First MX2 GP win for Jordi Tixier at Loket

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jordi Tixier captured a career first MX2 GP win at Rd. 14 of the 2014 World Championship in Loket in the Czech Republic. Teammate Antonio Cairoli had to settle for third overall in the MXGP class after former teammate Jeremy van Horebeek slipped by him at the beginning of the final lap of the second moto.

Tixier takes his first career GP win at Loket
Tixier of France was in good form but under pressure knowing it was time for him to step up and take the place of his injured team partner and championship leader Jeffrey Herlings. Herlings, the dominant rider throughout the season, suffered a fractured femur in a charity race last week and is currently rehabilitating.

1-4 for Tixier takes him to top step and fulfills boyhood dream

Tixier got away well in the first moto and had hit the front by the second lap. From then on he rode smoothly on the hard and slick hard pack Czech track and wrapped up the race with a dominant 8-second lead.

Cairoli takes overall third with a 3-2 result at Loket
If anything the pressure was even greater on Tixier to perform in the second moto. This time he did not get away as cleanly and was sitting at about sixth after the opening lap.  He worked his way up to fourth place in the first 10 minutes but then a fierce four-way battle ensued for third. With Christoph Charlier and Dylan Ferrandis comfortably out in front, Tixier had to fend off attacks as Spain’s KTM rider Jose Butron, Romain Febvre of France, Swiss Standing Construct KTM rider Valentin Guillod and Alexandr Tonkov were all prepared to fight it out. In the final shakeout it was Guillod who claimed third place in the second moto, with Tixier, Butron and Febvre coming in behind him.

Good result on a track not Cairoli’s favorite

Tixier’s 1-4 result was enough to give him his first career GP win on his KTM 250 SX-F but he did admit he had put a lot of pressure on himself in the second race. Herlings still has a dominant lead in the championship points with 594 but Sunday’s victory moves Tixier up to 492. He is second in the standings.

Jordi Tixier: I’ve been waiting for this Gp win since I was a kid. Now I did it and it was my goal. I tried not to think about it but it crept into my head and that’s why I didn’t ride so good in the second moto. Now we go to Lommel and there is no pressure on me.

Valentin Guillod (Switzerland 2nd overall): “I had two good races today. I made the holeshot in the first and I was fighting a bit with Jordi but I didn’t give everything. Then I made a very bad start in the second race. I really wanted to be on the podium this weekend so I gave it everything I could to come back and I made a great race.”

Cairoli takes third overall after hard fought final laps
It is well known that the slick, stony hard pack circuit at Loket is not one of seven-times world champion Tony Cairoli’s favorites. So it came as no surprise, especially when skies threatened rain that the Italian settled for a cautious third in his opening moto while Kevin Strijbos and Van Horebeek duked it out at the front.

But Tony went on the attack right front the gate drop in his second moto. He led from the early stages and stayed out front but was unable to put a fair distance between him and van Horebeek, who was sitting less than 2 seconds behind by the half way mark. Strijbos also started closing in during the second half of the race but it was clear that it was van Horebeek who was looking for an opportunity to pass. His opportunity came in the final minutes of the race and in one hard challenge he managed to slip into the lead and went on to take the race win. With van Horebeek, Cairoli and Strijbos crossing the line in that order, it left Cairoli with third overall by virtue of the fact that Strijbos had taken the opening race.

Tony Cairoli:
I’m a bit disappointed to lose the GP but happy because my riding was pretty good, especially for Loket, which for sure is not one of my favorite tracks. Now I look forward to Lommel and it’s a track that suits me. Jeremy (van Horebeek) put some pressure on me in the second heat but I also made a mistake. I was pushing as much as I could but he was riding for the win and I was riding not to crash and not to get injured.”

Cairoli’s preferred racing bike is the light and nimble KTM 350 SX-F but his opponents in the class ride the bigger 450 cc bikes.

It was not a happy outing for Cairoli’s factory teammate Ken de Dycker, whose injuries are still handicapping the Belgian rider. De Dycker finished the day with 15-23 for the two motos.

Teams next travel to Lommel for the MXGP of Belgium, a track that suits Cairoli. The season then concludes with two rounds in Brazil and Mexico in September.

MXGP of Czech Republic at Loket – Round 14
MXGP Results
1, Jeremy van Horebeek, BEL, Yamaha, (2 – 1)
2, Kevin Strijbos, BEL, Suzuki, (1 – 3)
3, Tony Cairoli, ITA, KTM, (3 – 2)
4, Gautier Paulin, FRA, Kawasaki, (6 – 6)
5, Shaun Simpson, GBR, KTM, (5 – 8)
Other KTM
7, Dennis Ullrich, GER, KTM (16 – 4)
10, Matiss Karro, LAT, KTM, (12 – 10)

20, Ken de Dycker, BEL, KTM, (15 – 23)

MXGP Standings after Rd. 14
1, Cairoli, 619
2, Van Horebeek, 562
3, Clement Desalle, FRA, Suzuki, 484
4, Strijbos, 469
5, Frossard, 333
Other KTM
6, Simpson, 325
13, Karro, 187
19, Jake Nicholls, GBR, KTM, 125
20, Ullrich, 123
23, de Dycker, 91

MXGP Manufacturers Standings after Rd. 14
1, KTM, 619
2, Suzuki, 587
3, Yamaha, 566

MX2 Results
1, Jordi Tixier, FRA, KTM, (1 – 4)
2, Valentin Guillod, SUI, KTM, (3 – 3)
3, Christophe Charlier, FRA, Yamaha, (7 – 1)
4, Romain Febvre, FRA, Husqvarna, (2 – 6)
5, Jose Butron, ESP, KTM, (5 – 5)
Other KTM
14, Mel Pocock, GBR, KTM, (15 – 13)
15, Pauls Jonass, LAT, KTM, (10 – 18)
16, Ivo Monticelli, ITA, KTM, (16 – 16)
DNS, Jeffrey Herlings, NED, KTM

MX2 Standings after Rd. 14
1, Herlings, 594
2, Tixier, 492
3, Febvre, 453
4, Dylan Ferrandis, FRA, Kawasaki, 425
5, Tim Gajser, SLO, Honda, 420
Other KTM
7, Guillod, 354
9, Butron, 321
16, Pocock, 130
17, Harri Kullas, FIN, KTM, 108
20, Damon Graulus, BEL, KTM, 94

MX2 Manufacturers Standings after Rd. 14
1, KTM, 669
2, Kawasaki, 530
3, Husqvarna, 469

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SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting Spreads Wings with Red Bull Global Rallycross Series

Red Bull Global Rallycross Race Track

SYVANIA Automotive lighting has signed as the official automotive lighting sponsor for the 2014 Red Bull Global Rallycross season.

“SYLVANIA has been a key partner to the series for the past few years and we welcome them back to the Red Bull GRC family,” said Colin Dyne, Red Bull Global Rallycross CEO.

This year will be the third time that the company has partnered with GRC. The series will include 10 races that will be televised on NBC. Drivers such as Tanner Foust, Ken Block and Bucky Lasek will be competing for victory.

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Rockford Fosgate Named Official Motorcycle Audio Sponsor of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2014

TEMPE, AZ (07.23.2014) – Rockford Fosgate, the industry leader in high-performance car audio systems, is proud to announce it has been named the official motorcycle audio sponsor of the famed Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2014. Also named sponsor of the “12th Annual Mayor’s Ride,” Rockford Fosgate will demonstrate its line of acclaimed motorcycle gear in its booth location on Lazelle Street in downtown Sturgis, SD during the 74th annual week-long event from August 4-10.

UPDATE: Just announced: Bagger Nation’s Paul Yaffe and Hatred Customs’ Brian Jenkins are scheduled to appear at Rockford Fosgate’s booth location in the Sturgis community center parking lot to sign autographs and pose for pictures on Saturday, August 2 at Noon; Sunday, August 3 at 2:00pm; and Thursday, August 7 at 3:30pm.

“For anyone that rides, they know what the significance and scope of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally means, and what it’s all about,” said Bill Jackson, Rockford CEO and president. “The same goes for the Rockford Fosgate name in the world of high-end mobile audio. Motorcycle enthusiasts and Rockford Fosgate Fanatics share the same hardcore passion for what they love. With our line of motorcycle-specific audio solutions, Sturgis and Rockford Fosgate are a perfect pairing, and we are proud to be named the official motorcycle audio sponsor for this year’s rally.”


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Dempsey Racing Endures at the Brickyard Grand Prix to Earn Another Top-10

Dempsey and Davis Ninth in No. 27 Porsche 911 GT America, Snow and Heylen 11th in Sister No. 58 Porsche

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (July 27, 2014) – With Indianapolis Motor Speedway living up to its reputation for action, Dempsey Racing survived an incident-filled race to finish in the top-10 with the No. 27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America and 11th for the team’s sister No. 58 Porsche 911 GT America in the Brickyard Grand Prix on Friday.
Team owner and driver Patrick Dempsey co-drove the No. 27 with Andrew Davis while Madison Snow and Jan Heylen shared the No. 58.
“I think we had a good finish,” said Dempsey, starting driver of the No. 27. “I think I drove well in the traffic, and we were up to fifth under an early yellow, which was great, especially since it is Indy. It’s good that it was a top 10, but you can see that some of the Porsches are really struggling.”
Both Dempsey Racing Porsches ran on the GT Daytona (GTD) lead lap throughout the race but track position was at a critical premium in the 2-3/4-hour timed sprint. Traffic was a major factor in the Brickyard Grand Prix, the first non-endurance race in the brief history of the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in which all four series classes raced together.
Taking the green from the seventh row, Dempsey did a masterful job avoiding the numerous early contact incidents – that produced two caution periods in the race’s first 30 minutes and three in total in the first hour – and improved several spots and his lap times before handing off to Davis just past the one-hour mark.
The team’s focus on a long-run setup made it tough going for Davis to match the lead pace early in his shift, but as the race settled down after the final round of pits stops he had his laps of the day. The all-green run to the checkered flag allowed him to gain ground on the field and crack the top 10 for a ninth-place finish.
“The car held up the whole time,” said Davis. “We are still slowly making progress with our Porsche. We didn’t have a car to fight, but in the long run it was a good car to have. Everyone is working hard. This is always a difficult weekend because it’s all so close together.”
The No. 27 now has two top-10 finishes in the last three IMSA TUDOR Championship races, including a season-best fourth-place finish last month at the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen 
The No. 58 Porsche of Snow and Heylen was the team pacesetter in practice and qualifying, starting seventh on the grid and setting the fastest GTD time in final practice before qualifying. The team also joined Davis and the No. 27 in ranking fifth (58) and sixth (27), respectively, in Thursday morning’s opening practice.
A spate of bad luck in the race, however, culminating with an untimely yellow, left the No. 58 duo with the undeserving 11th place result. Starting driver Snow worked his way to the front in a strong opening stint and led the race before handing off to Heylen.
“We drove a good race,” said Snow. “We just didn’t have race pace to keep with the other cars. We could do fast laps but then we would fall off. It was hard to pass but that’s just the track. We had a yellow that really didn’t work for us. We didn’t gain what we could have or come out where we should have, but we still had a good race.”
Heylen went from battling for the team’s first podium result since finishing third at the season-opening Rolex 24 to just pushing for as many positions as he could after the ill-timed yellow.
“We’re here to win so I’m just disappointed,” Heylen said. “Disappointed for the team, disappointed for Madison and myself. We’ve had a good car many times and we just can’t get it on the podium. Everyone deserves it. It’s one thing if you don’t have the car to do it with but we do. I think there’s really only been one race this year where we didn’t have the podium pace.”
Dempsey Racing and the IMSA TUDOR Championship will return in just two weeks to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin for the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase. Practice begins Friday, August 8, with the race being broadcast Sunday, August 10, at 6:30 p.m. EDT on FOX Sports 1.
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Jason Line Wins Sonoma, Scores 200th for Chevrolet in NHRA Pro Stock

SONOMA, Calif., July 27, 2014 – Jason Line made history on Sunday at the 27th annual NHRA Sonoma Nationals. Line, of Mooresville, N.C., locked in a spot in NHRA’s Countdown to the Championship and earned the 33rd Pro Stock victory of his career at Sonoma Raceway, and in doing so he earned the 200th NHRA Pro Stock win for Chevrolet driving the Summit Racing Chevrolet Camaro. The spectacular accomplishment came on the heels of a low qualifier award last week in Denver.

Line, who started from the No. 2 spot in Sonoma, had the quickest and fastest hot rod on the property on raceday at a facility where he has twice before seen the inside of the winner’s circle (2006 and 2009). Dominating at Sonoma Raceway once again, Line clocked low elapsed time in each round of eliminations and crossed the finish line with a remarkably stout 6.520 at 212.46 mph in the first round to obliterate Joey Grose with a mind-blowing time that would hold as low e.t. and top speed of the meet.

The second round set the two-time Pro Stock world champ up for a head-to-head match with rookie competitor Jonathan Gray, and the charging Summit Racing Pro Stock pilot did his job, launching ahead of Gray and blasting to a 6.545, 212.03 for a decisive win and a ticket to the semifinals. Dave Connolly’s trouble on the racetrack in the next round equated to a 16-second blast that couldn’t hold a candle to Line’s very quick and fast 6.535, 212.26, and so the final round was set.

Notably, Line squared off with V. Gaines in the money round, the same driver that he halted in 2006 to earn his first Sonoma trophy. This time around, Line was out of the gate first and first to the finish line stripe with a victorious 6.548, 211.73 to Gaines’ 6.564, 211.30.

“I have a really good racecar right now,” said Line, whose most recent previous win was the season-opening Winternationals earlier this year. “To be honest, I struggled driving this weekend and did things I’ve never done in my life. Without question, this is the luckiest I’ve ever been – but I’ll take it. There have been a lot of times where I’ve done a good job driving and haven’t been able to win. Sometimes the luck falls your way, and today it did because I had a great hot rod.”

Earning the 200th NHRA Pro Stock win for Chevrolet was an accolade that Line and the KB Racing team had long had their eye on, and to accomplish the feat for Summit Racing was something that made the event even more special.

“Winning the 200th was something that is really cool, and I’m proud to represent Chevrolet and be able to have my name on this record,” said Line. “It’s great to give a little something back after all that they’ve done for us and for this class. It’s just a neat, neat deal. It was a great weekend.”

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HEMI-Powered Runner-Up Finish for Gaines at NHRA Sonoma Nationals

·        V. Gaines drove his HEMI-powered Dodge Dart to a 17th career Pro Stock final round elimination at the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Sonoma Nationals

  • Matt Hagan takes 50th anniversary HEMI® tribute Mopar to a semifinal appearance at Sonoma Raceway
  • Semifinal appearance assures Jeg Coughlin Jr. of a Pro Stock playoff berth alongside Mopar teammate Allen Johnson

Sonoma, California (July 27, 2014) – Mopar Pro Stock pilot V. Gaines drove his HEMI®-powered Dodge Dart from a ninth place qualifying spot to a runner-up finish at the 27th annual National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) Sonoma Nationals marking a 17th career final round appearance for the Kendall Western Motorsports entry and a third this season. Gaines’ final elimination face-off against competitor and title winner Jason Line was a rematch of their 2006 meeting at Sonoma Raceway which had a similar result.

It was a strong effort by Gaines as he posted an elapsed time pass of 6.564 seconds at 211.30 miles per hour (.063 reaction time) falling short to Line’s 6.548 sec / 211.73 mph (.054 reaction time). After starting the season with back-to-back runner-up finishes, this third one helped break an unfortunate streak of six events marred by first round losses and one in which he failed to qualify. It also helped Gaines move up a spot in the Pro Stock points standings to eighth place with three events left to determine which top-ten drivers will make the NHRA “Countdown to the Championship”.

Gaines was first to the finish line in the opening round against Chris McGaha and then turned on the win lights against the No.1 qualifier Shane Gray who also had traction issues. It was an all-HEMI showdown in the semifinal round between Gaines’ and reigning NHRA Pro Stock champion Jeg Coughlin Jr., with the Kendall Dodge Dart taking advantage of loss of traction by the Dodge Dart to advance to the final.

Coughlin made it to the semifinal match-up against Gaines by first running down the Dodge Avenger of Deric Kramer after recovering from a late start with a .173 reaction time to run a 6.527-second lap. He then posted a .048 reaction time and 6.558 second (212.23 mph) elapsed time run to give him the win light in a close drag race against Greg Anderson’s .050 second reaction time and an e.t. of 6.563 seconds /211.73 mph in the second round to face Gaines.

“I had a good jump on V (Gaines) at the start line but I would have never guessed my car would strike the tires and react the way it did,” Coughlin said. “I tried to efficiently navigate it in order to calm it down and get it through the gears, but about that time I saw V on my right and knew it was over. We had great cars this weekend coming into game day today but we were just a little off. If we can take this result and turn it into something even more positive as we trek down the road and into the Countdown, then that’s going to win us rounds, win us races, and hopefully another championship.”

While Coughlin drops a position in the standings behind event winner Line by just one point, the Mopar driver’s semifinal appearance helped assure his playoff berth.

Meanwhile, last weekend’s winner at the Mopar Mile High Nationals, Allen Johnson put his “Magneti Marelli Offered by Mopar” Dodge Dart third on the eliminations ladder and in doing so clinched his playoff ticket following qualifications. Johnson advanced to the second round of Sunday’s eliminations with a win over Tommy Lee who had red light start, but as the track heated up and conditions changed, things didn’t go quite as planned in the following match-up against Dave Connolly when the Dodge Dart lost traction off the start.

“We had great HEMI horsepower and an “iffy” track but didn’t manage it correctly,” said Johnson who remains second in the standings. “Neither Jeg or I adapted to the change in conditions as well as others did. I think out of the last six pairs, three or four of them shook their tires but that’s not an excuse. For the most part it was a pretty decent showing for our camp so we’ll take what we learned here and go to Seattle and hopefully be able to correct it.”

From his fifth place Funny Car qualifying position, Mopar Express Lane driver Matt Hagan drove to a third semifinal appearance this season by disposing of Tony Pedregon and Tim Wilkerson to meet up with eventual Sonoma Nationals title winner Courtney Force. The Don Schumacher Racing driver saw his 50th anniversary HEMI tribute Dodge Charger R/T lose traction against Force but felt satisfied with the efforts his Mopar team put in to get to the semifinals.

“It was a good race for us this weekend,” said Hagan who remains seventh in Funny Car point standings. “We were solid in qualifying that gave us some good data coming into race day and that got us some round wins. We were just pushing it a little too hard there in the semifinal and that’s what you have to do out here because competition is so darn tough. We’ll go on to Seattle where we won last year and try to repeat. That’s our goal.”

DSR teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. advanced from his opening round battle against points leader Robert Hight only to smoke the tires of his Dodge Charger R/T against his second round adversary, John Force. The Make-A-Wish Mopar dropped a position in the standings to fifth place, just three markers behind Sonoma title winner Courtney Force and less than 20 behind teammate Ron Capps in third place.

Top DSR qualifier, Jack Beckman, was seeded fourth for his first round match-up against Tim Wilkerson with whom he has been battling for the tenth and final playoff spot in the Funny Car standings for a number of weeks. Beckman saw his Dodge Charger R/T haze the tires against Wilkerson, putting him back into the 11th spot with three events left to make the playoffs.

Capps, who was the defending winner at Sonoma, also saw his day come to a premature end as his DSR Mopar lost traction in the opening round against Alexis DeJoria but remains third in the standings.

Following the Mopar Mile-High Nationals in Denver and this weekend’s Sonoma Nationals in California, the Mopar team now prepares for the final leg of the three event NHRA western swing on Aug. 1-3 at Pacific Raceways for the 27th annual Northwest Nationals near Seattle, Washington.

2014 NHRA Points Standings

(Following the NHRA Sonoma Nationals Race Final)


PRO STOCK (season wins in parentheses)

1.         Erica Enders-Stevens – 1229* (4)

2.         Allen Johnson – Dodge Dart – 1107* (4)

3.         Jason Line – 994* (1)

4.         Jeg Coughlin Jr.  – Dodge Dart – 1073* (2)

5.         Dave Connolly – 1023* (1)

6.         Shane Gray – 911

7.            Vincent Nobile – 931 (1)

8.         V. Gaines – Dodge Dart – 628

9.         Chris McGaha – 686

10.        Jonathan Gray – 548


FUNNY CAR (season wins in parentheses)

1.         Robert Hight – 1216* (5)

2.         John Force – 1097* (2)

3.         Ron Capps – Dodge Charger R/T – 957 (1)

4.         Courtney Force – 941 (2)

5.         Tommy Johnson Jr. – Dodge Charger R/T – 938 (1)

6.         Alexis DeJoria – 883 (2)

7.         Matt Hagan – Dodge Charger R/T – 868 (1)

8.         Cruz Pedregon – 840 (1)

9.         Del Worsham – 816

10.        Tim Wilkerson – 762

11.        Jack Beckman – Dodge Charger R/T – 743

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SONOMA, CA— Courtney Force took home the Wally from the No. 1 spot today at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals when she dismissed competitors Peter Russo, Bob Tasca III, Matt Hagan and 16-time Champion John Force to score her fifth career win. She became the winningest female driver in Funny Car history with the win. She took that title from her sister Ashley Force Hood, who had four career Funny Car wins. “I’ve just had my eyes set on Ashley for a while. There was a big cluster of people who had four wins and I kind of became obsessed with going for No. 5. You always want to do well and I know that once Ashley stepped out of the seat and started a family she had totally made herself. She did a great job and I looked up to her. I knew she had four wins and I looked at where her stats were to try to see where I was at and compare. She’s just done so well. I looked up to her and I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job if I can do half as well as she did. It’s cool to reach No. 5, but I’m very proud of my team because obviously I wouldn’t be here without them and the hard work that they put in. I’m only as good as my team is,” said Force.

The 26-year-old went up against Peter Russo in the opening round for the first time ever and got lucky when Russo’s car had complications on the line and wouldn’t fire. He was unable to make the run, resulting in a win for the youngest Force. Her Traxxas Ford went up in smoke as she posted a 6.631 second run at 96.06 mph.
“After qualifying we had the No. 1 spot, but we ran a 4.04 during the coolest time of the day. It’s still a hot track out there. It looked good and it puts you to the No. 1 spot, but it wasn’t where we wanted to be going into race day. We wanted consistent runs throughout qualifying and I’m looking at the guys that are running the 4.07s and 4.10s and 4.11s in the heat of the day qualifying sessions. Pulling up for round one you’re just thinking we ran 4.17 in Q1 and it was kind of as good as it got for our Traxxas team (in the heat ). It was unfortunate Russo wasn’t able to make the run, but pure luck we were able to get the run by smoking the tires. It doesn’t come easy. You definitely have to look at it and say we got lucky on that run, but it was a bummer that he couldn’t run with us,” said Force.
In round two, it was Force up against Ford competitor Bob Tasca III. Tasca had lane choice, but Force quickly pulled away with a 4.276 ET at 197.65 mph. She is now 9-2 against Tasca in eliminations.
In the semi-final round, Force lost lane choice once again this time to Matt Hagan, who she beat in the final round en route to her first career win in 2012 at Seattle.  Matt Hagan qualified No. 5 and had lane choice. Force took the win with a 4.235 ET at 193.86 mph as Hagan had problems down track.

“I think our entire team is definitely gelling better. Every year I’ve had the same crew chief since the start of my rookie season and the great thing about John Force Racing is we all stick together as a team and we’re not over here trying to move our guys around left and right. I like to keep my same routine. It makes me comfortable and I think it makes everybody else comfortable. I think it helps us to do better all in all. Year after year I’m getting more comfortable in the seat, trying harder, working on my lights, leaving better and I actually put a lot more pressure on myself now in my third season because now I’m looking at, well, maybe we do have a championship car,” said Force.
This is the third time she has won from the No. 1 spot and the sixth time she has qualified No. 1 in her three year Funny Car career. It is her first time winning at Sonoma, the 234th win for John Force Racing. Coming into Sonoma, she was 5-5 to her father, John Force.

“Going up in the second round it started being that we got by with that one then we got by with that one. We didn’t have lane choice pretty much all day long until the final and I’m sitting there going should we really switch lanes? We’ve actually been getting down okay and getting the win light in the left lane, but I knew dad wanted that right lane so I thought we might as well take it, it might mess them up a little,” said Force.

Courtney took her Traxxas Ford Mustang straight down the race track to get her sixth win over her father. She is now vying with Alexis DeJoria to become the first woman Funny Car driver to win as many as three races in a single season.
“The pressure was actually off because I was already celebrating after I won the semis. I watched my dad win and I knew if I won the semis I was going to have him in the final and no matter what, one of us was going to be in the winner’s circle. One of us was going to win and at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter who it is. But dad has 140 win right now, I’d really like to just get five,” said Force.
Force currently owns the fastest speed in the history of 1,000 foot racing at 325.37 mph and has posted top speed in seven of 15 races this year. She also won the 100th pro tour event by a woman when she prevailed May 25th at Topeka, Kan. this year.
“It just turned out to be a great day. It definitely wasn’t what I expected after qualifying and not having a completely consistent car. I saw dad in the final round right out my window the whole way down track and we were able to get around him and get that win. I think I saw puffs of smoke. I don’t know if it was his car or mine. I felt like mine was trying to spin the tires.
“I think about way too many things when I’m against dad. Normally I’m calm and collected and I think whatever is going to happen will happen, but I was so wanting this win that I was thinking don’t screw up on the light, don’t red light, don’t pull in too deep. I wanted to pull in deep, but I didn’t want to light the red light and just ruin it for my team; typical final round scenarios that go through your head, but even more when it’s against my dad. I was nervous. I just didn’t want to screw up and it was just one of those deals where I just wanted to go and get this car straight down the track and do my job as a driver. I knew everyone would be looking at me so I just didn’t want to screw it up for us,” said Force.
Despite qualifying number one for the third time this season, Brittany Force was unable to parlay the strong, consistent performance of her Castrol EDGE Dragster to her advantage. The 2013 NHRA Auto Club Rookie of the Year was the odds-on favorite to go rounds today, and potentially make to the finals at the NHRA Sonoma Nationals, but as they say in racing, the sure thing when two race cars line up for eliminations is only one’s coming back for the next round. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Brittany Force.
“I am starting to think that the No. 1 qualifier is a curse in Top Fuel. Schumacher went out in the first round last weekend, and we did it this weekend. I was actually talking with him on Friday about it. In Topeka I was No. 1 and was able to go to the semi-finals but we just can’t get the win from the top spot,” said Brittany Force.
In her first round match up with Clay Millican, Brittany Force had lane choice.  At the flash of green from the Christmas Tree, Millican’s dragster left first with Brittany in hot pursuit. Millican crossed the finish line first with a 3.921 second run at 305.63 mph to Brittany’s faster and quicker 3.909 second run at 308.28 mph.
“I am going to let it go and move on. We lost a cylinder on that run and that hurt us. I am not going to focus on this loss too much. I am going to start looking forward to Seattle. We will have a brand new race to try and get this Castrol EDGE dragster its first win,” said Brittany Force.
The Castrol EDGE team will head to Seattle next weekend to wrap up the annual NHRA Western Swing at the 27th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals. Even with her first round loss today, Brittany Force is still solidly in 7th place with 824 points. She knows her Castrol EDGE Dragster is a fast and consistent race car and she’ll be ready to do it all over again at Pacific Raceways.
John Force was looking for his 8th win at Sonoma Raceway today unfortunately for the 16-time NHRA Mello Yello World Champion he came up on the losing end of this epic family match-up.
As their 8,000 horsepower Mustangs left the starting line, John was out on Courtney and was on his way to his third win of the season until the massive Goodyear slicks became unglued from the track at the 660 foot mark. That was all Courtney needed to go around her dad and take the win.
“I was outrunning her at half-track by a car and then it rattled. It drove through that little bit of rattle and then it blew the tires off. I still thought I had her but she went by me right at the finish line. We were fast all day and they were a little slower,” said John Force.
The good news is the reigning NHRA Funny Car clinched his spot in the Countdown to the Championship with his semi-final win over Alexis DeJoria. So, despite not winning and coming away with a runner-up finish, John Force was excited and happy to see his daughter hoist the Wally with her crew in the winner’s circle at Sonoma Raceway.
“She has her sponsor, Mike Jenkins the president of Traxxas here, and getting these wins helps all our sponsors like Castrol, Auto Club, Peak, Mac Tools, BrandSource and Ford. We got the win and we got the money. I moved up in the points and she moved up in the points. I locked into the Countdown today and she is getting closer to clinching every race,” said John Force.
This was the 6th time this season John Force’s Castrol GTX High Mileage Mustang stampeded to the final round and with the tuned up Jimmy Prock has on John’s hot rod; it won’t be the last as the team has the momentum to go all the way.
“It is awesome. This is one of our home tracks here in California. I like the way my car is running. It is pretty consistent. I lost last week to Robert (Hight), but we are eating up points and that is three finals in a row for me. The trick is to get all your race cars in the Countdown,” said John Force.
On his way to the final round match up with daughter Courtney, John Force defeated Paul Lee in round one, Tommy Johnson Jr. in the quarter-finals, and Alexis DeJoria in the semi-finals.
“I surround myself with good teammates, great drivers and fantastic sponsors like Castrol, Ford, Traxxas and others. We want to perform not just for them, but also for the fans that came out today to see us in action,” said John Force.

The Auto Club Ford Mustang Funny Car team and Robert Hight were looking to get the second leg of the Western Swing on the heels of his Denver win today at Sonoma Raceway. As the No. 6 qualifier Hight was paired up with veteran Tommy Johnson Jr. in the first round and he had lane choice. Hight staged his Funny Car and then surprisingly his race car lurched forward leading to a red-light and disqualification. This was only the second time in Hight’s career he has fouled out of a race.

“I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t nervous. I have one of the best cars out here. I got a good night’s sleep and was ready to go some rounds. I just rolled up there, got staged and the next thing you know my foot just went. Mike Neff and these guys gave me a great race car. We ran strong in the heat yesterday and I think we would have had a great day. I just have to focus better. I will be ready for Seattle and I am going to put this race behind me,” said a disappointed Hight at the end of the day.

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Gordon scores record fifth win at Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS — As he crossed the yard of bricks, and the significance of his fifth victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway hit him like a ton of bricks, Jeff Gordon reveled in the moment that propelled him to victory in the Crown Royal presents, The John Wayne Walding 400 at the Brickyard.

“God, I finally had the restart of my life,” Gordon shouted into his radio mic, recalling the move just 15 minutes earlier that launched him past Hendrick Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne on Lap 144 of 160 in Sunday’s marquee NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.

Twenty years removed from his victory in the inaugural Brickyard 400, Gordon finished 2.325 seconds ahead of Kyle Busch who with teammates Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth finished 2-3-4 in the 20th Sprint Cup race of the season.

The win was the 90th of Gordon’s career — third-most all-time — his second of the season and, of course, his record fifth at IMS, breaking a tie with teammate Jimmie Johnson for most Cup wins at the Brickyard. The win also clinched Gordon a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, assuming he attempts to qualify for the remaining six races of the regular season.


And though open-wheel purists may blanch at the notion, Gordon is the first driver in any series to win five races on the legendary 2.5-mile oval that has played such an integral role in the history of motorsports in the United States.

“I’m not very good on restarts and wasn’t very good today, but I finally got the restart of my life today when it counted most,” said Gordon, who gave Chevrolet its 12th straight Cup victory at Indy. “Once I got clear, I was thinking, like, ‘I can’t believe this is happening now…’

“I was trying so hard with 10 (laps) to go not to focus on the crowd,” added Gordon, who increased his series lead over teammate and ninth-place finisher Dale Earnhardt Jr. to 24 points. “Every once in a while, I’d glance up there and I could see the reaction. I was trying not to let it get to me and not think about it too much. And yet you can’t help it.

“It’s such a big place and such an important victory and a crucial moment in the season and the championship, and those emotions take over. I have my kids here. There’s nothing better, especially at one of the biggest races, to have your family here. … This one is for all those fans throughout the years and all weekend long. They’re saying, ‘We believe you can get number five.’ We got number five — yes!”

If Gordon had trouble believing the outcome, team owner Rick Hendrick did not. In fact, Hendrick had a premonition about the race.

“I told (Gordon) this morning, ‘This is your day,’ Hendrick recalled. “For him to break that tie (with Johnson), it’s pretty special. I remember the first one (1994) and how good it felt.

“This one feels just as good.”

Joey Logano ran fifth, and Kahne slipped to sixth in the final 17-lap run after leading 70 laps and, for most of the afternoon, looking to be the likely winner.

Kahne grabbed the lead from Denny Hamlin after a restart on Lap 73, bringing Kyle Busch with him. For the next 24 laps, Kahne maintained an advantage over Busch that fluctuated between one and two seconds until Trevor Bayne‘s No. 21 Ford spun and smacked the inside guard rail in the short chute between Turns 3 and 4 to cause the third caution of the afternoon.

Clint Bowyer, who had come to pit road moments before Bayne’s spin, had the luxury of staying out while other lead-lap cars stopped under yellow and led the field to green on Lap 102. Seconds later, however, Kahne retook the lead, and Bowyer soon slipped back to fourth behind Kahne, Busch and Gordon.

Busch surrendered second place to Gordon on Lap 113 and used the opportunity to duck behind the No. 24 Chevrolet and free a piece of paper debris that had attached itself to the grille of his No. 18 Toyota. Gordon quickly pulled away and began to close on Kahne, knocking a 2.6-second deficit to two car-lengths by the time Ryan Truex‘s Toyota stalled on the track.

“Use one of the freaking exits,” Gordon screamed rhetorically on his radio, but Truex’s car came to a stop, and NASCAR had no choice but to call the fourth caution.

Kahne and Gordon led a large contingent that opted to stay out on the track under the yellow, but Kahne picked the wrong lane on the restart, opening the door for Gordon to pass on the outside through Turns 1 and 2 as Kahne slipped back to fifth.

And that restart, as No. 24 crew chief Alan Gustafson had predicted during a quick interview before the final green-flag run, decided the race.

The Sprint Cup Series will be at Pocono Raceway next weekend for the 400 (Aug. 3, 1 p.m. ET, ESPN)


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EcoBoost Teams Ready To Battle At The Brickyard

Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced Wednesday that 19-year-old developmental driver Sage Karam will join a 54-year-old Scott Pruett in the team’s No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost Daytona Prototype (P) for Friday’s (5:45 p.m. EDT) TUDOR United SportsCar Championship (TUSC) Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS).


According to team officials and a CGRFS team release, Pruett’s longtime co-driver, Memo Rojas of Mexico, was said to be in need of a rest to heal a “nagging back issue” that has arisen and been aggravated over the last three weeks.

“Memo is still an important part of our organization and he’s not being shown the door, so we don’t even need to go there,” Chip Ganassi Racing managing director Mike Hull said straightaway Wednesday from his Indianapolis office, where the sportscar and open-wheel sides of Chip Ganassi’s motorsports empire are based.

The team is a five-time and final winner of the Daytona Prototype Team championship in the now-defunct GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series — a sportscar series that dissolved with the late-2013 completion of a merger process undertaken in September 2012 when the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Grand-American Road Racing (Grand-Am) formed the Tudor United SportsCar Series and in which the team continues its competition.

“He frayed his back pretty good and been dealing with it for the last couple of weeks,” Hull said of Rojas. “He and his doctors expect the time off will allow him to heal enough to be at full strength for Road America next month.”

Karam, like Pruett, broke into racing through Karting and, also like Pruett, gathered a bevy of Karting national championship titles before moving into the professional racing ranks..

“We’re lucky enough to have Sage Karam in our program so that he would be available for this sort of circumstance. It was with a bit of irony that we put Sage on the Indy entrants list a few weeks ago for Indy even though we didn’t have any specific plans for him. Then the Memo thing came up and, well, we were able to put Sage into the car.”

The affable Karam, of Nazareth, Pa., last drove the Ford EcoBoost-powered prototype car in late June’s Sahlen’s Six Hours Of The Glen, a race in which the team battled almost relentlessly to score an 8th-place prototype class finish.

In March, Karam also participated in his first-ever Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, co-driving a second CGRFS Ford EcoBoost-powered car, the No. 02 Target/Telcel Riley, which he co-drove with fellow CGRWFS IRL IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan.

Joined by Marino Franchitti, Rojas and Pruett’s most recent wins using Ford’s EcoBoost engine technologies came in March’s Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring and April’s Long Beach Grand Prix, during which the Ford EcoBoost-powered team stayed on or at the race’s front throughout — 77 laps of flag-to-flag front running at Long Beach, in fact.

Sebring, a race in which CGRFS appeared for a first time while Ford Racing reprised its mid-1960’s dominance, was won following a stirring, final-sprint drive made by Franchitti that left competitors sucking the exhaust fumes of an engine concept that is just beginning to show its stuff.

“I, we don’t know what the deal is,” a frustrated-sounding Hull said Wednesday, “But that 3.5-liter Ford EcoBoost twin-turbocharged motor, an engine so thoroughly modern in its structure that it easily competes with 5-liter engines like Chevy’s, has had a plate of restrictions placed on it so great in scope that it effectively is kept from equally competing.”

“Then there’s the aspect that we haven’t been invited to a single Continental Tire test all year, whereas the Chevys have been invited to each. And, by the way, Ford buys a lot of Continental Tires for its production lines.”

“You know, I don’t know what is up with that, either,” echoed Michael Shank Racing’s Ozz Negri, who for more than a decade has been leading that team’s assault in prototype sportscar racing, and who will again partner on Friday with top amateur driver John Pew in the MSR with Curb/Agajanian No. 60 Ford EcoBoost Riley DP.

“I don’t care whether it is us or Ganassi who gets the testing nod. We’ve had a great year of information exchanges with Ganassi so good that I don’t really care who gets to test. Of course, I’d like to do it, but I also know they’ll tell our engineers, Mike and John and I everything they’ve learned, just as we’ve shared data with them. But the fact is neither of us are getting that data while all of our competitors’ are getting it.

“I cannot say enough about the way the Roush Yates guys have worked themselves to the bone trying to overcome these obstacles that someone else has put on them,” Negri said.

Asked to describe the principal problem, Negri quickly returned fire with, “terminal velocity.”

“The name itself is pretty self-explanatory. But they get to their terminal velocity speed quicker than we do.

“I took it at Mosport (now Canadian Tire Motorsports Park), and it shows how much more quickly they get to theirs than we get to ours. When it takes them, say, three seconds and it takes us four, just because we get to a same matching terminal speed doesn’t mean we’re equal because if they can do that over a distance of 100 feet where it takes us, Ganassi and Shank, 150 feet, then they are at a 50-foot advantage over the length of a straight. Just multiply that by 50 laps and pretty soon, remember that nothing has changed that everything is equal in horsepower and all that stuff, you are still talking a huge gap of 2,500 feet.

“Personally, I think tire testing like we did in the past got a little expensive at times. But we still, Ganassi or us, Michael Shank Racing, haven’t been invited once this year. I think that if we did, it’d help the officials to see that what they are doing is looking at the situation with two or three ideas in mind, but are entirely missing the point.”

With tempers growing shorter, more information about a schedule that looks to be at the precipice of a five-alarm fire can be had at, as well as live timing and scoring and in-car camera coverage for between four and six race cars.


The Race: Brickyard Grand Prix

The Place: Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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Dean Martin Grabs World Challenge Win; Udell and Roush Both Reach the Podium in Toronto


Photos by J.T. Brazier

Dean Martin drove his No. 50 Picture Cars East/Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S to victory in the GTS class of last Saturday’s Pirelli World Challenge series race in Toronto. Jack Roush Jr. piloted his No. 60 ROUSH Road Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302R to a third-place finish in the same event, the first of his two third-place finishes on the weekend.

On Sunday, Alec Udell, of The Woodlands, Texas, in the No. 17 Watson Racing/MDG Ford Mustang Boss 302S, finished a close second in the GTS class to race winner and series points leader Mark Wilkins after placing fifth in Saturday’s race for the fifth time this season.

Martin started seventh on the GTS grid in Saturday’s battle and survived an incident that created a full-course caution and put the race under yellow for nearly 15 minutes of the 50-minute timed event. He held off Lawson Aschenbach on a late restart after another caution flag to hold on for the victory. Martin (842 points) trails only Wilkins (983) in the GTS drivers points standings. Roush is fifth at 741.

The 18-year-old Udell has earned some notice for his driving this season. Not the least of his admirers is Wilkins, who praised the youngster after holding on for the Sunday win.

“I have to say Alec Udell drove a fantastic race,” Wilkins said. “He was clean, we had a great battle, and he made me drive down the inside of the track. That made it fun and stressful at the same time.”

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