Friday, October 21, 2011

Ron Silk tops NASCAR Hunter Index for October

Ron Silk, who won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Series championship last week in Connecticut, was voted as the top driver in the NASCAR Hunter Index for October.
He won two Whelen Modified races in September, including one at New Hampshire International Speedway, and took over the lead in the Whelen Modified standings.
No drivers from the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West were ranked in the top 10. Three drivers from the K&N Pro Series East were in the top 10, including Sergio Pena, who won at Greenville Pickens Speedway in South Carolina. He came in at No. 9.
Go to NASCAR Home Tracks for more on the Hunter Index.

Photo: NASCAR Whelen Modified driver Ron Silk was voted as the top driver in the Hunter Index for October. (Getty Images)

Greg Pursley wraps up NASCAR West Series championship

With a runner-up finish at All American Speedway in Roseville, Greg Pursley won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship.
Pursley won six of the first eight West Series races en route to capturing the first West Series championship of his career.
Eric Holmes won the West Series race at Roseville, his second in a row.
Go to the K&N website for more on the West Series race from Roseville.

Photo: Greg Pursley finished second at All American Speedway in Roseville and won the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship.(Credit: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dan Wheldon, Bryan Herta made a good team

During the Long Beach Grand Prix in April, Bryan Herta announced that Dan Wheldon was going to drive one of his cars in the Indianapolis 500.
Bryan Herta Autosport was making its second trip to the Brickyard, but this time with an IndyCar Series champion and Indy 500 winner.
It was an amazing partnership. Herta was running a fledgling Firestone Indy Lights team and entered only one IndyCar Series race prior to the 2011 Indianapolis 500.
Wheldon, who won the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series championship with Andretti Green Racing in 2005, did not have a full-time ride and was available.
Wheldon and Herta teamed up – they were teammates with Andretti Green for nearly four years – and pulled off one of the most dramatic wins in Indy 500 history.
Wheldon took the lead from J.R. Hildebrand on the last turn of the last lap of the race. Hildebrand, a rookie driver who had a comfortable lead as the Indy 500 winded down, slid into the turn 4 wall. His mangled car crossed the finish line in second place.
Wheldon had enough time to pass Hildebrand and win his second Indy 500.
Wheldon and Herta, a Hart High graduate who lives in Valencia, teamed up once again for the IndyCar Series season finale this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Wheldon was driving one of two entries from Bryan Herta Autosport in the race.
But the Las Vegas race did not have quite the fairy-tale ending that Indianapolis had. Wheldon died tragically in a fiery crash on lap 12 of the Las Vegas race. He was caught up in a 15-car crash that sent two cars into the track’s catch fence.
Three drivers were hospitalized in the wreck. Wheldon was taken by helicopter to University Medical Center in Las Vegas. Reports were that he was unconscious, but in stable condition, when he left the race track.
IndyCar Series officials announced that Wheldon had died almost two hours after the crash.

“Everyone at Bryan Herta Autosport is reeling from the loss of our friend and teammate Dan Wheldon," Herta said in a release. "Dan was the glue that bound our little team together. It was his spark and belief in us that carried us all to Victory Lane at Indianapolis this year, and his legacy within the sport as a tremendous champion and competitor is unquestioned. But more than that, Dan became my little brother from our time together as teammates at AGR. I watched with pride as he developed from the brash young hotshot on the circuit to a man who was a great husband and father, ambassador, friend, champion and hero."
The remaining 19 drivers in the race, those whose cars were not wrecked in the crash, paid tribute to Wheldon with a five-lap parade around the track.
The drivers, teams and IndyCar Series officials decided not to continue the race.
Wheldon had to start from the back of the 34-car field. He was the only driver taking the IndyCar Series challenge. Any driver who was not full time in the IndyCar Series could enter the race with a chance to win $5 million. The only stipulation was that those drivers had to start from the back.
Wheldon competed in only two IndyCar Series races prior to the Las Vegas race. He won the Indy 500 and was 14th at Kentucky Speedway two weeks ago.
Much of the blame for the deadly crash is being put on the number of cars in the field, 34, one more than the starting grid for the Indy 500. The large entry field combined with the 1.5-mile track, compared to the 2.5 mile track at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, made for a deadly combination, some are saying.
Wheldon moved up 10 places in the first 10 laps of the race. He was in the middle of a pack of drivers with little experience and little to lose. In the end though, it was Wheldon who paid the ultimate price for other drivers’ mistakes.
A driver hasn’t died in an IndyCar Series race since Paul Dana at Homestead-Miami Speedway crashed in practice in 2006. Even Hildebrand’s crash at this year Indy 500, as scary as it was, was not fatal. Safety at the tracks and in the race cars have improved so much is such a short time.
It will be some time before the cause of Wheldon’s death is determined. Hopefully, the impact of his life will be remembered for a long time to come.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with Susie and the boys, and all of Dan’s family and fans who are trying to make sense of this terrible loss," Herta said in a release. "We are all lucky and blessed to have had Dan Wheldon influence our lives, and his spirit lives on in each one of us. Godspeed my friend.”
Photo: The No. 77 of Dan Wheldon was the only one displayed on the scoring pylon at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after the driver was killed in a crash at the track on Sunday. (Chris Jones)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Five track championships decided at Irwindale

Connor Cantrell of Santa Clarita wrapped up the Super Trucks championship by finishing second in the season finale race at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale on Saturday night.
Ryan Partridge of Rancho Cucamonga won the final race of the season.
Cantrell came into the season finale with a four-race winning streak and a 40-point lead over Partridge, who won the Super Trucks championship at Irwindale last year.
Todd Cameron of Monrovia was third, followed by Matt Kimball and Ken Brown.
Andrew Anderson of Lancaster won the S2 stock car championship by winning the season finale at Toyota Speedway at Irwindale on Saturday night.
Anderson had an 18-point lead over Andrew Porter of La Verne in the S2 stock car standings. Anderson won his fourth S2 stock car races this season. Porter won three races and finished second in the season finale.
Jessica Clark, a senior at Westlake High School, scored her first podium finish in the S2 stock cars. She finished third, her second top-five finish of the season.
Chad Schug of Oak Hills won the Legends Cars championship. He won eight races at Irwindale and came into the season finale with a 52-point lead over Brent Scheidmantle of Alta Loma.
Christian McGhee capped his championship season in the Bandoleros by winning the season finale. He finished ahead of Daniel Nikolai of Granada Hills, who was second, and Mikael Lovas of Menifee in third.
McGhee had a four-point lead over Nikolai in the Bandoleros standings at the start of the night.
Curtis White of Norwalk won the NASCAR Super Stocks race and track championship, leap-frogging Rich DeLong III of Santa Clarita on the last race of the season.
White won the championship by two points over De Long. It was his second win of the season.
De Long came into the season finale with a slim two-point lead over White in the Super Stocks standings. Zack Green of Long Beach was 18 points out of first.
De Long finished third in the season finale race. Green was fourth.