SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 26, June 30, 2011

Racing News: Tanner Foust 
in European Championship Contention After Round 4

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  Tanner Foust and the Rockstar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta lead the pack in Hell, Norway.

Rockstar Energy Drink Driver Tanner Foust 
in European Championship Contention After Round 4
Rockstar Energy Drink Driver Tanner Foust once again put on a spectacular show for fans of the European Rallycross Championship at Round 4 in Hell, Norway. The American driver set top times and was the fastest in the third qualifying heat to best hometown favorite—and defending champion—Sverre Isachsen.

The series visited a new track for this round, Lånkebanen at Hell, near Trondheim. Featuring huge elevation changes and a turn similar to Laguna Seca's famed "Corkscrew," the pressure was on for strong, technical driving. But during the A-Main final race, Foust's throttle stuck open and a bump by another competitor sent him flying into the wall at 60 mph. Although he was largely uninjured, the vehicle was damaged and he was unable to finish the race. He scored sixth-place points for the event.

The sport is notoriously rough and Foust said the incident reinforced the excellent safety features of his Rockstar Energy Drink Ford Fiesta rallycross car.

The next round of the championship this coming weekend in Sweden will see Foust return to the familiar Holjes track. It is one of the most popular rounds of the championship, with more than 30,000 fans camping for the weekend under near round-the-clock daylight in the northern community.

With a win earlier this season in Portugal and consistently fast performances all season long, Foust has proven a contender for the championship. Heading into the fifth of 10 rounds of the championship this coming weekend in Sweden, Foust is just three points out of first place and tied for third-place overall.

yates  
Chip Yates  

Chip Yates Rides Electric Superbike to Second in Class and a New World Record at the 89th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
American superbike rider and electric-vehicle pioneer Chip Yates has delivered another stunning race result with his homebuilt 240hp electric superbike at the 89th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, Sunday, June 26. Overcoming high winds, red flags, oil on the track and 2.6 miles of bumpy dirt, Yates achieved two new world records with his run of 12:50.094 while finishing second in the Exhibition Powersport class behind Grand National Champion Joe Kopp.

With 240 hp and 400 lb.-ft. of torque on tap from the UQM Technologies PowerPhase electric motor, the SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing Electric Superbike has become the most powerful motorcycle of any kind to ever finish the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in its 89-year history. More importantly, Yates and his team have claimed a new course world record for electric motorcycles at Pikes Peak, beating the previous time of 16:55.849 set by John Scollon in 2010 on an HM ElectroCat by a convincing 4:05.755 margin.

In addition to the impressive results shown by the team this year, the real story to come out of the weekend is the potential the electric superbike showed for a top finish next year when all 12.4 miles of the 156-corner public highway will be paved. This year, Yates had to contend with tip-toeing a nearly 600-lb. roadracing superbike through 2.6 miles of bumpy dirt road, where he lost significant time (more than 1 minute) to the race leaders, highlighted by the split times of the race.

In the first section of the course, which is paved asphalt, Yates’ split time was ninth out of 112 motorcycles as he demonstrated knee-dragging superbike racing techniques to more than 5,000 fans that lined the lower section of the mountain road. However, in the dirt section, Yates was 97th out of the 112 racers. In this first paved section of the hill climb, Yates’ electric superbike was only beaten by eight top riders: Carlin Dunne (race winner), Greg Tracy, Gary Trachy, Mark Cernicky, Stuart Sinclair, Joe Kopp, Mike Ell and Davey Durelle.

  nhra gibbs
  Steve Gibbs

Annual California Hot Rod Reunion Celebrates 20 Years
Don’t miss this year’s 20th celebration of nostalgic drag racing and hot rodding at the 2011 California Hot Rod Reunion presented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, October 21–23 at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield. The Reunion is a three-day festival of speed, hot rods and American automotive enthusiasm.

The season finale of the NHRA’s Hot Rod Heritage nostalgia drag racing series also takes place at the Reunion. Produced by the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, the Reunion is part of the museum’s “living history” philosophy, which works to bring to life the sights, sounds and people who made history in the early days of drag racing, land speed racing and the golden age of American car culture. This year, Grand Marshal Steve Gibbs will lead drag-racing legends, including honorees Harry Hibler, Wayne King, John Peters, Dwight Salisbury and George Santos.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at www.nhratix.com or by calling 800/884-NHRA.

Save Mart Supermarkets Signs Multi-Year Extension with Infineon Raceway
Save Mart Supermarkets has signed a multi-year agreement to continue as co-title sponsor of the annual NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Infineon Raceway. The partnership continues the raceway’s long-standing relationship with Save Mart Supermarkets, a Modesto, California-based grocery chain.

Save Mart has been either title sponsor or co-title sponsor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Infineon Raceway since 1992. Save Mart Supermarkets’ status as either title or co-title partner of the annual Cup event in Sonoma, California, is one of the longest runs in all of NASCAR Cup racing. It celebrates its 20-year anniversary in 2011 as a sponsor of NASCAR in Sonoma.

Save Mart served as title sponsor of the NASCAR Cup event from 1992–1997. It has combined with partners as co-title sponsor of the event since 1998. For the past five years, the event has been known as the Toyota/Save Mart 350. The new agreement is for five years, extending through 2016.

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  DJ Raw

Australian Star to Challenge Americans At Independence Day Celebration At Perris Auto Speedway
Australian invader DJ Raw is set to challenge the stars of the California Lightning Sprint (CLS) Car Series this Saturday night, July 2, when Perris Auto Speedway celebrates Independence Day. Joining the CLS on the night will be the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series, the City of Perris Centennial celebration and a fireworks show in Riverside County.

Spectator gates will open at 3:00 p.m. and the first race will be at 7:00 p.m. Fans around the world will be able to watch the race on the new PAS pay-per-view network for $4.99.
 


Raw will be behind the wheel of longtime racer and car builder Tobey Sampson's bright orange #82 for his USA debut. The 28-year-old racing star will be accompanied by brother Adam, who is the New  South Wales Lightning Sprint Car Series president.

“Monster” Tajima Breaks 10-Minute Mark, Takes
 Pikes Peak Championship for Sixth Straight Time
For the sixth consecutive time, Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima claimed overall victory in the 89th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, breaking his old record of 10:01.41 set in 2007, and lowering the mark by 10 seconds in the Unlimited Class, becoming the first driver to go below 10 minutes.
 
For the final half mile of his attempt, Tajima had to contend with an overheating radiator, as his 910hp Suzuki began to boil over. Wind gusts also threatened his effort, as he negotiated his race car through 156 turns from the start at 9,390 ft. to the 14,110-ft. summit.



The 60-year-old Japanese driver covered the 12.42-mile course in 9 minutes, 51.278 seconds, driving his GoPro Suzuki SX4 Hill Climb Special equipped with Falken tires. 
Before the race, Tajima predicted he would break the course record, finish under 10 minutes and win this special event, which was the final time the course would include a section of gravel.

New Zealand-born Rhys Millen was second in 10:09.24 in his Hyundai-powered RMR PM580 and Jean Philippe Dayraut was third in 10:17.77. 

Race officials said the course will be completely paved for the 2012 race, which may change driver strategy and tire choice next year, as well as the course record. In addressing fans and media post-race, Tajima slyly did not say if he planned to retire from the annual climb.

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