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April 2018
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‘Motor Sports’ Articles

Dirt Track fans are you ready? Eldora Speedway opens this weekend!



It’s officially race season! The 65th Eldora Speedway Season Opener is on tap for this Saturday, April 21st. See below for important event information and links. And be sure to keep an eye on your inbox each event week this season for all the need-to-know details as we progress through the 2018 slate of events.

Start Times Announced
Saturday’s race has been flex-scheduled for a 4pm start time. Click the button for complete time schedule.
Ticket Information
All tickets for the April 21st Season Opener will be sold day-of-show. All seating is General Admission.
Live Video Stream
Can’t make the show? Watch live streaming PPV video on your computer or mobile device.
Directions to Eldora
First time coming to the track? Use the link below for directions and travel / construction updates.


Saturday, April 28
The Late Model LidLifter featuring Sunoco American Late Models, DIRTcar Modifieds & Eldora Stocks
Friday, May 11
Night one of #LetsRaceTwo weekend featuring the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars & USAC AMSOIL National Sprints
Saturday, May 12
Night two of #LetsRaceTwo weekend featuring the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars & USAC AMSOIL National Sprints
Saturday, May 19
The first of two Family FIREWORKS Nights in 2018. DIRTcar Modifieds, Eldora Stocks & a giant fireworks spectacular after the races.


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Helio Castroneves getting ready for Grand Prix at Indianapolis with open test at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama



Hélio Castroneves celebrating 2009 photo By Manningmbd - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https

For Immediate Release

Castroneves back in INDYCAR saddle again at Barber open test

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Tuesday, March 20, 2018) – He stood next to his race car, bouncing up and down with nervous energy. He only stopped to exchange handshakes and pleasantries with nearly everyone who saw him on pit road. He walked over to Tony Kanaan and had a brief chat.

Then it was time to put on his helmet and strap into the No. 3 Pennzoil Team Penske Chevrolet.

Helio Castroneves was back as a Verizon IndyCar Series driver, if only for the day.

BARBER MOTORSPORTS PARK OPEN TEST: Practice 1 resultsPractice 2 resultsCombined practice results

The three-time Indianapolis 500 winner was with Team Penske for an open test at Barber Motorsports Park today as he prepares to compete in the INDYCAR Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on May 12.

“It’s awesome,” said Castroneves, who is racing full time for Team Penske’s sports car program this season. “I’m so thankful to Roger (Penske) for letting me have this test to learn about the new car. The new car is really edgy on entry to the corners, but at the end of day, it’s faster, which makes it fun. Now I’m starting to sort it out and understand the tires but the whole scenario.”

The one-day test on the 2.3-mile permanent road course was Castroneves’ first chance to drive the 2018 Indy car, which with its new universal aero kit acts very differently from the car he last drove at Sonoma Raceway in September. The rust didn’t show as the Brazilian posted the third-fastest lap of the morning session at 1 minute, 8.3155 seconds (121.022 mph).

Team Penske dominated the day that was abbreviated by strong winds, cool temperatures and rain in the afternoon. Josef Newgarden, the defending Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama race winner and reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion, was fastest for the day with a lap of 1:07.9793 (121.802 mph) in the No. 1 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet. Will Power was second in the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet (1:08.1536, 121.490 mph).

All 24 drivers on hand turned laps in the morning. Only Castroneves ran in the light rain in the afternoon for a paltry eight laps. While he loved the return to Barber, the day was bittersweet for the winner of the inaugural race at the track in 2010. The 42-year-old won’t be competing in the race on April 27, focusing instead on the INDYCAR Grand Prix and 102nd Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil in May.

“It’s hard to come here and know that when the team comes back you won’t be racing,” said Castroneves. “I accepted the challenge of this new chapter in my life, but it’s great to get familiar with the car before the Indy 500. That’s the big one.”

Power, Castroneves’ teammate since 2009, welcomed the return of his friend to the team drivers’ lounge.

“He has the same sense of humor as me,” Power said. “He and I always team up and give the other guys trouble. I forgot how much fun it is having Helio in the room. Can’t wait for him to be around for the month of May.”

Seat time is vital for Castroneves, who will also participate in a March 27 open test on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval in preparation for his two-race May schedule. He must become familiar with the lower amount of downforce created by the new car and the effect on how it drives.

“It’s big-time (different),” Castroneves said. “In some of the corners you feel the rear (of the car) moving around. My first impression was, ‘Whoa, this is going to be tough.’ But as you get comfortable, you start to make changes.

“I forgot how a small change in an Indy car is a big change on the racetrack. In sports cars, the change isn’t so big. Also, the sports car has traction control, which this car doesn’t, so you have to take it easy. There are still a few details that I have to work out, but muscle memory kicks in and we’re getting there.”

The only incident of significance occurred when rookie Matheus “Matt” Leist went off track in the No. 4 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Racing Chevrolet. Leist was not injured.

“I was just doing a new tire run and then I got a little bit of grass in Turn 1 when I was about to brake and just lost the rear and hit the (tire) barrier, but I’m fine,” Leist said.

The next Verizon IndyCar Series race is the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix at ISM Raceway on Saturday, April 7 (9 p.m. ET). It will air live on NBCSN and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network, as will the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on April 27 (3 p.m.).

The INDYCAR Grand Prix on May 12 (3:30 p.m.) and the 102nd Indianapolis 500 (11 a.m.) both air live on ABC and the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network.





Anderson, Hight, Hines and Millican lead AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals in St. Louis area


MADISON, Ill. – Top Fuel pilot Clay Millican set the national elapsed time record for the category under the lights at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Robert Hight (Funny Car) Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also current No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the third of six playoff events during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
Millican raced his Parts Plus / Great Clips dragster to a 3.631-second pass at 330.39 mph at the home race for Stringer Performance during the second round of qualifying. He is chasing his fifth No. 1 qualifier of the season and 10th of his career.
“That run is 100-percent is David Grubnick doing his thing,” Millican stated. “He is the baddest dude out here right now and I don’t think anybody can argue that. He does it his way, there’s no shared information and it’s done with group of young guys. That’s Doug Stringer’s car that I get to go out and stomp on that loud pedal in.”
Tony Schumacher an eight-time world champion, ran a 3.680 pass at 327.66 in his U.S. Army dragster to put him in the second spot and Doug Kalitta is currently third in his Mac Tools dragster after a 3.681 at 331.85 run.
Hight set the track elapsed time record with his pass of 3.830 at 333.91 in his AAA Missouri Chevrolet Camaro SS Funny Car. Hight also set the track speed record at 338.60 during his first qualifying session. He is in pursuit of his seventh No. 1 qualifier of the season and 56th of his career.
“It’s more fun to sit back and watch my team work and you know what they’re up against when the conditions are like this,” Hight said. “No one is really talking but they’re focused on what they’re doing because they’re trying to make record run. We got six more points today, we were low each session. Forget records or anything else that’s what we’re here for.”
Teammate John Force follows in the No. 2 position in his PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet Camaro SS with a pass of 3.832 at 334.65 and points leader Ron Capps drove his NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger R/T to a pass of 3.849 at 332.51.
In Pro Stock, Anderson currently holds the top spot after driving to a 6.525 at 211.03 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro during his second pass of the day. He is in pursuit of his fourth No. 1 qualifier of the season.
“The conditions, weather and atmosphere didn’t change that much between the first run and second run,” Anderson stated. “The race track is maxing out the track gripper and it’s as good of a race track you’ll ever ever get and when you get conditions like that you need to just throw everything at it.”
Teammate and reigning world champion Jason Line is in the No. 2 position with a pass of 6.553 at 211.66 in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro and Drew Skillman follows in this third after a run of 6.535 at 211.56 in his Ray Skillman Chevrolet Camaro.
Hines took the lead in the Pro Stock Motorcycle class with a 6.802 at 196.19 in his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson during his first pass on Friday. He is seeking his second No. 1 qualifier of the season and 40th of his career.
“This sets the tone for the last three (races),” Hines said. “We need to come out of here strong and if we can maintain the No. 1 spot and get some more bonus points that would be awesome. We just need to do some damage on Sunday. It’s always good for team morale when you come out of the box and go Q1 to low and hopefully it will stick.”
Current reigning world champion Jerry Savoie currently sits second in his White Alligator Racing Suzuki after a pass of 6.817 at 197.28 and Scott Pollacheck is third in his Extended Protection Suzuki with a run of 6.820 at 195.28.
Qualifying resumes of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at 1:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. Saturday afternoon at Gateway Motorsports Park.
MADISON, Ill. — Friday’s results after the first two of four rounds of qualifying for the sixth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, 21st of 24 events in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Sunday’s final eliminations.
Top Fuel — 1. Clay Millican, 3.631 seconds, 330.39 mph; 2. Tony Schumacher, 3.680, 329.26; 3. Doug Kalitta, 3.681, 331.85; 4. Leah Pritchett, 3.697, 329.83; 5. Brittany Force, 3.714, 329.58; 6.
Richie Crampton, 3.714, 326.87; 7. Steve Torrence, 3.721, 325.37; 8. Dom Lagana, 3.729, 323.35; 9. Terry McMillen, 3.749, 321.27; 10. Antron Brown, 3.759, 325.45; 11. Pat Dakin, 3.768, 321.96; 12. Shawn Langdon, 3.768, 324.28; 13. Scott Palmer, 3.785, 320.97; 14. Troy Buff, 3.857, 314.17; 15. Terry Haddock, 3.993, 248.43; 16. Luigi Novelli, 4.263, 207.24. Not Qualified: 17. Kyle Wurtzel, 4.563, 169.17; 18. Ashley Sanford, 4.740, 155.90; 19. Chris Karamesines, 5.533, 118.60.
Funny Car — 1. Robert Hight, Chevy Camaro, 3.830, 338.60; 2. John Force, Camaro, 3.832, 335.32; 3. Ron Capps, Dodge Charger, 3.849, 332.51; 4. Alexis DeJoria, Toyota Camry, 3.863, 333.16; 5. Jack Beckman, Charger, 3.873, 331.77; 6. Courtney Force, Camaro, 3.877, 329.50; 7. Jonnie Lindberg, Camry, 3.885, 327.74; 8. Tommy Johnson Jr., Charger, 3.897, 325.30; 9. J.R. Todd, Camry, 3.907, 329.34; 10. Del Worsham, Camry, 3.910, 327.27; 11. Tim Wilkerson, Ford Mustang, 3.923, 325.37; 12. Matt Hagan, Charger, 3.930, 327.19; 13. Cruz Pedregon, Camry, 3.978, 323.27; 14. Brian Stewart, Mustang, 4.014, 285.11; 15. Jim Campbell, Charger, 4.053, 313.73; 16. Jeff Diehl, Toyota Solara, 4.153, 306.26. Not Qualified: 17. Dale Creasy Jr., 4.623, 184.07; 18. Bob Bode, 9.029, 90.03.
Pro Stock — 1. Greg Anderson, Chevy Camaro, 6.525, 211.06; 2. Jason Line, Camaro, 6.533, 211.79; 3. Drew Skillman, Camaro, 6.535, 211.56; 4. Bo Butner, Camaro, 6.542, 210.70; 5. Chris McGaha, Camaro, 6.548, 211.03; 6. Erica Enders, Camaro, 6.550, 210.87; 7. Tanner Gray, Camaro, 6.553, 210.34; 8. Allen Johnson, Dodge Dart, 6.575, 209.39; 9. Deric Kramer, Dart, 6.591, 208.49; 10. Larry Morgan, Camaro, 6.612, 208.46; 11. Alan Prusiensky, Dart, 6.886, 168.96; 12. Dave River, Chevy Cobalt, 6.906, 191.51; 13. Alex Laughlin, Camaro, 7.038, 155.01; 14. Mark Hogan, Pontiac GXP, 8.728, 113.16; 15. Brian Self, Camaro, 9.500, 98.77; 16. Jeg Coughlin, Camaro, 9.606, 95.73.
Pro Stock Motorcycle — 1. Andrew Hines, Harley-Davidson, 6.802, 196.19; 2. Jerry Savoie, Suzuki, 6.817, 197.28; 3. Scotty Pollacheck, Suzuki, 6.820, 195.28; 4. Matt Smith, Victory, 6.837, 194.88; 5. LE Tonglet, Suzuki, 6.841, 194.41; 6. Eddie Krawiec, Harley-Davidson, 6.846, 194.74; 7. Karen Stoffer, Suzuki, 6.867, 194.07; 8. Angie Smith, Buell, 6.869, 192.82; 9. Hector Arana Jr, Buell, 6.894, 194.13; 10. Joey Gladstone, Suzuki, 6.921, 192.08; 11. Mike Berry, Buell, 6.960, 192.03; 12. Marc Ingwersen, Buell, 7.009, 188.28; 13. Ryan Oehler, Buell, 7.211, 169.42; 14. Steve Johnson, Suzuki, 7.218, 153.56; 15. Andie Rawlings, Suzuki, 7.657, 174.14; 16. David Hope, Buell, 7.845, 127.17.

Friday qualifying at AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals in Greater St. Louis led by Mike Castellana


MADISON, Ill. – Mike Castellana ran the quickest during the first day of qualifying at the NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Drag Racing Series portion of the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park. This weekend’s Pro Mod racing, presented by Real Pro Mod Association, is the 11th of 12 events on the 2017 schedule.
Castellana raced a track elapsed-time record of 5.713-seconds at 253.85 mph in his Al Anabi Racing Chevrolet Camaro during the second round of qualifying.
“It’s great. I mean, my team worked hard getting the car ready,” said Castelana, who is the points leader and holds the national elapsed time record. “We did some testing and set the car up good. Hopefully we can remain consistent this weekend.”
Steven Whiteley is currently in the second position with a 5.757 pass at 248.02 in his Y-Not Racing / J&A Service Cadillac and Dan Stevenson is holding onto third with a 5.769 at 235.72.
NHRA J&A Service Pro Mod Series qualifying continues Saturday at approximately 12 p.m.
MADISON, Ill. — Friday’s results after the first two of three rounds of qualifying for the sixth annual AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway Motorsports Park, the 11th of 12 events in the NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. Qualifying will continue Saturday for Saturday’s first round of eliminations.
Pro Modified — 1. Mike Castellana, Chevy Camaro, 5.713, 253.85; 2. Steven Whiteley, Cadillac CTS-V, 5.757, 250.32; 3. Dan Stevenson, Camaro, 5.769, 235.72; 4. Khalid alBalooshi, Camaro, 5.781, 251.53; 5. Steve Matusek, Camaro, 5.781, 250.18; 6. Eric Latino, Camaro, 5.787, 252.71; 7. Troy Coughlin, Chevy Corvette, 5.788, 254.81; 8. Steve Jackson, Camaro, 5.791, 249.53; 9. Rickie Smith, Camaro, 5.793, 250.55; 10. Sidnei Frigo, Corvette, 5.798, 252.19; 11. Carl Stevens, Camaro, 5.800, 257.28; 12. Pete Farber, Dodge Daytona, 5.804, 250.60; 13. Bob Rahaim, Camaro, 5.810, 250.09; 14. Danny Rowe, Corvette, 5.810, 249.44; 15. Doug Winters, Chevy Chevelle, 5.815, 247.25; 16. Chip King, Dodge Charger, 5.823, 246.80. Not Qualified: 17. Jonathan Gray, 5.838, 248.98; 18. Chuck Little, 5.841, 244.07; 19. Michael Biehle, 5.869, 252.05; 20. Mike Janis, 5.884, 234.13; 21. Melanie Salemi, 5.922, 237.80; 22. Shane Molinari, 5.980, 250.37; 23. Billy Harper, 5.980, 240.38; 24. Jeffery Baker, 6.301, 234.25; 25. Brandon Pesz, 6.407, 167.68; 26. Clint Satterfield, 7.034, 200.95; 27. Harry Hruska, 7.853, 175.68; 28. Jim Whiteley, 10.190, 119.26; 29. Shannon Jenkins, broke.

NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle star LE Tonglet readies for Dodge Nationals in Pennsylvania


LE Tonglet in action (photo by National Dragster courtesy NHRA)




MOHNTON, Pa. – A class-best five wins during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series regular season showed the type of performance Pro Stock Motorcycle’s LE Tonglet is capable of this year. It’s also why Tonglet won’t let a slow start to the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship get him down heading to this weekend’s Dodge NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway.

Tonglet lost in the second round in Charlotte to teammate and reigning world champ Jerry Savoie, also dropping the points lead to event winner Eddie Krawiec. But pointing back to the type of performances he had repeatedly on his Nitro Fish Racing Suzuki, Tonglet fully expects to be back in prime form at the second stop of the NHRA’s six-race playoffs.

LE Tonglet (photo by National Dragster courtesy NHRA)

“It’s just getting back on track,” said Tonglet, who trails Krawiec by 48 points. “Every weekend in the Countdown is a very important one and we go into every race with the same mentality, and that’s to go rounds and try to win the race. We’re hungrier than ever and we’re going to give it our best shot. We’ve got two bikes capable of winning every race and the championship.”
Antron Brown (Top Fuel), Tommy Johnson Jr. (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Krawiec (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were last year’s winners of the event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including live final eliminations coverage starting at 2 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Sept. 24. The stop at Maple Grove Raceway is the middle race in a string of three straight events to open the Countdown to the Championship, and Tonglet is ready to get back on track.
He was incredible throughout the regular season, winning five times in a seven-race span, taking the points lead into the playoffs. But he wasn’t pleased with qualifying sixth in Charlotte and even more disappointed in having to race his teammate in the second round. A defeat to Savoie opened the door further for Krawiec, and Tonglet, who has 15 career wins, knows it is important to stop that momentum at Maple Grove Raceway. Krawiec has back-to-back wins, leading Hector Arana Jr. by 52 points, teammate Andrew Hines by 58 points and Savoie by 61.
“We didn’t qualify to the best of our abilities and you never want to meet your teammate in the second round,” said Tonglet, the 2010 PSM world champion. “That’s good for our competition and bad for us. I know Andrew and Eddie were happy to see us meet up. They’ve really turned the corner, but I know we can beat them. It’s a matter of getting our ducks in a row. I feel like we can outrun them and we just have to focus on making good, clean passes.”
Teaming up with Savoie has been beneficial for both riders, bringing two proven talents together. Both Tonglet and Savoie won championships as part of a one-bike team, and their success as a tandem this year ensures they will be in the title conversation until the end. But for Tonglet to return to the top spot, he needs to impress this weekend at the Dodge NHRA Nationals.
“I have all the confidence in the world in (crew chief) Tim (Kulungian) and everyone on the team,” Tonglet said. “They are great at what they do and Tim’s a hell of a tuner. I go to every race and feel confident, and that’s huge as a rider. Anytime you can take any jobs or stresses away from the rider, it can really help. Jerry and I bring out the best in each other.”
Back-to-back Top Fuel world champ Brown looks to rebound after an early Charlotte loss, chasing seven-time 2017 winner Steve Torrence and Doug Kalitta, the Charlotte winner and points leader.
Robert Hight took the Funny Car points lead with a win in Charlotte, and will look to hold off reigning world champ Ron Capps and defending event winner Johnson.
In Pro Stock, everyone is chasing red-hot rookie Tanner Gray, who took the points lead with his Charlotte win to open the Countdown to the Championship.
The event features thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series. After Nitro qualifying, fans can watch the spectacular Hanna Motorsports First Strike and Top Secret Eastern Raider Jet Funny Cars. They are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with pre-run flame shows.
As always, fans can interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers. Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
Before the race, the Mopar Mega Block Party will jump start the Dodge NHRA Nationals for the second consecutive year, with a full slate of free, fan-friendly activities from 4-10 p.m. on Thursday at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading. The event includes a home run derby with Mopar drivers and NHRA personalities, the unveiling of Top Fuel driver Leah Pritchett’s dragster with a wrap celebrating the Mopar brand’s 80th anniversary, and special recognition for retiring Mopar Pro Stock driver Allen Johnson. Dodge Challenger SRT Demon simulators, an NHRA driver autograph session, live bands, an all-Mopar car show, fireworks and more will also be part of the festivities.
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 1:45 and 4:15 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Sept. 23, at 12:45 and 3:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 24.
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 610-856-9200. Tickets also are available online at Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more info, visit ;
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