CHAMPCAR/CART: ASCAR: Rockingham gets taste of things to come

ASCAR brought oval racing to the UK for the first time since Brooklands closed its doors in 1939, giving British fans a taster for next months Champ Car race on September 22nd. Over 12,000 fans packed into Rockingham to witness British motor...

ASCAR brought oval racing to the UK for the first time since Brooklands closed its doors in 1939, giving British fans a taster for next months Champ Car race on September 22nd. Over 12,000 fans packed into Rockingham to witness British motor racing history as the V8 powered American style saloon cars thundered around the 1.5 mile banked oval track in two 70 lap races.

An incident packed opening race was won by John 'The Eliminator' Mickel in the number 24 Torquespeed racing machine after a titanic battle with Mike "The Flying Dutchman" Vergers in the Rockingham backed car. Mark Claussner used his vast oval experience to open up a slight lead at the start of the race hoping to become the first ever winner in ASCAR history.

However, the American had the unfortunate honour of becoming the first casualty as the rear end of the car stepped out in Turn 4 and Claussner's race ended in the wall. Two further accidents, including a three car pile up in Turn 1 between Mark Proctor, Phil Weaver and Steve Dudman, kept the field bunched up setting up a grandstand finish between Mickel and Vergers, who took the chequered flag just 0.232 of a second apart.

Race two resulted in an action replay of the Vergers/Mickel battle, with the Dutchman taking the early advantage, only to drop to third with a slow tyre change. Vergers though got his win, with a storming drive to the front, which also gave him the fastest lap of 36.913s, 146.29 mph. After his problems in the first race, Mark Claussner stormed from last on the grid to take a fine fifth place.

The next races on the oval will be on September 22nd when the CART FedEx Championship Series races in the UK for the first time, with round 3 of the ASCAR Championship taking place immediately after the Rockingham 500.

-RMS

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About this article
Series IndyCar , Stock car
Drivers Mark Claussner