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Car FYI’s Revved Up Weekend Review: July 23-25, 2021

Photo Credit: Gruppe C Photography/Mercedes-Benz AG



NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series: NHRA Sonoma Nationals

The first of two race weekends in the state of California, the elite categories of the NHRA arrived at Sonoma Raceway.

The NHRA Sonoma Nationals Top Fuel category was decided through a very quick, narrow duel between Leah Pruett and Steve Torrance. After a nearly equal fight down the drag strip, Torrance’s 3.757 ET and 327.98-mile per hour top speed beat Pruett’s 3.768 and 323.04-mile per hour effort.

Through first round of eliminations in the Funny Car category, the Tim Wilkerson versus Jim Campbell match literally had an explosive outcome. Wilkerson’s Ford Mustang pulled ahead of Campbell but suffered a spectacular engine failure crossing the finish line. Despite the flaming explosion from under the Mustang’s body, Wilkerson was able to make his second round appearance but was eliminated by Alexis Dejoria. In the finals for NHRA Funny Car, John Force Racing’s Robert Hight drove his Auto Club Chevrolet Camaro SS to victory over Matt Hagan.

Returning to action for the first time in a month at Sonoma Raceway, the Pro Stock cars were decided between Aaron Stanfield and Dallas Glenn. Rookie of the year contender Glenn, who beat Troy Coughlin Jr. with a steady reaction time advantage, met his match with Stanfield who took his Camaro to a win with a 6.557-second ET.

Prior to Sunday’s elimination for Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Smith posted a 205.04-mile per hour top speed setting a new class record. On Sunday, the final round of the two-wheeled drag racing category, Karen Stoffer riding a Suzuki for Ray Skillman Auto Group/Big St. Charles Motorsports faced the Vance & Hines team’s Andrew Hines. With a superior reaction time, Stoffer grabbed the advantage early and carried it to the finish line collecting her first victory since St. Louis in 2019.

Formula E: (London E-Prix Round 12) Dennis Wins Saturday Duel At the Docks

The second-to-last race of the 2020-2021 Formula E World Championship, the 2021 Heineken London E-Prix was a return to the English capital after a five-year absence. This long-awaited race for United Kingdom involved a first of its kind course for a major auto race. A 22-turn, 2.252-kilometer temporary track created on the Royal Docks, a large section of the course ran inside the ExCeL London international convention centre.

Saturday’s round 12 event was led at the start of pole sitter Alex Lynn for Mahindra Racing. Lynn’s teammate Alexander Sims would retire early in the London E-Prix due to crash damage on the first lap. The current Formula E drivers’ championship leader Sam Bird was also forced to park his #10 Jaguar Racing machine as a result of contact in the opening stage of Saturday’s race. The weekend in London would ultimately be a disaster for Bird as he would fail to score points in both races and left trailing in the drivers’ championship.

Lynn remained at the front through the first third of the 45-minute plus one lap distance of Saturday’s race but lost the place when he moved into the Attack Mode activation zone in turn 16. The position was surrendered to BMW i Andretti Motorsport’s driver Jake Dennis who kept his #27 car in first place to take the win. Nyck De Vries charged from 9th place on the grid to take second place for the Mercedes-EQ Formula E Team as well as grabbing 18 championship points that would prove valuable towards the end of the weekend. Alex Lynn’s #94 machine held on for third place in the round 12 match.

Formula E: (London E-Prix Round 13) Thirteenth Round Lucky For Lynn In London

While Saturday’s Formula E race on the Royal Docks generated some spirited bouts on track, Sunday’s round 13 event was a decidedly wild outing.

Several yellow flags were flag in over the course of this race with many collisions including one between Andre Lotterer in the #36 Porsche Formula E Team and Antonio Felix Da Costa’s #13 DS Techeetah car on the start/finish stretch. During the safety car period, an unusual incident occurred when the #11 Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler car driven by Lucas Di Grassi drove down pit road and overtook the vehicles on track gaining the lead of the event. Di Grassi would eventually be disqualified for the move but remained at front through the latter half of the race.

When racing resumed after the safety car with 22 minutes remaining, a poorly-placed entry by Oliver Rowland Nissan E.DAMS into turn 10 resulted in Brit locking up his brakes and colliding with second place at the time Stoffel Vandoorne. The pole sitter for the Sunday event, Vandoorne lost out on a potential win crossing the line in 15th place.

With the aid of Fan Boost, Saturday’s pole sitter Alex Lynn took the second place position from Nyck De Vries’ #17 car with 16 minutes and 20 seconds remaining in the race. As Lucas Di Grassi receives a black flag for the safety car infraction late in the event, Lynn took victory in Sunday’s London E-Prix round that is also his first-ever Formula E win. De Vries crossed the line in second place while Jaguar Racing’s Mitch Evans drove to a hard-earned third.

Following the two races in London, the drivers’ standings have Nyck De Vries in six-point lead over Envision Virgin Racing’s Robin Frijns. Sam Bird is now 14 points behind the leader in the points tied for third with Jake Dennis heading into the Formula E series’ finale in Berlin.

DTM: Lausitzring’s Race Weekend Wins Shared By Ellis and Gőtz

The second race weekend for the 2021 DTM series took the tour to Germany where the EuroSpeedway Lausitz (also known as the Lausitzring) hosted a set of races presenting a special thrill to drivers and spectators. For the 2021 layout of the DTM track, the banked corner part of the 2.023-mile oval will be integrated with the grand prix circuit configuration resulting in first turn with speed potentials exceeding 250 kilometers per hour for competition-prepped sports cars such as the Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, Audi R8 GT3 Evo and the Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo.

In the first race of the weekend, the van der Linde brothers took the front row with the younger Sheldon’s BMW faster than Kelvin’s Audi in qualifying. However, at the end of Saturday’s 36-lap event Swiss driver Philip Ellis driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo would take his first DTM win. The Victory was also the first for the American-German supported Team Winward.

As was the case with the Saturday’s festivities, the second race on Sunday at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz also involved a great deal jockeying around at the front. Running second, Liam Lawson pitted on lap 8 for his mandatory tire change but stalled the car briefly after the stop was completed. Lawson would recover to finish second in the event driving his Red Bull-sponsored #30 Ferrari 488.

Victory in the race 2 was decided on lap 27 when the leading #3 Audi of Kelvin van der Linde suffered a sudden shutdown. Though van de Linde was able to restart the car, the seconds of lost propulsion cost the South African driver two places in the final running order. Claiming the win in Sunday’s DTM race was Maximilian Gőtz who piloted a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo for Mercedes-AMG Team HRT.

ARCA Menards Series: Ty Gibbs’s Indomitable In Iowa

In addition to out-performing expectations in select NASCAR Xfinity Series events in 2021, Ty Gibbs (grandson of NASCAR team owner and Super Bowl coach Joe Gibbs) has been making a mark on the ARCA Menards Series where he is competing for a championship. Entering Saturday night’s Shore Lunch 150 at the 0.875-mile Iowa Speedway trailing Corey Heim, Gibbs staged a master drive leading 149 of the race’s 150 laps to win. The #18 Toyota Camry finished 1.297 seconds ahead of runner-up Daniel Dye’s #21 Chevrolet. Ty Gibbs leaves Iowa at the top of the drivers’ standings by a tight four-point margin. Taylor Gray, Corey Heim and Nick Sanchez rounded out the top five of the Shore Lunch 150.


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