Motorsports Update – July 9, 2012
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.
With 28 laps to go Spies ran wide and let Lorenzo into third, to chase down the Repsol Hondas. Spies’ mistake let the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 pair catch up, with Dovizioso and Crutchlow switching places as they looked for a way past Spies. Two laps on, the pair made it past Spies, who looked to be slowing.
With 12 laps left, Pedrosa made his move past Stoner into turn one. However Stoner continued to stick to Pedrosa’s rear wheel. With just seven laps remaining the Yamaha battle was heating up as Crutchlow continued to look for a way past Dovizioso in fourth. It was not to be as Crutchlow out-braked himself going into turn one and ran into the gravel. He managed to keep his bike upright and re-joined behind San Carlo’s Álvaro Bautista, leaving Spies and Dovizioso to fight it out alone.
The last few laps were a thrilling affair as Stoner and Pedrosa were neck and neck, but there was huge drama in the final turns as Stoner crashed out. After the race Stoner was critical of the track marshals, claiming they did not help him get back on track.
Pedrosa set a record pace as he fought hard for his maiden win of the season, and crossed the finish line first in front of Lorenzo and Dovizioso, who recorded his third podium this season. This result puts Lorenzo 14 points clear in the championship with Pedrosa now in second, a further four points ahead of Stoner in third. The first non-podium finisher was Spies in fourth, followed by Stephan Bradl and Valentino Rossi. Bautista, Crutchlow, Héctor Barberá and Nicky Hayden complete the top ten, while Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet finished as top CRT bike in 11th.
AMA Pro Racing
Next race: BuckEye Superbike Weekend at Mid-Ohio, July 13-15
GRAND-AM Road Racing
Next race: The Brickyard Grand Prix, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, July 27, 2012
American Le Mans Series
The American Le Mans Northeast Grand Prix, Lime Rock Park
Muscle Milk Pickett Racing scored a victory at Lime Rock on Saturday. Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf came from four laps down to win.
The comeback upset Dyson Racing’s efforts for a second straight win on its home track. A late-race, full-course caution period with 10 minutes left sealed the Muscle Milk win. Graf – who made the winning pass on Guy Smith with a little less than 30 minutes left – and Luhr extended their winning streak to three races as well as their P1 championship lead.
The victory looked like a formality for Chris Dyson and pole-sitter Smith when the Muscle Milk car pitted with shifting problems 45 minutes into the race. Luhr was unable to upshift on the circuit, and the crew looked at the actuator and gearbox before determining that the Electronic Control Unit needed to be reset. By that time, Luhr had lost four laps.
From that point on – with the exception of a penalty for speeding in pitlane – Luhr and Graf were in attack mode. The duo took advantage of some timely wave-around periods under yellow and the usual manic traffic around Lime Rock the rest of the way.
After Smith and Dyson in second, Dyson Racing’s second Lola-Mazda of Eric Lux and Michael Marsal were third in class. The Dyson/Smith entry did come away with the prototype victory in the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge. It used its isobutanol fuel more efficiently and emitted a lesser amount of greenhouse gases than the other prototypes.
Jörg Bergmeister and Patrick Long won in GT for Flying Lizard Motorsports in a fight with Corvette Racing and Extreme Speed Motorsports. Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia finished second, just ahead of Gavin and Tommy Milner – the class championship leaders. The Corvette of Magnussen and Garcia was the GT winner in the MICHELIN® GREEN X® Challenge. It was the cleanest and most efficient GT entry and was second-quickest among the cars as well.
British Grand Prix, Silverstone
For so many laps on Sunday at Silverstone it seemed that Fernando Alonso was set to repeat his 2011 victory for Ferrari, until Red Bull’s Mark Webber was able to turn the tables with just five laps remaining.
They started from the front row, Alonso on pole, and on his hard-compound Pirelli tires the Spaniard raced away, leaving Webber, like many of their rivals shod with the soft rubber, to chase him from a distance. Alonso maintained his advantage after their first tire stops, when they both changed to hards, so it was the final stint that became critical.
Now Alonso had to switch to his mandatory set of soft tires on the 37th lap, four laps after Webber had changed to another set of the hards, and the fight was on. The gap was 3.9s on Lap 38, but then it came down bit by bit. By Lap 45 Webber was on his prey, but Alonso held on for two more laps before finally succumbing to the inevitable on the 48th as the Red Bull swept round the outside of him at Luffield and raced away to what was ultimately an easy victory.
Alonso hung on for second, and just stayed ahead of Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel who had fought back from a relatively poor start in which he sustained some front-wing endplate damage and lost out to Mercedes’ Michael Schumacher and Ferrari’s Felipe Massa. Great pit-stop strategy from Red Bull, bringing him in as early as the 10th lap, allowed him to jump them both to take the final place on the podium.
Honda Indy Toronto
Ryan Hunter-Reay is now on a three-race IndyCar winning streak after capturing Sunday’s Honda Indy Toronto at Exhibition Place. Hunter-Reay not only tied Will Power for the most race wins this season, he him for the series points lead. Hunter-Reay now leads by 34 points with five races left.
Charlie Kimball finished a career-best second amid a wild final green-flap lap. First, Sebastien Bourdais slid into the tire barrier while alongside Kimball. That was Turn 1. Two corners later, Ryan Briscoe got collected with Dario Franchitti, and there was a bunch-up of Justin Wilson, Simon Pagenaud and Ed Carpenter. The race ended under caution. Mike Conway finished third.
Coke Zero 400, Daytona International Speedway
In winning Saturday night’s race, Stewart side-drafted and separated Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle, who had surged into the lead during a two-lap run to the finish, then pulled away for his fourth win in the last eight July races at the 2.5-mile super speedway.
As Stewart approached the checkered flag for his third win of the season and the 47th of his career, a massive wreck in Turn 4 skewed the finishing order behind him.
Jeff Burton came home second and series leader Matt Kenseth third (after leading a race-high 89 laps), with Joey Logano and Ryan Newman completing the top five.
Summit Equipment NHRA Nationals
Spencer Massey raced to his fourth Top Fuel Vistory of the season Sunday.
Mike Neff (Funny Car), Vincent Nobile (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcyle) were also winners at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.
Next race: Brno, Czech Republic, July 22
Sources: series websites, press releases and various independent motorsports websites