Speedway Digest…. Clint Bowyer Restrictor Plate Racing Isn’t Chess

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Clint Bowyer Restrictor Plate Racing Isn’t Chess

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series tackles the high banks of Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway Sunday for what is normally one of the sport’s most exciting races of the season. By now, everyone knows Talladega racing often leads to nearly 40 cars racing four-abreast, 10 rows deep at 200 mph for more than three hours.

Talladega is about crashes and near crashes with short tempers among stressed-out drivers. Tune in to the radio or television broadcast of the race and the commentators are sure to call the action a “high-speed game of chess.”

But Clint Bowyer, driver of the No. 14 Haas Automation Ford for Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), isn’t buying that cliché.

“Chess is sitting there, bored out of your mind, thinking of all the other things that you would rather be doing,” Bowyer said. “There’s a guy across from you, you’re trying to figure out if he’s actually into it or doing the same thing, bored out of his mind, thinking about all the things he would rather be doing.”

Bowyer said NASCAR restrictor-plate racing is so much more than any cerebral pursuit.

“You’re literally freaking out, making knee-jerk-reaction decisions the whole race,” he said. “You’re reacting to things that you don’t even remember. You’ll get out of the car at the end of the race, and somebody’ll be like, ‘Man, that was an awesome move that won you the race!’ And you’re like, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ There were at least 4,000 instances of what won that race or didn’t win that race.”

Don’t let Bowyer kid you; he knows what he is doing on restrictor-plate tracks, especially at Talladega, where he’s won twice and posted six top-five finishes in his 22 career starts at the 2.66-mile track. Bowyer has scored the most points of any driver in the last 10 Talladega races but, even after successful days like he has enjoyed there, he says he’s mentally and physically weary after each race from all the exertion.

“There’s so much going on inside the car, whether you’re listening to the spotter, or you’re looking at – as you’re listening to him, you’re following along to – that story in the mirror, right?” he said. “You’re living it through the windshield. I mean, there are so many things that are going on, you just – you flat out – don’t take it all in. I mean, your brain is registering so many things that, at the end of the race, you don’t even remember half of it.”

Bowyer rides a wave of success to Talladega with top-15 finishes in all nine of the 2017 races except for the season-opening Daytona 500, where a midrace accident ended his day. He’s earned two top-five finishes and four top-10s this season. The No. 14 team led by crew chief Mike Bugarewicz has climbed to ninth in the standings.

“Everybody is working really hard and we are just having fun,” Bowyer said. “SHR is a fun organization and Ford is a fun manufacturer to work with. We still haven’t put everything together and been the best we can be, but Sunday will be our 10th race working together and we expect things will continue to improve.”

Bowyer’s racing fortunes have improved since arriving at SHR this season to replace three-time champion Tony Stewart, who retired from NASCAR competition. Bowyer would like to go down in the history books as the first driver to bring SHR a Talladega victory. The organization’s 37 victories in 864 Cup Series races since its 2009 inception have come at every track except Talladega and Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.

Whether or not Bowyer makes history for SHR Sunday afternoon in the normally unpredictable Talladega race, it will be more entertaining than, say, a game of chess.

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Clint Bowyer Restrictor Plate Racing Isn’t Chess

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Goodyear-shod cars win three times at zMAX

Goodyear – CONCORD, N.C. (April 30, 2017) – Shawn Cowie outlasted a Top Alcohol Dragster field loaded with Goodyear-equipped cars to win the TAD final at the NHRA 4 Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway. Cowie was one of eight drivers using Goodyears to advance to the second round of TAD racing at zMAX. No other tiremaker had a car in the second round.
The TAD category is a part of the NHRA’s Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series for sportsman racers. Other Goodyear-shod sportsman winners included Bruno Massel (in Competition Eliminator) and Peter Biondo (Super Stock). Added to Goodyear’s winning cars in the professional categories, the sportsman action brought Goodyear’s win total to six. No other tiremaker matched that total.
The TAD class is for the fastest and most powerful cars in sportsman drag racing. Cowie raced on Goodyear’s D3122 drive tire and said, “They stick and hook me up and get me down the race track.” The D3122 measures 34.5 inches tall and 17 inches across the tread face. It mounts on a 16-inch wheel.
Massel, the NHRA on Fox reporter, is a former world champion in Comp Eliminator and he won his titles on Goodyear tires. That experience came in handy, he said.
“We have the old Goodyear Pro Stock tire on the back, the D2200, Old Faithful, as I call it,” Massel said. “It gets us down the track every time.” The D2200 has the same dimensions as the current tires Goodyear produces for the Pro Stock class and has a 105-inch rollout.
Massel collected his 11th national event victory.
Biondo won his 51st national event. Every one of those wins have come on Goodyear tires. He used Goodyear’s D2070 drive tire on his car. The D2070 stands 33 inches tall, is 14.5 inches wide and mounts on a 15-inch rim.
Goodyear employs about 66,000 people at manufacturing plants and facilities in 22 countries. Based in Akron, Ohio, Goodyear is among the largest tiremakers in the world and is the worldwide leader in race tire innovation.

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Miami Beach Invites Athletes and Sport Lovers from Around the World in the Spirit of Competition in May

Courtesy PRN News Wire

World OutGames Miami 2017 will welcome athletes, participants, spectators and thought leaders from around the globe beginning May 26 through June 4, 2017. Making its U.S. debut, the 10-day event will bring to life a series of events across the areas of Sports, Culture and Human Rights. Photo Credit: Microgen/Shutterstock.com (PRNewsfoto/Miami Beach Visitor...)

World OutGames Miami 2017 will welcome athletes, participants, spectators and thought leaders from around the globe beginning May 26 through June 4, 2017. Making its U.S. debut, the 10-day event will bring to life a series of events across the areas of Sports, Culture and Human Rights. Photo Credit: Microgen/Shutterstock.com (PRNewsfoto/Miami Beach Visitor…)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla., May 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Miami Beach is set to host a jam-packed month of events for athletes and sport lovers from across the globe. From Olympic-style games to competitive fishing and masterful karate, Miami Beach is ready to kick the competition into high gear and welcome all who’ve traveled to attend fun and furious events throughout the month, while taking advantage of the fantastic weather, miles of beachfront and a wealth of entertainment activities.

“Miami Beach is known for its active lifestyle, and this lineup of athletic events further showcases the city’s love of sports,” says Peggy Benua, Chair of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority (MBVCA). “We open our arms to athletes, guests and residents to celebrate the spirit of friendly competition with us and experience why Miami Beach is truly like no other place in the world.”

Miami Beach takes the global stage with events including the World OutGames. From May 26 to June 4, the OutGames will bring more than 450 events to the warm sands of Miami Beach. Hosted in a U.S. city for the very first time in history, the World OutGames joins competitors and spectators from all backgrounds and walks of life. Whether participants are seasoned professionals or novices playing for fun, the games are committed to being non-discriminatory and offer events for every skill level. Along with sports, the 10-day event features a range of arts and social events, including a main Festival Village at Lummus Park, live performances at the Colony Theatre, and a human rights conference featuring speakers from the United Nations.

“As a leading destination for LGBT-inclusiveness, Miami Beach is the perfect place for the first ever World OutGames in the U.S.,” says Grisette Roque, Executive Director of the MBVCA. “We’re honored to host the games and show athletes and dignitaries from around the world what makes Miami Beach so vibrant and extraordinary.”

Showcasing fierce competition on the water, the Yamaha Contender Miami Sportfish Tournament is returning to the Miami Beach Marina on May 4 and 6. For those in it to win it, the Top Boat Prize winner receives a grand sum of $30,000 and participants can raffle for a new speed boat. On May 6, the tournament wraps up with a Dock Party and Baywalk festival during the day and a silent auction at night.

Sparring on the competitive world stage, the Masters Karate Tournament is headed to the Deauville Beach Resort on May 13. Hosted by Master Manny Reyes, this year’s tournament is adding a new discipline, Judo Kickbox, and is drawing over 500 competitors from more than eight countries.

For more information on sporting events and happenings on Miami Beach, download the Miami Beach Information App at www.MiamiBeachAPI.com.

World OutGames Miami 2017
The World OutGames consists of more than 450 events spanning sport, culture and human rights at the Miami Beach Convention Center May 26 – June 4. Highlights include:

Beach Volleyball, May 30 – June 2
Marathon | Half Marathon, June 3
Basketball, May 29 – June 2
Main Village, May 26 – June 4: The Festival Village at Lummus Park will be open throughout the duration of the games. With two entertainment stages, a women’s space, a family area, an adult zone, food and drink, and a variety of vendors and entertainment, the village welcomes thousands of athletes and spectators from across the globe.
Global Conference on Human Rights, May 26-29: Held in the Miami Beach Convention Center, the conference invites the most powerful global gathering of respected human rights activists, researchers, legal scholars and organizations. With more than 25 speakers from around the world — including Cuba, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Miccosukee Reservation and more — the conference opens discussion about supporting inclusivity in sports, health and wellness, and social justice.
Dance Now! Miami Presents: Out, May 29: Performing the 1988 landmark work of Edward Stierle, a commentary on the AIDS epidemic of the time, the ballet includes a feature presentation from the South Beach Chamber Ensemble.
Yamaha Contender Miami Sportfish Tournament
As one of the biggest sportfish events of the year, the Yamaha Contender Miami Sportfish Tournament will be held on May 4 and May 6, with a $30,000 “Top Boat Prize”. Additional attractions include:

Registration, Captain’s Meeting & Kick-Off Party, May 4: Inviting guests to enjoy appetizers from Flanigan’s and cold beer at the tournament’s main tent, the Kick-Off party serves a welcome reception for the tournament at the Miami Beach Marina.
Miami Sportfishing Tournament Official Fishing Day, May 6
The tournament and fishing will occur from 7 am – 4 pm with the official weigh in from 4 pm – 6 pm. The Dock Party and Baywalk Festival is from 3 – 6 pm, featuring artists, jewelry, marine products, cold cocktails, music, giveaways and more. The silent auction, beginning at 5:30 pm, is the perfect chance to catch great deals. Guests can enjoy discounts on a variety of items ranging from marine and consumer electronics, artwork, jewelry, trips and more.
The Masters Karate Tournament
Considered one of the most anticipated events in the South Florida karate circuit, the 4th Annual Masters Karate Tournament will be held on May 13 at the beautiful Deauville Beach Resort, attracting some of the best athletes in the field.

The tournament, which is rated by Florida Black Belt Association (FBBA) and the World Kenpo Federation (WKF), offers spectator tickets for as low as $15
About Miami Beach
Recently named the World’s Leading City Tourist Board in 2016 and 2016 North America’s Leading Tourist Board by the World Travel Awards, first place in the 2017 and 2016 edition of the Travvy Awards, presented by travAlliancemedia in the categories of “Best LGBTQ Destination” and “Best Wedding Destination, U.S. & Canada” and a winner in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Magellan Awards by Travel Weekly in the categories of “Destinations | Mobile App”, “Overall Spa Destinations| U.S and Canada” and “Overall Beaches Destinations| U.S and Canada” respectively, Miami Beach is a favorite destination among travelers worldwide. Renowned for its unparalleled culinary offerings, extravagant nightlife, rich culture, luxe shopping and plush hotels, Miami Beach is home to unique museums, the New World Symphony, Miami City Ballet, Miami Beach Convention Center, international festivals and art exhibitions, boat and auto shows, over 187 boutique and resort hotels and 12 public parks; it is no wonder the beautifully diverse city is one of the world’s most popular vacation destinations. Boasting seven miles of breathtaking beaches, Miami Beach is easily accessible from the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport. The City of Miami Beach has been named one of the top cities worldwide for ‘walkability’ and is equally easy to navigate by bike or boat. Known for its year-round sunny skies, the vibrant destination has been ranked by TripAdvisor as a Top Winter Sun Vacation Rental Getaway Destinations, Top Romantic Destinations, Top 25 Beaches in the World and Top 25 Destinations in the U.S. Miami Beach is like no other place in the world!

SOURCE Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority
Miami Beach Invites Athletes and Sport Lovers

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ED KRACZ: Could Derek Barnett be the next Reggie White?

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The following article is contributed by Ed Kracz NFL contributor for the Balance, Beat writer for the The Philadelphia Eagles and Calkins Media
ED KRACZ: Could Derek Barnett be the next Reggie White?

PHILADELPHIA — Had there been a roof, it would have blown off. This was the first outdoor draft in National Football League history so the ear-splitting noise that a crowd of about 80,000 gathered on the Ben Franklin Parkway simply rose to the heavens when it was announced the Eagles were on the clock.

After nearly 10 minutes passed, league commissioner Roger Goodell strode across the stage at the base of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the Rocky theme song blasting.

Then came the pick: pass rusher Derek Barnett from the University of Tennessee.

Maybe someone up in the heavens heard the roars. Maybe even Reggie White himself heard them, because the late, great defensive end, who gave the Eagles so many great years and memories, must know Barnett.

It was Barnett who broke his sack record at Tennessee. The Nashville, Tennessee, native was the first freshman to start on the d-line for Tennessee in 2014, and he responded by having three straight double-digit sack seasons. If he can do that in the NFL, he could be this team’s next White.

It’s a tall order, though, especially because there are some knocks on him. Speed and burst are two.

But 32 sacks are 32 sacks.

“What Derek is proficient at is at the top of his rush, when Derek gets there, he has the bend and can finish,” vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas said. “He can really close. He has a variety of moves, speed, he can use power and he can finish when he gets to the top of the rush. I think there is a high ceiling for Derek. He’s going to get better, improve his hand technique. He said after he was drafted, he’s only scratching the surface of his potential and I fully expect him to reach it.”

There is no questioning that Barnett is a person of a high-character, and in this draft, where red flags popped up on players like a South Jersey beach when rip tides are present, that is saying something.

Running back Dalvin Cook was still on the board when the Eagles made their pick but several off-field incidents may have steered them away. Same with linebacker Reuben Foster. The Eagles could’ve had him but maybe the diluted urine sample during the NFL Scouting Combine scared them away.

“We’re real excited to get Derek,” executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said. “He was the highest-rated player on our board. We’re always built along the lines but, at same time, take highest-rated guy. He fits our scheme, he fits our culture and I think we got a tremendous player and a tremendous person. Everyone in this city will see the kind of person he is. He has unbelievable character, a hard worker and is really productive.”

Pass rushers are hard to find, and the Eagles believe they found one.

He may not have tested well at the Scouting Combine but Douglas said that was the case with Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs. That didn’t stop Douglas’ employer at the time — the Ravens and Ozzie Newsome — from taking Suggs, who became the league’s defensive player of the year shortly after being drafted.

“Both players didn’t test outrageously well but both are highly productive players, high toughness, great people,” Douglas said. “Again, his production is unmatched.”

Roseman defended Barnett’s testing by saying that Barnett had the flu at the Combine and at his pro day he had a hamstring issue.

As expected, this draft was about as unpredictable as any in recent memory.

So many mock drafts had defensive players coming off the board early and often. It was the other way around. Seven of the first 10 picks were offensive picks.

For the Eagles, who are looking to complete the puzzle around quarterback Carson Wentz, that was not a good thing.

Three of the top 10 players were receivers who had all been heavily linked to the Birds: Corey Davis, Mike Williams and John Ross. Another offensive player the Eagles no doubt coveted was Christian McCaffrey. The Stanford running back went to the Carolina Panthers, which was where most experts thought he would go.

The good news was, there were three trades before the Eagles’ turn came at No. 14. All three of those teams trading up took quarterbacks, which pushed talent down the board.

“We spent a lot of time going through scenarios and we did not have any scenarios with what happened here,” Roseman said. “It was real interesting how it went.”

When all that shuffling was complete, the Eagles had plenty of talent from which to choose, especially on defense. There was one offensive weapon they could’ve had and that was Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. Imagine a two-tight end set of him and Zach Ertz. That would’ve been scary.

In the end, though, defense was the direction they found too difficult to ignore.

They could have taken Alabama defensive tackle Johnathan Allen, who was the 2016 Chuck Bednarik and Bronco Nagurski Award on the nation’s top defense and had 10.5 sacks. Maybe if Allen was an end, he would have been the pick, because there was a clear need on the edge after the release of Connor Barwin.

So it’s one down and seven more picks to go.

The next two come Friday night, where the Birds own the 43rd and 99th overall picks.

Maybe the puzzle piece around Wentz will come then. Maybe a cornerback or two.

“There are a lot of different turns and twists as we go forward,” Roseman said, “but this is a good start for the Philadelphia Eagles.”

Ed Kracz: 215-949-3070; ekracz@calkins.com; @kracze

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2017 NFL Mock Draft: 1st Round Picks, Surprise Trades & Breakdowns | SI NOW | Sports Illustrated

Courtesy Sports Illustrated YouTube channel

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway Press Release

IMS Seating To Be Smoke-Free Beginning in October 2017

Non-Smoking Family Stands Expanding this May and Brickyard 400 Race Day

INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, April 26, 2017 – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today that its grandstands will be entirely smoke-free beginning with the 2017 Red Bull Air Race. In addition, leading up to the Air Race, the track will provide limited smoke-free family grandstands at select Month of May events and at the Brickyard 400.

“Our fans should be able to sit in their seats while enjoying a smoke-free experience,” Hulman & Company President and CEO Mark Miles said. “Starting in the fall, we’ll be able to provide this opportunity to all of our customers.”

Said IMS President J. Douglas Boles: “In recent years, our fans have consistently asked us to provide a smoke-free experience in the grandstands. This is especially true among families bringing younger children to the track. I’m pleased we’re making this move and look forward to working with our operational team, fans and partners to implement these changes.”

Both the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana and the Indiana State Department of Health applauded today’s decision.

“The Alliance for a Healthier Indiana lauds IMS for moving the needle on Hoosier public health outcomes,” said Bryan Mills, CEO of Community Health Network and founding member of the Alliance. “Indiana has worked hard to become an attractive place to live, work and do business. However, consistently poor health rankings undermine our progress. Today’s announcement from IMS proves they are not only the world’s premier racing venue but a premier partner in creating a health climate for the next generation of racing fans. Future generations will be the ones to gain from the health and economic benefits of a smoke-free environment.”

Said Indiana State Health Commissioner Jerome M. Adams, M.D., M.P.H.: “The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the premier attractions in Indiana, and it’s exciting to see it taking a public stand for smoke-free environments. I can’t think of a more visible endorsement of better health for Hoosiers and those who visit our state.”

IMS offered its first smoke-free family grandstands on Miller Lite Carb Day in 2016. This year, they will be available to customers at the INDYCAR Grand Prix on May 12-13, on Miller Lite Carb Day on Friday, May 26 and at the Brickyard 400 on Sunday, July 23. To learn more about the family grandstands and purchase tickets, visit IMS.com.

Beginning with the 2017 Red Bull Air Race on Oct. 14-15, 2017 and continuing throughout the entire 2018 season and beyond, smoking will not be permitted in any IMS grandstands. Fans wishing to smoke will be asked to do so 20 feet away from buildings and reserved seating entrances. Smoking will continue to be allowed in the IMS infield.

“This is good news we’re sharing today,” Miles said. “And I’d like to thank the Alliance and ISDH for their support and assistance in reaching this decision.”

In the coming months and as the 2018 season approaches, IMS will provide additional guidance to fans on the implementation of these new policies.

Indiana Tobacco Quitline

The Indiana Tobacco Quitline is a free, phone-based counseling service provided by the State Department of Health that helps Indiana smokers quit. Support is available seven days a week. IMS encourages anyone looking to stop smoking to take advantage of this resource and many others available. For assistance today, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (800-784-8869).

About the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana

The Alliance is a group of health care professionals, advocates, and community and business leaders from across Indiana who are committed to improving the health of our state. Its first priority is to substantially reduce tobacco usage, which is the leading cause of preventable death in Indiana. Founding members include the Indiana Hospital Association, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Indiana State Medical Association, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Indiana and the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.unnamed

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DraftKings and FanDuel NFL Week 3 Picks

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Frank Duncan Honored by Pirates for Community Service

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INDIANAPOLIS – Following an All-Star season on the field, Indians pitcher Frank Duncan will be recognized for his work beyond the ballpark. The right-hander has been selected to represent the Tribe as the club’s 2016 Pirates Community Commitment Award winner.

Duncan led all of the nearly 300 players in the Pirates organization by dedicating 54.5 volunteer service hours to the Indianapolis community. It marks his second consecutive year receiving the award, as he was the 2015 selection for the High-A Bradenton Marauders. One honoree is chosen from every affiliate in the Pirates farm system each season.

Among his many contributions, Duncan visited with patients at Riley Hospital for Children and Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, played ball with members of the Brownsburg Challenger League, and gave one-on-one instruction as part of the Indians’ Special Needs Clinic in partnership with Autism Speaks.

Instituted in 2008, the Pirates Community Commitment Program (PCCP) helps each player in the Pirates organization understand the personal and professional growth opportunities linked to community service, as they are seen as role models or potential leaders.

The San Francisco, Calif., native enjoyed an outstanding year on the mound. He was named a Triple-A All-Star and selected by the coaching staff as the club’s Rookie of the Year after establishing career marks in wins (9), ERA (2.34), and WHIP (1.19). He posted the International League’s second-lowest ERA (2.08) after June 1 and logged the league’s top scoreless streak with 23.2 shutout innings.

Winners will be honored in an on-field ceremony at PNC Park in Pittsburgh prior to the Pirates hosting the Washington Nationals at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24.

#RollTribe

Ryan Sheets | Media & Communications Coordinator

Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field
501 W. Maryland Street, Indianapolis, IN 46225
Office: (317) 532-6934 | Cell: (317) 522-8983

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Goodyear, Runoffs at Mid-Ohio

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One fast Feller: Provisional H Production pole still belongs to Michigan driver

LEXINGTON, Ohio (Sept. 21, 2016) – Tom Feller backed up Tuesday’s performance by going faster and holding on to the provisional pole for H Production at the 2016 Sports Car Club of America’s National Championship Runoffs at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Feller, from Holland, Mich., has won the pole in H Production the last two years. He improved upon Tuesday’s effort by nearly a mile an hour as he toured the 2.258 Mid-Ohio venue at an average speed of 80.956 mph.
Feller races on Goodyear tires. Competitors in H Production are free to select their brand of tires.
This year, the SCCA has scheduled each qualifying session at about the same time of day the classes will race on the weekend, giving each team a feel for the possible ambient racing conditions on race day. Feller and his fellow H Production drivers have practiced in the afternoons all week in preparation for their expected 3:30 p.m. start Saturday.
Goodyear, Corinth, Texas, remains on the provisional pole in Formula Mazda but Jarret Voorhies was fastest on Wednesday. Voorhies averaged 91.157 mph on his best lap Wednesday. Voorhies lives in Cresson, Texas. Goodyear is the exclusive tire provider for Formula Mazda.
Cliff Ebben held on to the top spot in GT1 without turning a lap Wednesday. Ryan McManus, Westfield Center, Ohio, posted the fastest lap in Wednesday’s session but his 96.780 mph lap fell just short of the track record Ebben set Tuesday at 99.220 mph. Ebben, Freedom, Wisc., and several other GT1 drivers, stayed off the track Wednesday.
Goodyear employs about 66,000 people at manufacturing plants and facilities in 22 countries. Based in Akron, Ohio, Goodyear is among the largest tiremakers in the world and is the worldwide leader in race tire innovation.

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Racing World Mourns Death of Bryan Clauson August 08, 2016 | By IMS

PHOTO IMS.com

PHOTO IMS.com

The following is courtesy of The Indianapolis Motor Speedway and should receive all credit for the following article! Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Racing World Mourns Death of Bryan Clauson
August 08, 2016 | By IMS
Bryan Clauson was happiest when he was behind the wheel of a race car. In fact, the happiest day of his life may have been earlier this year on May 29, when he had his best Indianapolis 500 finish in the afternoon and drove a sprint car to the feature victory at Kokomo (Ind.) Speedway that night.

Clauson, 27, died Sunday evening from injuries sustained in a crash the night before at the Belleville (Kan.) Nationals midget race on the half-mile dirt oval. Clauson was airlifted to Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Neb., but did not survive.

“This is certainly a sad day for the racing community as a whole, and on behalf of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we send our deepest condolences to the family of Bryan Clauson,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Anybody who witnessed Bryan behind the wheel of a race car can attest to his elite ability, relentlessness and unbridled willingness to race anything on wheels. While he’ll be remembered most as a legend of short-track racing, his participation in the Indianapolis 500 exemplifies his fearlessness, true versatility as a competitor and the pure depth of his talent as a driver.”

Clauson, a resident of Noblesville, Ind., was considered the nation’s top short-track dirt-car driver with four U.S. Auto Club national championships – two in sprint cars and two in midgets – as well as wins in prestigious events the likes of the Chili Bowl, Turkey Night Grand Prix and Belleville Nationals.

In the mold of old-school racers like A.J. Foyt, Gary Bettenhausen and Tony Stewart, eager and willing to race anything anywhere, Clauson set a goal in 2016 of competing in 200 races, including the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. Driving the No. 88 Cancer Treatment Centers of America Honda for Dale Coyne/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing, Clauson finished a career-best 23rd in this year’s Indy 500 and led his first laps in the historic race.

Saturday’s race at the Belleville Nationals, where Clauson was the defending champion, was the 116th on his trek toward 200. He picked up his 27th feature win this season in the midget race Wednesday night at Beloit, Kan.

PHOTO IMS.com

PHOTO IMS.com

has always been the heart and soul of auto racing in America,” said Doug Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “Bryan Clauson combined his passion and enthusiasm for grassroots racing with a God-given talent that made him the favorite to win every time he got in a midget or sprint car. And he proved on the world’s largest racing stage – by leading three laps in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 – that he could use that talent in just about anything with wheels.

“More importantly, he possessed a humility and character out of the race car that made him a person that fellow competitors and fans alike enjoyed being around,” Boles added. “His spirit, his positive outlook and his thrilling talent will be missed by the entire racing community. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are with the Clauson family in this difficult time.”

The native Californian earned a USAC-INDYCAR scholarship for winning the 2010 USAC national driver’s title. The scholarship earned Clauson six Indy Lights starts in 2011 in a car shared with current Verizon IndyCar Series rookie Conor Daly at Sam Schmidt Motorsports while Clauson continued to race in USAC’s national series. His best finish in eight career Indy Lights was third at Iowa Speedway in 2011.

Clauson won the scholarship award again in 2012, allowing him to make his Indianapolis 500 debut in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, qualifying 31st and finishing 30th. Clauson returned to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2015, finishing 31st in the Indy 500 for KVSH/Jonathan Byrd’s Racing.

Clauson also served as a development driver for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2007-08, winning an ARCA race in 2007. He made 21 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts in 2008, finishing second in rookie points where he teamed occasionally with three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti.

Clauson is survived by his parents, Tim and Di, his sister Taylor and fiancée Lauren Stewart. Funeral arrangements are pending. A memorial service in his honor will take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at a date soon to be announced.

In lieu of flowers, or to make a donation, people may direct their contributions to the USAC Benevolent Fund website at http://usacbf.org/cash-donation/ or checks should be made out to the USAC Benevolent Foundation in the name of Bryan Clauson. The address is 124 E Northfield Drive, Suite F #129, Brownsburg, IN 46112.

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