Motorsports Update – April 30, 2012
American Le Mans Series
Next race: American Le Mans Monterey, presented by Patron, May 11-12
Gran Premio bwin de Espana, Jerez, Spain
Casey Stoner took his first victory at Jerez as he fought off Jorge Lorenzo. There was rain throughout much of the practice sessions but the race itself was dry. Lorenzo was the pole-sitter yet Dani Pedrosa took over first right away. The pack shuffled numerous times in the first four laps as Nicky Hayden was bumped wide by Cal Crutchlow and Lorenzo touched Andrea Dovizioso’s bike after an aggressive move up the inside. Stoner then found his stride and moved to the front as he passed Lorenzo and then team mate Pedrosa, after which he did not surrender the lead all race.
Pedrosa had to hold off the advances of Crutchlow until the end. Dovizioso could not keep up the pace and finished fifth in front of Alvaro Bautista and rookie Stefan Bradl. Hayden, who had started on the front row and was pushing hard in the opening stages, dropped off towards the end of the race and finished seventh. This put him ahead of team mate Valentino Rossi, who fought with Hector Barbera throughout. Lorenzo’s team mate Ben Spies had another disappointing race, as he finished in 10th.
AMA Pro Racing
Next race: Great Clips West Moto Jam, Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, May 4-6
GRAND-AM Road Racing
Grand Prix of Miami
Ricky Taylor and Max Angelilli won Sunday’s rain shorten Grand Prix of Miami, while Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato won in GT to score the first win for the new Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am.
Rain plagued the event and conditions deteriorated enough that race officials called the race 52 minutes short of the schedule time (2 hours, 45 minutes).
DP: 1.Taylor and Angelilli, 2. Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas and 3. Darren Law and David Donohue. GT: 1. Segal and Assentato, 2. Dane Cameron and Wayne Nonnamaker and 3. Robin Liddell and Ronnie Bremer.
Next race: Formula 1 Gran Premio de Espana Santander, May 13
Sao Paulo Indy 300
Will Power, the pole sitter, gained his third consecutive victory of the season and the third in a row at the Anhembi circuit. Power held off Ryan Hunter-Reay on a Lap 71 restart and won by 0.9045 of a second. Takuma Sato, who started 25th because of an unapproved Honda engine change and overcame a pit lane speed violation penalty, earned his first IndyCar podium finish.
There were five full-course cautions, including incidents on Lap 29 and Lap 67 restarts that bottled up six cars and eight cars, respectively, in the slow speed Turns 1-2 complex to mix up the running order.
“The final restart was the key to winning,” said Power. “Ryan got a really good jump. I knew I just had to go like you wouldn’t believe through the first complex of corners because I knew he could get a run on me. Ryan is one of the hardest guys you will ever race; he never gives up.”
Capitol City 400, Richmond International Speedway
Pulling away from Dale Earnhardt Jr. after a restart with eight laps left in Saturday night’s Capital City 400, Kyle Busch streaked to his fourth consecutive victory. The win was Busch’s first of the season and the 24th of his career, tying him with his brother, Kurt Busch, for 26th all-time.
“I don’t know where that last caution came from, but it was our saving grace,” said Busch.
Tony Stewart, the race leader before the fifth and final caution for debris in Turn 2, lost ground on the restart and finished third. Denny Hamlin ran fourth, followed by Kasey Kahne.
The race turned on the last caution, which Stewart said was called because of a plastic water bottle in Turn 2. Stewart was strong on long runs but uncharacteristically slow off the mark on restarts, and Busch took full advantage.
“I don’t know where that last caution came from, but it was our saving grace,” Busch. “It was a gift. We came down pit road and the guys went to work and gave us a great pit stop, got me out front, which gave me the lead so I could restart the race how I wanted to. That was the win right there.”
O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals
Mike Neff continued John Force Racing’s dominance in Funny Car as he raced to his first victory of the 2012 season Sunday. With the win, Neff gave John Force Racing its sixth consecutive win to open the season.
Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock), and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also earned victories at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event near Houston.
Next race: Monza Italy, May 6
Sources: series websites, press releases and various independent motorsports websites