Welcome to Motorsports Monday, a recap of the thrills and spills from the weekend of racing. Today we cover the Road Race Showcase, Pure Michigan 400, NAPA Auto Parts 200 and much more for the weekend of August 18-19, 2012. Lace up your Pilotis and let's race!
American Le Mans Series – Road Race Showcase: Ending a four-hour road race with a battle separated by just 0.083 seconds is dramatic enough, but the way in which Guy Smith and Lucas Luhr drove over the final laps of the Road Race Showcase in Elkhart Lake on Saturday is truly one of the great racing performances of all time. We implore you to stop reading and watch the video below.
Seen it? Ok, let’s discuss. Over the last two laps these two put on a thrilling display with the front bumper of Luhr’s Honda ARX-03a within kissing distance of Smith’s Mazda Lola B12-60 the entire time. The intensity heightened when on the penultimate lap they came upon heavy traffic from the GT Class leaders in their own battle, but all involved miraculously managed to stay clean on a very difficult race track and the fight raged on – Luhr on a mission but Smith also getting faster with each lap. Finally, in the final corner, Luhr made his move to the inside and completed the pass but Smith ducked under to find inside position. Luhr pushed him to the edge of the track and Smith responded, his turbo spooling up and powering down the front straightaway to regain the lead as Luhr drafted in vain. Less than one-tenth of a second brought the closest race in ALMS history to a close and Dyson Racing earned their first victory of the season.
In the GT Class, Jorg Muller and Bill Auberlen brought their BMW E92 M3 to victory and Jorg Bergmeister sent his Porsche 911 GT3 RSR from fourth to second when the two cars ahead of him bumped each other off course (and it was indeed a messy finale for the GT class). Scott Sharp managed to bring his Ferrari F458 Italia to the podium but with a lost position to show for it. Actor Patrick Dempsey made news with a podium finish for second place with his teammate Joe Foster. ALMS returns in two weeks for the Baltimore Grand Prix.
NASCAR Sprint Cup – Pure Michigan 400: Race leader Jimmie Johnson blew his engine with just five laps to go, leaving the door open for Greg Biffle to bring his Ford to victory and regain the season points lead at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday. It’s the second win of the year for Biffle, followed by Brad Keselowski in his Dodge and the Chevrolet of Kasey Kahne. Earlier in the race, Mark Martin survived a terrifying accident with the pit lane wall that could have been disastrous (video here). Luckily, there were no injuries to Martin or nearby crewmembers. NASCAR will be back with the Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend.
Nationwide Series – NAPA Auto Parts 200: Justin Allgaier swept past Jacques Villeneuve on the Montreal track named after his late father, to take the Nationwide victory on Saturday. The win is the first road course triumph for Allgaier, who made the move on the final lap and Villeneuve ran out of fuel and slowed. Sam Hornish Jr. also slipped by to take second. Danica Patrick led several laps of the race, and that may have ultimately led to her downfall. The mercurial driver led the field down the back straight when she ran over a shoe thrown onto the track, and shortly after began to experience handling issues. Patrick has had her share of deserved criticism, but anyone should admit her bizarre weekend is unfortunate. Nationwide is back next week with the Food City 250 at the Bristol Motor Speedway.
DTM – DTM Nürburgring: Bruno Spengler led from beginning to end at the Nürburgring circuit, capturing his second win of the season and thrusting him into a tight battle with points leader Gary Paffet of Mercedes-Benz. Eduardo Mortara kept his Audi A5 close enough to pester, but not bother, Spengler and finished six seconds back. German NASCAR returns this weekend at Circuit Park Zandvoort.