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Does Enders-Stevens strategy open the door for Johnson?

NHRA-Johnson-Enders-Web

NHRA Pro Stock points leader Erica Enders-Stevens didn’t race at Sonoma and she won’t be competing at the Northwest Nationals in Seattle.

Elite Motorsports owner Richard Freeman two-event “holiday” at the Mile-High Nationals in Denver.

Despite her very impressive racing resume, Enders-Stevens lacks a real sponsor and it’s likely this was a major consideration, especially since she had built up a 241-point lead over Allen Johnson, who is second in the point standings, at the end of the Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio.

Enders-Stevens also had an edge in the Wally count with four to Johnson’s three.

By the end of the Mopar Mile-High Nationals, the situation was a bit different. Enders-Stevens was out after the second round of eliminations while Johnson went on to even the Wally count.

The gap was now down to 184 points.

While Johnson didn’t have the results he wanted in Sonoma, he still added 62 points and is now just 122 points behind with another Enders-Stevens-free Nationals coming up. With a good showing in Seattle, Johnson could be in a position to make it a close and exciting race to the top spot in the Countdown to the Championship.

Johnson Clinches Countdown berth in Sonoma

NHRA-Beckman-Sonoma-Web

Allen Johnson has secured his place in the Pro Stock Countdown to the Championship, the six-event series the determines the World Championships of drag racing.

Johnson joins Erica Enders-Stevens, who clinched her spot last weekend. Participation is limited to the top ten drivers in each pro class.

There were three different top qualifiers in Pro Stock: Johnson had the No. 1 position after the first round; Jason Line took it after Round Two and Shane Gray captured it in Round Three and held on to it through the end of qualifying.

Johnson finished third in the final qualifying order after trimming 0.011 seconds from his best Friday time. He starts today’s elimination rounds two spots ahead of teammate Jeg Coughlin Jr., who moved up to the No. 5 spot.

“The good news is that Jeg and I are on opposite sides of the ladder so an all-Mopar final is in the realm of possibility on race day and that’s what we’re aiming for,” Johnson said. “We broke a motor in the first session today, but it’s all in the recovery and better it happen today than tomorrow. We’re feeling pretty good about sending a HEMI to another final round.”

V. Gaines beat his Friday best but still dropped a spot to No. 9 in the order while Matt Hartford and Deric Kramer swapped spots on the ladder, qualifying 11th and 12th, respectively.

While the dance for position was lively in Pro Stock, it was more stately in Fuel Funny Car.

Jack Beckman retained the No. 4 spot to be the top Dodge driver in the class. Beckman is just outside the Countdown to the Championship, trailing Tim Wilkerson by three points for the No. 10 spot. Wilkerson struggled this weekend and qualified 13th. Beckman and Wilkerson face off in the first round of eliminations and whoever wins will get at least the bump spot in the Countdown. The new graphics on the Valvoline Max Life/MTS Charger (shown in the photo above) have done well so far at Sonoma, hopefully they will work for Beckman, who is the only member of the Don Schumacher Racing Funny Car squad without a Wally this season, on Sunday.

Matt Hagan kept the No. 5 position and Ron Capps remained No. 7 in the order.

The first shift in the Funny Car results came in the No. 11 spot that went to Tommy Johnson Jr. who slashed 0.067 seconds from his Friday time to move up a position.

Paul Lee chopped 0.911 seconds from his best Friday run and added 133.65 miles per hour to his best speed. Lee jumped three positions, going from the bottom of the order to No. 14.

NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS: FINAL QUALIFYING ORDER
PRO STOCK
Psn Driver Sponsor & Car ET Speed Change
3 Allen Johnson Team Mopar Dart 6.547 212.16 Unch.
5 Jeg Coughlin JEGS.com/Mopar Dart 6.552 212.03 +1
9 V. Gaines Kendall Oil Dart 6.583 211.16 -1
11 Matt Hartford Total Seal/Nickens/CIP 1 Avenger 6.613 211.00 +1
12 Deric Kramer American Ethanol/Madcap/Novo Avenger 6.613 209.56 -1
FUEL FUNNY CAR
Psn Driver Sponsor & Car ET Speed Change
4 Jack Beckman Valvoline Max Life/MTS Charger 4.075 314.83 Unch.
5 Matt Hagan Mopar/Rocky Boots Charger 4.075 307.40 Unch.
7 Ron Capps NAPA Auto Parts Charger 4.093 314.61 Unch.
11 Tommy Johnson Make-A-Wish Charger 4.147 302.01 +1
14 Paul Lee McLeod Racing Charger 4.246 283.01 +3

Steckly scores in National 250

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Three-time series champion Scott Steckly earned his first win of the 2014 NASCAR Canadian Tire Series season Saturday in the National 250 at the Autodrome St. Eustache in St. Eustache, Quebec.

Starting from the No. 2 spot, Steckly dominated the race in the No. 22 Canadian Tire/Sylvania Dodge, leading for 202 of the 250 laps and beating Alex Guenette and the No. 39 Motos Illimitées Dodge to the finish line by 2.728 seconds.

Current points leader L.P. Dumoulin finished third in the WeatherTech Canada/Bellemare Dodge.

Dodge drivers Anthony Simone and Jeff Lapcevich rounded out the top five.

This is the fourth win in Steckly’s last six visits to the .4-mile oval in St. Eustache. This one moves him up to second in the point standings and gives Dodge a 2-to-1 advantage over Chevrolet in the 2014 season wins column.

Rookie Alex Labbe took the pole position in qualifying but had to retire early due to suspension problems with the No. 72 Lou’s BBQ/VR Victoriaville Dodge.

NASCAR CANADIAN TIRE SERIES: NATIONAL 250
Finish Driver Car Team/Sponsor Brand Laps Status
1 Scott Steckly 22 Canadian Tire/Sylvania Dodge 250 Running
2 Alex Guenette 39 Motos Illimitées Dodge 250 Running
3 L.P. Dumoulin 47 WeatherTech Canada/Bellemare Dodge Dodge 250 Running
4 Anthony Simone 95 Innovative Plumbing & Mechanical Dodge 250 Running
5 Jeff Lapcevich 76 Tim Hortons Dodge 250 Running
6 Noel Dowler 5 Empire Mechanical Chevrolet 250 Running
7 Mark Dilley 2 Johnsonville/Leland/Bluemer Ford 250 Running
8 Andrew Ranger 27 Mopar/Exide Dodge 250 Running
9 D.J. Kennington 17 Castrol Edge/Mahindra Tractors Dodge 250 Running
10 J.R. Fitzpatrick 84 Equipment Express Chevrolet 250 Running
11 Jason Hathaway 3 Princess Auto/Rockstar Energy Drink Chevrolet 249 Running
12 Alex Tagliani 18 EpiPen/Dicom Express Dodge 248 Running
13 Hugo Vannini 97 VTI Motorsports Ford 245 Running
14 Ray Courtemanche Jr. 24 La Cité de Mirabel Inc./Blackshape Dodge 244 Running
15 Matthew Scannell 56 OMVIC/K&B Auto Service Dodge 243 Running
16 Alex Labbe (pole) 72 Lou’s BBQ/VR Victoriaville Dodge 101 Suspension
17 Joey McColm 25 Canada’s Best Store Fixtures Dodge 36 Accident

Vipers victorious at the Brickyard

SRT-IMSA-Brickyard-Kiss-Web
Jonathan Bomarito and Kumo Wittmer participated in the traditional kissing of the bricks after winning the GT Le Mans class in Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

This is the first Viper win of the 2014 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season and it’s a major win for SRT Motorsports.

Driving the red No. 93 Dodge Viper SRT, Bomarito moved into the lead just under an hour from the race’s end and crossed the finish line 10.789 seconds ahead of the No. 62 Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Giancarlo Fisichella and Pierre Kaffer. Fisichella was also the fastest driver in the race and the No. 62 Risi Competizone team won the Green Challenge.

This is the second win for the Viper since Chrysler’s motorsports team returned to sports car racing on 2012.

The win, combined with a sixth-place class finish for Bill Auberlen and Andy Priaulx and an unfortunate eighth-place finish for Marc Goossens and Dominik Farnbacher in the No. 91 Viper could move Bomarito and Wittmer into sole possession of second place.

Wittmer started from third on the grid and despite a very competitive opening hour of racing, the No. 93 cars was in fourth place when Bomarito took over after a pit stop.

Bomarito moved up, eventually taking the lead that he maintained through a final pit stop and onto the checkered flag.

Dominik Farnbacher started alongside Wittmer but his luck wasn’t as good. A Mazda Prototype hit the No. 91 Viper and knocked the passenger door loose. Then Farnbacher became entangled in a multi-car accident. Multiple pit stops to repair damage and 60-second penalty dashed the No. 91 team’s hopes of a third consecutive podium finish.

BRICKYARD GRAND PRIX: GT LE MANS CLASS
Class O/A Drivers Car No. Car Total Time Fastest Lap Status
1 14 Bomarito/Wittmer 93 Dodge Viper SRT 2:46:14.196 1:23.292 Running
2 16 Fisichella/Kaffer 62 Ferrari 458 Italia 2:46:24.985 1:23.248* Running
3 17 P.Long/Christensen 912 Porsche 911 RSR 2:46:25.333 1:23.987 Running
4 18 Magnussen/Garcia 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R 2:46:32.662 1:23.760 Running
5 19 Gavin/Milner 4 BMW Z4 GTE 2:46:35.044 1:23.337 Running
6 20 Auberlen/Priaulx 55 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R 2:46:47.471 1:23.790 Running
7 21 Müller/J.Edwards 56 BMW Z4 GTE 2:46:50.404 1:23.744 Running
8 24 D.Farnbacher/Goossens 91 Dodge Viper SRT 2:46:07.679 1:23.636 Running
9 28 Henzler/Sellers 17 Porsche 911 RSR 2:46:10.898 1:23.659 Running
10 44 Tandy/Lietz 911 Porsche 911 RSR 1:48:29.978 1:23.437 Not Running
*Race lap record

Ben Keating and Jeroen Bleekemolen took third place in GT Daytona with the 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R.

Friday racing results

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Austin Wayne Self, driving the No. 22 AM Technical Solutions Dodge, finished second in the Scott Get Geared Up 200 presented by Federated Car Care that ran late Friday at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Brownsburg Indiana, just outside of Indianapolis. He crossed the finish line 5.378 seconds after Brandon Jones in the No. 4 Exide-Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet.

Tom Hessert finished ninth in the No. 77 Caregard-AxiomWarranty.com Dodge and his new teammate Shannon McIntosh made her ARCA debut in the No. 72 Cunningham Motorsports Dodge, finishing 15th.

The race was the 12th event in the 2014 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. There were a total of seven Dodges in the 32-car field.

Dodge entries in the SCOTT Get Geared Up 200 presented by Federated Car Care
Finish Driver Car No. Team/Sponsor Laps Status
2 Austin Wayne Self 22 AM Technical Solutions 200 Running
9 Tom Hessert 77 Caregard-AxiomWarranty.com 200 Running
15 Shannon McIntosh 72 Cunningham Motorsports 196 Running
19 Ray Ciccarelli 97 Collectors & Filters Inc. 174 Running
22 James Swanson 0 Wayne Peterson Racing 107 Running
25 Wayne Edwards 29 Correct Temp Inc.-Team Bear 82 Oil Leak
27 Mike Senica 40 Bell Plantation 10 Handling

In Mello Yello NHRA drag racing, there were two rounds of qualifying at the Sonoma Nationals running this weekend at Sonoma Raceway.

Allen Johnson was the top qualifier in the first round and improved his time on his second pass. Unfortunately, so did Jason Line and Shane Gray. At the end of the day, Johnson qualified No. 3, 0.008 seconds behind Line.

Line’s car wouldn’t move in the first round, but it moved quite briskly in the second, taking him to the No. 1 position. As a result, Jeg Coughlin, who took the No. 5 spot in Round One, got bumped down to No. 6 after Round Two.

V. Gaines qualified in the No. 8 position in both rounds.

Matt Hartford, who had the No. 9 spot after his first run, dropped down to the No. 11 spot when his time was beaten by Deric Cramer, who qualified in the NO. 10 spot in both rounds and Chris McGaha.

In Fuel Funny Car, “Fast Jack” Beckman, who is just four points away from getting back in the Countdown to the Championship field, was the top Dodge qualified. He was in the No. 7 spot after the first round, but advanced to the No. 4 spot, the best for Dodge in Fuel Funny Car, in Round Two. His second ET tied Matt Hagan, but Beckman was seven miles per hour faster and Hagan qualified No. 5.

Ron Capps fell from the No. 5 position to No. 7 in the order despite cutting 0.162 seconds form his first-round time.

Tommy Johnson Jr. was the No. 3 qualifier in the first round, but he lost traction on his second pass while other drivers were cutting serious time from their opening times. Johnson fell all the way to the bump spot.

Courtney Force was the top qualifier in Fuel Funny Car.

Paul Lee had traction trouble in both passes and ended the day in the cellar.

DODGE AT THE NHRA SONOMA NATIONALS: FRIDAY QUALIFYING
PRO STOCK
Psn Driver Sponsor & Car ET Speed
3 Allen Johnson Team Mopar Dart 6.558 210.97
6 Jeg Coughlin JEGS.com/Mopar Dart 6.574 210.64
8 V. Gaines Kendall Oil Dart 6.602 209.98
10 Deric Kramer American Ethanol/Madcap/Novo Avenger 6.613 209.56
11 Matt Hartford Total Seal/Nickens/CIP 1 Avenger 6.621 209.49
FUEL FUNNY CAR
Psn Driver Sponsor & Car ET Speed
4 Jack Beckman Valvoline Max Life/MTS Charger 4.075 314.83
5 Matt Hagan Mopar/Rocky Boots Charger 4.075 307.40
7 Ron Capps NAPA Auto Parts Charger 4.093 314.61
12 Tommy Johnson Make-A-Wish Charger 4.214 270.48
Did Not Qualify
17 Paul Lee McLeod Racing Charger 5.157 149.36

Saturday Pro Stock qualifying gets underway at 12:55 PDT (3:55 Eastern) while Fuel Funny Car runs start at 1:30 PDT (4:30 Eastern).

Also on the schedule today is the the Canadian Tire Series National 250 at Quebec’s Autodrome St. Eustache. This is the midpoint of the NCATS season and Dodge driver L.P. Dumoulin has the lead in the driver standings. The race begins at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

Viper wins Toronto race

Canadian Dodge Viper driver Kuno Wittmer went from second place in the first race to first place in the second, during the double-header SCCA Pirelli World Challenge on the streets of Toronto, Ontario.

Dan Knox of Lone Star Racing finished second in his Dodge Viper GT3-R in the GT-A class.

The #92 Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R quickly took the lead when Wittmer made a clever pass on the first lap’s third turn on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn downtown street circuit.

Wittmer’s victory marked the first win for the Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R in the World Challenge’s GT class. The victory was Wittmer’s seventh in the series and his third World Challenge win in a Viper in six seasons in the series (2006-10, 2014).

Kuno Wittmer Viper 92

The race featured just one caution flag for three laps; the 38 minute, 29-lap event  was condensed and moved up to an earlier start time due to a rainout of Saturday’s IndyCar race.

The Viper GT3-R won in the World Challenge’s GT-A class with Dan Knox in the Detroit race in May.

Wittmer and the SRT Motorsports team will compete next in the IMSA Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Friday, July 25, with two full-time Dodge Viper SRT GTS-R entries.

#91 and #93 Dodge Vipers racing

Kuno Wittmer said, “Winning on home turf is the best feeling on Earth. In these types of North American championships, there are not a lot of Canadian events. When you do have the chance to race in front of your home crowd, it’s really, really special because you grew up racing in Canada… This Dodge Viper SRT GT3-R was just outstanding….

“The car we drove today is a GT3-spec car sold globally…It’s a customer car and can be run in this and other GT3 championships. The idea was to showcase the potential of the technology built by Bill Riley and Riley Technologies. We’ve shown that today. It’s one of the best available GT3 cars out there.”

Ferrari also did well, coming in second place in the GT class with the #61 car driven by Anthony Lazarro, in third place in GT-A class with the #10 Ferrari driven by Henrik Hedman of Dragonspeed, Inc.


1999-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee


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