Saturday, March 14, 2009

ASHLEY FORCE HOOD - TWEETING TO THE MASSES

Twitter....Twitter...Tweet...Tweet....

Not the sounds you would expect coming from deep within the garage area at a NHRA drag racing event. Yet, that is exactly what Ashley Force Hood was doing prior to making the fourth fastest run Friday morning at Gainesville Dragway in Gainesville, Fla Friday morning.

Force spent a few minutes micro-blogging on @FordRacing on Twitter. Fans or even the casual observer, who might not otherwise have access to Force were able to ask questions ranging from her racing to her cat, Simba and her recent opportunity to return to her alma mater (Cal Fullerton) to meet and introduce Reba McIntyre.

QUESTION: Is it easier or harder on race weekends now that you are married?

ASHLEY: The same. My husband works with me. Home or at the race we are together.

QUESTION: What track to do you like best and why?

ASHLEY: Love Sonoma. Like our home track. Lots of friend and family are close. We always do well. We have won 3 straight so this year is my turn.

QUESTION: Do you have a favorite foreign food?

ASHLEY: Love English Tea and Americanized Chinese food.

QUESTION: Did Simba [your cat] make the trip cross country to Gainesville?

ASHLEY: No he is home with sister Courtney to protect the house.

QUESTION: Just saw you got to meet Reba McEntire?

ASHLEY: Just did a scholarship fundraiser at my alma mater Cal State Fullerton and I got to introduce her. It was really fun and she was nice.

Tweeting has taken off faster and stronger than a John Force Racing Funny Car. Twitter has become a very important tool for spreading the message for Ford, Ashley and the NHRA.

Two months ago, Force Hood couldn't have told you what a Twitter was. And, technically she doesn't twitter herself. She twitters through the team publicists Elon Werner and Dave Densmore. Typically Force sends a text message to Werner who then Twitters, sending out the 140 character tweet.

“I think its great for the whole sport,” Force Hood said. “We're not only attracting people that come to our events, but really reaching out to people who can watch us through the Internet, television, radio and different ways like that.

Force understands the demands of today's society when it comes to news and information. They don't want it tomorrow, or even tonight. People want it now. Twitter is now.

“It seems recently there is that world need, they want something right away. They want the latest news. They don't want what happened yesterday. Even the Internet isn't fast enough, anymore. They want texting and tweets. If you can keep up with all that stuff you can stay ahead of the game, if you have the right people working with you. I couldn't do it all on my own.”

When she has the time Force also maintains a My Space page for both herself and another page for her cat, Simba.

Even with Twitter, there are still small facts for an on site reporter to dig out. If she could, Force would love to do a guest appearance on her favorite show CSI (Las Vegas), as long as she isn't the victim in the story. She would also love to be a guest of the Regis and Kelly show. Given the opportunity to meet anyone in the world, she fell back on her love of CSI and expressed a desire to meet the actor who plays Gil Grissom, William Peterson. Peterson just left the show to return to the stage in Chicago, which means Force Hood may try to squeeze in one of his shows this summer when the tour visits Route 66 Dragway.

Oh, and if she could have sent out a tweet during the interview it would have read, “We qualified number four. Its really hot here and we're going to have a tan here this weekend, for sure.”

Friday, March 13, 2009

J.R. Fitzpatrick profiled on NASCAR.com

NASCAR.com has a nice feature on Canadian NASCAR Truck Series rookie J.R. Fitzpatrick. Click here to see it.

In other J.R. news, the 20-year-old is on the cover of the new issue of Inside Track Motorsport News. Inside, Fitzpatrick is the subject of the commentary and a lengthy feature, detailing his fourth-place finish at Daytona. Volume 13, Issue 1 is on its way to subscribers and newsstands now. Here is a first look at the cover.

JOEL MILLER RE-SIGNS WITH JDC MOTORSPORTS FOR 2009 STAR MAZDA CHAMPIONSHIP

Hesperia, California (March 13, 2009) -- After narrowly missing out on the Star Mazda Championship Presented by Goodyear title in his rookie season, Joel Miller has announced that he will return to the highly-competitive junior formula car series in 2009. As part of a talented driver line-up at JDC Motorsports, one that features fellow returning series standouts Alex Ardoin and Caio Lara, as well as Masters class race winner Gerry Kraut and Michael Guasch, the Californian will seek to add to his win total en route to providing the Minnesota-based squad its second championship crown in three years.

Miller enters his second season of Star Mazda not only as a series race winner and championship contender, but having also established himself as one the leading up-and-coming American drivers in the junior formula car ranks. First getting behind the wheel via local kart racing, Miller quickly became not only one of the leading karters on the Pacific Coast, but in all of North America. This culminated in 2006, when he captured the Stars of Karting Intercontinental A National Championship title.

At the same time as he was making mark in karting, Miller was also getting his feet wet in formula car competition, running selected races in the Skip Barber National series thanks to a scholarship he received at the 2006 shootout. Miller’s big break came as a result of his championship performances in the Stars of Karting, as the series awarded him a full-season Skip Barber Scholarship which gave him the opportunity to race full-time in 2007, and he promptly made the most of the opportunity, capturing the series title via a series-high five wins.

Almost immediate following his title-winning campaign, Miller traveled to Europe as a Team USA Scholarship winner, where he enjoyed a strong run in the Formula Palmer Audi Autumn Trophy. Last year, as member of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder program, Miller won once and finished on the podium seven times as a Star Mazda Championship rookie, only missing out on the series title at the season finale.

Miller and the entire JDC MotorSports crew are currently finishing preparations for the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear season, which commences on March 20 at Sebring International Raceway, as part of the historic 12 Hours of Sebring event.

Star Mazda Championship action at Sebring begins with test sessions starting Monday, March 16. Qualifying to set the starting grid takes place from 1:45 pm to 2:30 pm, Thursday, March 19. The 45-minute Round One of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear season is set to take the green flag at 3:55 pm, Friday, March 20.

Follow Joel's progress at www.joelmillerracing.net or joelmillerracing@aol.com

Pro Challenge Series: Canada Region to include events at Sunset, Varney, Sauble and Flamboro

Pro Challenge Series Announces National Points Events in All Four Regions
National Championship Schematic Switched Up to Encourage Regional Participation


CONCORD, NC (Feburary 13, 2009) –  Officials from the Professional Association of Scale Car Auto Racing (PASCAR) announced today the 16 National Points events that will constitute the 2009 National Championship schematic for the Pro Challenge Series.  Four events in each of the four Pro Challenge regional series will lead up to one double-points event at the conclusion of the season.  The driver with the highest cumulative points in their four designated national events in their regions and the fifth double-points event will be declared the 2009 Pro Challenge National Champion.

“Our series has seen such growth over recent seasons that we’ve got more and more drivers wishing to compete for the National Championship,” said John Litzinger, President of PASCAR and Owner of Pro Challenge Race Cars, Inc.  “But, we realize that in the current state of our economy, having a full-touring schedule would put serious financial constraints on many of our teams.  Therefore, we have decided to put an emphasis on regional racing in 2009 and using four events in each region to make up the regular season national points.  Then, all the regional contenders will meet for a big double-points event that is sure to provide plenty of drama as we crown our new National Champion.”

The Pro Challenge North Region, which is made up of drivers primarily hailing from North Carolina, South Carolina and points North and West, will see its four national point’s events at historic and competitive tracks in the Carolinas.  The first North National Points event will come at North Carolina’s Tri-County Motor Speedway on April 10th.  Dillon Motor Speedway in South Carolina will host the second national event on May 30th, while North Carolina’s Hickory Motor Speedway (June 27th) and Orange County Speedway (August 8th) will round out the North National Points events.

Lanier National Speedway in Braselton, Georgia will be the home track for the Pro Challenge South Region in 2009.  The South Region will be made up of drivers primarily hailing from the state of Georgia.  The four South national events will all be held at Lanier on May 9th, June 20th, July 18th and August 15th.

Pro Challenge racers from the state of Florida make up the Sunshine Region, which will also hit some of the Sunshine State’s most prolific racing facilities in 2009.  Auburndale Speedway will kick off the Sunshine Region’s national events on March 21st.  Additional national races will follow at Citrus County Speedway on April 18th, Charlotte County Speedway on June 6th and Orlando SpeedWorld on October 2nd.

Last, but not least, the Pro Challenge Canada Region, based in Ontario, will see its first national event at Sunset Speedway on May 23rd.  The rest of the events in Canada will come on June 20th in the series’ first-ever visit to Varney Speedway, followed by a visit to Sauble Speedway on July 11th and an event at Flamboro Speedway on August 22nd.

The date and location of the final double-points event, which will determine the 2009 Pro Challenge National Champion, will be announced at a later date.

Pro Challenge regional champions will also be named for all four regions, with each region having full schedules, which include these four national events.  For detailed information on all four regions, visit www.prochallengeseries.com.

For more media information on the Pro Challenge oval track and road course series and racecars, contact Matt Kentfield at (704) 788-2134 x 5 and visit www.prochallengeseries.com.

2009 PRO CHALLENGE NATIONAL POINTS EVENTS

2009 PRO CHALLENGE NATIONAL POINTS EVENTS
NORTH REGION

DATE

TRACK

LOCATION

April 10

Tri-County Motor Speedway

Hudson, NC

May 30

Dillon Motor Speedway

Dillon, SC

June 27

Hickory Motor Speedway

Hickory, NC

August 8

Orange County Speedway

Rougemont, NC

 

 

 

SOUTH REGION

DATE

TRACK

LOCATION

May 9

Lanier National Speedway

Braselton, GA

June 20

Lanier National Speedway

Braselton, GA

July 18

Lanier National Speedway

Braselton, GA

August 15

Lanier National Speedway

Braselton, GA

 

 

 

SUNSHINE REGION

DATE

TRACK

LOCATION

March 21

Auburndale Speedway

Winter Haven, FL

April 18

Citrus County Speedway

Inverness, FL

June 6

Charlotte County Speedway

Punta Gorda, FL

October 2

Orlando SpeedWorld

Orlando, FL

 

 

 

CANADA REGION

DATE

TRACK

LOCATION

May 23

Sunset Speedway

Innisfil, ON

June 20

Varney Speedway

Durham, ON

July 11

Sauble Speedway

Sauble Beach, ON

August 22

Flamboro Speedway

Flamborough, ON


From Matt Kentfield, 51 Sports

Merrittville Speedway: Niagara Motors powers new 'King of the Crates' Sportsman Series

For Release   - March 13, 2009 From Jim Irvine // Merrittville Speedway Public Relations

Thorold, Ontario (March 13) – With the recent Lucas Oil Shootout Press Conference announcing Merrittville Speedway’s 50 lap Event that will again have Original Pizza Logs Sportsman drivers trying to hold their points to a minimum - comes news of a second series within the season long points chase with the finalization of the Thorold track’s 2009 Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series Schedule.

“When you combine the Shootout with the year end title,” reveals (Merrittville Speedway General Manager) Erica Bicknell, “the Super DIRTcar Series Event and our new King of the Crates Series … 2009 will be quite a year for our Sportsman Division.”

The Niagara Motors King of the Crates Sportsman Series is one of many new and exciting additions featured in the schedule recently unveiled that will help celebrate 58 consecutive seasons.

Three 40 lap Events will make up the Niagara Motors King of the Crates Series with the dates as follows – Saturday May 30th, Saturday August 1st and Saturday August 29th.

Southern Ontario and Western New York Sprint Car fans planning on attending the first two events for the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints and ASCS Lucas Oil Patriot Sprints specials – will surely want to return for the 40 lap King of the Crates Finale Saturday August 29th to witness who is crowned Champion of the new Miniseries.

Merrittville Speedway is looking for the ‘Niagara Motors King of the Crates’ as all drivers that compete in the Original Pizza Logs Division share one thing in common – the GM 602 Crate Engine.

Niagara Motors – an authorized performance parts dealer in the Niagara Peninsula is a Pontiac Buick and GMC Dealer and like any other GM Dealer across North America – can supply racers with the economical GM Crate Engine.

“We’re excited about our new series within a series,” adds Niagara Motors Parts Manager Dennis Willms, “we are happy to help out the Sportsman drivers at Merrittville.”

While other details are still being finalized, at the Awards Banquet – the inaugural Niagara Motors King of the Crates Champion will receive a $500 Gift Certificate redeemable at Niagara Motors towards the purchase of a GM 602 Crate Engine for 2010.

The 2009 Niagara Motors ‘King of the Crates’ Sportsman Series kicks off Saturday May 30th when the Meridian Credit Union presents the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints.

Round 2 goes Saturday August 1st when Cotton Inc. presents the Lucas Oil Patriot Sprints.

The finale takes to the track Saturday August 29th when Ball Hockey International hosts its annual Minor Sport Night assisted by the Niagara Ice Dogs.

“Since the inception of the mandatory engine,” furthers Bicknell, “it has helped a number of young up and coming drivers make the move into the division … and brought some veterans back … while it provides stability, reliability and cost effectiveness … it also delivers performance.”

The GM Crate engine is a bullet-proof 350-horsepower, 350-cubic-inch factory-sealed racing engine and is a tough combination of power and reliability, and it fits almost any racing budget.

Based on GM Performance Parts' popular 350 HO engine, including a brand-new, four-bolt-main block, 9:1 hypereutectic pistons, cast iron crankshaft and GM iron Vortec cylinder heads, the 350/350 Factory Stock version features a high-rise dual-plane intake manifold, 8-quart single kick-out circle track oil pan, valve cover kit with breather tube and breather, and special "kool nut" rocker arm nut design.

Niagara Motors has been providing award winning sales and service since 1946. Visit their dealership at 1537 Niagara Stone Road in Virgil or on line at www.niagaramotors.com. Niagara Motors offers an extensive inventory of genuine GM Performance parts and accessories. To place your order call 1-800-563-0196.

For more information on the Niagara Motors King of the Crates Sportsman Series or any other events for the 2009 season - visit www.merrittvillespeedway.com or contact the Winter Office at 905-685-7223.

Merrittville Speedway’s Track Office will open for the season April 1st. The 24 hour Raceline is 905-892-8266.

Star Mazda Round 1 Sebring - Preview

Fast Facts – Round One of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear at the 57th Annual 12 Hours of Sebring

Ø  A 30-car field of top drivers from around the world is expected to line up for the Star Mazda series' F1-style standing start; countries represented include the U.S., Canada, England, Ireland, Norway, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile and Japan.  Three of the top four and seven of the top ten drivers in the 2008 championship will return to battle in 2009.

Ø  Conor Daly, son of F1/Indy Car/Sports Car racing legend and two-time 12 Hours of Sebring winner Derek Daly (1990 – 1991) will be in the Star Mazda field and hoping to continue the family winning streak at Sebring alive with a victory in his series debut. 

Ø  Another racing legend, Eliseo Salazar (like Daly, a veteran of F1, Indy Cars and prototypes) will debut Eliseo THL Motorsports, a Star Mazda team focusing on helping South American drivers launch their North American motorsports careers.

Ø  The Star Mazda Championship is entering its 19th year as one of the premier open-wheel driver development series in North America.  Series graduates have gone on to race in F1, Indy Cars, NASCAR, American Le Mans and Grand-Am.

Ø  Changes for 2009 include faster Star Mazda race cars with upgraded aerodynamics, suspension and engine, several new teams and teams with new 'ladder programs' connecting from karting up to ALMS and the IRL; prize money remains $1.5 million, including a fully-sponsored drive for the series champion in the 2010 Atlantic Championship courtesy of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder.

***

With a 30-car field on tap for Round 1 of the 2009 season at the 57th annual 12 Hours of Sebring, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is set to dive into the deepest talent pool in recent years.  Three of the top four and seven of the top ten drivers in the 2008 championship will return to battle in 2009.  Thirty or more cars are expected to line up for the F1-style standing start, with drivers representing all areas of the U.S. as well as Canada, England, Ireland, Norway, Brazil, Venezuela, Chile and Japan.

High-profile names joining the Star Mazda Championship series this season include Indianapolis native Conor Daly, son of former F1/Indy Car/Prototype driver and noted auto racing TV commentator Derek Daly, a two-time winner (1990 – 1991) of the 12 Hours of Sebring.  The younger Daly won the 2008 Skip Barber Pro Series Championship and is driving the #22 Andersen Racing/Indeck/Cytomax/The College Network/ Merchant Services Mazda in the 2009 Star Mazda Championship.  With sponsorship from the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder, the unique and prestigious Mazda-sponsored program that provides funding for series champions all the way from karting to the top levels of auto racing, Daly will be looking to continue the family tradition of Sebring victories in his Star Mazda championship debut this weekend.

Another prominent name from the world of F1 and Indy Cars, Eliseo Salazar, will also be joining the series as team principal of Eliseo THL Motorsports, a new team formed to provide a stepping-stone for South American drivers to develop careers in North American motorsports.  Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA will field the Eliseo THL Motorsports Star Mazda car for rising 18 year-old Chilean racer Kevin Toledo.

The Freshman Class

Three of the top four and seven of the top ten drivers from the 2008 season are returning for a second year of high-speed education in the Star Mazda Championship, including American Joel Miller, who won this event from the pole in 2008.  Miller, the 2007 Skip Barber Pro Series champion, raced to a second-place finish in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship with sponsorship from the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder will return with the JDC Motorsports team.  Peter Dempsey, the 'Irish Steamroller' who won four races last year (three of them in a row) and started on the pole three times on his way to a 3rd-place finish in the championship will also return for a second year, driving for a different team, AIM Autosport (the team that won the 2008 championship with American John Edwards).

Alex Ardoin, the Lafayette, Louisiana racer who won the 2007 season-ending race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and finished fourth in the 2008 Star Mazda Championship battle will return for his third season (making him actually a 'Junior' rather than a freshman), driving this year for a different team, JDC Motorsports (the 2007 series champions with Dane Cameron).  Other returning drivers who finished in the top-10 last year include Californian Billy Goshen (Goshen Racing), Brazilian Ciao Lara (JDC Motorsports), Texan Kristy Kester (Kester Motorsports) and Vancouver's Taylor Hacquard (Kester Motorsports).

Rookie Contenders

Top contenders for the Star Mazda Championship 'Rookie of the Year' honors must certainly include Richard Kent, the 'stranger from nowhere' who showed up at the last race of the 2008 season, set a new track record in winning the pole and then won the race.  In the Star Mazda Championship, any driver who has competed in fewer than three events – even if he wins one – is considered a rookie. Kent, an Englishman, is a veteran of both European Formula Renault and Palmer Audi and will drive for Andersen Racing in 2009.  Other hot prospects include the afore-mentioned Conor Daly and Kevin Toledo, as well as Scandanavian racer Anders Krohn from Stavanger, Norway (Mundill); he was the 2008 US F2000 series champion and Rookie of the Year. 

AIM Autosport, the team that won the 2008 Star Mazda Championship with 17 year-old American John Edwards (now racing in the Atlantic Championship with sponsorship from the MAZDASPEED Ladder), continues their tradition of developing young talent by fielding cars for Canadian David Ostella and Venezuelan Jorge Goncalvez.  Both are 17 years old and competed last season in the Formula BMW Americas series.  Goncalvez has also raced Formula Renault in South America and Europe.

Thomas Asseo (JDC Motorsports) ran the Formula Russell Championship in 2008, winning 'Rookie of the Year' and finishing third in the championship with one win and six podium finishes; he was born in Paris and now lives in Los Angeles.  Running with Goshen Motorsports is 16 year-old Ryan Booth, the 2007 Formula TR Pro Series champion who ran the Formula Asia series in 2008, winning at the Bira Circuit in Pattaya, Thailand.

New team Juncos Racing has a duo of 'ROY' prospects, including Miami, Fl native Sean Burstyn, a graduate of the Juncos Racing School, the Skip Barber Racing School and the Formula Renault 1600 championship in 2006.  He ran the Star Mazda race at Sebring in 2007 and competed in the Formula Mazda-based FARA Championship in 2008.  Canadian Michael Furfari began in karts at age 12, graduated to Formula Renault 1600 in 2007 and spent 2008 testing in the Juncos Star Mazda car preparing for his full-time debut in the 2009 season.

Driving for Andersen Racing this season is Brazilian Denis Navaro; he started racing karts in 2004, graduated to open-wheel cars in 2006 and ran the South American Formula 3 series in 2007 – 2008, finishing third in last year's championship with four wins and six poles.

Experts and Masters

Chris Cumming, the Vancouver racer who won the 2008 Expert Series championship (for drivers 30 to 44 years old) with seven class wins (including Sebring), has changed teams to Kester Racing and will again be a top contender in 2009.  And the top returning racer in the Master Series (for drivers 45 and older) is Gerry Kraut (right), who finished second in the class last season with three class wins and five top-3 class finishes.  Kraut, from North Oaks, Minnesota, drives for (and is a co-owner of) JDC Motorsports and is the CEO of a private investment company.  His principal competition for the Master Series championship will come from Californian Mike Guasch, a veteran Star Mazda racer who ran only half the season in 2008, but still managed to finish third in the Master championship.

The Expert Series will see serious action this season with Cumming defending his title against five other drivers in the same age category.  Returning after a debut season in 2008 that saw him score three class wins and finish second in the championship is Texan J.W. Roberts (Team GDT).   Back for a more extensive 2009 schedule after running six of twelve races in 2008 is Oregon Racer Phil Fogg, Jr., who finished third in the Expert Series last year.  Also of note are two newcomers to both the Star Mazda Championship and the Expert Series, Walt Bowlin of Tarpon Springs, FL (Juncos Racing) and widely-experienced Japanese racer Toshihiro Deki (Goshen Motorsports) who has competed in Formula 3, Formula Toyota, and Formula Junior 1600, as well as Mazda RX-8 and RX-6 sports cars.  Joining the series in Round 2 at Virginia International Raceway April 25 will be 2008 West Coast Star Mazda Champion Patrick O'Neill, driving for the Mundill team.

Expert and Master Series drivers race the same kind of car as all the other Star Mazda racers, and compete in the same events for the same championship points and prize money, but they also have a race-within-a-race that sees the Star Mazda Championship with five drivers on the podium at the end of the race; the top-3 as well as the top-finishing Expert and Master.

Ladder Teams

While the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is a part of the MAZDASPEED Motorsports Driver Development Ladder, a number of Star Mazda Championship teams also have their own internal ladder programs.  Pre-eminent among these is Andersen Racing, (www.andersenracingteam.com), which runs racing programs in karting, Formula BMW, Star Mazda and Indy Lights.  They also own a test track, Andersen Racepark, in Palmetto, Florida, where the team is based. 

Andersen is also the 'official driver development team' of Rahal Letterman Racing.  Another team with IRL connections is Kester Racing, which has expanded from the two-car brother/sister team of J.C. and Kristy Kester (right) that they campaigned in 2008, to a four-car team for 2009 that includes Expert Series champion Chris Cumming and rising Vancouver racer Taylor Hacquard.  The Kester team has also forged a 'driver development' deal with the IRL's Team 3G, making its series debut in 2009 with driver Stanton Barrett.

The Mundill team that will campaign Anders Krohn in the 2009 Star Mazda Championship has recently purchased a Pescarolo/Judd LMP1 car that they will campaign in the American Le Mans series beginning later this season.   JDC Motorsports, the 2007 Star Mazda series champions with Dane Cameron, also run a highly-competitive F2000 effort, and the new Juncos Racing team runs a driving school in addition to their new three-car Star Mazda effort.

Upgraded Star Mazda Race Car Debuts

In the first major upgrade of the Star Mazda 'Pro Car' since its introduction five years ago, Star Race Cars has produced a package of mechanical and software upgrades for the 2009 season.  More than 150 of these high-tech, carbon-fiber, rotary-powered single-seaters are utilized by competitors in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, as well as SCCA competition and regional Star Mazda series around the U.S., such as the Molecule Formula Mazda Challenge on the West Coast.

The upgrades, including new wings, shock absorbers and suspension rockers, are designed to increase the car's aerodynamic efficiency and top speed while improving engine cooling; in addition, it will be easier for drivers and their engineers to arrive at the best setup for each track.  The cumulative effect of the upgrades will be to increase both top speed and cornering speed, reduce maintenance costs and enhance the mechanical reliability of what is arguably already one of the most dependable, cost-effective open-wheel cars in competition today. 

Sebring Schedule: Star Mazda Championship action at Sebring begins with test sessions starting Monday, March 16.  Qualifying to set the starting grid takes place from 1:45 pm to 2:30 pm, Thursday, March 19.  The 45-minute Round One of the 2009 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear season is set to take the green flag at 3:55 pm, Friday, March 20.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

NASCAR Canadian Tire Series: Anyone speak Dutch?

Joey Hanssen of The Netherlands will be driving a car in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series this season for DJK Racing. No clue what most of it says, but Hanssen is apparently excited about racing in Canada ("Joey Goes Canada").
Not sure what can be taken from the images on the page, but his car (a Monte Carlo???... out of DJK???!!!) appears to have sponsorship from a mushroom company.

You can see Joey's website here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Varney Motor Speedway: 2009 Preview Update

Varney Motor Speedway: 2009 Season Just A Few Short Weeks Away

DURHAM, ONTARIO - With the 2009 season just a few short weeks away things are quickly coming to together for what should be one of the busiest seasons yet at Varney Motor Speedway.

The tentative schedule is now out and I say tentative as we still have a few things to add to an already jam packed season.  Things start to happen April 25th with the 2nd annual Swap Meet followed by our practice weekend May 2nd & 3rd.  The schedule itself is 24 races long this year kicking off May 9th and running to September 19th.  Each of the regular classes will have one night off this season.  The Stock 4’s are off June 13th, Street Stocks August 8th, Super Streets July 18th and the Varney Late Models August 22nd.  The All Pro Modifieds will run a 13 race schedule this season again and the Trains will run 15 times and back to back on every long weekend with a few new twists thrown in that you are just going to have to come out and see.

This year for our long weekend shows we will be having an infield autograph season each Saturday night.  For the Sunday invitational nights we are going to be holding a “King of The Hill” with a season champion being crowned on September 6th.  Also another new item we are adding to the Sundays is a “Women’s Challenge Series” 4 races open to any woman who is not a registered driver at any track and who can borrow a Stock 4 or Street Stock the season champion will be crowned Sept 6th.  We will also be hosting 2 bar-b-que’s, on June 27th it will be a half chicken meal put on by Maple Lodge Farms and on Aug 1st it will be a Fish Fry put on by Howell’s of Wiarton.

Mark June 20th on your calendar as we have the Pro Challenge Series making its first ever stop at the high banks.  In practice last season at our track these cars where turning lap times in the low 13 second range so you won’t want to miss this show.  Also make sure you are on hand on August 22nd  as we pay honour to our brave men and women with our 2nd annual “Support The Troops” night as we will again have on site display of military vehicles from base Borden along with the personal to explain to you how they work.

As always we have not forgotten the kids!  They have a chance to win a bike a night at Varney Speedway each race night plus we have all the other kids’ favourites, bike races kids’ rides, and the frisbee toss features a chance to get your picture taken with the race winner.

Then to cap our season off it will be our 2nd annual Fall Classic running September 26 and 27 with practice on the 25th.  All the best drivers in the Province running at the tightest track for a chance at over $ 15,000.00 in prize money!

For more information check out the web site at www.varneymotorspeedway.com. 

From Doug Townsend  // Promoter  // Varney Motor Speedway

Brockville Ontario Speedway Releases 2009 schedule

Brockville Ontario Speedway Gets Ready for 40th Anniversary Season

BROCKVILLE, ONTARIO - It was 40 years ago, in 1969 that Brockville Ontario Speedway embarked on its premier season.  Now in 2009, the track is putting forward one of its most ambitious schedules yet for fans of the Beast of the East.  This special year will run from mid-May right through until mid-October with visits from the Super DIRT Series tour for Big blocks, 358 Modifieds and Sportsman as well as the winged warriors of the Sprint Car ranks and for the first time in recent memory Late Models. 

The high banked quarter mile will feature the same four regular classes that have been thriving the past few seasons, the 358 DIRT Modifieds, DIRT Sportsman, Street Stocks and Rookies along with semi regular appearances from the Vintage car class.  Sportsman car counts are expected to be so high in 2009, that the track has introduced a special purse paying B main for that division to add to the excitement of the average Saturday night of racing.

The 40th anniversary campaign opens up on Saturday May 16th at 7 pm with a full show.  The Super DIRT tour events begin on July 4th with the Brockville Motors 40 lapper for the Sportsman then big block stars come a calling north of the border on July 9th for the Coca-Cola 100 lap showdown, with the 358 Modified tour stop, courtesy of Jack May Pontiac on September 12th. Both the Sportsman and 358 Modifieds will have Brockville events as part of the Lucas Oil tour in June and July respectively.  Sprint Cars will be on hand for three shows July 18th, August 22nd and October 17th.  The Ontario dirt Late Models will pay their first ever visit to the Beast of the East on August 15th.  A special advance sale ticket package with some savings for fans has been put together for the August 15 and 22nd events.

Brockville Ontario Speedway will also continue its successful Wednesday night Go Kart racing that continues to grow and expand.  The Go-Kart schedule will be released in the near future.  The track will host it's annual awards banquet on Saturday March 28th and will open up for a special practice on May 9th to allow drivers to shake down their cars for the opener the next week.  It promises to be a year to remember at the Best of the East 40 years after the gates opened for the first time.

From Steve Young / BOS

Red River Coop Speedway To Host ASCS 360 Sprint Car Invitational

Greg Cybulski, Winnipeg, MB (March 11, 2009) - Red River Coop Speedway is set to make history as Manitoba's premier dirt track hosts an ASCS 360 Sprint Car Invitational on Thursday, July 2nd.  A collaborative effort by Red River Coop Speedway, Winnipeg sprint car veteran Lou Kennedy Jr and Prairie Dirt website has resulted in Manitoba's first all-360 race.  The co-sanctioned $2,000-to-win invitational will include representation from ASCS Northern Plains, ASCS CanWest series (Alberta), the Minot/Estevan region, and Grand Forks, North Dakota.

The event will feature some of the best sprint car racers from the Upper Midwest and Western Canada in what is reported to be the largest payout since the return of the open wheel class to Winnipeg in 2005.

Open wheel enthusiast and motorsports writer Greg Cybulski explained the change in direction for the Winnipeg show. The American Sprint Car Series model has a proven track record for growth and expansion of the sprint car community across the United States and Canada.  This will not only benefit current and future racers but, our region's dirt tracks as well.  Creating a race atmosphere that is mutually beneficial to the majority of teams, not only in our region, but for surrounding territories will allow more teams to get involved. There is a potential for a lot of cars on the track come race night. The outpouring of support we have received for this race by all parties involved is quite humbling."

The timing of this race is perfect as teams from western Canada will be traveling eastward for the "Prairie Dirt Classic" at Speedy Creek Raceway in Swift Current, Saskatchewan and ASCS Northern Plains teams will be staging for the Kouba Memorial race at North Central Speedway in Brainerd, Minnesota, with both events taking place on Saturday, July 4th. 

Teams representing the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the states of Minnesota and North Dakota will be participating in this year's sprint car spectacular.  To date there are 17 confirmed entries, with more pending.

Fans will be treated to championship caliber competition as the winged 360's take to the track.  Among the confirmed teams for the co-sanctioned date are two-time ASCS Northern Plains points champion Lee Grosz of Harwood, North Dakota and 2008 Alberta Sprint Tour points champion, Gord Kynoch of Spruce Grove, Alberta.  The province of Saskatchewan will be represented with two entries by Fedyk Motorsports of Estevan.  Kyle Fedyk will return to Winnipeg with his brother Kohlan who will be making his rookie appearance at this year's race.   Manitoba's entries will include Winnipeg's first family of open wheel racing, Kennedy Racing which will field 3 cars driven by Lou Jr and sons TJ and Sean. 

For information, news and updates go to Red River Coop Speedway's website at http://www.redrivercoopspeedway.ca

DOMINICAN TOURING CAR CHAMPION JOINS COMPASS360 AT HOMESTEAD

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic -- Compass360 Racing today released details of their driver line-up for the upcoming KONI Sports Car Challenge race at Homestead/Miami raceway this weekend.

The team is proud to announce the addition to their roster of Dominican Touring Car Champion, Jose Leroux, who will drive the team's #75 Honda Civic Si with Bo Roach, from Tulsa, OK.
Leroux is a long-time competitor in the competitive DTS Dominican Touring Series, most recently taking the championship in 2008 in his #12 Mobil 1 Honda Civic. This marked Jose's second consecutive DTS crown, and his Honda experience should pay dividends at Homestead. "I'm excited to be driving for Compass360 in Miami," enthused Leroux. "I think of it as my 'home' track in the U.S.!"

Roach, who co-drove the #75 Civic to a tenth-place finish at the KONI season-opener at Daytona in January was equally excited. "We had a good run on the high-banks, and I'm looking forward to improving on that in Miami."

Leroux and Roach will join what is arguably the best driver line-up in the KONI Challenge. Canadians Matt Pritiko and Travis Walker will hope for another podium after finishing third at Daytona, while veteran road-racers Christian Miller and Randy Pobst look to build on the front-running pace they showed in that race.

The KONI Sports Car Challenge race at Homestead/Miami Speedway is the headline event at Grand-Am's Fan Appreciation Weekend. Infield tickets are available for free, courtesy of Grand-Am, and promises to be an action-packed, exciting weekend. For tickets, visit http://www.grand-am.com/konitickets

Compass360 Racing (C360R) is the motorsports division of Compass360 Marketing Communications, a firm offering branding expertise to clients in diverse industries across North America. For details visit http://www.C360R.com or http://www.compass360.com

Atlantic Racing Team – Formula BMW Pacific 2009


With pride Atlantic Racing Team (ART) of Halifax, Canada announced today the first of their two Formula BMW Pacific series drivers for the 2009 season.

Aditya Patel, the 20 year old Indian commerce student from Chennai now in his second year with FBMW, received much attention during the 2008 season while driving for Team Eurasia while showing lots of potential. Some misfortunes did not help his final standings in 2009. Instrumental in the decision to join Atlantic Racing Team were the facts that ART worked continuously with him and his financial advisors to receive the needed funding for 2009.

“ In regards to Aditya’s near future we are certain that we will improve Aditya’s racing experience and career in this highly regarded formula series. If not alone for the simple reason that he has now more experience, giving him advantages over most of the competition; hard physical pre-season training allows him now to overcome fatigue easier, especially during the brunt of the summer races. Our objectives are very clear and defined – Aditya will be a front runner and primed for winning as many races for us as he can,” says Ingo Strackerjan, Team Manager for ART, and continuous; “with most of the young drivers in a one-car-spec series, much comes down to driver/team attitudes. As we had shown last year with 14 year old Chaves, proper racing spirits can overcome many “hurdles”. We do not believe in a light hearted approach in racing. We do our job and the driver has to do his; both with the same goal – winning! For many yet unknown reasons this will be at times not possible but temporary results and set backs will not distract us from ultimate goals. Aditya is part of the team, not just a driver. We watched Adiya’s progress last year while in direct competition against him – this will now help Lucas Strackerjan, ART’s Race Engineer, to guide him in the right direction. We are tremendously proud having for the first time a driver from Asia in our team, after drivers from Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Columbia, Canada and the USA. ”

Atlantic Racing Team has one car available for the 2009 FBMW Pacific season. Two additional cars are arriving from Canada in Kuala Lumpur shortly in time for the first test and race weekend, forming part of the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix.
“It becomes vital for any team these days to have at least two drivers. Constant increases in shipping costs for cars and equipment in containers and travel expenses are becoming a real concerns for teams. We are trying to stay within the FBMW proposed budget but nobody in the series can control these costs. Therefore it is so instrumental for a young driver receiving proper funding, working with people who have a sound understanding of the real costs of motorsport, not for only one season.

Aditya Patel’s car has been partially funded and sponsored by JK Tyre,Amaron, Speed, MAS Holdings and AJ Worldwide….. and we thank these folks for believing in him becoming a world class driver” elaborates Ingo on the subject of finances; “I suggest to any young driver and parent that one-shot-deal-seasons is not practical if that is what they can afford, even with talent. It sounds cruel to say that, especially when the kid is progressing well in karting and his/her hopes are stirred up. But reality is cruel at times and racing is no exception!
Talented drivers are plenty out there – the ones making it to the top have a well thought out plan, surrounded by people with knowledge, willing to help and speculate on some ROI.

Not meaning youngsters should not try out if they have talent. The Formula BMW School, held every year, is one way. Not only will they receive excellent introduction in Motorsport but also instruction and coaching with the opportunity, if selected, to become a Formula BMW Junior driver with partial funding provided by BMW Motorsport. All information can be found on one of the BMW Motorsport websites – http://www.afos.com/ or http://www.formulabmwusa.com/ .”

Atlantic Racing Team has been involved in Formula BMW since it’s inception in 2004, running as many as a four car field. In 2008, after 4 years in the USA/Canada FBMW Series, it expanded to the FBMW Pacific Series. Today Atlantic Racing Team operates a total of four cars in Europe, USA/Canada and the Pacific. Atlantic Racing Team will also provide for qualified drivers One-Off’s in the Pacific and Americas Series as well as test days in Europe. For details please visit http://www.atlanticracingteam.com/

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

KONI CHALLENGE: Pritiko heads south for Round 2

TORONTO, ONTARIO - The 2009 Koni Challenge Series continues this weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway. One of the favorites coming into the weekend in the ST class has to be the #76 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si of Matt Pritiko and Travis Walker.

The duo is fresh off a podium performance at the season opener at Daytona. "I am looking forward to continuing the success that I had in Daytona," Pritiko said. "I was very pleased with the third place in round one - especially as it was my first podium in the Koni Challenge."

"Just stepping upon the podium was a great feeling and one that I hope to experience again this weekend - except this time we're aiming for a higher step."

For the first time this year, the Koni Challenge Series will run split classes, and Pritiko is up for the challenge. "It is very different when we have our own ST class race," Pritiko said. "It creates a whole new dynamic for the race, and I am sure we will have the Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si at the front of the pack."

After returning from Daytona, Pritiko was in for more good news as he was nominated as one of Canada's ‘Up and Coming Road Racers' by the industry leading Canadian motorsport magazine, Inside Track Motorsport News.

"It is a huge honour to be recognized by Inside Track Motorsport News as one of Canada's Up and Coming Road Racers," Pritiko said of the nomination. "I thank Inside Track Motorsport News and hope that all race fans visit www.insidetracknews.com to cast their vote in all the racing categories."

Matt Pritiko Fast Facts: Matt Pritiko is one of Canada's up and coming stars of motorsport. He is from LondonOntario. In 2007, Pritiko completed his rookie season in Koni Challenge, finishing 15th in the standings, with a top five and four top tens. Pritiko was a member of Sunoco's Team Ultra 94 and collected 1 win, 2 poles and five podiums in the Bridgestone F2000 Series. In 2002, Pritiko is was 2nd in F125/80cc in the Point Pelee Championships and took home the 2002 Most Sportsmanlike award.

Pritiko is supported by Burwell Auto Body. (www.mattpritiko.com)

Compass360 Racing Fast Facts: Compass360 Racing (C360R) is the Motorsports division of Compass360, a marketing communications firm based in Toronto, Canada. Compass360 offers Brand Development and Deployment to clients in financial services, entertainment, advocacy and automotive sectors. Their work includes traditional advertising in television, radio and print, as well as corporate identity, logo creation, documentary film, website development and communications in non-traditional on-line media and event marketing. Compass360 Racing will field four Acuras in Grand Am's KONI Challenge in 2008, building on their third straight Manufacturer's Title and a strong second-place finish in the Driver and Team Championships in 2007. (www.compass360.com/racing)

Release prepared by Russ Bond Agency, Inc. (www.russbondagency.com). For more information contact Russ Bond r.bond@russbondagency.com or 416-312-2900

F1200: BGR-TLM sign Aryton Triolo

ARYTON TRIOLO SIGNS DEVELOPMENT DEAL WITH BGR-TLM

Canadian-based Brian Graham Racing/TLM Racing - Team Grote have announced the signing of Aryton Triolo to a driver development contract, as well, father Carlo Triolo to contest 2009 F1200 Championship Series.

As part of a planned long-term partnership, the 15 year-old Triolo has joined forces with Brian Graham Racing/TLM Racing, sponsored by Grote Manufacturing, via a driver development program. With the goal of advancing his driving skills, technical understanding of the car, and the overall dynamics of car racing, Triolo will take part in a full season of testing in the team’s F1200’s. Triolo had tested with TLM Racing in October of 2008 proving to be a very smooth, controlled, and fast driver.

In an interesting Father-Son team effort, Aryton’s father, Carlo, will contest the F1200 Series for 2009 while Aryton uses the practice days, pre-race events, to develop his skills. The Triolos are natives of Saskatoon, SK.

Aryton will continue his competitive Karting while testing with BGR-TLM. Through March 2009 Aryton will be contesting the The Gatorz Eyewear Golden State Karting Cup Premier Rotax Max Challenge in the US, as well as the upcoming Stars of Canada Karting Series beginning May 2009.

Although just 15, Aryton has posted some solid finishes in his young racing career:
2005 - 1st SKR Series - Junior 1 Honda - Undefeated
2005 - 3rd SKR Series - Rotax Junior
2006 - 6th SKR Series - Canada Junior - Honda
2006 - 4th SKR Series - Rotax Junior
2007 - 3rd RMC Sask. Series - Rotax Junior
2007 - 11th RMC Western Canada Series - Rotax Junior
2007 - 4th SKR Series - Rotax Junior
2008 - 35th (out of 75 entries) FWT (Florida Winter Tour) Rotax Junior


Father Carlo has many year of Karting under his belt and is no stranger to competitive racing, in fact, in his youth, Carlo shared the track racing against Paul Tracey and was very competitive into his mid-20’s. Carlo took time off to have a family, but re-joined the Senior Karting ranks in 2000 and over the years, in various Senior Karting series, found himself consistently finishing in the National top 10 or higher rankings. BGR-TLM are very pleased to have Carlo piloting of one of their F1200’s for 2009, and are confident that the senior of the two Triolo’s will be hungry for podium finishes on a consistent basis.

Aryton would like to thank his 2009 sponsors for their support: Trick Designs Fiberglass, HGC Hospital Contract Group, SGI Saskatchewan Government Insurance, Canada-Wide Reinforcing Steel Co., and  KRTS Kart Racing Team of Saskatchewan.

Any sponsorship inquiries can be sent to either ayrton@ayrtontriolo.com or ExclusiveManagement@shaw.ca

In effort to create Canada's premier formula car development team, Brian Graham Racing/TLM Racing with Grote was recently formed via partnership of two of the nation's leading junior race car teams. The new partnership features a three-tier program for its drivers via the Ontario F1200 Championship, Ontario Formula Ford Challenge and the F2000 Championship Series.

From Gerry Merz / BBR-TLM Racing

MINI GRID'S ANNUAL MARCH MADNESS SALE - March 9th - 15th


EVERYTHING Is On Sale!

Monday to Friday 20% Off Everything! Saturday/Sunday 30% Off Everything Left!!

Models, slot cars, books, art, dvd’s....all on sale

+ week long sales on selected items

at even GREATER discounts and savings!!!!

All stock, All week, All discounted!

Here's your Sneak Preview of what to expect:
All Scalextric slot cars 40% off!
All Ebbro, Norev & Brooklin Models 40% off!
All Autocourse, Motocourse & Rallycourse Yearbooks at 1/2 Price!
All BBR Exclusive Car Models 40% off!
Don’t miss it!

Store Hours: Monday to Friday, 11am - 6pm, Saturday 10am - 5pm; Sunday 12 - 4pm
Sale does not apply to special order or reserved items
All sales are final, no returns for refund or credit
Discounts do not apply to magazines
608 Mt.Pleasant Road Toronto, ON
416-488-7663

Monday, March 09, 2009

Greg Cybulski's Prairie Dirt Has A New Home!!!

From this point forward, Prairie Dirt will be presented in Blog format
at: http://dirtfromthestands.blogspot.com/

The blog allows me to quickly present photos and news in a much nicer
looking presentation than with the old site. In this way, I have my
forum, homepage and photos all in one neat package.

Greg Cybulski

KARTING: Kawartha Durham Kart Club and Bridgestone Racing Academy news

Kawartha Durham Kart Club Confirms Bridgestone “Thrill of a Lifetime” for 2009

The Bridgestone Racing Academy has confirmed that they will once again be offering a “Thrill of a Lifetime” lapping day to 12 qualified KDKC members. This is usually only offered to senior drivers but this year two seats will be reserved for mechanics and/or associates of junior drivers so that more club members will have an opportunity to participate.

This amazing opportunity has been generously provided to members of the club for many years and will once again be an opportunity to experience the high speeds of the Bridgestone Academy’s Formula 2000 cars. Everything you need is provided free of charge (a retail value of almost $1,000.00). There can be no argument that this is the greatest perk available to any kart club in Ontario (Canada?) and to the largest number of members. Whether you want to move on to open wheel racing or just want to be able to say,”I ran a fully winged race car.” a day at the Bridgestone Racing Academy can’t be beat.

Following an introductory briefing, you will be issued your personal racing gear and you're off to pit lane and the outstanding fleet of NEW Van Diemen Formula cars. These purpose-built single seaters are very responsive with an incredible power-to-weight ratio. The warm-up lapping session becomes the exciting topic of conversation during breaks. Drivers then return to the track for three full 20-minute lapping sessions at even higher speeds.

The Bridgestone Racing Academy offers the thrill of driving an open wheel race car to just about everyone. Whether it's a 1/2 day lapping instruction for a complete novice, the required elements to obtain a racing license, mechanics training or a corporate fun day, a variety of programs are available.

With an enviable safety record, well maintained cars and expert instructors a day at the Bridgestone Racing Academy is unforgettable. Check out the full line-up of programs at http://www.race2000.com.

Watch our website throughout the year for more updates as they happen: www.kawarthadurhamkartclub.com.

From Steve Painter
Vice-president/Webmaster // Kawartha Durham Kart Club

Merrittville Speedway: Start building your Enduro now!

NIAGARA COLLEGE ACCELERATES MERRITTVILLE ENDURO IN A BIG WAY … AS DOES BLACK ROCK SPEEDWAY. NOW’S THE TIME TO START BUILDING YOUR CAR

For Release   - March 9, 2009 - From Jim Irvine - Merrittville Speedway Public Relations - 905-685-7223 – Winter Office

Thorold, Ontario (March 9) – Last season, 3 drivers had a chance at a $200 bonus should they have come home the winner of the 100 lap Enduro at Merrittville Speedway after winning a qualifying event.

Unfortunately after two attempts – rain was the only winner as it was for much of the 2008 season.

In 2009, the same deal is available for any of the three qualifiers. Any of the three qualifier winners will once again be in line for a bonus should one of them win the 100 that will close the 58th Season – Sunday September 13th.

“Niagara College continues to be # 1 in student satisfaction,” boasts (Merrittville Speedway GM) Erica Bicknell, adding, “and we are thrilled they are continuing to accelerate our Enduros.”

2008’s Enduro Winner Bonus was accelerated by Niagara College and in 2009 – one driver could stand a chance at an extra $500 should he or she win a qualifier and the main event.

“Our Enduros attract all kinds,” relates (GM) Erica Bicknell, “ drivers with no experience … some that have run this type of event before and even some of our regular Saturday Night Lucas Oil Weekly Racing Series competitors … but in the end it’s more survival than experience that counts.”

It all starts with some Monday Night Madness when Zavitz Financial Strategies and Employee Benefits presents the first qualifier Monday May 18th and continues on with Saturday June 27th’s $1.00 Piller’s Hot Dog Night served up by Boltworks. The final qualifier is set for CMH Leasing’s Help a Child Smile Night – Saturday August 8th.

Should none of the three drivers that win qualifiers win the big event – the $500 will still be given away via a draw of starting positions.

“Preregistering now takes on a whole new meaning,” reveals Bicknell, “anyone that enters by September 1st – will be eligible.”

Niagara College is in an unprecedented run of consecutive number-one rankings in overall student satisfaction among all Ontario colleges. 

Individuals considering re-training for a new career are encouraged to take a serious look at the many programs and opportunities available at Niagara College.

For further information on technology, apprenticeship and skills training visit niagaracollege.ca and accelerate your career.

Who ever is the last driver standing and in Victory Lane at the end of the 100 – Qualifier Winner or not – that driver will also earn a guaranteed starting spot for the November 7th National Parts Peddlar 100 $10,000 to win 4 Cylinder Enduro at the Black Rock Speedway in Dundee NY.

“Black Rock has an enduro series of their own,” adds Bicknell, “the first seven spots will go to their qualifier winners … our 100 lap Enduro Winner will start 8th!”

In 2009, Merrittville Speedway’s Enduro Champion could stand a chance at earning $11,500.00 so now is the time to start building your car!

“It’s pretty basic,” explains Bicknell, “ it’s a street car with safety modifications – everything else is stock as you found it … an Enduro car is not a race car – it’s a car that races.”

Depending on what happens in any of the qualifiers, a competitor could use the same car in more than one event.

Enduro Rules for the qualifiers and the season ending 100 lap event accelerated by Niagara College are available from the Winter Office located at Bicknell Racing Products in St. Catharines Ontario or on line from www.merrittvillespeedway.com.

Rules will also be available during the Seaway Mall Race Car Show the week of March 16th as well as at the Pen Centre the week of March 30th.

For information on Black Rock Speedway’s Enduro Rules – visit www.blackrockspeedway.com.

Stay tuned as Merrittville Speedway’s Enduro Qualifying Series and the 100 – all accelerated by Niagara could find even more speed in 2009!

Your local Dirt Track is where it’s at and it’s at Merrittville Speedway.

LE MANS: Aston Martin Racing debuts new LMP1 car at Paul Ricard Test

Aston Martin Racing debuts new LMP1 car at Paul Ricard Test

 

Paul Ricard, 9 March 2009. Following weeks of intense preparation Aston Martin Racing ran its new LMP1 cars for the first time at the Le Mans Series test held at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France on 8/9 March.

 

Car numbers 007 and 009 resplendent in their Gulf Oil International orange and blue livery took to the French circuit on Sunday morning. All six of the team's drivers, Jan Charouz (CZ), Tomas Enge (CZ), Stefan Mücke (DE), Harold Primat (CH), Miguel Ramos (PT) and Darren Turner (GB) got an opportunity to test the new cars.

Members of the public were granted access to the Paul Ricard Test Track for the first time in 10 years and 3,500 spectators arrived on Sunday to view the on-track action from the newly installed grandstands. In total 28 of the 50 cars that will compete in the Le Mans Series took part in the official test with the Aston Martins taking centre stage.

The team was encouraged by the performance and reliability over the course of the test and encountered no significant issues despite the cars having barely turned a wheel prior to the start of the test.

 

The team suffered a setback on the afternoon of day one when the 007 car suffered an accident with Czech driver Tomas Enge at the wheel. Although the car sustained heavy damage, Enge walked away uninjured from the accident.

 

Also taking part in the test was Official Partner Team of Aston Martin Racing - Drayson Racing with their No. 87 Aston Martin Vantage GT2. Drivers Paul Drayson and Jonny Cocker used the test to benchmark the off-season improvements the team has made to the V8-powered machine. The results were encouraging as the Vantage GT2 performed well on its new Michelin tyres.

The Le Mans Series consists of five 1,000km races, the first of which is the 1,000km of Catalunya which will take place on 5 April at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, Spain. The other races take place at Spa in Belgium, at the new Algarve circuit in Portugal and at the Nürburgring in Germany where Aston Martin has its Test Centre facility. The series finale takes place on the team's home turf of Silverstone in the UK.

In addition to the Le Mans Series, Aston Martin Racing will compete in the Le Mans 24 hour race which takes place on 13/14 June 2009.

Quotes

George Howard-Chappell Team Principal "It's a credit to the team that both of our cars have run so reliably after such an intense and tiring build period. For a first test with two brand new cars we have run very successfully. Obviously the accident has set us back to a degree but as always we will recover and we will be in Barcelona with two race-ready cars. I am pleased that the new drivers are getting to grips with the car and are integrating well with the team and the 'old hands' are also performing well."

 

Car 007

Jan Charouz "The first impression of the car is that it looks stunning. I didn't get to do many laps, just 10, but the car was very stable and quick and we didn't experience any technical difficulties which was great as it is a completely new car. I'm looking forward to the first race to see how we compare to the competition."

 

Tomas Enge "Considering how short a time the team had to build up the two cars we were running really well without any major problems. Unfortunately because of my error the test was compromised but prior to the accident the car was good and I believe that we will be even stronger than we were last year."

 

Stefan Mucke "It was the first time for me in the new LMP1 and the first time it has run on a race track. The aerodynamics have changed quite a lot and I was expecting less down-force with the smaller rear wing but actually the car felt really good and the feeling was very close to that of last year's entry so I felt at home after only a couple of laps. The team has changed the exhaust system from last season and the engine note from the V12 is fantastic, especially on the long straight here at Paul Ricard. I am looking forward to the first race; it will be interesting to see where we are against the diesel cars. We had a good result at Barcelona in 2008 so I hope we can repeat this and get another podium this year."

 

Car 009

Harold Primat: "My first test was ok, the car was good out of the box and it was impressive to see that it is running trouble free straight away. The team did a great job of preparing the car. I think the car has got great potential; we tried a few different set-ups finding a good solution for all of the drivers. The aim of the test was to get mileage under our belts, to understand the car and to find ways to improve it which is exactly what we did. My height can cause me trouble as I am pretty tall for a driver but I'm working with the team to improve the comfort."

 

Miguel Ramos: "The LMP1 feels great, the speed on corning is great, I'm not yet used to it as I normally drive a GT car but it is getting easier. I am taking everything step by step and I'm trying to understand the car and how it reacts rather than pushing too hard. I'm comparing my lap data with the more experienced drivers and making adjustments each time I drive which means I'm improving every lap. My last lap was my fastest of the two days. The Paul Ricard circuit is really challenging for someone who is just starting out in LMP1 and the g-force is really tough physically."

 

Darren Turner: "The test has been really good, the car has run like clockwork and it is fitting reward for the guys from Aston Martin Racing who have put so much effort in over the last few weeks that we have managed to complete lots of miles. The main focus right now is to put miles on the new car and to allow me and my team mates to get up to speed. For me it is a big step from the DBR9 to LMP1 but I'm happy that after two days of testing I am starting to feel comfortable and I'm really looking forward to the first race in Barcelona and the rest of the year."

 

For further information please contact:

 

Sarah Durose                                                 +44 (0) 7801 265 126            

Motorsport Communications Manager           e-mail: sdurose@astonmartin.com

Website:                                                         www.astonmartinracing.com