Archive for April 7th, 2017

Past Long Beach Winners Dominate First Day of Practice

LONG BEACH, California (Friday, April 7, 2017) – Experience paid off on opening day at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, with all seven past race winners entered this year finishing in the top eight on the combined speed chart.

Will Power, a two-time Long Beach race winner, posted the best lap in the second of the two 45-minute practice sessions. Driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Power navigated the 11-turn, 1.968-temporary street course in 1 minute, 7.0800 seconds (105.617 mph). The quick lap is within a half-second of the track record set by Helio Castroneves in 2015 (1:06.6294).

“Sometimes you get it right, like the setup,” said Power, the 2014 Verizon IndyCar champion and Long Beach winner in 2008 and 2012. “You know, it’s only practice. (By being fastest,) you can show everybody where they’re lacking, they’ll go back and study it. I was hoping (other drivers) would go quicker, but they didn’t.

“But, yeah, it’s a cool track. Enjoy it, street course, just try to put the pieces together.”

TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH: Practice 1; Practice 2; Combined practice results

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‘What They’re Saying’ from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Practice Day 1

CONOR DALY (No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Chevrolet): “We had a really big improvement in the second session which was nice. Sadly we had an overboost (penalty) and traffic on our fastest lap, so we lost a great deal of time which puts us down the order more than we should have been, but at least we have that in our back pocket, but it was a good improvement. This car still doesn’t suit my driving style that well we just have to make a few adjustments or fine tune it for how I like to drive it and hopefully it’ll be okay.”

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 5 Arrow Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda):
“Solid first day for the Arrow Electronics crew. This afternoon wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for; the track conditions changed, I think more than we were expecting, which caught us off-guard a little bit. With these really short sessions, it’s tough to learn much out there. So we’ll regroup and hopefully tap back into the speed that we saw this morning and be in a good position for tomorrow.”

MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda):“I think that today we had a really interesting day. I mean, the first time on the track was pretty legendary. It’s a street course, and what we’re testing is so specific. We were pretty competitive today. At the end of the day I was on the Firestone reds, and we had quite a few red flags, so we couldn’t reach our full potential; I think we’ll be able to show it tomorrow.”

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FAST, All Stars invade Attica for 28th Annual Spring Nationals

ATTICA, Ohio – Following a very successful season-opening event at Attica Raceway Park, race fans have been chomping at the bit for more exciting racing but have been disappointed by Mother Nature the past two weeks. “Ohio’s Finest Racing” speed plant will feed their high flying, high-speed appetite with back-to-back nights of racing with the 28th Annual HD Supply Spring Nationals Presented by Fisher Performance and Merrill Lynch Financial Services Friday and Saturday, April 14 and 15.

Friday kicks off the All Pro Aluminum Cylinder Heads FAST Championship Series Presented by Ohio Logistics season with a $5,000-to-win affair for the Hammer Pallets 410 Sprints. Defending and eight-time Attica champion Byron Reed is looking to defending his FAST title. The Monclova, Ohio driver has won an unprecedented four FAST championships including the last three consecutive titles.

Reed will have his hands full with not only the tough weekly competitors, but the two-day show promises to attract many regional race teams. And with Tony Stewart’s Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions competing at Attica on Saturday, April 15, some may opt to try their hand at the $5,000 top prize.
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5-Time SK Modified® Champion Bob Potter Still Going Strong at 75 in Stafford Speedway’s 2-Seater Modified

Stafford Springs, CT — No matter what the sport may be, there has been an adage as old as time itself that states Father Time is undefeated.  All athletes reach a point in time during their respective careers that sees them retire, most often due to old age.  One driver who has continued to defy the odds is 75-year old Norwich native and 5-time Stafford SK Modified® track champion Bob Potter. 

Potter began his long and storied racing career in 1963 at Waterford Speedbowl, where he would go on to win 6 championships and a total of 93 feature events spread out over the Bomber, Modified, SK Modified®, and Late Model ranks.  Potter ran his last full time season in 1999 in the SK Modified® division at Stafford, but that wasn’t quite a curtain call on his career.  Potter made a handful of starts over the next seven seasons and although he is no longer racing in the SK Modified® ranks, he began his 2-seater modified duties in 2012 and he is still behind the wheel today.  Every Friday night at Stafford, Potter takes race fans for the ride of their life as passengers in the 2-seat SK Light machine.  Although he is no longer racing competitively, Potter gets just as jazzed up from meeting new people and giving them a ride they have only dreamed about in one of four ride along packages.  There are practice session rides, in between heat race rides, SK Light heat race rides, and then the most popular option, the SK Light feature ride.

“I love being able to take people around the track and really give them the experience of what it’s like to race in a modified at a good speed,” said Potter.  “I love the fans, they make racing worthwhile and they really appreciate what you do out there.  Most of the people I take out now always tell me something like they can’t believe how we race so close to each other like we do.  It gives them a whole different perspective once they ride around the track with me and that really makes me feel good inside.  I still have a great time and there’s no pressure on me.  I get to meet so many new people now and I’ve been to football, basketball, and baseball games, and those fans don’t compare to racing fans.  The racing community hangs together and sticks together and there’s nothing like it.”

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Woody Pitkat Primed for Sizzler Glory with New Team

Stafford Springs, CT — As Stafford Motor Speedway gets set to host the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for the 46th Annual NAPA Auto Parts Spring Sizzler® on April 29-30, hometown driver Woody Pitkat is preparing to make his 9th start in “The Greatest Race in the History of Spring” for what will be his 6th different car owner.  Pitkat has made starts driving for owners Don King, John Lukosavage, David Hill, Buzz Chew, Kevin Stuart, and now for the 2017 season, he will be driving the #46 Riverhead Building Supply Chevrolet owned by Russell Goodale. 

“We went down to Myrtle Beach in February to try to get acclimated with the team and they could see what I was looking for with the car and what they were looking for from me,” said Pitkat.  “The Goodale team has been hard at work during the winter getting the cars ready and hopefully we can be competitive and run well right out of the gate so we can have a strong season.  I’d like to be able to compete for a couple of wins and hopefully, we can get in the top-5 or the top-3 to contend for the championship.  I won the Sizzler a couple years ago and it would be nice if we could be contenders again for the Sizzler.”

Despite the hodgepodge of owners Pitkat has driven for, he enjoyed success in the Sizzler with a win, 2 top-5 and 7 top-10 finishes in his 8 starts.  Pitkat traveled with the #46 team to Myrtle Beach back in February and finished 9th to help kick start his acclimation to the new team.  In the first NWMT of the season in March, also held at Myrtle Beach, he scored an 8th place finish after a subpar qualifying effort that saw them start 25th.

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Gaston Racing Enterprises Adds Heat Race Bonus

Stafford Springs, CT — Friday May 26th, Dunleavy’s Truck and Trailer Repair Modifiedz Night has has already been tabbed as the biggest payday in SK Light Modified racing history.  Stafford Speedway has teamed up with their official track parts supplier, Gaston Racing Enterprises, to add a $375 bonus to each of the SK Light Modified qualifying races on May 26th.

“I’ve always enjoyed modified racing and the SK Light division is a great starting point for future modified drivers,” said Gaston.  “I know almost all of the competitors and I thought this would be something nice to do for them.”

Each qualifying race will have a payout for the top 4 finishers, $150, $100, $75, and $50.  Stafford Speedway has successfully implemented qualifying race purse money for other events such as the NAPA SK 5k.  Both drivers and fans have enjoyed the added excitement to the qualifying.

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Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park Opens 77th Season with Icebreaker Test Day

THOMPSON, CT — Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (TSMP) opened it’s 2017 season with the test day for the 43rd running of the Icebreaker. 100 cars participated in the optional practice, including the four NASCAR Whelen All-American Series divisions, plus the Lite Modifieds, Vintage Outlaws, and Thompson Open Street Stocks.

Of the cars recording times today, several defending champions and some newcomers topped the speed charts. Rowan Pennink and Glenn Griswold led the way in the Sunoco Modified and Lite Modified Divisions, respectively. Scott Sundeen, and Joe Arena showed the way around the 5/8-mile in their Limited Sportsman and Thompson Open Street Stock racecars, while defending Mini Stock Champion, Wayne Burroughs, Jr., was the fastest in his Division. Newcomer Ray Christian, III, laid down the fastest Late Model lap and Frank Dumicich, Jr. was quickest in the Mr. Rooter Pro Truck Series.

The day concluded with practice for the Race of Champions – a unique 12-lap match race that will face the four NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Champions off against each other in equally prepared cars from The Racing School. Defending Sunoco Modified Champion, Keith Rocco, will be driving the No. 21.  William Wall – defending Late Model titlist – will be behind the wheel of the No. 29. Wayne Burroughs, Jr. will be representing the Mini Stock Division in the No. 19, and Ryan Waterman – the top point-getter for the Limited Sportsman – will be driving the No. 09.
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