Mopar Speed news 2004-04-05

Mopar Speed Monday, April 5, 2004 World of Outlaws Lasoski wins IROC event at Texas Team Mopar driver Danny Lasoski beat the stock car ringers at their own game Friday, for his first career International Race of Champions (IROC) series victory...

Mopar Speed
Monday, April 5, 2004

World of Outlaws
Lasoski wins IROC event at Texas

Team Mopar driver Danny Lasoski beat the stock car ringers at their own game Friday, for his first career International Race of Champions (IROC) series victory at the Texas Motor Speedway. Lasoski, who led all 67 laps at the 1.5-mile speedway, beat NASCAR's Kevin Harvick to the checkered flag by just over three-tenths of a second. "The Dude" completed his victory with highly impressive celebratory burnouts on the front stretch, not something dirt drivers get to do very often.

In World of Outlaws Sprint competition this season, Lasoski has used his Paul Kistler-built Mopar powerplant to pick up five Quick Time awards (top qualifier) in the first six events. Lasoski and the IROC Series will compete in the third of four events on September 9, at Richmond International Raceway.

In WoO action at Texas Motor Speedway's Dirt Track Saturday, Lasoski and the No. 20 Tony Stewart Motorsports team maintained their top-10 position in series points. "The Dude" posted a qualifying lap of 14.654 seconds and finished 14th in the A-main event.

Mopar driver Daryn Pittman picked up his third heat win of the season to qualify for the A-main, where he grabbed his seventh top-10 finish in nine events.

Lasoski ranks sixth in series points. The World of Outlaws Series returns to the Midwest this weekend with a two-day show April 9-10 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio.

The Outdoor Channel is scheduled to air WoO coverage each Wednesday from 8 to 9 p.m. through November 24th. Check your local listings.

"I told [Texas Motor Speedway General Manager] Eddie Gossage before the race that if I won he was going to have to buy some new sod, as I was going to celebrate. I'd like to talk Jay [Signore, IROC's president] into buying 12 sprint cars, so we could do it in the dirt.

"The Knoxville Nationals is near and dear to my heart. I've been fortunate enough to win [that event] three times, but this victory tonight is very special to me also."
    -- Danny Lasoski, Team Mopar star, who picked up his first career IROC race at Texas Motor Speedway Friday.

Formula Drift

Team Mopar has sealed plans to expand its motorsports repertoire. The newest venture, drifting, will see Samuel Hubinette pilot the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe pictured above.

The announcement was made at SEMA's International Auto Salon in Los Angeles.

"Our involvement in Formula D is our way of supporting this unique style of automotive competition that is just starting to hit in big in the United States," said Kevin Miller, Senior Manager, Brand Marketing and Strategy for Mopar.

Mopar announces entry into hot new Formula Drift series

Team Mopar has signed expert drifter Samuel Hubinette to drive a 500+ horsepower Dodge Viper Competition Coupe owned by Lateral G Racing in the new Formula Drift Championship (Formula D) series. Mopar has also signed a branding and signage sponsorship package with Slipstream Global Marketing, Inc., to become an integral partner in the promotion of the Formula D series.

The series will consist of four championship rounds across the country, from Los Angeles to Atlanta. More than a dozen teams have already committed to the series. The first event is scheduled April 24-25 at Road Atlanta in Georgia.

"The Dodge Viper has been a dream car for me ever since I first saw it," said Samuel Hubinette. "So having the opportunity to drift it competitively for Mopar is unbelievable. I can't wait to get out there and show everyone what this Mopar Dodge Viper can do."

Hubinette (pronounced Hoo-bin-et-ty), a native of Sweden, is considered by many to be the top drifter in the United States. He finished first among American drivers at the 2004 D1 Grand Prix, and in the top-10 overall.

"We feel that Sam will be a perfect fit for Team Mopar,"said Kevin Miller, Senior Manager, Brand Marketing and Strategy for Mopar. "He's well-spoken, intelligent and not afraid to push the envelope both on and off the track."

Hubinette has worked as a performance driving instructor, including a stint at the Skip Barber Racing School where he gained experience driving Dodge Vipers. He has also worked as a stunt driver in several television commercials.

Drifting, which originated in Japan, is a unique form of motorsport that is judged on a variety of style points rather than crossing the finish line first. The goal is to apply enough power to the rear wheels to break the tires' traction and initiate a slide, or "drift." Once a drift is initiated, it must be maintained through the turn using a precise balance of power, braking, and steering.

Keep bookmarked to find out the latest news developments on the Team Mopar's Formula D efforts.


Funny Car
Bazemore reaches finals, Schumacher wins Top Fuel

Whit Bazemore represented the Funny Car faction of Team Mopar yesterday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, driving to his first Final Round of the season.

Bazemore beat point leader Del Worsham in the first round. He defeated John Force Racing teammates Gary Densham and Eric Medlen in the next two rounds, to reach the final where mechanical problems slowed his Matco Tools Iron Eagle Dodge Stratus R/T early.

"We had a freak breakage that made the car drop a bunch of cylinders and then finally kicked some rods out," Bazemore said. "It was a freak thing, but the car was [consistent] every round. That's what is the most encouraging. All in all, we had a good weekend and we made a lot of progress."

Gary Scelzi, Bazemore's Don Schumacher Racing teammate, continued to use his awesome Hemi® power and Dodge aerodynamics to post impressive times, qualifying in the top-four for the third time in four events. Scelzi drove his Hemi Oakley Dodge past Terry Haddock in the first round of eliminations before mechanical problems erased a solid starting line advantage that he had nabbed at the light against Phil Burkart in Round Two.

Bazemore jumped from eighth to fourth in the Funny Car point standings. Scelzi stands a solid sixth.

From the Top Fuel side of the Schumacher Racing stable, Tony Schumacher persevered to win his third race this season, thanks in large part to the massive power developed by the nitromethane-fueled Hemi engine in his U.S. Army dragster. Schumacher sits high atop the Top Fuel point standings, perched 120 points above his nearest competitor.

The NHRA POWERade series moves on to Houston Raceway Park in two weeks, with racing beginning April 15 and running through April 18.

Whit Bazemore had his best weekend of the 2004 season, charging into the Final Round at Las Vegas, after qualifying in the bottom half of the field. Bazemore sprung from eighth to fourth in Funny Car points, thanks to the solid effort.

His Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Gary Scelzi (right), drove his Hemi-powered car into the quarterfinals.

Pro Stock

Larry Morgan made his third semifinal appearance in four races this season, improving to third in the point standings.

"We're real happy to have gotten a Mopar in the semis again," he said.

"We can't wait for Houston; we'll have a good weekend there. The Hemis don't like altitude tracks like Las Vegas, and we're excited to move on to Houston. There are good things coming for our team in the future."

Morgan drives to semifinals again, moves up in points

Larry Morgan drove his Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T to the Pro Stock semifinals for the third time in four events this season yesterday at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With the solid showing, Morgan moved up to third in the championship point standings.

Morgan edged the Dodge Stratus of Ken Koretsky, who uses Hemi engines built by Morgan, in the first round of Eliminations. Morgan went on to beat Vince Fourcade in the quarterfinals, before falling to Greg Anderson in the semifinals.

Allen Johnson qualified his Mopar in the sixth spot, even though only two rounds of qualifying were permitted due to rain.

"That was our best qualifying round this year," Johnson said. "We found how to fix a lot of things that we've been struggling with this season. We made a lot of progress this weekend, and we continued to move forward with our program. I think we'll be on to something after this event. We're really looking forward to running at Houston."

Johnson's teammate, Darrell Alderman, missed qualifying for The Show by .03-seconds.

The NHRA POWERade series moves next to Houston Raceway Park in two weeks, where Alderman picked up one of 11 victories in the 1991 season. Houston is also the scene where Larry Morgan picked up his first No. 1 Qualifier position in 1989. Racing in Houston begins April 15 and runs through April 18.

USAC Sprint
Weather postpones Sprint opener

Team Mopar will have to wait until this weekend to kick off the 2004 season, after weather postponed scheduled events at Eldora Speedway and Anderson Speedway over the weekend. The Eldora event has been rescheduled for May 30, while April 18 is the date reset for the Anderson contest.

The Music City Motorplex in Nashville, Tenn., is now on line to get the honor of hosting the first USAC National Sprint Series opener. The 77-lap feature on the 5/8-mile paved track is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Saturday, following practice and qualifying.

Scheduled Team Mopar drivers for Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises are Jay Drake (No. 20s), Cory Kruseman (No. 21) and Dave Steele (No. 20).

"We're excited about getting back to work. We made a lot of progress toward the end of the year last season, and we're going to start out strong this year because of that hard work."
    -- Cory Kruseman, driver of the No. 21 Mopar car.


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About this article
Series General , NHRA , USAC , World of Outlaws
Drivers Tony Stewart , Darrell Alderman , Del Worsham , Whit Bazemore , John Force , Tony Schumacher , Gary Scelzi , Greg Anderson , Larry Morgan , Kevin Harvick , Gary Densham , Danny Lasoski , Dave Steele , Skip Barber , Cory Kruseman , Phil Burkart , Allen Johnson , Daryn Pittman , Eric Medlen , Terry Haddock , Don Schumacher , Samuel Hubinette