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Racing News: Team Falken Takes the Victory in the Streets of Baltimore

  Wolf Henzler and Bryan Sellers of Team Falken took the victory in the streets of Baltimore in the ALMS GT Class—its second win in three races.

Team Falken Takes the Victory in the Streets of Baltimore in ALMS
The No. 17 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Team Falken took the victory in the streets of Baltimore in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) GT Class—its second win in three races.
The win elevated the drivers into fourth place in the American Le Mans Series GT standings. Wolf Henzler was fastest in the first practice on Friday and third in the second practice, though, he qualified fifth on the 2.1-mile street circuit with a surface made up of half concrete and half asphalt. Determined to quickly improve his qualifying position, Henzler drove as hard as he could. Driver skill at turn one of the very first lap put him third in the class and Henzler was able to advance to first toward the end of his stint.

Bryan Sellers received the car in third position after an unfavorable yellow and maintained a stellar, incident-free run, with steady consistent lap times that advanced him to first where he stayed, opening up a significant gap on the field. 

Now it’s on to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California, for a six-hour event, September 15–16, and the season finale—the 14th annual 1,000-mile/10-hour endurance classic Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, September 28–October 1.

Tony Stewart Racing Enters Levi Jones in Budweiser Oval Nationals
Tony Stewart Racing has entered four-time Amsoil USAC National Sprint Car champion Levi Jones in the 16th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals at Perris Auto, November 3–5.

The Olney, Illinois, native who now calls Brownsburg, Indiana, home, won his first USAC National championship in 2005 driving the famous #2B of Scott Benic. The 29-year-old racing star won his first title with Stewart in 2007 and backed that up with championships in 2009 and 2010.

Currently, Jones holds a slender 19-point-lead over West Lafayette, Indiana's Chris Windom as he seeks his record-breaking fifth title. Windom, who walked away from the field to win the Oval Nationals last year, has already entered this year's version of "America's Most Prestigious Traditional Sprint Car Race." The driver Jones is tied with—with four USAC National Sprint Car titles—is Texan Steve Butler who wore the crown in 1986, 1987, 1988 and 1990.

Jones' best finish in the Oval Nationals to date was a second to Dave Darland in 2006.

If the Oval Nationals were held today, Jones lead in the USAC National Sprint Car standings would make him eligible for the Legends of Ascot Match Race (LOAMR), which will pit the top two in USAC/CRA points, top two in USAC National points and one wild card driver in a series of four, four-lap races for a first-place prize that is expected to exceed $5,000. The LOAMR will take place Friday, November 4.

The official entry blank is available here. Advance tickets for the 16th Annual Budweiser Oval Nationals are available now by calling 800/595-4849 or 951/940-0134. You can also order tickets online.

  Matt Bell and Mike Guasch trail by five points in the 10-race series.

United Autosports Aims To Bounce Back After Bad Luck At Rockingham
Matt Bell (GB) and Mike Guasch (USA) will aim to retake the lead at the Avon Tyres British GT Championship in the penultimate race of the season after the Anglo-American “combo” suffered plain bad luck in the latest races, September 4. Bell and Guasch had led the championship since May in their United Autosports Audi R8 LMS but despite starting both of the two one-hour races at Rockingham (GB) from the front row, now find themselves trailing by five-points in the 10-race series.

Guasch had earned United Autosports and Audi its first British GT Championship pole-position when the American clocked the fastest time midway through the 15-min. qualifying session on Saturday, but a problem at the start of Race One forced Guasch to start from the back of the grid. Meanwhile team co-owner Richard Dean “engineered” the No. 24 Teknavo Audi R8 LMS in the absence of regular engineer Paul Haigh who was unwell in a two-race weather-affected program.

Cooper’s Win Clinches Playboy Mazda MX-5 Championship in Brainerd With One Race Remaining
Mike Cooper, of Syosset, New York, used a combination of strategy and outright speed to earn the largest margin of victory in the history of the SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup on Sunday at Brainerd International Raceway, securing more than $12,000 in prize money during the doubleheader weekend and clinching the 2011 Championship with one race remaining. Cooper raced through the rain to top fellow podium finishers Todd Lamb, of Atlanta, and Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, in the victory. Cooper clinched the season-long title by driving his No. 6 AMG Racing Mazda MX-5 to a series-record 49.728-second victory.

  Mike Cooper clinched the season-long title by driving his No. 6 AMG Racing Mazda MX-5 to a series-record 49.728 second victory.

Polesitter Dean Copeland’s No. 7 Sync Speed Inc./Copeland Motorsports MX-5, Lamb’s No. 4 AMG Racing MX-5, and Saini pulled away from the field at the start and were settling in at the front when sprinkles began to fall on lap four, and by lap five, a steady rain was falling around the 13-turn, 2.5-mile course. Most of the field came to pit lane for BFGoodrich rain tires on lap six, but Copeland, Lamb and Saini elected to stay on the course and battle for the lead.

From there, it was up to the leaders to navigate the circuit on the BFGoodrich g-Force R1 dry tires. Copeland and Lamb swapped the lead while Saini’s No. 28 Balance/Phiten/SunTrust/CJ Wilson's Charities MX-5 slid off track on lap eight and lost touch with the leaders. Copeland slid off on lap nine and came to pit lane for rain tires on the following lap. Saini did the same two laps later, leaving Lamb alone out front.

Cooper, however, was running laps nearly 20 seconds quicker than Lamb in the wet with the properly equipped tires and, by the end of lap 13, the gap between the teammates had gone from over two minutes to just 7.686 seconds.

The championship leader took the lead on lap 14, and cruised to the win. Cooper covered the 22 laps in the 46:07.519 race, averaging 71.557 mph. Lamb hung on for the runner-up finish, the second podium in as many days for the 2009 Series Champion, making his return to the series for the first time since the final round that season. Saini crawled back for a third-place finish on the rain tires, while Copeland was scored in eighth at the finish. Bruce LeDoux, who remained on dry tires for the entire race, finished fourth in the No. 30 CJ Wilson Racing/ModSpace Motorsports MX-5. Jeff Mosing finished fifth after the tire change in his No. 10 Frank’s International/Race Now For Autism Mazda MX-5.

Series rules allow each driver to exclude his or her lowest scoring point race, but Cooper has already amassed 486 championship points this season. Saini, Cooper’s closest competitor, can score a maximum 62 points in the Series finale at Road Atlanta on September 30. In that scenario, he would finish the season with 452 points after excluding the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, leaving him short of Cooper—even if Cooper dropped the finale.