Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Penske Revels In First Sprint Cup Crown

Roger Penske poses with Brad Keselowski after securing the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. (NASCAR Photo)
 
HOMESTEAD, Fla. – When NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship began at Chicagoland Speedway on Sept. 16 there were many “Brickyard Legends” that had an opportunity to win the 2012 Sprint Cup title.
 
But in the end, the man who gets to celebrate is the greatest “Brickyard Legend” of them all.
Roger Penske, the man whose cars and drivers have won a record 15 Indianapolis 500s, 12 IndyCar championships in USAC, CART and the IZOD IndyCar Series, was finally able to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup title for the first time in his over 40 years as a team owner.

Penske has achieved the greatest accomplishments in racing including a record that may never be matched or even surpassed at the “World’s Greatest Race” – the Indianapolis 500. But when it came to NASCAR, the Sprint Cup title remained the elusive jewel that was missing to complete his historic collection.

For the man whose teams dominated Trans-Am, achieved historic success in IndyCar and is the last American team owner to field his own car in Formula One, the 76-year-old Penske can now celebrate the one championship that eluded him for so long. He came close to winning the Cup in 1993 and 1994 with Rusty Wallace as the driver of the No. 2 “Blue Deuce.” But it took a brash young kid from Rochester Hills, Michigan to give Penske the title when Brad Keselowski clinched the championship with a 15th-place finish in the Ford Eco Boost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
 
No man understands the stature of the Indianapolis 500 better than Penske but considering the time and effort it took to finally claim NASCAR’s biggest prize, he places the Sprint Cup title above all of his other accomplishments.

“It’s at the top of the mark now,” Penske said before going onto the Sprint Cup Championship Stage. “As I told you when Brad and I got together three years ago and we talked about a plan, we executed, but I want to thank all the people in our company, all our 40,000 employees that have helped us. This race shop team is outstanding, with just the reliability of that car and engine and Dodge, I want to thank Dodge for what they’ve done and certainly Miller Lite and Shell Pennzoil.

“I think the competition is just so super and you think about the people that have won this series over the years, you know, Rick Hendrick is a great friend of mine. You could see Johnson and those guys were right there right down to the last few laps and it’s just something that you have to work on and these guys are the best.

“But this guy Keselowski is something special, and for me it’s a lifelong goal when you think about Hendrick, you think about Earnhardt and Childress and Gibbs and just to mention all the guys that have been up there, and we’ve been close but we’ve never delivered. But this guy here delivered it for us. Every week all through the year, gave us this championship. Boy, I’ll tell you, man, I love you.”

Penske won a NASCAR Cup race at Riverside, California with 1972 Indianapolis 500 winner Mark Donohue in 1973. It was the first of 76 wins in the Cup Series. But while Penske was able to successfully win races at NASCAR’s highest level he couldn’t win a championship.

In order for Keselowski to be the best he was going to have to beat the best in another “Brickyard Legend” – four-time Brickyard 400 winner and five-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. Keselowski had a 20-point lead over Johnson entering the final race of the season which meant for the most part Johnson was going to have to finish 20 positions higher than Keselowski if he didn’t win the race. If Johnson was able to drive the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet to victory as well as score the bonus points for leading a lap and leading the most laps then Keselowski would have to finish 15th.

Johnson wasn’t going down without a fight and forced the issue when he was leading the race before he had to make what appeared to be his final pit stop.

And that is when it all began to go so wrong for Johnson.

With 54 laps to go Johnson made what appeared to be his final pit stop. But one of the lug nuts on his tires was missing and he was nailed for a penalty, having to pit on the next lap. He was leading the race before that stop.

It would only get worse when his rear-end differential failed, sending the No. 48 Chevrolet into the garage area and officially ending his “Chase for the Championship.”

“We were in position and putting the pressure on the 2 car like we needed to,” Johnson said of Keselowski. “I said at the beginning of the week, 15th isn’t a lay up, and I certainly had him in position. He made it really interesting here at the end of this thing. It we could have not had the mistake on pitted road and then the gear failure at the end. Didn’t really catch exactly what happened but I know there was oil under the back of the car. So there was oil under the back of the car. I’m not sure if a fitting busted or was hit by debris or line but something back there allowed the car to puke out gear oil. So as I was saying, there was oil all over under the back of the car, so something happened from either a line failure or a fitting was hit by debris or something and it puked all the gear oil out and burned up the gear. So again, disappointing, and we were right there in position and putting pressure on like we needed to.

But I have a lot to be proud of this year and so does this race team, and I can’t thank everybody I need to thank everybody at Hendrick Motorsports. Every man and woman there put in countless hours giving me great equipment, the support from Lowe’s, my fan base, Chevrolet and my family. We did all we could and came up a little short.

Brad Keselowski answers a question during the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Media Tour as team owner Roger Penske looks on. (HHP/Harold Hinson Photo)
“I would have hated to come out here and do the trash talking I did to start the week and run 25th all night long. You know, I’m proud of the fact that we went out there and backed up what we said we could do and we put the pressure on. It doesn’t take the sting away from losing the championship. It helps in some ways and stings in others, so it balances out, I guess.”

“Yes, it all unraveled pretty quickly. You know, the pit road thing, I was just kind of dealing with it, the first two or three laps I got on the track and trying to think through what was going on. Chad had some optimism left in his voice. I wasn’t sure why or what. Maybe he was just doing a good job of being a cheerleader.

“But I ran a handful of laps and then I could smell some oil. And when the gear failed, I mean, there was a lot of shaking in the car. I knew it was big and going to be fatal.”

After racking up a record five-straight Cup titles from 2006-2010 Johnson has fallen short the past two years. It’s an unusual feeling for the driver who made it look so easy for so long during his championship run.
“It sucks to be close and not get it,” said this year’s winner of the Crown Royal Presents the Curtiss Shaver 400 at the Brickyard. “That’s just the way it is. The statement I made about the eight championships is on that big wish list that we all have a wish list. The reality of that isn’t something that motivates me, and I’m not focused on it or think about that number. It was really to give everybody an answer because everybody would ask me, What next?

“So I thought it would bide me some time to have to come up with some type of answer.

“But I’m just disappointed that we came so close. We had 80 percent of the Chase that we wanted to have, a ton of momentum late in the season, and then those final two races bit us.”

Just a few moments after clinching the championship Keselowski was able to frame his feelings as it compared to the driver he beat.
 
“He’s the best,” Keselowski said of Johnson. “He proved here today he was going to win this damn race and I know that. We were not as we wanted to be, I’ll be the first to admit that, but my guys never gave up, we kept working and at the end we were capable of getting back up enough to where it wouldn’t have mattered if he had won which made me feel a lot better, but my guys did a great job all year long and I’m lucky to have them.”

And by doing that Keselowski helped his “Brickyard Legend” team owner achieve something he had sought for so long.

“It’s a goal that I had,” Penske said. “You could see that it wasn’t easy. It just didn’t line up and go today because Chad Knaus and as I said, the elite group, Hendrick’s boys and Jimmie Johnson were very strong today and they were throwing everything they could at us. It’s something I can’t hardly believe right now. I played this race in my mind over the weekend so many times what could happen yes or no.

“But I guess when Jimmie lost that lug nut, I said someone gave us four aces right there in our hand, so what we need to do is be sure we didn’t drop them. But I just want to thank Paul Wolfe (crew chief) for the great job he’s done in building this team.”

Penske has been a master at building successful businesses and race teams by what he calls the “human capital.”
“It’s not how much money you put into your race team, it’s all about the people and the human capital, and I guess Brad is right at the top,” Penske said. “When he came in and said, look, I want to help you build a championship team, he looked me in the eye and shook my hand, and that’s how we started, and there’s no question that he’s delivered way above what both of us probably thought was possible when you look at the competition and what we have to deal with.

“But he’s a great leader on our team. Obviously I remember I said, I think, earlier that he said, I’m not helping Kurt Busch enough, meaning he wasn’t good enough at that point. But when he took over the leadership of the team, I said to him, you’re going to be the leader of this team, and I think that you’ve seen what’s happened. He hasn’t missed a step. He’s galvanized the team from the standpoint of leadership with Paul and the whole team, and I think never does he miss a day coming in the shop, putting his arm around the guys, and that makes a big difference. You can be a big shot, but you’ve got to get down on the ground and work with the guys that are doing all this work day in and day out.

“For me this is what I love, taking people within at organization and seeing them flourish, and he certainly has today.”

Some have even drawn comparisons between Penske’s latest racing star with the very first star that drove his cars to victory – Donohue.

“When I compare the two, these are guys that would work in the shop,” Penske said. “I remember many nights Mark Donohue would work all night in the shop and get in the truck and tow the car to the races, and that’s the kind of background that Brad had with his dad and his brother and uncle and what have you, and I think that Brad has become a technician. I mean, he’s smart, he’s engineering savvy. Obviously Mark went to Brown. Brad didn’t have that opportunity.

“But I see them as pure team players, and I think that’s the great teams, you look at Jimmie, you look at Jeff, you look at Earnhardt, all these guys, what they built, the camaraderie, think about Earnhardt Sr. and Childress, these things grow together, and I think what’s what we did with Mark and obviously that’s what Brad has been able to do for our team. So I see them a lot like that; they’re the glue, they’re the builders.”
On Friday, Penske compared Keselowski to four-time Indianapolis 500 winner Rick Mears and three-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves as well as Donohue.

“I think I’ve got a long ways to go to keep up with those guys, and there’s a lot of work to be done,” Keselowski said of the impressive comparisons. “I feel like we’re still at the beginning. I don’t feel like you can’t judge something off the beginning. You know, if you were building a house and you just looked at the foundation, it doesn’t look like much of anything. I feel like we’re very early. We’ve got the cement poured, and I want to keep building.”

Because of his tremendous accomplishments in the Indianapolis 500 Penske’s license plate on his personal vehicle is “INDY 1.” He is considering ordering another plate for another one of his cars.

“I guess I put NASCAR 1 on it right now,” Penske quipped. “I guess that might be right.

“It’s a special position to be in as an owner. Obviously, as I’ve said before, it’s a goal that I wanted to achieve, and I tried hard. We were close in 1993 with Rusty finishing second and then third in ’94. That’s a long time ago. The competition has gotten tougher, and I think that any one weekend there’s 10 or 15 cars that can win, and I think for us to be able to have the continuity, and it’s a team, we’ve built a special team here, and I’m proud to be the leader, but on the other hand we delegate down to people like Mike Nelson and Travis and obviously Paul and Tim Cindric gets a lot of credit for kind of putting this whole thing together.
 
“When I can be part of that group and then say we’re at the top of the sport in 2012, it’s a goal I’m sure everybody wants where they want to be.”

And finally, after 40 years of trying this unique form of racing known as NASCAR. During his career as an IndyCar owner he has made success look easy at times but in NASCAR he will be the first to admit that is oh so hard.

That is why Penske feels such a deep sense of satisfaction in his latest accomplishment.

“Well, personally I feel amazing that I’ve been able to achieve this in racing,” Penske said. “I’ve lauded the people that have been on that stage for so many years in Las Vegas and New York, and to be able to join this elite group and say that I’m a champion in NASCAR means a lot, and certainly as I said earlier it takes a lot of people, but I think it took the guts for me to stay in the sport. We could have thought, well, we won the Indy 500 15 times and we’re a big deal, but I’ll tell you one thing: Until you get here and you compete at the top and win it, you really know what’s happened, and I think I just woke up here tonight, and it’s a big thrill.”
 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Brad Keselowski Wins At Kansas!

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP)— Brad Keselowksi held off Dale Earnhardt Jr to win Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race atKansas Speedway and pick up his first victory of the year.

Keselowski led the final nine laps, conserving just enough fuel to stave off Earnhardt and snap a 75-race winless streak.

Earnardt finished second for the second week in a row in a fuel mileage race. Earnhardt appeared to have enough to make a late charge on Keselowski. That push never came - though Earnhardt did move up to third in the points standings.

Denny Hamlin was third, followed by Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards.

Pollsitter Kurt Busch led for 152 laps Sunday and finished ninth. He had to stop for gas as the leader with 10 laps remaining.

#2 isn't so bad today as Brad Keselowski wins at the Kansas Speedway in his #2 Miller Lite racecar. It is his second Sprint Cup victory.

Emporia native Clint Bowyer, who won the Truck Series race on Saturday, finished a dissapointing 18th.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. came in right behind Keseloski in second. Pole winner Kurt Busch finished ninth.

From KWCH Eywitness News Chanel 12.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

SECOND ANNUAL SONOMA HISTORIC MOTORSPORTS FESTIVAL JUNE 4-5

MORE THAN 250 HISTORIC CARS FROM CALIFORNIA ENTERED


SONOMA, Calif. (May 5, 2011) - Of the 400 historic cars entered in the Second Annual Sonoma Historic Motorsport Festival, June 4-5, at Infineon Raceway, more than 250 hail from the State of California, a hot bed for collectors of exotic street cars and significant race cars. The event features the McLaren marque, which was a dominant force in the Can-Am, Indy 500 and Formula 1 racing series in the '60s and '70s.


While nearly 190 of the entries list Northern California as home, the remaining are from the Los Angeles and Central California areas. Included in the San Francisco-based cars are a 1934 Bugatti T-59, owned and driven by Charles McCabe, a 1977 McLaren M23 and a 1963 Lotus 27 Formula Junior driven by Danny Baker, and Len Auerbach's 1938 Aston Martin.


Jim Gallucci, of Danville, will race his 1969 McLaren M8C, while Peter Giddings, also of Danville, will compete in his 1931 Alfa Romeo Tipo B P3 and 1956 Maserati 250F.


From nearby Yountville, home of the world-renowned restaurant, French Laundry, Steve Cook will race his 1964 March 741 and 1968 McLaren M6B. Jeremy Nickel, also from Yountville, will pilot his 1963 Lotus 27 Formula Junior in one of the 13 races groups that will compete during the weekend. Jeffrey O’Neill, who lives and works in the heart of the wine country in Kentfield, has entered his 1957 Maserati 250F, and Frank Altamura, of Napa, will drive his 1966 Porsche 911S.

Petaluma will be represented by the 1974 Shadow DN4A, entered and driven by Fred Cziska, and the 1963 Corvette of Dan Payne, while the quaint seaside town of Sausalito boasts six entries, including a 1934 Lagonda Rapier (owned and driven by Alan Patterson), David Swig's 1957 Montsterati Special, and Howard Swig's 1931 Chrysler CD8 LeMans.


The L.A.-area entries include Bob Lee's 1968 McLaren M6B (of Rolling Hills), Mitch McCullough's 1956 Lotus 11 LeMans (of Redondo Beach), and from Santa Monica, Dave Hagan's 1960 Cooper T-52 Formula Junior.


"The state of California is well represented at this year's event," said Steve Earle, president of General Racing, Ltd., who for four decades has devoted his life to organizing historic car racing events. He is the originator of the Monterey Historic Automobile Races and the Wine Country Classic that preceded the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival.


"Many of the owners from Sonoma, Petaluma, San Rafael, Sausalito, Novato and Mill Valley could actually drive their cars to Infineon Raceway, and I suspect a few of them will. After all, a drive through the Northern California countryside can only enhance the adventure that will face these owners when they get on track at the stunningly beautiful Infineon Raceway. We expect great late spring weather." A complete entry list may be found at www.sonomahistoric.com.


The weekend’s festivities will also include the Historic Race Car Festival in the Sonoma Plaza Saturday evening benefiting Speedway Children’s Charities, and other special programs to be announced.


A popular event away from the racing action is the Wine Country Pavilion at Infineon Raceway, where the best food and wine from the Sonoma and Napa Valleys may be sampled. Admission to the Pavilion is FREE with an event ticket. Local restaurants participating in the Wine Country Pavilion are Girl in the Fig, Botanical Bakery and CIA Greystone. The wineries include Tin Barn, Dawn Hughes, Frank and Andy Aspina, Clarbec Wines, Sidejob Cellars, Rielle Wines, Meadowcroft, Bennet Lane and Korbel. Additional restaurants and wineries are expected to participate and will be announced in the near future.


Additional information may be found at www.sonomahistoric.com. Companies interested in supporting special events during the Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival, should contact General Racing Ltd., at 805-686-9292.


About McLaren:
Having dominated the Can-Am series from 1967 through 1971, McLaren was considered unbeatable. There were also McLaren victories at the Indianapolis 500 for American drivers Mark Donohue (1972) and Johnny Rutherford (1974, 1976). In Formula 1 racing, the McLaren name is equally famous. Only Ferrari has competed in more F1 races in the modern era, and McLaren’s driver lineup has included the very best the sport has produced including Bruce McLaren, Peter Revson, Denny Hulme, James Hunt, Emerson Fittipaldi, Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Fernando Alonzo and current world champion drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.


Today, the McLaren Group, headquartered in Woking, Surrey, England, is comprised of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 Racing Team and McLaren Automotive. In 2011, the company will introduce its new road car, the McLaren MP4-12C. The carbon fiber composite chassis with a 3.8-liter twin-turbo V8 engine develops 600 horsepower and has a top speed of 200 mph. The seven-speed gear box with paddle shifter will accelerate from 0 to 124 mph in under ten seconds. The MP4-12C’s shapely form and extraordinary performance pays tribute to McLaren’s racing heritage.


About General Racing, Ltd.:
General Racing Ltd. was formed in 1970 to encourage the restoration, preservation and the use of historic sports and racing cars. Founder Steven J. Earle envisioned an event that would unite former racing greats with enthusiastic amateurs who owned some of the rare motorcars that once graced road courses worldwide. Earle’s vision forever changed the vintage racing landscape.

In 1974, with the support of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance organizers, he launched the inaugural one-day Monterey (Calif.) Historic Automobile Races at Laguna Seca Raceway. It was a huge success and attracted a field of 66 cars.


It also sparked the interest and vision for what would become the world’s premier historic auto race. In 1975 it became a two-day affair and since then has grown to a full three-day event.


The success of the Monterey Historics spawned additional General Racing events, including the Portland (Ore.) Historic Automobile Races, the Coronado (Calif.) Speed Festival, special events at the Long Beach Grand Prix and the Kansas City Historic Grand Prix, as well as the Wine Country Classic, the forerunner to the current Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival.


In addition, General Racing assisted the organizational team from 2001-2008 at the Lime Rock Park (Conn.) Vintage Festival, held over Labor Day weekend.


Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival
WHAT:
Sonoma Historic Motorsports Festival
WHEN: June 4-5, 2011
CIRCUIT: 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course
TICKETS: $40 day/$60 weekend; Youth (Ages 13-20): $20 day/$30 weekend; Children 12-and-under FREE and parking is FREE. Each ticket includes entry to the Wine Country Pavilion and souvenir program
INFORMATION: 800-870-RACE, infineonraceway.com/historics, ticketmaster.com


Accredited media wishing to cover the event may apply for event media credentials at www.smicredentials.com and apply for access to the site. Once approved for access, you may log in and apply for credentials.

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Thursday, January 27, 2011


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Judy Stropus, 203-438-0501; cell 203-243-2438; jstropus@earthlink.net

AUGIE PABST RECEIVES 2010 BOB AKIN AWARD FROM
ROAD RACING DRIVERS CLUB


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2011) - Augie Pabst, described as "one of the fastest, most charismatic and popular drivers in his day" by the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, to which he'll be inducted later this year, was named the recipient of the 2010 Bob Akin Award by the Road Racing Drivers Club (RRDC). The award was presented at a dinner prior to the running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season opener of the 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.

Each recipient of this honor, considered the top award in motorsports for amateur, vintage/historic or semi-professional drivers, is selected by Akin's son Bobby, RRDC members Brian Redman and Archie Urciuoli, and approved by RRDC president Bobby Rahal.

The distinctive trophy was conceived by the RRDC to honor the memory of long-time RRDC member and past president Bob Akin, who lost his life in a racing accident in 2002.

The trophy was designed by Steuben Glass in Corning, N.Y., and is given to a driver who best exemplifies the extraordinary qualities and characteristics that Akin represented, including a passion for motorsports and automobiles, a high level of sportsmanship and fair play, and who has contributed to the sport of motor racing.

A scion of the family that founded Pabst Brewing Company in 1844, whose early racing career spanned a 10-year period (1956-66), Pabst won the 1959 USAC Road Racing Championship and the SCCA B-Modified Championship in 1960. He and his wife Joan reside in Oconomowoc, Wis., and he considers historic Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., his home track.

Pabst was presented the award by Urciuoli, Akin and Rahal. "I got to know Bob Akin when I drove with him a couple times in 1979 and 1980,” said Rahal. “Ten years ago Bob and Brian Redman approached me to be the president of the RRDC because they had a great passion for the club and thought maybe I could help them in that fashion. Unfortunately, we lost Bob in an accident in 2002. He represented so many good things and epitomized a true gentleman in the sport."

Added Urciuoli: "Bob was a great fellow competitor who was tragically killed at the age of 66. He had a great 40-year road-racing career and gave generously back to our sport, to his family, his community and his business.

“We're very proud to present the 2010 Bob Akin Award to Augie Pabst.”

Pabst's success in the late '50s and early '60s as one of road-racing's most versatile stars came driving the famous Meister Brauser Scarab, which he today drives in vintage competition. He also scored significant victories for Briggs Cunningham, John Mecom Jr., Carroll Shelby and Luigi Chinetti. He retired in early 1966.

"Like many of us, Augie began racing in regional SCCA events, starting in a Triumph TR3 in 1956,” said Urciuoli. “He had his first major win in 1959 in a Ferrari 500 TR and ended that year as the USAC Road Racing Champion in the famous Meister Brauser Scarab. In 1960 he won five SCCA nationals and the Class B-Modified championship and was named U.S. Driver of the Year by Competition Press. He continues to race in motorsports events at Road America and often had some spirited dices with Bob Akin."

"Bob Akin and I had a lot of fun together in vintage racing in the '90s," said Pabst, a three-time winner of the Road America 500 (1961, '63 and '64). "He had a very fast little Cooper and in the beginning the Scarab that I drove and the Cooper were very similar on lap times and each year the Cooper got a little faster. We used to go down from turn 3 to turn 5 at Road America and the Scarab would pull away from the Cooper. About two or three years later the Cooper would go past the Scarab.

"I feel honored and humbled to receive this award because I thought Bob was such a great person and a fabulous driver. He was a good sport and sportsman. He loved the sport as much, if not more, than we did. He contributed so much, in both professional and vintage racing."

Past recipients of the Bob Akin Award have been Sam Posey, Charlie Gibson, John Fitch, Jim Haynes, Cameron Argetsinger, Jim Downing and Steve Earle.

The permanent trophy, listing annual winners, is on display at the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) in Watkins Glen, N.Y. The recipients receive a smaller, engraved version of the award.

About the RRDC:
The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 as a way to give champion drivers a say in their sport, particularly in the areas of safety, and has evolved to serve the future of road racing by mentoring new drivers on both amateur and professional levels. The Club’s membership includes leading industry professionals, race officials and motorsports journalists, in addition to prominent racing names.

President Bobby Rahal is the 1986 Indy 500 winner and is co-owner, with David Letterman, of the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winning Rahal Letterman Racing team. Six-time SCCA National champion John Fergus is the Club’s Vice President/Treasurer, and five-time SCCA National champion Tom Davey is the Secretary.

In addition to RRDC members lending their expertise to up-and-coming drivers, the Club presents three annual awards: the Phil Hill Award for rendering outstanding service to road racing; the Mark Donohue Award for personal spirit and performance at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs; and the Bob Akin Award – the top award presented to amateur and semi-professional racers - for speed with style, passion, sportsmanship and contribution to motorsports.

The RRDC also supports the Team USA Scholarship, which has been assisting young Americans in the early stages of their careers since 1990.

Membership in the RRDC is by invitation only. Additional information on the organization may be found at http://www.rrdc.org/ .

Photo of Augie Pabst, center, receiving the 2010 Bob Akin Award at the RRDC dinner in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Jan. 26, from Bobby Akin, left, and Bobby Rahal. Photo credit: Jeff Tan
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Friday, December 17, 2010

RRDC/FIA YOUNG DRIVERS SYMPOSIUM ATTRACTS LARGE AND APPRECIATIVE AUDIENCE

HILLIARD, Ohio (Dec. 16, 2010) – A capacity crowd of 150 young drivers, family members, managers, coaches and assorted guests participated in the Road Racing Drivers Club/FIA Young Drivers Symposium on Dec. 11, at the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) Trade Show in Orlando, Fla.

Hosted by RRDC President, Indianapolis 500 winner and BMW-Rahal Letterman Team co-owner Bobby Rahal, the third in a series of free “Safe is Fast” workshops – with S.A.F.E. an acronym for Skilled, Assured, Fit, Empowered – was supported by a grant from the FIA Motor Sport Safety Development Fund.

The three-hour program featured a total of six industry experts who relayed a wealth of information and know-how covering such topics as mental preparation (Jacques Dallaire, Ph.D, founder and president of Prime Performance), physical fitness (Jim Leo, C.S.C.S., president of Pit Fit Training), safety (Stephen Olvey, M.D., and Terry Trammell, M.D., founding members of the International Council of Motorsports Sciences and founding fellows of the FIA Institute for Motorsport Safety), integrated driving and coaching (Michael Zimicki, president of Sliderule Motorsport) and sponsorship and branding (Jim Jordan, Manager for Alternative Marketing at Mazda North American Operations).

The symposium attracted drivers from a wide variety of race series and activities ranging from karting and quarter-midgets through all branches of open-wheel, sports car and stock car racing. Among them, the attendees represented all the major race sanctioning bodies in North America, including American Le Mans Series, Grand-Am, IndyCar, NASA, SCCA, USAC, NASCAR, ARCA and a plethora of karting entities.

“We couldn’t have been more pleased with the response,” said Rahal. “We saw drivers from just about every discipline you could imagine, and it was exciting to see how enthralled they were with the presentations.”

Attendees were equally effusive in their praise for the symposium: “I found it very educational,” said Collete Davis, 16, a student of mechanical engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla., who hopes to race in the 2011 U.S.F2000 National Championship. “I learned in just a few hours what people would usually take years to learn.”

“This was the second time I had attended the symposium at PRI,” said Trent Hindman, 15, from Wayside, N.J., who last week won a full scholarship to contest the 2011 BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Championship Presented by Mazda. “This year, to be honest, I was a lot more prepared to take in all this information. Dr. Dallaire’s method of thinking really helped me out a lot, so I’m going to try to take all of that and apply it and hopefully go faster on track.”

It wasn’t just the youngsters who picked up valuable information to help them maximize their potential. “I thought it was excellent,” said former IndyCar driver turned television analyst Scott Goodyear, who was joined by his 14-year-old son Michael, a burgeoning kart racer. “There was a lot crammed into a short period of time, but I think that if you can just even take away 10 or 20 percent of what you heard, that’s going to make you better both on and off the track. For me personally, it was an opportunity for my son to hear all these things from a different source – because I’m talking about it all the time – so he can then understand it and realize the importance of it all.”

“I really enjoyed the mental and the physical fitness side of it because that’s one thing that isn’t always foremost in your mind when you go to the race track,” added former Atlantic competitor John Thompson, from Perkaise, Pa., who accompanied his 16-year-old son, Colin, a competitor in this year’s VW Jetta TDI Cup Series. “The fact that it’s a seven-day, 24-hour-a-day activity really makes sense. You really can’t just prep yourself for the weekend, you’ve got to prep yourself all week for what you’re going to be doing at the weekend.”

About the RRDC:
The Road Racing Drivers Club was formed in 1952 as a way to give champion drivers a say in their sport, particularly in the areas of safety, and has evolved to serve the future of road racing by mentoring new drivers on both amateur and professional levels. The Club’s membership includes leading industry professionals, race officials and motorsports journalists, in addition to prominent racing names.

President Bobby Rahal is the 1986 Indy 500 winner and is co-owner, with David Letterman, of the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winning Rahal Letterman Racing team. Six-time SCCA National champion John Fergus is the Club’s Vice President/Treasurer, and five-time SCCA National champion Tom Davey is the Secretary.

In addition to RRDC members lending their expertise to up-and-coming drivers, the Club presents three annual awards: the Phil Hill Award for rendering outstanding service to road racing; the Mark Donohue Award for personal spirit and performance at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs; and the Bob Akin Award – the top award presented to amateur and semi-professional racers - for speed with style, passion, sportsmanship and contribution to motorsports.

The RRDC also supports the Team USA Scholarship, which has been assisting young Americans in the early stages of their careers since 1990.

Membership in the RRDC is by invitation only. Additional information on the organization may be found at www.rrdc.org.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

PRDA MEMBER TOM STYCZYNSKI WINS THE PENNSYLVANIA HILLCLIMB ASSOCIATION 2010 VINTAGE 1 CLASS CHAMPIONSHIP

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The final championship points for the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) sanctioned Pennsylvania Hillclimb Association (PHA) 2010 time trial and hillclimb series were released, on 03 October 2010. We are pleased to announce that Tom Styczynski, The Clarksville Garages team driver of the #38 1959 Austin Healey Sprite, placed first in points for the Vintage 1 class (1950-1962 Sports Cars and Sedans under 2000cc).

In 2010 Tom competed in 5 of the 8 events accumulating 3 – 1st place finishes (uncontested but the times were better then the previous year), 1 – 2nd place (behind to Dave Smith in a Bugeye Sprite but again faster then last year) and a hotly contested 3rd place in one of the largest fields of Vintage 1 racers (4 cars with 5 drivers). This places Tom Styczynski in the PHA record book among other noted Vintage 1 champions including Lloyd Geib Jr., Dave Smith and other people you do not know.

After the announcement Tom thanked the staff at The Clarksville Garages for their support in making this championship possible. The following were singled out for their effort:

Team Manager – Tom Styczynski
Chief Mechanic – Tom Styczynski
Shop Support Crew – Tom Styczynski
Parts/Logistics Department – Tom Styczynski
Transporter Driver – Tom Styczynski
Team Photographer – Carla Styczynski (assisted by Tom Styczynski)
Moral Support – Carla Styczynski
Immoral Support – Various Sources

The plans for the 2011 season are uncertain. Rumors persist that #38 is for sale and Tom is planning a move to the West Coast. Tom has rejected the offer from Najwy┼╝szym Biegu w Polsce (translation - Top Gear in Poland) to replace Stash (translation – Stanley) the performance driver.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

UMW Triumphs at Road & Track Concours d’Elegance

Elkhart Lake, Wisc. 21 JUNE 2010 – After five years of restoration work, UMW’s former Penske Racing 1972 International Fleetstar 2110A did the unthinkable this past weekend in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, winning ‘Best in Show’ at the Road & Track Concours d’Elegance, an event that is coupled annually with the Kohler International Challenge with Brian Redman at the four-mile Road America racing facility and the streets of Elkhart Lake.

It all started Friday evening on the streets of Elkhart Lake and the grounds of the fabulous Osthoff Resort, where the team’s freshly-restored 1972 transporter came away with a class win in the retired racecars class, beating out many famous racing cars; including the team’s 1972 All-American Racers Indy Eagle. From there, the truck was displayed at Road America for much of the weekend, where it served as a landmark for the 2010 Mark Donohue Reunion tent before Sunday’s overall Concours judging.

Showing the hauler alone with the ramps out would have only told half the story to the thousands of fans who made it out to the KIC. Thus, UMW team manager Rick Dresang consulted with Matt Drendel of Heritage Motorwerks, owner of the 1973 Porsche 917-30 on display under the Reunion tent. Rick and Matt came to the decision that the 917-30 would look great parked at the end of the International’s loading ramps to give the complete ‘Tonka set’ look to the truck. After checking with the judges, the 917-30 was allowed into the gated Concours area, and parked at the end of the loading ramps for the first time in over 36 years. When the final votes were tallied; the UMW crew, headed by team manager Rick Dresang, took home the ‘Best in Show’ award.

‘It is a great honor to take home the Best in Show award at the Road & Track Concours d’Elegance,’ said Dresang. ‘The truck was a massive undertaking to restore. We couldn’t have done it without the help of Dick Saleva, Heinz Mihm, Calico Hand Painted Pinstriping, Paul Jay, Dan O., Rick U., Jon ‘Wadewerx’ Wade, Gary Welk, Southland International Trucks Ltd., Lakeside International and the former Penske team members for their help in bringing the transporter back to former glory. A big thank you also goes out to Matt Drendel and his Heritage Motorwerks crew for helping complete the display with their Porsche 917-30.’

The team also had their ’72 Eagle-Offenhauser on-track during the course of the weekend with team driver Paul Jay taking the turbocharged Offy up through the gears on the car’s first laps of the Road America circuit. The UMW team will be seen next during the weekend of August 6-8, 2010 at the Road America circuit where team driver Jacques Dresang will make his 2010 debut in SCCA competition in the team’s newly-restored 1977 All-American Racers DGF Formula Ford. It will be the team’s first foray into formula car competition.

UMW is a team dedicated to the integrity and preservation of the history of motorsports. Since 1996, UMW has competed in various forms of racing; always with the same attention to detail that can be seen today in the various machines currently raced and restored by the team. For more information, please visit www.uemsimotorwerks.com.

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Photo Credits:

AtSpeed.jpg – UMW driver Paul Jay at-speed in the team’s 1972 All-American Racers Indy Eagle #7225. (UMW Photo)

Teamset.jpg – The 1972 International Fleetstar 2110A transporter was reunited with Heritage Motorwerks’ 1973 Porsche 917-30 for the first time in over 36 years. (UMW Photo)

Bestinshow.jpg – UMW team manager Rick Dresang, left, and Heritage Motorwerks’ Matt Drendel share the accolades of the ‘Best in Show’ award at the Road & Track Concours d’Elegance. (Steve Zautke Photo)

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