MRTI: Cape’s Toronto sweep; Burkett’s latest videos; other odds and ends

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Other than Indy Lights, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda kids were in action on the streets of Toronto this past weekend as part of the Mazda Road to Indy.

Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing teammates Jake Eidson (race one) and Florian Latorre (race two) split the victories, with each driver winning their first career races in the championship and leading the other for 1-2 finishes.

Both races were held Sunday following the Saturday rainout. Eidson capitalized on Latorre running wide in Turn 1 in race one; Latorre rebounded in race two. RC Enerson (race one) and Aaron Telitz (race two) were the third-place finishers.

With just two weekends remaining (three races at Mid-Ohio, two at Sonoma), Latorre now leads Eidson 200-184 in the points, with Enerson third on 177.

Belardi Auto Racing’s Daniel Burkett, who finished ninth and eighth in the two races, put together two more “Daniel Burkett’s Quest for Sponsorship!” videos since we last introduced you to the young Canadian wearing a hot dog suit. Here’s those two – Episodes 2 and 3 of his quest – featured below.

Although Pro Mazda wasn’t in action this weekend, two of its drivers were in the IMSA Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin. Scott Hargrove won race one, Round 5 of the season, and Spencer Pigot won race two, Round 6. It’s Hargrove’s fourth and Pigot’s first win of the year. Hargrove leads the points, 116-100, over Chris Green. Pigot leads Hargrove in Pro Mazda before their next race at Mid-Ohio in a couple weeks.

One of Burkett’s teammates prior to Toronto, Nico Jamin, made the switch to Pabst Racing in Toronto. That dropped Belardi down to two cars, for Burkett and Jeroen Slaghekke. Gustavo Myasava (race one) and Andrew List (race two) were surprise 10th-place finishers.

NHRA: John Force-like motor explosions get contagious during Sunday’s Gatornationals

Photo and video courtesy NHRA
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John Force is rubbing off on others – but probably not the way they or he would like.

The 16-time NHRA Funny Car champion has had spectacular motor explosions in each of the first three races of the new NHRA season, including during Friday’s qualifying for this weekend’s Gatornationals.

During Sunday’s quarterfinals of eliminations, Force’s teammate (and son-in-law and president of John Force Racing) Robert Hight squared off with fellow Funny Car driver Matt Hagan.

As the duo closed in on the finish line, both cars experienced spectacular motor explosions of their own – virtually side-by-side and nearly at the same time.

Hight’s car was the first to explode, tossing its body high in the air. A split-second later, Hagan’s car exploded, also sending the body flying.

Check out the NHRA video:

Hight wound up losing the race.

Hagan, meanwhile, and his crack pit crew rolled their backup car off the hauler, put in a new motor and went on to race through the semifinals and into the finals, losing to race winner “Fast Jack” Beckman.

“We had a pretty great race day, to be honest,” Hagan said. “I’ve never been to the finals in Gainesville.

“We obviously had a huge blow up in the second round, then to watch these guys pull the other car back out and put it together in the amount of time they had, then turn a win light on against Capps (Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps in the semifinals), then to be able to go to a final, it was huge and it speaks for itself.”

As for Hight, here’s his take on what happened with the motor explosion:

“I couldn’t see (Hagan) over there and it wasn’t like it was hazing the tires or anything else. As it turns out it wasn’t spinning at all. It kicked two rods out when it blacked the bearings in the crank then it hit the valves and blew up.

“The thing gave me no indication at all before that. What really scared me was once I got it under control and I look over and see his body is off his car. I am thinking ‘Oh man, he got gathered up in me.’ Then I stood up and looked and his injector was sideways so I realized he had an explosion as well. We are just lucky we didn’t get into each other.”

As for the guy who has had so much trouble in the motor department, John Force, he lost in the first round of Sunday’s eliminations to daughter Courtney Force.

John Force planned on shutting the motor off on his car at around the 700-foot mark of the 1,000-foot dragstrip, not wanting to risk another motor explosion – even though it meant a likely loss to his daughter.

Now John Force and his entire four-car team, including Courtney Force, Robert Hight and daughter and Top Fuel driver Brittany Force, will be off for extensive testing to try and determine what’s been causing the motor explosions.

“We have to evaluate it and go test,” Force said. “We’ll figure it out.”

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