Mopar Speed Monday, August 30, 2004 Formula Drift Mopar's Hubinette captures Formula D championship Team Mopar's Samuel Hubinette sealed his bid for the inaugural Formula Drift Series title Sunday night, as he was crowned series champion ...
Monday, August 30, 2004
Mopar's Hubinette captures Formula D championship
Team Mopar's Samuel Hubinette sealed his bid for the inaugural Formula Drift Series title Sunday night, as he was crowned series champion at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. Hubinette locked up the title in his signature style, following up his second-place qualifying run with an impressive smoke show for the fans from behind the wheel of the Mopar Dodge Viper Competition Coupe.
"This win, this championship is huge!" Hubinette said. "Drifting is a new sport in this country, and to win the first North American Formula D championship means so much to me. I've been working toward this my whole life, and to be recognized as a professional drifter in this country is so exciting."
Hubinette has left his mark on the sport, setting the standard by winning the first three Formula D Series events of the season. Mopar, Lateral G Racing and Hubinette began the season with a decisive win at Road Atlanta, after only one day of practice prior to the event. The team went on to sweep both the Reliant Center and Infineon Raceway rounds of competition, giving them the points lead heading into the Irwindale finale.
Hubinette established himself as a crowd favorite early in the season, and his smoke shows and stellar driving style entertained fans throughout the year. According to Hubinette, drifting is a combination of car control and entertaining the crowd. Capturing the first Formula D championship is something that he is grateful for.
"God gave me this gift, the ability to drive, and I've been fortunate enough to get to use this gift to do something I love," Hubinette said. "It's such an honor to be known as the inaugural Formula D Champion."
The Mopar Dodge Viper Competition Coupe has been prepared and maintained by California-based NuFormz Racing, which fields the Mopar Dodge SRT-4 driven by Shaun Carlson in NHRA Sport Compact action, throughout the season. Marko Radosavljevic, president of the Las Vegas Dodge Viper Club, owns the machine that Hubinette piloted throughout the year.
Radosavljevic was one of many members of three different Viper Clubs who proudly witnessed Hubinette's triumph, as numerous representatives from northern and southern California joined the Las Vegas contingent in supporting Hubinette and his team.
Mopar Speed will continue to post the latest updates on the drifting efforts of Team Mopar as they develop.
"This win, this championship is huge!"
"I've been blessed to be a part of this team. Working with Mopar, Lateral
G Racing and Yokohama has been an outstanding opportunity. All of our
sponsors, as well as NuFormz Racing, have been instrumental in winning
this title. Driving for a corporation like DaimlerChrysler has also been
a huge asset to our efforts, and I'm proud to have been able to come out
and win this title as a part of their automotive family."
-- Samuel Hubinette, newly crowned champion of the Formula Drift series and driver of the Mopar Dodge Viper Competition Coupe.
Whiteman/Paulin win Group 5, finish top-ten overall
"The SRT-4 is just fast! We've got the [Mopar Performance] Stage 2 Turbo Upgrade kit in it and there's never a lack of power. It's all power, all torque. You drive right into the corner, and carry right through it. You can actually set up properly for the corner, taking the race line, rather than going ballistic into the corner at redline to keep the torque up. The pace in Group 5 compared to Group 2 is unbelievable.
"This was the shakedown race for this new car. We got much faster as the
weekend went on, which was another goal. Hopefully we'll give Shepherd a
run for his money next time at Lake Superior."
-- Chris Whiteman, driver of the No. 143 Mopar Dodge SRT-4, who scored his first career top-ten overall finish at Ojibwe. Whiteman was champion of Group 2 in 2003 in a naturally-aspirated Mopar Dodge Neon, and recently switched to a more powerful Dodge SRT-4.
Chris Whiteman and co-driver Mike Paulin scored a satisfying victory in their No. 143 Mopar Dodge SRT-4 at "Ojibwe Forests" in Bemidji, Minn., Saturday, as Team Mopar continued to roll in Group 5 of SCCA ProRally competition. The tandem finished eighth overall and grabbed their first-ever victory in Overall 2WD and Group 5 after Mopar teammates Doug Shepherd and Pete Gladysz suffered a punctured radiator late in the rally and were unable to finish.
Mopar has topped the Group 5 and Overall 2WD classes in all seven events so far this season, with three different teams having carried the flag.
"Finishing eighth overall is the biggest thrill," Whiteman said. "My goal going in was to finish in the top-ten, and we surpassed that. It was a personal goal and it felt real good to achieve it. I love beating those four-wheel-drive cars! We had to rely on other's misfortune for the win, which is not the way I like it, but we'll take it."
The win was the second of the 2004 season for Whiteman/Paulin, who won Group 2 at Sno*Drift in January when their car was a naturally-aspirated Dodge Neon SXT. They have since transformed their car to a turbocharged Dodge SRT-4, and Ojibwe marks their first triumph over SCCA rally legend Shepherd and Gladysz, who continue to lead both the Group 5 and Overall 2WD point standings.
Shepherd/Gladysz were running sixth overall when they had their mishap, well ahead of Whiteman.
"I knew Shepherd was going to be tough, and he showed it," Whiteman said. "He was fast, really fast. They were wide through a corner and they got off sideways and hit something. The back kicked up on them, and the car almost rolled forward. They came right up on the nose, and something damaged the radiator.
"Doug pulled aside a few times early in the rally and we traded notes," Whiteman continued. "He gave me some tips, and we started driving smoother and our times improved quite a bit. He's got tons of experience, and I'm just fortunate that he's willing to share. He's a great asset to have on the team."
The next event on the SCCA ProRally schedule is "Colorado Cog," set for Sept. 24 near Steamboat Springs, Colo.
Steele wins at Nazareth, more top finishes for Mopar
Dave Steele scored an exciting victory at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway on Saturday in the No. 2 Mopar from Nicholas Racing in USAC National Midget Series competition.
The win was Steele's second straight event victory at Nazareth for Mopar. The No. 2 team took the lead on Lap 25 of the 30-lap feature event to clinch the win. Steele, who has moved into sixth position in series points, was followed to the line by fellow Team Mopar members Tracy Hines and Josh Wise. Hines finished in tenth position for Wilke-PAK Motorports while Wise brought the No. 20 Mopar from Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises machine home in eleventh place.
Wise continues to hold second position in USAC National Midget Series points. Steele stands sixth, followed by Mopar-powered drivers Davey Ray in seventh and Teddy Beach in ninth.
Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises teammates Steele and Jay Drake each racked up top-five finishes in the USAC National Sprint Car Series portion of the Nazareth Speedway event. Steele took the checkered flag in second position Saturday in the No. 20 Mopar, while Drake and the No. 20s Mopar team finished fifth. Cory Kruseman earned a solid ninth-place finish in the event for the No. 21 Mopar team.
Drake continues to lead the USAC National Sprint Car Series point standings with Kruseman close behind in third place.
Drake drove the No. 11 Mopar machine from Stewart-Snider Motorsports to a fourth-place finish in Sunday's USAC Silver Crown Series event. Drake, who has won three Silver Crown events this season, is currently sixth in the points.
Drake and Kruseman will return to action in the USAC National Sprint Car Series at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track Saturday. Drake will also compete at the DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds, Sunday in USAC Silver Crown Series competition.
"As the race went on, I started running harder, but I wasn't making much
ground up on him [Bobby East]. Luckily, we had those cautions and our
Mopar was restarting a little better than his Ford. That got us down into
the first corner on the inside, which is the only line to have through
-- Dave Steele, who used his versatile Mopar to earn his third USAC Midget victory of this season at Nazareth.
Francis notches another top-five, having best year of career
"This is the best season I have had to date. I just hope to be able
finish out the season where we are right now points-wise."
-- Mopar driver Steve Francis, who sits atop the point standings in the WoO Late Model series.
Steve Francis is the man to beat these days in World of Outlaws Late Model competition. The driver of the No. 15 Mopar-sponsored Dodge Intrepid leads the point standings in what he considers his best season.
In the most recent series action at Milan (Tenn.) Speedway Saturday night, Francis brought his Mopar home fifth, his 21st top-five finish of the season. With two months left in the season, Francis is ready to make his charge for the championship.
"We're just going to go out and run every race the best we can and try to finish the best we can," said Francis, who has $155,000 in earnings so far on the year. "We'll let the points take care of themselves."
Events on the WoO Late Model schedule this week are in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Friday and Saturday, followed by a visit to Portsmouth, Ohio, Sunday.
Lasoski keeps motoring at Grays
Danny Lasoski and the Mopar-powered No. 20 team from Tony Stewart Motorsports finished the Grays Harbor doubleheader with two solid finishes under their belts.
Lasoski won the B-main and finished eleventh in the A-main on Friday night. On Saturday, "The Dude" improved to a fourth-place A-main finish in the event finale.
The No. 20 team moves to familiar territory this week, as they head to Cottage Grove (Ore.) Speedway on Tuesday, and then to Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway for the three-day Harvest Classic event September 3-5. Lasoski swept Calistoga in 2003, setting quick time, winning his preliminary night and the event finale. He was the first driver to do so in the 26-year history of the World of Outlaws Series.
After turning in some decent performances over the weekend, Danny Lasoski and crew are looking forward to returning to Calistoga (Calif.) Speedway, site of their record-breaking show of domination in 2003.
Musgrave doesn't get Bristol win this time around
Wily veteran Ted Musgrave is seventh in NCTS points, and promises to be a major factor in the championship race over the last nine events of the year.
Ted Musgrave got caught up in an accident and was unable to capture that elusive victory at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series action on Wednesday.
Last season, Musgrave set the track record in qualifying at Bristol and dominated the early-going of the race until falling victim to a flat tire. The hard luck continued in 2004 as the driver of the No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram from Ultra Motorsports was credited with a 27th-place finish after a tough day.
Musgrave hopes to rebound at the next NCTS at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway on Sept. 9. Live TV coverage on Speed begins at 8:30 p.m. EST.