VOLUME XII,  ISSUE 4 - OCT. - DEC.,  2018

C. Force increases point lead; Kramer takes second win of season

Deric Kramer

 

Two weeks previously, Deric Kramer slid out of the American Ethanol Chevrolet Camaro SS and pounded the hood in frustration. The Colorado resident had fouled in the Pro Stock final against Tanner Gray and left Seattle as runner-up for the second consecutive National Hot Rod Association Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event.

 

Kramer and Gray, a four-time winner already this season, hooked up again in the final round of the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway in Minnesota on Aug. 19. They both hit .002 of a second on the tree, but Gray was .002 too early to give Kramer his second Pro Stock victory of the season and career.

 

“Shifting into high gear I looked up and saw the win light was on in my lane and I figured that was pretty good for me, so I can’t complain about that,” said Kramer, whose reaction time combined with a 6.652-second run would have been tough to beat.

 

Entering the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals on Labor Day weekend in Indianapolis, Chevrolet teams/drivers have posted 25 victories combined in Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock. Additionally, drivers of the Chevrolet COPO Camaro have recorded four Stock Eliminator wins and two victories in the SAM Tech NHRA Factory Stock Showdown.

The Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals – the penultimate race of the 18-event regular season – was also positive for Courtney Force, who increased her Funny Car points lead with a semifinal appearance in the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro SS. Force has advanced to at least the semifinals in 10 of the 17 regular-season races, including four victories.

Erica Enders, a two-time winner at Brainerd International Raceway, recorded her first low qualifier honor since 2015 and won her first-round match in the Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro SS.

 

Fernando Cuadra, driving the KB Racing-prepared Corral Chevrolet Camaro SS, picked up his first round victory in 14 years with a holeshot win over reigning Pro Stock champion Bo Butner.

Al Corda of Elk Mound, Wisconsin, drove his Chevrolet COPO Camaro to the third round of eliminations in Stock Eliminator. He was the No. 6 qualifier of 74 competitors. [08/28/18]

Garcia, Magnussen take GT lead

Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia moved into the lead of the GT Le Mans (GTLM) Driver’s Championship for the first time this season following Sunday’s (Aug. 19) Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

 

Magnussen and Garcia placed second in the No. 3 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R – their fourth runner-up finish in five races and seventh podium result of the season. The defending GTLM champions provisionally lead the championship by four points with two races remaining.

 

Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner placed sixth in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R as their race came undone just as it started. Milner started the race seventh but was sent off track from contact with another GTLM car on the first lap. He was able to continue but the Corvette suffered damage at the front-right, which impacted the car’s performance.

 

Milner drove the first 57 minutes before handing off to Gavin, who reported similar struggles in his nearly 50-minute run. He swapped out to Milner for the final stint with the native Virginian able to set some of his best lap times toward the end as he began catching the fourth- and fifth-place cars before time ran out.

 

Garcia began his race fourth and drove the opening 55 minutes nursing a knee injury. Magnussen took over and drove the final two stints in a marathon effort. He made two stops – one for fuel only during the race’s lone full-course caution period with 90 minutes left and another for fuel and Michelin tires with 52 minutes to go.

 

The final stop was critical in that the Corvette Racing crew got him out ahead of one of his championship contenders who had pitted two laps earlier to hold on to second place and valuable points. It was a fight to the end with Magnussen driving as hard as he could for the closing stint.

 

Corvette Racing’s next event is Sept. 7-9 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.    [08/28/18]

Cottrell wins at Spokane and takes UNFC championship

In the final round, Cottrell (near lane) was out first running his best elapsed time of the weekend 5.695 with a 250.27 mph charge to an early shutoff for Wally Giavia. 

 

The inaugural season of the United Nitro Funny Cars Championship Series presented by Good Vibrations Motorsports is now complete with the fifth and final event of 2018, held over the Aug. 17-19 weekend at Spokane County Raceway in Washington. With a first-round bye run, second-season driver Bobby Cottrell clinched the championship, driving the “Northwest Hitter” ’69 Camaro nitro funny car with proud owners Bucky Austin and Mike O’Brien watching from the starting line. Thanks to Good Vibrations Motorsports, the team was handed a check for the $10,000 series first place purse.

 

Cottrell dominated the UNFC season with wins at the season opener at Tucson Dragway, the northwest double header July 4th at Spokane and at Seattle’s Pacific Raceways.

Canadian Tim Boychuk won the fourth UNFC race in Edmonton, Alberta, in his “Happy Hour” Camaro. 

 

At the Spokane drag strip, Cottrell’s 5.711/247.59 earned him the number-one qualifying slot over six other UNFC contenders. He then backed up that effort with a first-round 5.711 bye run and a semifinal 5.715 against Legends of Nitro Rookie of the year candidate Billy “the Kid” Morris in the arctic white “Problem Child” Camaro nitro funny car owned by former Top Fuel Hydro drag boat owner Eddie Knox.

Billy Morris    [08/28/18]

Chevrolet to offer SEMA design awards program

Chevrolet will bring back its SEMA Design Awards program for this year’s SEMA Show, set for Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in Las Vegas.

 

Those wishing to partake in Chevrolet’s pre-SEMA Show marketing activities must register their vehicle before Sept. 14. All registrations must be received before Oct. 12 to be eligible for an award.

 

Those hoping to get a Chevy award must:  Preserve the Chevrolet bowtie emblem, if originally equipped, on the front of vehicle; Use of a Chevrolet powertrain (mixing or matching fuel types and generations is allowed); The use of current body-style Chevrolet vehicles, performance parts, accessories and crate engines is highly encouraged; and Vehicles with current body styles (i.e., sixth-gen Camaro, seventh-gen Corvette) will be included in the Late-Model award category, in addition to all other categories.

 

Award categories include:  Chevy SEMA Late Model Car of the Year; Chevy SEMA Late Model Truck of the Year; Chevy SEMA Classic of the Year; Best use of Chevy Performance Crate Engine; Best use of Chevy Performance Parts & Accessories; and Designers Choice.

 

Those with questions can email ChevySEMADesignAwardsProgram@gm.com[08/28/18]

Dillon leads Chevy racers at Michigan

Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 DOW/We Are Innovators Camaro ZL1, raced to a fourth place finish Sunday, August 12, in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan.

 

Chase Elliott (#9 NAPA Auto Parts Camaro ZL1) was ninth, Ryan Newman (#39 Grainger Camaro ZL1) was 15th, Kyle Larson (#42 DS Solar Camaro ZL1) was 17th and AJ Allmendeinger (#7 Kroger Clicklist Camaro ZL1) finished in 22nd place.  [08/28/18]

Ohio Senator proposes American car buyers get $3,500

A bill proposed this week in the U.S. Senate by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown aims to give car buyers $3,500 to buy American-made cars, including models from Ford, General Motors, Honda, Toyota, and others.

 

The temporary program, which would offer a one-time $3,500 subsidy to each person for a new car purchase or five-year lease, would be funded up to $3 billion by revoking a tax break for automakers on profits made overseas. Some automakers may be taxed at a lower rate on profits made overseas after a GOP tax overhaul passed earlier this year.

 

For cars to qualify under the plan, at least 45 percent of its parts would need to be sourced from the U.S. or Canada -- but not Mexico -- and assembled in the U.S. Brown's office offered a list of more than 100 vehicles that would qualify for the program.

 

Time to start car shopping? [08/28/18]

Double podium finish for C7.Rs at Road America

Corvette Racing’s pair of Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs raced their way to the GT Le Mans (GTLM) podium Sunday, Aug. 5, at Road America in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. With second- and third-place finishes in the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, both teams solidified their championship standings heading into the final three events of the season.

 

Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner finished second in the No. 4 Mobil 1/SiriusXM Chevrolet Corvette C7.R on Sunday, their highest finish since winning at Long Beach earlier this season. Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen placed third in the No. 3 Sirius/XM Corvette for their fifth straight podium finish in IMSA competition.

 

Garcia and Magnussen remain second in GTLM Driver’s points after Sunday and just four points out of first place. The result for the No. 4 Corvette elevated Gavin and Milner one position to fourth and 10 points behind their teammates.

 

Chevrolet also remained second in GTLM Manufacturer’s points.

 

Sunday’s race featured a number of different strategies until the final restart with 40 minutes to go following the race’s fifth and final caution. Both Corvettes gained a spot in their opening stints to second and fourth, respectively, before fuel and tire strategies came into play.

 

Teams elected to make anywhere from two to four pit stops in the two-hour, 40-minute race with the Corvette Racing team electing to split their strategies. Garcia drove the first 38 minutes in the No. 3 Corvette before handing off to Magnussen. The Dane entered the race sixth but gained a couple of positions before Garcia re-entered the race with 80 minutes left.

 

Meanwhile, Gavin drove the same opening stint as Garcia and handed off to Milner, who made just one more stop with 63 minutes to go as the No. 4 team chose to gamble on having enough fuel to make it to the end.

 

Garcia came in for fuel and fresh Michelin tires a minute later, just as the race’s fourth full-course yellow came out. He came in again to top off on fuel with 55 minutes to go. When the race began again, Milner ran fourth and Garcia seventh.

 

Milner moved up another position to third with 44 minutes left, and Garcia began marching his way forward to fourth inside the final 30 minutes. The Corvette Racing engineers huddled in the pitlane and decided to let Garcia take a run at the then-second place No. 67 entry in the final 15 minutes to see if he could gain another position, but the clock and opportunities ran out. Milner went back around Garcia on the last lap to solidify the final order.     [08/28/18]

Automotive trade associations band together to oppose U.S. tariffs

Eight major trade associations have formed the Driving American Jobs Coalition to oppose potential tariffs on imported motor vehicles and auto parts. The group includes SEMA and represents the broad scope of the auto industry, from automakers and dealers to parts manufacturers, distributors, retailers and service providers. The Coalition is seeking to convince the Trump Administration not to impose tariffs.

 

In May, the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) began an investigation on whether imported automobiles and auto parts posed a national security threat. The investigation applies to all types of cars and parts, including new cars, classic cars, OEM parts and specialty auto parts. The DOC will issue its findings and recommendations for presidential actions, if any, as early as September. President Trump has stated that he is considering global tariffs of 20% to 25%.

 

“Tariffs are particularly harmful to the auto industry because they will result in job losses that will be felt across the entire supply chain,” said Bill Hanvey, president and CEO of the Auto Care Association. “From the manufacturing facility in South Carolina to the dealership in Michigan to the independent repair shop in Pennsylvania, prices for vehicles, parts and repairs would go up, hurting consumers, and American jobs would disappear. We are glad to be lending our voice to this coalition and calling for the administration to protect American workers and the American auto industry.”   [08/28/18]

GM names Eissenstat as new global policy head

General Motors tapped a former top Trump administration trade official to help lead its global public policy efforts at a time when the carmaker is warning of decreased profits stemming from a burgeoning trade war.

 

GM hired Everett Eissenstat, the former deputy director of the National Economic Council, as a senior vice president. Eissenstat, who also previously served as the chief international trade counsel for the Senate Finance Committee, joined GM just days after the company said President Trump's new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports was increasing supply costs.

 

Trump earlier this year ended the exception for key trading allies on the new 25 percent tariff on steel imports and 10 percent tariff on aluminum imports. Since then, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and others have imposed retaliatory tariffs. The administration is also locked in an escalating trade conflict with China. Trump has threatened to impose tariffs on as much as $500 billion in Chinese goods and Beijing has vowed to retaliate dollar-for-dollar.  [08/28/18]

Elliott wins first checkered flag at Watkins Glen

Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 SunEnergy1 Camaro ZL1, took the checkered flag, his first win, coming in his third full-time season and his 99th start in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Sunday, August 5, in the MENCS Race at Watkins Glen International at Watkins Glen, NY. This was the 250th Monster Energy Series win for Hendrick Motorsports team owner Rick Hendrick (at right).

 

“On behalf of everyone at Chevrolet, I am extremely pleased to congratulate Rick and the entire Hendrick Motorsports family on this tremendous accomplishment of 250 race wins in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series,” said Jim Campbell, U.S. Vice President, Performance Vehicles, and Motorsports. “This major milestone is the result of years of passion, persistence, and teamwork to get the job done. We are especially proud of the fact that all 250 wins have been in Chevrolet race cars. Rick’s passion for the brand and dedication to putting Chevrolet in Victory Lane has been relentless. As a key partner and respected friend, we salute you.”

 

Elliott led two different times for 52 of the 90 circuits around the 2.45-mile road course. His victory is the second for the Camaro ZL1 in Cup Ser4ies competition, ending a 20-race winless streak for the Bowtie Brand.     [08/28/18]

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