Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser team picked up their second win of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, driving to Victory Lane following the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The California native started the 400-lap event from the 15th position and battled a tight-handling red, white and blue Chevrolet during the early stages of the event.
In an effort to combat the handling issues Harvick was facing, the Budweiser pit crew made adjustments through the course of multiple four-tire pit stops. Harvick broke into the top 10 during the lap-131 restart, following a 27-minute break in the action for track workers to clean up debris on the racing surface from a fallen overhead camera cable. As the race progressed, Harvick continued to methodically work his way through the field settling into the top five prior to the caution flag being displayed on lap 259.
The Richard Childress Racing driver remained near the front of the field during the final laps taking the lead on two occasions before the yellow flag waved on lap 386. Crew chief Gil Martin called Harvick to pit road for right-side tires and fuel under caution, positioning the Budweiser Chevrolet in second for the lap-389 restart. As green-flag racing resumed, Harvick moved back out front and led the field to the checkered flag. Following Harvick’s second win of the season, he gained three positions in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, moving up to seventh.
KEVIN HARVICK QUOTE: ”First off, I want to say I hope everybody is okay from that cable. That was quite a weird incident there. Second, I want to just say thank you to all the guys at Richard Childress Racing. To win at Charlotte (Motor Speedway) is something that we had to overcome for a long time. We kind of won it on gas mileage last time, and we just went and won it this time. I have to thank everybody from Budweiser, Sprint, all the fans, Jimmy John’s, Hunt Brothers Pizza and Rheem. We’ve got this great promotion with Folds of Honor on the car this weekend and the paint scheme resembles Budweiser’s special beer cans. Plus, five cents from every can goes to Folds of Honor.”
Based on their initial 4wd offering, the Dominus short course truck, this new truggy could be a class builder and after a day of track testing the unit we received from Helion we think they may be on to something.
Upon opening the box we find the Dominus 10TR, tools, decals, and a quick-start guide. Also in the box is a crystal-less 2.4 GHz radio, an 1800mAh 7-cell NiMH battery and a wall charger. The truggy features an aluminum chassis and a waterproof esc wired to a 3500kV brushless motor. The plastic body shocks have aluminum caps and the receiver is housed in a water resistant box.
The use of gear differentials and a robust shaft based, ball bearing supported, steel differential gear drivetrain reduces maintenance requirements, improves efficiency and performance without compromising value. The only change we made before testing was to replace the battery connector with a Deans style connector to use with our Venom LiPo battery packs.
Our test day at the track turned ugly when the skies opened up and rain began to fall. Luckily for us Helion claims the 10TR is waterproof and indeed it is. We ran three battery packs through the truggy throughout our session with it and we had no issues at all with moisture affecting the electronics.
The 10TR is certainly a product that bashers will like but I wanted to see if the truggy would be a good candidate for track duty as a means to maybe introduce a new class at local club races. Its low price point and great features got me thinking but track time would definitely help me decide that.
On track the power package of the Radient brushless motor gave it plenty of scoot down the straights and I could double a couple of the jumps without drama. Jumping was easy and predictable with great cushioning on landings and easy to correct mid-air traits. Corner turn it was good and even though the rolling stock is not at all track focused, I was able to square up the truggy out of corners and gather enough traction to attack the next corner. I didn’t get much understeer nor very much oversteer which means the chassis is nicely balanced.
Did we experience anything negative with the 10TR? We did in fact; we lost a driveline dog bone which ended our third session as we had no spare. The guide pins on the drive end of the dogbone sheared off which caused a loss of drive to the right rear wheel. We also would have preferred the battery connector be a high current type but that is not insurmountable. Overall, not a bad day, but we have ordered a pair of new dogbones to get it motoring again.
I really enjoy racing, rock crawling and a minor amount of bashing at the skate park. With that said, a new addition to my collection really has to hold my interest primarily at the track or trail. Is it a track monster? no, but with race tires, shock tuning and some time making suspension setting changes, it could be a very fun car when raced together in a “spec” type class..
When we received the initial press release from Helion, they stated that the premise behind the 10TR project was to offer you something different, something revolutionary: value and brushless performance! They announced that Helion R/C design engineers optimized the Dominus platform for the latest generation of bashers and R/C enthusiasts and I think they did a good job. They have delivered a great platform with good electronics, fun performance, and it certainly is price smart. Consumers can feel confident that they are getting their fair share of value and an attractive, fun model. It is well built and performs as advertised especially in rainy weather.
That said, I would probably not purchase one but that is not a negative indictment of the 10TR. I have my eyes on Helion’s next product to launch, their Dominus based monster truck, Invictus! I have plenty of race vehicles and I don’t really need a 1/10 truggy but I was impressed enough with the 10TR that I am going to put my hard earned money down on the Invictus so I can have a fun and functional, monster truck.
Helion products are available at all Hobby Town USA stores and check out Helion’s website; www.HelionRC.com for more information on the 10TR and their other great products.
On June 9, 2013, Audi will be fielding four Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars on the test day for the Le Mans 24 Hours. In addition to the cars number 1, 2 and 3 running under the nomination for the race, a fourth hybrid sports car designated as car number 4 will be testing for eight hours at La Sarthe. It is to gather valuable findings for the future, as Audi is preparing for a new tire generation together with partner Michelin.
As of the 2014 season, a fundamentally new set of regulations will apply to sports prototypes. The new elements include a clearly reduced tire size. The smaller dimension corresponds to the current tire dimension for LMP2 sports cars (14 instead of 16 inches overall width, 28 instead of 28.5 inches outer diameter). Other technical aspects of the future race cars significantly differ from this year’s models as well. For the first time, the amount of energy available when the car runs in a race will become a crucial factor of the race car concept.
The aim is to successfully manage this change, which marks the most radical one in the LMP1 class to date, while ensuring maximum safety under permanent loads. Therefore, Audi is making a race car equipped with measuring technology available exclusively for tire testing on the test day. Aside from the racing event, this day provides the only opportunity during the year to use the circuit at Le Mans, as the tradition-steeped track primarily consists of public roads. The engineers are already in the process of simulating the aerodynamic effects and the axle loads to be expected with LMP1 race cars in 2014. Thus, the fourth R18 e-tron quattro will be running in a corresponding configuration in realistic conditions at the beginning of June.
“Our objective is to generate a database for handling the future tires that is as versatile and reliable as possible,” emphasizes Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “The tires are an absolutely safety-relevant topic. The impending technological change is fundamental. Therefore, we are providing all the data being gathered to our long-standing partner Michelin as well. Ultimately, all Michelin partner teams will benefit from this. We thank the ACO and the FIA and WEC officials who paved the way for us to nominate a fourth car. This marks a commitment to high safety in racing.”
The fourth Audi R18 e-tron quattro will be nominated under Audi Sport Team Joest’s entry and supported by a separate test team from Audi Sport. Reserve driver Marco Bonanomi (I) is the driver of this car and will be fully concentrating on the tire tests on June 9.
GRC rookie Scott Speed earned Fiesta its first win of the season in the OlsbergsMSE Fiesta ‘Star Car.’ He qualified second overall, won his elimination heat, and then made a dramatic last turn pass for the victory.
“It feels unbelievable to win here in Brazil,” said Speed, whose versatility behind the wheel has seen him compete in Formula 1 and NASCAR. “I can’t say how happy I am for my team and the OlsbergsMSE guys that put in all the effort. This was such a new thing for me, so I didn’t know what to expect. To come out here and win is just great. It was a hard race, I definitely got bumped around, and I really thought it would be much easier racing. To win by taking the joker lap on the last corner to pull ahead is really spectacular.
“The first time I drove the Fiesta rallycross car was when I got here to Brazil. The learning curve was difficult, but thankfully it just fit my driving style, which is really good. This has been such a great experience. These cars are the most fun cars I’ve ever been able to drive, and I’ve driven a lot. I really hope that I can continue doing this type of sport.”
Second-year OlsbergsMSE driver Toomas Heikkinen dominated both starts of the final GRC race and led five of the six laps after the final restart. The Bluebeam Fiesta ST took the joker (required shortcut lap) in the first lap, but was eventually passed by Speed on the final lap.
“In the start of the first final I took a risk by taking the first corner on the outside of the field,” said Heikkinen. “That strategy ended up working in my favor because I took the lead from there and avoided the crash on the inside line.
“After the restart of the final, I kept the same strategy and was first off the start line once again. My strategy was to take the joker lap first to gain extra space from the car behind me and it seemed to work because I led every lap until the last. I am very happy about the X Games silver medal and worked hard to get here. Overall, it was a great weekend for me and I am looking forward to continuing success this season.”
GRC rookie Patrik Sandell piloted his OlsbergsMSE Fiesta ST to a third-place finish, securing a Ford podium sweep. Sandell finished third in his elimination heat, forcing him to compete in the last chance qualifier (LCQ) in which he earned second. In the final, Sandell held fourth until ultimately passing teammate Steve Arpin, to earn his first X Games bronze medal.
“I came to the final on the very last opportunity in the LCQ, I was quite disappointed with myself to not qualify better but I learned quickly,” said Sandell. “To go all the way to third from last is just fantastic and I am very happy. We had a restart of the final after a crash, so I just tried to be smart and not drive crazy. It was good to do so well in my first attempt in this series and I can’t wait to get back in the car in Barcelona next month.”
“It is really nice to have five cars in the top five and three on podium here at our first X games,” said OlsbergsMSE Team Principal Andreas Eriksson. ”The restart was unfortunate because I wished for a 10-car final not a six-car. Tanner’s car was fine and ready to go so it’s hard that he missed the final, but I am pleased all of my drivers and cars did so well.
“Scott Speed was the surprise of the day. He did great and was smart. I learned a lot from Scott and his style of racing. It was lucky that the track was so slick because that really suited his driving capacity.
“I am very happy for Topi to finish second. He came to Brazil and with two days of practice, improved and kept learning. That is always the direction I want my drivers to go and I am happy for him. The sport needs young blood like Topi so it’s great to see his improvements have a success like today.”
After four heats and one LCQ, the GRC final began with a field of 10 cars. By the first corner of the first lap, a crash occurred damaging multiple cars and forcing the early retirement for Fiesta ST drivers Tanner Foust and Ken Block.
Foust, the defending two-time GRC champion, won his elimination heat and advanced to the final before his Rockstar Energy OlsbergsMSE Fiesta ST was forced out of the competition.
“At the start of the first lap in the final there were multiple crashes and I was hit by it seems like everyone,” said Foust. “My wheels and tires went crazy and the race was red flagged. They said in the drivers meeting today that if you had to work on your car you could not re-enter after a red flag. It’s a bummer because I only had about eight minutes of track time in Brazil, just at lot of practice. I’m just glad that there are four of these and this isn’t the only X Games this year and I’ll have another shot.”
Debuting his Hoonigan Racing Division M-Sport built Fiesta ST, Block set the fastest practice lap on the first day. After finishing second in his heat, Block advanced to the final but was also forced out of the competition early.
“Because of qualifying I wasn’t able to get the starting position I wanted,” said Block. “Even if I won my heat today, I still wouldn’t have the optimum starting position so starting on the second line just one car over from the inside was actually a decent starting position. I knew that all I needed was a good launch and then get through the gears, get to the inside and basically follow the number one seed around on the inside. Everything went perfectly to plan. I got a decent launch, got up right where I wanted to be off the dirt, and all of a sudden my car started spinning the other direction. I was turned by one of the cars behind me, the wrong direction and into Tanner and either Deegan or Travis. Unfortunately, one of the impacts there into one of those cars broke my steering so within 100 yards I was out of the race. It was a big bummer because I did everything I could to try to have a good weekend. My team did an incredible job getting me prepared and getting the car perfect.”
The Global Rallycross Championship is back in action at X Games Barcelona on May 19, 2013 in Spain.
Rockstar Energy Drink Team’s Antoine L’Estage from St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec and co-driver Nathalie Richard from Halifax, Nova Scotia completed a stunning come-from-behind victory at the Sno*Drift Rally held January 25-26th in Lewiston, Michigan.
Snow and ice often create large gaps between rally cars at Sno*Drift, however, L’Estage and Richard were locked in a fierce battle with Subaru Rally Team USA’s David Higgins from Trefeglwys, Wales and Craig Drew from Forest of Dean, England, which turned into a classic battle between Mitsubishi and Subaru.
Higgins and L’Estage swapped the lead twice on Friday with Higgins leading the first four stages, then L’Estage took the lead through stage 7, and Higgins gained an overnight lead of .5 seconds on the final stage of the first day. Higgins retained that lead all through the second day of Sno*Drift leading by as little as .4 seconds after stage 12 and as much as 21.3 seconds after stage 18. L’Estage took back 19.9 seconds on the penultimate stage setting up an epic finale! With 6 miles of slippery roads to go, both drivers gave it all they had. L’Estage won the stage by 7.6 seconds for a final margin of victory of 6.2 seconds over Higgins.
“Those stages were maximum attack,” said L’Estage, “After we saw the time we gained on the (previous) 15 mile long stage we decided to go for it. Everything connected and we ended up winning.”
It was great start for the Rockstar Mitsubishi Team and a heart breaking miss for Subaru Rally Team USA who wanted to begin the season defending last year’s Rally America National Championship title with a win.
Can-Jam Motorsports’ Leonid Urlichich from Thornhill, Ontario and Carl Williamson from Ammanford, United Kingdom completed the overall podium in third place. It is a great start to the team’s second season of rally on American soil.
Notably, Gymkhana video star Ken Block from Park City, UT and co-driver Alex Gelsomino returned to contend the full Rally America National Championship after several seasons honing their skills in the WRC as well has hooning it up worldwide! Block was considered by many to be the man to beat after winning two Rally America appearances in 2012. However, early electrical problem sidelined the team after the second stage. Block was the first to benefit from new for 2013 “Super Rally” rules and resumed competition at the beginning of the second day hamstrung with penalty times for the six stages he missed on Friday. The Hoonigan Racing team mounted a furious attack to climb from 11th overall to finish in 6th place winning six of the second day’s twelve stages and, thereby, salvaging valuable championship points towards a long rally season.
“I’m really stoked on the addition of Super Rally to the rulebook here in Rally America,” said Block. “That new rule gave me the chance to come back into the race on Saturday, drive really hard and make up some of the 20-minute penalty I incurred from going out prior to stage 3 on day one. We managed to walk away from Sno*Drift with points towards the championship instead of nothing, which is awesome.”
In the Super Production (SP) Class, Exedy Racing Clutches’ Evan Cline from Brighton, MI and co-driver Jake Blattner from Salem, OR drove a very smooth race to take their very first class win. The pair led SP from the start and finished ahead of Mason Moyle from Houghton, MI and John Hall from Sherwood Park, Alberta. Cline and Blattner also won Friday’s Sno Regional Rally in the process.
“This was the drive of my life and everything came together perfectly,” said Cline, “Adam Yeoman (a fellow competitor) did pull us out of a ditch, which saved our first place finish. Now we can go into the 100 Acre Wood Rally with some momentum.”
Moyle and Hall were also locked in a serious battle with Rally America newcomers Nick Roberts from White Bear Lake, MN and Nick Judkins from Bayport, MN. Roberts built up a day one lead over Moyle of 1:29.1, but Moyle dogged Roberts all day Saturday until he overtook Roberts on stage 17 and held onto second place to the end. This is Roberts and Judkins first Rally America podium as well as their first National Championship event.
The Scion Racing Rally xD team of Andrew Comrie-Picard from Hermosa Beach, CA and Jeremy Wimpey from State College, PA began their season strong with a Two-Wheel Drive Class win over Ford Fiesta driver Dillon Van Way from Carencro, LA and Andrew Edwards from Powls, Wales. The Scion Racing team was last year’s 2WD Class runners up and appears to be the team to beat this year.
The event went perfectly for us,” exclaimed Comrie-Picard, “The amazing thing is we won 19 of 20 stages on a newly built car and crushed it! Now we’ll go back to California to put a turbo on the car for the rest of the season.”
The Sno*Drift Rally has been very good to Dillon Van Way. This year’s second place finish now marks five consecutive Sno*Drift Rally podium finishes, which includes a 2WD Class win in 2011.
2011 Rally America Rookie of year Ed McNelly from Oxford, ME and Ole Holter from Long Beach, CA driving the Team O’Neil Rally School Ford Fiesta took third place for his first Sno*Drift podium.
James Robinson from Delaware, OH and Jordan Guitar from Marysville, OH piloted their 2009 Honda Fit to a B-Spec Championship victory for Honda Performance Development when their rival Edward Stiefvater in a 2013 Ford Fiesta did not finish due to a mechanical issue on stage 11. Jon Kramer from Pittsburgh, PA and co-driver Adam Kimmett from Leesburg, VA narrowly beat Evan Cline and Jake Blattner for Saturday’s Drift Regional Rally top honors.
Rally America introduced a Manufacturers’ National Championship where Rally America’s makes will vie for rally supremacy. With L’Estages’ overall victory Mitsubishi drew first blood in the Overall category. Subaru nets the first manufacturers points in the Super Production Class, Scion is on the map in the 2WD category and Honda gained points for the B-Spec Class.
Sno*Drift Rally national results: http://rally-america.com/events/2013/SNODRIFT/results
1. Antoine L’Estage/Nathalie Richard 2:24:22.0
2. David Higgins/Craig Drew 2:24:28.2
3. Leonid Urlichich/Carl Williamson 2:36:12.4
4. Ugo Desgreniers/Erk Kirby 2:39:05.2
5. Adam Yeoman/Jordan Schulze 2:45:22.6
6. Ken Block/Alex Gelsomino 2:46:06.8
7. Evan Cline/Jake Blattner 2:46:16.2
8. Andrew Comrie-Picard/Jeremy Wimpey 2:50.57.5
9. Dillon Van Way/Andrew Edwards 2:55:58.8
10. Mason Moyle/John Hall 2:56:32.0
Photo – Scott Rains
It is a debut and a farewell at the same time: the Audi R18 e-tron quattro contests the 12-hour race at Sebring (Florida) in the USA for the first time on March 16 and, in doing so, makes the legendary racetrack ‘home of quattro’. At the same time, it is provisionally the LMP1 sports car’s final appearance in the North American endurance classic.
The race at Sebring is staged under special circumstances for Audi: the merger of the two U.S. championships, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and GRAND-AM, sees new regulations coming into force from 2014. In the future, no Le Mans Prototypes (LMP) of the top category can compete in this race. As a result, events come full circle for Audi in Florida: in 1999, the brand’s first LMP sports car celebrated its premiere at Sebring – now two LMP1 sports cars with the four rings provisionally contest a race here for the final time. After Audi customer racing’s winning start to the season with the one-two finish for the Audi R8 GRAND-AM in the 24-hour race at Daytona, Audi now targets another victory in the USA – despite difficult conditions as the race cars from the American Le Mans Series enjoy several advantages with regard to weight and engine power.
In the 13 outings to date in the sports car classic at Sebring, Audi has claimed 22 podium finishes, including ten overall victories. Three Audi drivers, Michele Alboreto/Dindo Capello/Stefan Johansson, mounted the podium at the premiere on March 20, 1999. The Dane Tom Kristensen is the race’s most successful driver with six wins. Marco Werner holds the lap record at Sebring, the trio Dindo Capello/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish the distance record.
Audi Sport Team Joest fields two Audi R18 e-tron quattro prototypes. The current World Endurance Champions and Le Mans winners Marcel Fässler (CH) and Benoît Tréluyer (F), who are supported by Oliver Jarvis (GB) at Sebring, drive an R18 from 2012. Lucas di Grassi (BR), Tom Kristensen (DK) and Allan McNish (GB) start in the new R18 e-tron quattro from 2013, which celebrates its race premiere at Sebring.
The Sebring raceverytrack is located on a former military airfield, which Audi transforms into the ‘home of quattro’ this year and therefore picks up the threads of a successful chapter of motorsport history: for the first time since 1989, when drivers like Hans-Joachim Stuck and Walter Röhrl raced from victory to victory with the Audi 90 quattro in the IMSA-GTO series, Audi Sport contests a factory event in the USA with a racecar equipped with four-wheel drive. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro is the first hybrid sports car to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Its front wheels are powered electrically and thus make the R18 a special type of quattro.
Audi traditionally uses its involvement in sport prototypes to test new technologies for future applications in production cars. The fans at Sebring can discover this for themselves by embarking on a journey in time through the brand’s previous sports car eras. The exhibition shows an Audi R8 (ALMS winner 2002), an Audi R10 TDI (Sebring winner 2007), an Audi R15 TDI (Sebring winner 2009) and an Audi R18 TDI (Sebring winner 2012).
In addition to the active factory drivers, the former Audi drivers and Sebring winners Frank Biela, Dindo Capello, Emanuele Pirro and Marco Werner are also present and will be signing autographs, posing for photos and giving interviews for the fans. In this way, Audi thanks the passionate sports car fans in the USA for their long-standing loyalty to the brand. “Without a shadow of a doubt it’ll be an emotional race weekend for us because Sebring and its fantastic fans enjoy a very special status in both our motorsport and LMP history,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich.”
In contrast to last year, the American Le Mans Series season opener is not a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The 2013 WEC season starts a month later on April 14 with the 6-hour race at Silverstone, Great Britain.
Quotes by the officials
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Motorsport: “Sebring was always a fixed date in our motorsport calendar since the beginning of our sports car program in 1999. And justifiably so, as Sebring is a particularly hard racetrack. Hard and demanding for driver and machine – whoever survives this 12-hour race without problems is usually well equipped for every other challenge. The race will once again be the perfect dress rehearsal for the forthcoming WEC season and the 24-hour race at Le Mans.”
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “We travel to Sebring a little downhearted. It’s a real shame that LMP1 sports cars will not be allowed to start anymore in this legendary race. The race this year means some additional technical effort for us as we send two cars of different generations to the grid. It’s good, however, that we can test the further developed Audi R18 e-tron quattro in race conditions here. It’s always proved particularly beneficial in terms of preparing for the 24-hour race at Le Mans. We are happy to accept the extra effort for this.”