Motorsports Update – April 2, 2012

American Le Mans Series
Next race: Tequila Patrón American Le Mans Series at Long Beach – April 13-14

First race of the season: Commericalbank Grand Prix of Qatar – April 8

AMA Pro Racing
Next race: Triumph Big Kahuna Atlanta – Road Atlanta

GRAND-AM Road Racing
Porsche 250 – Barber Motorsports Park
It was a day of firsts in the Porsche 250: the first victory for the Corvette DP, the first DP triumph for Spirit of Daytona and Richard Westbrook followed up his first pole on Friday with his first DP victory. Antonio Garcia, who gave Spirit of Daytona its first DP pole at Barber last year, got his second career Rolex Series victory. The team led 84 laps, with Garcia prevailing in a three-lap sprint to the checkered flag after a late-race caution.

Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito lapped the GT field in the No.70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8, denying the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD drivers Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal from giving the new Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am its first victory.

Barber 200 – Barber Motorsports Park
Rum Bum Racing rolled out a new Porsche Carrera painted in its familiar No. 13 blue and yellow – and drivers Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi won in the car’s maiden voyage.  Plumb held off the Aston Martin Vantage of Scott Maxwell by .618 seconds to take the checkered flag.
Gregory Liefooghe and David Levine won in ST in the No. 81 BMW 328i, giving BimmerWorld Racing its first victory since Mid-Ohio in 2010.

Formula 1
Next race: UBS Chinese Grand Prix – April 15

Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama – Barber Motorsports Park
The lap that Will Power lost in Round 2 of qualifications – the one that ended his streak of 20 appearances in the Firestone Fast Six – is but a distant memory for the driver of the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske car.

For Power, who started ninth in the third Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, got that lap back and more over the course of 90 laps on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn road course he drove on multiple times in the past two months in developing the Chevrolet engine and new Dallara chassis.

Power, who inherited the point when Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves pulled off for this final service stop on Lap 68, held off Scott Dixon for the remaining laps that included a Lap 74 restart and won for the second year in a row at the picturesque venue.

Goody’s Fast Relief 500 – Martinsville Speedway
In the wake of a controversial late-race caution, Ryan Newman spoiled an afternoon of Hendrick hegemony with an opportunistic victory. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson had dominated the action for 497 laps; an untimely caution flag flew on Lap 498 and sent the race to overtime.

Gordon and Johnson stayed out on old tires as the lead-lap cars behind them came to the pits for tires and fuel. On the restart on Lap 504, Clint Bowyer took Johnson and Gordon three-wide into the first corner, and all three cars spun, ruining a potential 200th victory party for Hendrick Motorsports.

After the dust settled, Newman cleared runner-up AJ Allmendinger on the second lap of a green-white-checkered restart and held on to win by .342 seconds. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran third.

SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals – Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Robert Hight raced to his third consecutive Funny Car victory of the season Sunday. Spencer Massey (Top Fuel) and Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) also were winners at the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event.

World Superbike
Carlos Checa (Althea Racing Ducati) waited until half race distance to put a move on early leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) but when he did he rode at lap record pace and took his second win of the year in some style. Sykes had his best every dry race performance on the Kawasaki in second place, with Leon Haslam (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing) disputing the final podium place. It went to Haslam, by a second from his Italian rival.

Fifth was Eugene Laverty (Aprilia Racing) but just behind Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad Motorsport) and Joan Lascorz (Kawasaki Racing Team) finally passed long-time fifth place runner, Lorenzo Zanetti (Pata Racing Team Ducati). Zanetti was a still-impressive eighth.

Sources: series websites, press releases and various independent motorsports websites