Pontiac Tempest Le Mans/GTO

February 9, 2009 by  
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From 1962 to 1981 the Pontiac division of General Motors produced solid, intermediate-sized automobiles called the Pontiac LeMans. Then in 1982 the smaller Pontiac Bonneville model replaced the LeMans.

The LeMans was introduced as the top-line version of the smaller and more solid Pontiac Tempest and had more luxurious trimmings and a sportier look than the Tempest. In 1964 when the Tempest was restyled and enlarged in the form of the LeMans, it continued to have the same 326 cubic inch V8s and 215 cubic inch six-cylinder found in the regular Tempest.

Not long after the 1964 model was produced, the LeMans came out with an alternative performance package assigned as the GTO or the Gran Turismo Omologate. This version came with a lot of technical developments and upgrades, costing just under US$300. It was estimated that 5,000 GTOs would be sold that year but the sales ended up being 32,000, thereby accounting for a substantial portion of the Tempest and LeMans sales.

In 1996 the GTO was made separate from the other models, having the basic shape of the LeMans and Tempest models. The GTO kept the big-engined muscle car style where as the Tempest and the LeMans models received a new SOHC 230 cubic inch six-cylinder engine.

During the late 1960’s the Sprint-optioned LeMans and Tempest models were not as popular as the larger-engined GTO that was fueling the muscle car wars. Those that bought the normal regular LeMans and Tempest models mostly ordered V8 power, as the 326 and the later 350 cubic inch V8 version were the most ordered engines. In 1969 the SOHC six-cylinder engine and the Sprint option were stopped and replaced by an ordinary Chevrolet-built 250 cubic inch OHV six-cylinder engine, which became the base engine in most of the Pontiac intermediates.

When the LeMans was first produced it included a convertible and a pillared coupe with no hardtop option offered in the Tempest. Then in 1964 the hardtop coupe was added followed by the four-door pillared sedan a year later. In 1966 and 1968 the four-door hardtop and then a four-door Safari wagon replaced the previous versions. Over the decades the Pontiac continued to change its style, adding many amazing features and continued to be popular cars.

Gumbo Nationals 2008

October 27, 2008 by  
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Racing fans living in Mississippi will want to start preparing themselves for the 2008 Gumbo Nationals. This great annual event has something for everyone and will keep even the most hard-core auto racing fans entertained. The race will take place at Greenville Speedway on the ¼ mile Gumbo clay oval track.

The two-night racing event will see more than 400 laps take place in five different racing divisions as drivers compete for the $40,000 that will be awarded as prize money. Racing drivers from as many as ten different states have already entered themselves in the Greenville race. The main races to take place during the course of the weekend are the United Sprint Car Series Outlaw Thunder Tour, which is sponsored by 750 horsepower 1300 pound O’Reilly Auto Parts, complete with winged sprint outlaw cars and the three-wheelin’ 750 horsepower Super Late Models. Friday night will see the drivers competing for a top spot on the grid with time trial qualifiers and head-to-head qualifiers. Then all will return on Saturday to compete not only in the 40-Lap main event finales (both divisions), but also in the B-Mains and the Dash races. The top prize for the event is $4,400, while the drivers racing in the “Halloween Havoc” Super Late Model Showdown will stand the chance of winning $4,000.

But that’s not all. The Greenville Speedway will also be playing host to the Rislone USCS Modified Series during the course of the weekend, with a full program of action prepared for modified fans. Competitors in this series will also run qualifying races and time trials on Friday and come back on Saturday night for the grand finale. The top prize for the Rislone USCS Modifieds is $2,500. The Gumbo Nationals Championship races are expected to have an excellent response with massive turn-outs. Already pre-entries have been received for both the Street Stock and Mini Stock divisions and competitors for these divisions will be competing for $1,000. The Gumbo Nationals will be taking place from October 31 – November 1 and are not to be missed. Those that really enjoy making the most of the event will be happy to know that there is also a special practice session scheduled for October 30. So book now and get ready for a great weekend of racing action!

Meyers Looking to Get First Series Title

August 21, 2008 by  
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Jason Meyers has been hard at work climbing his way through the Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series standings. After some aggressive driving he has managed to cut Donny Schatz‘s lead to 115 markers. Meyers currently leads the series with 34 Top-Five finishes – the last fifteen of which have been consecutive. If he continues at his current pace, Meyers’ chances of winning his first series title will be very good.

However Meyers is up against some tough competition. Two-time defending series champion Schatz is not about to give up without a fight. Schatz is the only driver who has managed to finish in the top-10 in every single event that has taken place this season. With 12 A-Feature wins under his belt, he is looking to get his third consecutive title. He has 33 Top-Five finishes and so is hot on the tail of Meyers. The two are hotly pursued by Craig Dollansky who finished in second place in the race held at Dacotah Speedway on Saturday night, as well as on Sunday night. He continues to stay in third place in the standings and currently has 37 Top-Ten finishes so far this season as well as seven A-Feature wins.

Though they may not be much of a challenge to the top two contenders at this point, Joey Saldana and Steve Kinser are also working hard to make sure that they stay in the top five on the standings. Joey Saldana has 32 Top-Ten finishes so far this season and remains fourth in the point standings, while Steve Kinser is closing in on him with 30 Top-Ten finishes. The point gap between Kinser and Saldana closed a little after the races on Saturday, where Kinser managed to take a win, and on Sunday when he had another Top-Ten finish. The top five are tailed by Jac Haudenschild who is sixth in points with 14 Top-Five finishes and Kerry Madsen and Chad Kemenah who are tied for seventh. There are still a few more Advance Auto Parts World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series races left before the end of the season so fans will be kept on the edge of their seats as they await the final outcome of the series.

Manzanita to Host ASCS Canyon Region this Weekend

August 8, 2008 by  
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Racing fans should be getting ready for the Discount Tire Co. American Sprint Car Series Canyon Region which will be held this Saturday night at the Manzanita Speedway. This great race promises to bring all the hot racing action back to Arizona for another exciting weekend race.

The recent weather in Arizona has been hot, but the 1/3-mile clay oval of the Manzanita Speedway promises to get even hotter as drivers, like reigning series champion Jeremy Sherman, take to the speedway this weekend to participate in the ASCS Canyon Region race. But Sherman will have to work hard to hold onto his points lead as Charles Davis Jr. joins him on the racetrack. Davis Jr. recently defeated Sherman, claiming his fifth overall victory of the season and preventing Sherman’s four-win streak from getting any bigger. The win also meant that he stayed within 80 points of Sherman on the points ladder and kept Nathan High of Goodyear 80 markers firmly behind him in third place. Even High will be struggling to hold on to third place, since he is only two points ahead of Mike Martin and six points ahead of R.J. Johnson. Clearly all three drivers will have their work cut out for them on Saturday and that should make for some fantastic racing action.

The ASCS Canyon Region on Saturday will also be the last opportunity that several teams will have to fine-tune their vehicles before heading back for the Annual O’Reilly Sprint Bandits Tour ‘N Topless Midwest swing. The evening promises to be filled with excitement and each of the heat race winners will be given certificates in honor of their achievement. The various heat races will be sponsored by Racing Optics, MPD Race Products, Winters Performance and Sunoco. The Trophy Dash will be sponsored by Arizona Race Mart and Sunoco will also be giving out a certificate to the ‘B’ Main winners in the main event. The racing action will get underway at 19:30 on Saturday night, August 9th, at the Manzanita Speedway, which is located off I-10, Exit 141, in Phoenix Arizona. So make sure you don’t miss out on all the action this weekend at Manzanita Speedway!

First Annual Randy Helton Memorial Race on June 21

June 12, 2008 by  
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Racing fans looking for some excitement in the weeks to come can make their way to the East Alabama Motor Speedway on June 21. This is where the first annual Randy Helton Memorial Race will take place. Named for Randy Helton from Palmetto, Georgia, who passed away in March this year at just 47 years of age, the race promises to be a good one. Helton raced regularly in the O’Reilly United Sprint Car Series during his career as a driver and he also worked as crew chief for the man who founded the series. The speedway, which is located just seven miles from Phoenix City on Highway 80 West, was Helton’s favorite race track and so it is a fitting choice of venue for this memorial event.

Randy Helton started driving as a rookie in the O’Reilly USCS in 1998 shortly after purchasing a J & J Auto Racing car from Walton. The car had previously been driven by Frankie Kerr and Stan Shoff, and provided Helton with the opportunity of a life-time: the chance to start his own racing career. During his racing career he has been able to set the fastest time at the East Alabama Motor Speedway, where he also took the lead until experiencing tire problems and having to pull back. That was in 2007 and Helton would have no doubt gone on to enjoy even more success if he’d been able to race for just a few more years.

The East Alabama Motor Speedway will be sharing the weekend with Penton Raceway, which is located about an hour north of the speedway. This is because the Randy Helton Memorial Race is part of the weekend’s sprint car double-header series. The points awarded at both races will count towards the O’Reilly USCS Southern Thunder Championship. The Randy Helton Memorial Race will also have the distinction of awarding drivers with national championship points. The event will give drivers the chance to win a number of commemorative trophies and plaques as well as other special awards. Randy Helton will be sharing his memorial weekend with Randy Scott, a retired USCS driver from Franklin who passed away in April this year at 60 years of age. The Randy Scott Memory Dash has been established in memory of this great driver and will form part of the weekend’s proceedings. Anyone wanting to know more should go to the raceway’s official website.