Fields growing for Pirelli World Challenge ahead of 2014 season

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The Pirelli World Challenge paddock could be a very crowded place in 2014.

Officials from WC Vision report that team entries for the sprint-style sports car series have noticeably spiked as they prepare to celebrate the series’ 25th anniversary season.

In fact, the group is now projecting fields of over 80 cars across all five classes of competition – GT, GTS, TC, TCA and TCB – and that they’ll likely max out on entry levels for the first two 2014 race weekends at St. Petersburg (Fla.) and Long Beach (Calif.).

“We are pleased to see the fruits of our efforts develop the way they have. I am honored and humbled to see the results of these development programs as they have delivered steady series growth over the past five years since WC Vision took over the management of the series,”  WC Vision president and CEO Scott Bove said in a statement.

“We are all looking forward to the start of the 2014 season; our 25th anniversary year is shaping up to be the best in the series’ history.”

One of the series’ more important calling cards, strong manufacturer involvement, also endures for 2014 as over 15 marques are set to battle this year in the PWC – including American stalwarts like Cadillac, Chevrolet and Ford.

NHRA: New book a celebration of life, love and drag racing

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The overpowering smell from nitromethane that powers Top Fuel dragsters and Funny Cars in the National Hot Rod Association oftentimes brings fans to tears after getting a whiff of the stuff.

Now there’s a new inspirational book that will also bring tears to the eyes of die-hard drag racing fans.

Veteran crew chief Jim Oberhofer has released “Top Fuel For Life, Life Lessons From A Crew Chief,” a touching homage to both his late wife and persevering and overcoming adversity in the highly competitive world of NHRA drag racing.

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Oberhofer wears a number of hats as vice president of one of the sport’s most veteran and successful teams, Kalitta Motorsports, including serving as crew chief for Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta’s dragster.

Oberhofer relates a number of stories about overcoming adversity in the book, but none more touching than how he watched his beloved wife “Tammy O” lose a long and painful battle to stage 4 metastatic lung cancer.

While Oberhofer has spent his life using wrenches and tools working on 10,000-horsepower engines, his new book shows that he is also a very gifted writer.

Known in the sport as “Jim O,” Oberhofer describes the fight his wife went through in gritty and descriptive prose, but with a foundation built upon what the love of his life meant to him – and continues to mean to him more than two years since she passed away.

“When you take a long hard look at your life, I guarantee you that being a winner has little to do with crossing the finish line,” Oberhofer said. “After many mistakes and a whole lot of heartache, I learned that happiness comes from a deeper, simpler place. That’s the big win.”

“Top Fuel For Life” is available on Amazon for $19.95.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

Report: Ecclestone believes F1 could be sold by year’s end

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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone on Tuesday said the racing series is up for sale and has as many as three potential buyers.

Ecclestone told The Associated Press that a deal could still be struck by year’s end.

“I think so, maybe this year,” Ecclestone said. “There are three people mentioned to buy. So it’s a case of whether CVC or Mr. Mackenzie wants to sell.”

Ecclestone was referring to F1’s largest and controlling shareholder, CVC Capital Partners co-chairman Donald Mackenzie.

But even if F1 is sold, the 84-year-old Eccelstone doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

“The people that I’ve spoken to … have asked me if I would stay,” Ecclestone told AP.

Follow @JerryBonkowski