Mazda Road to Indy Keeps Tradition Alive on Central California Coast
MONTEREY, Calif. March 10, 2016 – The 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season-opening event this weekend on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., elicits fond memories from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca where some of the biggest names in open-wheel racing pulled into victory lane.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca annually hosted an Indy Car race from 1983 through 2004. It was under sanction of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) from 1983-2003 and Champ Car World Series in 2004. The great teams and drivers of the era all made their mark there during the 22 years the event was held in the rolling hills just east of Monterey Bay.
The first race, held Oct. 23, 1983, was won in dominating fashion by Teo Fabi. The Italian driver put his No. 33 Forsythe Racing March/Cosworth on the pole and went on to lead 95 of 98 laps on the original nine-turn, 1.9-mile track configuration. The final race, held Sept. 12, 2004, on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile layout, was won by Patrick Carpentier of the then-renamed Forsythe Championship Racing. The Canadian started from the outside of the front row, took the lead on lap 41 and led the balance of the 79-lap contest. It was back-to-back Mazda Raceway victories for Carpentier, who led all 87 laps in 2003, for his fifth and, ultimately, final victory in the Champ Car World Series.
Below is a brief look at who won the rest of the races in between:
▪ Team Penske’s six trips to victory lane stands as the most wins for a single organization. Danny Sullivan won twice (1988, the first on the newly configured track; and 1990), as did Paul Tracy (1993-94) while Rick Mears (1989) and Helio Castroneves (2000) each earned one victory.
▪ Bobby Rahal won four consecutive races from 1984-87, all for Truesports. Rahal returned to victory lane at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca three more times as a team owner (Team Rahal), twice with driver Brian Herta (1998-99) and once with Max Papis (2001).
▪ Newman/Haas Racing also captured three Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca titles. Michael Andretti clinched the 1991 championship with his first win at the raceway and backed it up the next year with the top-podium spot. Christiano De Matta earned the third victory for the organization in 2002.
▪ Target Chip Ganassi Racing earned two victories at the raceway. Alex Zanardi took what should have been an impossible line through The Corkscrew on the last lap of the 1996 race, somehow made it happen and, in doing so, passed Bryan Herta and took the checkered flag. That move, known simply as “The Pass,” helped cement Zanardi’s legendary status. Teammate Jimmy Vasser took the win in 1997.
▪ Jim Hall Racing earned one win at Mazda Raceway, with Gil De Ferran taking the checkered flag first.
The open-wheel tradition continues on at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca through the Mazda Road to Indy, which also opens its 2016 season this weekend in St. Petersburg. The program is a three-level competition feeder system, with all cars powered by Mazda engines, which provides drivers and crews the opportunity to move to the next level based on experience and talent, with the final goal of competing in the Verizon IndyCar Series. The three series are: Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda; the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires; and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires. This year’s event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will take place Sept. 9-11 and will include a Salute to the Military celebration.
SCRAMP celebrates 60 consecutive seasons of hosting world-class motorsports events in 2016. This year’s schedule continues the decades-long tradition of showcasing national and world championship series’ of sports car, open wheel and motorcycle racing, as well as one of the most prestigious annual historic car racing events in the world.
Tickets for every major event on the 2016 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca calendar are on sale now. Click HERE for more information or call the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Ticket Office at 831.242.8200.
About Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was built by and has been managed and operated since its inception in 1957, when it was known as Laguna Seca Raceway, by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP). SCRAMP, a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation, is the official concessionaire of the world-renowned raceway that is owned by the public via the Parks Department of the County of Monterey since 1974.
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MotoGP Next race: Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valencia, November 11
Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Kimi Raikkonen won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ahead of Fernando Alonso while Sebastian Vettel held on to his championship lead despite starting from the pit lane, finishing third.
American Le Mans Series Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta
The American Le Mans Series headed to Braselton, GA this past weekend for the 15th annual Petit Le Mans and the conclusion of its 2012 season. While some of the championships had already been decided earlier in the season there were still several titles up for grabs.
MotoGP AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan
In an exciting MotoGP race at the AirAsia Grand Prix of Japan in Motegi it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who closed the gap in the title fight further with a strong win ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Álvaro Bautista.
American Le Mans Series
Next race: Petit Le Mans, Road Atlanta, October 17-20
Next race: Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon, September 30
AMA Pro Racing Triumph Big Kahuna Miami presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince
The remarkable Josh Hayes stormed from more than 15 seconds back to claim his 30th career victory and secure a third-consecutive AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike crown on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
American Le Mans Series American Le Mans Series, presented by Tequila Patron VIR 240
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing returned to its winning ways Saturday in the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.
GRAND-AM Road Racing Montreal 200
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas had their second win of the season in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series’ Montreal 200, clinching the Ganassi operation’s 150th win in all forms of major motorsports.
Pruett, who drove the anchor leg, led the final 37 of 66 laps in the two-hour race in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley. Pruett slipped by Ryan Dalziel’s No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley for the lead just past the halfway mark, and then kept the advantage after the final series of pit stops several minutes later.
GRAND-AM Road Racing Continental Tire 200, Watkins Glen International
Ryan Dalziel held off teammate Sebastien Bourdias to give Starworks Motorsports its second consecutive Rolex Series victory in Satruday evening’s Continental Tire 200 pesented by Dunn Tire.
GRAND-AM Road Racing
Next race: Continental Tire 200, Watkins Glen International, August 10-11
American Le Mans Series Mid Ohio Sports Car Challenge
Muscle Milk’s Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr won the American Le Mans Series race Saturday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Dyson Racing’s Chris Dyson and Guy Smith finished second, a lap back in a Lola Mazda.
The winner of the GT class was the Corvette driven by Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.
MotoGP Grand Premio d’Italia, Mugello
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo scored a dominant victory ahead of Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) and Andrea Dovizioso (Monster Yamaha Tech3) this weekend at Mugello.
MotoGP German Grand Prix, Sachsenring
It was an incredibly dramatic last lap in Germany Sunday with Dani Pedrosa taking his first victory of the season in front of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso.
Pedrosa got the best start as he led into turn one ahead of teammate Casey Stoner and the Yamaha Factory Racing duo of Ben Spies and Jorge Lorenzo. The grid was tightly bunched early on, with Stoner soon passing his teammate for the lead.
AMA Pro Racing Triumph SuperBike Classic, Barber Motorsports Park
Two-time defending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike king Josh Hayes registered the 25th victory of his SuperBike career at Barber Motorsports Park Sunday.
MotoGP British Grand Prix, Silverstone
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo wins again!
At the beginning of the race Yamaha’s Ben Spies took the holeshot ahead of Repsol Honda Team’s Stoner and San Carlo Honda Gresini’s pole-sitter Álvaro Bautista. Spies made a tremendous start leading the early stages from Stoner, Bautista and Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden.
Next race: Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya, June 3
AMA Pro Racing Miller Motorsports Park
Two-time champion Josh Hayes reclaimed the 2012 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike points lead he surrendered with his Infineon Raceway crash thanks to a perfect-points performance at Miller Motorsport Park yesterday.
Hayes raced into the lead from pole position and was never challenged, opening up almost a half-second gap by the conclusion of the opening lap and only building his advantage from there.
MotoGP Monster Energy Grand Prix de France, Le Mans
In the worst conditions seen all season, it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who got off to one of his trademark starts followed by teammate Casey Stoner. Their lead was short lived, as Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo charged past the pair and instantly pulled out a gap. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow also made a good start in fourth, followed by a surging Rossi in fifth.
American Le Mans Series American Le Mans Monterey, presented by Patron
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing cruised to its second straight victory at the American Le mans Monterey, presented by Patrón. But another thrilling GT battle stole the show as Corvette Racing’s Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner also took their second consecutive class win.
American Le Mans Series Next race: American Le Mans Monterey, presented by Patron, May 11-12 Click here for more information and schedule of events.
MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix, Estoril
The Repsol Honda Team pair of Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner gave the crowd action from the start, as the two touched going into turn one, with Stoner taking the lead into turn two.
American Le Mans Series Next race: American Le Mans Monterey, presented by Patron, May 11-12
Next race: Gran Premio bwin de España, Jerez, Spain, April 29
AMA Pro Racing Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta, Road Atlanta
AMA Pro SuperBike champion Josh Hayes won the Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta on Sunday at Road Atlanta, a day after a surprising loss to Blake Young. Hayes, riding a Yamaha, beat Young by 5.214 seconds.
American Le Mans Series Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach
Klaus Graf and Lucas Luhr won the Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach for the second straight season. The Muscle Milk Honda Performance Development ARX-03a stopped twice during the race’s sole caution period and ran the final 56 minutes without another stop to win over Dyson Racing.
American Le Mans Series
Next race: Tequila Patron American Le Mans Series at Long Beach, April 13-14
MotoGP Commericalbank Grand Prix of Qatar
Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) claimed a victory at the Losail circuit, finally claiming his first Grand Prix of Qatar win in the MotoGP class. Lorenzo took the lead from the start and held off rival and reining World Champion Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) for the first few laps before conceding the lead and tucking into second. He then played the waiting game, never letting Stoner more than two second ahead. With seven laps to go he stared to close the distance as Stoner’s pace dropped, holding off a determined Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) on his tail to take the lead. Lorenzo crossed the line 0.852 seconds ahead of Pedrosa. Stoner finished third.
AMA Pro Racing
Next race: Tiumph Big Kahuna Atlanta, Road Atlanta, April 18-20
GRAND-AM Road Racing
Next race: Grand Prix of Miami, April 27-29
Next race: UBS Chinese Grand Prix, April 15
Next race: Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 15
Next race: Samsung Mobile 500, Texas Motor Speedway, April 14
Next race: NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, zMax Dragway, April 13-15
American Le Mans Series
Next race: Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach – April 13-14
First race of the season: Commericalbank Grand Prix of Qatar – April 8
AMA Pro Racing
Next race: Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta – Road Atlanta
GRAND-AM Road Racing Porsche 250 – Barber Motorsports Park
It was a day of firsts in the Porsche 250: the first victory for the Corvette DP, the first DP triumph for Spirit of Daytona and Richard Westbrook followed up his first pole on Friday with his first DP victory. Antonio Garcia, who gave Spirit of Daytona its first DP pole at Barber last year, got his second career Rolex Series victory. The team led 84 laps, with Garcia prevailing in a three-lap sprint to the checkered flag after a late-race caution.
Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito lapped the GT field in the No.70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8, denying the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD drivers Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal from giving the new Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am its first victory.
Barber 200 – Barber Motorsports Park
Rum Bum Racing rolled out a new Porsche Carrera painted in its familiar No. 13 blue and yellow – and drivers Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi won in the car’s maiden voyage. Plumb held off the Aston Martin Vantage of Scott Maxwell by .618 seconds to take the checkered flag.
Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine won in ST in the No. 81 BMW 328i, giving BimmerWorld Racing its first victory since Mid-Ohio in 2010.
Next race: UBS Chinese Grand Prix – April 15
Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – Barber Motorsports Park
The lap that Will Power lost in Round 2 of qualifications – the one that ended his streak of 20 appearances in the Firestone Fast Six – is but a distant memory for the driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car.
For Power, who started ninth in the third Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, got that lap back and more over the course of 90 laps on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course he drove on multiple times in the past two months in developing the Chevrolet engine and new Dallara chassis.
Power, who inherited the point when Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves pulled off for this final service stop on Lap 68, held off Scott Dixon for the remaining laps that included a Lap 74 restart and won for the second year in a row at the picturesque venue.
Goody’s Fast Relief 500 – Martinsville Speedway
In the wake of a controversial late-race caution, Ryan Newman spoiled an afternoon of Hendrick hegemony with an opportunistic victory. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson had dominated the action for 497 laps; an untimely caution flag flew on Lap 498 and sent the race to overtime.
Gordon and Johnson stayed out on old tires as the lead-lap cars behind them came to the pits for tires and fuel. On the restart on Lap 504, Clint Bowyer took Johnson and Gordon three-wide into the first corner, and all three cars spun, ruining a potential 200th victory party for Hendrick Motorsports.
After the dust settled, Newman cleared runner-up AJ Allmendinger on the second lap of a green-white-checkered restart and held on to win by .342 seconds. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran third.
NHRA SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Robert Hight raced to his third consecutive Funny Car victory of the season Sunday. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) also were winners at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.
World Superbike Imola
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) waited until half race distance to put a move on early leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) but when he did he rode at lap record pace and took his second win of the year in some style. Sykes had his best every dry race performance on the Kawasaki in second place, with Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) disputing the final podium place. It went to Haslam, by a second from his Italian rival.
Fifth was Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) but just behind Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) finally passed long-time fifth place runner, Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Racing Team Ducati). Zanetti was a still-impressive eighth.
Sources: series websites, press releases and various independent motorsports websites
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