HPD Blog

Monday, June 20, 2016

Robbie Ray Celebrates Honda-powered Midget Victory in Debut Race at Legendary Angell Park Speedway

Davenport, Iowa – May 29, 2016 – Robbie Ray took home the victory Sunday night at the current home of the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame and legendary dirt track known as the Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, WI. The event marked the second race of the 80th season of the Badger Midget Auto Racing Association sanctioning Midget racing in the United States and the second event of Angell Park Speedway’s 70th season of motorsports. Ray won the event in his #3 Ray Racing Enterprises/DRC Chassis/Ray Honda Midget engine.

Ray, who missed the first event of the season, debuted his new Honda Midget engine built by his father Mark Ray, a long time engine builder and former Indianapolis 500 engine technical inspector, by winning his eight lap heat race from the second starting position. He then followed that up by winning the 25 lap feature event from the sixth position.

“We earned the most passing points tonight so we had to draw for the feature line up inversion,” explained Ray, “and we drew a six pill.”

In the feature, Ray quickly made his way through the pack to fourth place before a Red Flag condition stopped the field for an accident off of turn four on lap five. On the restart Ray was penalized two spots for advancing his position before the start finish line which essentially put him back to his original starting position.

“I made a mistake and drove to the outside of the car in front of me too early and was called on it by the officials. However, I knew we had a good car and that I just needed to keep calm and work my way back to the front,” explained Ray.

Ray then picked off the cars in front of him one by one and eventually found himself second in the field of 22 cars and behind the #15 Stealth/Ford powered car of Brandon Waelti. Waelti is a multi-time winner with the BMARA at the Angell Park Speedway and had lead from lap four of the feature event.

“I knew getting by Brandon was going to be tough. He is a very solid driver in the Badger Midgets and I knew it would take a bit of work to make the pass,” stated Ray.

On lap 20 Ray utilized lap traffic and some quick thinking to overtake Waelti and put his car in the front. Ray lead the next four laps until the white flag when another Red Flag for a crash by the 2015 BMARA champion David Budres halted the race.

“I had just taken the white flag and was heading down the backstretch when the officials came on the radio and called a Red Flag. I knew we had a fast car, but anything can happen in a green, white, checker situation,” stated Ray.

On the restart Ray pulled away from the second place car of Waelti and won by a margin of .730 seconds earning his first ever BMARA victory and Honda’s first ever Midget victory at the historic Angell Park Speedway. Coincidentally, the win came on the same day that Honda would win the 100th running of the world famous Indianapolis 500 mile race.

“This is so great to win here at this famous track in front of the best midget racing fans in the country,” exclaimed Ray, “I am so happy for my family. Behind the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this race track is by far my favorite.”

The BMARA Midget racing series will be back in action this Sunday, June 5 at the Angell Park Speedway. For a full schedule and results follow the BMARA Midget Series at www.bmara.com.

{Press release provide by Robbie Ray. Images courtesy Roger Hamilton. and Bob Cruse.}

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

HPD and Maxxis Win B-Spec and Take Third in 2WD at 2016 Olympus Rally

Shelton, WA. (May 14-15, 2016) – Thirty years after the end of Group B Rally competition, Maxxis and HPD bring their B-Spec 2015 Fit to Olympus Rally, the fourth round of the 2016 Rally America National Championship.

Continuing the championship pursuit, after starting the 2016 season with a “hat trick” of B-spec wins and a pair of 2WD podiums, the Maxxis/HPD Rally team sent the Fit to Olympus Rally for the first time ever. The goal was simple: to survive the notoriously rough roads. If the team could do that in a timely fashion, then maybe another B-spec win was within sight.

“We’re excited to finally come to Olympus Rally,” stated Jordan Guitar, Honda engineer and driver of the Maxxis/HPD Fit, “we’ve never been to this event, and with the added challenge of making our own stage notes for the first time, this definitely promises to be a exciting weekend.”

The Olympus Rally has a storied history, consisting of roads once used in the World Rally Championship. For this event, the teams would not be given stages notes, so instead need to rely on two reconnaissance (or recce) passes in which they could make notes of the stages at the public speed limits. This would be critical for the team to make the necessary notes in order to traverse the stages. The B-spec field would consist of only the HPD/Maxxis Fit, along with the returning Ford Fiesta team of Keanna Erickson-Chang and Ole Holter. The 2WD field would again include several very quick Fiestas, Fiesta STs, and Subaru BRZs, as well as several other heavily modified contenders.

As the team set out for Day 1, the team was hopeful that its notes would be sufficient and that it could keep pace through the rough stages. “We were a little nervous after recce,” noted William Jang, co-driver for the Maxxis/HPD Team at the first service. “A few of the stages were really rough during recce, but at race pace, they weren’t as bad. The roads are actually pretty fun!”

After the final stage of the day, the Fit would be first in B-spec ahead of the Fiesta and – after swapping stage times with the LaRoza team – would be sitting third in 2WD. “The second time through the stages, we were able to shave off some time from our first pass,” explained Guitar at the finish, “I was a little nervous going into Stage 9, since we weren’t able to confirm our notes on this stage, but I think we did well and the Fit held up great. We are going to try and keep up the momentum tomorrow.”

Day 2 would consist of three stages, with portions of them being wide and fast, and other portions being very narrow, rough, and rocky.  “The first stage today had a long section of loose gravel, and rocks in several places,” stated Jang at the service, “Our underbody protection is really taking a beating, but luckily, it’s just superficial and we can keep up the attack!”

By the end of the final stage, the B-spec Honda Fit maintained its position and finished first in B-spec and third in 2WD. “The Fit was really taking a punishment out there,” Guitar commented after the finish, “but it really showed its reliability today. Unfortunately, our competitors in the Fiesta suffered some technical issues, but we were running really close in stage times. It really shows how competitive the B-spec class can be.”

The HPD/Maxxis Team extends a huge thanks to the members of the service crew who came from the nearby Honda Dealerships of Seattle, Sumner, and Lynnwood to help prep the car and keep it running in good order at the event.

Look for the B-Spec Honda Fit at the fifth round in the Rally America National Championship next month at Susquehannock Trail Performance Rally on June 3-4th.

About Olympus Rally:
The Olympus Rally was part of the first US Rally Championship held in 1973. It later became a World Rally Championship event from 1986-1988. With rugged forest terrain and unpredictable Pacific Northwest Weather, the drivers will be challenged to see if they can live up to some of the greatest names in rally history, such as John Buffum, Rod Millen, and Hannu Mikkola.

About Rally America:
Based in Williston, VT, Rally America, Inc. sanctions the Rally America National Championship which consists of eight national-level events located at a variety of venues across the country, from Portland, Oregon to Newry, Maine. Top competitors in the Rally America National Championship reach speeds of well over 100 miles per hour, driving highly modified street cars such as Mitsubishi Evolutions, Subaru WRX STIs, Ford Fiestas, Honda Fits, and Scion XDs on natural-terrain courses consisting of gravel, dirt, ice or snow. For more information regarding Rally America’s National Championship or the sport of performance rally, visit www.rally-america.com

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