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Racing News: Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud Races Chevy to Victory

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Simon Pagenaud took the checkered flag in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 24 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham.

Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud Races Chevy to Victory

Driving his PPG-painted car, the No. 22 PPG Team Penske Dallara/Chevrolet, Simon Pagenaud took the checkered flag in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 24 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham. It was Pagenaud’s second consecutive Verizon IndyCar Series win. The previous week Pagenaud, a native of France, raced to victory in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Pagenaud now has captured two victories and two second-place finishes for Team Penske in the first four races of the 2016 season, putting him at the top of the series’ driver point standings in just his second season with Team Penske.

Jaynes and Godfrey in the Caballo del Diablo Bronco Win the Pioneer 4x4 Class at the Mexican 1000

The 2016 NORRA Mexican 1000 race has ended at the tip of the Baja peninsula in Cabo, and the Caballo del Diablo team, headed by Boyd Jaynes, captured a first-place finish in the Pioneer 4x4 class and earned the Steve McQueen memorial trophy. Driver Jaynes and copilot Brian Godfrey took on the “Evil Mariachi” theme this year.

royal purple
Royal Purple will sponsor the Ed Carpenter Racing Verizon IndyCar Series team for the 2016 race season. Photo Credit: Royal Purple

Royal Purple Revs Up for the Indy 500 as Sponsor of Ed Carpenter Racing

Just in time for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, Royal Purple has announced its sponsorship of the Ed Carpenter Racing Verizon IndyCar Series team for the 2016 race season. Beginning May 29, the Royal Purple logo will adorn the engine cover of the Ed Carpenter Racing No. 20 Chevrolet, driven by IndyCar racer Ed Carpenter. In celebration of its partnership, Royal Purple is launching the 2016 Royal Purple Indy 500 Sweepstakes, offering race fans the opportunity to win a one-of-a-kind Royal Purple racing helmet signed by Carpenter. Until June 1, fans can enter the sweepstakes by completing the online entry form at Following the close of the sweepstakes’ entry period, one winner will be chosen at random to receive the grand prize.

RSI Petroleum Signs on With VP Racing Fuels Branding Program; VP Named Official Fuel of the New Heartland Park Topeka

Officials with VP Racing Fuels have introduced RSI Petroleum Products as the newest partner in its retail branding program. Based in Mojave, California, RSI supplies 60 retail sites throughout Southern California, primarily east of the Sierra Nevada range. In addition, VP Racing Fuels has been named the New Heartland Park Topeka official fuel for 2016 and 2017. The sponsorship encompasses Heartland Park’s dragstrip, oval track, road course and a new motocross track opening this month. As part of the agreement, the track will have three blends of VP Racing Fuels available at its fuel station with service provided by VP Heartland—VP’s distributor based in Manhattan, Kansas.

The 16th Annual WyoTech NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals Presented by Juggernaut Power was held at Maple Grove Raceway.

Race Wrap for 16th Annual WyoTech NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals Presented by Juggernaut Power at Maple Grove Raceway

Included in the finished categories at the 16th Annual WyoTech NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals presented by Juggernaut Power were JPC Racing Turbo Coyote Shootout, QA1 True Street, Muscle Mustangs All-Female Shootout presented by American Muscle, Micro Strategies Stock/Super Stock Combo, all three Bracket categories and G-Force Racing Transmissions Pure Street. The remainder of the index and heads-up eliminators will be completed during the next stop on the NMRA tour—the SuperNationals held at National Trail Raceway (Hebron, Ohio) over the weekend of June 9–12, 2016.

G-Force Racing Transmissions Pure Street: Teddy Weaver in the Roush-powered Terminator clone took out Tommy Godfrey by rushing to the finish line in 9.557 at 139.54 mph. Godfrey ran 9.757 at 137.86 mph to secure runner-up honors.

JPC Racing Turbo Coyote Shootout: Ronnie Reynolds beat fellow JPC Racing-built ride of Brad Bench with a 7.796 at 179.61 mph to Bench’s 8.925 at 141.91 mph.

QA1 True Street: The overall winner honor was awarded to Mike Jovanis, who secured the win with an 8.458 average. Other winners included Brian Culmone (9-second), Joe Cascio (10-second), Scott Lehr (11-second), Robert Foley (12-second), William McCurdy (13-second), Chris Bremer (14-second) and Michael Phillips (15-second).

All-Female Shootout, presented by American Muscle: Leslie Upole ran 10.747 at 123.40 mph in her Maverick and beat Nikki Frost, who posted a career-best of 10.871 at 117.87 mph.

Micro Strategies Stock/Super Stock: Chris Bowman in an ’84 Mustang GT in stock trim defeated an ’08 Cobra Jet driven by NHRA driver Ray Scardelli. 

Four categories were developed for a Ford-only race with B1 acting as Fast Ford, B2 Quick Ford, B3 Street Ford, and B4 Nostalgia Ford. Shane Williams, who was double entered in Exedy Racing Clutch Modular Muscle, survived four rounds in B1 Fast Ford to take the win. Rodger Vogel was the B2 Quick Ford winner while John Grater was the B3 Street Ford victor. The final bracket race winner was Joe Grippo in his ’66 Ford Fairlane, which took the B4 Nostalgia Ford eliminator.

Jeff Jones in the DOC Nissan S14 took the victory and the lead in the standings at Road Atlanta.

Jeff Jones Takes Formula DRIFT PRO 2 Victory at the Advance Auto Parts Road to the Championship Presented by Gumout

Formula DRIFT PRO 2 entered Road Atlanta for the first round of the PRO 2 championship where Jeff Jones in the DOC Nissan S14 took the victory and the lead in the standings. The inaugural event for PRO 2 at Road Atlanta kicked off the PRO 2 championship season. The 2016 Formula DRIFT Pro Championship will continue to Round 3: Uncharted Territory, June 3–4, at Orlando Speedworld. 

Tanner Foust.

Tanner Foust to Charge for Global Rallycross Title

Rockstar Energy Drink driver Tanner Foust has unveiled a new look for the Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Beetle that he will drive during his 2016 Global Rallycross Championship campaign. The two-time Global Rallycross champion finished third in the 2015 championship points, and this year returns to the Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross team. He and teammate Scott Speed dominated the second half of the 2015 season with Foust finishing on the podium at five of the series’ 12 rounds, including three outright wins. Foust takes on four championship races in three international series this month. Following his 2016 Formula Drift debut at Road Atlanta in the 900hp Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Passat this past weekend, he travels to Phoenix to open the Global Rallycross season with a doubleheader May 22–25. He next appears at World RX of Great Britain for the first of two World Rallycross Championship races on his schedule this year with Volkswagen RX Sweden in the Rockstar Energy Drink Volkswagen Polo. The American driver won the Lydden Hill race in 2012 and 2013.

Vaughn Gittin Jr.

Vaughn Gittin Jr. Runs a Perfect Weekend at Formula DRIFT Atlanta

Team Nitto driver Vaughn Gittin Jr. has claimed victory at Formula DRIFT’s “Road to the Championship” at Road Atlanta, marking the first time that Gittin has completed a “perfect weekend,” sweeping both qualifying and the race, in his career. At this year’s event, Gittin Jr. laid down a perfect qualifying run that earned him the number-one spot in the Top 32. The next day, Gittin put down a series of flawless runs and emerged victorious from the Top 4 where he squared off against two other past champions in one of the closest competitions of the season. Vaughn’s performance also helped catapult him into the lead in the 2016 series points championship after the former points leaders were knocked out of the first round of competition. Gittin Jr.’s win at Road Atlanta marks his first race win for his new ’16 Monster Energy Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR.

Larry Morgan. Photo credit: Anne Proffit

Quarter Mile Foundation Announces Larry Morgan Roast “Roasters,” Master of Ceremonies

The Quarter Mile Foundation’s roast—themed “A Cavalcade of Laughter”—of Pro Stock drag-racing star Larry Morgan of Newark, Ohio, will feature  a lineup of former Pro Stock and sportsman drag-racing stars known for their sharp wit and humor. The roast will be held at The Colonnade, north of Milan, Ohio, Thursday, June 23, 2016, during the NHRA/Mello Yello Summit Racing Equipment Nationals drag-race weekend. Bill Bader Jr., president of Summit Racing Equipment Motorsport Park, will serve as the evening’s “ringmaster” of ceremonies. Morgan personally selected his roasters: Tony Christian – Modified Eliminator, Pro Stock and Pro Street star; Ian Landies Jr. – Competition Eliminator racer; Pat Musi – engine builder, Pro Street pioneer; John Nobile – IHRA Pro Stock World Champion, NHRA Pro Stock; Ollie Volpe – business manager, Reher-Morrison Racing Engines and former Mr. Gasket director of racer services and Gas-class racer; and Billy Wagner – former Larry Morgan Racing crew chief.

Activities will commence at 6:00 p.m., with a cocktail reception hour, followed by a buffet dinner. The roast festivities will begin at approximately 8:00 p.m. Tickets may be ordered online at Eventbrite or by visiting the Quarter Mile Foundation’s website. Proceeds from a live auction from the stage and a silent auction during the cocktail hour and dinner will benefit the Quarter Mile Foundation. For further information, contact Traci Hrudka at the Quarter Mile Foundation.