Mopar Speed Tuesday, May 31, 2005 USAC M Beach Wins Vogler Classic; Wise Claims Points Race Lead Team Mopar's USAC Midget Series contingent wound down the month of May in Indianapolis, Ind., last week by racking up one victory, six ...
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Beach Wins Vogler Classic; Wise Claims Points Race Lead
Team Mopar's USAC Midget Series contingent wound down the month of May in Indianapolis, Ind., last week by racking up one victory, six top-five finishes and eight top-10 finishes in only two races. Teddy Beach of Beach Boys Motorsports kicked the streak off in stellar fashion, driving the No. 15 Ed Pink Mopar-powered machine to a victory in the Vogler Classic at the Indianapolis Speedrome on May 26. It marked the first victory of 2005 for Beach in USAC National Midget Series competition and the second victory for an Ed Pink-built Mopar powerplant since 2004.
Nicholas Motorsports' Dave Steele followed Beach to the line after putting up a noteworthy battle for the win in the No. 2 machine. Josh Wise drove the No. 20 Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises entry to a fifth-place finish at the conclusion of the 100-lap event. The Wilke-PAK Motorsports No. 11 entry piloted by Tracy Hines rounded out Team Mopar's effort with a ninth-place finish on the night.
The USAC National Midget Car Series moved on to Indianapolis Raceway Park for the 60th Annual "Night Before the 500" event on May 28. Wise took the top qualifying honors for Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises, as he set the pace for the field. The 50-lap feature saw Jerry Coons Jr. drive the No. 11 Wilke-PAK Motorsports entry into the lead early. Coons maintained the lead for much of the race, and was able to take the checkered flag in the third position. Wise drove the No. 20 machine to a fourth-place finish after having to rejoin the field from the rear due to an unscheduled pit stop. He charged back through the field to earn a solid Top-five finish.
Nicholas Motorsports' Kyle Nicholas was one of the hard chargers of the event, as the 16-year-old rookie started the event dead last after a loose fuel line sidelined his heat race effort. USAC decided to award the team a provisional starting position, and Nicholas made the most of it, driving the No. 02 machine into as high as fifth position. Nicholas spun late the in race, due to losing a contact lens, and was able to regain his composure to finish 12th. Other Mopar-powered machines finishing in the Top-10 were the No. 5 of Tom Hessert, who finished fifth, and the No. 15 of Teddy Beach, who rounded out the Top-10.
At the conclusion of the week's USAC National Midget Car Series action, Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises' Wise leads the championship points chase. Beach sits in second, followed by Hessert in fifth and Steele in seventh position.
The USAC National Midget Car Series will resume action on June 17 at the Limaland Motorsports Park in Ohio for the first leg of the "Buckeye Nationals."
Hines Fights His Way to Victory at Anderson Speedway
Team Mopar's USAC National Sprint Car Series drivers got a taste of both the dirt and the pavement during last week's USAC Racing events. Hoffman Auto Racing's Tracy Hines kicked off the week at Anderson Speedway in Indiana on May 25 with a victory in the 50-lap USAC National Sprint Car Series event. Hines qualified the No. 69 entry in third position and fought his way through a one-groove field to earn the win. He was followed by Nicholas Motorsports' Dave Steele, who was able to pilot the No. 02 into the fourth position by the conclusion of the race.
Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises' Josh Wise and Jay Drake also turned in solid performances at Anderson, as Drake drove the No. 21 to a sixth-place finish. Wise, who was involved in an on-track altercation during the feature event, was credited with a 13th-place finish after having to rejoin the tail of the field.
Team Mopar also ran well at Eldora Speedway on Sunday night, picking up two Top-10 finishes in the feature event. Hines captured a second-place finish again behind the wheel of the No. 69 entry for Hoffman Auto Racing, while his teammate, Jerry Coons Jr. qualified the No. 69x second quickest on the night. Coons Jr., was credited with a 24th-place finish in the feature event after pulling in with mechanical issues shortly after the green flag was dropped.
Wise drove the No. 20 Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises machine to a sixth-place finish in the feature event, capping off his fantastic week of racing in USAC's three divisions. Drake also put a solid finish in the books at Eldora, bringing the No. 21 machine across the line in the 12th position despite having to work with a poorly packed race surface.
Drake is currently second in the USAC National Sprint Car Series point standings, followed by Hines in sixth position. Wise is currently ranked eighth, while Coons Jr., is ninth overall. The series resumes action this Friday, June 3, at I-69 Gas City Speedway in Indiana with the second leg of the "Border Wars" competition.
Capps Blasts Into the Steamy Semis in Topeka
Without the benefit of lane choice all day, Ron Capps ripped through the Funny Car field to reach the semifinal round at the hot and humid O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kan.
No. 11 qualifier Capps drove the Brut Dodge Stratus Funny Car straight into a semifinal round match-up against John Force, after first defeating his teammate Whit Bazemore in the opening round with a 4.867/315.93 to Bazemore's tire-smoking 8.047/111.09, then disposing of Tim Wilkerson with a 4.850/316.60 to Wilkerson's 4.938/310.20.
Capps had the edge against Force at the starting light, with a .073 reaction time versus Force's .106, but the Brut Dodge quickly lost traction, slowing to an 11.927/85.85 pass, giving Force the victory.
"The lanes were pretty even all day," said Capps. "We didn't have lane choice the first couple of rounds, and to have run as well as we did was just a tribute to how hard the guys worked, and Ace and Olson making the right calls."
Capps holds on to sixth place in NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series Funny Car points, just 73 out of second place.
Gary Scelzi and Mopar/Oakley Dodge Stratus Funny Car crew were also on their game this weekend. After reaching the final round in two of the last three races, it looked like the team was back to the performance dominance the fans had grown to appreciate as Scelzi qualified No. 5, then dismissed Tony Bartone in the first round. Next on the agenda was the second round, with lane choice against Tommy Johnson Jr. Scelzi launched first off the line with a strong .064 reaction time, although T.J. was close behind with a .066. But Scelzi was barely off the line before the car struck the tires and coasted to an 11.529-second pass at 77.08 mph. Johnson took the win with a 4.987/307.58. Scelzi fell to third in points behind Force (the Topeka winner ) and Robert Hight, and is just 12 points out of second.
Bazemore's bad luck of the last several races continued, with a first round defeat coming at the hands of teammate Capps. Bazemore still remains in the top five in the Funny Car point standings at fifth place, just 51 points out of second.
Next up is the NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Ill., on June 10-12.
Stevens K.O.'s KJ, Advances to Second Round at Topeka
Richie Stevens Jr. overcame a 14th-place qualifying spot in the O'Reilly NHRA Summer Nationals at Topeka, Kansas, to advance to his second straight quarterfinals appearance, upsetting No. 3 qualifier Kurt Johnson in the first round on the strength of a scorching reaction time of .047 to Johnson's .084. Stevens' nailbiting margin of victory in his Team Mopar/Valspar Dodge Stratus R/T Pro Stock car was about 11 inches.
"Kurt's had my number for a long time, I think, and to leave on him and get the win by three thousandths of a second was pretty exciting," said Stevens. "We were all pumped after that."
With his showing Stevens remained in the top ten in the Pro Stock standings at eighth place, along with his Mopar and Don Schumacher Racing teammate, Jeg Coughlin Jr., who sits at tenth in the points race.
Coughlin drove his Jeg's Mail Order/Mopar Dodge Stratus R/T to the lead in his first round matchup against Greg Anderson, but was unable to hold on against event winner Anderson. Fellow Mopar driver Allen Johnson also bowed out in the first round, falling to Mike Edwards. Johnson sits one spot behind Coughlin Jr. in the point standings at 11th place.
Next up is this weekend's NHRA Nationals in Joliet, Ill., June 10-12.
Wise Grabs Second, Drake Fourth in Hoosier Hundred
The Tony Stewart Racing Enterprises duo of Josh Wise and Jay Drake may not have captured the victory in last Friday's "Hoosier Hundred" event, but they most certainly proved to be the class of the field. Wise, in what could be called his one-mile dirt track debut, left little doubt that the Indiana State Fairgrounds facility was to his liking. After qualifying the No. 10 machine in the fifth position, Wise found himself starting from the front row. When the green flag dropped, Wise waste little time in taking the lead, as he drove into the top spot on lap three of the 100 lap feature event.
The lead is where Wise would stay for over 80 laps, as the No. 10 stayed out front from lap three to lap 85. He maintained the position through several restarts, as no one could challenge the Mopar powerplant in the early going. Unbeknownst to the competition, Wise's machine had developed magneto issues around lap 45, which would allow him to continue at only partial throttle. A late race caution saw Wise relinquish the lead on lap 85, as a hard charging and eventual winner Teddy Beach was able to get around Wise's ailing machine. Wise's effort was awarded with a hard fought second-place finish.
Drake also put on an outstanding show, as the veteran drove the No. 22 machine from deep in the pack up to a fourth-place finish. Coming off a third-place finish in the Menards Infiniti Pro Series event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway earlier in the day, Drake completed his tour of double duty Friday evening in the USAC Silver Crown Series division. Qualifying in the 22nd position, Drake had his work cut out for him as the green flag fell on the 100-lap event.
Showing the patience and determination the way only a veteran can, Drake began a march through the field that saw him pick off cars one by one. Slowly but surely, the No. 22 closed in on the leaders, first coming up into the Top-10 and then into the sixth position. As the laps dwindled, Drake drove into the fourth position, which he would not relinquish through several restarts in the closing laps of the race. When the checkered flag flew, Drake had earned his second Top-five finish of the day.
Drake is currently sixth in USAC National Silver Crown Series points, while Wise follows in the eighth position. The series resumes action on June 4 at the Terre Haute Action Track with the "First Financial Sumar Classic 100."
Lasoski Scores Two Top-Fives, Two B-Main Wins in Race-Filled Week
The World of Outlaws Sprint Series kicked off its first true traveling swing last week as the nomadic series hosted five events in only seven days. Rolling into Grandview Speedway in Pennsylvania on May 24, Danny Lasoski and the No. 20 team picked up a B-main feature event win en route to an 11th-place finish in the A-main. Forbrook Motorsports' Sammy Swindell drove the No. 5 entry to a third-place finish on the night, while rookie driver Brandon Wimmer and the No. 7 team posted the second quickest qualifying effort en route to a 14th-place A-main finish.
Lasoski and company moved on to Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania May 26-27, where "The Dude" picked up two consecutive third-place finishes. Bringing the No. 20 machine across the line in third position in Thursday night's preliminary feature, Lasoski locked himself into Friday's A-main event. The team was able to repeat its effort in Friday's event finale. Swindell also fared well at "The Grove," as he drove the No. 5 machine to a sixth-place finish on Thursday and followed it up with a 14th-place finish on Friday.
There was no rest for the weary as the series invaded Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland on May 28, where Swindell drove an outstanding race en route to picking up the A-main feature event win. Lasoski drove to an 11th-place finish in the A-main, while Wimmer picked up a win in the third heat race en route to a 21st-place finish on the night.
Memorial Day brought the series to the Lebanon Valley Speedway in New York, where Lasoski again won the B-main event prior to finishing 11th in the A-main feature. Swindell was collected on lap one of the A-main event, and was able to continue with damage to finish the race in the 22nd position. Wimmer also made the A-main, picking up a 21st position on the night.
As the World of Outlaws Sprint Series prepares for a three-race jaunt this week, Lasoski is currently fifth in series points. Swindell, who is running a limited schedule sits in 19th, while "Rookie of the Year" contender Wimmer is ranked 18th. The series will compete at Rolling Wheels Speedway in New York on June 1, continue on to Sharon Speedway in Ohio on June 3 and wrap the week up at Eldora Speedway in Ohio on June 4.
Francis Picks Up Three Top-Fives in Late Model Action
Steve Francis and the No. 15 team didn't use the holiday weekend and the break from World of Outlaws Late Model Series competition to rest. Instead, the team used it as an opportunity to fine tune their machine and pick up three Top-five finishes along the way. Francis rolled into West Plains, Mo., on Saturday for the "Show-Me 100" and didn't disappoint. He went on to win the fourth heat race despite steering problems, giving him the fourth starting spot for the A-main event. Still battling an ill-handling race car, Francis drove the No. 15 entry to a fifth-place finish in the feature.
The team moved on to Dubuque Fairgrounds Speedway on May 29, where they again found themselves battling steering issues. Francis drove a hard-fought race for the length of the 50-lap feature, and was rewarded with a second-place finish for his efforts. The team made additional repairs to the No. 15 machine and headed out for West Liberty, Iowa, for a World Dirt Racing League event on Memorial Day.
Francis was able to score his third Top-five finish in as many days on Monday evening, bringing the No. 15 machine across the line in the fifth position. The team will return home for a brief time before hitting the road again with the World of Outlaws Late Model Series later this week. The team will kick off the action in Iowa on June 1 at Farley Speedway, continue on with an event at Eagle Raceway in Nebraska on June 3 and then travel to the Dakota State Fair Speedway in South Dakota on June 4.
Cameron Dodson Sets World Speed Record with Mopar Power
Mopar expanded its reach within the open-wheel racing arena on May 22, as 16-year-old Cameron Dodson set a world speed record for a half-mile track at Winchester Speedway. Driving the No. 50m machine owned by Dick Myers of RAM Engineering, Dodson peeled off a lap of 13.539 seconds, which translates to a pulse-quickening 132.949 mph around the half-mile paved oval.
Dodson, who was qualifying for the "The King of Wings" Sprint Car Challenge, an Auto Value Super Sprints event, broke the speed mark set by veteran driver Dave Steele earlier in the session. The AVSS Series features 410 winged sprint cars that compete on pavement tracks only, making Dodson and Mopar the stars of the show. Dodson went on to win the 30-lap feature event, lapping up to third place en route to the victory.