Thursday, August 27, 2009

AutoFair at LMS

Food Lion AutoFair Celebrates Return
of Sixties-Style Muscle Cars

CONCORD, N.C. (Aug. 24, 2009) – America’s Big Three automakers once made exciting, powerful muscle cars called Camaro, Mustang and Challenger that every young driver dreamed of owning. After fading in importance, or disappearing altogether, those same stylish street fighters from the late 1960s have been reborn with 21st century technology and bodies that recall their glory years. Old and new versions of this tire-shredding trio will be displayed during the Sept. 10-13 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in a special “Retro Muscle Rules” exhibit.

In 1969, Ford Motor Co. offered an array of 10 engines for its five-year-old Mustang, including a 360-horsepower, 428-cubic-inch Cobra Jet option and an awe-inspiring Boss 429 plant that was advertised at 370 horsepower but put out much, much more. The powerful ponies could be ordered with a hardtop, convertible or fastback body. Equipment packages ranged from sedate (Grandé) to sporty (Mach 1) to brutally fast (Boss 302).

Chevrolet’s Camaro, introduced as a ’67 model, matched the Mustang blow-for-blow in terms of power and marketing for ’69. Fourteen engines were available, including a 425-horsepower, 427-cubic-inch big-block V-8 borrowed from Chevy’s Corvette. The ’69 Camaro, with its “angry face” grille design, set a sales record Chevrolet would not break for another decade.

Late to the pony-size muscle car fight, but swinging a knockout punch, was Dodge with its 1970 Challenger. Buyers had their choice of 11 engines, including the legendary 426-cubic-inch “Hemi” V-8 that produced 425 horsepower and a 390-horse, 440-cubic-inch monster with three two-barrel carburetors. That first-generation Challenger also benefited from a creative paint palette with 21 eye-catching colors such as Plum Crazy, Go-Mango, Banana, and Panther Pink. Like the Camaro, the Challenger was only available as a hardtop or convertible.

The 1969-70 period was a great time to be a performance enthusiast, but the era of factory-built hot rods was about to come to an end because their big V-8 engines did not meet new federal smog standards. After installing the required pumps, valves, filters and hoses to meet emissions requirements, the big three de-tuned their V-8s to the point of lethargy.

By 1973, engines that had been rated at close to 400 horsepower were producing as little as 150. Putting the final nail in the coffin was that year’s oil embargo against the United States by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries, which created long, anxious waiting lines for expensive gasoline. With performance car sales plummeting, Dodge ended the Challenger’s run in 1974, and the auto industry as a whole began converting production to front-wheel-drive cars with small four-cylinder engines.

All seemed lost until 1985, when new computer technology pushed Camaro and Mustang V-8s past the 200-horsepower mark for the first time in 10 years. The fight for street supremacy escalated anew, with Camaro’s Z28 breaking the 300-horsepower barrier in 1993; Mustang’s Cobra followed in ’96. As they entered the 21st century, the two competitors wore sleek, pointy bodies that cheated the wind but looked nothing at all like the boxy coupes that once charmed a generation of young enthusiasts. Greater performance was not enough to keep the Camaro in production, however; Chevy’s road rocket joined the Challenger in the muscle car graveyard in 2002.

In 2005, inspired by the successful revivals of the classic Volkswagen Beetle and Mini Cooper, Ford introduced a Mustang that would have looked right at home on a dealer lot circa 1969. Its long, flat hood; upright grille with four round headlights; fastback roof line and three-element tail light treatment were borrowed directly from those first-generation drawing tables. Five years later, Ford restyled the Mustang, but retained the stuck-in-the-‘60s appeal. The 2010 GT comes standard with a 315-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8, but the Mustang-based Shelby GT500’s supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 produces 540 horsepower.

In 2008, Dodge mined its muscle car past and struck gold by creating a near twin to its beloved 1970-74 Challenger. Hot engine choices for the new Challenger include the R/T model’s 376-horsepower, 5.7-liter V-8 or the SRT-8’s 425-horsepower, 6.1-liter V-8 – both of which carry the desirable Hemi name. Not to be left out of the party, Chevrolet enthusiastically resurrected its own legendary model with a modern interpretation of the ’69 Camaro. The new Camaro, which just hit showrooms as an early 2010 offering, can be ordered with the marque’s most powerful engine ever – a 426-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8.

The return of the terrific trio will be celebrated during the Sept. 10-13 Food Lion AutoFair with a special “Retro Muscle Rules” display featuring both old and new examples of the Camaro, Mustang and Challenger.

The Food Lion AutoFair attracts more than 100,000 visitors. It features more than 50 car club displays and more than 7,000 vendor spaces offering a huge array of automotive parts and memorabilia. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway.

Food Lion AutoFair hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults while children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking for the event is $5.

For more information, contact the Lowe’s Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or visit www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

VIR results

VIR AMA Moto-GT Round
to Crozier Triumph and Ducshop Ducati


Danville, VA (August 15, 2009) - Saturday's action at the Tenth Suzuki Big Kahuna AMA Nationals was hot - on the track and with the weather. The day's first race went to the Crozier Motorsports Triumph Daytona 675 in GT1 and GT2 laurels went to the Ducshop Ducati.

AMA's release follows:

Points Leaders Crozier Motorsports and Ducshop Ducati Win AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT at VIR
Both Teams Extend Championship Leads; Day Continues Dominance with SuperSport East Pole


ALTON, Va. (August 15, 2009) - Prevailing in a race that was high in both attrition and drama, the No. 14 Crozier Motorsports Triumph Daytona 675 of Mark Crozier and Dave Estok and the No. 77 Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati PS1000LE of Ryan Elleby and Corey Rech extended their respective AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT Championship leads with a pair of victories Saturday at the Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals at Virginia International Raceway.

Both teams steered clear of the major trouble that befell the majority of their competitors to score victories that could prove to be pivotal in their championship bids with two races left in the season. The Crozier team scored its second overall and GT1 class victory of the season after first hitting the top podium spot in May at Barber Motorsports Park. This weekend the team recovered from Crozier's lowside incident in Friday's qualifying session to take the win.

"We knew we had some ground to pick up so we made some changes to the bike," Crozier said. "We were really trying to put down a good lap time and with the championship thing every point counts. I had my head down and just lost the front and kind of ran out of talent and didn't hold it. It created some extra work for the crew, but we learned a lot from that, and they worked really hard to put it back together. Today we still didn't have the speed of some of the other guys, but it was a day of attrition and it was kind of a Tortoise and the Hare thing."

Estok brought the winning Triumph to the checkered flag.

"Mark brought us into the lead and he was the attrition man today," Estok said. "He worked his tail off today and did two stints in a row. He gave me the bike with a lap lead and from there my only job was to not crash."

The No. 14 team now has an 11 point lead in the GT1 standings, 140 - 129, over the No. 41 Liberty Waves Racing/Kowgo.com Buell 1125R of Eric Pinson and Eric Haugo, which finished second at VIR two laps behind the leaders.

"We just tried to stay on our path," Pinson said. "With our crew and everybody, this thing was just flawless. The Buell was just working great and I want to thank all those Liberty Waves people. Without these guys we wouldn't be able to do anything."

The GT1 championship leaders were aided by several setbacks for some of their top competitors. The pole-winning Westby Racing team of Dane Westby and Dustin Meador (No. 13 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R6) retired with apparent mechanical issues while leading in the first 15 minutes of the race. The new team had gone a perfect two for two with victories in the last two rounds at Mid-Ohio and Topeka. From there, Josh Day and Dominic Jones (No. 27 Four Feathers Racing Yamaha YZF-R6) led until just before the race's halfway mark only to retire after a lowside incident in Turn 3. The No. 14 took the lead at that point and stayed up front until the checkered flag.

Third place in the GT1 class went to Paul Schwemmer and Brett Ray (No. 37 Old Pros Racing Aprilia RSV1000R). The result also boosted the No. 37 team to third in the GT1 standings with 112 points.

The No. 77 Ducati continued to be the class of the field in GT2 and joined the winning No. 14 GT1 team in overcoming its biggest challenge before the green flag even dropped. Elleby was caught up in a lowside incident in this morning's warm-up session, but the Touring Sport Ducshop team quickly got the No. 77 back in race-winning form.

"We had a little boo boo this morning," Elleby said. "Everything went well, the guys hustled really hard all weekend to get the bikes in perfect condition like they always are. It was a good long, hard race. It was definitely a roller coaster, with a lot of incidents going on. I'm glad we could finish it up, stretch the lead out a little bit and have a little room to breathe."

Rech won his third-consecutive race with the Ducshop team and his second straight on the No. 77 Ducati. His run was hardly trouble free, however, and a minor lowside incident in the middle of the race left the Ducati with bent handlebars.

"The race went well," Rech said. "Ryan rode the first stint and everything was going good. The front tire got a little shag after Ryan got off it and I went through a turn and just tucked the front. That was about the biggest thing I had a problem with. We had a bent handlebar but it bent right back to where I could ride it. The Ducshop is a really good team, they put a lot of time in the bikes and I have a good teammate."

Despite the setback, the No. 77 team still finished an impressive third overall and one minute ahead of second place GT2 riders Kenny Rodriguez and Trey Yonce (No. 10 East Coast Powersports Suzuki SV650), who were fourth overall. Fernando Ferreyra and Robertino Pietri (No. 63 Coatzymoto International Racing Ducati PS1000LE) finished third in GT2 and rounded out the overall top five.

The No. 77 Ducati team has taken commanding control of the GT2 championship standings and now has a 44 point lead, 202 - 158, over Jay Springsteen and Scott Ryan (No. 9 Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki EX650). Springsteen was among the half dozen riders to lowside Saturday and went down a little over 20 minutes into the race while running second. The team rebounded to finish a solid seventh overall and fourth in GT2, three laps behind the winners. The No. 64 TeamHurtByAccident.com Ducati PS1000LE team, which finished fifth in GT2 at VIR with John Linder and Robert Fisher, remains third in the standings with 115 points. None of the riders involved in the on-track incidents were injured.

Two rounds remain in the 2009 AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT season. Next up is the New Jersey Superbike Championship Weekend, which includes the SunTrust Moto-GT race on Saturday, September 5 at 11 a.m. ET. Highlights from Saturday's SunTrust Moto-GT race can be seen tonight on SPEED at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT).

SuperSport Pole Day II

Josh Day (No. 4 Team E.S.P. Yamaha YZF-R6) continued his current stranglehold on the AMA Pro SuperSport presented by Shoei class and moved closer to the East division title with his second straight pole Saturday in qualifying at VIR. Day was also on the pole one race ago in Topeka where he went on to lead every race lap for his second-consecutive series victory.

Saturday at VIR, Day clocked in at 1:29.398 (91.008 mph), the fastest lap any rider has run in SuperSport so far this weekend. Day also remains the only SuperSport rider at the Big Kahuna to get around the 2.25-mile circuit in less than 90 seconds. He also paced Friday's opening practice session with a top lap time of 1:29.707 (90.695 mph).

"I just went out there and tried the best that I could," said Day, who edged out nearest title challenger Leandro Mercado (No. 92 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R). I knew they were going to be closing in on my time, and I know all of them are going to be up there for the race. Leandro hasn't been able to ride for awhile so I'm sure he's fine tuning his riding this weekend and he'll be right up there during the race."

Mercado led the East point standings earlier in the season and also has a pair of victories, but his title hopes took a severe hit when travel issues forced him to miss the Topeka round. He was second fastest in VIR qualifying with a lap time of 1:30.125 (90.275 mph).

"I always think of races for what they are but I have to be thinking for the championship," Mercado said. "Tomorrow I have to work on the race to make points, so we'll see for the championship."

Day now has a 46-point lead over Mercado, 127 - 81. That equates to more than a full-race lead and guarantees he will leave the Big Kahuna on top of the standings even if he fails to clinch the crown. Even if Mercado scores all 31 remaining available points at VIR, Day only needs to finish third or better to leave Virginia with the East title.

Rech (No.7 AB1 Motorsports Suzuki GSX-R600) is making his SuperSport debut and recovered from a Friday practice spill to qualify third with a lap time of 1:30.160 (90.240 mph).

"I'm riding with AB1 Motorsports this weekend," said Rech, who also has a three AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT wins this season. "The bike was running really good, the tires were working great. We clicked on a really good setup in the first practice and I just have to thank my team. I crashed yesterday in practice and demolished the bike. They stayed up pretty late putting it back together so I just have to put it all to them. My wrist is a little banged up, but I'm fine."

Joey Pascarella (No. 25 LTD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6) has missed two of the last three SuperSport races while recovering from a broken right wrist and splitting his schedule with Supermoto. He returned at VIR and earned a front-row start with the fourth-fastest qualifying time of 1:30.168 (90.232 mph).

"I missed two Supermoto races and two SuperSport races because of my wrist," said Pascarella, who recently competed in Supermoto at the X-Games. "I don't really know, with my schedule, if I'll be able to make New Jersey, but I'm going to try if I can. I really like these races. I like this track a lot, it's pretty fun. My bike was working pretty good. I don't really know when I did my lap, to be honest with you. I just pushed my hardest and hoped I was on the front row. I'd like to thank the whole LTD racing team."

AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. From its Daytona Beach headquarters, the organization operates and manages AMA Pro Road Racing, which includes AMA Pro American Superbike, AMA Pro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro SuperSport and AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT. AMA Pro Racing also manages and works closely with the day-to-day operational organizations of the AMA Pro Flat Track Championship and the AMA Pro Supermoto Championship Series in addition to other two-wheel and ATV series. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.