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Archive for November, 2011

ASA National Champion Tryout Highlights & Mike Neff on This Week in ASA Racing

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – It will be another fun hour this Thursday night on “This Week in ASA Racing.” Mike Neff will be on to help give the highlights of the ASA Joe Gibbs Driven Racing Oil Member Track National Championship tryout and share his thoughts on short track racing.

The new episode will air on Thursday at 7pm Eastern on RaceTalkRadio.com.

Mike Neff is the short track coordinator for frontstretch.com. He was in attendance at Ace Speedway for Barry Beggarly’s tryout with Joe Gibbs Racing. He will be on to give his perspective of the tryout and will then join Kevin Ramsell and Dennis Michaelsen in a roundtable discussion about short track racing.

You will also hear from the 2011 ASA National Champion about his exciting two days where he also had the opportunity to meet Coach Joe Gibbs, have a visit with JD Gibb, JGR President, and get an up close tour of Joe Gibbs Racing. Also, Bryant Frasier, Beggarly’s crew chief for the test, will give his thoughts on the daylong test session.

Fans can also listen live on your smart phone, or you can learn more by logging on to www.racetalkradio.com/mobile.html.

For the fans who cannot listen to the live broadcast, do not worry, there will be a replay available online at www.asa-racing.com. Fans can also subscribe to receive a podcast through iTunes, just look for ASA Racing.

Let your friends know about the radio show and follow us on Facebook www.facebook.com/american.speed.assoc and Twitter @amerspeedassoc.

To learn more about the ASA Member Tracks and Sanctioned Series in your area, please visit www.asa-racing.com.

The American Speed Association started as a single racing series in 1968 and is a fast growing racing sanctioning body today. The ASA Member Track program sanctions dirt and asphalt short tracks along with road courses around the United States, as well as a variety of regional and national touring series. For more information call (386) 258-2221, or send an email to info@asa-racing.com. The latest news and information from all the racetracks and tours involved in the ASA can be found by visiting www.ASA-Racing.com.

ASA®, ASA Racing®, American Speed Association® are registered trademarks of Racing Speed Associates, LLC.

2012 St. Pete opener tickets on sale Dec. 1

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The Ferris wheel will be back and so will 2011 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg winner Dario Franchitti. Tickets to the eighth annual race weekend (March 23-25, 2012) go on sale Dec. 1.

The event will kick off the IZOD IndyCar Series season for the second year in a row and will mark the debut of 2012 IndyCar chassis and the return of competition among engine manufacturers.

“We try our best to entertain and throw the world’s fastest spring break party, and we’re thrilled with what promises to be another historic weekend in auto racing,” said Tim Ramsberger, the vice president and GM of the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. “We are a permanent fixture now, so to speak, on the event calendar for the Tampa Bay region. Everybody looks forward to the IndyCar Series coming to St. Petersburg at the end of March. It’s just a great way to celebrate springtime here.

“Through the years we’ve gotten great support from the local community — businesses and consumers — and we’ve had a strong push on ticket renewals already. With everything that INDYCAR brings and support races, it promises to be a great weekend of entertainment.”

Tickets range in price from $20 to $125. Paddock passes are available starting at $40 for an adult single-day pass. Reduced rate tickets are offered to juniors, ages 12 and under, in certain ticket categories.

Tickets can be purchased at www.gpstpete.com or by phone at 877-283-5385 starting Dec. 1. Three-day reserved tickets purchased before December 31 will receive a free weekend IZOD IndyCar Series paddock pass ($65 value).

The 2012 season will showcase engine manufacturers Honda, Chevrolet and Lotus powering the new chassis on the 1.8-mile street circuit. No alterations to the course are forthcoming, according to Ramsberger, other than tweaking curbing in Turns 4 and 10.

Support series races to round out the weekend schedule will be announced at a later date.

“It could be that we expand our hours of on-track activity,” Ramsberger added.

In addition to the racing, the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg will keep race fans entertained with interactive activities in the Bright House Speed Zone, live music, exhibits, concessions and more. A special tribute to the late Dan Wheldon, who was St. Petersburg resident and won the event’s inaugural race in 2005, also is being organized.

ASA Thanksgiving Weekend Results

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Three ASA Member Tracks and one ASA Series entertained race fans this past weekend. Lonesome Pine Raceway also recognized their 2011 champions.

Here are the results from this past weekend in ASA Racing.

ASA PROAUTOSPORTS
Firebird International Raceway Main Track (Chandler, AZ) ASA ProAutoSports hosted their 19^th Annual Thanksgiving Enduro Weekend. Closed Wheel Race Car winners were: Clay Koevary – GTO, Ricky “Boo Boo” Johnson – GTR, Greg Dalgarn – PS0, Alex Perry – PS1, Carl Scott – PS2, Rob Ashley – PS4, John Devine – Street Stock Miata, and Team Combat Vets – Street Factory Mustangs. Open Wheel winners were: Art Powell – FM, Jim Edmonds – EFF, and Gene Kochert – CSR. Kart Racing winners were: Dave Fultz – SPR, Chance Stephens – SFT, Team Young & Spalla – TAG, and George Moreland – CHL.

ASA MEMBER TRACKS

DESOTO SUPER SPEEDWAY (Bradenton, FL) The 2011 season came to a conclusion this past Saturday night. Nick Hernandez
won in the DS Trucks. Michael Crooks won in the Bombers. Darrin Ellis picked up another win in the Pure Stocks. Glenn Kelley grabbed the checkers in the Modified Minis. Bruce Carbone was the big winner in the Mini Stocks. Ernest Helfrick won the School Bus Figure 8 race. Cory Nocera took the win in the Magic 4’s. Brian Teeters was the winner in the Flyin 4’s. Christopher Dodson won in the Trophy Dash cars and Cody Martell won in the Rookie Trucks.

EAST BAY RACEWAY PARK (Tampa, FL) Robbie Smith took home the final Top Gun Sprints feature win of the season this
past Saturday night. Scotty Williams won his fifth feature of the season in the Limited Late Models and wrapped up the 2011 championship, his third different championship in three different divisions. Jeff Rodgers won his 13^th feature of the season in the Street Stocks. Patrick Fiore won in the 4-Cylinder Bombers.

HAVASU 95 SPEEDWAY (Lake Havasu City, AZ) Dylan Kwasniewski made his return to Havasu 95 Speedway this past Saturday
night to win the 75-lap Late Model feature event over Mike Sutterfield and Rob Munoz. Rick Bezansen won the ASA Street Stock feature event. Jim Caley won the Factory Stock main event. Brandon Preston held off Lisa Snell and Nathan Hovdal to win the Team Factory Stock feature event.

LONESOME PINE RACEWAY (Coeburn, VA) Lonesome Pine Raceway honored their 2011 champions this past Saturday night.
Congratulations to: Hayden Woods – Legends, Ryan Stiltner – Chargers, Brian Blevins – Late Models, Hershel Robinette – Mod 4’s, Jackie Jackson – Pure 4’s, Roger Neece – Street Stocks, and Mike Breeding – Renegades.

To learn more about the ASA Member Tracks and Sanctioned Series in your area, please visit www.asa-racing.com. Follow ASA Racing on Facebook at www.facebook.com/american.speed.assocand on Twitter at @amerspeedassoc.

You can also look for the nearest ASA Member Track, get the weekend schedule, ASA Series information right on your smartphone by downloading the ASA Racing App for the iPhone and Android phones for free. Just search for ASA Racing on
iTunes and the Android Market and get the app today for FREE!

The American Speed Association started as a single racing series in 1968 and is a fast growing racing sanctioning body today. The ASA Member Track program sanctions dirt and asphalt short tracks along with road courses around the United States, as well as a variety of regional and national touring series. For more information call (386) 258-2221, or send an email to
info@asa-racing.com. The latest news and information from all the racetracks and tours involved in the ASA can be found by visiting www.ASA-Racing.com.

ASA®, ASA Racing®, American Speed Association® are registered trademarks of Racing Speed Associates, LLC.

It All Comes Down to the 44th Annual Snowball Derby Weekend for Andy Loden

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Stanley, NC – Fresh off his podium finish in the PASS South series final points standings, Andy Loden and his Monroe Roadways race team will make their way south to the 44th Annual Snowball Derby weekend at the Five Flags Speedway in Pensacola, Florida to close out their 2011 racing season. Loden will compete for the first time both in the pro late model Snowflake 100 event Saturday night as well as the 44th Snowball Derby for the super late model machines. This year’s race marks the third consecutive year the former late model stock driver to compete in the country’s biggest short track racing event held every year the first weekend of December.

The event will be a week long for the #29 team as they will hit the abrasive Five Flags Speedway Monday (11/28) for the first time all season to test both their pro and super late model machines all day in preparation for the weekend’s races. The following night Andy will partake in the Speed51.com Snowball Derby kickoff party and radio show. Fans are encouraged to tune in to their computers at www.speed51.com beginning at 8pm eastern standard time to hear Andy talking about his week ahead for him and his team.

After Wednesday’s technical inspection competitors will get to hit the track for the first time on Thursday (12/1) as an all day practice scheduled from 10AM-4PM will allow teams to get their first feel of the race track, something Loden is really looking forward to after not having raced at the half mile track all year.

“Testing Monday and Thursday’s practice will be big for my team because we didn’t get to run a Blizzard race like a lot of these guys did this year to see what we need to do to make our car race well. Plus this will be just the second time I’ve raced a crate motor after running one at Concord last week, so I really could use as many laps as I can get behind the wheel of a pro late model to learn a little more on how to drive them,” noted Loden.

Several more practices Friday (12/2) morning before Andy will have to get down to business for the first time behind the wheel of the #29 Monroe Roadways/Red Mango Yogurt Chevy Impala super late model machine, as qualifying for Sunday’s main event takes place at 6PM. The top thirty fastest drivers will lock into the race while all other drivers will be forced to race their way in through last chance races. The first of two race days come on Saturday (12/3) as Andy will make his bid for his first career pro late model victory in one of the toughest races when the green flag drops on the Allen Turner Snowflake 100. “I’m really looking forward to running the Snowflake race. We have one of the new crate motors Jeff Hamner has developed so I know there will be a lot of eyes on us for that one,” said Andy. “I really hope we can give it a good run and show everyone out there that Hamner Racing Engines is where it’s at even for your pro late model motor choice.”

Finally Sunday December 4th the 44th edition of the greatest spectacle in short track asphalt racing takes place with running at the Snowball Derby at 2pm. Loden hopes to add his name to the list of winners in the history books that include Darrell Waltrip, Charlie Bradberry, and Kyle Busch just to name a few.

“It’s been a long season already racing in probably the toughest racing series in the country in the PASS South series, but you always get that extra motivation and goose bumps when everyone starts talking about the Snowball Derby. My goal this year is to just finish the race. I’ve noticed if you can just finish the Snowball Derby you’re going to finish inside the top 10. Every year we’ve had really fast racecars and got caught up in a wreck. If we can improve a little bit on our qualifying and get a top ten starting position I think we may be in a better position to be there at the end.”

To keep up with Andy Loden’s Snowball Derby weekend be sure to like the Andy Loden Racing fan page on Facebook where daily updates starting Monday November 28th will be provided. For more information on driver Andy Loden and his Monroe Roadways team visit his website at www.andyloden.net. For marketing and public relations information regarding Andy Loden, contact Chris Ragle with Tex Motorsports Marketing at 940-393-3167.

Mann reviews her season

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

It might be a cliché, but I firmly believe that sometimes it’s the difficult years that make you stronger, more focused and even more determined to succeed. I can say with confidence that 2011 has been one of those years.

I spent the first couple of months (though it felt like longer) on the sidelines – out of the cockpit and doing everything I could to get a ride lined up for the season. It was tough and not something any driver likes to endure. However, when I really needed that knight in shining armor, there he was. Eric Bachelart gave me my first run in an IndyCar – testing with Conquest Racing at Texas Motor Speedway.

It was from that first outing that I got my chance to compete in the Indianapolis 500.

The month of May was a roller coaster for myself and the team, and the weather certainly didn’t help. As a rookie with a one-off entry into the biggest race on the motorsport calendar, I at least needed some cooperation from Mother Nature; however we had to roll with the punches like everyone else.

My team was fantastic though, and we worked tirelessly to make that 33-car field. When we did, it should have been a moment of great celebration, but instead it was bittersweet. My teammate, Sebastian Saavedra, didn’t make the show, and while Indy was making my dreams come true, it was busy breaking not only his heart but those of several others.

I always said that qualifying for the 500 was our goal, and anything beyond was just a bonus. While that still stands true, all thoughts turned toward the race, and we had our sights set on a new challenge.

The race was a dream come true in so many ways and the first half was a lot of fun. We were able to draft up behind people and pass plenty of cars. As other people’s tires started to go away during their stints, my habit of looking after mine would come to the fore and I would be able to stalk and slip past them.

The second half of the race was tough. My water bottle had failed at the beginning of the race, and by lap 100 I was feeling the effects of severe dehydration. By the time we made it home in 20th place, I had to be helped out of the cockpit and straight into the medical car. I did, however, have time to see the faces of my guys — the ones who had stood behind me all month long, the ones who had worked so hard for me, and I could see that they knew as a team we’d given it everything we had.

I will always be grateful to Conquest Racing for all their hard work and, ultimately, their faith in me. I’m extremely proud of what we achieved at Indy.

One opportunity often leads to another, and within weeks I was jumping around and bouncing off the walls in excitement at the prospect of joining Rahal Letterman Lanigan for a three-race campaign. Our deal would see us take on the Loudon, Kentucky and Las Vegas ovals – and I couldn’t wait to get into the No. 30 car and find out what we had.

We went into the Loudon race weekend full of positive verve and with high expectations. We tested there in the weeks leading up to the race weekend, and that had gone fairly well. Even though I knew the track was a challenge, I liked it. I genuinely thought we were going to go out there and be up front, doing good things and raising a few eyebrows.

I think most of you know by now that life decided to throw a little curveball at me while we were in New Hampshire. Needless to say, our debut was not what I had hoped for. A tough few days of practice, desperately searching for the speed we needed to be competitive, ended with me and the No. 30 making heavy contact with the wall, just prior to qualifying.

In the hospital I was diagnosed with a nice little concussion pretty quickly, and told that I wouldn’t be cleared to drive even if the X-rays and MRI did come back clear. This was the first time in my career I have ever been told I couldn’t race the next day due to a crash in either qualifying or testing. Everyone knows that getting back in with a concussion is not good, but as a racing driver it’s not an easy thing to accept.

The X-rays did come back clear, but the MRI showed bone bruising and a C7 end-plate fracture. No brace or surgery needed, but two weeks of down time and four to six weeks out of the car.

Five weeks later, I tested at Kentucky Speedway with the RLL team and it felt good.
The Kentucky race weekend was another mixture of highs and lows, but as a team we really got to grips with the performance. We had a tough first stint in the race but at the same time the rest of the stints were definitely solid. I learned a huge amount about how the car does feel in traffic when I was behind similar speed cars, and how to deal with a car that already under steers in traffic.

We gained valuable track time and I was able to build on my race experience. The weekend certainly had its difficulties but we overcame them together.

The final event in Las Vegas was a devastating way to end the year. We had some great events leading up to the race and I was really looking forward to getting into the car to go racing. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan team had done a great job from the moment we unloaded the truck on arrival, and all weekend long we knew we had a good race car.

Motor racing always has been and always will be dangerous. As the sport becomes safer, so the tragedies become thankfully sparser, but each one then stands out ever more stridently in front of us.

I’ve undergone reconstructive surgery to my right hand, and they’ve taken skin, tendon, nerve and blood vessel grafts from my ring finger and forearm to repair the damage. I’m expected to be fit enough to drive again by January, and make a full recovery within six months. Despite everything that has happened this year, I will be spending my recovery time fighting to do all I can to ensure that I’ll be back in a car next year.

My thoughts are with the Wheldon family. I still can’t believe Dan’s gone; he was a great guy. He will be missed by everyone and our sport is a poorer place without him still here.