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Racing News: Garlits Named Grand Marshal of 2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race

Compiled by SEMA Editors

Don Garlits

Don Garlits Named Grand Marshal of 2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race Presented by Hagerty

Great Race officials have announced that legendary drag racer “Big Daddy” Don Garlits has been named as grand marshal of the 2017 Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagerty. This year’s event will begin in Jacksonville, Florida, Saturday, June 24, and make its way north along sections of the old Dixie Highway, to the finish line in Traverse City, Michigan, Sunday, July 2. The Great Race is a time-speed-endurance rally, which tests the limits of drivers, navigators and their classic vehicles. Only ’72-and-earlier vehicles are permitted to participate in the Great Race, and vehicles as early as ’16 will make the 2,300-mile trek from Florida to Michigan vying to win a piece of the $150,000 purse. The start of the Great Race in Jacksonville is free to the public, as the racers line up on Main Street in the historic Springfield section of downtown Jacksonville. The festivities kick off at 8:00 a.m., and Garlits will wave the green flag at 10:30 a.m.

General Tire
General Tire has renewed its partnership with the Best in the Desert (BITD) off-road racing series in a multi-year agreement.

General Tire Renews Best in the Desert Sponsorship

General Tire has renewed its partnership with the Best in the Desert (BITD) off-road racing series in a multi-year agreement. General Tire originally partnered with BITD in 2009 and will continue its role as “The Official Tire” of the series and title sponsor of the crown jewel race event, “Vegas to Reno,” held every August.

Mickey Thompson Tires to Sponsor Top Fuel Harley Series

NHRA officials have announced that Mickey Thompson Tires has signed a multi-year agreement to become the series sponsor of the Top Fuel Harley motorcycle category. The series will race at the upcoming NHRA New England Nationals, NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals and the NHRA Northwest Nationals. Starting with the 2018 season, points will be earned at each of the eight events towards a series championship. Bonuses will be awarded to the top three finishers for the Mickey Thompson Tires NHRA Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series. Riders will compete for a share of $97,000 in total awards between year-end prize money and the eight races next year.

global rallycross
Tanner Foust won last Saturday and led much of last Sunday’s final before a wheel failure ended his bid for a perfect weekend.

Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross Team Makes Three Podium Finishes in Red Bull Global Rallycross at Thompson Speedway

Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross mounted a successful effort at rounds 3–4 of the 2017 Red Bull Global Rallycross championship, earning a trio of podium finishes over the doubleheader weekend. Tanner Foust was the class of the field for much of the event, winning last Saturday and leading much of last Sunday’s final before a wheel failure ended his bid for a perfect weekend. Scott Speed found himself in recovery mode for much of the weekend, earning a pair of second-place finishes in two come-from-behind races. Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross will be back in action for the international leg of its season with another doubleheader weekend in Ottawa, Canada, June 17–18.

B. Force, Hagan, Enders Earn Victories at NHRA New England Nationals

Brittany Force raced to the Top Fuel victory last Sunday afternoon at the fifth annual NHRA New England Nationals at New England Dragway. Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Erica Enders (Pro Stock) also notched victories in their respective categories at the ninth of 24 events on the 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. Force earned the fourth victory of her career and first of the season with a pass of 3.716 seconds at 328.62 mph in her Monster Energy dragster to defeat Antron Brown who ran a 3.728 at 327.98 in his Matco Tools dragster in the final round. Force now sits at sixth in the points standings and is the fifth Top Fuel winner of the season. Hagan powered to the 25th victory of his career and third of the season with a 3.897 pass at 332.59 in his MOPAR Express Lane Dodge Charger Funny Car to defeat Courtney Force who ran a 3.927 at 332.34 in her Advance Auto Parts Chevy Camaro. Two-time Pro Stock world champion Enders secured her 22nd career victory and first since the fall Las Vegas event in 2015 with a 6.534 at 213.16 in her Elite Motorsports Chevy Camaro to defeat rookie Tanner Gray who ran a 6.550 at 212.06 in his Gray Motorsports Chevy Camaro. Enders now sits at sixth in the standings and is the seventh different Pro Stock winner of the season. The 2017 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season continues at the NHRA Summernationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, June 8–11.

Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis battled his way to victory at Wall Speedway in New Jersey.

Formula DRIFT Round 4: Aurimas Bakchis Fights His Way to Victory

Formula DRIFT Black Magic Pro Championship presented by BlackVue Dash Cameras returned to Wall Speedway in New Jersey for the fourth event of the season, where Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis in the Falken Tire/Drifz Wheels Nissan 240 battled his way to victory. The Final 4 pitted Michael Essa in the Achilles Tire/Essa Autosport BMW M3 against Kristaps Bluss in the HGK/Mast/Motul/Wisefab BMW E46 on one side of the bracket. The battle of the BMWs went to the 2013 champion Essa as he took advantage of a mistake by his opponent. Bakchis was set to face off against Matt Coffman in the Nexen Tire/Coffman Racing Nissan 240, but after failing to repair his vehicle within the allotted five minutes Coffman had to bow out, giving Bakchis the win. In the final battle, Essa faced off against Bakchis, with the first run being a competitive outing. The second battle ended as Essa’s tire debeaded off the bank, and Bakchis’ motor gave out just as he crossed the finish line. Bluss rounded out the podium in third place for the second consecutive event. The action continues to Round 5: True North at Autodrome St-Eustache in Montreal, Canada, July 15–16.