Ray Evernham aims for 200 mph with ‘Ghost’ car

Ray Evernham
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LONG POND, Pa. — Ray Evernham’s attempt to break the 200 mph barrier with his specially designed “Ghost” car is set for after IndyCar practice Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway.

Evernham, the NASCAR Hall of Fame crew chief and team owner, brought the car as part of the Classic Racing Times Vintage Celebration at the 2.5-mile track.

The exhibition run had been scheduled for Saturday morning but was delayed when rain put IndyCar practice on hold until the aftenroon.

“The Ghost” is a custom-built race car created to look like a Modified that would have raced in the 1960s but with modern features and technology.  Although it resembles a 1936 Chevrolet sedan, The Ghost has the aero performance of an Indy car and is powered by an engine with 850-plus horsepower.

“Building The Ghost is the culmination of my more than 40 years of experience in auto racing and car fabrication,” Evernham said in a statement..  “Our goal was to design and build a race car from the ground up just like it was done in the 1970s and 1980s, and to utilize the knowledge we accumulated through the years – without any computers or lasers.

“On the outside the car looks like the Modified race cars I grew up watching and racing at short tracks in New Jersey, but on the inside it’s packed with all the latest and greatest technology.  And the chassis is really a combination of a current Modified, a Trans-Am car and a little bit of a Cup stock car, but it’s also like a 1980s Indy car too.”

In 2018, Evernham traveled to Colorado with “The Ghost” for the historic Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, which takes place on a 12.42 mile public mountain road with 156 turns and an elevation increase of 4,720 feet en route to the finish line at the mountain summit.

In his inaugural attempt at the long-running motorsports competition, he finished first in the Exhibition Class, and 18th overall among 77 competitors.

In addition to his success at Pikes Peak, Evernham, 61, also has competed in historic road course races with “The Ghost” at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Road Atlanta and Virginia International Raceway.

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”