Motorsports Update – April 16, 2012
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.
The Graf-Luhr pairing became the first to repeat at Long Beach in the ALMS’ six visits. Graf and Luhr now share the P1 championship lead with Chris Dyson and Guy Smith.
Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin gave Corvette Racing its first victory at Long Beach since 2009 with an 8-second victory over BMW Team RLL’s Joey Hand and Dirk Müller. Milner won for the first time in ALMS and was part of a dynamic opening fight between Corvette and BMW. After Hand and Mueller, Extreme Speed Motorsports’ Scott Sharp and Johannes van Overbeek placed third in their Ferrari F458 Italia.
Next race: Gran Premio bwin de España, Jerez, Spain, April 29
AMA Pro Racing
Next race: Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta, Road Atlanta, April 18-20
GRAND-AM Road Racing
Next race: Grand Prix of Miami, April 27-29
UBS Chinese Grand Prix
Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg won the Chinese Grand Prix for his first career F1 win in 111 attempts, and sixth career podium. It is also his first win from the pole. For Mercedes, it is the team’s first win of the season, and best finish of the season after Michael Schumacher’s 10th place finish at Malaysia.
After leading the nearly all of the first 35 laps from pole, Rosberg re-took the lead on lap 40 following a terrible pitstop by McLaren driver Jenson Button. Button was able to grab second and his teammate Lewis Hamilton would round out the podium.
Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, April 15
Coming from 12th on the grid, Will Power drove his Verizon Team Penske car to a victory over Simon Pagenaud in the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. It was the second win in as many races for Power, who took over the points lead in the Izod IndyCar Series.
Power was the second fastest qualifier at Long Beach, but he and the 10 other drivers using Chevrolet engines were moved back 10 places on the grid after having new motors installed as a precaution before the race weekend.
Samsung Mobile 500, Texas Motor Speedway
Roush Fenway Racing’s Greg Biffle denied Jimmie Johnson is first Sprint Cup victory of the season.
Biffle, who had been stalking Johnson for much of the second half of the race, slid his No. 16 Ford past the five-time NASCAR champion on the inside for first with 31 laps remaining and cruised away to snap a 49-race winless streak with a victory in Saturday night’s Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Biffle extended his lead in the Cup standings by 19 points over teammate Matt Kenseth. It was Roush Fenway’s fourth victory in the last nine Cup races at Texas.
NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, zMax Dragway
Funny car racer Robert Hight scored his fourth win in five races at the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Spencer Massey in Top Fuel and Greg Anderson in Pro Stock also secured wins at the fifth race of the season.
Next race: Assen, April 22
Sources: series websites, press releases and various independent motorsports websites