(Photo courtesy Formula DRIFT)

Vaughn Gittin Jr. edges Chris Forsberg for 2nd straight Formula DRIFT win at Homestead

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Vaughn Gittin Jr. out-drove points leader Chris Forsberg in the final round to earn his second consecutive victory in this weekend’s Formula DRIFT “Round 3: Miami Heat” event at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Gittin and his Monster Energy/Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR held off Forsberg and his Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z to win his second win in the series’ first three events.

“It feels really amazing to be here and come to a brand new track and work with my team to get my Monster Energy, Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR on rails to be able to hit every mark and compete with some of the best drivers in the world,” Gittin said. “Back-to-back wins is just amazing and we are working hard and it just feels good that it’s paying off and I’m just pumped.”

While Forsberg kept things close, Gittin earned just enough points to not only win the event, but also to move into second place in the Formula DRIFT standings, just 10 points behind Forsberg.

Kenny Moen, in the Achilles Radial/Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX, finished third.

It was the first time that the Formula DRIFT series has raced at HMS.

“Homestead-Miami Speedway provided a great new venue for our Championship,” Formula DRIFT president Jim Liaw said. “The increasingly bigger fan base was treated to some impressive driving all weekend with the first event PRO 2 Series competition and Round 3 of the Pro Championship.”

The 2014 Formula DRIFT Championship season continues with Round 4: The Gauntlet at Wall Speedway in New Jersey on June 20-21.

 

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Formula DRIFT Professional Championship Presented by GoPro Round 3: Miami Heat Event Results

Winner: Vaughn Gittin Jr., Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR

2nd: Chris Forsberg, Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z

3rd: Kenny Moen Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX

 

Formula DRIFT Professional Championship Presented by GoPro 2014 Standings After Three Rounds:

1. Chris Forsberg, Hankook Tire Nissan 370Z, 263.00 points

2. Vaughn Gittin Jr., Monster Energy / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR, 253.00 points

3. Kenneth Moen, Bridges Racing Nissan 240SX, 205.50 points

4. Fredric Aasbo, Hankook Tire Scion Racing tC, 189.50 points

5. Justin Pawlak, Falken Tire Ford Mustang, 140.00 points

6. Robbie Nishida, Achilles Radial / Bridges Racing Lexus SC300, 132.50 points

7. Forrest Wang, Get Nuts Lab / Hankook Tire / STR Racing Nissan S14,129.50 points

8. Aurimas Bakchis,Feal Suspension / Nitto Tire Nissan 240SX, 121.00 points

9. Tyler McQuarrie, GoPro Mobil 1Chevrolet Camaro, 114.00 points

10. Michael Essa, Essa Autosport / Yokohama BMW M3, 109.00 points

11. Darren McNamara, Falken Tire Nissan S14, 102.00 points

12. Chelsea DeNofa, BC Racing Nitto Tire BMW 3-Series, 92.00 points

13. Conrad Grunewald, Megan Racing / Top 1 Oil / BRE Chevrolet Camaro, 90.50 points

14. Ryan Tuerck, Retaks Maxxis Tires Air Force PSI Scion FR-S, 90.50 points

15. Ken Gushi, GReddy Performance X Scion Racing Drift FR-S V2, 89.00 points

16. Matt Field, CX Racing / Nitto Tire Nissan 240SX, 84.50 points

 

Manufacturers Championship Standings After Three Rounds:

1. Ford            393.00 points

2. Nissan      334.50 points

3. Scion      312.00 points

4. Chevy      204.50 points

5. BMW      201.00 points

 

Tire Championship Standings After Three Rounds:

1. Hankook     452.50 points

2. Nitto            422.00 points

3. Achilles            338.00 points

4. Falken            242.00 points

5. Yokohama      128.00 points

 

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Button ‘almost there’ on deciding Formula 1 future

SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 26: Jenson Button of Great Britain and McLaren Honda sits in his car in the garage during practice for the Formula One Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 26, 2016 in Spa, Belgium.  (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
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Jenson Button says he is “almost there” on deciding his future in Formula 1 as McLaren continues to deliberate its driver line-up for 2017.

Button is the most experienced driver currently racing in F1, and has been with McLaren since 2010.

Fernando Alonso is set to remain with McLaren for next season, but the team is yet to decide whether it will retain Button or promote junior driver Stoffel Vandoorne into a full-time seat.

Button has been linked with a return to Williams – the team he made his F1 debut with in 2000 – should McLaren drop him.

The 2009 F1 world champion is yet to decide whether or not he will continue in F1 next year, but feels he is close to a decision.

“I am almost there with my thought process and you will hear about it soon. I can’t put a timescale on it, but it will be soon enough,” Button told Press Association.

“I did think about it lot [over the summer]. I didn’t have a lot of time to lie on a sun-lounger and think about it to be fair.

“I was busy, but yes, of course, I thought about it.”

Button’s last race win came at the end of 2012 with McLaren, and has not finished on the podium since the start of 2014 thanks to difficulties with the team’s Honda engine last year.

Although McLaren is on the rise, Button stressed that he wants to be in a car that is capable of battling at the front of the pack in 2017.

“I have always said that if I feel like I can be in a car that is fighting for wins I will definitely stay. I think any racing driver would,” Button said.

“But if I am not and I feel like I am not, there is nothing else for me to achieve. I will go and play darts instead.

“I can’t just sit on the beach. I will do all sorts of racing after F1 whether it is in racing cars, push bikes, or triathlons because I am a competitive person and I always want to win.

“So, that is what I want to do. Something I can fight for wins in.”

Button has been linked with a move into the FIA World Endurance Championship should he decide to call time on his F1 career, and is also likely to take up rallycross in some form, following in the footsteps of his father, John.

A roof popped off a BMW M6 GTLM in IMSA’s VIR first practice

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First practice for this weekend’s Michelin GT Challenge, a GT Le Mans and GT Daytona-only round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at VIRginia International Raceway is in the books.

Fastest times were set by Earl Bamber in the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR (1:43.232, GTLM and overall) and Madison Snow in the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (1:45.722, GTD).

Bamber told IMSA Radio’s Shea Adam, “It’s a good way to start the weekend. It’s a new surface; it already seems quicker than last year. The guys at VIR have done a great job to repave it. It’s been pretty difficult the last couple races for us.”

But the session was more notable because it featured a weird interruption, when the roof off the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM popped off on course.

It left Dirk Werner needing to bring the car, sans the roof and rear window, into the pit lane but luckily without further damage following the inadvertent convertible debut of the car.

Werner’s befuddled co-driver, Bill Auberlen, attempted to explain the situation to Adam.

“I’m telling you… I’m dying to ask if it was cooler inside the cockpit!” Auberlen told IMSA Radio, noting how hot it is on track, as well (ambient temperatures are expected in the mid-90s with track temperatures in the 110-115 range).

“So no, we did not plan on this. This is very odd. It’s bizarre how the roof would blow off the thing.

“I went in the grass once. Couldn’t get the downshfits accomplished. Now this. Maybe we get all the troubles out now.

“But now the roof blew off? No idea how, it’s just bad luck.”

Here’s pics and a few tweets about the abnormal incident:

Dover agrees to sell Nashville track to real estate company

NASHVILLE, TN - JULY 15:  Scott Dixon driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda, and Dario Francitti driver of the #27 Canadian Club Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda, lead the field during the IRL Indycar Series Firestone Indy 200 on July 15, 2007 at the Nashville Superspeedway  in Lebanon, Tennessee.  (Photo by  Gavin Lawrence/Getty Images)
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Dover Motorsports Inc. has a new buyer for the Nashville Superspeedway in a commercial real estate development company.

The motorsports company said Thursday that Panattoni Development Company will buy the superspeedway for $27.5 million and also take over Dover’s obligations under bonds issued in 1999 to help build infrastructure supporting the track. The bonds currently have a balance of $17.2 million, and Panattoni will replace Dover Motorsports’ letter of credit with its own.

Dover expects the sale to close in 2017 pending zoning approvals.

This is the second time Dover announced a buyer of the 1.33-mile concrete track about 30 miles east of Nashville that closed in 2011. Dover announced in May 2014 a deal selling to NeXovation Inc. worth nearly $46 million, which later fell through.

Rosberg praises Mercedes for ‘great job’ on F1 Halo

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Nico Rosberg has praised Mercedes for doing a “great job” in designing the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection that may be introduced to Formula 1 in 2018.

Following the deaths of F1 driver Jules Bianchi and IndyCar’s Justin Wilson in 2015 from head injuries sustained while racing, the FIA has placed improving cockpit safety high on its agenda in 2016.

The Halo made its public debut in pre-season testing and underwent brief testing on race weekends before the F1 Strategy Group opted to delay its introduction until 2018 at the earliest.

Opening practice for the Belgian Grand Prix on Friday saw the most extensive Halo test yet as Rosberg, Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Daniel Ricciardo all completed laps with it fitted to their cars.

Rosberg set his fastest practice time using the Halo, and called its trial a “success” when reflecting on his running.

“The team have done a great job on the Halo. It doesn’t disturb me when driving,” Rosberg said.

“I could go fast straight away and even set the best time of the session with it this morning, so I think that was a success.”

Rosberg topped FP1 before focusing on race pace in second practice at Spa-Francorchamps, finishing the session in sixth place.

The German was pleased with his running, believing that tire management will be key come Sunday’s race.

“Car-wise we seem to be quick,” Rosberg said.

“The grid is a bit all over the place this afternoon with people doing different things with the tires. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out in the race. Long run pace will be important as you can overtake here.

“I don’t know how we’re looking yet – we’ll need to look into that.

“But there was a lot of tire degradation, so managing that on Sunday will be important.”