Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.
Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.
Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network.
Contact Adam: Email
Roy Fulmer IV Once Again Opens Season with Thunderhill Pole
Johnson Claims Exemplary Maiden USF2000 Win in Hometown Race
Locally based teenager Nikita Johnson put on a master class in this morning’s Discount Tire Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The youngest driver in the field of 21 cars at just 14, Johnson, from nearby Gulfport, Fla., displayed maturity far beyond his years as he took the lead shortly after the start in his VRD Racing Tatuus USF-22 and held off race-long pressure from series veteran Simon Sikes (Pabst Racing), from August, Ga., to claim a deserved maiden USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires victory. It will surely be the first of many.
Sikes had to be content with second, despite starting from the pole position and recording the fastest race lap, while yesterday’s winner, Lochie Hughes, from Gold Coast, Australia, finished third for Jay Howard Driver Development.
The grid for today’s race was set according to either each driver’s second fastest lap set during the lone qualifying session on Friday or their fastest race lap from the opening race yesterday afternoon. After damaging his car severely following a mistake in qualifying, Sikes redeemed himself by climbing from 15th on the grid to fourth at the finish. He also posted a lap faster than anyone else had managed during qualifying to ensure his first ever Cooper Tires Pole Award.
After an initial attempt at a start this morning was waved off because the field was improperly aligned, Sikes accelerated away in the lead ahead of fellow front row starter Evagoras Papasavvas (Jay Howard Driver Development), from Loveland, Ohio. But it was Johnson, who turned out to be the early mover after starting third.
Johnson slipped past Papasavvas at Turn One on the opening lap. One lap later, he took advantage of Sikes leaving his braking a little too late at the end of the long start/finish straightaway and sliding wide into the marbles. Johnson quickly ducked to his inside and was through into the lead.
As the two JHDD teammates, Papasavvas and Hughes, squabbled over third, Sikes kept the pressure on Johnson, but the youngster was wise to every move. Sikes clearly had a slightly faster car, but Johnson made not the hint of a mistake, and increased his pace with each successive lap.
With two laps to go, Sikes took advantage of the draft to haul alongside the leader on the main straightaway, only to once again leave his braking a fraction too late and slide wide at Turn One, which allowed Johnson to regain the position. With that, his victory was assured.
Hughes found a way past Papasavvas on Lap 12 at Turn 13 but could make no impression on the two leaders. He nevertheless maintains a slender one-point edge over Johnson after the opening weekend of the season.
A variety of minor incidents served to break up the field, but the race remained under green for the entire duration, with DEForce Racing’s Jorge Garciarce, from Guadalajara, Mexico, rising from 10th on the grid to secure a career-best fifth, just ahead of Future Star Racing’s Trey Burke, from Alvin, Texas.
Danny Dyszelski, from Belmont, N.C., drove a tidy race for VRD Racing, rising from 20th on the grid to a career-best seventh to claim the Tilton Hard Charger Award. Dyszelski was shadowed across the finish line by teammate Gordon Scully, from Chicago, Ill., who had started 19th.
A fine day for VRD Racing also saw Dan Mitchell scoop the PFC Award as the winning car owner.
The USF2000 Presented by Cooper Tires competitors will remain in Florida for the third and fourth rounds of the championship at Sebring International Raceway on March 25/26.
Provisional championship points after 2 of 18 races:
1. Lochie Hughes, 54
2. Nikita Johnson, 53
3. Simon Sikes, 47
4. Evagoras Papasavvas, 44
5. Trey Burke, 29
6. Sam Corry, 27
7. Jorge Garciarce, 25
8. Nicholas d’Orlando, 23
9. Danny Dyszelski, 19
10. Jacob Douglas, 19
Nikita Johnson (#17 Allen Exploration, LLC/Walker’s Cay-VRD Racing Tatuus USF-22): “Yesterday we were pretty fast. We made some improvements in my driving of the car. Coming into the race, I was third. I went to the outside and got into second and stayed behind Simon. The next lap, I went and did an over/under. After that, I was in the lead and just controlled the race the whole time, backing him up in some of the corners. I knew I needed to be in front to control the race and that’s what won it. The car was very fast and super consistent. I want to thank my friends and family for coming out, and all of my sponsors.”
Simon Sikes (#22 Group6Gear.com-Pabst Racing Tatuus USF-22): “Well, this was the most up-and-down weekend I have ever had in my racing career. I started a half second up on the field in practice, went into qualifying and had the worse crash of my career by far. Pabst Racing did an excellent job to get the car back together for Saturday. We had to start deep in the field and drive it from 15th to fourth, but today was a much, much better day. I started from pole, had a great race with Nikita and ultimately came up short to finish P2 but had the fastest lap. I am thrilled with the weekend, even though it had its ups and downs, and am looking forward to getting back at it at Sebring.”
Lochie Hughes (#8 JHDD/CSU One Cure/Lucas Oil Products/LHP-Jay Howard Driver Development Tatuus USF-22): “The race was alright. I struggled a little bit to be honest. We were on an older tire and everyone ahead had newer tires. I made some mistakes on the first lap which made me drop some positions, so then I was trying to catch back up and make some passes. In the end, I finished third. It was tough with Evagoras behind me. It was a decent result. To take a pole, a win and a third from the first round of the year, I’m pretty happy.”
(Courtesy of Anerson Promotions)
For over 50 years, enthusiasts from all over the world have flocked to the Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions, named America’s No. 1 Attraction for Car Lovers in the 2019 USA Today Readers’ Choice Contest. Widely regarded as a barometer of the collector car industry, the auctions have evolved over the years into world-class automotive lifestyle events where thousands of the world’s most sought-after, unique and valuable automobiles cross the block in front of a global audience ‒ in person and on live national and international television. Barrett-Jackson produces The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions in Scottsdale, Arizona; Palm Beach, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada and Houston, Texas. In addition to the millions watching the events via live television coverage on FYI and HISTORY, over 500,000 people are in attendance at all four auctions, looking to witness auction action at its best, capture the car of their dreams, mingle with celebrities, experience adrenaline-pumping thrill rides in the latest vehicles from America’s top automakers or shop in the vast Exhibitor Marketplace.
In 2022, Barrett-Jackson set records for their most successful event in Palm Beach to date, and 2023 should be no exception. Some of the highlights from last year included:
- 2020 Ford GT Carbon Series (Lot #725) – $1.54 million
- 2018 Ford GT ’67 Heritage Edition (Lot #732) from the Cars of Dreams Collection – $1.43 million
- 2006 Ford GT Heritage Edition (Lot #726.1) – $704,000
- 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Convertible (Lot #720) – $550,000
- 1968 Chevrolet Yenko Super Camaro 427/450 (Lot #705.1) from the American Muscle Car Museum Collection – $533,500
- 1961 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Convertible (Lot #711) – $467,500
- 1962 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Topless Roadster “Elegance” (Lot #722) – $385,000
- 2006 Ford GT (Lot #726) – $385,000
- 1962 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Convertible (Lot #712) – $324,500
- 1967 Chevrolet Chevy II Nova SS Custom Coupe (Lot #687) – $297,000
The charity vehicles that sold in Palm Beach include:
- 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 First Retail Production Convertible (Lot# 3005) benefiting the Thurgood Marshall College Fund – $1,000,000
- 2022 Ford Bronco Raptor SUV VIN 001 (Lot #3004) benefiting the National Forest Foundation and Outward Bound – $350,000
- 1986 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible Indy Pace Car (Lot # 3003.1) and 2009 Ford Shelby GT500 Super Snake (Lot #3003) benefiting Samaritan’s Purse – $1,000,000 together as a pair, plus an additional $760,000 pledged by donors, totaling $1.76 million
- 2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Custom 6×6 Pickup (Lot# 3002) benefiting Can’d Aid – $250,000
- 2023 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing Collector Series First Production VIN (Lot #3001) benefiting SAE Foundation – $250,000
- 2020 Ford Shelby GT500 (Lot #3000) benefiting John Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center – $185,000
To date, Barrett-Jackson has helped raise over $147.9 million for charitable organizations around the world.
412 automobilia pieces sold for more than $1.07 million during the Palm Beach Auction. Among some of the top sales was the large custom-designed O Gauge Train set (Lot 8299.9) that sold for $97,900. The top five automobilia pieces that sold during the Palm Beach Auction include:
- Large Custom Designed O Gauge Train Set (Lot #8299.8) – $97,900
- Porsche Automobiles Neon Sign (Lot #7297) – $51,750
- Sunoco Oil Gilbarco Model #96 Gas Pump (Lot #6291.1) – $37,950
- 1950s Corvette Coin-Operated Kiddie Ride (Lot #7264) – $34,500
- 1928 Ford Wayne Model 515 Gas Pump (Lot #8282.4) – $34,500
Barrett-Jackson returns to Palm Beach for its second collector car auction of 2023, April 13-15. Advance ticket pricing and VIP packages for the 2023 Palm Beach Auction are available here. Consignments for the 2023 Palm Beach Auction are being accepted here and those interested in registering to bid may do so here.
Join Barrett-Jackson’s online conversation with #BarrettJackson and #BJAC on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Freestyle Motocross Legend Robbie Maddison's Ultimate Dream
"You're worthy of what you dream of."
This is the message daredevil Robbie 'Maddo' Maddison wants to share with the world. Achieving the impossible is what this Hollywood stunt performer and record-breaking freestyle motocross rider does best.
In our latest Think Bold series, the legend of freestyle motocross and long-time Insta360 collaborator sat down with us to discuss fatal obstacles, keeping Evel Knievel's legacy alive, and his ultimate dream.
Watching his heroes
Growing up around dirt bikes, Maddison was hooked on the sport from the age of four. But watching his hero, Evel Knievel, attempting (and often failing) monumental jumps fueled his desire for daredevilry further.
In 1989, Maddison's namesake, Robbie Knievel, jumped Caesars Palace. This jump was no small feat, as his father, Evel Knievel, attempted and failed the same record-breaking jump 22 years prior. For 8-year-old Maddison, watching this stunt was a life-changing moment.
"I wanted to be Robbie Knievel... that was really when the dream hit."
On the brink
Before his freestyle motocross career even began, however, Maddison faced a life-threatening jet ski accident aged 16. Ingesting a mouthful of dirty water caused him to contract viral meningitis and encephalitis, resulting in stroke-like symptoms, vision loss and, ultimately, Second Impact Syndrome. This condition means that every stunt he attempts is potentially fatal.
"When I have a traumatic injury, I go into seizure, and if I don't have medical people there to take me out of seizure, ultimately I die... I've been paddled back to life four times, so I definitely know I'm here for a purpose."
Face your fears, live your dreams
It was a long road to recovery. The traumatic experience meant he lost memories and needed to relearn a lot. But with tenacious perseverance and determination, Maddison came out with a new mindset and different ambitions. Even death wouldn't stop him from living his ultimate dream.
Looking at his framed photo of Evel Knievel and his Guinness World Record, Maddison knows that's what drives him to keep going.
"I have an ultimate goal... I'll be happy to hang up my boots
when I can achieve what Evel Knievel couldn't."
Multiple world records, epic freefalls, and jumping the Las Vegas Arc de Triomphe would be enough for most people. But Maddison's thirst for adventure hasn't shown any sign of slowing. His wildest endeavor to date combines his love of dirt bikes and surfing: his water bike.
"I had this crazy idea and decided to follow it... it's led me to be able to ride on water."
It took countless tries and fails before this achievement was possible, and it's a nerve-racking experience each time he takes it out for a spin. But instead of giving in to these negative thoughts, Maddison embraces them and uses them as motivation.
"I train to have a relationship with my soul and ask my soul to guide me... it's crazy the way the universe has guided me."
Capture it all
Insta360 cameras have allowed Maddison to showcase how extreme his stunts really are. Maddison can reframe his 360 footage with action cameras like X3 to show viewers exactly what he is up against, while accessories such as the Invisible Selfie Stick help capture mind blowing third-person views and epic shots of his bravery and daring.
Something special in store
Without giving too much away, Maddison hints towards a stunt bigger than anything he's previously attempted. One that will put his bravery to the test and be the greatest tribute to Evel Knievel's legacy.
Armed with an abundance of Insta360 action cameras to capture every second, Robbie Maddison is ready to inspire, dream and think bold.
"If you believe in something enough, then go and do it."
(Courtesy of Insta360 - written by Laura Nellis)
Valtteri Bottas Drives F1 Car Blindfolded
Driving an F1 car is hard enough; doing so blindfolded is next level! Hyland ambassador Valtteri Bottas did just that, as part of the Hyland X Vision Challenge. Earlier this week, 7x PGA TOUR winner and Hyland ambassador released the Hyland X Vision Challenge.
The concept was simple: Hyland asked Xander to play a Par 3 blindfolded. The first time that Xander played the hole, it was completely unassisted. The second time, he could rely on guidance from his caddie Austin and his dad Stefan, who is also his swing coach.
Following the release of the content, Xander challenged Valtteri to join in. As you’ll see in the content linked above, when Valtteri attempted to drive an F1 simulator blindfolded, his performance improving drastically in the attempt when he could rely on his team.
The Hyland X Vision Challenge shows the importance of teamwork and trust – in golf, racing and in business. Grounded in teamwork to help clients take on what sometimes can’t be seen, Hyland’s global team supports and has earned the trust of nearly 15,000 customers, including half of the Fortune 100.
For more on Hyland visit Hyland.com.
Michelob ULTRA Announces Partnership With Williams Racing
Michelob ULTRA, the fastest growing beer brand in the U.S., is joining the world of Formula 1 as it partners Williams Racing for the 2023 season. Michelob ULTRA will provide 21+ racing fans with premier experiences across all North American Grand Prix – Miami, Montreal, Austin and Las Vegas – and will feature Williams Racing and their drivers Alex Albon and Florida-native Logan Sargeant in digital content, in-person appearances, and more. In addition, Michelob ULTRA will be featured on the Williams Racing FW45 race cars and, at the North American Grands Prix, on the drivers’ race suits.
“Michelob ULTRA has a long-standing history as a sponsor across all major sports and we could not be more excited about entering Formula 1 with Williams Racing,” said Ricardo Marques, Vice President of Marketing for Michelob ULTRA. “Williams Racing has a proven track record of achieving excellence while cultivating some of the best drivers in the sport, which now includes the first full-time American F1 driver since 2015; it feels like the perfect time and partner for us to enter the sport.”
As a part of the Anheuser-Busch portfolio, Michelob ULTRA reunites the world’s biggest brewer with Williams Racing for the first time since 2006. Anheuser-Busch, one of the largest and most influential sports sponsors in the world, will unlock new opportunities for growth and continue to build meaningful connections with fans and the sport they love.
“Formula 1 has an incredibly passionate fan base and continues to attract an influx of new fans, especially in the United States,” said Matt Davis, Head of U.S. Sports Marketing and Sponsorships for Anheuser-Busch. “We’re constantly evaluating ways to reach new fans and deliver world-class experiences in authentic, innovative and creative ways; this partnership with Williams Racing demonstrates the shared commitment of Anheuser-Busch and Williams Racing to grow the love of Formula 1 for fans around the country.”
“Michelob ULTRA can deliver unparalleled experiences to our 21+ fans, and we are thrilled to have them as a partner,” said James Bower, Williams Racing Commercial Director. “The anticipation for this season is at an all-time high and we could not be more eager to enhance the off-track offering for 21+ fans with premium experiences.”
Williams Racing, Michelob ULTRA and Anheuser-Busch share a profound dedication to educating and encouraging fans to drink responsibly. Anheuser-Busch and our wholesaler partners have invested more than $1 billion in responsible drinking initiatives and community-based programs to prevent underage drinking, impaired driving, and other harmful use of alcohol.
After two years filled with drama, excitement, and plenty of on-course action, Extreme E is set to return with its biggest campaign yet, as the 2023 season begins in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, in a month’s time.
Season 3 will deliver fresh faces, an exciting new team as superstar DJ Carl Cox enters the championship, and even more thrilling wheel-to-wheel action showcased across some of the toughest and most environmentally challenged terrains on the planet.
As the pioneering championship continues to evolve, Extreme E Season 3 promises to captivate on and off the course, whilst delivering on its overall purpose to address climate change through sport, starting with the Desert X Prix on 11-12 March.
His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, Chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the Saudi Motorsport Company, commented: “We are very excited to welcome Extreme E back to the Kingdom for the third consecutive year of action-packed racing. This successful partnership goes well beyond the sporting element, however, as it builds on our shared long-term commitment to build a more sustainable future for all.
"In addition, it perfectly aligns with one of the most important pillars of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to make the Kingdom a leader in the development and promotion of alternative energy sources and the preservation of the environment for future generations.”
Alejandro Agag, CEO and Founder of Extreme E, said: “Using our sport for purpose platform, Extreme E truly stepped things up another level last year and delivered some of the best racing action in the series so far. Now, we are ready to go and do it all again, with more ambition than ever before.
“Entering our third season, we are proud to welcome legendary DJ Carl Cox to the party and are excited to see his team, Carl Cox Racing, take on the rest of our star-studded grid. We have such a strong field in Extreme E for 2023, from our championship-winning outfits led by Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, respectively, to strong challenger line-ups in the likes of NEOM McLaren Extreme E, Veloce Racing, and ABT CUPRA XE preparing to push competition boundaries.
“We are thrilled to open the season once again in NEOM. The ambition for NEOM and its targets are the same values that we have in Extreme E. NEOM’s principle of sustainability will provide an environment for living in harmony with nature, and all this meets the values of our championship.
“With all this excitement we cannot lose sight of our overall purpose – this championship is a race for the planet. We are determined to build on the success our platform has had in raising awareness of climate issues and we are ready to take things even further as we explore the sustainable solutions that we can all be part of.”
NEOM is the centrepiece of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan to grow and diversify the Saudi economy and position the country as a leader in global sustainable development.
Built from the ground up, NEOM will be a new model for livability in the face of climate change, creating thriving businesses and reinventing environmental conservation. This will include the world’s first large-scale renewable energy system, pioneering the use of green hydrogen, as well as a world hub for clean energy generation research and innovation.
Beyond being a hub for sustainability, entrepreneurs and business leaders, NEOM is also set to be the home of adventure sports – creating active communities and a host destination for dynamic and challenging sports - Extreme E being among the first.
The sport infrastructure in NEOM will include the broadest spectrum of sports, from grassroots to high performance. NEOM's ambitions also include a strong focus on environmental conservation, in line with the project's plans to preserve 95 per cent of its natural environment.
NEOM’s involvement in Extreme E grew even further last season, becoming the title sponsor at NEOM McLaren Extreme E. The partnership with McLaren Electric Racing builds on NEOM’s growing involvement in electric motorsport and aims to establish NEOM as an innovative hub for global sport. A multi-year relationship with ENOWA was also announced, NEOM’s energy, water and hydrogen subsidiary, to introduce green hydrogen power to their global sustainable racing series.
ENOWA is the engine room for sustainable energy, water and hydrogen at NEOM. Green hydrogen is widely seen as the most promising green energy carrier for the future. This technology supports the transportation of renewable energy over long distances and the decarbonisation of major industries and infrastructure. Both work to implement innovative green hydrogen-based technologies to not only power the championship towards a 100 per cent “leave no trace” ambition but also to showcase the opportunities around this technology.
The Desert X Prix marks Extreme E’s third event in the region, pursuing the mutual goal of combining sustainability with global sporting events.
Jan Paterson, Managing Director of Sport at NEOM, added: “We are delighted to welcome Extreme E back to NEOM to kick off the 2023 season. Hosting Extreme E aligns with NEOM’s vision to become a unique host destination in the world for global sport by combining the principles of exciting competition with sustainable best practices."
The opening round of the season will take place on the shores of the Red Sea close to the location of the 2022 NEOM Beach Games, which hosted over 300 athletes from 25 countries.
Teams will once again face a mostly sandy terrain, though a very different challenge and location to the deserts of the series’ past two visits to Saudi Arabia.
Many of the drivers will have experienced a shoreline course before, at the Ocean X Prix in Senegal in 2021, but all will have to be at the top of their game to meet the unique demands of this terrain.
NEOM will start the global voyage of Season 3, highlighting the impact of climate change and human interference in one of the most remarkable and remote locations in the world, whilst promoting the adoption of electric vehicles in the fight to help preserve the environment and protect the planet.
Alongside returning to Saudi Arabia, Sardinia, and Chile, Extreme E will also make its debut in Scotland, and possibly the USA or Brazil.
With less than five weeks to go until the opening X Prix of the campaign, Extreme E Season 3 is all set to be another spectacular campaign.
To learn more about Extreme E, visit - www.Extreme-E.com
Tony Stewart To Compete In Full NHRA Schedule
After making his NHRA driving debut in a Top Alcohol dragster at last year’s NHRA Nevada Nationals, Tony Stewart is ready to compete full-time in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series for McPhillips Racing.
Stewart advanced to the Finals in his first NHRA event at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway last October, where he finished second to Madison Payne by two-10,000ths of a second. Stewart’s 5.258-second, 271.57 mph run in the Finals came up just one inch short out of 15,840 inches on the quarter-mile long drag strip, which made his desire to return to the seat even stronger.
“I am super excited about the season,” Stewart said. “It’s been a long winter and I think what’s made it feel even longer is the fact that we’ve been working on putting this package together with the McPhillips family to expand on what we did at Las Vegas last year and get back in the seat. I want to keep learning about the sport and have the opportunity to go compete more this year with a team I really enjoy. To be able to go to Vegas last year with the McPhillips family was really special. Pops (Rich McPhillips) and Richie (McPhillips Jr.) are an unbelievable family to drive for. Everyone on the crew is a fun group of guys to race with. It’s nerve-wracking to try and do something different, but when you have a team like what the McPhillips Racing team has, it makes everything a lot easier.”
The adaptable racer has earned championships across NASCAR, INDYCAR and USAC, along with hundreds of victories on oval tracks, dirt tracks and road courses. While his goal is to gain more experience behind the wheel of a dragster, he will be eligible to earn a NHRA National Championship to add to his impressive resume. Each Top Alcohol Dragster driver is eligible to earn points at their first ten national events. Their best six national finishes from their eligible points earning events will constitute their NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series national championship points total.
“It’s hard to sit there and know what expectations we should have for the year,” Stewart said. “I think as long as I keep learning more and more as I go by trying to be more consistent with driving the car, keep it in the groove, trying to stay consistent on reaction times and improve reaction times, those are all goals for me. I want to keep learning and get better every weekend and every race we go to.”
Joining Stewart in his quest for victory will be longtime partner Mobil 1, the world’s leading brand of synthetic motor oil.
“We’ve been there for Tony’s first championship as a NASCAR Cup Series team owner, his first time driving an F1 car, and his first time in an A/Fuel dragster,” said Rob Shearer, ExxonMobil Director Global Lubricants Marketing Services and Sponsorships. “When Tony said this is what he wanted to do next, we weren’t about to miss supporting him as he gets better acquainted with the water box this year. And each time one of our drivers takes the next step, so do our engineers, and Tony will be relying on our Mobil 1 Racing Nitro full synthetic racing oil all season long. It’s a technology that represents the next generation of Mobil 1 full synthetic motor oils that you can find on the shelf, but that journey typically begins right here on the track.”
Stewart won his third and final NASCAR Cup Series championship in 2011 with Mobil 1 as both a sponsor andtechnical partner. It’s a 13-year-and-counting partnership that encompasses Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR and Tony Stewart Racing (TSR) in the NHRA and World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series.
“I’m really excited about having Mobil 1 back on-board,” Stewart said. “They have been a great partner since I went to Stewart-Haas Racing. All the years of NASCAR Cup racing, sprint car racing and now drag racing, they’ve been there with me the whole time. It’s great to have a partner like Mobil 1 that believes in everything we do and wants to be a part of it with us. That’s something that means a lot to me. They’re a long-term partner and it’s relationships like that you value as a driver and team owner.”
The Columbus, Indiana native’s events will include the NHRA Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway, the NHRA Winternationals at Pomona Dragstrip, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, the NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at Charlotte (N.C) Dragway, the NHRA Nationals at Summit Racing Equipment Motorsports Park, the NHRA Nationals at Heartland Motorsports Park, the NHRA Nationals at Brainerd International Raceway, the NHRA U.S Nationals at Indianapolis Raceway Park, the NHRA Nationals at Maple Grove Raceway, the NHRA Carolina Nationals at Carolina Dragway, the Texas NHRA FallNationals at Texas Motorplex, the NHRA Nevada Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the NHRA Finals at Pomona Dragstrip.
On top of National events, he will also compete in select races in the Divisional Series, starting with the Division 2 Baby Gators, March 1-5 at Gainesville Raceway.
“Getting prepared for this season over the winter has been about trying to understand what the schedule is going to look like,” Stewart said.
“I’m just trying to prepare for every race track we go to – the shutdown areas and which way to turn off the race track. Just simple things and small details that the people that have been in this sport for years already know. That’s what this sport is all about, small details. Preparing for the season is thinking about all the small details it takes to be successful.
“You compete against so many talented people like Madison (Payne) at Las Vegas last year. There was no disgrace in finishing second to her because she is a great race car driver. It was an honor to be as close to her as we were in our first event. There are a bunch of great drivers and teams in that class and they really made me feel welcome. That’s one of the things I’m so excited about is that they make you feel like you’re a part of the family.”
With 13 driving championships to his resume, Stewart is looking forward to the year he’ll have in his Mobil 1 Top Alcohol Dragster and the potential to add a 14th title to his name.
“It’s been like being a little kid all over again,” Stewart said. “When I was racing go karts, I couldn’t wait for the winter to be over so I could go racing. That’s where I’m at all over again. I’m going to have great teammates in Matt Cummins and Jasmine Salinas. They are two people that have won a lot of races and championships. Having them as teammates will be an asset. The hard part is sometimes I’ll have to race them for the win. Hopefully we don’t get paired up until the end of the day and it’s a win for the team as a whole. I’m excited and honored to be a part of the NHRA.”
Stewart and his Top Alcohol counterparts in the Southeast Division begin their 2023 NHRA season March 1-5 in Gainesville, Florida for The Baby Gators. Q1 will take place on Thursday, March 2 at 9 a.m. EST. Qualifying continues on Friday, March 3 with Q2 at 8:30 a.m. EST. Q3 will take place on Saturday, March 4 at 8:30 a.m. EST, followed by Round 1 of eliminations at 9 a.m. EST, and continue through Sunday, March 5, with track action beginning at 9 a.m. EST. All the action will be streamed live on NHRA.TV.
IMSA Kicks Off 2023 with Double-Digit Audience Growth
A common refrain from the start of the Roar Before the Rolex 24 through the checkered flag on the 61st running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona was a noticeable uptick in the size of the audience.
“I think there were more people at the Roar than at the last bunch of Rolexes we’ve been to, so hats off to whoever is in charge of that,” said legendary team owner Chip Ganassi a few hours prior to the start of the Rolex 24. “It’s changed in a big way.”
“I think it’s important for the manufacturers that are supporting us to see the interest,” added another legendary team owner, Roger Penske. “We’re going to reach a bigger population from the standpoint of sports car racing, and I think that’s important.”
Indeed, with all of the audience metrics now in, a bigger population was reached during the month of January at Daytona – from fans at the racetrack, to those watching on television and those following the action from various locations around the world on their preferred device and platform.
For the Rolex 24 At Daytona event, Daytona International Speedway reported an all-time attendance record. A week earlier, a huge crowd buoyed by thousands of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts camping in the infield turned out for the Roar Before the Rolex 24.
The increase in at-track attendance was visible for all to see, but at the same time there was a significant increase in television viewership as well. NBC Sports reported that viewership was up 28 percent over the 2022 audience with an average of 360,000 TV-only viewers for the NBC and USA Network telecasts. All five TV windows on those two networks were up over the year before, with a peak viewership of 1.2 million.
While NBC Sports platforms served the domestic audience, IMSA.com, international broadcast partners and IMSA Radio brought the Rolex 24 to the world and posted impressive numbers as well. The Rolex 24 international race broadcast was available everywhere in the world via IMSA.com and in 17 international countries served via broadcast partners.
IMSA.com live streaming hours totaled 1.5 million to post a 25 percent year-over-year increase. There were 3.8 million total IMSA Radio connections for a five percent increase, and IMSA.com saw 4.3 million page views (+ 7 percent).
The launch of the “Win the Weekend” docuseries on IMSA’s YouTube channel just prior to the Rolex 24 surpassed 1.2 million views, with nearly one million viewers previously unexposed to IMSA content. IMSA’s collective social media channels saw impressive growth. Total engagements numbered 6 million, representing a 500 percent increase year-over-year, while 31 million video views accounted for a 72 percent increase across all social platforms.
“Our audience metrics from the Rolex 24 match what many of us saw with our own eyes,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “We believed that the introduction of our new, hybrid-powered GTP class would resonate with race fans, and these metrics proved it to be a resounding success. We couldn’t be prouder of the efforts of our IMSA and Daytona International Speedway teammates, the significant activation from many of our official automotive partners, and the tremendous on-track competition provided by our teams and drivers. We have substantial momentum that we expect to continue into the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring next month and throughout the 2023 IMSA season.”
Indian launches the Sport Chief for 2023
Indian Motorcycle, is set to unveil its most aggressive iteration of the iconic Indian Chief with the launch of Sport Chief. Building upon one of the most historic and influential motorcycle namesakes of all time, the 2023 Sport Chief raises the bar for American V-Twin performance cruisers through premium performance-oriented componentry and timeless, American styling.
Setting its sights on performance while maintaining timeless American style, Indian Motorcycle only utilized the finest components from proven brands with the Sport Chief. Featuring KYB® inverted front forks, also featured on Indian Challenger models, Sport Chief offers superior handling and ride performance. The Sport Chief’s dual-disc, four-piston, semi-floating caliper, radial-mounted Brembo® brakes deliver confidence-inspiring stopping power, while piggyback rear FOX® shocks increase travel to four-inches and increases lean angle to 29.5 degrees, compared to other Indian Chief models.
The 2023 Sport Chief will start at $18,999 and will be available in Black Smoke, Ruby Smoke, Stealth Gray, and Spirit Blue Smoke. Sport Chief will begin shipping to Indian Motorcycle dealers throughout the U.S. and Canada in March 2023.