• Expanded Vision: Vision Racing, owned by IRL founder Tony George, announced last week that it has signed Tomas Scheckter to drive a second car for the team alongside George’s stepson Ed Carpenter. The team also announced that actor Patrick Dempsey, the star of the television show Grey’s Anatomy, has joined the team as a co-owner. Dempsey is no stranger to racing, as he regularly competes in the Grand-Am Cup series.
• Troxel, Hight and Anderson Win at Pomona: Melanie Troxel became just the sixth woman in NHRA history to win a Top Fuel event Sunday in the season-opening 46th annual NHRA Winternationals at Pomona. Funny Car sophomore Robert Hight and three-time and reigning Pro Stock champion Greg Anderson also scored big wins at Pomona, assuming the points lead in their respective categories. Troxel's final-round victory over David Baca was her easiest pass of the day as Baca smoked his tires at the starting line. Her 4.58sec run sealed the deal. Reigning Funny Car Rookie of the Year Hight had to fight hard for his three-foot win over Ron Capps, and his third career win was a struggle from the start. He didn't qualify until the final time trial, and then had to beat teammate Eric Medlen, Del Worsham and Phil Burkart Jr. just to get a chance at the final-round win, which was a 4.763- to 4.775-second nail-biter. The struggle came when Hight blew-up his engine against Worsham and destroyed his primary body. His crew found a back-up body from a show car, but the calamity continued in the pits when his fire bottles accidentally went off just as they were pulling the car out for the semifinals. Anderson set yet another track record as he collected his 40th career win, this one over Mike Edwards. The three-time and reigning Pro Stock champion won his 36th race of the last 70 national events in convincing fashion, dismissing challenger Edwards with a 6.665 at 207.75 mph. Anderson's elapsed time in his Summit Racing Pontiac GTO equaled the track mark he set in qualifying, while his top speed set an Auto Club Raceway record. The fireworks will continue in two weeks at Firebird Raceway in Chandler, Ariz.
• ALMS – Aston Returning to Sebring: Aston Martin Racing announced last week that they will return to the 12 Hours of Sebring to defend their victory in the GT1 class in last year’s race. The team will enter two cars in the 54th edition of the historic endurance classic, but has not yet announced its driver lineup. Last year’s race between the Aston DBR9s and the GT1 works Corvettes was one for the books, and this year’s face-off should be no different.
• Grand-Am – Pacific Coast to Campaign GTO.R: Pacific Coast Motorsport, the former Toyota Atlantic championship-winning team (2004) that campaigns the No. 89 Pontiac/Riley Daytona Prototype for Ryan Dalziel and Alex Figge in the Rolex Sports Car Series, has signed up to be the first privateer entrant of a Pontiac GTO.R in the GT class. Drivers and sponsors have not yet been announced. The team plans to hit the track either at the series’ next race, at Mexico City on March 4, or the following event at Homestead on March 25.
Racing on TV This Week (all times ET):
2:00 pm, TNT: NASCAR Nextel Cup Gatorade Duels, Daytona International Speedway
6:30 pm, Speed: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series qualifying, Daytona International Speedway
3:00 pm, Speed: NASCAR Busch Series qualifying, Daytona International Speedway
6:00 pm, Speed International Race of Champions race, Daytona International Speedway
8:00 pm, Speed: NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, Daytona International Speedway
1:00 pm, TNT: NASCAR Busch Series race, Daytona International Speedway
1:30 pm, NBC: NASCAR Nextel Cup Daytona 500, Daytona International Speedway