American Nicky Hayden, the defending MotoGP world champion, will be gunning for a hat trick this Friday through Sunday at the third annual Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The “Kentucky Kid” dominated the field on his Repsol Honda when the MotoGP World Championship returned to the states and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2005 after a 10-year absence, leading all but one practice session, qualifying on the pole and going flag-to-flag for the win.
In 2006, many of the other riders, now with some experience on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn permanent road course, put some pressure on Hayden, who qualified sixth. It took Hayden close to half the race to get past pole-winner Chris Vermeulen, but when he did, he was gone.
Hayden will be trying to match a legend this weekend. Former three-time World Champion Wayne Rainey of Monterey won the event here three consecutive years from 1989-1991 when it was badged as the 500cc World Championship.
There are a number of general admission tickets remaining. Further information is available by calling 1-800-327-SECA or logging on to www.laguna-seca.com, www.redbullusgrandprix.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
NHRA AT INFINEON: No one has enjoyed more drag racing success at the professional level at Infineon Raceway than John Force.
It only seems natural that Force, who is the all-time leader in championships (14) and victories (123) on the NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series, is also the all-time winner at Infineon Raceway.
The raceway will celebrate its 20th anniversary of NHRA drag racing in 2007 at the FRAM Autolite NHRA Nationals, July 27-29, and Force has played a huge role in the raceway’s drag-racing history.
The Yorba Linda resident holds the record for career victories in the Sonoma Valley with six, and he is one of just two drivers to win three consecutive titles at Infineon Raceway — the other being Doug Kalitta in Top Fuel.
TAKING IT TO THE STREETS: Unfortunately, the same weekend of the NHRA event at Infineon Raceway, July 27-29, the Champ Car World Series will run on downtown streets in the third annual Grand Prix of San Jose.
FATHER TOUGHS IT OUT
Being at the race track is difficult for John Medlen. Not being there is unthinkable. His son wouldn’t have wanted that. Eric Medlen died March 23 from injuries he sustained when his Funny Car crashed during a test session in Gainesville, Fla. Since the accident, Medlen has been a crew chief consultant on the remaining three John Force Racing teams.
THIS WEEK’S PIT STOPS
WHAT: Allstate 400 at the Brickyard
WHEN: July 29, TBA
WHAT: Gateway 250
WHERE: Madison, Ill.
WHEN: Sat., 5 p.m.
WHAT: Schuck’s Auto Supply Nationals
WHERE: Kent, Wash.
WHEN: Sun., 11 a.m.
WHAT: Honda 200
WHERE: Lexington, Ohio
WHEN: Sun., 10:30 a.m.
WHAT: GP of Edmonton
WHERE: Edmonton, Alberta
WHEN: Sun., Noon
WHAT: German GP
WHERE: Nuerburgring, Germany
WHEN: Sun., 4:30 a.m.
Are you more excited for the NHRA or Champ Car events coming up?
Share your comments below.