Tuesday, November 24, 2009

CANIDAE Off-Road Class 10 Team Finishes 2009 Baja 1000. Earns Prestigious Toyota Milestone Award.

Team CANIDAE Off-Road Racing capped off a successful 2009 season with an unofficial 4th place finish in the Class 10 division at the 42nd running of the SCORE Baja 1000 race. Official results will be posted within the next 10 days following final review of race satellite tracking results.

Now in its 42nd year, the Tecate SCORE Baja 1000 tests cars and drivers over a difficult 672.85 mile loop course starting in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. The Class 10 CANIDAE racing team joined a field of over 300 seasoned competitors in this final round of the five race 2009 SCORE Desert Series. The Baja 1000 is desert racing's most prestigious event, drawing crowds of over 250,000 spectators scattered along the course covering much of the northern half of the majestic Baja California peninsula to and from Ensenada. Teams reported that the track seemed narrow this year, with many teams getting stuck along the way and battling a congested route through the harsh desert terrain.

This was Team CANIDAE's first year entering the "Granddaddy" of all off-road races. Driver Scott Whipple, with Patrick Gailey in the co-driver seat, started the race and quickly ran into problems with a broken axle at mile 30 on the CANIDAE 2000cc Class 10 GET-VW. The CANIDAE crew on chase trucks quickly got it handled and the team was back on course. With Whipple pushing the racer hard to make up for lost time and climb back into the race, the car broke an axle again at the 356 mile mark. Again the chase crew did a great job repairing their second broken axle of the day. Once repairs were completed, driver/owner Scott Gailey and co-driver Johnny Stroschein took over driving duties and began the team's 2nd half push to the finish. For the rest of the race the engine and trans worked flawlessly as a result of using quality products like Lucas Oil and Torco Race Fuels. The car's FOX shocks worked awesome without fading, but unfortunately before mile 630 the eyelet came loose on the right rear coil-over causing it to separate which cost the team additional precious time. Gailey did an excellent job getting the car to the pit at mile 630. Repairing the shock and another quick look at the BFG tires, which conquered the desert without a single flat, the team was back on track and crossing the finish line at 25:33:25, with an unofficial fourth place finish in the class 10 division.

"With all the challenges we faced in this race, especially with the breakdowns, I am so proud of each and every person on this team for the tremendous effort put forth by all to keep working hard, getting our racer back up and across the finish line," said owner/driver Gailey. "Everyone worked their tails off! I could not be more proud of all of them and our achievements together in this our first full season of racing with this Class 10 car. With barely half of all teams entering the race even completing the loop, just finishing the Baja 1000 is a feat in and of itself. To win a Milestone award in our first full season is a great testament to our whole team, their hard work and is an accomplishment we are all extremely proud of. I'd also like to thank my co-driver Scott Whipple. It's been a ton of fun racing together all season. Also a big thank you to our sponsor CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods along with our other sponsors for their tremendous support throughout the year. Finally, I need to thank Mike Stapleton and all of the crew at Wilson Motosports for their help sharing their knowledge and teaching me the ropes over the years when it comes to racing the desert in Mexico."

The successful finish of the Baja 1000 earns Team CANIDAE owner/driver Scott Gailey, along with co-driver Scott Whipple and the team, one of only eight Toyota Milestone Awards to be presented this year for the 2009 SCORE Off-Road season.

Toyota will be presenting these awards on December 5th in Las Vegas to the world’s toughest desert racers and teams for the 24th consecutive year. The Toyota Milestone awards go to those pro car and truck drivers who finish every required mile in the five-race 2009 SCORE Desert Series, the world’s foremost desert racing series.

Please check back at www.canidaeracing.com for more reports, race pictures and videos from the Baja 1000 coming soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Early Exit for Toliver at Season-Ending NHRA Finals

Jerry Toliver had the unique distinction of being the first racer to face the newly crowned 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car champ in eliminations when he and Robert Hight squared off in the first round at this weekend's 45th annual Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals, and the Compton, Calif., native was hoping he could be the first to beat the new champ, too, driving the CANIDAE/Lucas Oil/WileyX Chevy in front of a hometown crowd at Pomona Raceway.

Both drivers left the starting line with near-identical reaction times but both lost traction just past the 400-foot mark and the pedalfest was on. Toliver pedaled once but an auto shut-off valve slowed the CANIDAE car to a losing 5.195 elapsed time at 154.35 mph as Hight pedaled to a 4.842 e.t. at 196.64 mph. Toliver had a season-best semifinal-round performance at the NHRA Fall Nationals at Dallas in September and finished 14th in the final Funny Car points standings. This was Hight's the first Funny Car championship of his career.

"We had a couple of good runs our last two qualifying sessions, so I felt pretty good coming into today," Toliver said. "I guess it wasn't meant to be. But congratulations to Robert and his team on their first championship. They really came on there at the end of the season.

"And I have to say a big thank you to Big Jim Dunn, Diane, Jon Dunn and the whole CANIDAE Racing team. It was a privilege to be driving for a Hall of Famer like Big Jim, especially in his 60th year of drag racing. That's pretty amazing, isn't it?"

The NHRA recognized driver/tuner/team owner Jim Dunn for his 60 years in drag racing prior to eliminations on Sunday. [See video from Auto Club Raceway at Pomona]

"They just don't think I'm going to be here much longer so they pat me on the back once in awhile," Dunn said with a laugh. "No, it was pretty cool. It takes a lot to stay in the sport this long. You first have to be good enough to qualify. I hold a record of one kind. I've won a 'Wally' for the last five decades - each decade I've won at least one race. How many can say they won a 'Wally' in the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and this one? Not very many.

"It was very nice. This is my home track and to have it happen here at the Finals - I really enjoyed that. It makes you think that maybe they did appreciate me coming out and doing all this. Like I tell people, I do this to entertain myself and I'll keep doing this until I can't do it any longer. If my car's running good and I'm not getting excited, then I'll quit. I still get just as excited now as I did 60 years ago."

"Just as a reminder, Jim's been doing this longer than NHRA's been in existence - 60 years," said Tom Compton, NHRA president. "He's a true pioneer of the sport. (I thank him) for sixty great years and all that he's done for the sport as well."

The first stop on the 2010 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series schedule will be the 50th annual Kragen O'Reilly NHRA Winternationals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona on Feb. 11-14, 2010.

Kirk Weeks

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Three-Time Pomona Winner Toliver Returns for Season-Ending NHRA Finals

As with several of their NHRA Full Throttle peers, Southern California natives Jerry Toliver and Jim Dunn will be racing in front of hometown friends and family at this weekend's 45th annual Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, and the duo would love nothing better than to deliver a season-ending victory for their fans and sponsors in their Jim Dunn Racing entry, the CANIDAE/Lucas Oil/WileyX Chevy Funny Car.

"I love starting and ending the season at Pomona," Toliver said. "It's a great track and it's fun to race in front of so many friends and family that don't normally get to see us. Plus I've run pretty well there over the years, so it's an easy facility for me to like. In fact, I got my first career win at this race in '99 when I beat Force in the finals. I probably could have called it a career right there, beating John Force at Pomona to win the NHRA Finals. But then we turned right around and won the Winternationals to start the season in 2000, so you can see why Pomona is my favorite track."

Toliver, a five-time NHRA Funny Car national-event winner, has had three of his career wins here at the quarter-mile track at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. The Compton, Calif., native won the NHRA Finals in 1999, and followed up with victories at the season-opening NHRA Winternationals in 2000 and 2004.

"The CANIDAE folks are headquartered right up the road in San Luis Obispo, so I'm sure we'll have a lot of them out here supporting us and I'd love nothing better than to give them a win right in their own backyard. And Lucas Oil and WileyX are California companies, too, so that would be a great ending to the season.

"We have probably two or three really big, historic races at Pomona, Gainesville and Indy. I've been fortunate enough to have won at two of them (Pomona, Gainesville), but I can't think of anything better than to add another Pomona notch on my belt. We're going to give it our best shot."

Another racer spreading the message of Responsible Pet Ownership is one of the owners of CANIDAE, Scott Whipple. Whipple, a regular competitor in the National Sand Drag Association (NSDA), drove his CANIDAE/Lucas Oil Top Fuel sand dragster to the 2009 NSDA season points championship, putting an exclamation point on the championship at the series' season-ending race in Primm, Nev., on Oct. 24-25. The CANIDAE team not only won the event but Whipple broke his own record on the 100-yard track on three consecutive passes during eliminations with runs of 2.278 seconds at 162.75 mph, 2.273 at 160.71, and 2.239 at 164.16 mph.

A two-hour telecast of qualifying coverage for the Auto Club NHRA Finals can be seen on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD on Saturday, Nov. 14, beginning at 10:30 p.m. (ET). Coverage on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD continues on Sunday, Nov. 15 when NHRA Race Day kicks off eliminator coverage starting at 11:00 a.m. (ET), and concludes with three hours of final-eliminations coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. (ET).

Kirk Week

Monday, November 2, 2009

Put Yourself in the Driver's Seat for a Sand Drag ET World Record!

For those not lucky enough to have been there in person at Primm to witness a world record fall three times in one day, put yourself in the driver's seat and watch this awesome video of Team CANIDAE/Lucas Oil in action at the Dan Chittendon Fall Nationals. Top Fuel Driver Scott Whipple and his crew pulled-off back to back to back World Record runs down the 100 yard stretch culminating in an astounding ET of 2.239 at 164.16 mph in the finals to capture the 2009 NSDA season points championship and a new ET World Record. CANIDAE/Lucas Oil Top Alcohol Driver Mike DeNunzio and the T/A crew rounded out an exciting weekend finishing in the #2 spot in points for the season.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Toliver Misses Funny Car Field at NHRA Las Vegas Nationals

Las Vegas has not been a place of good fortune for the Jim Dunn Racing team this season as Jerry Toliver in the CANIDAE/Lucas Oil/WileyX Chevy will miss Sunday eliminations at an NHRA Full Throttle Series event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the second time this year. After final qualifying today the CANIDAE car failed to qualify for the 16-car Funny Car field for this weekend's ninth annual NHRA Las Vegas Nationals after also missing the field at the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals here in April.

Toliver's first qualifying pass on Friday resulted in an elapsed time of 5.405 seconds at 118.03 mph as the CANIDAE car lost traction just past the 330-foot mark. In the second qualifying session Toliver made a solid 4.241-second pass at 279.15 mph to place the Jim Dunn Racing entry 15th on the provisional Funny Car grid.

Unfortunately the team couldn't build on that performance during Saturday's two qualifying sessions with the CANIDAE car losing traction again in Q3 and slowing to a 7.074 e.t. at 94.22 mph and then going up in smoke right at the start in the fourth and final qualifying session.

"The only luck we've had here at Las Vegas this year has been bad," Toliver said. "but I felt pretty positive coming into this weekend. We've been struggling with the car losing traction just past the 'tree'. We just can't seem to tune it out no matter which way Big Jim (team owner/crew chief Dunn) goes. On that last run we obviously went the wrong way and the car lost traction right at the hit.

"We've got one more race to get it right and I know nobody on this team is going to quit working. I've had pretty good success at Pomona and won a couple of races there, so we'll go there and try to add one more."

The final stop on the 24-race NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series is the 45th annual Auto Club of Southern California NHRA Finals on Nov. 12-15 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Pomona, Calif., the last of six races in the NHRA Countdown to 1 for the 2009 Full Throttle Series championship.

Kirk Weeks