Millgrove, ON (August 30, 2020) – Kevin Lacroix had a solid NASCAR Pinty’s event at Flamboro Speedway last Saturday, claiming second place in the first race and clinching the win during the second race.
Team Bumper to Bumper entered uncharted territories as the series made its Flamboro Speedway debut this past Saturday. However, it was a rewarding weekend for the Saint-Eustache based team, who finished runner-up during the Pinty’s 125 and claimed victory during the 125 PartyCasino.
The day got off to a rough start, with rain delaying track activities. However, testing was positive as the driver of the #74 Bumper to Bumper / Total / PFC Brakes / Lacroix Tuning car set the 9th fastest time, “our goal was to adjust the car for the two events of the evening,” explained Kevin. “As it was a track that was still unknown to us, it was important to focus on the car and find the best possible adjustments.”
With the new 2020 race format adopted by the Canadian NASCAR series at Sunset Speedway, drivers were invited to draw their starting positions randomly.
“I had drawn the 7th place, but I started from 6th as a competitor was sent to the back of the field. As soon as the green flag dropped, I started to make my way up to the second position. I thought I could catch up with Jason Hathaway, the leader, but a latecomer gave me a hard time and lost valuable time. However, I am pleased with my second position.”
It was a quiet race for the Saint-Eustache native, “passing is difficult on this oval, there is only one race line that works, and it’s hard to be two cars wide.”
For the other 125-lap race, Kevin was second on the grid, starting on the outside of the first row. “After the start, I took the lead as I went came out of turn one, passing D.J. Kennington. After about two-thirds of the race, Jason Hathaway caught up with Kennington but was still ten car lengths behind me.”
Kevin continued his explanation, “we had a caution with about 30 laps to go, I was a little nervous because I knew Hathaway was fast. It was very close racing in the first ten laps after the restart, there was a little bit of rubbing, but I was able to pull away and ensure my lead.”
Interview with JWR Alumni Kate Gundlach, engineer for Scott Dixon on winning the Indy car Series Championship
JWR Alumni, Kate Gundlach celebrated her first Verizon IndyCar Series Championship as a team engineer when Scott Dixon won his fifth IndyCar Series championship in 2018.
Kate works with the team's race engineer, Chris Simmons, and gave her thoughts to Autoweek after Dixon claimed the title at Sonoma Raceway in September 2018.
By INDYCAR | Published: May 16, 2018
Katie Hargitt woke up one morning earlier this year and realized there was no time like the present.
Hargitt has been in motorsports for 18 years, first as a short-track open-wheel driver and now as an NBCSN reporter on Verizon IndyCar Series telecasts, She often wondered how she could help to find a path for more young women to work in the world of racing, especially in the engineering, mechanical and business side of the sport.
“A few months ago, I woke up, and I thought: ‘This is the year of the woman. We can’t miss this opportunity to bring out young women, empower young women to achieve their dreams and show them all the successful women in the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock.’”
“Fuel the Female” was born. The new group aims to empower young women to pursue careers in motorsports and other science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-related industries. Fuel the Female’s inaugural event took place Tuesday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with 60 Indianapolis Public Schools female students visiting the track for the day and learning more about the exciting world of motorsports.
A variety of women with prominent careers in motorsports spoke to the girls in the North Chalet and the Firestone Suite at the track, sharing their experiences and encouragement about a career in racing, including Indianapolis 500 driver Danica Patrick; Kate Gundlach, assistant engineer for Chip Ganassi Racing; Cara Adams, chief engineer for Firestone Racing; Jessica Mace, mechanic at Andretti Autosport; and Lisa Boggs, Bridgestone Americas director of motorsports.
As the organization grows, Hargitt hopes Fuel the Female will serve as a door for an exciting new world for young women.
“As a reporter, so many times I see young girls up against the fence, looking for someone that looks like them in pit lane,” Hargitt said. “And there’s only a few of them. So I hope that girls come out to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway or they come into a Fuel the Female program and it lights a fire in them and a passion in them for motorsports so that we can grow that few into an army.”
Visit fuelthefemale.org to learn more about Fuel the Female, to join the foundation.
Chris “The Wolf” Winkler got his first taste for the track at the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School in Mont-Tremblant more than 20 years ago. Over the course of his semi-pro career, Winkler has done everything from claim an SCCA championship to going wheel-to-wheel racing on quarter-mile tracks. If it’s got wheels, he’s raced it.
Last year Dodge tapped him to drive the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR (American Club Racer) in a quest to attain the undisputed title as the world’s fastest street-legal car. Since then the 2016 Dodge Viper has claimed 13 single-lap track records, setting a new mark for number of records held by a production car, and Winkler has been behind the wheel for eleven of them. Winkler, who works for Dodge as an SRT® Vehicle Dynamics Engineer, not only knows how to wring every 100th of a second out of the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR, he also helped build it.
Here we caught up with Winkler to talk about his accomplishments on the track and what sets the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR apart from its legendary predecessors.
Here we caught up with Winkler to talk about his accomplishments on the track and what sets the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR apart from its legendary predecessors.
Redline: What originally got you into racing?
CHRIS WINKLER: I wanted to get involved in cars and racing out of college. I crewed on a friend’s open-wheel car and went on to Jim Russell Racing Drivers School outside of Montreal. They were the coolest at the time because they allowed passing. I did their annual graduate runoff and won. That gives you a free year of racing up at their school. I took rookie of the year. The next year I won their series and that gave me a free ticket to their international championships in England. I went over, got one day to learn the course, and came in second. It would have been interesting to come in first since winning got you a year in a manufacturer’s cup series, second place got you nothing!
Which track did you enjoy taking the Viper ACR on the most?
Any track with a lot of elevation change and blind corners is the most challenging. The flat tracks and the modern tracks have their quirks but there’s nothing like the thrill of traversing the elevation changes typical of older tracks. Road Atlanta is one of my favorites, even though they eliminated one of the most exciting turns in racing by adding an S-turn to slow cars down coming in under the bridge.
What’s the most challenging corner out of the tracks you’ve driven?
I didn’t drive Laguna Seca for this campaign but it has turns 5, 6, the Corkscrew, and then turns 9 and 10. They have elevation changes and camber changes that make you commit the car early on until you reach the exit. In these superfast turns like the ones at Laguna you’re crossing your fingers for a good portion of them and hoping for the best.
What are a few things that set the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR apart from its predecessors?
The tire contact patch on the road for starters. The Kumho® Ecsta V720 tires are the equivalent of any DOT race tire. Kumho® has stepped up every time for FCA. We gave them a shot at the ACR and they succeeded beyond our expectations. The tires have great drivability at the limit and fantastic grip. The rear tires are fantastic for power delivery. The suspension, the BILSTEIN® shocks are tuned for the ACR. And the Extreme Aero Package transforms the car. Aerodynamic grip, produced by downforce, is essentially free grip. There’s no penalty or compromise in another performance area. It just helps you all around and it works better at high speeds than low speeds (1, 101 lbs. of downforce at 150 mph and 1, 533 lbs. at 177 mph). It’s part of what makes the Viper ACR such a great car.
Where would you like to set the next lap record?
It would be nice to go the ‘Ring (Nürburgring). That’s the elephant in the room anytime we talk about this kind of thing. We couldn’t go earlier because they shut it down for lap record attempts. We’ve been waiting for them to improve the track.
You can tweak everything from the suspension to the aero package on the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR. Was there much variance in your setups for each track?
We’re going to share the tweaks we had for each of the tracks and publish the setup sheets for each run. The differences are very minor off of the standard set up, a click or two of shock or a half-inch of ride height. It’s a sensitive machine. It’s a racecar for the road and appropriately it responds like one.
What makes the ACR so unique even within the Viper range of cars?
We were able to use spring rates (600 lbs./in. on the front, 1, 300 lbs./in. in the rear) we have never come close to before and that helps the aero platform.
What do you consider the most significant track record to date for the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR?
We blew away the lap record at Laguna Seca and did it with Randy Pobst. He’s one of the best drivers there. He can somehow master the track with any car. We beat a $1 million hypercar by 1.24 seconds. It’s a significant margin. Right now it’s hard to imagine a better track car based on a car you can drive on the street.
Ohio-native Graham Rahal scored his second career race victory in the Verizon IndyCar series this past weekend at the MAVTV 500, at Auto Cub Speedway in Fontana California. Graham is the son of Bobby Rahal, an SCCA National Champion and Indy 500 winner, and currently drives for the team that bears his name.
Graham tasted Runoffs Gold in 2005 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, after a dominating performance behind the wheel of his Anderson Walko Racing Formula Atlantic. The then 16-year-old driver still holds the record as the youngest Runoffs National Champion in SCCA history.
In 2008, Graham scored his first win in the newly-merged Verizon IndyCar series at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. Since that time Rahal has been a front-runner in the series, but was unable to finish in the top spot of the premier professional open-wheel series in the United States. The win pushes Graham to the fourth in the Championship.
On behalf of each of us at SCCA, membership and staff alike, we congratulate Graham Rahal on his win out in California. Keep up the good work!
By Chris Livengood, August 27, 2013
This past weekend featured the F2000 Championship’s ultimate event for 2013. Tim Minor, wielding a Citation chassis, won the championship handily over his competitors. Congratulations to him! In fact, Tim did not even need to compete in the final event to win the championship. An impressive showing for sure.
I however had no intentions of claiming the 2013 championship and only competed one previous event on the year. Going into this event, which was at the wonderful Summit Point circuit located in West Virginina,
I as well as my team members were more than excited. We had just finished a ground up restoration on a Van Diemen and had high hopes that we could position this car inside the top five positions. Lessons about hope versus preparation can come at a high price though.
Rain struck for most of Friday and left us with little track time. I did three laps in the morning to shake the car down and all went well. We sat out the rest of the day hoping for a dry qualifying session. Sure enough, the big ball of heat in the sky graced us and the track was drying just in time. We as well as most others opted to brave the drying track on dry tires. This was the correct option.
Unfortunately, the car lost a water hose and cooked the engine at around the half way point of the session. We thought the engine survived and attempted Saturday’s race only to retire on the second or third lap.
The Van Diemen was retired and the RFR chassis was called up for duty for Sunday. Starting position was based upon your fastest lap from Saturdays race. My best lap having been completed with an expiring engine was appropriately lackluster.
I qualified 23rd for Sunday’s event. The start took two tries, the first of which resulted in a spectacular collision amongst two of my competitors and brought out the red flag. Check out the in-car from one my of track mates Nick Palacio. Skip ahead to the 45 second mark to get to the crux of the start.
Everyone was okay, though a lengthy red flag period did take place.
As the race did not make it past the first time the start was declared a false. This warranted getting the field back into their original grid spots (minus the five cars lost) and completely redoing the start.
After the second flying of the green flag the field made it through turn one. The race was on! I had significant pace on the cars in my immediate path, but knew that as I dug closer to the front of the field the competition would only get tougher. The strategy was simple, make passes quickly and efficiently but setup the pass in a manner that reduced my vulnerability in the following sections of track. In this way I would gain a position but not waste time racing the driver who I had gotten by.
I made short work of a few guys and soon caught a large group. Getting through them could be touch and go, luckily they were racing. This resulted in their own loss of momentum and meant that if I timed passes correctly I could drive through the pack.
By the half way mark I was in clean space and catching 5th place. He spun moving me into his position. I continued to push and was starting to put in my best times of the weekend. I was catching fourth place handily. At this time, third place made a mistake and found himself off the racing surface. This promoted me to fourth place.
Unfortunately, I made one or two small errors and this hindered my ability to get to the third place position. Nevertheless, this was a solid performance for me in the Bruce Work entered Ralph Firman Racing (RFR) chassis. A 19 position improvement over the course of the race also handed me the CellMark Paper Hard Charger award.
Overall, I feel we are doing good things with the RFR platform and hope that we will continue to make progress on it.
Several development parts are in the works back at the John Walko Racing compound and if we can get some testing in we are sure to improve further. Special thanks goes out to Bruce Work for making the weekend possible, to John Walko for his dedicated pursuit of race car engineering, and finally my father Dave for being a kickass mechanic and awesome trackside chef. I hope to see you all in 2014!
JWR ALUM: STAR MAZDA PRODUCES A DIFFERENT KIND OF GRADUATE – ENGINEER KATE GUNDLACH SIGNS WITH IZOD INDYCAR’S HVM RACING
John Walko Racing Alum moving up the ladder!
Official Star Mazda Press Release
Pacoima, CA / May 7, 2012 – Proving yet again that the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear is one of the most effective and prolific motorsports development programs in racing today, the series is proud to announce that yet another graduate has made the big jump… directly from Star Mazda to IndyCar.
It’s a different kind of graduate this time, however. Not a driver, but rather Star Mazda Quality Control Engineer Kate Gundlach, who will immediately join HMV Racing as the Data and Electronics Engineer (DAG) for Simona De Silvestro and the #78 Entergy Nuclear Clean Air Energy Lotus Dallara. This move creates a rare pairing of female driver and female engineer, both of whom achieved substantial success climbing the open-wheel ladder and are poised for success at the top level of the sport.
“I worked with HVM during the Long Beach Grand Prix weekend and was very pleased when they offered me the DAG position on Simona’s car,” says Gundlach, who moved from Vancouver B.C. to Indianapolis to take the job. “I was very impressed with Simona and the HVM team, with their level of professionalism and presentation. It’s a huge change, moving from working for a series to working for a team, but the professional – and personal – education I received while working for the Star Mazda Championship has prepared me to hit the ground running in IndyCar and be confident that I can contribute to Lotus HVM Racing’s success.”
Gundlach, during her almost three years with the Star Mazda Championship (2009 – 2012), was responsible for working with the teams and series management to produce a continuous mechanical and electronic (including data systems) upgrading of the Pro Formula Mazda race car; an evolution designed to improve safety, reliability and speed while maintaining the series’ focus on placing driver talent ahead of big budgets.
“We’re very happy for Kate, but not surprised,” says Star Mazda founder and President Gary Rodrigues. “She’s a very accomplished engineer who has done great work for our series, so it’s inevitable that she, just like the drivers who compete in our series, is moving up the ladder. Star Mazda has always been a launching pad for drivers, crewmen, engineers and even teams moving up to the next level. That’s our main mission, and it’s always a pleasure to watch our graduates succeed. She will represent us well in IndyCar.”
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Gundlach was raised in a motorcycling family, finally transitioning to open-wheel racing via the Formula SAE program while working on her mechanical engineering degree at the University of Pittsburgh. A trip out to the Beaver Run Motorsports Complex for a race led to a meeting with principals of the Andersen/Walko Star Mazda team – and a job offer, starting immediately.
“When I started there, I worked upstairs in the loft, with a cardboard box as a desk,” she recalls. “That was one of my earliest lessons about racing at the professional level; you have to be willing to start at the very bottom and do whatever needs doing. Over the course of my time with them I learned not only about racing, but also about working with a team, working with data systems, writing contracts, doing budgets, creating sponsor proposals and a dozen other things. I was definitely thrown into the deep end, and loved every minute of it.”
Gundlach won Star Mazda’s prestigious Performance Friction ‘Crewman of the Year’ award when the Andersen/Walko team made its series debut in 2005. When the team split up, she continued working for Walko Racing (while simultaneously graduating from Pitt with a Mechanical Engineering degree) from 2006-2007 before moving to the newly-formed Goshen Racing Star Mazda team in 2008. That team only lasted one year and she was invited to join the Star Mazda Championship at its headquarters in Pacoima, CA as series Engineer, a position that also included project management and trackside support.
“Timing is everything,” says Lotus HVM Technical Director Tom Brown. “We had an opening available in our Engineering department and Kate came highly recommended. We had a chance to meet at Long Beach and everything clicked. Having her on board will clearly strengthen our group.”
About Lotus HVM Racing
HVM Racing was founded by Keith Wiggins and is based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 2012 season marks its eleventh year of competition since forming in 2001. Since its inception, HVM Racing has earned six victories, two pole positions, 22 podiums, 40 top-five finishes and 97 top-tens. The team also earned “Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year” honors with current driver Simona De Silvestro in 2010. HVM finished fourth and third, respectively, in the Champ Car World Series in 2006 and 2007, and earned drivers Mario Dominguez and Robert Doornbos Rookie of the Year honors in 2002 and 2007, respectively. Lotus HVM Racing can be found online at www.hvmracing.com. Follow the team on twitter at www.twitter.com/HVMRacing and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HVMRacing.
About Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear
For 2012, the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear will be again be a major part of the Mazda Road to Indy. The 2012 schedule currently includes 17 races on 10 weekends, most with IndyCar. Rising stars from around the world will compete on road courses, street circuits and ovals in front of more than a million fans as they compete for prizes valued at $1.5 million, including a scholarship to move up and race in the 2013 Firestone Indy Lights series. Drivers 16 and older are welcome to compete and the Star Mazda Championship also features the Expert Series for drivers 30 and older. The Star Mazda Championship features standing starts, wheel-to-wheel racing at 160 mph and budgets a fraction of other top open-wheel ladder series. For more information on the Star Mazda Championship please visit www.starmazda.com.
At 19 years, 3 months and 2 days, Rahal becomes the youngest winner in IndyCar history at the time, breaking a record previously established by Marco Andretti at Sonoma in 2006.
After overcoming a spin early in the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Rahal passed Ryan Hunter-Reay, who was driving for Rahal’s father, Bobby, to take the lead after a Lap 64 restart and led the final 19 laps through the checkered flag for his first IndyCar victory.
Rahal’s victory is also notable as it is the first victory for Newman/Haas Racing post-reunification and comes in his first start in the reunified IndyCar Series.
After competing as a rookie in Champ Car’s final season in 2007, Rahal missed the 2008 IndyCar opener March 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway after crashing his car in a test, the team lacked parts to fix it.
“It can’t get any sweeter than this,” Rahal told ESPN after the win. “Especially after last week, not racing. Certainly, this makes it a whole lot sweeter.”
Graham is one of our alum! Graham won the SCCA National Championship Runoffs in the Formula Atlantic category in 2005 racing for Anderson Walko Racing.
JWR's Kate Gundlach Honored as Star Mazda Crew Member of the Year Zartarian Scores Top Five at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TRAFFORD, PA (October 29, 2007) -- The 2007 Star Mazda Series closer at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was a successful effort for the John Walko Racing team both on and off the track with a top five finish, two top tens and a highly coveted year end award for crew member Kate Gundlach.
Gundlach, JWR's data acquisition engineer for all three entries, was awarded the Performance Friction Crew Member of the Year Award at the season ending awards banquet, a consensus award for the most valuable member of a particular team whose efforts have also benefited other teams and the series. For team owner John Walko, it was a much deserved award for an integral member of the team.
"We had a very good race weekend but the high point had to be Kate winning the Star Mazda Crew Member of the Year Award. It was a total surprise to everyone so it was very exciting for the team as well as Kate. This award is particular significant I think as it is voted on by peers and then the final decision is made by Star Mazda management. To even be considered for the award, let alone win it, requires impressing a lot of people along the way."
The award was also particularly important in that Kate is truly a homegrown talent. Like Walko, she is a Pittsburgh native with family ties to the local racing community. Her first professional work though was as an intern with JWR while working toward her mechanical engineering degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Along the way she has parlayed the opportunity in to a full time career that also involves the roles of team parts manager, test engineer and soon race engineer of the team's third car.
"I am proud of what Kate has accomplished. She came to the team with the raw tools and has developed in to an integral part of our organization. Kate is the second member of the team to have earned the Star Mazda Crew Member of the year award along with Caleb Stream. Developing talent outside of the car as well as inside is very important to our team and something we take considerable pride in."
Kate echoed the sentiments of her team owner regarding the team's approach.
"Winning this award was a big surprise to me! I have to thank John and the whole crew; they are responsible for developing me to where I am today and deserve the credit for this award. >From John to engineers Steve (Dreizler) and Eric (Langbein) to mechanics Caleb and Scott (Gates) each has invested time in helping me develop as part of this team. Their commitment to the overall team is what makes this group successful. I also have to thank John Walko Sr. and drivers Charles (Anti) and Russell (Walker) as well as their families. It has been a very rewarding experience working with everyone associated with John Walko Racing."
Of course the trip to Monterey, California involved more than the awards banquet as the team returned to a three car effort with Californian John Zartarian behind the wheel of the third car for the first time since the second round in Houston. Zartarian lead the way with a fifth place finish followed by Russell Walker in tenth.
According to Walko, the return to a three car effort always seems to provide an extra spark for the team.
"As usual the team works better with three cars, things were automatic, the atmosphere was more upbeat, everybody was doing their normal jobs and everything worked great. In all it was a pretty good weekend."
"Johnny did a great job, for only driving the car twice this year and to finish top five in this field is an accomplishment. He was actually second in one of the early sessions and that always helps to get all the cars moving forward. Russell had a good race as well, picking off some spots in the race and running a smart, clean race"
Both drivers found speed early, netting second fastest laps in different practice sessions. JWR's other full time entry Charles Anti had an uphill battle at times but was very fast on race day.
"Russell followed John's lead, setting the second fastest lap in the following session, and stayed in the top ten almost all weekend. Charles had a slow start on the weekend but moved up some spots early in the race and was running very quick laps. He was just all by himself after going off in turn five so his results didn't actually reflect how competitive he was in the race.
The team now moves in to the off season but does not plan on resting for long. Testing has already begun at BeaveRun Motorsports Complex with more dates being added to the schedule soon. There are also ongoing discussions about racing in the Star Mazda Winter Series that begins in November at Buttonwillow in California followed by dates at Firebird Raceway and Phoenix International Raceway in December and January respectively.
Drivers interested in testing or discussing racing plans for the Winter Series or the 2008 season should contact John Walko Racing as soon as possible.
It was a great weekend overall, I was really happy with a fifth particularly after our qualifying run. We picked up a few spots and hit my goal of a top five finish. All in all I was really happy with the way the race went but honestly thought I could have podiumed if it had stayed green. I have to thank John and the crew for a great weekend again."
"It was good to have a solid run at Laguna Seca to close out the season. We were quick early in practice and stayed close to the top ten all weekend. We missed a little in qualifying but I was able to drive back to tenth in the race. I was as fast as the cars directly in front of me but with the yellows near the end of the race, I never had a chance to move up any farther. I'd like to thank the team for this season; it was great to work with this crew for an entire year."
"Unfortunately we didn't end the season on a high note, finishing outside the top twenty, but we had a very fast race car that was able to run times as fast as the leaders as the laps wore down. At that point I was a lap down though after an off in to the gravel trap and was too far back to make up the ground to challenge for position. I learned a lot this year and had some great runs. I want to thank John and the team for a good season."
John Walko, Engineer for John Zartarian
"Johnny did a great job all weekend. He was second quickest in practice in just his second time behind the wheel of our car all year. To be able to hold his own, let alone compete with this field is an accomplishment in itself. With a few more laps of green flag racing he could have been looking at a podium finish. Hopefully we are able to work with John more in the future as he has the talent to compete and win in this series."
Eric Langbein, Engineer for Russell Walker
"We started the season with a goal of top ten in points and Russell did exactly what he needed to do to make sure we met those goals at Laguna Seca. He picked up five spots in the race and looked to have the speed to pick up more. Rather than taking unnecessary chances in the closing laps of the race though he showed the maturity to stay focused on the goal and finished with a tenth in the race and the Championship."
Steve Dreizler, Engineer for Charles Anti
"We didn't get up to speed as quickly as we needed to be which put Charles in the slow group in qualifying. Unfortunately that played a big role as the first qualifying group had a wet track to deal with and ended up drying the track for the fast group. Charles was considerably faster than anyone else in the first group but still a second and a half behind the slowest car in the second group. In the race we were as fast as the leaders but a lap down so the end result didn't reflect how good of a car we had."
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