Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Racing's Summer Catch-Up

With the summer in it's dog days, every racing series is well into their 2013 season and before you know it, the leaves will change color and it will be coming to the end to another racing season. Now would be a perfect time to get everyone caught up on the different racing season going on both domestic and abroad.

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is heading to Loudon, New Hampshire after their traditional July 4th weekend night race at Daytona International Speedway. Jimmie Johnson has four wins and leads the points after winning last Saturday night. Johnson became the first driver to sweep Daytona races since Bobby Allison did it back in 1982. Johnson's fourth win came a week after Matt Kenseth picked up his fourth win of 2013 at Kentucky. In his first season with Joe Gibbs Racing, Kenseth is sixth in the standings ahead of teammate Kyle Busch by seven points.

With eight races until the Chase, ten different drivers have won a race in 2013, seven of which are in the top ten (Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, Kenseth, Kyle Busch, Greg Biffle and Tony Stewart). Clint Bowyer is second in points but has yet to pick up a win in 2013. The Kansan driver has finished in the top five the last three races. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is fifth in points with ten top tens in 2013 and a pole position. Furniture Row Racing and Kurt Busch are an unexpected ninth in points. Busch has three consecutive top ten finishes and won the pole at Darlington in May. The three race winners outside the top ten are Martin Truex, Jr., Kasey Kahne and David Ragan. Truex and Kahne are eleventh and twelfth in points and are currently the two wild cards for the Chase. Ragan sits twenty-eighth in points despite winning at Talladega in May. Since his win, Ragan's best finish is twenty-second.

Notable drivers who have yet to win in 2013 are the defending champion Brad Keselowski, Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman and Denny Hamlin. Hamlin sits twenty-sixth in points after missing four races with a back injury. Hamlin is one hundred and twenty-two points back of twentieth, the farthest back a driver can be and win a wild card for the Chase. Hamlin will also need at least two race wins to qualify for a wild card spot.

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is eighteenth in points and leads the Rookie of the Year standings. He is one hundred and twenty-three points ahead of Danica Patrick.

In the Nationwide Series, Regan Smith has won two races and leads Sam Hornish, Jr. by six points. Hornish has one win in 2013. Elliott Sadler is third in points, fourteen back with Justin Allgaier and Austin Dillon rounding out the top five. Kyle Larson is sixth in points and leads the Rookie of the Year standings, ahead of Alex Bowman by seventy-six points. Trevor Bayne is tenth in points and is the only other Nationwide Series championship eligible driver to win a race in 2013. Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, AJ Allmendinger and Matt Kenseth have won Nationwide races as well. The Nationwide Series races at Loudon Saturday afternoon.

The Camping World Truck Series heads to Iowa Speedway with fourteen year veteran Matt Crafton as the points leader, twenty-two points ahead of rookie Jeb Burton, son of 2002 Daytona 500 winner Ward Burton. Both Crafton and Burton have a win in 2013. Ty Dillon is third and has one win with defending Truck Series champion James Buescher fourth in points, winless with only one top five so far. Johhny Sauter is fifth with two wins. Ryan Blaney, son of Dave Blaney leads the Rookie of the Year standings, thirty-six points ahead of Darrell Wallace, Jr. Kyle Busch has two wins this year with Kyle Larson also having one win. The Truck Series heads to Eldora Speedway in a fortnight for the first NASCAR national touring series race on dirt since 1970.

Formula One
After winning his first German Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel leads the World Driver's Championship by  thirty-four points over Fernando Alonso. Kimi Räikkönen is third, forty-one markers back.

Red Bull Racing has four wins in 2013 and leads the Constructors' Championship by sixty-seven points over Mercedes. Sebastian Vettel has four wins and six total podiums with Mark Webber having scored three podiums. This will be Webber's final season at Red Bull Racing as he has already announced he will be going to drive for Porsche and their new LMP1 entry. Nico Rosberg is responsible for Mercedes' two wins in 2013 but Rosberg is fifteen points back of World Champion teammate Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes team were found guilty of taken part in an illegal tire test after the Spanish Grand Prix and are banned from the young drivers' test later this year at Silverstone. Ferrari is three points back of Mercedes having scored two wins. Alonso has two wins and five total podiums with Felipe Massa's lone podium coming at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Lotus is fourth with Räikkönen's win at Australia the teams only win of 2013. Räikkönen has four second place finishes since his win in Melbourne. Romain Grosjean has two podiums in his last six races but four finishes outside the points in the last six races. Force India is fifth with Paul di Resta eighth in the Drivers' standings with seven finishes in the points out of nine races. The Scotsman is thirteen points ahead of his Force India teamamte Adrian Sutil. Sixth in the Constructor's Championship is McLaren-Mercedes who have yet to score a podium in 2013. Jenson Button is tenth in points with Sergio Pérez twelfth. Scuderia Toro Rosso is seventh with driver Jean-Éric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo having scored thirteen and eleven points respectively. Sauber is seventh with Nico Hülkenberg having scored seven points.

Estebán Gutiérrez has yet to score any points in his rookie season. Williams F1, Marussia F1 and Caterham F1 have all failed to scored points in 2013 as well. Formula One has the next three weeks off before heading to Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Moto GP
Moto GP heads to Germany this weekend with Dani Pedrosa leading his fellow Spaniard and twice Moto GP champion Jorge Lorenzo by nine points. Fellow Spaniard, rookie Marc Márquez is third in points, twenty-three back of his factory Honda teammate Pedrosa. Tech 3 Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow is fourth in points, two ahead of factory Yamaha rider and most recent winner Valention Rossi. Rossi's win at Assen was his first since Malaysia in 2010. Andrea Dovizioso is the top Ducati rider in sixth, twenty points back of Rossi. He is ahead of LCR Honda's Stefan Brandl and American teammate Nicky Hayden. Spaniard Álvaro Bautistia and Alex Espargaró round out the top ten. Espargaró is the top Claiming Rules Team rider. Americans Colin Edwards and Ben Spies are seventeenth and eighteenth in points respectively. Edwards has scored ten points riding for the CRT team Forward Racing. Spies has nine points but has missed the last five rounds due to injury. After Germany, the Moto GP teams head to Laguna Seca for the United States Grand Prix on July 21.

Sports Cars
Muscle Mile Pickett Racing picked up it's third consecutive win in the American Le Mans Series last Saturday at Lime Rock Park. Drivers Lucas Luhr and Klaus Graf leads by twenty-four points over the Rebellion Racing drivers Nick Heidfeld and Neel Jani. Rebellion Racing withdrew from the championship to focus on their new LMP1 entry for 2014. Marino Franchitti leads the LMP2 driver standings with seventy-two points, three more than his Level 5 Motorsports owner Scott Tucker and Extreme Speed Motorsports Guy Cosmo and Scott Sharp. Fifth in points is Ryan Briscoe seven back of teammate Franchitti. Franchitti has won three of four races this year in LMP2.

Dirk Müller leads the GT points standings, sixteen points ahead of the Corvette teammates Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen and fellow BMW driver John Edwards. Four different teams have won the four races in GT. The #4 Corvette won at Sebring with the #3 winning at Laguna Seca. The #55 and #56 BMW won Long Beach and Lime Rock Park respectively. Henrique Cisneros leads GTC by one point over Spencer Pumpelly and Nelson Canache, Jr. Mike Guasch and Colin Braun leads PC by eleven points over Bruno Junqueira. The American Le Mans Series heads to Mosport July 21st.

The Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype points lead is shared by the Wayne Taylor Racing drivers Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor and Starworks Motorsport's Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow. Christian Fittipaldi is third in points, four back of Wayne Taylor and Starworks. Fittipaldi and João Barbosa have won the last two races at Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen. Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing's pair of Jon Fogerty and Alex Gurney are one point back of Fittipaldi with Barbosa in fifth. 24 Hours of Daytona winners Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas are sixth in points. Chip Ganassi Racing also won at Road Atlanta. Wayne Taylor Racing has two wins while Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing has one win. Starworks has yet to win in 2013 as the series heads to Indianapolis, sight of Starworks first win.

Magnus Racing John Potter and Andy Lally lead the GT standings with one hundred and ninety-nine points, six ahead of Stevenson Motorsports' Robin Liddell and John Edwards. Magnus Racing has yet to win in 2013 as Stevenson Motorsports has won four of seven rounds.

Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters
The Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters heads to the famed Norisring this weekend after having a month off. There have been four races and four different winners with Audi driver Mike Rockenfeller and defending champion, BMW's Bruno Spengler tied for the points lead with fifty-nine points. Rockenfeller holds the tiebreaker over Spengler. Each driver has a win and a second place finish. Neither has a third place finish with Rockenfeller owning the tiebreaker with one fourth place finish to Spengler's none. Mercedes' Gary Paffett is third in points after his win at Lausitz a month ago.

Christian Vietoris is fourth in podiums with two podiums ahead of Hockenheim winner Augusto Farfus in fifth. Marco Wittmann is the top rookie in sixth. He finished second at Red Bull Ring in Austria. Canadian Robert Wickens is seventh in points with one podium. Dirk Werner eighth also with one podium with two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekström and American Joey Hand rounding out the top ten. Former Formula One driver Timo Glock is eleventh in points with one points paying finish, a third in Austria. Two-time DTM champion Timo Scheider is thirteenth with ten points. He has not scored a podium since Lausitz 2011 and has not won since Adria 2010. In fifteen starts at the Norisring, Scheider has only five points finish with his best finish on the street circuit being a third in 2008. 2011 DTM champion Martin Tomczyk has yet to score a point in 2013. The Bavarian has finished third and second in the last two races at the Norisring.

A German has not won at the Norisring since Uwe Alzen in 2011. Audi's Jamie Green has won four of the last five races at Norisring however they all came when he was a Mercedes driver. Green, Spengler and Paffett combined have won the last nine races at Norisring and Mercedes has won the last ten races at Norisring. Audi's last win on the streets of Nuremberg was by Laurent Aïello in 2002. BMW's last win in Nuremberg was by Joachim Winkelhock in 1997.

World Rally Championship
Sébastien Ogier leads the World Rally Championship by sixty-four points over Volkswagen teammate Jari-Matti Latvala. Ogier has won four of seven rallies this season and has been finished second in two of the three other rallies (he finished tenth in Greece). Latvala won the Acropolis Rally with semi-retired Sébastien Loeb winning the Monte Carlo Rally and Rally Argentina. Loeb finished second in Rally Sweden and is fourth in points twenty-two points back of Latvala. Loeb will compete in his final career rally October 4-6, Rallye de France Alsace. Third in points is Belgium's own Thierry Neuville. The Ford driver is twenty points behind Latvala for second and has scored three podiums in 2013.

Citroën's Mikko Hirvonen is fifth in points, seven back of Loeb with two podium finishes. His teammate, Dani Sordo is sixth, two points back with two podiums as well. Norwegian Mads Østberg is the only other driver with a podium in 2013 (a third in Sweden). He is seventh in points. The next rally is August 2-4, Rally Finland.

In Top Fuel, Shawn Langdon took the points lead by one point last weekend at Norwalk, Ohio from Tony Schumacher. Langdon and Schumacher have each won three races this year. Antron Brown and Spencer Massey each have two wins in 2013. Steve Torrence and Bob Vandergriff each have a win and sit tied for ninth in the standings. Brandon Bernstein is just outside the top ten and the cutoff for the Countdown to One. He is one hundred and twenty-seven points back of Torrence and Vandergriff.

Matt Hagen leads Funny Car with three wins. Johnny Gray is second in points after picking up his fourth win at Norwalk. Courtney Force and Cruz Pedregon each have two wins in 2013 with Ron Capps and John Force each having a win in 2013. Bob Tasca III is tenth in points, three ahead of 2009 Funny Car champion Robert Hight.

Mike Edwards leads Pro Stock over Allen Johnson and Jeg Coughlin. Edwards picked up his fourth win at Norwalk last week. Johnson has three wins in 2013, Coughlin has two. Other winners in 2013 include Vincent Nobile, Erica Enders-Stevens, Jason Line and Rodger Brogdon.

Hector Arana, Jr. has won three of seven races in Pro Stock Motorcycle. He leads Michael Ray, Jr. by forty-eight points int he championship. Ray has two wins in 2013. Louis Tonglet is tenth in points, twenty-nine ahead of Shawn Gann.

The next round for the NHRA will be the Mile-High Nationals, July 19-21.

Jerry Coons, Jr. leads Bobby East by fifteen points in the Silver Crown Championship standings. East won the most recent race at Pikes Peak International Raceway on June 29th. The next Silver Crown race will be at Indianapolis Raceway Park July 27th.

Dave Darland leads Bryan Clauson in the National Sprint Car standings by thirty-five points. Darland has two wins at Bloomington and Port Royal. Clauson won the season opening race at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, Florida and has yet to win since. Indiana Sprint Week begins July 12th at Gas City.

Rookie Christopher Bell leads the National Midget Dirt standings by twenty-six points over Clauson. Both Bell and Clauson have two wins in 2013 with Clauson winning the most recent race at Belle-Clair Speedway in Belleville, Illinois. Next race for the National Midget Dirt Championship is July 30th at Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit, Kansas.

Darren Hagen leads the National Midget Pavement standings by two points over Caleb Armstrong and Bobby Santos III. Hagen has one win, it being the Night Before the 500. Santos won at New Smyrna Speedway back in February. Next race for the National Midget Pavement Championship will be July 27th at Indianapolis Raceway Park.

The biggest news this season was the retirement of Levi Jones. The seven-time USAC national champion retired June 28th from racing to work for his family's business. The thirty-one year old Jones won five sprint championships and back-to-back Silver Crown titles in 2010 and 2011. He won all but one of those those titles driving for Tony Stewart Racing.