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Racing News: Cruising Adventures on the Big Island of Hawaii

This year, a number of SEMA-member companies joined the Cruise Paradise 2012 associate sponsor’s roster.

Cruising Adventures in Paradise, Supported by SEMA-Member Companies
More than 300 residents from Hawaii, California, Texas, Nevada and Michigan had the opportunity to cruise the Big Island of Hawaii behind the wheel of their own street rods, musclecars and street machines June 28 to July 7, at Cruise Paradise 2012 (CP-12)—a tri-yearly cruising vacation on wheels organized by the Hawaii Classic Cruisers Car Club.

This year, NAPA Auto Parts of Hawaii returned as CP-12’s title sponsor. And, for the first time, a number of SEMA-member companies, including Classic Industries Parts & Accessories, Heatshield Products, MSD, Nitrous Express, Painless Performance Products LLC, Steele Rubber Products and Vintage Air joined the event’s associate sponsor’s roster, along with 23 local merchant that who have supported the event since its inception in 2003.

Making a return engagement to CP-12 was the SPEED Channel's Dennis Gage—host of “My Classic Car,” who filmed the entire cruise. Coverage will be aired later in the year. Cruise Paradise is an all-volunteer nonprofit event, and a portion of the proceeds are donated to local charities, including the Hawaii chapter of the United States Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” program. The next Cruise Paradise event is June 2015.

Vaughn Gittin Jr. qualified first at Formula Drift's Throwdown at Evergreen Speedway.

Team Falken's Vaughn Gittin Jr. Emerges Victorious at Formula Drift's Throwdown at Evergreen Speedway
Team Falken’s Vaughn Gittin Jr., maintained the strongest stance throughout Formula Drift’s Round 5 “Throwdown” at Evergreen Speedway. “JR” qualified first while his Falken teammates succumbed to tough competition. It was JR’s second win in a row and moved him into first place in the 2012 Formula D Pro Championship with just two rounds to go.  The win was Falken’s second consecutive victory at Evergreen.
Driving the Monster Energy/Falken Tire Ford Mustang, JR and his Ford Mustang and Falken teammate Justin Pawlak took the top two spots in qualifying at Evergreen. Fellow Falken drivers Darren McNamara and Daijiro Yoshihara were 11th and 12th, respectively. Both Yoshihara and JR advanced to the Top 16 Round, but their rivals proved stronger as the action on the track provided a number of close battles and upsets throughout the evening.

With the competition as close as it has ever been, Round 6: After Dark is set for August 24–25 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The championship stands with Gittin Jr. in first at 391 points; Pawlak is third with 376; Yoshihara in fourth with 347 and McNamara in 22nd with 160.

Brett Hearn finished first July 19, at the Orange County Speedway in the 358 Modified – 40 Lap Feature Race.

Brett Hearn and Champion Racing Oil Win at Orange County Speedway
Brett Hearn, who runs Champion Racing Oil in his Super DIRTcar, finished first July 19, at the Orange County Speedway in the 358 Modified – 40 Lap Feature Race. Hearn, who won last Thursday night, has 12 victories in 2012 and 820 career racing wins, including 72 Track and Series championships.

Mazda to Debut Rotary Engine at the Brickyard
This Friday, when the green flag drops on the GRAND-AM Brickyard Grand Prix in Indianapolis, Mazda will be the first to race a rotary engine at the Brickyard, according to the manufacturer.

In 2013, Mazda's SKYACTIV-D clean diesel engine will debut in the new GRAND-AM GX class. This will be the first modern diesel to ever race at Indy, and the first diesel of any type to race there in more than 50 years, according to Mazda.

After eight of 13 races in the GRAND-AM GT Championship, Mazda is ranked third among eight manufacturers, and Mazda drivers Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito are fourth in driver points, having scored one win earlier this season. Mazda was the 2010 GRAND-AM GT Manufacturers Champion. Mazda racer Wayne Nonnamaker is ranked second among the Pro-Am drivers competing for the Bob Akin Cup.

In addition to the GRAND-AM race, Mazda will have multiple MAZDASPEED3s and MX-5s in the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. Mazda drivers Pierre Kleinubing, Derek Whitis and Tom Long are ranked 1-2-3 in ST driver points, and Mazda teams i-MOTO and Freedom Autosport are 1-2 among ST teams after seven of 10 races. Mazda is third among nine manufacturers in the ST class and is the defending champion in the ST class. 

Grace Chen

Grace Chen Named Director of Marketing at Raceway in Sonoma
Grace Chen has been named director of marketing at the raceway in Sonoma, raceway officials announced. Chen will manage and oversee all aspects of marketing, including advertising campaigns around the raceway’s major events, such as the Toyota/Save Mart 350 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series weekend. Chen will also oversee the raceway’s website, social networking, at-event entertainment and marketing. Chen will report to John Cardinale, vice president of marketing and communications.

Prior to coming to the raceway, Chen was the director of marketing for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. While with the Kings, Chen launched the team’s BeHEARD campaign.

Rain-X to Sponsor Jeff Burton’s No. 31 Chevrolet in the 2012 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Rain-X, a company that specializes in water repellency glass treatments and wiper blades, will be primary sponsor of the No. 31 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Burton in this weekend’s Brickyard 400 at the historic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Burton, currently in his 19th fulltime season in NASCAR’s premier division, has amassed 21 wins, 132 top-five finishes, 246 top-10 finishes, six pole awards and led 6,510 laps during his career. Burton sits 19th in the 2012 Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings with four top-10 finishes, including a fifth-place finish in the 2012 Daytona 500 and runner-up finish earlier this month in the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway. Burton qualified for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup from 2006–2008 and in 2010 with 13-time NASCAR championship winning car owner Richard Childress.