Rising Stars Discovered at Ken Block's Gymkhana Grid Series Competition

Monday August 23rd, 2010 at 11:88 AM
Posted by: asgruben

Ken Block and Jessica Dunford

By Adrienne Gruben

Recent friends Michele Abbate and Jessica Dunford represent the newest, youngest wave of aspiring lady racers and grease monkeys, and while it’s super tempting to focus on their manners and cute-ness — which might not immediately spring to mind writing about fella drivers — what does make them like any other aspiring racer is their passion for all things torque.

A Junior majoring in Marketing and Communications at UNLV, Las Vegas native, Michele Abbate competed in her first Autocross at age 16 in a 1999 Pontiac Grand Am GT in North Las Vegas where she applied her childhood experiences with indoor and outdoor karting. In 2006, her first year of competition, she placed first in her class, and 2nd overall in Ladies PAX points, just 1 point away from first place. Entering her first track day in April of 2009 at Spring Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, NV, by the end of that year, Michele had placed within the top 5 of the Redline Events.

Jessica Dunford grew up in Washington State, where she competed in regional and national artistic rollerskating championships. A fan of monster trucks growing up, when she was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, while other little girls said “princess,” Jessica said, “The Gravedigger.” An avid break-dancer, Jessica joined MazdasNW, where she fell in love with the mechanics side of things, started test driving cars, and also, car modeling. She moved to California in 2009 to pursue a career in dance, but opted out, and instead, joined Mazda Owners Club of California, and has consistently done events with them since. Jessica drives a 1992 Corolla, and would like to further her love of turning wrenches by going to mechanics’ school.

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NASCAR Pits – Photo Essay

Friday August 14th, 2009 at 6:88 PM
Posted by: Photo-John

A PhotographyREVIEW.com community member invited me out to Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City for a NASCAR Western Division race. Jimmy B is an official inspector for NASCAR’s Western Division and arranged for me to get a pit pass. I went on a Friday with a couple of test cameras and spent a few hours walking around in pit lane and through the garages during morning practice.

NASCAR - Miller Motorsports Park - Salt Lake City, Utah
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Toyota Stays In the Race

Thursday March 19th, 2009 at 8:33 AM
Posted by: m35man

Formula 1 racing

Toyota Motor Corporation, the world’s largest automaker, announced plans to continue racing in Formula One and NASCAR series, even as demand for their cars is taking a pit stop worldwide. The carmaker will participate in the two racing series despite being financially restricted by catastrophic business conditions.

According to a Toyota press release, this will be the 8th straight year that Toyota has participated in Formula One competition. Its TF 109 race car, in line with new F1 regulations, sports a broader front wing and improved performance and reliability, according to Toyota.

In Japan, Toyota will participate using the Lexus brand this year and will aim to recapture the Super GT GT5000 title using the Lexus SC430. They will also continue to supply engines to the Japanese Championship Formula Nippon—the top category of car racing in Japan, aiming for the 4th straight title by a Toyota-powered car.

In the U.S., Toyota will again participate in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series with the Toyota Camry, which totaled 10 wins in ’08. The carmaker is also aiming to win the Nationwide Series, NASCAR’s second-most popular series, also with the Camry. And Toyota will continue to race the Tundra in the Camping World Truck Series, after capturing both the manufacturer’s and driver’s titles last year.

Toyota is forecasting its first loss in 59 years as the global recession hammers demand for automobiles and the company seeks loans from the Japanese government. But, they also see the value in continuing to market itself in a smart way. Racing is a great way to keep your name out there and Toyota realizes this.

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Women race car drivers that burn up more than the just the track

Wednesday March 4th, 2009 at 10:33 AM
Posted by: Derek

Natacha Gachnang

They’re hot! They’re sexy! They really know there way around a race paddock. They’re some of the best drivers around. CarReview.com would like to salute the hottest women racing. Last week we covered Danica Patrick’s stunning feature in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. But who are some of the other woman drivers that could make any engine purr? (Note: This blog will feature a lot of automotive sexual double-entendres.)

Melanie Troxel

Vroooom! Saucy Melanie competed in her first drag race at the age of 16 in a car with an engine she rebuilt herself as a high-school project. Melanie became one of the quickest and fastest females in NHRA history when in 2005 she clocked a 4.458-second pass and 330.31-mph speed in Dallas. In 2007, she scored event wins in St. Louis and Memphis, twice runnered-up, and ended the season ranked No. 9.

Melanie grew up in Colorado and inherited both her love for the sport of drag racing and her work ethic from her parents. She began her professional career driving in a Top Alcohol dragster in 1997. She captured two NHRA national event victories in 1999, and finished second in the national points standings. Her first opportunity in a Top Fuel dragster came in 2000.

Melanie TroxelMelanie TroxelMelanie Troxel

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Race Car Schools Are Flooring It!

Tuesday January 6th, 2009 at 7:11 AM
Posted by: goofshow

Jim Russell Formula Ford Front wingB Harmon Leon

Though the auto industry is tanking, according to Market Watch, race enthusiast are still paying big bucks to attend such racing schools as Jim Russell Racing School at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma County. In fact, your trusty and beloved blogger spent a day out there flooring it in order to learn some racing fundamentals.

Behind the wheel instruction began with 30 of us taking turns being shoehorned into 1 of 18 Formula Ford race cars powered by a 170 brake-horsepower 2.0 liter four cylinder Ford engine. We all stand around the vehicles suited up in identical racer costumes (helmet and fire proof race suits). This is already fun! We look like some elite crime fighting team with special racer superpowers. Special racer shoes are also involved.

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Chrysler Still In NASCAR, But With Less Money

Monday December 29th, 2008 at 9:1212 AM
Posted by: tonyb

NASCARWell, this is good news … isn’t it?

Sure, it’s good news for race fans, that being that Chrysler will still have a factory interest in NASCAR racing for the ’09 season, but it will be at a reduced level than in ’08. That all makes sense, given that Chrysler is hanging on by the skin of it’s corporate teeth, and it still holds up the supposition that racing is a worthwhile endeavor.

However, how will this decision be seen by the public at large?

A good portion of the car buying public, the people that are into cars like you and me won’t see it as that big a deal. If you can afford to go racing, then you go. It’s a simple equation. A lot of other people, however, see racing, all racing, as a frivolous endeavor. They don’t see the R & D benefit to racing, and a lot of people don’t see it as being a fun activity, either to watch, or participate in.

These are, most likely, the same people, that have never thought of “going for a drive” as something to do for its own sake. These are, most likely, the same people, that see their cars as little more than appliances (if that). A car to these people is the appliance that takes them from point A to point B, much a like a toaster is the appliance that heats and partially chars their Wonder “bread”

I pity them.

Source: AutoBlog

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2009 Audi A4 3.2 FSI – First Impressions

Thursday October 23rd, 2008 at 6:1010 AM
Posted by: Derek

2009 Audi A4
By Derek Mau

Stylish. Comfortable. Lots of nifty features that are useful and improves safety. Plus an engine that sparks an enthusiasm for driving and a dynamic sport suspension that does it all. The all-new Audi A4 sedan runs that fine line between luxury and sportiness. After spending hours behind the wheel, both on the open road and on the track, I can testify that the new A4 is all that and a little more.

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2008 Infiniti G37 – Racing Infiniti's Red Rocket

Friday August 29th, 2008 at 7:88 AM
Posted by: AKramer

2008 Duel-at-De Anza autocross course
By Alex Kramer

Every year at the college where I work the auto-tech program hosts an autocross, the “Dual at De Anza.” For years I’ve contemplated entering the event, but either lacked the courage or the right car to do so. When I heard that CarReview.com would be testing a 2008 Infiniti G37 on the weekend of this year’s race, I gave Derek a call and with his blessing entered both of us.

As far as luxury sports coupes go, the Infiniti G37 is a fine example of how impressive this class of automobiles has become. Combining the refinement of the finest luxury sedans with some serious horsepower and handling prowess, the G37 feels most at home cruising down the highway at a high rate of speed. Would this large coupe have the right balance of power and cornering agility for the tight confines of an autocross course? We would soon find out.
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Bringing families together at the race track

Friday February 29th, 2008 at 9:22 AM
Posted by: Derek

There are some traditional events that bring families together. Annual summer barbecues, 50th wedding anniversaries, and a child’s first birthday are some things that come to mind. Who would have thought that a day at the race track could be a family bonding experience?

Today’s open track event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca showed me two shining examples where the thrill of racing can be shared by anyone old or young, male or female.

Parked next to me in the paddock were a father and son team sharing a ride in a ’68 Cougar with a 302 engine stroked to 311. This silver bullet was dyno’d and measured 400 hp at the rear wheels (approximately 435 – 440 hp at the crank). Roger had built up the car for track events and invited his father, Roland, to share in the adrenaline rush.

Roger and Roland

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24 Hours of LeMons at Thunderhill – 3 Times a Charm

Friday January 4th, 2008 at 7:11 PM
Posted by: Kurt Gensheimer

By Kurt Gensheimer
Photos: Matthew Talbott, Alex Fruehsamer, Patrick Pieper

I’m racing a $500 VW Rabbit GTI into turn one at Thunderhill and the only thing going through my mind is the video of a friend’s GTI snapping a front wheel spindle and doing a 90 mile-an-hour barrel roll into the grass. I know it’s taboo to think those things when racing, but when you’re at the helm of a 25 year-old malmaintenanced schlockbox, sometimes your subconscious gets the best of you. Read the rest of this entry »

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