Saturday, June 28, 2014

Justin Schroeder wins late model race at Flat Rock Speedway; Frank Jiovani fifth

Terry Bogusz

Justin Schroeder took the lead on lap 20 and went on to win the ARCA Moran Chevrolet Late Model race at Flat Rock Speedway on Saturday night.
Harrison Township resident Frank Jiovani, who was fifth, had the highest finish among five Macomb County drivers who started the 50-lap race that included multiple caution periods.
"That was a rough race. People weren't giving much room out there," Jiovani said. "To come home in mostly one piece is a good night."
Stan Yee Jr. of Clinton Township led the first 19 laps, but Canton resident Schroeder passed him on lap 20, and Yee Jr. got shuffled back in what started as an 18-car field.
Terry Bogusz (Shelby Township) was unable to finish the race after being involved in multiple incidents on the quarter-mile oval.
"A lot of inexperienced drivers out there who don't know racing courtesy yet," Bogusz said. "It happens."
Derrick Sheppard (Mount Clemens) and Jim Alvis (Lenox Township) were also in the race.
Last Saturday, the 50-lap feature race included no caution flags.
"Kind of the complete opposite," Jiovani said. "Carnage and destruction. It's a tight bullring."
Frank Jiovani
Points leader Steve Cronenwett Jr. finished second to Schroeder. Paul Pelletier was third and Dennis Strickland fourth.
"It was a good night for us," Schroeder said.
Steve Hawes, Bryan Richards and Cronenwett Jr. won the heat races.
Pelletier was the fastest qualifier in 11.659 seconds.
Jiovani was third in points entering the race. Pelletier was second.
Justin Schroeder
Schroeder won the Joy Fair Memorial, one of Flat Rock's signature races, in May. He was the first two-time late model winner in seven races at Flat Rock this season.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Brad Riethmeyer wins, Frank Jiovani second in late model feature at Flat Rock Speedway

Brad Riethmeyer
Brad Riethmeyer finished first and Harrison Township's Frank Jiovani was second in the 50-lap ARCA Moran Chevrolet Late Model feature race at Flat Rock Speedway on Saturday night.
Riethmeyer, 30, from Mooresville, N.C., navigated through lapped traffic to extend his lead after about 30 laps in the race that was run without a caution flag.
"My spotter helped me get through the traffic," Riethmeyer, driver of the No. 56 car, said.
Riethmeyer, who has made some starts in the NASCAR truck series, is running the ARCA Gold Cup races and selected others in a late model.
"It's been a lot of fun," he said.
Jiovani, who started the race third in driver points, said his engine might have lost a cylinder during the race.
"Coming away with second is pretty good, since we were a little down on power." Jiovani said. "We were hoping for a yellow to get even with (Riethmeyer). He got away from us."
Jiovani has been involved in only one other all-green feature at Flat Rock. That was his first late model race at the quarter-mile track.
"This place is tough, it's so small," the 2013 Flat Rock Rookie of the Year said. "It's lapped traffic after lapped traffic (in long green-flag runs).
"We're happy with the finish."
Frank Jiovani

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Justin Allgaier posts career-best NASCAR Sprint Cup finish at MIS

Justin Allgaier's first NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway was one to remember.
He drove the No. 51 Carcoon Airflow Systems Chevrolet to a career-high 16th-place finish in the Quicken Loans 400 on Sunday. He drove in the top 10 part of the day in his HScott Motorsports car.
"We had a solid weekend with the No. 51 Carcoon Chevy," Allgaier, 28, said. "I was a little apprehensive coming into the weekend. Michigan typically wasn't one of my better tracks in Nationwide. I was really hoping I could get one more spot to get us a top 15, because the guys deserved it."
Allgaier's previous best finish was 17th at Bristol this season.
He has started 15 races this season, 19 for his career.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Brad Keselowski finds tire changer on Penske NASCAR Nationwide team

Hunter Masling at MIS
Hunter Masling thought the text message from Brad Keselowski was a joke.
“I thought it was somebody messing with me,” the NASCAR front-tire changer said.
Indeed, Keselowski sent the text. The driver of the No. 2 Penske Racing Ford wondered if Masling would be on the pit crew for his Sprint Cup car.
Masling had been working as the front-tire changer for the No. 22 Penske car in the Nationwide Series.
Following the Memorial Day weekend race at Charlotte, where Keselowski finished 10th, the Rochester Hills native sought to change his pit lineup.
So he texted Masling. Masling said yes.
“It’s a lot different,” Masling said.
Masling has worked on the No. 22 Nationwide crew all season.
The Louisiana native made his third Sprint Cup start with Keselowski at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday.
In Masling’s first two races, the No. 2 car had back-to-back runner-up finishes.
“That was just a coincidence,” Masling said with a smile. “It’s fun.”
Last year, in order to get Cup experience, a Penske pit coach “farmed out” Masling to the No. 93 Sprint Cup car driven by Travis Kvapil.
“It’s a whole different level (with Keselowski),” Masling said, noting that he now pits for a Sprint Cup championship contender.
“You don’t want to make a mistake,” he said. “If you do, you want it to be a minute one.
“I’ve got to keep doing what got me here.”
Next weekend, Masling pulls “double duty.”
He’ll pit for the No. 22 during the Nationwide race at the Road America course in Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon, and then go by team plane to California for a road-course race in Sonoma, Calif.
“It shouldn’t be too bad,” he said of the itinerary.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Paul Menard wins NASCAR Nationwide race at Michigan International Speedway

Paul Menard in victory lane./Dave Marr photo
Paul Menard took advantage of other drivers’ misfortune and won the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 250, a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Michigan International Speedway on Saturday.
The win snapped Menard’s 98-race winless streak, dating to June 24, 2006, in Milwaukee.  It was the Richard Childress Racing driver's first Nationwide start of this season.
“It’s good to be back in victory lane,” Menard, whose No. 33 Chevrolet led 18 laps, said. “I thought the best car was going to finish second. We’ll take it.
“We started off a little too tight. We made a couple of adjustments.”
Elliott Sadler and Joey Logano contended for the win, but each had trouble in the final 25 laps.
Sadler had to give up second place when debris was lodged on the front of his No. 11 Toyota with about 25 laps to go. He finished 17th.
Logano was leading when a right-side tire went flat with four laps left. His No. 22 Ford came in 16th.
Sam Hornish Jr. finished second despite spinning on the second lap of the race.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., making a rare Nationwide start, finished third.
“We were fast in practice yesterday, and I thought we (would have) a better car than what we started the race with,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “But we made some real good adjustments. I ran over something between turns 3 and 4. We got a hole in the left-front tire, and it was going flat at the end.
“I think this is a great track for (racing) anything. I enjoy running whatever we run here. I wanted to run this race; I like this track.”
Kyle Busch, who won the pole with a track-record qualifying lap of 193.242 mph, finished fifth. 
Regan Smith, the defending race winner and the current points leader, finished seventh in the race that featured seven full-time Sprint Cup drivers.
Smith has a 14-point lead over Sadler, and 18-year-old rookie Chase Elliott is third, 20 points behind Smith.
Fourth-place Ty Dillon is 35 behind the leader, and fifth-place Trevor Bayne trails Smith by 50 points.
Elliott’s father, Bill, won seven Cup races at MIS.
“This is a fun race track,” Elliott said. “The groove widened out more to the bottom of the race track than I thought it would. I wish we came here again (this season). Our car performed great. I felt solid about our car all day.”

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Austin Theriault wins ARCA race at Michigan International Speedway

Austin Theriault won the Corrigan Oil 200, an ARCA race at Michigan International Speedway on Friday. It was the first career ARCA start for Theriault, a native of Maine.
Theriault drove the No. 66 Venturini Motorsports Toyota.
"I didn't want to make any mistakes," Theriault said. "I just wanted to be in position to make a run for the win.
"Good cars like this don't come too often."
Mason Mitchell finished second in the No. 98 Ford, and Justin Allison was third in the No. 88 Ford.
Brad Smith of Shelby Township finished 17th in the No. 48 Ford owned by James Hylton. Smith completed 87 of the 100 laps.
"In (turns) three and four I felt like I was so much faster than anybody out there," Mitchell, who took over the unofficial ARCA points lead, said.

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Dale Earnhardt remains Richard Childress Racing leader at MIS

Ryan Newman/Dave Marr photo
Dale Earnhardt won twice at Michigan International Speedway.
The Intimidator, who died in 2001, continues to lead Richard Childress Racing's effort at the 2-mile track.
RCR has three MIS victories, including Earnhardt's in 1987 and 1990.
Kevin Harvick has the other RCR win at MIS. Harvick, who now drives for Stewart-Haas Racing, won in August 2010.
RCR has 20 top-five finishes in 141 starts at Michigan.
Throughout the 2014 season's first 14 races, RCR's Sprint Cup Series entries have earned one pole award with Austin Dillon at Daytona International Speedway in February. Collectively, the organization has notched one top-five and 13 top-10 finishes with drivers Dillon, Ryan Newman and Paul Menard. RCR's three full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers rank 11th (Newman), 15th (Dillon) and 17th (Menard) in the driver championship point standings.
Menard qualified fifth, Dillon 19th and Newman 24th for the Quicken Loans 400 that will be run at MIS on Sunday.

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Harvick wins pole as qualifying record falls again at Michigan International Speedway

Kevin Harvick/Dave Marr photo
Speed records continue to fall at Michigan International Speedway.
Kevin Harvick drove a qualifying lap 204.557 mph Friday for the Quicken Loans 400 that will be Sunday at the 2-mile track. Harvick's speed eclipsed the record of 203.949 mph set by Joey Logano in August 2013.
“You just have to relax and really pay attention to not overdrive it because it’s so easy to miss your line on the entry to the corner," Harvick, who drives the No. 4 Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing, said.
Jeff Gordon turned a lap of 203.776 mph in the No. 24 Chevrolet.
Logano set the record in a Ford. He won the race after starting from the pole.
MIS was repaved following the 2011 season.
In June 2012, prior to the first race after the repave, Marcos Ambrose had a qualifying lap of a then-record 203.241 mph in a Ford.

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Brad Smith 'good match' for James Hylton's ARCA race car

James Hylton is happy to have Brad Smith behind the wheel of his ARCA car.
A former NASCAR driver, who had a long career racing in ARCA, Hylton hired the Shelby Township resident to run in the Corrigan Oil 200 at Michigan International Speedway on Friday. Smith qualified 18th in the No. 48 Ford.
“He’s a lot better than what he gets credit for,” Hylton said. “He’s a good driver. Brad and I raced together for several years.
“He’s a good match for the kind of racing we have to do. I’m very proud of him.”
Hylton wants a driver who will take care of the vehicle during the race.
“It’s everything,” Hylton said. “The budget we have to race on is really unbelievable compared to the front-running cars.
“It’s a money thing. If we don’t do good, there’s a possibility we don’t go to the next race.
“Brad is the kind of guy that, because of driving his own car, and years of experience, he knows how to take care of the equipment.”
Smith has started more than 200 ARCA races.

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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mount Clemens Race Track veterans part of Michigan Motor Sports HOF induction class

Three members of the Mount Clemens Race Track "family" are to be inducted into the Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame in November, according to Dave DeHem, a Harrison Township resident and member of the Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club.
Odie Skeen, car owner for the likes of Benny Parsons and Ray Nece; Marv Parentau, who drove the No. 33 car owned by Stan Yee, and Chuck Roumell, a 1984 track champion, will be inducted in a ceremony at the hall of fame in Mount Pleasant.

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Terry Bogusz of Shelby Township racing late model at Flat Rock, other tracks

Late model race car of Terry Bogusz of Shelby Township. Bogusz runs the full season at Flat Rock plus selected tracks. He finished fifth at Auto City Speedway in Clio on May 31.

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Jack Varney Sr., former Mount Clemens racer, dies at 66

Jack Varney Sr., a former Warren resident who raced at Mount Clemens Race Track, has died, according to Bill Barnhart, president of the Michigan Auto Racing Fan Club. Varney, of West Branch, was 66. Varney graduated from East Detroit High School and worked as a welder and fabricator at Bell Fork Lift in Mount Clemens, according to his obituary posted on the O'Guinn Family Funeral Home Web site. A funeral service will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday (June 3) at O'Guinn funeral home in Clio.

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Helio Castroneves helps Chevrolet sweep podium in Race 2 at Detroit Grand Prix

Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet, climbs the fence to celebrate with teammates after his victory Sunday during the second of two IndyCar races on Belle Isle in Detroit. Chevrolet swept the podium with first dual winner Will Power, driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet finishing in second-place, and Charlie Kimball, driver of the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Ganassi Racing Chevrolet taking third. (Photo by F. Peirce Williams/LAT for Chevy Racing)

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Helio Castroneves completes Detroit Grand Prix sweep for Team Penske, Chevrolet

Helio Castroneves/AP Photo
Helio Castroneves climbed the fence at Belle Isle again -- 14 years after his signature victory celebration was born following his first Indy car win in 2000 in Detroit.
Castroneves' climb on June 1 was in honor of his 29th Indy car victory after winning Dual 2 of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans by 1.6836 seconds over teammate Will Power.
Castroneves, who started third in the 70-lap race in the No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske car, completed a sweep for engine supplier Chevrolet and Team Penske in the first of three Verizon IndyCar Series doubleheader weekends this season. His victory tied Rick Mears for 11th on the all-time list.
"Indy 500. It just clicked something. It just made us hungry and here I am in Victory Circle where I won my first race. It's great energy again. I wanted it so bad," said Castroneves, who a week earlier came just short of joining Mears, A.J. Foyt and Al Unser as the only four-time winners of the Indianapolis 500.  "More than anything, I want this championship."
Castroneves, the fifth different winner in seven races this season, moved to second place in the standings. He is 19 points behind Power. Ryan Hunter-Reay, who amassed 126 points in winning the Indianapolis 500, dropped to third with a disappointing pair of races that carried full points.
Power, who held off Graham Rahal's No. 15 National Guard Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing car by .3308 of a second to win the opening race on the 2.36-mile, 13-turn street course, was runner-up for his fifth top-five finish in the seven races.
Charlie Kimball advanced 17 positions to place third for his best finish of the season and Scott Dixon drove from last on the starting grid to fourth. James Hinchcliffe finished fifth.
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet): "We came out with the Hitachi car. Spot on. I mean yesterday it was a frustration, obviously. Great that (Team Penske) won but a frustration for our side because we knew what car we had and we demonstrated it today. I want to thank Hitachi obviously, Shell, Pennzoil. It was great. Also AAA, SKF, Verizon. Especially Chevy, man. This is the land of Chevy and we made it. Two! That was great. I'm so happy for Team Penske."
WILL POWER (No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet): "Because of Roger (Penske), I definitely wasn't going to race him hard. Unless (Helio Castroneves) made a mistake, I wasn't going to go for a move unless I was close. A great day for Chevy, Roger (Penske) at his home track and Chevy's backyard. Just fantastic."
CHARLIE KIMBALL (No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet):"I knew that I had no overtakes left and (James Hinchcliffe) had one overtake left going down the back straight and that was his last best opportunity, so I defended into the inside. When he got alongside me we went into the corner side-by-side. It's so hard because as much as the Firestones marbled today when you were offline. You really start sliding around. It caught Scott out and I was able to take advantage of that. So I knew if I could put (James Hinchcliffe) offline at the apex then I could get the drive out of the corner and hold onto the line. It was nice I was able to (hold up) Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) enough that Scott would be able to come through and for Chip Ganassi Racing to end up third and fourth."
MIKE CONWAY (No. 20 Fuzzy's Vodka/Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet):"Starting on the black tires was a good move today. I was able to get past several guys early. But, to be honest, Hinch (James Hinchcliffe) had power off the corners even with the red tires. And it took me some time to finally get under him in turn 3. I didn't want to use up all of my overtakes too early in the race. That amount of time trying to get by him cost us at the end of the race. The red tires were pretty good for me. They went off a little but I was pushing hard. The right-front tire was locking up and it was getting worse. So I decided to pit early for the fresh black tires or I was going to crash. It is tough to pass here and I made some good ones today. At the end, I was pushing every lap like a qualifying lap. And it was fun and we learned some more for the team. I was happy how the car was hooked up. We just didn't get the yellows to fall our way today. It was fun to push the car as hard as I did today. Just wish for a better result. Now it's on to Houston for me next." 
MIKHAIL ALESHIN (No. 7 SMP Racing Honda):  "I think my team did a great job today. We had a great three-pit stop strategy and the car was quite good. I had contact with (Juan Pablo) Montoya at the start of the race, but thankfully it wasn't substantial enough that we had to stop. My suspension was bent slightly after the contact, but I still had speed. I felt like I could really attack out there on the track. Starting 16th and finishing seventh is a great result on a street circuit like this. It's been a few races since we've had a positive result, so we'll go home feeling happy tonight."
SIMON PAGENAUD (No. 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports Honda):"Today was much better than yesterday. We had a fast car. I'm a little bit disappointed, though, because I felt like we had a car that could have won today. And unfortunately the two-pit stop strategy didn't play in our favor. We lost a lot of time behind (Will) Power during the middle stint. We were faster, but I couldn't get by him. I didn't want to take any chances and crash again racing him. I think a lot of drivers would be happy finishing sixth, but we're racing to win when we have a fast car. Overall it wasn't a bad day for us, though. The team had a great recovery from our disappointing finish yesterday. I was happy to carry the bright orange Oculus Transport car to the end of the race today. Now I'm really looking forward to Texas next weekend."
TONY KANAAN (No. 10 Energizer Chevrolet): "We had a decent Energizer car but we really weren't in the mix today. We had a great result yesterday in the first of the doubleheader but today they race just didn't work out the way we wanted it to. On to Texas."
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 17 KV AFS Racing Chevrolet): "I am very disappointed with this early retirement. We had an amazing start and the changes the KV AFS Racing crew did overnight gave the car a very strong race pace. I made a mistake trying to get around (Mike) Conway. I just got a little bit too close to him, my air was chopped and I got too close to the's my fault. I'm disappointed with myself as I don't make these types of mistakes, we have kept the car clean all season so this is unacceptable. Time to work towards Texas. We have a very strong car from now on, which makes me very positive. I am looking forward to starting to bring home the results and getting back into the fight for the championship."
JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 27 United Fiber & Data Honda): "We were battling for third down the back straight, and (Charlie) Kimball made his car wide; that's all there was to it. I had to go to the outside. I had gone to the inside, but he didn't like that, so I went to the outside. He did a good job out-braking me, and I had to lift a bit on the exit there, and (Scott) Dixon got us. Fourth or fifth, it doesn't really matter - we're racing for podiums, we're racing for wins. I have to watch the race and see how it ended there. It was confusing race with all the different strategies and play, but again, the car was really fast. They United Fiber & Data guys were awesome in the pits. Considering how my past races in Detroit have gone, this is hell of a good weekend - two front-row starts and two top-six finishes. We'll take it."
MARCO ANDRETTI (No. 25 Snapple Honda): "It was one of the longest races of my career; it was a handful. It was loose all day, and it went from terrible to disgusting when we had the (contact) penalty, which was my fault. We'll move on from this and hopefully have better luck with the Snapple Honda next weekend in Texas."
CARLOS MUNOZ (No. 34 Cinsay HVM Honda): "For this race I was a little bit frustrated because I think we had more than eighth position; our strategy was not optimal, and we were losing positions in pit lane. I think we had enough to finish in the top four. Maybe we weren't in the fight for the win because the two first cars were really quick, but we gained good points. This race was really just about surviving, it is a shame. Today brought more experience for me, and I am feeling more comfortable and making less mistakes." 

RYAN HUNTER-REAY (No. 28 DHL Honda): "It was a long weekend for the DHL crew. I'll try to erase this one from my memory and move on to Texas. What put us out was we lost pressure in the shift actuator, so we couldn't get out of first gear. We started with a puncture and we had to come in...then we were off strategy. We tried saving fuel, then we had to abandon that because it went green in the middle. Nothing we did worked this weekend. We will just move on from these two races and focus on the future."

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

First race difficult for 2013 winners at Detroit Grand Prix

Mike Conway/AP Photo
Mike Conway and Simon Pagenaud had difficult times Saturday in the running of the first of two IndyCar Series races on Belle Isle this weekend.
Winners of the 2013 races in Detroit, Conway finished 21st (next to last) and Pagenaud 22nd. Contact on the track shortened both drivers' day.
Conway completed 14 of the 70 laps, and Pagenaud finished four.
Pagenaud held on to fourth place in the driver standings.
Will Power finished first, Graham Rahal second and Tony Kanaan third.
Pole winner Helio Castroneves was fifth.

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