegas is lucky for us. Some drivers have lucky tracks. Some crews have tracks where they have better setups. It seems to be a combination of both of those for our team. I think we have 18 consecutive round-wins there now. And headed into the fall race later this year in October, you know, that's the second-to-the-last race before the season ends. Hopefully we're right in the mix of things like we were last year.

    Q: You've been doing this it seems like forever. I wonder if over the years your personal habits have changed in terms of working out or dieting. Your reaction times are amazing. Is that something you can actually work on, or over the years are there exercises or programs that you've done that keep you in shape?

    Enders-Stevens: Yeah, absolutely. My sister, Courtney [Enders], is a personal trainer. She has my entire team and me on some sort of a meal plan. I'm pretty mindful of what I put in my body on race weekends. Obviously, living on the road is pretty hard to stay in shape while you're gone on the road all the time having to eat out three meals a day, just being physically and mentally exhausted. She's really been a help to me. What you fuel your body with is pretty crucial to how you perform. As far as reaction times and stuff goes, I have a simulator here at our shop in New Orleans. Every race weekend, I get in my car in the pit area, and I sit in there for 15 or 20 minutes alone by myself, and I do a lot of visualizing. That mental side of it really helps to perform the best that I can.

    Q: Could you talk a little bit about getting that second championship after coming off of a championship? Talk a little bit about the special moments that you've had already trying to become a repeat champion and what you hope will work for you to get you that second one.

    Enders-Stevens: It was such a dream season last year for my entire team. Aside from my engine guy, Nick Ferri, none of us had won championships before. It was a first for us. We all definitely wanted it very badly. I talk about my team a lot. I feel like people are the most important part of the puzzle. This is the first time in my professional career that I have had such a solid group of guys. I mean, they have my back. They treat me with respect. It's just an awesome environment to work in. It's positive. That's what allowed me to do my job better, I believe. Being able to have fun with these guys, we have a lot of natural team chemistry; we choose to spend our time away from the track together as well. Typically, when you're done racing, you're just out of there, going to hang out with your family or friends rather than your team.

    I've got a unique environment to work with, and they're definitely the reason why we are successful. This year is a little different. We've had a little bit of a target on our back throughout my career, just being a girl. When we started to have success again after I joined back with Cagnazzi in '11, '12, and '13 and our dominant season last year with Elite Motorsports. It's different to be chased rather than to chase. It's a little bit of a different mindset. Going through the struggles that we did at the beginning of this year, being able to tackle those issues and come out on top again, the season is very, very long and challenging. I'm sure it will be another knock-down, drag-out fight till the end of the year with Jason [Line] and me. Being in the position we are now, having accomplished exactly what we accomplished last year to this point -- last year, we had a runner-up at Gainesville, doubled up at Vegas, win at Houston -- this season, we had a runner-up at Phoenix and went on to double up at Vegas and win Houston. We're on the track to doing what we did last year, but just keeping at the front of our minds that we're out here to have fun. We're a lower-budget team, but we're doing the best that we can with what we have. Richard Freeman has just organized a great group of people. I'm really excited and optimistic about what's to come.

    Q: Is there any part of being a champion that you can't quantify, can't define, that you either have it or you don't?

    Enders-Stevens: I don't know. I mean, I do believe that you either have it or you don't as far as being able to drive is concerned. But I go back to what I said a second ago: It's all about the people. When I drove for the team prior to this one, we had the horsepower, and we had a huge budget actually, almost a million and a half dollars more per year than what we're running on at Elite Motorsports. We weren't able to get it done. I believe it was because of the people. I've got the best people in the world now. I'm a firm believer in the idea that there's a plan bigger than mine. I understand now why he made us wait. It was all about having the perfect group together.

    Q: When you tested the car, did it come easily in finding what you were looking for, or was it so fine that it took you all a few runs to discover that answer you were looking for?

    Enders-Stevens: We did stay after in Charlotte. We were fighting weather all week. It rained Monday morning, so we only actually got a half a day of testing in. We made six runs, which is a handful. My crew chiefs Rick and Rickie Jones and Mark Ingersoll had a list of ideas they wanted to try. They were pretty significant changes. The Pro Stock cars are very finicky. The work that has to be done on them is very tedious, but at the same time, there were some huge swings for the fence that we had to change. We don't test as much as the other teams because of budget. But since we struggled so much, we had to make the decision to stay. They were changes that we weren't comfortable making during qualifying or elimination rounds because typically those changes can either make it or break it for you, I guess, without trying to divulge too much information on what we changed. They were huge swings. Fortunately enough for us, they were in the right direction. We picked away at it on that Monday test. We started with smaller changes. When we saw we were heading in the right direction, we were able to use that data we acquired to make other changes as well. When we left that test in Charlotte, the confidence in my crew chiefs' voices was very evident. That's something I feed off of. I'm excited we did stay and they were able to make the changes they wanted to make. It was definitely crucial.

    Q: You're very dependent then on the crew chief and the technicians working on your car. What kind of stress was it for you to make the runs not knowing exactly whether it was going to work or not?

    Enders-Stevens: I have all the faith in the world in my guys. I know that we all want it very, very badly and that everybody is trying their hardest every time we go up there, including myself behind the wheel, every crewmember that I have from my tire guys to my engine guys to my crew chiefs making the calls on the race car. It was very challenging for us at the beginning when we were uncertain with what was happening with the new rule changes. We had to dig deep and do the very best we could, even when the future didn't look extremely bright certain weekends at the racetrack, Charlotte for instance. Had there been 17 cars on the property, we would not have made the show. We did not get down any qualifying passes, and two were taken from us due to rain. That was a very grim weekend and very challenging. But we all dug deep. Staying after that Monday, it just completely turned everything around for us. I rely on them greatly. I'm there for them when they fall and vice versa. When I'm not up on the wheel, they pick me up and give me even a better race car than they normally do. It's a great team environment to work in.

    Q: Dynasties, great performances are all built on little moments. Not all of them necessarily happen on the racetrack. Where does the 11-minute engine change that your team went through this past week rank for you? Does a moment like that, where your guys do something that is really impossible, yet they pull it off, does that make you a better driver?

    Enders-Stevens: The motor change going into the semifinals in Houston was probably one of the most amazing experiences in my professional career. To be in my pit area when not just my team but Drew Skillman's team jumped in on my race car to get it done. We pitted after second round, did our normal maintenance on the car, serviced it for the next round, but we went to warm the car up. There was 15 minutes left before we had to be in the water for live TV. We just manned up. Everybody threw in on the race car. Drew Skillman's guys got an engine out of the trailer, took the intake manifolds and carburetors, while my guys drained the water, disconnected the motor in my car. There was one moment prior to deciding what we were going to do that one person said, “I don't know if we have time. We’ve got to be in the water in 15 minutes.” I'm like, “We got to try; we got to try.” That was it. Everybody pulled their weight, pulled together. Not only did they get it done, but they got it done with zero mistakes. It was just such a cool environment to be in.

    As far as making me a better driver because of it, I mean, over the years, I heard champions like Bob Glidden, Greg Anderson, Jason Line, Allen Johnson say, “You’ve got to learn how to win.” That is one of those moments I completely understand that. Had I not been in an experience like that before and gone up to the starting line, I mean, your heart's pounding, things are so crazy, you've still got to go up there and get suited up and buckled in in time, then have your wits about you to calm down, get your heart rate under control, get your breathing under control. We were running Jonathan Gray, who is one of the best leavers in the class. I had my work cut out for me. I knew I needed to be on the Tree. We were able to get it done. That environment in our pit, I can't wait till people see the footage of it because it was absolutely incredible.

    Q: You're starting to approach Shirley Muldowney on the list of female all-time winners. Do you look at numbers like that or do you let it fall where it may race to race to race?

    Enders-Stevens: Yeah, I mean, I know the two females that are ahead of us right now are Angelle [Sampey] with 41 wins and Shirley with 18. They're heroes of mine, mentored me, been friends of mine over the years. First of all, it's awesome to have my name on the list with theirs. If the trend continues with what we've been able to accomplish over the last couple years, I'm hopeful we can continue to rack the wins up. I know where we stand with wins as far as those two women go. At the same time, we're going to go out and do what we love, have fun. I'm proud of my team regardless and very optimistic about the years to come with Elite Motorsports. I've never had as much fun in my entire life, and it's because of the guys that are involved.

  • Erik Jones' dominating Kansas run goes dry

    No one had a faster truck than Erik Jones in Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250 at Kansas Speedway.

    But speed requires fuel, and with only a handful of laps remaining, the fuel cell in Jones' No. 4 Toyota ran dry. His lead, and a dominating performance, evaporated.

    "It just sucks," a disappointed Jones said afterward. "We had by far the best truck; we were up to an 11-second lead at one point.

    "It's just so terrible for these (Kyle Busch Motorsports) guys when we bring that fast of a truck."

    Jones, who finished 11th, wasn't alone in his misery. Almost as soon as second-place Tyler Reddick moved into the top spot, his No. 19 Ford (Brad Keselowski Racing) began to sputter. He led seven laps and had the lead from 162-164 of the 167-lap race, before he too was out of gas.

    Incredibly, Daniel Suarez suffered the same fate – when Reddick slowed, Suarez, also in a KBM Toyota, inherited the lead. One lap later, and just two laps from the finish, the orange No. 51 entry's tank ran dry.

    All of which left two-time defending series champion Matt Crafton out front, and two laps later, headed to the winner's circle.

    Jones, who started on the pole and will make his Sprint Cup Series debut in Saturday's SpongeBob SquarePants 400, led five times. Before his fuel problems, he lost the lead only on pit road.

    "No, I didn't know how short (on fuel) we were," he said. "I knew the fuel window. I knew we had to save. I couldn't give the lead up to the 19 (of Reddick) at that point, if a caution had come out (and knowing) how big track position is if we'd have lost the lead we'd never been able to get it back.

    "It's just a shame, I saved as much as I could there later on and it just wasn't enough."

    Reddick's charge to the front was almost as impressive as that of Jones. The winner at Daytona International Speedway in the series' opener, Reddick and teammate Austin Theriault both started Friday's race in backup entries after crashing during qualifying.

  • F1: Ferrari joins Honda, Renault in anticipating engine penalties

    Mercedes looks set to be the only manufacturer on the grid that will reach the checkered flag this year on the long-life engine rules.

    So tough has the 'four engines' rule been to returning Honda, that the FIA agreed to let any new engine manufacturers in F1 enjoy an extra engine per driver in future.

    And the rule was applied retroactively for McLaren's struggling Japanese supplier.

    "The decision encourages new power unit suppliers to enter Formula One," said Honda's Yasuhisa Arai.

    "So I want to say that I appreciate all of the teams and the power unit suppliers for supporting that direction, which is good for the team and driver.

    "But it also means Honda is not where we want to be in terms of reliability," Arai added.

    Indeed, he acknowledged: "Unfortunately we will have more penalties during the coming months, but you will also see big improvements from both sides -- chassis and power unit."

    Also unreliable in 2015, meanwhile, is Renault.

    Daniel Ricciardo, for example, is already onto his fifth engine of the season, having served penalties for having it installed.

    At the same time, Renault's premier partner Red Bull is waiting for a much-needed engine performance upgrade to arrive for Sochi in October -- which will trigger more penalties.

    Team boss Christian Horner said: "Only time will tell as to whether we can get to Sochi or not without incurring another penalty before introducing the upgraded unit."

    Even Ferrari, who is biting the heels of pacesetters Mercedes this year on the 'power unit' front, will nonetheless likely be taking penalties this year for using a fifth engine.

    Italy's Autosprint reports that a scheduled upgrade for the Ferrari unit will debut at Monza, costing the Maranello marquee two performance 'tokens.'

    That, however, will be the fourth and last scheduled engine for Sebastian Vettel, even though Ferrari will still have five tokens up its sleeve in 2015.

    So, Autosprint claims, a fifth engine - carrying penalties - will be ready by the end of October, arriving either for Austin or Mexico.

    Ferrari's technical boss James Allison, however, has hinted that Ferrari's push for progress is more important than the prospect of penalties this season.

    "We can be satisfied that we have taken a significant step forward so far this season," he told Auto Motor und Sport as Vettel entered the summer break with victory in Hungary.

    German Vettel, however, has played down his title chances, and now Allison adds: "We still have a lot to do before we have a car of which everyone can be proud.

    "We are still not able to fight for the world championships, but we are realistic and bear in mind where we came from," he said.

    Finally, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone says the long-life engine rules are among his least favorite things about the sport today.

    "Imagine the poor driver, he's going to get fourth position on the grid, and because he's changed his engine or his gearbox he goes back 10 places," he told Spain's Movistar F1.

    "It's all, in my opinion, completely wrong," said Ecclestone.

  • Fatality at Williams Grove

    The coroner was called to Williams Grove Speedway in Monroe Township, Cumberland County Friday night.

    A speedway official confirmed the Sprintcar driver killed was Jim Campbell Jr.

    According to dispatch, a crash happened on the track around 7:35. Williams Grove Speedway cancelled Friday night’s program.

    Our prays go out to Jim's family and friends.

  • FIA post-qualifying press conference - China

    DRIVERS: 1 - Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2 - Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 3 - Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)

    TV UNILATERAL

    Q: Lewis, quickest in both sessions yesterday, quickest again today in all sessions, it’s looking pretty good for you this weekend?

    Lewis Hamilton: Yeah, I think China’s continuing to be generally a good circuit for me, and a very, very positive vibe here. The car’s handling fantastically well this weekend, a lot better, in terms of the whole weekend, compared to how it was in Malaysia. At the end of the day this team continues to do an amazing job. The guys back at the factory did a great job to kind of regroup after the last race and bring some improvements for this weekend and I feel very grateful for that.

    Q: Nico, we heard you on the radio at the end there sounding frustrated. Did you think pole was there for you today?

    Nico Rosberg: Definitely, yeah. When it’s four hundredths, it’s nothing, you know. So I was frustrated, I am frustrated, yeah, because it’s so close and of course I would have wanted to have pole today.

    Q: Thank you. Sebastian, what are your hopes for taking Mercedes in the race, after what you did in Malaysia, what are your hopes for taking them in the race again tomorrow?

    Sebastian Vettel: Well, first of all, happy with today I guess. I think it was a, yeah, different strategy we had in Q3, going only once, on a new set. Obviously these guys were a bit quicker than we expected to be honest, but yeah I think P3 was our maximum today. For tomorrow I think we should be a bit closer. How close we will find out. Definitely looking forward to going racing, and hopefully go race them tomorrow. It’s not very far to turn one, so I guess that’s fairly straightforward, but it’s a long race and tyres are very important here. Obviously we try to do well and get a lot of points.

    Q: Just back to you Lewis, what lessons were learned from Malaysia that the team has brought into this weekend?

    LH: I think there are too many to mention but obviously it wasn’t the tidiest weekend for us. But more so, for me and my guys on our side of the garage, we just tried to get our full programme and fortunately we didn’t have any problems so far this weekend and that’s a big step for us. But obviously we’ve got a tough race ahead of us tomorrow. Nico’s very quick and also the Ferrari’s are very good still, with their long-run pace, so it’s not over by all means.

    PRESS CONFERENCE

    Q: Lewis, this has always been a great track for you, you’ve got a good record around here - what is it about this track, do you think, that suits you so well.

    LH: People keep asking me that. I don’t really know. Have you seen the banners that I have here? The support I have here’s pretty unreal. Otherwise… I don’t know. I just like the track. I guess it just naturally suits - a little bit - my driving style as opposed to other circuits for me. And one that I generally just really enjoy driving. It’s a tough circuit, it’s got a great combination of corners and the race is a good challenge.

    Q: Nico, four one-hundredths of a second the difference today. You’ve had success around here as well. Where did it get away from you today, do you think?

    NR: There’s not one specific place. It’s just four hundredths and that makes it even more annoying because it’s just very, very close. A lap is never 100 per cent perfect and four hundredths is really the blink of an eye nearly y’know? That makes it even more disappointing.

    Q: Sebastian. Mercedes have saved a set of tyres for the race tomorrow, obviously their concern after what happened in Malaysia. How do you win this race tomorrow?

    SV: I think so have we. We’ll see. I think we knew that it will be tough today in qualifying to be really, really close. I think Q1 but then especially Q2 looked quite promising. In Q3 I think it was a bit what we saw in practice, so quite a large gap. For us we’re fairly happy to make sure we are right behind them. Obviously we want to close the gap. Maybe tomorrow we are a bit closer, but for now I think we can be reasonably happy. Bit of a shame not to get both cars in the second row. As I was told, Kimi was a bit unlucky on the warm-up lap. Yeah, tomorrow’s race though, we should have good pace, so we’ll see what we can do.

    QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

    Q: (Niu Hong Lin - China Radio International) Lewis, you’ve been nominated by the Laureus award and the ceremony would be on Wednesday so we do not really expect you to show up as you have a race soon after. So do you have anything to say about that, and maybe especially to Chinese fans?

    LH: Definitely. I feel very proud and kind of honoured to be one of the nominees. That’s very cool. I don’t think I’ve been nominated many times if any. I think perhaps maybe one year, many many years ago, so... It’s a very prestigious event and I’ve got to witness many other great athletes win it, so I’m just grateful to be in amongst a great group and regardless of if I do or don’t win.

    To the fans, they’ve been amazing. Every single year I come here... I couldn’t imagine it growing but there’s more and more people I get to see and the flags, the support is just... it’s almost like it’s my home Grand Prix, so I really do appreciate it.

    Q: (Michael Schmidt - Auto, Motor und Sport) Seb, did you chose this tyre strategy because it looked like you could have gone through on a hard set of tyres through Q1?

    SV: I disagree. I think it was probably possible but very very close. If you don’t make it, you start the race tomorrow from P16 or P17, so I think that’s why we decided to do that and if I’m right, I think everybody put on the options in the first part of qualifying. I’m not sure about those two. They didn’t? Then they were just quick. Obviously we tried to save a set for tomorrow and hopefully we can be a bit closer in the race. 

  • Firestone 600 Post-event Infractions

    INDYCAR announced the following post-event infractions and points deductions from the Firestone 600 Verizon IndyCar Series race on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway:

    • Driver Stefano Coletti of KV Racing Technology was fined $5,000 and placed on a two-race probation for violating Rules 7.10.1.1 (Pit Safety Violation, improper lane usage) and 7.9.12 (Pit Procedures, pit speed violation at pit in) of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook. The two-race probation is in addition to the three-race probation Coletti was assessed following the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on May 30-31.

    • Driver Tristan Vautier of Dale Coyne Racing was fined $1,000 for violating Rule 7.10.1.8 (Pit Safety Violation, contact with equipment causing contact with personnel).

    • The No. 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports entry was fined $5,000 for violating Rule 14.8.5 (Rear Wing Main Plane Angle).

    • Chevrolet received a deduction of 40 manufacturer championship points and Honda a deduction of 20 manufacturer points for engines that did not attain their life cycle. According to Rule 10.6.4.3, 20 manufacturer points will be deducted for an engine that fails to reach its 2,500-mile life cycle. The Chevrolet engines in the Nos. 20 and 67 CFH Racing entries and the Honda engine in the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises entry did not reach their life cycle minimum before being changed out. Following the deductions, Chevrolet has 865 manufacturer championship points for the season and Honda has 820.

    Additionally, INDYCAR announced one new infraction and two rescinded infractions from the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit on May 30-31:

    • Driver James Jakes of Schmidt Peterson Motorsports was fined $500 for violating Rule 1.2.7.1.2 (Personal Safety Equipment, visor up during pit stop fueling) at the Chevrolet Dual in Detroit Race 1 on May 30.

    • A Schmidt Peterson Motorsports crew member had a $500 fine rescinded for violating Rule 1.2.7.2 (Personal Safety Equipment, fueler visor up).

    • A Chip Ganassi Racing Teams crew member had a $500 fine rescinded for violating Rule 1.2.7.2 (Personal Safety Equipment, fueler visor up).

    Members may contest the imposition of penalties pursuant to the procedures and timelines detailed in the review and appeal procedures of the Verizon IndyCar Series rulebook.

  • Flooding rain washes out final qualifying

    FLOODING rains ended any chance of a change to the starting order for the 84th running of the Le Mans 24-hour sports car classic.

    Much of the final qualifying session on Friday night was red flagged with cars sent to their pit garages during a torrential downpour that even had the safety car driver, former F1 racer Yannick Dalmas, fighting to control his Audi R8 quattro road car.

    Neel Jani had no need to defend the Porsche pole position he set on Thursday night, although all six of the factory-backed contenders for victory — two Porsches, two Toyotas and two Audis — ran a few exploratory laps when the track was reopened for a final 15 minutes of running.

    THE GRID - 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans

    1. (2) Jani/Dumas/Lieb (Porsche, LMP1) 3m19.733s

    2. (1) Webber/Bernhard/Hartley (Porsche, LMP1) +0.470s

    3. (6) Sarrazin/Conway/Kobayashi (Toyota, LMP1) +1.004s

    4. (5) Davidson/Buemi/Nakajima (Toyota, LMP1) +2.170s

    5. (7) Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer (Audi, LMP1) +2.733s

    6. (8) Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (Audi, LMP1) +3.047s

    7. (13) Tuscher/Imperatori/Kraihamer (Rebellion-AER, LMP1) +6.853s

    8. (12) Prost/Heidfeld/Piquet Jr (Rebellion-AER, LMP1) +7.615s

    9. (4) Trummer/Webb/Kaffer (CLM-AER, LMP1) +14.435s

    10. (26) Rusinov/Stevens/Rast (Oreca-Nissan, LMP2) +16.872s

    11. (35) Cheng/Tung/Panciatici (Alpine-Nissan, LMP2) +17.442s

    12. (36) Menezes/Lapierre/Richelmi (Alpine-Nissan, LMP2) +17.492s

    13. (44) Graves/Rao/Merhi (Oreca-Nissan, LMP2) +18.304s

    14. (49) Pew/Negri Jr/Vanthoor (Ligier-Honda, LMP2) +19.104s

    15. (31) Dalziel/Derani/Cumming (Ligier-Nissan, LMP2) +19.633s

    16. (46) Thiriet/Beche/Hirakawa (Oreca-Nissan, LMP2) +19.642s

    17. (42) Leventis/Watts/Kane (Gibson-Nissan, LMP2) +19.661s

    18. (47) Matsuda/Howson/Bradley (Oreca-Nissan, LMP2) +19.703s

    19. (23) Barthez/Chatin/Buret (Ligier-Nissan, LMP2) +19.737s

    20. (33) Junjin/Gommendy/De Bruijn (Oreca-Nissan, LMP2) +20.898s

    21. (38) Dolan/Dennis/Van der Garde (Gibson-Nissan, LMP2) +20.952s

    22. (43) Gonzalez/Senna/Albuquerque (Ligier-Nissan, LMP2) +21.166s

    23. (27) Minassian/Mediani/Aleshin (BR01-Nissan, LMP2) +21.399s

    24. (28) Taittinger/Striebig/Roussel (Morgan-Nissan, LMP2) +21.552s

    25. (30) Sharp/Brown/Overbeek (Ligier-Nissan, LMP2) +21.673s

    26. (37) Petrov/Shaytar/Ladygin (BR01-Nissan, LMP2) +20.043s

    27. (25) Munemann/Hoy/Pizzitola (Ligier-Nissan, LMP2) +22.355s

    28. (41) Rojas/Canal/Berthon (Ligier-Nissan, LMP2) +22.837s

    29. (48) Keating/Bleekemolen/Goosens (Oreca-Nissan, LMP2) +23.775s

    30. (34) Leutwiler/Nakano/Winslow (Oreca-Judd, LMP2) +23.857s

    31. (22) Capillaire/Maris/Coleman (Ligier-Judd, LMP2) +24.614s

    32. (84) Sausset/Tinseau/Bouvet (Morgan-Nissan, CNDT) +25.445s

    33. (40) Krohn/Jonsson/Barbosa (Ligier-Nissan, LMP2) +25.480s

    34. (68) Hand/Muller/Bourdais (Ford, GT PRO) +31.452s

    35. (69) Briscoe/Westbrook/Dixon (Ford, GT PRO) +31.764s

    36. (51) Bruni/Calado/Guidi (Ferrari, GT PRO) +31.835s

    37. (67) Franchitti/Priaulx/Tincknell (Ford, GT PRO) +31.857s

    38. (66) Pla/Mucke/Johnson (Ford, GT PRO) +32.305s

    39. (71) Rigon/Bird/Bertolini (Ferrari, GT PRO) +32.775s

    40. (82) Fisichella/Vilander/Malucelli (Ferrari, GT PRO) +33.443s

    41. (92) Makowiecki/Bamber/Bergmeister (Porsche, GT PRO) +35.185s

    42. (95) Thiim/Sorensen/Turner (Aston Martin, GT PRO) +35.528s

    43. (91) Pilet/Estre/Tandy (Porsche, GT PRO) +35.599s

    44. (97) Stanaway/Rees/Adam (Aston Martin, GT PRO) +35.647s

    45. (77) Lietz/Christensen/Eng (Porsche, GT PRO) +35.693s

    46. (64) Gavin/Milner/Taylor (Corvette, GT PRO) +36.115s

    47. (61) Mok/Sawa/Bell (Ferrari, GT AM) +37.094s

    48. (98) Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda (Aston Martin, GT AM) +37.465s

    49. (88) Al Qubaisi/Hansson/Long (Porsche, GT AM) +37.780s

    50. (55) Cameron/Griffin/Scott (Ferrari, GT AM) +37.863s

    51. (83) Perrodo/Collard/Aguas (Ferrari, GT AM) +38.009s

    52. (63) Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor (Corvette, GT PRO) +38.234s

    53. (50) Yamagishi/Ragues/Belloc (Corvette, GT AM) +38.285s

    54. (60) Laursen/Mac/Nielsen (Ferrari, GT AM) +39.027s

    55. (78) Ried/Henzler/Camathias (Porsche, GT AM) +39.301s

    56. (62) Sweedler/Bell/Segal (Ferrari, GT AM) +40.275s

    57. (89) MacNiel/Keen/Miller (Porsche, GT AM) +40.374s

    58. (86) Wainwright/Carroll/Barker (Porsche, GT AM) +41.313s

    59. (57) O’Connell/Bryant/Patterson (Corvette, GT AM) +42.593s

    60. (99) Howard/Griffin/Hirsch (Aston Martin, GT AM) +43.415s

  • Ford announces Le Mans return

    Four Ford GT cars are set to race in next year's Le Mans 24 Hours after the blue oval today announced a return to global sportscar competition.

    The move comes in order to coincide with the golden anniversary of Ford's first Le Mans victory in 1966.

    Ford is set to race with a two-car entry in the 2016 World Endurance Championship and Tudor United Sportscar Championship.

    "When the GT40 competed at Le Mans in the 1960s, Henry Ford II sought to prove Ford could beat endurance racing's most legendary manufacturers," said Bill Ford, executive chairman of Ford Motor Company.

    "We are still extremely proud of having won this iconic race four times in a row, and that same spirit that drove the innovation behind the first Ford GT still drives us today."

    Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will run the TUSC operation but will also bring its cars to make a Le Mans debut for the team at La Sarthe next June.

    The first race for the new design will be the 2016 Daytona 24 Hours in January.

    "We've won races and championships, but we've never run Le Mans," said team owner Chip Ganassi.

    "When presented the opportunity to compete with the all-new Ford GT on the world's biggest sports car stage, and on the 50th anniversary of one of the most storied victories in racing history, how could any race team not want to be part of that? Will it be a challenge? Absolutely, but we couldn't be with a better partner than Ford."

    The full WEC program for Ford will be run under the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates banner but the day to day running of the squad is believed to be being put together by former Aston Martin Team Principal - George Howard-Chappell, who now heads up Multimatic's race operations as Motorsport Business Director.

    The team will be based in the UK.

    The Ford GT, which is a competition version of the carbon Ford GT streetcar, will be powered by the Roush Yates engineered 3.5-litre EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 unit which has already proven itself in the USC Prototype class.

    Motorsport.com broke the news of the first Ford GT tests last month and has since learned that several key personnel are already in place at the team which will campaign the full WEC season next term.

    Further development testing is planned for the Ford GT throughout the summer, before the car goes through its FIA/ACO performance measurement tests at the Ladoux test facility in late summer/early autumn.

  • Former drag racing champion Brett Stevens..... Guilty

    Australian drag racing legend Brett Stevens is facing a lengthy jail term after he was convicted of producing and trafficking ecstasy.

    The 50-year-old was found guilty of both offences in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Wednesday after a six-week trial.

    The jury heard that between 2007 and 2009, the veteran racer masterminded a $1.2 million operation that produced up to 100,000 pills per week.

    He met a key associate at Queensland's Willowbank Raceway.

    Stevens, who won three national drag racing titles, was the operation's "puppet master" who deliberately distanced himself from the drug network in a bid to keep his hands clean, the crown said.

    He and associates were recorded discussing drugs in code.

    Detectives collected 800 recorded interactions during a multi-agency operation over almost two years.

    They identified $1.2 million in income that couldn't be attributed to any source, and arrested Stevens in February 2009.

    He pleaded not guilty to trafficking, producing and supplying dangerous drugs at the start of his trial in July.

    The jury retired on Monday and took two days to find Stevens guilty of trafficking and producing, and not guilty of supplying.

    Stevens' bail was revoked and he is due to be sentenced on November 20.

  • Forward MotoGP Racing In Financial Trouble

    Forward Racing, which competes in MotoGP with Stefan Bradl, will not take part in the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on Aug. 9 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, after team owner Giovanni Cuzari was arrested and the team’s finances were compromised.

    Forward Racing confirmed the decision Monday in a release on the team’s website. Cuzari was arrested earlier in July for bribery, fraud and money laundering in Switzerland. Forward also operates a Moto2 team with Simone Corsi, which will also sit out Indianapolis.

    “Unfortunately, the reaction of the sponsors, the main source of income of an independent team, was immediate and resolute,” the team’s release said. “Inevitably, some of them cancelled the existing contracts and interrupted payments, creating further financial troubles that could completely jeopardize the surviving of the team … The concrete possibility to start again and the hope to protect the interests of our riders, engineers, contractors and suppliers, led us to agree with IRTA, the International Racing Teams Ass’n, not to deploy our riders at the start of the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix on Aug. 9, in order to gather all the resources and to better organize the upcoming trips.

    “This painful decision was necessary in order to try to ensure our participation to the World Championship until the end of the season. The work of the team will continue with the aim to get back on track at Brno for the Czech Republic Grand Prix on Aug. 16.”

    Marco Curioni, the team’s managing director, also commented on the decision to skip the next grand prix.

    “It was a very difficult week for the Forward Racing team,” he said in the release. “Only in the last hours we have glimpsed the real possibility of overcoming this situation. I hope to have Giovanni – who until proven to the contrary he is correct to assume innocent – soon with us and available to find a solution.

    “In this dark moment, several partners and friends have understandably distanced himself from the team and then for this reason I want to thank those who are helping us: Dorna and IRTA gave us full support from the beginning, all members of the team that they gave their unconditional support and those sponsors and the new companies – that despite the objective concerns – gave us confidence and are interpreting the meaning of sponsorship in the original reason: financial aid to allow the athlete to realize his talent.”

  • GARRY BRAZIER RETURNS TO VICTORY LANE

    It was an epic feature race that saw the third round of the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship first place be awarded to Garry Brazier who took the chequered flag in scintillating fashion. Brazier beat home second placed Sam Walsh who is going forward in leaps and bounds and Matt Smith who was equally as impressive.

    Garry Brazier, who recorded his 29th main event win of his career at Valvoline Raceway, and his first win since 2012, took the lead early in what was a hectic start to the race when Matt Craft unfortunately rolled on the opening lap, ending what was an impressive night. Leading for the first ten laps, Brazier was caught in heavy lapped traffic, giving Matt Smith the opportunity to race on by.

    Brazier then repeated the move back on Smith to resume the lead and took the final eleven laps in his stride to take a popular win.

    There were some other impressive drives throughout the field. James Thompson rallied for an eleventh place finish after damaging his front wing in the opening lap melee. Ben Atkinson improved nine spots to finish twelfth and Queenslander Luke Oldfield, having his first ever run at Valvoline Raceway, came from position twenty-three to record a tenth place finish.

    The complete run down was Garry Brazier, Sam Walsh, Matt Smith, Toby Bellbowen, Max Dumesny, Grant Anderson, Danny Reidy, Warren Ferguson, Darryl Campbell, Luke Oldfield, James Thompson, Ben Atkinson, Jackson Delamont, Alex Orr, Kelly Linigen, Adrian Maher, Michael Saller, Matt Dumesny, Sean Dyson, Grant Tunks, Chad Ely, Kyle Caunt and Steve Caunt was the final classified finisher. The only non-finisher was Matt Craft.

    Earlier in the night, Toby Bellbowen stopped the clocks the quickest in group one qualifying whilst Matt Smith was quickest in group two.

    Heat race wins went to Kelly Linigen, Sean Dyson, Grant Tunks and Jackson Delamont.

    The C-Main went to Jeremy Cross and Garry Brazier won the B-Main. The Pole Shuffle was not held due to the inclement weather.

     

    Image: Jigsaw Photography

  • Glen Saville - Knoxville 2015