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Racing News: Irwindale to Honor 2011 Uncrowned Champions for NASCAR Re-Opening Night

Compiled by SEMA Staff

Irwindale Speedway's new operators, Team 211 Entertainment, will honor all 13 of the facility's 2011 uncrowned champions on 2013's grand re-opening night, April 6.

Irwindale to Honor 2011 Uncrowned Champions for NASCAR Re-Opening Night
They all won championships at Irwindale in 2011 and ended up with nothing to show for it when the former track operators signed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy February 10, 2012.

On Saturday night, April 6, 2013, the Speedway's new operators, Team 211 Entertainment, have invited all 13 of the facility's uncrowned champions back for 2013's grand re-opening night and will honor them in a pre-race ceremony on the race track before the national anthem.

As most fans know, there were no NASCAR races at Irwindale Speedway in 2012, but the 2013 racing season promises to be a very good one. "Many of the top 10 drivers from our 2011 season will be back along with a number of new drivers many of whom are destined to be fan favorites before the 2013 season is in the books," assured Event Center General Manager Bob Klein.

In addition, there were three Irwindale Dragstrip champions who didn't receive their honors for competing in the track's 2011 NHRA Summit Series. They will also be honored April 6.

The 2011 Irwindale Speedway oval track champion drivers were: Rod Johnson, Rancho Cucamonga, California (Super Late Models); Brandon Davis, Huntersville, North Carolina (Late Models); Curtis White, Norwalk, California (Super Stock); Andrew Anderson, Lancaster, California (S2); Daryl Scoggins, Sunland, California (Mini-Stock); Chad Schug, Hemet, California (Legends Cars); Christian McGhee, LaVerne, California (Bandoleros); Jay Hansen, Oak Hills, California (Figure 8); Conner Cantrell, Valencia, California (Super Trucks); Jeff Williams, Newbury Park, California (West Coast Pro Trucks).

The 2011 Irwindale Dragstrip racing champion drivers were: Branko Sindicich, Lomita, California (Super Pro); Chad Cline, Orange, California (Pro Bike); and double-division winner Gary Hairfeild, San Diego (Pro and Sportsman).

The International Drag Racing Hall of Fame Induction Banquet will be held at the Paramount Plaza Hotel & Suites in Gainesville, Florida, Thursday, March 14, 2013.

Lucas Oil Returns as International Drag Racing Hall of Fame Installation Dinner Sponsor
Don Garlits, chairman of the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing has announced the return of Lucas Oil Products Inc. as major sponsor for the 2013 Induction Banquet for the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame, which is based at the museum. This marks the fourth consecutive year that Lucas Oil has been a sponsor of the dinner. Lucas Oil joins new co-sponsors—the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and Summit Racing Equipment.

In addition to the major sponsors, two associate sponsors—Commercial Power Cleaners Inc. and Chrysler Group LLC’s MOPAR Parts, Service and Customer-Care Group—have returned, and two new associate sponsors—VR-12 from Freezetone Products and National Parts Depot—have become involved.

The event will be known as the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame Induction Banquet presented by NHRA, Summit Racing and Lucas Oil, and will be held at the Paramount Plaza Hotel & Suites in Gainesville, Florida, Thursday, March 14, 2013, preceding the NHRA Gatornationals. Long-time NHRA event announcer Bob Frey will serve as the master of ceremonies.

The Class of 2013 Hall of Fame inductees include: Dave Boertman, Wally Booth, Bernie Fedderly, Harry Hibler, the Hirata, Hobbs & Vodnik Team (Kenny Hirata, Phil Hobbs and Bobby Vodnik), Louis Senter and the late K.S. (Tiger) Pittman. The Founders Award will be presented to Dr. Robert C. Post, Ph.D. and introduced by Hall of Fame member and Funny Car driver Bruce Larson.

Ticket details and additional information are available by calling or emailing Donna Garlits at: 352-245- 8661 or 877-271-3278 (toll free), fax 352-245- 6895 or e-mail

Skip Barber is now an SCCA Hall of Famer. Credit: SCCA Images

Rahal, Barber, Shelby Lead SCCA Hall of Fame Class
Motorsports legends Bobby Rahal, Skip Barber, Carroll Shelby, Bill Noble and Andy Porterfield were inducted into the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Hall of Fame last Saturday night in Las Vegas at a ceremony presented by Mazda. The five inductees joined eight previous classes to cap the 2013 SCCA Convention presented by SafeRacer at the South Point Hotel and Casino. Rahal, Barber and family members of the late Shelby, Noble and Porterfield addressed the nearly 400 event attendees.

12C GT3 Now Approved to Race in North America as Pirelli World Challenge Confirms Eligibility
The McLaren 12C GT3 has been confirmed as eligible for the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) by the series organizers following a strong competitive debut season in Europe. This announcement means that the British-built racer is now able to compete in North America for the first time.

The 12C GT3 enjoyed a promising 2012 season, claiming 19 victories and a further 19 podium finishes, and has been enhanced further for the 2013 season. These upgrades are designed to further optimize the car's performance in the more varied conditions found in global championships. The enhancements are evident through the updated bonnet and ducting, designed to ensure that the 12C GT3 can run competitively in higher temperatures than those experienced during 2012.

The Race & Performance Expo returned to St. Charles, Illinois, for its sixth year.

2013 Race & Performance Expo Celebrates Sixth Year
The Race & Performance Expo, celebrating its sixth year in 2013, returned to St. Charles, Illinois, with new offerings for show attendees, along with a new three-day schedule that provided attendees with even more opportunities to learn about hot new products, sit in on seminars, talk with the experts and mingle with their racing peers.

Featuring 130 exhibitors, the sixth annual Race & Performance Expo added both the Offroad & Performance Truck Expo and Car Builder’s Showcase. The show targets enthusiasts of drag-racing, circle-track racing, high-performance street and engine builders with trucks and hot rods from some of the top custom car builders in the nation. The expo featured some of the top manufacturers in the industry showing off their products, along with the Circle Track Expo and Hot Rodders of Tomorrow Engine Challenge.

The Race & Performance Expo is the first of seven Engine Challenge qualifying events in 2013 for teams to earn their way into the national championship to be held at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Show in Indianapolis in December. This year’s Expo featured 24 teams with 12 different teams each getting two shots at producing the quickest time to advance to Indianapolis. The goal of competing in the Engine Challenge is to disassemble and reassemble identically prepared small-block Chevy engines in the shortest amount of time possible, with four team members working around the engine and one behind the parts table manning the components and providing the necessary tools.

Team Parts Pro from the Thomas County Central High School in Georgia captured the first round of the Engine Challenge with a time of 23 minutes, 28 seconds, which was a little more than three minutes quicker than runner-up Team Motive Gear from Joliet Central High School at 26 minutes, 42 seconds. Thomas County’s second squad, Team Flowmaster, finished third with a time of 26 minutes, 46 seconds.

More show coverage is available online.

Blue Torch Fab Jason Carner won at the Southeast Dirt Riot race in Alabama.

Blue Torch Fab Jason Carner Wins First Dirt Riot of 2013
Blue Torch Fab Jason Carner took his single seat Ultra4 car to the Southeast Dirt Riot race in Alabama and won just three weeks after competing in the King of the Hammers. The blue-and-white Miller Welders wrap on the car only lasted a short time before being covered with mud at The Great American Park in Auburn, Alabama.

The next Southeast Dirt Riot race will be at Gray Rock in Birmingham, Alabama, April 27.

POWRi Lucas Oil Outlaw Midgets Schedule Eight Events for Inaugural Season in New Hampshire, New York
POWRi Racing will sanction the POWRi Lucas Oil Outlaw Midget Series, which will run its inaugural season in 2013 with an eight-race schedule in New Hampshire and New York.

Greg Olson of Providence, Rhode Island, led a group of car owners and drivers from the Northeast who wanted to establish a touring series for Midgets on dirt and the search led them to POWRi's Kenny Brown, who co-founded the organization with Jim Siner in 2005.

Olson's group began racing five years ago at closed Whip City Speedway in Westfield, Massachusetts, and earned the "Outlaw" designation because it ran without a sanctioning body.

The Midget chassis will run under POWRi technical rules and engines will be Ford Focus or GM Ecotec and Quad-4. Racing procedures will adhere to the POWRi rulebook.

POWRi also sanctions the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget Series, POWRi Speedway Motors 600cc Outlaw Micro Series, POWRi Lucas Oil West Series, POWRi Lucas Oil Australian Speedcar Super Series and POWRi Lucas Oil New Zealand Midget Super Series. POWRi also is the promoter at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.

The Apex-I Lexus SC430 returns from 2012 with Pat Mordaunt behind the wheel.

Yokohama Tire Corp. Slides into Action with 2013 Drifting Program
Yokohama Tire Corp. (YTC) has announced it will participate as a Formula Drift tire supplier for the second consecutive year and partner with three teams for the 2013 season. Matt Johnson, YTC performance marketing supervisor, said drivers will run on ADVAN Neova AD08 and tires during the seven-event series, which starts April 12–13, at the Long Beach Grand Prix.

Two new teams will join the Yokohama family in 2013—the GSR Autosport BMW E46 piloted by Michael Essa, and the GTNET Tomei Powered Subaru BRZ driven by Toshiki Yoshioka. The Apex-I Lexus SC430 returns from 2012 with Pat Mordaunt behind the wheel.

Perris Auto Speedway Season Opener for Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series This Saturday
The Amsoil USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series, celebrating it’s 10th season anniversary, will make its 2013 debut at Perris Auto Speedway (PAS), Saturday, March 9. Joining the West Coast’s sprint car organization on this triple-header program will be two other divisions that call the PAS their home—the California Lightning Sprint Cars and PAS Senior Sprints. Spectator gates for the 18th season opener for open-wheel action will open at 5:00 p.m. and the first race will be at 7:00 p.m.

To win the title in 2013, all the other stars have to do is knock 31-year-old Mike Spencer off his pedestal. In 2012, Spencer became the first driver in the history of USAC to win five straight championships. In doing so, he has won five of the first nine USAC/CRA titles. On his march to the crown in 2012, Spencer achieved nine main event wins, 20 top-five finishes and 13 fast times.

Spencer began defense of his fifth straight championship last weekend at the Copper on Dirt at Canyon Speedway Park in Peoria, Arizona. He placed fifth in the main at the opener last Friday. On Saturday, he out-qualified the 26-car field, but early problems in the main slowed him and he was hit by another car and finished 23rd. He heads into Saturday’s race seventh in the point standings.

Last Friday night, Bryan Clauson won both the USAC/CRA main and the USAC Western Midget main at the Copper on Dirt. He backed up his Friday night performance when he won Midget main again on Saturday and came home third in the sprint car feature. Thus, he comes into Saturday’s event as the USAC/CRA point leader and he will be driving the same Mike Martin-owned car that he wheeled in last week’s races.

Saturday’s race will also feature the 20th anniversary season opener for the California Lightning Sprint Car Series. Smaller versions of their 410 brethren, they are powered by motorcycle engines and race with wings on top at the PAS. Bobby Michnowicz was the 2012 series champion, but will not be defending his crown in 2013, as he will be splitting the driving chores with his teenage son, Kevin.

Rounding out Saturday’s program will be the PAS Senior Sprint Cars. The Senior Sprints are for drivers 45 years of age and older with cars powered by 360-cid cast-iron block engines. Bruce Douglass is the defending champion in the Senior class.