Photo: Chevrolet

Chevrolet delivers a six-pack of IndyCar manufacturer titles

Leave a comment

SONOMA, Calif. – One race before the Verizon IndyCar Series season finale, the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma (Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN), Chevrolet has wrapped the Manufacturer’s Championship, and done so for a sixth consecutive season.

Chevrolet celebrated its 100th start back in the championship at Watkins Glen International, and has 66 wins. This year they will have at least nine wins and if one of its eight drivers entered this weekend wins Sunday, they’ll have extended their streak of winning double digit races for six straight years.

Team Penske has won all nine races while Ed Carpenter Racing, A.J. Foyt Enterprises and Harding Racing have all added top-fives to their haul.

Perhaps the funniest moment of a press conference today celebrating the title came when A.J. Foyt told Jim Campbell, vice president, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports, and Mark Kent, Director of Motorsports Competition – Chevrolet, “I apologize for as bad we’ve ran this year.” The room exploded in laughter thereafter.

Jokes and humor aside, it was another successful year for Chevrolet, and also saw them complete a sweep of the three titles in the manufacturer aero kit period.

“It’s very rewarding because we believe that the aero kits allowed us the opportunity to accomplish everything we wanted to do. We wanted the aero kits to provide some visual differentiation. They did that. We wanted the aero kits to provide us an opportunity to demonstrate our engineering prowess, out-engineer our competition. And we did that as well,” Kent said.

“From our perspective, the aero kit era was very successful for us. But as we move forward, we’re looking forward to the next chapter of IndyCar competition with the universal kit. We won before the aero kits, we won with the aero kits, we’re looking forward to continue winning with the new aero kit.”

Photo: Chevrolet

Chevrolet works in tandem with technical partners Pratt & Miller and Ilmor Engineering and Campbell made sure to thank them as well.

“A big thank you to our technical partners at Ilmor. Paul Ray is here, Steve O’Connor, Steve Miller, Wayne Bennett. Thank you for your partnership on everything related to our engine program. And everybody at Pratt & Miller, thanks for what you’ve done on the aero kit as well, really integrating that all together.

“Jay (Frye), thanks for having us. We love competing in the IndyCar Series.”

Female racer makes history with record finishes in dirt national midget events

Photo courtesy Toyota Racing
Leave a comment

Holly Shelton is riding high after setting a milestone for a female driver in a national midget series feature event on dirt this past weekend.

The Sacramento, California-area resident recorded the highest finish ever for a female dirt national midget series driver with a runner-up finish last Friday at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League double-header weekend at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Shelton broke her own national record for top finish by a woman in a national dirt event – she finished third in a USAC race at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, last year.

One night after setting her new national record, Shelton and her Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota roared back Saturday to finish third (started on the outside pole) in the second half of the weekend double-header, making her the first female dirt driver ever on the national midget circuit to earn back-to-back podium finishes.

“It’s cool making history as a female, but my number one thing is I just want to win,” said Shelton, who will be graduating from Cal-State Sacramento with a B.A. in Criminal Justice this fall. “Truthfully, on the track I don’t even remember that I’m a girl. I’m just racing all the guys with the same goal they have – to win.”

Only one other woman has finished second in either a USAC or POWRi midget feature – Sarah McCune at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1999 – but that was on pavement, not dirt.

The record-setting weekend was great consolation for Shelton, who missed three races earlier this season due to surgery and then sat out three other races last month after suffering a race-related concussion.

“It felt good,” she said of her back-to-back podium finishes. “It builds up my confidence. The car is fast and we keep getting better and we want to build on it.”

Shelton was one of four women that competed in midget competition this weekend. The others were 19-year-old Maria Cofer and 16-year-olds Holley Hollan and Presley Truedson.

“It’s awesome seeing all the little girls come up to me excited to see me at the track,” Shelton said. “Hopefully, it encourages them to pursue their dreams as well and, as the years go on, more girls will get into it.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski