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AMA Pro Racing today announced an agreement with Sinclair Television Group, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI), to offer syndicated network television coverage in select markets for eight AMA Pro Flat Track events in the summer of 2015.

 

Sinclair's coverage - offered through its American Sports Network (ASN) - will showcase AMA Pro Flat Track events held throughout the United States from March to August in eight consecutive weeks of tape-delayed telecasts. Coverage will begin on July 4 with the second night of the DAYTONA Flat Track doubleheader held during Daytona's Bike Week in March. The summer run of programming will culminate with the Peoria TT on Aug. 22. Initial clearance will include 14 Sinclair markets.

 

"We are excited to enter into this relationship with AMA Pro Racing, a premier professional motorcycle racing organization," said Doron Gorshein, Chief Operating Officer of Sinclair Networks Group. "Through our distribution of the AMA Pro Flat Track events on ASN, we hope to increase exposure and support of a sport that already has a large fan base on social media and following in the motorsport industry.  The initiative also allows us to diversify the sports content available on ASN and distribute that content to mass audiences through broadcast television." 

 

The 30-minute shows will air on weekends in each participating market, and will also be available for streaming on AMAProRacing.com and FansChoice.tv two weeks after their initial Sinclair/ASN telecast. Live streaming coverage of all AMA Pro Flat Track events will continue to be available at FansChoice.tv.

 

The Sinclair coverage, hosted by longtime motorsports announcer Ralph Sheheen with analysis from seven-time AMA Pro Flat Track champion Chris Carr, will feature 25 laps of bar-to-bar racing action by the top dirt track motorcycle racing talent in the world as they battle for guts and glory in AMA Pro Flat Track's premier Harley-Davidson GNC1 presented by Vance & Hines class.

 

"Forming this relationship with Sinclair is all about bringing the excitement of flat track motorcycle racing to new fans," said Michael Gentry, Chief Operating Officer of AMA Pro Racing. "The increased exposure from these network television broadcasts is sure to widen our fan base and provide great value to our partners and those who support the riders and teams in our paddock."

 

The complete 2015 broadcast schedule on Sinclair/ASN:

 

July 4               DAYTONA Flat Track II 

July 11              Springfield Mile I          

July 18              Sacramento Mile          

July 25              Lima Half-Mile  

Aug. 1              Du Quoin Mile              

Aug. 8              Indy Mile

Aug. 15             Black Hills Half-Mile

Aug. 22             Peoria TT

 

The initial clearances include Sinclair affiliates in the markets listed below. Additional markets are anticipated over the course of the relationship and will be announced as clearances are obtained.

 

Fresno-Visalia, Calif.

Gainesville, Fla.

Macon, Ga.

Boise, Idaho

Ottumwa, Iowa-Kirksville, Mo.

Wichita-Hutchinson, Kan.

Paducah, Ky.-Cape Girardeau, Mo.-Harrisburg, Ill.

Columbia-Jefferson City, Mo.

Las Vegas, Nev.

Reno, Nev.

Albany-Schenectady-Troy, N.Y.

Harrisburg-Lancaster-Lebanon-York, Pa.

Charleston, S.C.

Green Bay-Appleton, Wisc.

Watkins Glen presented a number of challenges and setbacks for Freedom Autosport during Saturday’s IMSA Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race, but co-drivers (Retired) U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer and Andrew Carbonell proved that challenges only make them better. They finished fourth in the No. 26 Mazda MX-5, which put them into the ST class points lead.

 

The 2.5-hour race was plagued by rain, a common theme throughout the entire weekend at Watkins Glen. Dwyer was making his first appearance there, so he learned the track under less than ideal conditions.

 

Still, Dwyer caught on quickly and moved up five positions during the opening stint of the race. Carbonell took over for Dwyer, but shortly after entering the track he had to serve a drive-through penalty for too many men working on the car. Carbonell lost over ten spots with the penalty, and spent the remainder of the race fighting his way back to the front.

 

Carbonell was in fourth place when the final caution began, and the race ended without ever returning to green. Although disappointed they weren’t given one final stretch of green-flag racing to contend for the podium, Freedom Autosport is more focused on the season as a whole. Points are priority, and Watkins Glen was very rewarding in that regard: the team moved into the ST points lead with the fourth-place finish.

 

Dwyer is quick to note that the battle has just begun. He said, “The points lead is nice, but we're only four races into the season with a long, busy summer ahead of us. We are in a good spot for sure. We just need to keep getting solid finishes. P4 here at Watkins Glen, especially in such wet conditions, is huge. If we can minimize the mistakes over the summer, we'll be in good shape.”

 

Next week, Freedom Autosport heads to Canadian Motorsport Park for round five. Dwyer will be visiting the 2.459-mile track for the first time, though he proved at Watkins Glen that he adapts quickly.

 

Carbonell was on the podium in Canada last year, finishing third with co-driver Randy Pobst. Carbonell sees a lot of similarity between Watkins Glen and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. “They’re both very high-speed tracks, and places where people think you need a high-horsepower car, but the strengths of the Mazda MX-5 really shine at a place like this because it’s so good in those fast corners. And the momentum we can carry though the corners makes an impact on overall lap time. We don’t have to slow the car down too much.”

 

Round five gets underway on Saturday, July 11, at 1:25 p.m. It will be broadcast live on IMSA.com. In the meantime, fans can watch the Watkins Glen race on Fox Sports 1 on July 5 at 10:00 a.m. and connect online through Facebook and Twitter.

Kenton Koch is just two points shy of perfection through six rounds this season in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda.

 

Koch has won five of six starts in his rookie year in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Official Development Series, finishing second in the other in the No. 60 JDC Motorsports entry. He has started from the pole in five of six rounds.

 

He leads the Lites 1 championship with 118 out of a possible 120 points. He is 30 points - a gap of 1 ½ races - ahead of second-place Clark Toppe before the halfway point of the season.

 

Here's a scary thought: Koch thinks he can get even better.

 

Koch, from Glendora, California, spent the gap between Rounds 3 and 4 in mid-April at NOLA Motorsports Park - which he swept - and Round 5 and 6 on June 26-27 at Watkins Glen International working out in the gym and training on a computer racing simulator to hone his skills. That's no different than most of his rivals in the series.

 

But Koch has a secret weapon. It's not a special tweak to his Élan DP02 chassis, Mazda engine or Cooper tires. It's higher education in racing.

 

Koch, 20, was selected this year as one of 12 drivers from around the world to participate in the 2015 FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy after winning the Americas selection event, one of six regional qualifiers around the world.

 

Participating drivers hail from Australia, Brazil, Great Britain, France, Kuwait, Slovenia, South Africa and Cyprus.

 

The Academy features five workshops in Europe to help develop every area of a young race driver's craft. Seminars include coaching on fitness, nutrition and mental preparation, classroom training for race-driving techniques and on-track instruction. Former Formula One podium finisher and 24 Hours of Le Mans overall winner Alex Wurz is one of the instructors.

 

Koch was unable to attend the first two workshops due to personal and racing commitments, but he flew to Germany in mid-May for the third workshop.

 

"I learned a lot," Koch said. "I could go on for 20 or 30 minutes about what I learned. We talked about friction circles, slip angles and personality tests, a lot of self-evaluation on physical and nutrition. In the past four weeks, I've been able to utilize that stuff.

 

"I've been able to put everything into practice immediately, and having a month between the academy and the Watkins Glen race, I've seen improvements in my physical condition and mental preparation."

 

That enhancement paid off during a rainy event at Watkins Glen, a track where he never raced before last week. Koch already proved his skill in wet conditions by winning Round 4 during a heavy downpour in mid-April at NOLA Motorsports Park.

 

But his moisture mastery was even more apparent at The Glen. Round 6 started in dry conditions, with drivers on slick tires. But rain intensified right after the start, with drivers pitting under a red flag for a change took place in a driving rain, and Koch drove away from the field.

 

Koch's considerable talent was placed front and center on the final restart. He built a lead of 4.860 seconds after just one lap, expanding that gap to 14.733 seconds three laps after the restart. The race ended under caution in heavy rain, with Koch scoring his fourth consecutive victory.

 

"I love the wet," Koch said. "I was a little bit timid and I wasn't sure what was going to happen in the wet, but I gave it my all. Once I found out where the wet line was, I just did my laps and was able to pull a gap on the rest of the field."

 

Koch showed similar speed in dry conditions from the moment he first tested a Prototype Lites car last October at Road Atlanta, after clinching the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup championship. He acclimated quickly from the lower downforce and power levels of the MX-5 to the increased grunt and grip of the Lites car.

 

"I was really worried about it, honestly," Koch said of the transition into a new car and series. "That transition from an MX-5 to a prototype is a difficult transition for most. I got in the car, felt how it was driving, and from there I felt I could get the hang of it pretty quick.

 

"For me, mentally and physically I was able to wrap my mind around things and just get my mind set into that go faster for more grip. How I look at it is speed is relevant to how much grip you have. There was a ton of grip, so there was a lot of confidence-inspiring grip there. It's nice."

 

But Koch did need to adapt to one major difference of his new machine. The grip and power of the Lites car place higher stresses and g-forces on a driver's body, and Koch knew immediately he needed to place more emphasis on conditioning.

 

"I was not expecting the car to be so physical," Koch said. "The steering wheel is heavy. You have to press the brake pedal pretty dang hard to get the thing to stop.

 

"The g-force is one thing, but my neck is pretty strong, so I wasn't really worried about that. But I stepped out of the car after my first session at Road Atlanta, and I said, 'Holy crap, I need to go to the gym more.' I guess that's the one thing I've been doing the past eight months is going to the gym non-stop and making myself stronger. Since (the test at) Road Atlanta, I've gotten myself in physically fit condition."

 

The two remaining FIA Young Driver Excellence Academy sessions this year will help Koch strengthen his body, mind and racecraft even more. One workshop is scheduled for late July in Austria, with the final workshop at the start of September at Circuit Paul Ricard in France.

 

"It's going to be an interesting couple of more workshops because of all the things I've learned," Koch said. "It's going to be awesome to learn more."

 

And perhaps get even faster, much to his rivals' dismay.

 

Rounds 7 and 8 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season are scheduled for July 10-12 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, during the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix Presented by Hawk Performance TUDOR United SportsCar Championship weekend.

 

For more information about Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtags #CTPL and #MRT24 @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.

Mega Mopar Asks Racers to Pick Sides

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Published in Racing News
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 20:03
Charger or Challenger has been a debate among Mopar fans for decades.  

 

Each side has its own racing heritage with legends like Richard Petty and "Big Daddy" Don Garlits or recent racers Matt Hagan and Jeg Coughlin Jr. taking a Charger or Challenger to victory lane time and time again.  

 

At the July 31-August 1 Mega Mopar Action Series stop, Memphis International Raceway (MIR) will do its part to settle the debate on the track. 

 

"We all want to know who's the best, who's got the baddest car at the track," said MIR VP and GM Pam Kendrick. "The Challenger and Charger has been Dodge's muscle cars since the 1960s.  

We want to have some fun seeing who has the most muscle in our Charger vs. Challenger trophy class."

 

The Charger-Challenger battle is one of four trophy classes scheduled for Mega Mopar, and the most highly anticipated, given the passion each side brings to the table.  

 

Other trophy classes include Street Mopar, Tuff Truck and Hemi Challenge with entry into those races just $25 each.

 

The trophy classes are just a part of the racing activities schedule for Mega Mopar Action. There will be box/no box bracket racing and autocross. There will also be an all-Mopar car show, vendor midway and swap meet.

 

Spectator and crew admission for Mega Mopar Action is just $20 with children 6-12 admitted for $5 and kids 5 and under are free.

 

For more information regarding MIR, please visit www.RaceMIR.com, call (901)-WOW-Race or follow us at www.Facebook.com/RaceMIR or @RaceMIR on Twitter and Instagram.

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East News & Notes: Columbus

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Published in Racing News
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 18:40
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East returns to action Saturday at Columbus Motor Speedway and Rev Racing hopes to continue its recent success at the Ohio oval.

Since 2011, Columbus has held four K&N East races and Rev Racing has won three of those competitions. Darrell Wallace Jr. won the inaugural event for the team in 2011, Daniel Suarez scored his first series win at the track in 2013 and Sergio Pena won there last year.

Last year, Rev Racing entries finished 1-5-13 at the .333-mile semi-banked oval. In 2013 the team finished 1-4-10 and in 2012 posted results of 6-13-12 after Kyle Larson cut a tire with 10 laps to go and dropped from second to sixth. At the inaugural showing in 2011, the team finished 1-11-14-15.

Rev Racing will be led by veteran driver Jay Beasley. The Las-Vegas, Nevada, native has had a string of success lately with finishes of eighth (Iowa Speedway), fourth (North Carolina’s Bowman Gray Stadium) and fifth (Virginia’s Langley Speedway). The 23-year-old finished 13th last year during his Columbus debut.

Beasley’s teammate, Kenzie Ruston, also has some experience at the Ohio track. In two showings at the 23-year-old El Reno, Oklahoma, driver has finished eighth (2013) and fourteenth (2014).

Their fellow Drive 4 Diversity drivers, Devon Amos and Collin Cabre, will be making their Columbus debuts this weekend.

NASCAR PR

Aquilante Wins GTS Round 10 Race at Road America

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Published in Racing News
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 13:51
Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa., in the No. 32 Calvert Dynamics/PhoenixPerformance/Ford Mustang Boss 302 clinched his first career Pirelli World Challenge win in GTS Round 10 at the DeVILBISS Grand Prix at Road America presented by Cadillac. Ben Clucas of Northampton, England, finished second and Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga., finished third.                     

From the standing start, Dean Martin, of Westland, Mich., who started second on the grid, got a great launch in his No. 50 Picture Cars East Ford Mustang Boss 302, and snared the lead from pole-sitter Aquilante going into turn 1. Clucas, piloting the No. 36 GTS DonorsChoose.org Kia Optima, was running third at that juncture, while Kurt Rezzetano, of Phoenixville, Pa., and Jack Roush Jr., of Livonia, Mich., battled side-by-side for fourth.

Rezzetano, won the battle for fourth in his No. 37 Calvert Dynamics/PhoenixPerf/Ford Mustang Boss 302 ahead of Roush, in his ROUSH Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302. Rezzetano would then pass Clucas on lap 1 through turn 14. At the end of the first lap Martin lead Aquilante, Rezzetano Clucas and Roush Jr.

On lap 3, Aquilante grabbed the top slot over Martin in turn 1. Aquilante then built a .670 gap over Martin through turn 4.

On lap 5, a big slide by Martin through 14 after contact from Rezzetano allowed Clucas through for second, with Martin moving into third and Rezzetano fourth. Saturday's Round 9 winner Lou Gigliotti, of Dallas, Texas, in the No. 28 LG Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 moved into fifth around Roush. Gigliotti would drop off the pace on lap 9 with a flat tire allowing Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, Ontario, in the No. 38 PutOnTheBrakes.Org and Baldwin to move past.

On lap 10, Aquilante led Clucas, Martin, Rezzetano, Wilkins, and Baldwin. By lap 12, Wilkins and Baldwin began closing in on Rezzetano for third and on lap 13 both Wilkins and Baldwin would pass the driver of the No. 37 car through turns 1 and 3.

Wilkins then closed in on Martin and on lap 14 passed him through turn 3. Baldwin would then close up on Martin and on lap 16 down the Moraine Sweep they would go side by side, with Martin holding onto the position.

On lap 17,  Aquilante led Clucas and Wilkins with Baldwin finally getting by Martin for 4th through turn 6. Baldwin carried momentum and began closing up on Wilkins for 3rd on lap 19 and then on the second last lap of the race executed the pass for third.

Aquilante posted a 6.225-second margin of victory over Clucas. Provisionally, the victory gives Aquilante the GTS driver's championship points lead. 
"There was a lot of hard driving today. Some really great racing," said Baldwin. "My hat is off to Mark Wilkins. That was a total, hard, clean battle. He might have had a little more car than me today. He was a little better than me in some places and I was a little better than him in places. It was fun racing him. The crew gave me a car as good as yesterday (Saturday) and maybe a little better. We started ninth and this is a tough crowd (field). I had no idea I was on the podium. I asked the crew  how I finished and they said third. And I said 'No. Seriously!' That's because Andrew (Aquilante) and Ben (Clucas) were so far ahead. I bet there was a lot of good racing up front but we had our hands full with the guys farther back."

"I was running fourth early on and Kurt (Rezzetano) and Dean (Martin) were in front of me," said Clucas. "So I just waited to see what happened. I was able to get both guys on the straightaway. Andrew was a bit of ahead of me at that point. But the DonorsChoose.org Kia Optima was handling fantastic and I thought maybe there was a chance to get up to him. But I wanted to manage the race a little since we struggle with fronts (tires) sometimes. I can push, push and push too much sometimes and the  tires go away. Andrew had a bit more pace than we did today. So I decided to sit in second and get some good points. It's a good way to start the second half of the season."

"I was a bit nervous about the start. It is not usually my strong suit," said Aquilante. "I talked before the race with Dean (Martin), Jack (Roush Jr.) and Kurt (Rezzetano) and our feeling was not to fight each other at the start. We knew that guys like Michael Cooper and Jack (Baldwin) were going to move up and challenge. And the Kias would be strong too. I settled behind Dean at the start and then Kurt made a challenge and I said I better go now. So I got past Dean and he started holding up Kurt  and then I had a gap with Ben and I just managed the gap. I was hitting my marks and managed my tires real well too. We made some changes with the Ford Mustang overnight and they worked beautifully. Hats off to the crew for that. It's nice to take the point lead but we still have a long way too. We still have four weekends and eight races left in the series and a lot of things can happen. I think we'll start focusing on the points later on in the season. The way the points are set up you cannot  effort to relax. You have to keep pushing for a podium to stay up front."   

Of note, Rezzetano was awarded the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award for gaining two positions when the lights went out. Baldwin was awarded the Cadillac Move of the Race for his terrific move on Martin for fourth place. Also notable, Clucas clinched the Invisible Glass Clean Pass Award for taking the runner-up spot from Rezzetano. Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, Colo., in the No. 20 BestIT Racing Chevrolet Camaro was awarded the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award for gaining seven positions  during the race.

Additionally, Nick Mancuso, of Libertyville, IL, in the No. 46 Maserati Corse Maserati GranTurismo MC, had a great drive and finished 4th overall on the day as a non-points entry and as a precursor to two cars expected to be entered at this year's Pirelli World Challenge season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sept. 11-13. Maserati entered two GranTursimo MC Trofeo cars in this weekend's GTS category with American Mancuso driving the No. 46 car and Canadian Gianmarco Raimondo, of  St. Catharines, Ontario, in the No. 47.                      

Results are provisional until posted final. GTS competitors now head to the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course July 31-Aug. 2 for Rounds 11 and 12 of the Championships. Watch Rounds 9 and 10 from Road America on CBS Sports Network, Wednesday, July 8, at 9 p.m. Eastern.

JD Davison, of St. Petersburg, Fla., piloting the No. 33 AE/Replay XD Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, claimed his second GT win of the Pirelli World Challenge season in Round 13 at the DeVILBISS Grand Prix at Road America presented by Cadillac. Frank Montecalvo, of Highlands, N.J., scored his third GTA victory of the year, and second consecutive win at the challenging 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course. Colin Thompson, from Doylestown, Pa., scored his ninth GT Cup presented by MOMO victory  for Round 11 of the championship.                     
From the standing start, pole-sitter Chris Dyson, from Pleasant Valley, N.Y., piloting the No. 16 Bentley/Breitling/Mobil1 Team Bentley Dyson Racing Bentley Continental GT3 lost the top slot to Tomas Enge, of Kirchanschoering, Germany, piloting the No. 25 Blancpain Racing Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 FL2.                     
 
                      Behind them, Bryan Heitkotter, of Fresno, Calif. in the 05 Nissan GT Academy GT-R GT3, who was ninth on the grid, stalled and collected Robert Thorne, of Littleton, Colo., in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3. Drew Regitz, of Denver, Colo. in the No. 19 WWW.IRACERCOACHING.COM Audi R8 LMS Ultra, who started 24th also stalled collecting Eric Lux, of Buffalo, N.Y. in the No. 08 Rembrandt Charms/Monticello MC/Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3. A full-course  caution ensued.                     
 
                      The top five on the restart were Enge, Davison, Dyson, Mike Skeen, from Charlotte, N.C., in the No. 2 DeVILBISS/Hawk Performance Audi R8 LMS Ultra and Kevin Estre, from Lochau, Austria, driving the No. 9 McLaren 650S GT3. Montecalvo and Thompson paced GTA and GT Cup, respectively, when the field went back to green.                     
 
                      Under heavy braking going deep into turn 5, Estre made contact with Dyson, and Estre pitted for repairs. Estre went off track in turn 12 one lap later on Lap 4, and pitted again to change a flat left tire. Dyson recovered nicely to pick off competitors to get back in contention as the race progressed to its finish.                     
 
                      In a captivating event with a handful of spirited battles, eight different manufacturers were featured in the top 10 through seven laps. The lead GT pack of five racers were only separated by three seconds at lap 10 when Davison snuck inside Enge and made the pass for the lead in turn 6.                     
 
                      Arguably the strongest campaign for position in GT, occurred for the second- and third-place slots. Charging toward the front from a seventh-on-the grid position, Olivier Beretta, of Monte Carlo, piloting the No. 61 Ferrari of Ontario/Toronto/Alberta R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, held fourth place on Lap 4. Beretta overtook Skeen to make the inside pass in turn five on Lap 7.                     
 
                      Beretta ascended to second when Enge retired from the race during a full-course caution on Lap 11, when Alex Welch, from Englewood, Colo., went off track in turn 12, and his No. 76 GMG Audi R8 LMS Ultra caught fire. Skeen regained third position on lap 13, and Beretta took it back for good one lap later.                     
 
                      Meantime, Dalziel made it his late race mission to snare second spot, and not allow Beretta to keep it. Dalziel got ahead of Beretta coming under the bridge in turn 6 on Lap 17, and held on for the second-place podium spot. Beretta, the GT points leader was third. Davison said the caliber of competition in GT this season has made the Pirelli World Challenge, compelling, and a series to watch.                     
 
                      "We have a huge range of manufacturers from Europe and the drivers are what take it to another level," Davison said. "Having factory McLaren drivers like Estre and ex-Formula 1 guys like Enge and Beretta. We certainly have our work cut out for us as drivers and teams.                     
 
                      "It's awesome to see how this series has grown. They are many GT championships in the world but America is the biggest market for the majority of the manufacturers for their road car sales. And being able to represent these manufacturers is a pretty cool honor for all of us. Hopefully, we can grow it to a bigger demographic."                     
 
                      Montecalvo and Thompson were never threatened by rivals en route to victories in GTA and GTC, as the young racers achieved solid overall results on the weekend. Besides Sunday's win, Montecalvo clinched two second-place finishes. Thompson, the GTC points leader, swept both Road America events to add to his victory total which stands at nine.                     
 
                      Thompson reveled in his two-race sweep, and said he's eager to see how the rest of the season unfolds.                     
 
                      "It was a heck of a race and you could feel the tires go off on a tough track for them here at Road America," Thompson said. "Fortunately, we were able to come home with our ninth win of the season. We look forward to our tenth win at the next race. It's always fun to come to Road America. I'm a rookie on this series but the track is fantastic."                     
 
                      A competitive campaign in GTC, occurred over the final lap. As Sloan Urry, of Salt Lake City, Utah, driving the No. 32 Engel & Volkers Porsche 911 GTS Cup, made a run for second, he ran off track on the last corner of the last lap. That incident propelled Brett Sandberg, from Allendale, N.J., in the Zoro/TruSpeed Porsche 911 GTS Cup, to a third-place performance, behind runner-up Alex Udell, of The Woodlands, Texas, in the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.                     
 
                      Montecalvo said he was satisfied with how his team has steadily improved on each series stop, and is thrilled with the high level of talent in GTA. "This is one of my favorite tracks and love racing at Road America," Montecalvo said. "This is some of the closest and most competitive racing I've ever been in. I've raced in Europe, and it is amazing how closest these GT3 cars have been. The series does a great job in balance performance."                     
 
                      Of note, Dalziel earned the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award for his move on Beretta in Canada Corner on Lap 12.Thompson claimed the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award for gaining six positions when the lights went out to start the race. Davison earned the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award for his move on Enge on Lap 10.                     
Udell received the MOMO Turning Point Award for steering his Porsche to second place ahead of Urry on Lap 17. In addition, Sandberg gained 17 positions during the race to earn the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award.                     
 
                      Leitzinger posted a fast lap time of 2:06.977 in GT, while Henrique Cisneros, of Miami, Fla., piloting the No. 30 MOMO/NGT Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia was fastest in GTA at 2:07.433. Thompson was fastest in the GT Cup field, with a time of 2:12.637                     
 
                      Results are provisional until posted final.                     
 
Ernie Francis Jr., of Davie Fla., piloting the No. 98 Breathless Racing/Time4Learning Mazda MX-5, claimed his second win of the Pirelli World Challenge TC season in Round 9 at the DeVILBISS Grand Prix at Road America presented by Cadillac. Tony Rivera, of Vista, Calif., scored his third straight victory of the weekend, and fifth of the season at the challenging 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course. Glenn Nixon, of Mission, B.C , in the No. 58 LaptopScreen.com/ClubRacing.com/Nixon  Prosports/HPD Honda Fit also scored his third straight victory to go along with one previous victory in 2015.                     
 
                      From the standing start, pole-sitter Vesko Kozarov, of Salt Lake City, Utah, in the No. 3 Skullcandy Nissan Altima launched cleanly into the lead. Behind him, Randy Hale, who had qualified 10th, bogged momentarily off the start, bringing out a full-course caution. Kozarov, who had won Saturday's Round 7 TC race, led the field around for the lap 2 restart, ahead of Sunday morning's Round 8 TC winner Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Md., in the No. 15 HPA Motorsports VW  Jetta GL1, and Corey Fergus, of Columbus, Ohio in the No. 00 USLED/Axis Roofing/AERO/RSS/Motul Porsche Cayman.                     
 
                      In TCA, class pole-sitter Rivera, led over Kevin Anderson, of Huntington Station, N.Y. in the No. 23 TechSportRacing.com Mazda RX-8 and Toby Grahovec, of Little Elm, in the No. 24 Texas Classic BMW Motorsports BMW Z4. In TCB, Andrei Kisel, of North Vancouver, B.C. in the No. 57 Racing.ca/LaptopScreen.com MINI Cooper led his teammate Nixon, and class pole-sitter Travis W. Washay, of Milford, Conn., in the No. 30 Indian Summer Racing MINI Cooper.                     
 
                      On lap 2, Francis Jr. passed Fergus for third. On lap 4, Altenburg and Kozarov drag raced down the front straight with Altenburg passing for the lead through turn 1. Kozarov's No. 3 Altima then experienced a mechanical problem and slowed on course allowing Francis Jr. and Fergus to move ahead.                     
 
                      In TCB, Nixon passed Kisel through turn 5 on lap 4 for the lead in TCB. In TCA, Rivera continued to lead, with Grahovec passing Anderson for second. Anderson's RX-8 would slow on course and he would retire from the race on lap 7 moving Patrick Seguin, of Ottawa, Ontario, in the No. 49 helpkevinproject.com/buynutrimind.com Honda Civic Si into third.                     
 
                      On Lap 8, Francis Jr. earned the Cadillac Move of the Race award for his pass on Altenburg for the lead in turn 12. Shortly after the pass, both Altenburg's VW Jetta GLI and Fergus' Porsche Cayman slowed on course with mechanical issues and both came into the pit - Fergus' team changed a tire and Altenburg's team inspected the front left wheel, also changing a tire in the process. Adam Poland, of Mount Vernon, Texas in the No. 33 Edge Addicts/Majestic Pet Mazda MX-5 moved into  second.                     
 
                      Francis Jr., Rivera and Nixon would all maintain their leads for the balance of the race. In TC, Poland and Ricca finished second and third, while Grahovec and Seguin finished second and third in TCA. Kisel and Washay finished second and third in TCB.                     
 
                      "The second race today was definitely a lot closer than the other two races this weekend," said Nixon. "I had to work a lot harder as other guys got together and were in the draft. Overall, it was a good weekend for the team. Thanks to Andrei Kisel for owning the team and putting us all here. Thanks to LaptopScreens.com, Club Racing, Nixon Prosports.ca. I think the other guys were learning how to draft better and stayed right with us. In the first session, we were drafting from  the start. So myself, Andrei and Nick (Duynstee) were running together and I think the others finally figured it out too. They got just got used to it too. Nick had a tough first race this morning but finished fifth in this afternoon. He has limited racing experience. So he learned this weekend."                     
 
                      "In the afternoon race, second and third place started fighting for position and I was able to run clean laps," said Rivera. "I was able to gain more each lap. I was able to focus out the windshield and not worry about them. And had fun at this great facility. We have a real reliable little Scion that is fun to drive. It's fun whether you are by yourself or in a pack. It reminds us why we do this. Believe it or not, this is probably the best track for this car. Even though it  is the slowest one in the straightaway. The big misconception here that this is a big horsepower track. And a low-horsepower car can make up a lot at this track just because the entry to all of the straightaways is so great, speedwise. If you have a car that is dialed in handling wise, you can make up for quite a bit. There aren't really any 'point and shoot sections' in this track.                      
 
                      "This weekend started pretty good as we were quick out there," said Francis Jr. "In the first race, I got the lead and a couple of laps in, the motor just quit on us. So the crew worked hard all day and night and got the motor changed. But the power steering line got a puncture when the motor blew and parts went all over the place. So we had to run with no power steering in the second race which then ended up frying the power steering pump. And that blew the belt on the car.  So we had to come into the pits and we didn't finish that one either. In the third race, we got a new pump and everything seemed pretty good. We just wanted to go out and finish the race. We started seventh and worked our way through the traffic. Then we got to first and never looked back. The crew did an amazing job. I really can't thank them enough. We were all pretty down after the second race troubles. So we sat down and talked about what we wanted to do for the third race. And we went out and  did it."                      
 
                      Of note, Fred Emich, in the No. 87 Emich Volkswagen/Volkswagen Jetta GLI won the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award gaining six positions when the lights went out. He was also awarded the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award for gaining nine positions during the race. Nixon won the StopTech Brake Late Finish First Award. The Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award went to Tom Noble, of Medina, Minn. in the No. 48 BIR Performance Driving School/West Real Estate Shea  Racing MINI Cooper for his lap 13 turn 1 pass of Jason Fichter, of Jupiter, Fla. in the No. 7 Turn 7 Motorsports/Donate Life Breathless Racing MINI Cooper.                     
 
                      Results are provisional until posted final.                     
 
                      TC, TCA and TCB teams now head to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course August 13-15 for Rounds 10, 11 and 12. Watch Rounds 7, 8 and 9 from Road America on CBS Sports Network, Wednesday, July 8, 7 p.m. Eastern.
Harry Steenbakkers is just 17 years old, a rookie driver in the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin this season.

 

But it's not a stretch to say he will have turned more laps at Calabogie Motorsports Park than any of his rivals - some of whom are 35 years older than him - as the drivers take to the starting grid for Rounds 5 and 6 of the series July 4-5 at the track.

 

Steenbakkers, from Ottawa, has driven hot laps and raced at Calabogie since he was 11 years old. His father, Marc Steenbakkers, is part of the ownership group of the facility.

 

"He started running there as soon as he could reach the pedals," Marc Steenbakkers said of his son. "We used to put him in fourth gear because he couldn't really shift yet, and we sent him out with a radio, and he'd go until he ran out of gas."

 

Said Harry Steenbakkers: "I always drive the car at the limit. I know the line better, probably will be a bit faster, more refined at the home track."

 

That insider knowledge of the challenging 20-turn, 3.137-mile (5.05 km) circuit should help accelerate Steenbakkers' considerable progress so far this season in the No. 78 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.

 

Steenbakkers is tied for fourth in the Platinum Cup standings, with a best race finish of fourth. It's an impressive performance for his first season in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned Single-Make Series.

 

The climb to the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin came after Steenbakkers spent time behind the wheel or handlebars of a wide variety of racing machinery since he started racing snowmobiles as a boy. He climbed to auto racing in 11, when he also started hot-lapping at Calabogie, and wasted no time showing his skill.

 

In 2013, Steenbakkers became the youngest participant in the Skip Barber IndyCar Academy Shootout, in which he finished second and earned a $15,000 scholarship.

 

Last year, Steenbakkers gained experience in a variety of series, including Trans-Am, the Canadian SuperCar Series, ChumpCar Enduros, Formula Libre and GT3 in the Regional Race circuit. He won the Canadian SuperCar Series event at Calabogie and also earned earned a National event win in the Skip Barber Summer Race Series at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.

 

Mark Motors Racing, based in Ottawa, has a close affiliation with Calabogie Motorsports Park and its ownership group, which includes Marc Steenbakkers. So when a seat opened this season in the powerful Mark Motors team next to Platinum Masters champion Marco Cirone, the team looked at potential prospects and focused on the quick, tall teen who competed in series sharing the track during numerous Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin event weekends.

 

Steenbakkers got the call and the ride. And it took just one test for him to realize this was the ideal next step for his budding racing career.

 

"I could tell after the first time he drove it at Calabogie, his first test session, you could tell it was very different for him, but the grin on his face went from ear to ear," Marc Steenbakkers said. "The old adage, a picture is worth 1,000 words."

 

Marc Steenbakkers admits there was a time he aspired to compete in the series for a team like Mark Motors Racing. He is a regional racer in Ontario and Quebec. But it didn't take long for Harry to establish his reputation as the fastest driver in the family.

 

"The reality is that if I was faster than him, I'd probably be in the car," Marc Steenbakkers said. "But I'm not. That torch passed when he was about 13 ½.

 

"I come here pretty relaxed and let him do his thing. I watch him progress and get better, and his progression is fun to watch. It really is."

 

Harry Steenbakkers is keeping a level head and approach about racing at his home track, a place where he has worked since he was 13, doing jobs such as changing fluids in track cars, rotating and balancing tires and performing janitorial duties. It's also the home track for Mark Motors, which entertains numerous clients at the picturesque facility during the race weekend.

 

Plenty of eyeballs will be on Steenbakkers. But no worries.

 

"I've been finding you can't really overdrive these cars, so the more relaxed you are, the better," Harry Steenbakkers said. "So the home track should be more relaxed."

 

Marc Steenbakkers also admits to no extra nerves watching his son compete in the marquee race at a track into which he has invested time, money and his heart and soul. His overwhelming emotion during race weekend at Calabogie will be pride as a father.

 

"It's great," Marc Steenbakkers said. "That's why we're doing this, and we want to do it. It keeps the wind behind his sails. It's good fun. It's a good education for him. We're surrounded by a great bunch of people, and we're having a good time doing it."

 

Practice and qualifying take place Saturday, July 4. Round 5 starts at 9:35 a.m. (ET) Sunday, July 5, with Round 6 at 2:20 p.m. that afternoon. Both races are 45 minutes each.

 

For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter. For live timing, visit scoring.imsa.com.

 

For more information about Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #GT3CAN @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.

 

Roczen, Tickle Fourth and Seventh at Budd Creek

Written by
Published in Racing News
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 13:32
RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s/Suzuki Factory Racing riders Ken Roczen and Broc Tickle raced to fourth- and seventh-place overall finishes in Saturday’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Geico Motorcycle Budds Creek National at Budds Creek Motocross Park.
 
Collectively, the potent RCH duo battled sickness, torrential rains and less-than-ideal track conditions to earn solid finishes in the event that marks the halfway point for the 12-race outdoor season.
 
Despite battling illness for the week leading up the race and throughout the weekend, Roczen turned in a gutsy 5-4 effort to maintain second in points. With six races remaining, the defending Pro Motocross Champion continues to trail current leader Ryan Dungey by 37 points.   
 
“I had a really good week before the off-weekend but, I got really sick the week leading into Budds Creek,” explained Roczen. “I’ve been fighting a virus all week. In then first moto, I did the best I could. I was good for the first half, but I just slowly started to fade. I really struggled, especially with my lungs. I was really congested, so we finished the first moto fifth. Coming into the second moto, we had a really bad storm with lightning and rain. I didn’t think we were going to race but we did and I grabbed a decent start. I rode around in fourth almost the entire race. It wasn’t the ideal weekend but (Ryan) Dungey buckled a little bit in the second moto so that kept the distance in points the same. I didn’t gain any on him but I didn’t lose any, either. I’m just glad that race is behind us so I can start preparing for next weekend and get healthy.”
 
Tickle wasn’t deterred by the inclement conditions and turned in his typical workman-like performance in both motos, notching a sturdy 6-9 finish.
 
“First moto was really good,” said the rider of RCH’s No. 20 Suzuki RM-Z450. “I got off to a really good start. Just ran the first corner a little wide. Started the first lap sixth and finished sixth. It was a good race but I definitely could have been better. All in all, first moto was solid. Our RM-Z450 was good.”
 
Following the first moto, heavy thunderstorms and lightning sent teams scrambling for cover and at one point, it looked like the second 450 moto could be cancelled. Still, Tickle stayed focused and never really considered the possibility that the day’s final outcome would be decided by just one moto.
 
“Everything looked good for the second moto and then the AMA gave us a 30-minute delay which ended up being a two-hour delay,” added Tickle. “In that two-hour period, it rained a lot. They worked on the track and did the best they could. I figured we were going to race. I tried to stay focused on what we needed to do because I wasn’t convinced they were going to call it. I knew the track was going to be muddy because we got quite a bit of rain in a short period of time. You just had to go for it.
   
“The sun was out and we started at six (p.m.) … the track was really gnarly. Hard to pass. I got off to an ok start but I got pushed wide, again, in the first corner.  Came in for goggles and I think that was a bad mistake. I should have just stayed where I was because I would have been by myself and I could have had a better finish in the second moto. The upside is that I gained points on everyone who was behind me (in the championship) but I lost points to everyone in front of me so that’s frustrating.”
 
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship makes its annual Independence Day visit to RedBud this Saturday for the series traditional Fourth of July Weekend race in Buchanan, Mich. The race will serve as a home game, of sorts, for RCH sponsor Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. Located a little over three hours north of RedBud in Mount Pleasant, Mich., Soaring Eagle is a Four-Diamond casino and resort featuring luxurious rooms, indulgent dining, thrilling games, superstar entertainment, natural ambiance and breathtaking views.
 
The first moto of the Red Bull RedBud National will be televised live on MAVTV Sat., July 4 beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 10 a.m. Pacific. TV coverage for the second moto will shift to network TV and be televised on NBC at 4 p.m. EDT. All motos can be streamed live online through ProMotocross.com or the NBC Sports Live Extra app. NBC, NBCSN and MAVTV will combine to televise over 60 hours of racing over the course of the 12-round season.
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