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S20160626 MG 3160To celebrate 50 years of the Corolla, RACER has teamed up with Toyota to compete in the 2016 Hemmings Great Race with a first-generation 1970 Corolla sedan.

13-time X Games BMX Vert overall gold medal winner and SCORE Baja 1000 class winner Jamie Bestwick is the driver, while RACER's editor-in-chief Laurence Foster takes on navigating duties for the nine-day marathon.

Joining them on the ninth and final day's route from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to the finish in Moline, Ill., is Andy Bell. Canadian-born Bell is a former freestyle motocross rider, Nitro Circus original member and the co-founder of Sweatpants Media.

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Starting in San Rafael, Calif., June 18, and ending in Moline, Ill., June 26, the Great Race is for cars built before 1972. It takes in nearly 2,500 miles of America's most scenic highways and byways in a test of driving and navigating skill. Outright speed doesn't win the event – instead, each competitive section has to be completed in a pre-set time. Finish a section early or late and you'll earn time penalties, so every second really does count.

Each day of the 2016 Hemmings Great Race we'll be bringing you a video postcard from the road. Catch the latest episodes at www.racer.com/GreatRace and www.youtube.com/TheRacerChannel.

For more information about The 2016 Hemmings Great Race presented by Hagerty, including schedules, route stops and the latest news, visit www.greatrace.com.
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Image381RACER's Robin Miller reviews a weekend of highs at Road America and calls for changes to next year's schedule as a result of the huge response by Midwest fans.

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thumbnail DSC0857Tony Stewart ended a three-year NASCAR Sprint Cup victory drought by winning under huge pressure from Denny Hamlin at Sonoma.

Having qualifying 10th before dropping down the order in the middle of the race, Stewart chose to make an early final pit stop to pre-empt a potential debris caution.

The yellow came and Stewart stayed out as all the front-runners pitted, enabling him to take the lead with 20 laps to go. With the bunched-up pack behind him, the Stewart-Haas Chevrolet driver made it through another caution and restart in the lead when Michael McDowell parked his car on the side of the track.

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After holding out until the final lap, it looked like the win was lost when Hamlin took Stewart on the inside to steal first place, before Stewart snatched it back with only two corners to go.

The win was Stewart's first since June 2013 and gave him hope of reaching the Chase in his final season before retiring.

"Especially at a place you're going to for the last time, it means a bunch," Stewart said. "It's special, trust me."

"I made mistakes the last two laps," Stewart admitted. "I had just a little bit too much rear brake for Turn 7, and wheel-hopped it two laps in a row. But, I felt a nudge when I got down there and (Hamlin) knew where it was and he did the right thing doing it there; but if I could get to him, he knew what was coming. He told me he was proud of me. He knows what it means. We were teammates for a long time and we respect each other a lot."

 DSC3956"Tony has been ultra-fair to me quite a bit," said Hamlin. "He's treated me really well my entire career. It's not like I gave him one by any means. He gave us an opportunity to move him, we did, and then we got it back. It's just part of the deal."

Having missed eight races at the start of the year due to back injuries from a pre-season dune buggy crash, Stewart must get into the top 30 in the championship to be Chase eligible regardless of his win status but the Sonoma victory brings him up to 32nd.

The closing lap fight livened up an otherwise uneventful race. Martin Truex Jr. joined Hamlin in pressuring Stewart before contact between them with eight laps to go.

Joey Logano finished third, with polesitter Carl Edwards, hampered by a long third stop, fourth ahead of Truex.

Road course expert AJ Allmendinger was a contender for the win before receiving a penalty for an uncontrolled tire at his final pit stop. It set him back to 35th but he made it up to 14th by the time the flag fell.

Kurt Busch had a disappointing race, struggling with a car that swung toward oversteer and losing six places from his qualifying position to finish 10th.

Aside from the McDowell caution and two for debris, the only other yellow came when Clint Bowyer's HScott Chevrolet caught fire due to an electrical problem just six laps into the race.

RESULTS - 110 LAPS:

PosDriverTeamCar
1 Tony Stewart Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
2 Denny Hamlin Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
3 Joey Logano Team Penske Ford
4 Carl Edwards Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
5 Martin Truex Jr. Furniture Row Racing Toyota
6 Kevin Harvick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
7 Kyle Busch Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
8 Ryan Newman Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
9 Kasey Kahne Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
10 Kurt Busch Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
11 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
12 Kyle Larson Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
13 Jimmie Johnson Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
14 A.J. Allmendinger JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet
15 Brad Keselowski Team Penske Ford
16 Paul Menard Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
17 Jamie McMurray Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet
18 Greg Biffle Roush Fenway Racing Ford
19 Danica Patrick Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet
20 Matt Kenseth Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota
21 Chase Elliott Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
22 Austin Dillon Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
23 Ryan Blaney Wood Brothers Racing Ford
24 Casey Mears Germain Racing Chevrolet
25 Trevor Bayne Roush Fenway Racing Ford
26 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Roush Fenway Racing Ford
27 Aric Almirola Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
28 Regan Smith Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet
29 Landon Cassill Front Row Motorsports Ford
30 Chris Buescher Front Row Motorsports Ford
31 Matt DiBenedetto BK Racing Toyota
32 David Ragan BK Racing Toyota
33 Brian Scott Richard Petty Motorsports Ford
34 Cole Whitt Premium Motorsports Toyota
35 Dylan Lupton BK Racing Toyota
36 Michael Annett HScott Motorsports Chevrolet
37 Patrick Carpentier Go FAS Racing Ford
38 Josh Wise The Motorsports Group Chevrolet
39 Michael McDowell Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet
40 Clint Bowyer HScott Motorsports Chevrolet

Quotes by NASCAR Wire Service

Originally on Autosport.com

gallery1Images from the Kohler Grand Prix – the first Indy car race at Road America since 2007.

Click on the thumbnails below for larger images.

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MarshallPruett RoadAm6262016 1661Team Penske's Will Power mastered the Road America circuit on IndyCar's return to the beloved Wisconsin track, scoring his second consecutive win after claiming the final round in Detroit. The Australian also jumped from seventh in the championship standings to third (294 points), and now trails teammates Helio Castroneves (301) and Simon Pagenaud (375).

Power withstood a charge from Tony Kanaan whose gripper Firestone Reds allowed the Chip Ganassi Racing driver to pull within 0.742 seconds of Power, on Blacks, at the checkered flag.

"TK had the Reds on and was coming hard," Power said after leading 46 of the 50-lap race. "I just did everything I could to get ahead. Stoked to get the Verizon car in Victory Lane."

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The victory was Power's 27th, which ties him with Johnny Rutherford for 13th on the all-time win list, and appeared to confirm a swing of momentum within the Penske camp from Pagenaud to the 2015 title winner is taking place.

"I was talking about a championship before this race," Power added. "We're still in it. We've gotta go for it.

Of Road America he added: "It's just a great place and so stoked to win in that way. I badly wanted to win another race – and, man, I needed that one."

Power also led his 2,999th lap on the road to Victory Lane.

"We had the Red tires which made us a little quicker than him," Kanaan said of his best result so far in 2016. "In the end we had one push to pass; [Power] had three. What a great race."

With a Chevy 1-2 on Sunday, Graham Rahal gave Honda a fine third in his Rahal Letterman Lanigan entry.

"A spectacular weekend and there's a lot of support for IndyCar," said the Midwesterner. "Nice to get a podium; good points, we needed that, but we need to get a win this year."

After fighting the flu all weekend, Andretti Autosport's Ryan Hunter-Reay dug deep and helped Rahal to make it a Honda 3-4.

"All considering it was good finish to the weekend," he said after surviving some wildly aggressive driving conduct during the final laps. "There was some good driving in the end – and some dirty stuff."

Pagenaud was close to Power for most of the race, but sank like a rock as he developed a misfire with just a few tours to go. The Frenchman fell from second to 13th as his Chevy survived on five cylinders when the race went back to green after its one and only caution period for Conor Daly's crash on lap 39.

Daly looked to be on the way to a top-six result when an apparenta mechanical failure sent the Hoosier into the barriers at Turn 1. If the damage to his Dale Coyne Racing Honda wasn't bad enough from the crash, the No. 18 car received a double whammy when it was dropped by the tow truck operator, which extended the caution one more lap.

thumbnail LAT levitt ELK16 04571The charge to the checkered flag when the race returned to green on lap 44 (abve, LAT photo) featured a decent amount of shuffling inside the top 10, and by the end of the somewhat short 1hr39min race, the Ed Carpenter Racing duo of Josef Newgarden and Spencer Pigot captured impressive eighth- and ninth-place finishes. For Newgarden, who started 20th and dealt with a broken clavicle from his crash two weeks ago in Texas, it was a gutsy drive, and for his rookie teammate, a clean run to ninth was his best from six starts.

Among the other notable performances, Jack Hawksworth overcame a spin on the first lap to match his season best in 11th. Ganassi's Max Chilton starred in qualifying and was strong early but ran out of fuel and lost two laps, which left the British rookie 20th.

The big surprise of the day came from Target Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, who qualified second and entered the race holding second in the standings, but finished last after an engine malfunction. The Kiwi's Chevy-powered car coasted to a stop in the runoff at Turn 5 on lap 6 with his engine silent and smoke and a small fire trailing from behind. The 2015 IndyCar champion entered the race second in points and leaves in fourth.

Beyond anything that took place on the track, the greatest result on Sunday came in the form of the jam-packed crowd that welcomed IndyCar back to Road America with such great enthusiasm. The track announced the Kohler Grand Prix set its all-time attendence record, and also revealed the date of next year's race--June 25.

The raw energy and happiness found throughout the 4.0-mile circuit was something that has been missing from IndyCar events outside of Long Beach and Indianapolis for quite some time. Along with the growing gem at Barber Motorsport Park, and the upcoming return to Watkins glen, the open-wheel series is adding more strength to it calendar.

Provided it continues to make smart moves, there's every reason to believe IndyCar is capable of restoring most of its former glory.

Up next: Iowa, July 10.

RESULTS:

Pos

SP

Car

Driver

C/A/E/T

Lap

Laps Down

Time Down

Pit Stops

Elapsed Time

Avg Speed

Pts

Status

1

1

12

Power, Will

D/C/C/F

50

0

--.----

3

01:39:10.3044

121.426

54

Running

2

3

10

Kanaan, Tony

D/C/C/F

50

0

0.7429

3

01:39:11.0473

121.411

40

Running

3

6

15

Rahal, Graham

D/H/H/F

50

0

5.9608

3

01:39:16.2652

121.304

36

Running

4

8

28

Hunter-Reay, Ryan

D/H/H/F

50

0

9.3597

3

01:39:19.6641

121.235

32

Running

5

5

3

Castroneves, Helio

D/C/C/F

50

0

10.5340

3

01:39:20.8384

121.211

30

Running

6

11

83

Kimball, Charlie

D/C/C/F

50

0

10.9966

3

01:39:21.3010

121.202

28

Running

7

14

2

Montoya, Juan Pablo

D/C/C/F

50

0

12.6191

3

01:39:22.9235

121.169

26

Running

8

20

21

Newgarden, Josef

D/C/C/F

50

0

13.8835

3

01:39:24.1879

121.143

24

Running

9

17

20

Pigot, Spencer (R)

D/C/C/F

50

0

15.7290

3

01:39:26.0334

121.106

22

Running

10

10

26

Munoz, Carlos

D/H/H/F

50

0

17.1132

3

01:39:27.4176

121.077

20

Running

11

18

41

Hawksworth, Jack

D/H/H/F

50

0

18.7152

4

01:39:29.0196

121.045

19

Running

12

21

27

Andretti, Marco

D/H/H/F

50

0

19.9030

4

01:39:30.2074

121.021

18

Running

13

4

22

Pagenaud, Simon

D/C/C/F

50

0

21.1530

3

01:39:31.4574

120.996

18

Running

14

22

5

Hinchcliffe, James

D/H/H/F

50

0

22.1333

4

01:39:32.4377

120.976

16

Running

15

16

98

Rossi, Alexander (R)

D/H/H/F

50

0

22.5908

4

01:39:32.8952

120.966

15

Running

16

13

7

Aleshin, Mikhail

D/H/H/F

50

0

23.5531

3

01:39:33.8575

120.947

14

Running

17

15

14

Sato, Takuma

D/H/H/F

50

0

35.3665

5

01:39:45.6709

120.708

13

Running

18

12

11

Bourdais, Sebastien

D/C/C/F

49

1

-

4

01:39:34.5419

118.514

12

Running

19

19

19

Chaves, Gabby

D/H/H/F

49

1

-

6

01:39:37.7287

118.451

11

Running

20

7

8

Chilton, Max (R)

D/C/C/F

48

2

-

3

01:39:37.8809

116.031

10

Running

21

9

18

Daly, Conor (R)

D/H/H/F

39

11

-

3

01:11:27.1034

131.456

9

Contact

22

2

9

Dixon, Scott

D/C/C/F

6

44

-

0

00:10:44.6722

134.491

8

Mechanical

2016 06 26 gt race 2Ryan Eversley, Frankie Montecalvo and Alec Udell won in Sunday's GT/GTA Round 13 and GT Cup Round 12, respectively, at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Road America presented by Cadillac.

Weather conditions for the 50-minute race saw overcast skies following early morning rain with a relatively dry track and temperatures in the low 70s and climbing quickly. The clock started on the race after the first processional lap, with Race Control issuing an extra pace lap due to slightly damp track conditions as a result of heavy rain earlier in the morning.

From pole, Saturday winner Eversley, in the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura/HPD/Red Line Oil/RealTime Acura TLX-GT, fended off an early challenge from second-on-the-grid Bryan Heitkotter, in the No. 05 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy Always Evolving/Replay XD/Nissan Nismo GT3 GT-R, while Adderly Fong, in the No. 88 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3, pulled into third and JD Davison, in the No. 33 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy Nissan GTR GT3 followed in fourth from seventh on the field completed the first lap of the race.

In GTA, Montecalvo, in the No. 66 DIME Racing Dime R&D Mercedes AMG SLS GT3, launched cleanly from pole into first and 14th overall, with Michael Schein, in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3-R, in 17th overall and second in class followed by Andy Wilzoch, in the No.45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche GT3R. GTA championship points leader Martin Fuentes, driving the No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Hublot Underarmour Ferrari 458 Italia, was in fourth but running off the pace with a mechanical issue. A full-course caution was brought out on the opening green-flag lap as GTA driver Michael McCann's No. 82 McCann Racing Yeti GT3R Dodge Viper GT3 made contact with the wall in turn one. McCann was not injured.

With the field behind the safety car, Eversley led Heitkotter, Fong and Davison with Peter Cunningham, in the No. 42 RealTime Racing Acura/HPD/RealTime Acura TLX-GT, in fifth and Johnny O'Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing ATS-V.R., in sixth after starting ninth, while Patrick Long, in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R, ran in seventh. GT Cup saw Udell, in the No. 17 GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, lead from pole followed by Sloan Urry, in the No. 22 TruSpeed Autosport Security National Mortgage/Avasis Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and Corey Fergus, in the No. 00 Motorsports Promo Byers Porsche, US LED, Motul Porsche 911 GT Cup.

The green flag came back out on lap seven and Eversley led Heitkotter while behind them, contact saw Kyle Marcelli, in the No. 2, CRP Racing Audi R8, spin in turn one with the incident also involving Michael Lewis, in the No. 98 Calvert Dynamics/Curb-Agajanian Phoenix Performance/Brett King Designs/Boys Republic Porsche 911 GT3R. Lewis would receive a drive-through penalty for the contact.

A few corners later, Austin Cindric, in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing REV Group/Fleetwood RV McLaren 650S GT3, and Jon Fogarty, in the No. 99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing McLaren 650S GT3, made contact in Turn 5, sending Fogarty spinning. Cindric received a drive-through penalty for the contact.

In GTA, Montecalvo maintained his lead over Schein and Wilzoch on the restart, while Udell stayed out in front over Urry and Fergus in GT Cup, followed by Alex Welch, driving the No. 08 GMG Red Beard Racing/Morgan Adams Foundation/Torque Branding Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, and Preston Calvert, in the No. 77 Calvert Dynamics Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

Lap eight saw issues for O'Connell, who lost multiple positions with Long, Cooper, and Alvaro Parente, in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S passing the four-time and defending Pirelli World Challenge GT Champion. O'Connell would continue to drop back during the race.

Montecalvo would move up to 10th overall by lap eight, with Schein up to 16th and Wilzoch up to 19th in GTA, while Udell stretched his lead over Urry in GT Cup to a full second.

An unscheduled visit to pit road for Davison on lap nine erased any chances of a strong run for the Nissan driver in the GT class. By lap 10, Eversley continued to lead, but only by .914 seconds over Heitkotter, with .677 seconds back to Fong in third, who was followed by Cunningham and Long.

Montecalvo continued his charge in GTA on lap 10, continuing to lead and now up to eighth overall, followed by Schein who was up to 13th overall and second in class, but some 19 seconds behind the Mercedes driver. In GT Cup, Udell had taken off, with a four-second lead over Urry and another second back to Fergus in third.

Cooper moved past Long for fifth on lap 11 with a pass in turn one, and then proceeded to close in on fourth-place running Cunningham, passing him on lap 14 into Canada Corner. The pass was awarded the Cadillac ATS-V Best Move of the Race.

In GTA, Montecalvo 's lead was up to 31 seconds over Schein, with Wilzoch in third. Fuentes retired from the race on lap 16 – even though he was running off the pace, Fuentes continued to complete laps in order to collect valuable points based on completing 50 percent of the race distance.

As Eversley's lead built to 3.5 seconds on lap 17, Cooper closed on Fong for the final podium spot while Heitkotter slowed on the front stretch with an issue, sending him dropping down the running order from a potential second place finish at Road America.

Eversley would go on to take the victory, sweeping the Road America weekend for RealTime in the No. 43 Acura, with Fong and Cooper completing the podium and Cunningham and Long finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.

In GTA, Montecalvo scored a dominating flag-to-flag win, finishing seventh overall with a 41-second lead on Schein in second, with Wilzoch completing the class podium.

Udell marked a flag-to-flag win in GT Cup, his second victory in as many days, scoring the win over Urry by eight seconds, with Fergus on the final podium spot.

The Optima Batteries Best Start Award went to Colin Thompson, in the No. 13 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3, who improved five positions on the opening lap. Thompson was also the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger, with a nine-place gain during the race to finish eighth overall. The Motortrendondemand.com Clean Pass of the Race went to Marcelli who passed two cars in Turn 14 on the last lap.

"On the green, Bryan (Heitkotter) and I went side by side into Turn 1," said Eversley. "I knew he had a little more aero than we did but I felt we were going to have a good race here. I think he waited for me to brake into Turn 1. I was a little conservative into Turn 1 due to the wetness on the inside of the pavement.

"We went side by side down into Turn 3 and I just stuffed it into the corner. Of course, I got sideways and almost looped the darn thing. Then the yellow came out with the Viper hitting the wall in Turn 1. So the restart we were single file and I got a good start and held the lead.

"Our Acura is very fast in a straight line but, when we get behind people, we lose a lot of front grip. You saw that Peter (Cunningham) was fast yesterday when he was out by himself. But today he was stuck behind guys at the start and that hampered his pace. That was my goal for me was to be fast at the start and run in the clean air. Actually, I was happy for the long yellow period because it helped dry the track more. I don't mind driving in the wet but a lot of dumb things happen in the rain. Myself included. On Saturday, we tried to save the tires a bit in the middle of the race. But today, knowing there was only about 20 minutes left in the race, I just put my head down and drove hard to the finish.

"The race went great for us compared to Saturday," said Montecalvo. "The car hasn't been good lately and we think it was from some of the damage with the crash at Long Beach. We had a failure at Long Beach that got me in the wall. We'll be receiving a chassis for Mid-Ohio. So I'm excited to start fresh there with new car. I really stayed out of trouble today and tried to stay up with Ryan. I think we were seventh overall and we want to move up into the GT field.

"I want to think positive with the new chassis now. The upcoming tracks line up better and better for us. We just have to forget about the past races now and move forward for the rest of the season. At that start of the race, I used some of the yellow period to find where the grip was around the track. I was looking for wet spots on the track. But everything was pretty good.

"It was unfortunate that we had a car (McCann) in the wall in turn one at the start. That took away some of the racing time for us," said Udell. " I was surprised how quickly the track dried today during the yellow flag session. But that meant we could push as hard as we wanted to the end of the race. The GMG crew put together another great car for me.

"I wasn't entirely satisfied with the car on Saturday and the team made some changes that helped today. So we showed it today with being a little quicker. I'm very happy how the car performed. Now we are looking forward to continuing the success we have had in recent races. Hopefully stretching the point gap.

Watch extended coverage of the weekend's races from Road America on CBS Sports Network at 3 p.m. Eastern on Sunday, July 3.

GT, GTA and GT Cup drivers and teams next take to the track at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, July 29-31.

Elkhart Lake, Wis. — Results from Sunday, June 26, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship GT/GTA Round 13, GT Cup Round 12 part of the Road America Grand Prix presented by Cadillac. Results shown by driver position, place in class, class, name, hometown, and car.

1. 1, GT, Ryan Eversley, Atlanta GA, Acura TLX-GT
2. 2, GT, Adderly Fong, Hong Kong, Bentley Continental GT3
3. 3, GT, Michael Cooper, Syosset NY, Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3
4. 4, GT, Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee WI, Acura TLX-GT
5. 5, GT, Patrick Long, Manhattan Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R
6. 6, GT, Alvaro Parente, Porto Portugal, McLaren 650S GT3
7. 1, GTA, Frankie Montecalvo, Highlands NJ, Mercedes AMG SLS GT3
8. 8, GT, Colin Thompson, Doylestown PA, McLaren 650S GT3
9. 9, GT, Andrew Davis, Athens GA, Porsche 911 GT3 R
10. 10, GT, James Sofronas, Villa Park CA, Porsche 911 GT3 R
11. 2, GTA, Michael Schein, Glen Cove NY, Porsche 911 GT3 R
12. 12, GT, Jon Fogarty, Bend OR, McLaren 650S GT3
13. 13, GT, Kyle Marcelli, Barrie ON, Audi R8 LMS GT3
14. 14, GT, Michael Lewis, Laguna Beach CA, Porsche 911 GT3R
15. 0, GT, Dion Von Moltke, Tarpon Springs FL, Audi R8 LMS GT3
16. 3, GTA, Andy Wilzoch, Aurora CO, Porsche GT3R
17. 16, GT, Austin Cindric, Charlotte NC, McLaren 650S GT3
18. 1, GT Cup, Alec Udell, The Woodlands TX, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
19. 2, GT Cup, Sloan Urry, Park City UT, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
20. 3, GT Cup, Corey Fergus, Columbus OH, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
21. 17, GT, JD Davison, Denver CO, Nissan GTR GT3
22. 4, GT Cup, Alex Welch, Englewood CO, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
23. 5, GT Cup, Preston Calvert, Potomac MD, Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
24. 18, GT, Bryan Heitkotter, Fresno CA, Nissan GTR GT3
25. 19, GT, Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch GA, Cadillac ATS-V.R. GT3
26. 4, GTA, Martin Fuentes, Mexico City Mexico, Ferrari 458 Italia GT3
27. 5, GTA, Michael McCann/Michael McCann, North Canton OH, Dodge Viper GT3

IL RA R2 Celebration2Fresh off winning Sunday's Indy Lights race at Road America (above), the fortunes for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports' Santiago Urrutia continue to improve as an IndyCar test with the team was confirmed.

According to his manager, former Indy Racing League driver Eliseo Salazar, the 2015 Pro Mazda champion and two-time Indy Lights race winner will get his first chance to test a Dallara DW12-Honda next month with SPM at Mid-Ohio.

"It's going to be July 21st," Salazar said of the young Uruguayan's pending IndyCar testing debut.

"Yeah, it's just a test, but we also need to focus on the Indy Lights championship," Urrutia added moments after his Lights win. If everything keeps moving like it is now, I think we can arrive [at the season finale] at Laguna Seca with a chance to win the championship."

Salazar, who recorded two impressive IRL seasons driving for A.J. Foyt from 2000-'01, has also spoken with Foyt about testing Urrutia. Given the long-standing relationship between the Texan and Chilean, and the team's infrequent ability to score quality results, it's believed Urrutia is one of many drivers hoping to replace at least one of Foyt's current drivers in 2017.

"Because of my relationship with [A.J.], and how good [Urrutia] is doing in the points, we hope to get the championship," Salazar added. "But even if we don't, a top three is very possible, so we're talking to many people."

BobLIf you ask 1989 IMSA GTU champion Bob Leitzinger why, at age 77 and after 52 years of racing, he is still in the auto racing game, he has a simple explanation.

"I never wanted to quit," he says flatly – but with a smile.

BobBob is driving the wheels off his 1965 Lotus Elan 26R at this weekend's Mid-Ohio Vintage GP – finishing second on Saturday in Group 8. He owns both the Lotus (above) and a Datsun 510 (below), both tribute cars to his earlier days in racing. This weekend Bob's friend, Frank Honsowetz, the owner of Ed Pink Engines and the former top Nissan executive for the Infiniti Pro Series in the early days of the Indy Racing League, is driving the Datsun 510 and, he says, "Having a blast."

Bob got started with his original Lotus Elan 26R running C Production in SCCA back in 1965. The cars, Bob says, were dominant. Bob won three national races and qualified for the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in just his second year of racing. He also ran at Bahamas for Nassau Speed Week and won all three of the FIA Group 9 races.

His fellow Lotus drivers were also winning in CP. Competitors howled that it was unfair. The next year, 1966, Bob and others in the Lotus contingent found they were "promoted" to B Production. Looking back, Bob believes that was some of the most enjoyable time he spent racing. Despite the stiffer competition, Bob still excelled. He picked off four national race wins and with five second-place finishes he again qualified for the Runoffs.

"On some courses we were faster than the Corvettes," he explains. "I found myself driving against the likes of Mark Donohue and Don Yenko and I have to say I had more fun driving than at any other time in my life."

That says a lot for a guy who has been at it since 1964, when he started with an Austin Healey 3000 and won three SCCA races. It was that experience that made Bob realize he loved racing so much he had to figure out a way to fund his addiction and stay in the game. Even in those days racing was expensive.

"That's why I got into the car sales business," Bob explains. "I wanted to be in a business where I could legitimately write off the cost of my racing as an advertising expense."

Bob established a Datsun and Mercedes dealership in 1965 in State College, Pa. Even so, his tax strategy fell short of keeping him in the game without interruption. By 1968 he was, in his words, "out of money."

HonsowetzApparently he was miserable enough that his wife, the acclaimed motorsports artist Sandra Leitzinger, insisted that he buy a car and go racing. That's where the original Datsun 510 came into the picture. Bob purchased a new one in 1972 and entered SCCA's B Sedan class. He qualified for the national runoffs in 1974. The next year he not only qualified for the national runoffs but also won the SCCA Northeast Division with three wins and three times runner-up. It was a start but it fell short of giving him full satisfaction.

"Paul Newman helped me out by wrecking one of Bob Sharp's Datsuns," Bob explains, only half joking. "Bob let me cannibalize the car and sold me parts I needed to build a Datsun for an even faster racecar."

Suddenly, Bob Leitzinger was back in the game and winning in a meaningful way. Bob acquired a Datsun 280Z and raced that in CP and continued in that class through 1980. During the 1980's Bob stepped up to IMSA GTU and Trans Am racing with a Datsun 280ZX. They constructed the car from the ground up as a purpose-built racer with a tube chassis and V6 engine.

Over the next several years Bob focused on IMSA GTU and scored a breakthrough class win at Lime Rock in 1983. For the next several years he ran selective races as his team began to develop a V6 Nissan 240SX.

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Bob operated his team with little outside financial assistance until receiving Nissan backing in 1989, the year he won the GTU championship. With Nissan backing his team won four manufacturer championships through 1994. His proudest moment came when his son, Butch, burst on the professional scene.

"I remember when Butch first really out-dueled me," Bob recalls. "It was right here at Mid-Ohio along about 1991. By then he was part of our Nissan IMSA team. I could always out-qualify him and we ended up one-two on the grid, with me on the pole. I led for a while but then he got me in Turn 1. I never could get by him the rest of the race and he won. That was probably my proudest moment racing. I knew Butch was going to be a champion. I never out-qualified him after that race."

Butch did deliver for his father and along with Jim Pace added to Leitzinger Racing's string of IMSA GTU championships in the early 1990's. Butch also went on to succeed in multiple forms of racing and even picked up two class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Bob lost his Nissan backing in 1994 and eventually transitioned his team to tackle what was then NASCAR's Busch series. They campaigned in Busch North regularly with Butch as a driver.

"I turned to NASCAR because I thought I could be more successful selling sponsorships," Bob explains. "It didn't really work out that way."

Bob wound down his own racing activities as Butch's career took off. He supported his son and traveled with him to his six appearances at Le Mans and other events such as his overall victory at the 24 Hours of Daytona with Dyson Racing in 1999. Butch enjoyed other successes as well and drove for factory teams such as Cadillac, Bentley and Panoz.

Still, the urge to get behind the wheel burned inside Bob. Wife Sandra had not only encouraged his racing enthusiasm but even pushed him. Her passing in 2002 was a blow.

"I think to succeed you need someone who thinks the same way you do," Bob says. "It's important that she understands me, and even more, loves the sport too."

That partner for Bob now is his all-around life assistant Dineen, who does everything from work on his Lotus or Datsun cars to fielding public relations requests. With her enthusiasm Bob returned to racing in 2009 with vintage cars. He sold his car dealership in 2006 and now has the time to focus on racing again. Carson Baird, his crew chief during his Nissan factory team days, shows up almost daily in Bob's shop to pitch in.

"Carson is a phenomenal manager, fabricator and can pretty much do anything with a car," Bob says. "That's what I love about where I am now. It's the spirit of vintage racing. It's like racing used to be. We fought each other track and helped each other in the paddock. Last night we had dinner right here in the paddock outside my motorcoach. There were good friends, wine, great food."

Bob explains that while vintage racing is more relaxed and the competition is more about having fun than winning at all costs, the urge to pass another car when you know you can is irresistible. The danger, too, is real.

"On the track, the competitive energy still flows," he says. "In racing you pay dearly for your mistakes – and it can still bite you here in vintage, too."

The bottom line for Leitzinger, though, is that he is happy with his life and enjoys what he does. Looking back on his 52 years of racing, Bob feels his time on Earth has been well lived.

"I love what I am doing and there's not much I'd change," he reflects.

Given that assessment, it's easy to see why there is no quit in Bob Leitzinger.

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