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October 20, 2011

Capaldi Racing



“The Carbotech Brakes were just amazing this year! I was consistently able to out brake any of my competitors.
I was even able to out brake 2010 World Challenge Champion P.D. Cunningham in his 2700lb Acura with our 3400lb Mustang.” – Eric Foss



October 12, 2011

Carbotech Blazes the Way to 10 SCCA National Championships

     ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin — It’s called “The Olympics of Road Racing” with good reason. Throughout the year, hundreds of Sports Car Club of America (www.scca.com) racers compete in more than 70 events scattered across the country for the chance to do battle in a final, winner-take-all shootout for the National Championship in their racing class. This year was the 48th running of the SCCA National Championship Runoffs, and Carbotech was there in force. Drivers using ultra-high-performance Carbotech brakes took home a whopping 10 National Championships and 62 top-10 finishes.

     Each National Championship was determined by a 13-lap, 52-mile sprint race on the demanding 4.0-mile, 14-turn road course at Road America (www.roadamerica.com). The circuit is located 75 miles north of Milwaukee, in the rolling Kettle Moraine region near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Each race carried a 40-minute time limit.

     Wisconsin hotshoe Andy McDermid started the festivities off with a bang in A Sedan with his Ford Mustang. He started from the pole, led every lap and set the race’s fastest lap (2:50.677) en route to claiming the title.

     Not to be outdone, Steve Forrer did the same thing in his race. Driving a Ralt RT-41 Toyota, he started from the pole, led every lap and set his race’s fastest lap (2:02.782) to win the C Sports Racing championship.

     It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Roger Siebenaler, though. He had to fight his way up from fourth on the grid in the always-tough Formula V field in his Mysterian M2. However, he got the job done, leading the first nine laps and then the final two, to take the gold medal.

     In the GT Lite class, Kent Prather started from the pole in his Mazda Miata, but was nosed out of the lead on the first lap. However, he charged back to first and then led the remaining 12 laps, setting the race’s fast lap (2:35.100) and taking the championship.

     In Sports 2000, John Fergus had to contend with son Corey, who out-qualified him in an identical Carbir CS2. But the elder Fergus quickly passed him on the opening lap and led every lap of the rain-soaked race. It was his seventh Sports 2000 National Championship.

     In Showroom Stock B, Michael Scornavacchi had to battle up from third on the grid in his V-6 Ford Mustang. By lap three he had the lead, and showed his taillights to the field from there to the checkered flag and the title.

     Mark McCaughey started second in the Showroom Stock C race and in a Toyota GTS. He diced with the pole-sitter for three laps, then took the lead and never looked back, setting a lap record (2:49.290) en route to his championship.

     The Touring 1 showdown was part of a sweep of all three Touring Class National Championships by Carbotech. John Buttermore got things rolling in Touring 1 by putting his Chevrolet Corvette on the pole, leading every lap and setting the race’s fastest tour (2:22.069).

     Marty Grand qualified fourth in Touring 2 in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX. He led the first four laps, battled with the pole-sitter for five laps after that, and then led the final two tours to take the win and the title.

     Kevin Fandozzi put his Chevrolet Cobalt SS on the pole for the Touring 3 shootout and led every lap on the rain-slick track. However, his margin of victory was a slim 1.278 seconds, in what proved to be a one-two-three sweep of the class by Carbotech-equipped cars.

     On the event, Carbotech-equipped teams claimed an amazing 10 SCCA National Championships, five seconds and seven thirds, and a hefty total of 62 top-10 finishes.



October 2, 2011

All Eyes on Puskar at SCCA National Championships

     ELKHART LAKE, Wisconsin — Millions of racing’s fans tend to think of motorsports as simply a fun pastime or career. Like anyone else deeply immersed in the sport, Chris Puskar will quickly tell you that it is anything but, as he clearly demonstrated at the end of September, en route to a performance in the Touring 3 class that had all eyes on him in the 48th running of the Sports Car Club of America’s National Championship Runoffs.

     The event was held the final weekend in September on the fast and challenging 14-turn, 4.0-mile road course at Road America (www.roadamerica.com). Set in the rolling Kettle Moraine countryside near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, the circuit lies 75 miles north of Milwaukee, and has been the scene of many classic battles among the legends of racing over the past half century.

     Puskar was competing in SCCA’s tough Touring 3 class, which includes cars such as the Honda S2000, Nissan 350Z, Mazda Rx-8, Volkswagen GTI, Saturn Ion Redline and Chevrolet Cobalt SS. That’s a big enough challenge all by itself. However, Puskar’s challenge was considerably steeper. Having turned in a truly awesome performance in a Mini Cooper S in the Grand-Am race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, near Lexington, Ohio, Puskar packed up and drove through the night, 500 miles to Road America.

     Once there, he switched to a Honda S2000 and began setting the car up for the demanding circuit. Although he had raced there previously, he had not been there in that car. The King Motorsports engine was strong from the get-go, but getting just the right balance on the car’s handling proved to be a tricky process over the next few days. As a result, Puskar had to start from 11th in the tough field.

     Each National Championship is decided by a 52-mile sprint race, with a 40-minute time limit. Puskar’s race was the first of the day on Saturday, Sept. 24. The weather was gloomy, with rain threatening, so the team elected to run on Hoosier Tire’s outstanding new H2O rain tires. That turned out to be a stroke of genius, as the skies opened up for the race.

     At the start, Puskar briefly felt out the car’s handling on the soaked track, then charged through the pack, consistently picking off competitors as he worked his way to the front. By midrace he was second and was pursuing the leader when he hit an extra-slick spot in Turn 13 and did a quick 360-degree spin, which dropped him back to third.

     With all fan eyes on him -- and still locked firmly in “charge” mode -- Puskar rapidly worked his way back into second and once again set off after the leader, who was then eight seconds ahead. Despite the announcers’ pronouncements that he didn’t have enough time to do it, Puskar made up the eight-second gap in just two laps, setting the race’s fastest lap in the process. He caught the leader in the final turn of the race and nosed inside to go for the win; but his path took him through a puddle, and the slight loss of traction was just enough to prevent the pass. At the flag, he came home second, a mere 1.278 seconds back.

     Puskar’s outstanding drive won him the Sunoco Hard Charger Award, for passing the most cars during the race.

     Any professional racing effort is dependent upon outstanding sponsors. Puskar Motorsports wishes to extend a heartfelt thanks to Tim Hund, Old Dominion Metals, Hoosier Tires, Red Line Oil, Carbotech Brakes, King Motorsports and Honda Performance for their unwavering support.



October 2, 2011

Puskar Dazzles at Mid-Ohio

     LEXINGTON, Ohio — Back in the Fifties and Sixties Richard Boone starred in a TV show about a hired gun in the Old West. His business card read, “Have Gun, Will Travel.” These days, pro racer Chris Puskar could well carry a business card that reads, “Have Helmet, Will Travel,” because he’s increasingly being called on to help race teams beat tough challenges.

     His latest stint as a “hired gun” came with RSR Motorsports in the season finale of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. The EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank was run Sept. 17 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (http://www.midohio.com), the demanding 2.4-mile, 15-turn road circuit in the rolling farm country outside Lexington, Ohio.

     Puskar had previously helped RSR in the July 23 B+ Foundation Heroes 200 Continental Tire Challenge Race, at New Jersey Motorsports Park (www.njmp.com). In that race, and despite stifling heat, he qualified second and finished second in one of RSR’s Mini Cooper S pocket rockets, on a track he’d never before seen. That wasn’t all, though. He also took a stint in one of the team’s other cars, filling in for one of its drivers, who was ill.

     This time out was a different challenge for Puskar, but one that was no less difficult. RSR’s four-car Mini Cooper S team had been strong throughout the season; and drivers Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo were in solid contention for the Driver Championship in the ST Class. Along with that was the possibility that Cattaneo could become the first female champion in the history of series sanctioning body Grand-Am Road Racing (www.grand-am.com).

     Puskar was called in to serve as a wingman for them -- a fast, reliable, race-savvy teammate who would work with them to get them to the title. It was going to be a serious task. Trinkler and Cattaneo had to win the race, and a rival KIA team had to finish worse than fourth.

     Despite dazzling speed by the competition, Cattaneo qualified the Cruise America/Thor Motorcoach/Mini USA Mini Cooper S on the pole, setting a lap record en route. She started the 2.5-hour race and ran hard, leading 15 laps before Trinkler took over.

     Dicky Riegel qualified 17th in the Thor Motorcoach/Cruise America/Carbotech/Mini USA car, then worked his way up to 8th, on a track he’d never raced on, before handing off to Puskar. The driver change dropped the car to 24th, but Puskar moved through the field in hyperdrive, catching up with Trinkler in 15th place and igniting a charge to the finish…and the championship.

     It was magic. Working together they surged rapidly to the front, with Trinkler leading eight laps and Puskar one. Then, suddenly on lap 69 of 77 -- with only 20 minutes to go -- Trinkler slowed and pulled off the track. Despite RSR’s four years without clutch problems on their Minis, his clutch cable had broken. He was out.

     That made Puskar the leader again. However, although they had looked great as they danced their way through the field, Puskar had been dealing with a gremlin of his own. He’d been hit on the left rear wheel earlier in the race, damaging the hub. As the laps went by, the internal damage grew worse until, with eight minutes left in the race, he had to pit during a full-course caution. When the crew found that a rotor was about to fail his day was done also.

     So what had grown from a solid shot at the series championship into a one-two finish -- and the title -- suddenly became a heart-breaking DNF (did not finish) for both cars. The silver lining was that Puskar had gotten the race’s fastest lap, and the lap record, a blazing 1:35.134, eclipsing Cattaneo’s mark set in qualifying just a short time earlier.



Sept. 24, 2011

Prather Completes Perfect Season With Seventh SCCA National Championship

Story courtesy of SCCA.com

     ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 24, 2011) – Seven-time National Champion Kent Prather, of Wakarusa, Kan., cruised to victory in the GT-Lite race during the 48th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America. Peter Shadowen, of Riviera Beach, Fla., and Brian Downey, of Bristow, Va., joined Prather on the podium, respectively.

     Prather started from the Gumout pole in the No. 26 Prather Racing/Mazdaspeed/Moss Motorsports/Goodyear/Carbotech Mazda Miata and was side-by-side with Bobby Lentz, of Chantilly, Va., in the No. 60 FGR/Nissan Sentra SER in Turn One at the race start. Coming out of Turn One, Lentz had the lead and held it for the first lap. Lentz had a transmission issue on lap two, which forced him out of the race.

     When Lentz pulled into pit lane, Prather inherited the race lead and continued to string together fast race laps. Prather turned the fastest race lap of the race with a 2:35.100 (92.843 mph), opening up a lead of more than eight seconds over the field by lap six of the 13-lap race. Prather was never seriously challenge over the remaining seven laps and cruised to a 3.398-second win over the defending GT-Lite National Champion Shadowen.

     “My kid, Jesse, three-time National Champion, told me, ‘Dad make sure you beat him [Lentz] into Turn One,’” Prather said. “So, I did. Then, Bobby got right up next to me. We went down into Turn Three and he was right next to me. We went down the straight into [Turn] 5 and I could see he was going to outbrake me. So, I let him go. Then, I decided this might not be so bad. I was drafting him on the back side and I thought I would just back off here and see what happens on the front straight.

     “I pulled up on him on the front straight. I knew I could draft by. So I said, ‘why don’t we just get away from the other cars.’ I saw that big black wide car holding them all up [behind us]. I said, ‘I’m going to use Bobby and we’re going to get away from these guys and we’re going to duke it out later on.’

     “We got going and then, I think it was the third lap, all of a sudden going into the Carousel, he missed a shift. Apparently, he broke his gear box. He pulled off, like the gentleman he is and I just took off. Then, that was that. I just started hitting my marks. It started to rain a little bit and I knew Peter [Shadowen] was coming because I could see the yellow [car] back there. My wife kept giving me my gap. It would be six [seconds], then it would be seven, then it would be six, then it would be five. I decided to stay off the paint, get down in the brake areas properly, hit my marks, and make sure he didn’t catch me.”

     Prather’s car, which was a 185,000-mile street car before being converted into a racecar, has now won Championships in three different classes. Son Jesse Prather won three titles with the car – F Production in 2006 and 2007, E Production in 2008 and now GT-Lite with Kent behind the wheel in 2011.

     It was Prather's seventh National Championship. He is one of two drivers to win Championships at Road Atlanta, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and Road America, the other being Michael Lewis. Prather's previous six titles came in G Production, driving an MGA.

     Prather Racing would like to thank its sponsors for their continued support, including ARP, Carbotech, Goodyear Tires, Mazdaspeed, Moss Motors, Torco Advanced Lubricants, Total Seal Rings and Venolia Pistons.

     Now in its 48th year, the SCCA National Championship Runoffs annually crowns Champions in the Sports Car Club of America’s Club Racing classes. The live broadcast of all 28 National Championship races will be available throughout the weekend at www.Speedcasttv.com/scca and later available On Demand from the same site.

     Image: Kent Prather takes a victory lap with crew (l-r) Robert Montgomery, Kathy Prather and Joey Smith.



July 27th, 2011

Carbotech Brakes Sweep Grand-Am Podium and Qualifying in New Jersey

     MILLVILLE, New Jersey — It would be easy to say that ultra-high-performance Carbotech Brakes had the field covered in this past weekend’s B+ Foundation Heroes 200 Continental Tire Challenge Race. It would be easy to say it because that’s exactly what happened, both in qualifying and the race.

     They swept five of the six quickest positions in qualifying -- including the top four, and then went on to sweep all three spots on the podium. And they did it in strength-sapping conditions. It was 105 degrees at the start of the race, with a track temperature north of 140 and cockpit temperatures in the race cars well above 150; all of which combined to present a daunting challenge to drivers, crews and, especially, brakes.

     Despite that, Carbotech-equipped teams coolly showed the rest of the ST Class field the way home. RSR Motorsports’ Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo (Mini Cooper S) won, closely followed by teammates Tom Dyer and Chris Puskar (Mini Cooper S), with Freedom Autosport’s Eric Foss and Brad Rampelberg third in a Mazda Speed 3.

Race Results
PlaceDrivers Team/SponsorsVehicleBrakes
1stOwen Trinkler/Sarah Cattaneo
RSR Motorsports/Cruise America/Thor Motorcoach
Mini Cooper SCarbotech
2ndTom Dyer/Chris Puskar
RSR Motorsports/Cruise America/Mini USA/Carbotech Brakes
Mini Cooper SCarbotech
3rdEric Foss/Brad Rampelberg
Freedom Autosport/Mazda/Semperfifund.org
Mazda Speed 3Carbotech

     As great as the podium sweep was, the day started off even more spectacularly for Carbotech. Teams equipped with their products claimed five of the top six ST Class starting spots for the 2.5-hour race, which was held Saturday, July 23, on the 14-turn, 2.25-mile circuit at New Jersey Motorsports Park (www.njmp.com), about 40 miles south of Philadelphia.

Qualifying Results
PlaceDriversVehicleBrakes
1stEric Foss/ Brad RampelbergMazda Speed 3Carbotech
2ndTom Dyer/Chris PuskarMini Cooper SCarbotech
3rdOwen Trinkler/Sarah CattaneoMini Cooper SCarbotech
4thNick Igdalsky/Jason SainiMazda Speed 3Carbotech
6thIan Baas/Ryan EllisVolkswagen GTICarbotech

About the series
     The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series for production-based contemporary sports, performance and muscle cars runs along with the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series. Both series are sanctioned by Grand-Am Road Racing (www.grand-am.com). Event sponsor B+ (Be Positive) Foundation (www.bepositive.org) aids young cancer victims and cancer research.



July 27th, 2011

Puskar Shines in New Jersey Debut

     MILLVILLE, New Jersey — If Chris Puskar ever wondered what it’s like to be a “go-to guy” in racing he found out this past weekend, when he was called in on very short notice to assist RSR Motorsports in the B+ Foundation Heroes 200 Continental Tire Challenge Race. He delivered exactly what the people who called on him had hoped for...and then some.

     The 2.5-hour race was held in oppressive heat on Saturday, July 23, on the challenging 14-turn, 2.25-mile Thunderbolt circuit at New Jersey Motorsports Park (www.njmp.com), which is located near Millville, in extreme southern New Jersey, about 40 miles south of Philadelphia.

     But that’s getting ahead of the story.

     Thursday afternoon Puskar was busy hundreds of miles to the south in Concord, NC, in his official capacity at ultra-high-performance brake manufacturer Carbotech Brakes (www.ctbrakes.com), when the call came from RSR Motorsports. By 8:00 pm he was on a plane heading north, arriving in New Jersey in the wee hours Friday morning. A short time later he was in one of RSR’s cars, turning competitive lap times on a track he’d never seen before.

     Saturday morning, Puskar was asked to qualify the team’s #197 Cruise America/Mini USA/Carbotech Brakes Mini Cooper S. Belying his newness to the track, Puskar turned in a remarkable performance, despite the sweltering heat. He initially held the pole in the ST Class, but ended up second, missing the pole by a mere 0.2-second.

     As the clock marched toward the green flag for the B+ Foundation Heroes 200 Continental Tire Challenge Race, the heat and humidity, which had been stifling earlier, got progressively worse. At the start of the 2.5-hour event it was 105 degrees, the track temperature was 140, and cockpit temperatures were well above 150.

     Despite the strength-sapping conditions, Puskar and Tom Dyer charged hard on the demanding road course in the #197 car. Carving their way through traffic in the sizable 55-car field of GT and ST Class cars, they managed to dodge the on-track excitement that brought out the caution flag six times, for a total of 29 laps. At the checker they were second in ST, right behind their teammates in the #198 Cruise America/Thor Motorcoach Mini Cooper S, Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo. It was Cattaneo’s first series win, and Trinkler’s second-consecutive victory at the New Jersey track.

     Qualifying second and finishing second wasn’t all for Puskar, though. Late in the race, he hopped into RSR’s #195 Cruise America/Peak Eurosport/Mini USA Mini Cooper S and drove it to the finish of the race, subbing for a driver unable to compete due to illness.

     Puskar credited the successes of the weekend to the great preparation work done on the cars by RSR Motorsports and the amazing pit stops turned in by the crew. He was also quick to point out that none of what he enjoyed would have happened had it not been for the opportunity offered to him by Randy Smalley, Owen Trinkler and Matt Buckley.

     The Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series supports the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, and is sanctioned by Grand-Am Road Racing (www.grand-am.com). The B+ (Be Positive) Foundation (www.bepositive.org) aids youth cancer victims and cancer research.