Mopar Speed Monday, April 19, 2004 USAC Sprint Drake dominates season opener Jay Drake had the field covered en route to his USAC National Sprint Car Series win at Anderson Speedway Sunday evening. Drake led the final 47 laps of the 50-lap...
Monday, April 19, 2004
Drake dominates season opener
Jay Drake had the field covered en route to his USAC National Sprint Car Series win at Anderson Speedway Sunday evening. Drake led the final 47 laps of the 50-lap feature event to take the win in his first race behind the wheel of the No. 20s Mopar entry from Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises. Drake, who qualified fifth in a 38-car field, was forced to run the semifeature event after finishing fifth in the first heat race event.
"Anytime you start a season with a new team, there are going to be questions," Drake said. "To be able to work this well as a team at the beginning of the season is just huge!"
His efforts also earned him second place in USAC National Sprint Car Series points. Team Mopar drivers Dave Steele and Cory Kruseman also turned in solid performances in the series season opener, qualifying in the second and seventh positions. Steele finished fourth in the second heat race, after being bumped into the wall under a caution. The No. 20 stalked teammate Drake much of the feature event, eventually finishing 15th after mechanical troubles took him out of contention. Kruseman was credited with a 21st-place finish.
The USAC National Sprint Car Series and the USAC National Midget Series will return to action this weekend in a doubleheader at the Raceway at Powercom Park in Beaver Dam, Wis.
"It's great that we were able to come out and win the first event this
season. Being able to win the first race for Tony Stewart, Mopar and
Vital Express, is a great feeling for the whole team. Racing is all about
momentum, and this win will definitely give us that going into the next
Jay Drake, who triumphed at the USAC Sprint series season-opener at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway last night.
NHRA Sport Compact
Scott Mohler (above) and Mike Crawford both turned in some impressive performances at Moroso Motorsports Park over the weekend. Each driver now owns his class track mph record, and both ran their quickest-ever times at Moroso.
Mohler, whose wife gave birth to their second daughter on Easter Sunday, holds the national top speed record for All Motor competitors at 135.89 mph.
Sport Compact teams set track records, personal bests
Mike Crawford and Scott Mohler continued to make great progress, as each Darrell Cox Racing teammate drove his Mopar to a career best speed in the NHRA Summit Sport Compact Series event at Moroso Motorsports Park in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., over the weekend.
Scott Mohler picked up two round wins in the All Motor class and qualified second thanks to his career best elapsed time of 10.009-seconds. Mohler has personally rung up higher speeds than the 134.20 mph that this pass registered, but the speed was still good enough to chalk up that track record for Mohler's Mopar Dodge Neon.
Crawford also throttled his Mopar Dodge SRT-4 to a personal best Saturday during the third round of qualifying with his 8.262 second pass at 178.32 mph. The pass earned Crawford the Moroso mph record in the Hot Rod class, and was a whopping three-tenths quicker than his previous best time. Crawford, who won the season-opener at Fontana in March, had transmission troubles in the quarterfinals and did not advance.
"We've been testing twice a week since Fontana," said engine builder and crew chief Darrell Cox. "It's really starting to show, but we've still got a lot of work to do. We're taking both cars to the NOPI event this coming weekend and hopefully we'll make some more advances before Englishtown."
The NOPI event is scheduled this Saturday and Sunday at Virginia Motorsports Park. The NHRA Sport Compact series is set to resume action May 1-2 in Englishtown, N.J.
Stewart wins with 360 Mopar
Danny Lasoski and Tony Stewart played out their attempt at a role reversal this past weekend, as Stewart won the Winged Outlaw Warriors Series event at the Sedalia (Mo.) State Fair Speedway on Friday. Car owner Lasoski looked on as his "driver" Stewart took the win in his Mopar-powered 360 sprint car in the time-shortened feature event. Stewart owns the Mopar-powered 410 sprint car that Lasoski campaigns in the WoO Sprint series.
Stewart piloted the No. 20 to a win in the first heat race, and he took the lead in the feature event on an event restart after an accident induced red flag halted competition. The NASCAR Nextel Cup star entered lap traffic on lap nine, and broke away from the field after a late race yellow to take the checkered flag.
The victory marks the second time in as many years that Stewart has won the event. He also currently leads the WOW points championship.
Tony Stewart hopped into a Mopar-powered winged sprint car on Friday and brought home a victory for car owner Danny Lasoski.
"Drifting competitions are about car control and entertainment.
"People, the race fans, come to see amazing drivers handle their cars
under extreme conditions. The event is really a car-control
demonstration; it's the perfect mix of competition and entertainment."
Hubinette ready to kick off Formula Drift in Atlanta
The Mopar-clad Dodge Viper Competition Coupe from Lateral G Racing is undergoing final preparations before it will compete in the first event in Formula Drift Championship series history, scheduled this weekend at Road Atlanta in Georgia.
"The Dodge Viper has been a dream car for me, ever since I first saw it," said Mopar driver Samuel Hubinette, who is considered by many to be the best drift driver in North America. "Having the opportunity to drift a Competition Coupe competitively for Mopar is unbelievable.
"We're looking at this event as a practice round," Hubinette added. "But drifting is show business and our objective is to entertain the audience, and that focus won't change because this is our first event. The judges are human, and if the crowd is happy, it will affect the judges' ratings."
Drifting, unlike most motorsports, is judged on style points, not based on who finishes a race first. Drifting originated in Japan, and three professional Japanese drift drivers will judge this first Formula Drift event in Atlanta.
Be sure to check out Mopar Speed next Monday for exclusive Formula Drift Championship coverage.
Morgan continues hot streak
Larry Morgan continued his streak of qualifying in the top half of the field over the weekend in NHRA POWERade series action at Houston Raceway Park. He qualified in the top-eight for the fifth time in five races this season. Team Mopar counterparts Darrell Alderman and Allen Johnson were close behind Morgan, as all three Mopar cars qualified for Sunday's eliminations.
Eliminations were less kind to the Mopar contingent, however. Morgan advanced to the quarterfinals with a round win against Jim Yates, but Alderman and Johnson both lost their first round matches by slight margins. Morgan red-lighted in Round 2 against Greg Anderson.
The Dodge-bodied Funny Cars from Schumacher Racing also struggled a bit with the surface at Houston Raceway Park. Gary Scelzi qualified his Hemi Oakley Dodge Stratus R/T to a skilled victory over Jeff Arend before being edged in Round Two by Del Worsham.
Scelzi's teammate, Whit Bazemore, qualified his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T 11th, but was unable to get past Worsham in the first round, losing traction around the 300 foot mark.
Bazemore sits in a three-way tie for sixth place in the NHRA Funny Car standings, while Scelzi is listed in ninth, though he has only two fewer points than Bazemore.
The NHRA POWERade series heads next to Bristol (Tenn.) Dragway for intense racing action April 30 through May 2. Bazemore won at Bristol in 2002 and reached the final round there last season.
"We really didn't have a good run all weekend. The track was bad, and it didn't give us anything to work with.
"We did come away from the event with some solutions, though, and that's
always important. When we head to Bristol in a couple of weeks, we'll be
ready ... we're definitely ready for a good weekend."
Larry Morgan, who is tied for third place in the NHRA Pro Stock standings.
"It wasn't the day we would have liked to have had. We just got caught up in problems with the new tires.
"These tires react differently to air pressure changes and they change
dramatically after a few laps, compared to the ones we've run in seasons
past. We'd try to make adjustments, but it seemed that we got worse
instead of better after every pit stop."
Ted Musgrave, who still managed to bring his Mopar Dodge Ram home 15th at Martinsville despite tire concerns.
New tires give Musgrave troubles
Ted Musgrave and the No. 1 Mopar Dodge Ram team from Ultra Motorsports were thrown for a loop at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Saturday.
Musgrave, who boasts two of the last four NCTS poles at the half-mile bullring, and finished second there last April, crossed the finish line 15th, after dealing with tires that reacted unfamiliarly to air pressure changes. The race saw a series-record 24 drivers complete all 254 laps.
Musgrave is currently 13th in NCTS points. The NCTS heads next to Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Speedway for a race May 16.
"Before we head to Mansfield, we're going to run a tire test," Musgrave said. "We're going to rent out a track to just go run a lot of laps. We're going to figure out what's going on with the tires and how the react to certain track conditions and what we can do to adjust to them. I think this test will help us a lot, and we'll be ready for Mansfield."
Francis wins heats in Texas
Steve Francis and the No. 15 Mopar team picked up two heat race wins over the weekend at the Lone Star Speedway in a southern swing for the World of Outlaws Late Model series.
The "Kentucky Colonel" won the fourth heat race in Friday night action en route to picking up a top-five finish in the feature event. In Saturday night competition, the No. 15 team won the third heat race and finished 21st against a strong field of competitors.
The WoO Late Model Series moves on to Lernerville Speedway in Pennsylvania on April 23, and will wrap up the weekend in Maryland at Hagerstown Speedway on April 24.
Mopar dependability is helping Steve Francis continue his consistent performance. He picked up his fourth top-five finish and his fourth and fifth heat wins of the season at Lone Star Speedway in Texas.
Danny Lasoski finished well in his home state (Missouri) over the weekend and looks forward to moving on to the Talladega (Ala.) Short Track, where he has dominated when the WoO has visited the track the past two Aprils.
Lasoski notches solid finishes
Danny "The Dude" Lasoski kept himself and his Mopar-powered team from Tony Stewart Motorsports solidly in the running for the World of Outlaws championship over the weekend, finishing seventh and 11th at the Sedalia State Fair Speedway and I-55 Raceway in his home state of Missouri. The No. 20 team qualified 10th and collected a pair of third-place finishes in heat race and dash event competition in Sedalia on Friday night. Lasoski stood his ground and finished seventh in the 25-lap A-main event.
The nomadic sprint car series moved on to the I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo., on Saturday, where Lasoski qualified ninth and finished second in the B-main event. The No. 20 team raced its way to an 11th-place finish in the A-main event. Lasoski currently stands second in World of Outlaws Sprint points after 13 events.
The No. 20 team and the World of Outlaws move south this weekend, competing at the Batesville (Ark.) Speedway on Thursday and the Talladega (Ala.) Short Track on Saturday. Lasoski set the single-lap speed record at Talladega in 2001, with a lap of 10.926 seconds. He will also look to keep his sweep of the April event on track, as he dominated the spring event at the facility in 2002 and 2003.
Vote for open wheel Team Mopar drivers
Be sure to visit www.tjslideways.com before Wednesday and vote for your favorite open wheel driver from Team Mopar. Look along the right side of the page for the "Survey" section and make your choice from drivers Jay Drake, Tracy Hines, Cory Kruseman, Danny Lasoski, Dave Steele, Josh Wise or J.J. Yeley.
Mopar has partnered with Tjslideways.com surrounding Mopar Thunder, a premier three-day sprint car racing event scheduled for August 5-7 at Eldora Speeedway in Rossburg, Ohio. The highly recognized open-wheel Web site set to document much of the history-making event. Race fans worldwide can check out the latest entry lists, news and rumors, and notes and quotes surrounding the three-day event.
SCCA hits the Oregon Trail
Doug Shepherd and Pete Gladysz are set to return to action in their Mopar Dodge SRT-4 this weekend for Round 2 of the SCCA ProRally championship, "Oregon Trail" in Hillsboro, Ore. The team will defend their 2003 Group 5 event title.
The dirt and tarmac rally will present a far different challenge for competitors from the "Sno*Drift" rally held in late January in Michigan. Shepherd and Gladysz nabbed the Group 5 and Overall 2WD wins at that event.
Check out www.moparspeed.com next Monday for comprehensive Team Mopar coverage.
Doug Shepherd and Pete Gladysz look to make it two Group 5 victories in a row at Oregon Trail and two in a row on the 2004 ProRally season. The pair teamed up to win the 2003 Overall 2WD and Group 5 championships.