Kevin Harvick finally tasted victory in wine country. The Bakersfield, CA native dominated the weekend at the twisting road course in Sonoma, CA.
He kicked his weekend off by winning the K&N West series race on Saturday.
“It kept me from sitting around and trying to find something to do on Saturday,” Harvick said. “I think that was the biggest thing. I’m sitting around and there’s guys out here making laps and learning things, and I think that’s the most important thing is to never take for granted that you have to try to expand your knowledge and keep an open mind to making things better.
He followed that up by taking the checkered flag in the Toyota/Save Mart 350 on Sunday. His first win of the 2017 Monster Energy Cup season, also marked his first ever win at the Napa Valley track.
After the race he said, “To finally check this one off the list, being so close to home and having raced here so much, this was one that was on the top of the list.”
It was his first win with Stuart-Haas Racing since the team switched manufacturers from Chevrolet to Ford.
Clint Bowyer finished second, followed by Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch completed the top five.
Next up, the series heads to Daytona International Raceway for the Coca-Cola 400.
Top 10 Race finishers:
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Clint Bowyer
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Denny Hamlin
5. Kyle Busch
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7. Kurt Busch
8. Chase Elliott
9. Ryan Blaney
10. Jamie McMurray
Photo Gallery: All photos by Chris Gill/ Core360 Sports
Round 5 of the 2017 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Race Championship took place over the weekend at Utah Motorsports Campus. The world class facility nestled just outside of Tooele, UT was again the site of top tier Superbike racing in the United States.
Early on Saturday during Motul Superbike/Bazzaz Superstock 1000 Superpole qualifying, Roger Hayden set a new track record with a 148.9 second lap aboard his Yoshimura Suzuki. Teammate Tony Elias would finish in the second spot, with Yamaha rider Josh Hayes taking the 3rd position.
The two Yoshimura Suzuki riders dominated the Superbike races with Elias taking the top spot on the podium both days. While he had work to do after making a mistake early in race one on Saturday, the Spaniard powered his way to victory circle in a more conventional way on Sunday.
The Supersport class saw similar dominance by Monster Energy/Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves Motorsports Yamaha riders JD Beach, and Garrett Gerloff. Beach entered the weekend hoping to continue his hot streak having won 4 straight prior races.
The 25 year old from Snoqualmie, WA took the lead early on Saturday, while teammate Gerloff had to battle M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise before managing a second place finish.
The unfortunate twist for Beach and Gerloff came on the final lap of race #2. After having their way with the rest of the field, the only question was which one of the two teammates would finish on top of the podium. They diced it up fairly, but aggressively, and heading into turn 6, beach made a move to get inside of Gerloff. The two bikes touched, sending them both into the gravel. That mishap allowed Debise to go on and secure the win.
Afterwards, JD offered this, “In the last lap, when Garrett tucked the front in turn five, I was able to get a little bit of a drive on him going into turn six. It looked like he went just a little bit wide, and I tried to get up underneath him. I went for it, and there just wasn’t enough room. Today are the races you would like to forget. I’m sorry to Garrett, his crew, and the whole team for costing them a win. I want to move past this and go to Laguna.”
Photo Gallery: all photos by Kevin C Cox/ Core360 Sports
MotoAmerica returned VIRginia International Raceway again this year as professional motorcycle racing continues to rebound in the United States. The 2.25 mile North Course at VIR was the site of the 2017 Superbike Championship of Virginia.
Set within the lush countryside of Alton, VA, VIR is one of the premier road courses in the country.
Adding to the excitement and anticipation entering the weekend was the verbal back and forth between Spaniard Toni Elias and defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier. In the post-race press conference at Road Atlanta, the 2 riders had a difference of opinions on Elias’ aggressive style and on track professionalism. Elias was the Motul Superbike points leader coming into the weekend with 3 wins already under his belt.
Mother Nature provided an additional challenge on Friday as practice and qualifying sessions took place under wet, soupy conditions.
Roger Hayden captured his first Superbike win at VIRginia International Raceway on Saturday. Toni Elias crashed out on lap 1, and the veteran Yoshimura Suzuki rider would battle Josh Herrin for the lead shortly thereafter. He then held off two-time MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier to win the opening-round race of the Championship of Virginia.
In race 2 on Sunday, Josh Hayes, who also suffered a crash the day before, took his first Motul Superbike race win of the 2017 MotoAmerica season.
Both Supersport races featured battles between Monster Energy/Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves Yamaha teammates JD Beach and Garrett Gerloff. They finished 1-2 each day, with each rider capturing the top spot on the podium. First Beach, then Gerloff. Victory circle turned into party central, with the young riders showering their loyal following of fans with celebratory champagne.
Neither rain, nor cool temperatures, or even the celebration of Mother’s Day on Sunday would prevent fans from turning out for the double header race weekend. Aside from some of the most exciting racing in recent memory, fans were able to experience stunt shows, demo rides and autograph signings.
all photos by Kevin C Cox, CORE360 Sports