BITD: GM celebrates 2007 championships

General Motors Scores 21 Racing Championships in 2007 GM Race Teams Complete Successful Season with Drivers and Manufacturers Championships in Stock Car, Road Racing, Drag Racing, Open Wheel and Off-Road Competition DETROIT - General Motors ...

General Motors Scores 21 Racing Championships in 2007

GM Race Teams Complete Successful Season with Drivers and Manufacturers Championships in Stock Car, Road Racing, Drag Racing, Open Wheel and Off-Road Competition

DETROIT - General Motors concluded an impressive 2007 race season after its Cadillac, Chevrolet, HUMMER and Pontiac brands earned a total of 21 racing championships while breaking records and scoring significant victories along the way.

The four GM brands combined to collect 15 drivers championships and six manufacturers' titles in 2007. While Cadillac, Chevrolet, HUMMER and Pontiac celebrated a variety of winning moments throughout the season, some of the most memorable accomplishments included:

* Chevrolet breaking its single season win record in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series with 26 victories in 36 races and scoring its 600th victory in the series

* The bowtie brand winning its 16th NHRA manufacturers championship, marking the 25th-consecutive year a GM nameplate has earned this prestigious honor

* Pontiac sweeping the Daytona Prototype driver, team and manufacturer titles in the Grand-Am Rolex Series

* Rod Hall in his HUMMER H3 capturing his 19th victory of the Baja 1000 after competing in the event every year since its inception 40 years ago

* Corvette Racing sweeping GT1 drivers', team and manufacturers' titles in the American Le Mans Series with victories at significant events including Sebring and Petit Le Mans

* Cadillac netting the SPEED GT World Challenge manufacturers championship

GM-powered vehicles also collected victories at several prestigious events this year including the Daytona 500, Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, NHRA U.S. Nationals, Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Petit Le Mans (GT1 class) and the Baja 1000.

"Our entire GM racing family has gone above and beyond to make 2007 an exceptional race season," said Mark Kent, director of GM Racing. "I want to thank all of our GM Racing engineers, teams and drivers for their dedication, commitment and hard work that made this race season an unforgettable one for GM. Our strong performance on the race track helps to generate the same strong performance in the marketplace and we look forward to continuing that success as we prepare for 2008."

Chevrolet Celebrates Unprecedented NASCAR Season

This year was a remarkable one for Team Chevy in the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. Chevrolet experienced its best season ever scoring 26 victories in 36 races - breaking its all-time season win record set in 1958 - while also scoring driver's and manufacturers' titles. The victorious season was especially noteworthy as Chevy's achievements took place during a year with many significant changes including the debut of the Impala SS new-generation race car and the new Chevrolet R07 engine.

A total of 10 Chevy drivers contributed victories to the bowtie brand's record-setting season. Jimmie Johnson netted 10 of Chevy's wins in his No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet en route to his second consecutive Nextel Cup title, the 24th drivers championship for Chevrolet. In addition to Johnson, other Team Chevy drivers scoring victories include Jeff Gordon (six), Tony Stewart (three), Jeff Burton (one), Denny Hamlin (one), Casey Mears (one), Martin Truex, Jr. (one), Kevin Harvick (one), Kyle Busch (one) and Clint Bowyer (one). Chevy race cars helped power Bowyer, Mears and Truex to their first-ever Nextel Cup wins while Busch's victory was the 600th win for Chevrolet and the first victory for the Impala SS race car. These contributions were all critical in helping the bowtie brand win the Manufacturers Cup for the fifth-straight year and 31st time overall.

Not to be outdone, Chevy also had successful seasons in the Craftsman Truck and Busch Series. In the final race of the season, Ron Hornaday clinched his third drivers championship in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Hornaday's title is the ninth for Silverado in the 13-year history of the series and first-ever NASCAR national championship for team owners Kevin and DeLana Harvick. Chevy Silverado finished second in the manufacturer standings with seven victories - four from Hornaday, two from Chevy Nextel Cup regular Kyle Busch and one from Dennis Setzer - while Willie Allen took Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors for Chevrolet.

In NASCAR's Busch Series, Team Chevy drivers scored 22 wins this season to clinch the Bill France Performance Cup. It is the 14th of 17 possible manufacturers' titles for Chevrolet in the series. Kevin Harvick finished the season as the highest-ranking Chevrolet driver - even while running a partial schedule - with six series wins including the inaugural Busch Series race in Montreal. Harvick was fourth in the standings after competing in 26 of the 35 Busch Series events.

Chevrolet Wins 16th NHRA Manufacturers Championship and First Pro Stock Title Under New Format With a new playoff format debuting in 2007, Chevy teams capitalized on changes in the NHRA this year by taking the manufacturers championship as well as two NHRA POWERade drivers championships. The manufacturers' title is the 16th for Chevrolet and the 25th-consecutive year that a GM nameplate has earned this prestigious honor.

Chevy Cobalt driver Jeg Coughlin prevailed as the 2007 NHRA POWERade Pro Stock champion under the new points system, netting his third Pro Stock title and first for Chevy since Coughlin won his last title in 2002. With his latest championship, Coughlin now joins five others as the only Pro Stock drivers in the history of the sport to win three or more titles. In the Funny Car category, Tony Pedregon finished the season with four victories and five final-round appearances giving the Chevy Impala SS driver his second POWERade title in the Funny Car class.

Other teams that helped Chevrolet round out a banner season in drag racing include:

* Gary Gardella and his Ecotec-powered Cobalt scoring four national-event victories to capture the NHRA Xplod Series Pro FWD championship

* Frank Manzo powering his Chevy Monte Carlo SS to his 11th NHRA Lucas Oil Series Alcohol Funny Car championship

* Chevy drivers taking three NOPI Drag Racing Association drivers championships (Jason Hunt in Pro Outlaw FWD, Brian Ballard in Turbo Street and Don Nase Jr. in Pro Extreme)

Pontiac Season Includes Championship Sweep and Pikes Peak Victory

Pontiac concluded a successful season in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series after sweeping the Daytona Prototype (DP) driver, team and manufacturer championships. The GAINSCO Pontiac team of Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney scored seven victories and posted a record-setting 10 pole positions en route to their first drivers championship. Wayne Taylor Racing's SunTrust team finished third in the DP standings after recording two wins this season (Virginia International Raceway and Montreal).

In GT racing action, Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins finished second in the standings in their No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R. The Pontiac duo combined for six poles and two GT race wins, including their victory at the final race of the season at Miller Motorsport Park. Teammates Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis Jr. also brought home a victory for Pontiac this season after logging the first win for the new GXP.R at Lime Rock Park in May.

Formula Drift regular Rhys Millen also scored significant victories for Pontiac in 2007. In April, Millen powered his Solstice GXP Drift to victory at a Team Drift event marking the first win for the new Pontiac drift car. Millen and his Red Bull Pontiac Solstice GXP team also claimed the first-ever Time Attack title at the 85th Annual Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in July. The win was Millen's seventh title in 15 trips to the Hill Climb and his third record in three different divisions.

Millen, the 2005 Formula Drift champ, finished out of the drift season in fourth. In the debut season for the Solstice GXP Drift, Millen recorded three top-five finishes including his best finish of third at Summit Point Raceway in June.

HUMMER Demonstrates Its Off-Road Capabilities with Two Championships With the final event of the Best in the Desert Series concluding on Dec. 2 in Nevada, Team HUMMER completed an exceptional year in off-road competition. Chad Hall in his H1 Alpha finished the season-ending Henderson 400 to earn the 8100 stock full truck class championship. He also earned his sixth Baja 1000 class victory as he piloted his H3 Alpha to a stock full class victory at the Baja 1000.

Not to be outdone by his youngest son, Rod Hall, won the mini stock class championship of the SCORE International Series. The elder Hall's season included four victories with his HUMMER H3 including a stock mini class victory at the Baja 1000. Racing in the legendary desert race for the 40th time in 40 years, Hall's class win is his 19th career victory at the Baja 1000. Hall teamed with his eldest son Josh to earn the victory. The Team HUMMER H3 and H3 Alpha were the first stock class vehicles to finish this year's grueling 1,300-mile race.

Corvette Sweeps GT1 Drivers and Manufacturers Championships

Corvette Racing celebrated another championship-filled season in the American Le Man Series GT1 class after sweeping drivers', team and manufacturers' titles. Oliver Gavin and Olivier Beretta piloted their No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R to the drivers championship, scoring their third-straight GT1 drivers' title, while Chevrolet secured the GT1 manufacturer and team titles for the seventh-consecutive year. Corvette drivers also posted wins at prominent events including Sebring and Petit Le Mans en route to their championship sweep.

Following the completion of the season, two Corvette Racing team members were honored with post-season accolades. For the fourth-straight year, fans voting online selected Ron Fellows as the Most Popular Driver. Fellows competed behind the wheel of the No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6.R for three races this season as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. When not competing, Fellows attended ALMS events as a technical advisor and ambassador for Corvette. Additionally, Ray Gongla of the No. 4 Compuware Corvette C6.R team received GT1 Crew Chief of the Year honors. The award was given to Gongla for the second time in three years after he led the No. 4 Corvette crew and drivers to a record-tying nine victories in 2007.

Cadillac Closes Out SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT Season with Manufacturers' Crown

Andy Pilgrim's victory over Randy Pobst's Porsche in the season-ending event of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge provided a dramatic finish to Team Cadillac's 2007 season by helping the brand secure the 2007 SPEED GT manufacturers' title. Cadillac won the championship with a nine-point advantage over its Porsche rival, marking its second manufacturers' title in the series in three years.

Pilgrim finished the season second in the drivers championship, a mere 16 points outside of first, while his Cadillac teammate Lawson Aschenbach ranked third in the year-end results. Cadillac concluded the season with three GT class victories in 2007 (Charlotte, Atlanta and Laguna Seca) and a total of 12 wins since the team's series debut in 2004.

Cobalt Concludes Successful Sophomore Season in KONI Challenge Series Chevy Cobalt SS race cars scored two victories this season in the ST class of the KONI Challenge Series. The Georgian Bay Motorsports team was a major contributor to the brand's success, scoring both victories and racking up seven top-10 finishes in the 10 events they raced. In only its second year of competition in the series, Chevy Cobalt finished fourth in the ST class manufacturer standings out of 10 competing manufacturers.

Inaugural Year of TSR Relationship Brings Chevy Its First USAC Championship

In Chevrolet's first year of sponsorship of Tony Stewart Racing (TSR), Levi Jones delivered Chevy its first-ever USAC National Sprint Car championship. Jones scored five sprint feature victories to score Chevrolet its first USAC title. Chevrolet also provided support to Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. in the No. 21 TSR/Chevrolet/Maxim, who finished sixth in the USAC Sprint Series title chase. Stenhouse won one National Sprint Car Series feature and was the first driver this season to win in all three USAC National Series (Sprint Series, Midget Series and Silver Crown Series). Tony Stewart Racing also took the 2007 USAC National Sprint Series Entrant Championship honors - the team's second straight series championship and seventh USAC Racing Series title.

In other Chevrolet-supported activities, Stenhouse finished the USAC National Midget Car season in third with five feature wins while Jones concluded the year in the seventh position with one feature victory. Paul McMahan powered his No. 20 TSR/Bass Pro Shops/ Eagle Chevrolet to two victories, eight quick time awards and 14 top-five finishes in the World of Outlaws Series ending the season in the eighth spot in the championship standings.

2007 GM Racing Championships

American Le Mans Series (GT1) - Drivers championship
American Le Mans Series (GT1) - Manufacturers championship
Best in the Desert Series (Class 8100) - Drivers championship
Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series (Daytona Prototype) - Drivers championship
Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series (Daytona Prototype) - Manufacturers championship
NASCAR Busch Series - Manufacturers championship
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series - Drivers championship
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series - Drivers championship
NASCAR Nextel Cup Series - Manufacturers championship
NHRA Lucas Oil Series (Alcohol Funny Car) - Drivers championship
NHRA - Manufacturers championship
NHRA POWERade Series (Funny Car) - Drivers championship
NHRA POWERade Series (Pro Stock) - Drivers championship
NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Series (Pro FWD) - Drivers championship
NHRA Xplod Sport Compact Series (Quick 16 - East) - Drivers championship
NOPI Drag Racing Association (Pro Extreme) - Drivers championship
NOPI Drag Racing Association (Pro Outlaw FWD) - Drivers championship
NOPI Drag Racing Association (Turbo Street) - Drivers championship
SCCA SPEED World Challenge (GT) - Manufacturers championship
Score International Series (Mini-stock) - Drivers championship
USAC National Sprint Car Series - Drivers championship

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series ALMS , Grand-Am , General , NASCAR , NHRA , Offroad , PWC , Score , USAC
Drivers Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Tony Stewart , Jeg Coughlin , Tony Pedregon , Alex Gurney , Paul Edwards , Kevin Harvick , Jon Fogarty , Rhys Millen , Ron Fellows , Andy Pilgrim , Wayne Taylor , Ron Hornaday Jr. , Jimmie Johnson , Dennis Setzer , Randy Pobst , Kelly Collins , Leighton Reese , Oliver Gavin , Lawson Aschenbach , Rod Hall , Frank Manzo , Martin Truex Jr. , Levi Jones , Olivier Beretta , Clint Bowyer , Tim Lewis , Denny Hamlin , Willie Allen , DeLana Harvick , Kyle Busch
Teams Corvette Racing