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May 16, 2018
 

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Horizon


Tuesday
Jul222008

Horizon #455

July 23, 2008

NASCAR. The fallout from GM's strongly-worded message that it was reviewing its NASCAR sponsorship commitments and overall involvement has failed to register with the France family's vaunted marketing machine. Even thought the sky is still blue down in Daytona Beach, denial is a very dangerous thing for NASCAR at this point in time. There will be more to this story in the coming months, folks. Much more.

Lucas Luhr, Marco Werner, Audi, Michelin. The Audi Sport North America team returned to prominence at Mid-Ohio with a 1-2 finish in the Acura Sports Car Challenge on Saturday with Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner taking the first overall victory for the R10 TDI since April. Luhr crossed the finish line 7.717 seconds ahead of teammates Emanuele Pirro and Dindo Capello. Luhr drove the last hour and 55 minutes with the same set of Michelin tires and one more stop for fuel. “No one expected us to win,” said Audi’s Lucas Luhr, noting the Penske Porsche’s overall victories at Mid-Ohio in each of the past two years. “Over the winter, we made some progress on our car together with Michelin. My engineer saw the Michelin performance today and how we could pull away on the restarts. He said ‘we will use those tires for the rest of the race,’ it was the key for us winning. We did not change tires, everyone else did, and even on old tires we still pulled away. Tires are really an important part of the combination. Thank you to Michelin.”  Audi's victory broke a string of two consecutive overall wins for Penske Racing and Porsche at Mid-Ohio. Penske Racing's Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard won for the fourth straight year at Mid-Ohio and the third consecutive season in LMP2. Dumas held off a hard-charging David Brabham in the closing minutes and won by 0.609 seconds. Johnny O'Connell and Jan Magnussen won for the fifth time this season and fourth race in a row in their No. 3 Compuware Corvette C6R, but a race down pit lane with the other Corvette Racing team car was all the "buzz." Both cars pitted at the two-hour mark and left their pit boxes at the same time. O'Connell and Olivier Beretta raced to the pit exit, banging fenders and running a red flag in the process. Beretta came out first, but both cars were penalized a total of seven minutes and 40 seconds for the incident. Once they were back out, O'Connell made the winning pass with 25 minutes remaining. "A lot of people might think that we are not a competitive group," O'Connell said. "That was a situation that came out of the long yellow. It was two guys arguing for the same area of road. I thought it should have been mine and he thought it was his. It wasn't hitting that hard. It was just like two buddies punching each other on the arm." The victory gave O'Connell and Magnussen a 16-point lead in the championship over Beretta and Oliver Gavin. "We are here to win," Magnussen said. "We have to do our very best to beat them and make no mistakes. Sometimes it gets to this level. We are not parading around the track." Finally, Tafel Racing's Dirk Mueller and Dominik Farnbacher won for the first time in GT2 since Long Beach in April and the third time this season by taking a dominating victory with their Ferrari F430 GT. Mueller took the checkered flag by 1:04.135 ahead of Flying Lizard Motorsports' Johannes van Overbeek, who teamed with Patrick Pilet in the No. 46 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR. Next up for the American Le Mans Series is the Generac 500 at Road America presented by Time Warner Cable on Saturday, August 9 from Elkhart Lake, Wis. The four-hour race will start at 4 p.m. CT with SPEED televising the race starting at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday, August 10. XM will air the race from 4 to 8 p.m. ET on Sunday via SportsNation Channel 144.


(Copyright © 2008, John Thawley ~ Creative Communications Group All rights reserved.)
Lucas Luhr and Marco Werner celebrate their overall win at Mid-Ohio. Check out John Thawley's Gallery from the Mid-Ohio ALMS weekend by clicking here.

Ryan Briscoe, Team Penske. Ryan Briscoe (No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone) won his second IndyCar Series victory of the season and led a Team Penske sweep of the top two positions in the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by Westfield Insurance last Sunday. “What a weekend for Team Penske," Briscoe said afterwards. "It really couldn’t be better. It just feels so good to get this win. It’s been a rough couple of weeks in the lead up to here, and this one’s sweet for sure. What a comeback. It’s all strategy from Roger Penske himself. I don’t know if it’s momentum, because the two races in the lead up to this one weren’t so good, but hopefully we’ll keep some momentum from here.” Helio Castroneves (No. 3 Team Penske D/H/F) finished second (his 10th top-five finish of the season), and Scott Dixon (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing D/H/F) came home third (his 10th top-five finish of the season). Briscoe led 18 laps of the 85-lap race on the 2.258-mile, 13-turn circuit after starting next to his pole-sitting teammate on the front row, and he built as much as a nine-second lead in the final laps, claiming the victory by 7.2640 seconds. Dixon, last year’s winner at Mid-Ohio, saw his lead in the championship over Castroneves narrowed by five points to 58. Next up is the Rexall Edmonton Indy July 26 at Edmonton City Centre Airport. The race will be telecast live in High Definition at 5 p.m. (EDT) by ESPN.

(Dan Helrigel/IRL)
Ryan Briscoe (No. 3 Team Penske Honda-powered Dallara) turned in an outstanding drive to win at Mid-Ohio last Sunday. If this kid gets in a groove, his competitors better watch out.

(Dan Helrigel/IRL)
James Davison (No. 11 Lifelock/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, above) takes the green flag in the Firestone Indy Lights Race No. 2 at Mid-Ohio last Sunday. Davison won the bizarre Firestone Indy Lights race that had three different drivers lead the final three laps. A wet course due to heavy rain immediately before the race led to numerous cars going off course throughout the 20-lap race. Pole sitter Jonny Reid led the first 16 laps before he was passed by Mitch Cunningham. Cunningham led Laps 17-18 but spun off course with two laps to go. Reid was the leader when the white flag flew, but mistakenly headed to pit lane before taking the checkered. Davison, who started seventh, was the beneficiary and claimed his first career victory. Wade Cunningham finished second, and Pablo Donoso finished third. Richard Antinucci finished 14th and took a one-point lead in the championship over Raphael Matos, who finished 18th. On Saturday, Raphael Matos won Race No. 1 of the Firestone Indy Lights weekend doubleheader with a 40-lap, flag-to-flag victory.

Kuno Wittmer, RealTime Racing, Acura. Montreal’s Kuno Wittmer (No. 44 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Oil Acura TSX) captured his third win of the season in Round Seven of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last weekend. RealTime Racing teammate and pole sitter Peter Cunningham (No. 42 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Oil Acura TSX ), of Milwaukee, Wis., finished second, followed by rookie Jim Daniels (No. 75 Mazdaspeed/Stoptech/Racinghart MAZDA6), of Germantown, Tenn, who also set the fastest lap of the race, a 1:34.152 (86.337 mph). “It feels really, really great,” Wittmer said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better race from start to finish. The RealTime guys did a very good job of making the car fast and consistent throughout the race." Wittmer now has 705 points in the Drivers’ Championship and takes over the lead from previous leader, RealTime Racing's Pierre Kleinubing. Cunningham now lies second in the Drivers’ Championship, with 682 points, to Kleinubing’s 648. Acura continues to lead Mazda in the SCCA SPEED Touring Car Manufacturers’ Championship Presented by RACER Magazine, 61 points to 41. Round Seven of the SCCA SPEED Touring Championship will air on SPEED on July 24 at noon (EDT). Round Eight will take place at Road America August 8-10.

(Photo©SCCA/Mark Weber)
RealTime Racing's Kuno Wittmer (No. 44) leads teammate Peter Cunningham (No. 42) to a 1-2 finish at Mid-Ohio.

Tommy Archer, Woodhouse Performance, Dodge. Tommy Archer (No. 13 Foametix/Woodhouse Performance Dodge Viper), of Duluth, Minn., started from the pole and led every lap last Sunday to win the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course SPEED GT Presented by Remington race, Round Five of the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship. Brandon Davis (No. 10 ACS/Sun Microsystems Ford Mustang Cobra), of Huntington Beach, Calif., and Andy Pilgrim (No. 8 Remington Shaving and Grooming Cadillac CTS-V), of Boca Raton, Fla., completed the top three. Archer beat Davis by 1.224 seconds, averaging 77.075 mph over the 29-lap, 65.481-mile race, to capture his second win of the season. Tommy Milner, making his first appearance in the No. 21 Rahal Letterman Racing Aston Martin DB9, charged up to third at one point until he dropped a wheel off and spun out of contention in the Carousel on lap 22. Milner set the race’s fastest lap of 1:28.072 (92.297 mph). Randy Pobst leads the championship by 13 over Andy Pilgrim (503 to 490). Davis remains third, with 455. Porsche leads the SCCA SPEED GT Manufacturers’ Championship Presented by RACER Magazine with 31, followed by Cadillac (29), Ford (28) and Dodge (23). This race can be seen Thursday, July 24 at 1 p.m. (EDT) on SPEED. Next up is Elkhart Lake for the Road America SPEED GT Presented by Remington Aug. 8-10.

(Photo©SCCA/Mark Weber)
Tommy Archer dominated the SPEED GT race at Mid-Ohio.


Fehan vs. Gavin. It will be the USA vs. England, experience and treachery vs. youth and enthusiasm, and management vs. labor when Corvette Racing program manager Doug Fehan takes on Corvette Racing driver Oliver Gavin in a winner-take-all bicycle race at the Tour de Road America on Friday, August 8. The Corvette Challenge match race will pit Fehan, 60, from Birmingham, Mich., against Gavin, 35, of Yardley Hastings, England. They'll race one lap around the punishing 4.048-mile, 14-turn Road America course in the Tour de Road America Bike Ride to Fight Cancer to establish bragging rights in Chevrolet's championship-winning road racing team. The two-wheeled grudge race is a prelude to the four-hour American Le Mans Series Generac 500 at Road America on August 9. "Fitness plays an important role throughout the Corvette Racing team," said Fehan, who will compete in the Michigan Senior Olympics. "As program manager, I try to lead by example – and it's clear that some team members need a little work. Finishing the London Marathon was certainly a glamorous achievement for Oliver, but a bike race at Road America will separate the men from the boys. Remember, the British had the prettiest uniforms, but we won the war!"  "I'm younger, fitter, stronger – and smarter," countered Gavin, a three-time ALMS champion. "Despite his advanced age, I'm sure that Doug will push himself hard because he wants to win as badly as I do. Knowing him as I do, I'm confident that it won't be a clean fight, but I've got some tricks up my sleeve as well. I've done marathons and triathlons, but the bicycle race with Doug will certainly be the greatest challenge yet. I'm not sure if it's a good career move to beat the boss, but I'm going for it!" Fans can show their support for either Fehan or Gavin by pledging donations to the Lance Armstrong Foundation online at . Corvette Racing fans can also pledge donations in person at the Corvette Corral or by mail with a form downloaded from . Gavin and Fehan will be joined on the track by their fellow drivers and team members, race fans, families, local cyclists, and cancer survivors. The ride is open to cyclists of all abilities and all kinds of bikes. Proceeds of the fundraiser support the cancer survivorship, advocacy, education, and research programs of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Camp, and the Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic.

(Ford)
A 1923 specially restored Ford Model T returned to the famous Le Mans 24 Hours circuit for the 2008 Le Mans Classic, held July 12-13. This significant car took part in the very first Le Mans 24 hour race in 1923, and never before has such an old car participated in the prestigious biennial meeting of the Le Mans Classic. This year marks
the one hundredth birthday of the Ford Model T.

Lewis Hamilton. The McLaren-Mercedes ace laid waste to his rivals last weekend in an outstanding drive. Hamilton's critics are rapidly running out of ammo. This just in - the kid is good.

Valentino Rossi. The Italian MotoGP star was simply brilliant last weekend at Laguna Seca. His move on Casey Stoner in "The Corkscrew" will remain one of the most memorable - and incredible - passes in motorsport history.

Max Mosley.  He wins his court case against The News of the World, a British judge agreeing Thursday that the tabloid newspaper breached the privacy of Mosley, the head of the FIA. The judge, Sir David Eady, awarded Mosley, 68, damages of about $120,000 and legal costs estimated to be at least $850,000 in his lawsuit against the tabloid. “I found that there was no evidence that the gathering of March 28, 2008, was intended to be an enactment of Nazi behavior or adoption of any of its attitudes,” the judge wrote. But, all was not great for Mosley, as the judge denied the punitive damages he sought for millions of dollars. The damage done to Mr. Mosley’s reputation by “the embarrassing personal information” disclosed by the newspaper, reported The New York Times, “cannot be mitigated by simply adding a few noughts to the number first thought of,” the judge said. True.







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