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Racing News: Robby Gordon and Toyo Tires Win Stage 9 of the Dakar



  Robby Gordon

Robby Gordon and Toyo Tires Win Stage 9 of the Dakar
Excitement is building in anticipation of crowning the overall winner for the 2012 Dakar this coming Monday. Robby Gordon is focused on capturing that glory, winning Tuesday’s Stage 9 by 1:38 over race-leader, Stephane Peterhansel. Gordon’s charge has reduced Peterhansel’s lead to less than six minutes with four days left of competition.

Tuesday’s 556 km stage ran from the coastal cities of Antofagasta to Iquique, northward along the Pacific coast of Chile. Competitors were faced with a variety of terrain, including canyons, hills and perilous silt-beds known as “fesh fesh.” Throughout the rally, Gordon has relied on Toyo Open Country M/T-R tires to help keep his two-wheel-drive #303 SPEED Energy/Toyo Tires HUMMER on a searing pace. As of Tuesday’s Stage 9 of the 2012 Dakar, Toyo Tires has recorded eight podium finishes with Team SPEED, three of those being stage wins.

Gordon’s teammate, Nasser Al-Attiyah was chasing Gordon in second place after Checkpoint 2 in Tuesday’s stage. Misfortune then struck the hard-charging Al-Attiyah’s #300 Qatar HUMMER as he was sidelined with a mechanical problem. Al-Attiyah won Stages 2 and 7, while also finishing third in Stage 3 in this year’s race.

Highlights of the Dakar are broadcast in the United States each night on the NBC Sports Network (formerly known as Versus) at 1:30 a.m. (EST).

Lingenfelter Announces New Performance Nationals Event
Lingenfelter Performance Engineering (LPE) has announced a brand-new event for customers and enthusiasts in 2012: The Lingenfelter Performance Nationals.

The Lingenfelter Performance Nationals is a jam-packed weekend that will feature drag racing, autocross, a car show, speed stop challenge, countryside cruise and a manufacturer's midway, September 21–23, 2012, at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio.

With classes that level the playing field between professional and amateur drivers, the Lingenfelter Performance Nationals will offer drag racing, an invitation-only bracket race and a Battle of the Brands event that pits Ford, GM and Chrysler vehicles against one another. Trophies, plaques and cash prizes will be awarded to car show and race winners. The Lingenfelter Performance Nationals will also be an official qualifying event for the OPTIMA Batteries Ultimate Street Car Invitational.

  The No. 126 Irish Mike’s BMW 325 of Michael Flynn topped Group 5 with a 16.549-second margin of victory overall.

Opening Round of the BFGoodrich Tires SCCA Super Tour Completed At Sebring
Winners were crowned on Sunday at Sebring International Raceway at the first of nine BFGoodrich Tires SCCA Super Tour events in 2012, with 267 drivers participating in the weekend’s double National Club Racing weekend. The schedule featured three race groups in the morning, followed by four more races after lunch. Each race was scheduled for 13-laps around the 17-turn, 3.7-mile circuit.

Simon Gregg’s No. 59 Gregg Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette cruised to the win in a race that was shortened to 10 laps after a fire in Russ Snow’s STO-class No. 20 Chevrolet Corvette. Snow pulled off course and got out of the burning car, but was transported by helicopter as a precaution against smoke inhalation and subsequently released from the hospital.

The abbreviated race helped the No. 86 Fall-Line Motorsports Porsche GT-3 of Mark Boden top Mark Jurczyk’s No. 121 BTRacing Porsche GT3 Cup. Jurczyk had lost two gears in his transmission during the race, allowing Boden to move past on the final lap and take the victory. John Yarosz’s No. 89 Hoosier/Phoenix Performance Chevrolet Corvette was poised to challenge David Pintaric’s Kryderacing/Hoosier/Carbotech/WRP Investments Dodge Viper for the STO win, but the yellow and checkered came out early, solidifying the win for Pintaric.

Keith Grant drove to a 17.923-second overall win in Group Two that looks drama-free in the box score, but Grant came from the back of the field in his No. 70 Hoosier Tires Swift 014a Formula Atlantic machine to take the commanding victory.

The group two battle came in D Sports Racing, where Scott Tucker’s No. 55 West WX10 held off a charging No. 85 KD Racing/Goodyear Tire Stohr WF-1 piloted by Charles Dempsey by 0.325-second. Dempsey set a new Sebring class record with a fast time of 2:02.980. In Formula Continental, Chuck Moran’s No. 45 Van Diemen RF99 moved past the No. 80 Hoosier Van Diemen RF01 of Brian Belardi in the final turn of the race to take the win.

Todd Buras’ No. 178 Krispy Kreme Mazda Miata led flag-to-flag to take a 2.216-second victory and set a new track record with a lap of 2:35.518 (86.575 mph).

In Group Four, Greg Ira’s CU Yacht Charters Datsun 240Z cruised to a 3.960-second win. Mark Weber survived the attrition in F Production to earn the win in the No. 125 Goodyear/Red Line Oil/Exclusive Sports Car Photography Mazda Miata.

The No. 126 Irish Mike’s BMW 325 of Michael Flynn topped Group 5 with a 16.549-second margin of victory overall.

The tightest race of the group came in Touring 2, where John Kachadurian’s No. 180 Grey Fox Racing BMW M3 topped Mark Boden’s Fall-Line Trim-Tek Porsche GT3.

Brian Schofield’s No. 61 PM Racing Spec Racer Ford took the top spot in the Group 6 race, holding off Andrew Charbonneau’s No. 27 Lord of The Rings Spec Racer Ford by a 0.408-second.

The battle for the overall lead in the seventh, and final, group was between two classes, with the No. 1 Hillenburg Motorsports Formula Mazda of Darryl Wills setting a new track record of 2:09.068 (104.317 mph) and taking the overall win by 1.808 seconds over the No. 23 Jay Motorsports Formula Enterprises car of Jason Wolfe. Lewis Cooper III earned a Formula F win and lowered the track record to a 2:16.062 in his No. 0 Polestar/Martini/Voss Water Van Diemen Ford.

The last class to cross the finish line was also the closest, as is typical for a Formula Vee race on a track with long, drafting straights like Sebring. In the end, the No. 37 Hoosier Vortech 2004 of Charles Hearn squeezed out a follow the leader win over the No. 28 Caracal D of Russell Fredericks by a 0.197-second.

Round Two of the nine-race BFGoodrich Tires Super Tour comes at Texas World Speedway, March 9–11, for the BFGoodrich Tires Southwest Super Tour.

  Ross Martin qualified No. 1 earning a front-row start in the Pro Open Final.

Record Crowd at Canterbury
Ross Martin qualified No. 1 earning a front-row start in the Pro Open Final. He hammered the throttle taking the holeshot and took the lead early. About halfway through the race, he got tangled up in the corner but he was able to fight back enough to still end up on the podium finishing third.

Martin went into the weekend up 13 points in the Year-End Pro Open Points race and finished the weekend with a 20-point lead. Teammate Mike Bauer also qualified for both finals finishing eighth in Friday's Final and went on to bring home his best Pro Open Final finish this season last Saturday.

In the Pro Lite Class, James Johnstad finished fourth on Friday and eighth on Saturday making him fourth in the Pro Lite Class Year-End Points.

2012 Pirelli World Challenge Schedule of Events

  • March 23–25, Streets of St. Petersburg (with IndyCar), St. Petersburg, Florida (Rounds 1 and 2: GT, GTS and TC)
  • April 13–15, Streets of Long Beach (with IndyCar/ALMS), Long Beach, California (Round 3: GT, GTS)
  • April 27–29, Miller Motorsports Park (co-headliner, NASCAR West), Tooele, Utah (Round 4: GT, GTS; Rounds 3, 4, 5: TC; Rounds 1, 2, 3: TCB)
  • May 10–12, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (with ALMS), Monterey, California (Round 5: GT, GTS; Round 6: TC)
  • June 1–3, Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, (with IndyCar/GA Rolex), Detroit. (Rounds 6, 7: GT, GTS)
  • June 22–24, Mosport International Raceway (Pirelli World Challenge Headliner), Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada. (Rounds 8, 9: GT, GTS; Rounds 7, 8, 9: TC; Rounds 4, 5, 6: TCB) 
  • August 3–5, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (with IndyCar/ALMS), Lexington, Ohio (Rounds 10, 11: GT, GTS; Rounds 10, 11: TC)
  • August 24–26, Infineon Raceway (with IndyCar), Sonoma, California (Round 12: GT, GTS; Rounds 12, 13, 14: TC; Rounds 7, 8, 9: TCB)