Driving the 2014 Dodge Challenger Shaker

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It seemed like half of North America’s auto journos were in Portland, Oregon this week, getting their first glimpse of the mighty new Challenger Hellcat. As much as I am jealous, that worked out ok, as it meant that there was a surprise opening in the Ontario press fleet’s 2014 Challenger Shaker, which I fully intended to take advantage of.

I spent a day with James Davidson from Wheels on Edge, shooting video of the bright orange machine. Not surprisingly, we learned that I am old, James is goofy and the Challenger is a hoot to drive.

Check it out. I kinda love the two guys having a conversation format instead of just one dude blathering on to himself. Let us know what you think in the comments section!

How to go ChumpCar racing without getting dirty

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For many people involved in crap can style racing such as ChumpCar or Le Mons, a big part of the draw is putting together a race car on the cheap, by yourself or more likely with some buddies. For many others though, there are obstacles such as time (you gotta work to pay for racing), family commitments, lack of garage space or even lack of mechanical skills.

For those guys, there are shops like DriveTeq, who will prepare a race car, bring it to the track and make sure you are ready to take the green flag.

Our buddies at Wheels on Edge caught up with DriveTeq at Calabogie Motorsports Park for the recent ChumpCar race, where they had prepared a sweet looking first gen VW Rabbit for a client. Check it out.

Paul Tracy gives Toronto Mayor Rob Ford the ride of his life at 2 in TO

Rob Ford & Paul Tracy. John R Walker photo.

Rob Ford & Paul Tracy. John R Walker photo.

Last Friday night on social media, Canadian Indycar vet Paul Tracy said: “Giving mayor rob ford a thrill ride tomorrow , think I can make him squeal?”

During Saturday morning’s photo meeting, I kept waiting to hear details about the media stunt but for whatever reason, it wasn’t mentioned, so I kept quiet. I chased down someone in the know and learned that it was due to happen while I was shooting the GT3 Cup podium, so I enlisted the help of fellow contributor to The Garage, John Walker to see if he could make it over. I’m glad I did, because it turns out that Walker was the ONLY shooter on hand for ROFO’s thrill ride with the thrill from West Hill.

Walker tells me that when they got out of the Civic SI, Toronto’s most infamous crack addict said “that was one of the best rides I have ever been on, call me if you need anything” to which PT replied “anything???”

Photo courtesy of John Walker

Watch a guy rip around Carleton University tunnels on a Suzuki

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Have you ever walked through a pedestrian tunnel complex and wondered how cool it would be to blast around the maze on a bike or maybe a go-kart? Yeah, me too, but then common sense has always prevailed. YouTuber LoganM lives his live unfettered by the confines of common sense, and has a Suzuki DRZ400 and a GoPro at his disposal. Oh, and access to the tunnels at Carleton University in Canada’s capital city.

As one might expect, youth and stupidity make for a pretty cool video.

Unfortunately for Logan, University staff and Ottawa police have seen the video and are on the case according to Metro. I’m no detective, but I’m thinking that tracking this dude down isn’t going to be too difficult, so check out his wild ride, complete with wheelies, before it gets taken down!

It would seem that the video has already been taken down, but you can still see it here

Another podium for Hargrove in drama filled race

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So many things to write about from the 2 in TO event this weekend, but for now I am going to finish up my day with another post about Scott Hargrove and the Open Road Racing #69.

As was set in qualifying, the front row of today’s race consisted of Hargrove and rival Chris Green in the Pfaff Porsche/Castrol liveried machine. It wasn’t even a single lap before a full course caution came out for the car of Marco Cirone. I’m still not sure what happened to Marco. After what seemed like a dozen laps (although I’m sure it was only five or six), the green flag dropped.

I had moved from turn ten, over to five and wasn’t surprised to see Hargrove appear at the front of the field as he rounded four. I was however surprised to see that Green was missing from the field, until many seconds after the pack went by. I suspected this was not going to be good for the Open Road entry. I was correct.

At the exit of the first turn, the two young guns tried to occupy the same bit of track, and both knew the other was not going to lift. Green lost the battle of wills and got stuffed, which resulted in a stop and go penalty for Hargrove, handing the lead to third place Spencer Pigot.
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James Garner dead at 86

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American acting legend James Garner passed away at his home last night at the age of 86. According to TMZ, the cause has not yet been released, but the actor suffered a stroke a number of years ago, from which he had never fully recovered.

Garner was well known to the general public as a star in television shows like Maverick and The Rockford Files, but auto racing fans will most remember his role in one of the greatest car movies of all time. In John Frankenheimer’s epic 1966 flick Grand Prix, Garner played an American Grand Prix driver named Pete Aron.
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World Challenge action at 2 in TO

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It has been a long day, so I’m not going to race report this other than to say that Nick Tandy won in the simply wicked looking new Porsche 911 RSR GT. Awesome machine. I’m not sure whether to be impressed that the Effort Racing machines are sponsored by GOD or dismayed. Let’s face it, you need money to race, so it might as well come from reporters of a fictitious supreme being, right?
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Scott Hargrove wins exciting first race in Toronto

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After a great qualifying run earlier this morning, Scott Hargrove drove the #69 Open Road Porsche to a victory in today’s action packed Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race in Toronto. In fact, Hargrove had some challenges of his own along the way.

The green flag dropped under the threat of rain, and the track got gradually more slick as the race went on. Rival Chris Green led the first part of the race, before spinning, which allowed Hargrove to take over the lead. All was not smooth sailing, as the Open Road machine spun in turn 9 around the mid point of the race, allowing Spencer Pigot to take over the first spot.
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Hargrove qualifies on front row of GT3 Cup at Toronto

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Honda Indy weekend has finally rolled in to Toronto this weekend and there has been all kinds of action so far. My weeekend started with the Canadian launch of the 2015 Cadillac Escalade on Thursday and has just been crazy busy since then. More about the Escalade in the coming days.

My main focus this weekend is the #69 Porsche of Scott Hargrove in the Porsche GT3 Cup. In this morning’s qualifying session for the first race, Hargrove turned in a 1:12.214 which puts him on the front row alongside pole sitter Chris Green.

Lots more to share, but I need to get out and and shoot the start of the Pirelli World Challenge. More to follow!

Ken Block creates the Mother of all bikini girl passenger videos

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Somehow I know that I am going to be thrashed upon by some of my female colleagues for sharing this one, but OMG!