Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 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.
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The 2020 Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship opened its competition season Sunday on Thunderhill Raceway Park’s three-mile, 15-turn circuit during a 33-lap race covering 99 miles. Those numbers -- 3, 15, 33 and 99 -- are all odd. But what wasn’t odd at all was to see Greg Pickett claim an overall and TA victory in the No. 6 Pickett Racing Ford Mustang.
It was XtremeGT (XGT) driver Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3, who started the race on pole and led the opening laps of the race. By the third lap, Pickett had moved past Gregg and extended his lead to upwards of 30 seconds on his way to the record-setting victory. With the win Sunday, Pickett has achieved the rarest of feats: collecting professional race wins in six consecutive decades.
“Trans Am is near and dear to my heart,” Pickett said. “To get one of these in each of six decades is a real accomplishment. I’m very proud of my team, and very proud of my family for letting me do this stuff for that long. And I’m proud to be competing at a high level and being very competitive.
“The weather, the heat, made it a little difficult today,” Pickett continued. “About 45 or 50 minutes into the race, the car started getting pretty loose. Thankfully, I had enough pace early to create a gap, and we fundamentally just cruised around later.”
Though he finished second overall, defending West Coast Championship winner Gregg marked his XGT Class debut with a strong run to the class win.
“Qualifying was a highlight and it was thrilling to get the track record,” said Gregg. “But consistency wins the race.”
The TA2® powered by AEM class was led to the green flag Sunday by the No. 49 Western Grinding Chevrolet Camaro of Ethan Wilson. He stayed out front the entire time, ending up with a four-second lead on runner-up Tim Lynn in the No. 17 RoofOptionsRacing/TFBPerform Ford Mustang. And with that, Wilson earned his first Trans Am West Coast victory.
“We were really strong all weekend,” Wilson said. “We knew we had the pace, but we had to keep the car underneath us. I made a smart start to get into the lead, and put in some hot laps to build a gap. And then it was just managing the brakes and tires throughout.”
Rounding out the TA2® podium was Tom Klauer in the No. 25 Naake-Klauer Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. Klauer moved to the third position after the No. 19 Butson Racing Chevrolet Camaro of Matthew Butson and the No. 76 Honeywell Competition & TFB Chevrolet Camaro of Anthony Honeywell tangled on course and fell out of contention for a podium appearance.
In SuperGT (SGT), Carl Rydquist led flag-to-flag driving the No. 4 MyRaceShop.com/Tel-Tac/Mendeola Factory Five Racing GTM. The victory couldn’t be called easy, however.
“Something happened with the left-rear tire. I was basically driving a three-wheeled car for the race,” Rydquist said afterwards. “So, today, we couldn’t quite show what we’ve got in the car.”
Beau Borders started on pole in the GT class driving the No. 7 APEX Race Parts Ford Mustang. But Joe Bogetich, driving the No. 65 Westover Corporation Chevrolet Camaro, had the lead by the end of lap one. On lap six, Borders popped into the pits to deal with an overheating motor. He came back out on track nearly a full minute behind Bogetich.
Turns out that wasn’t an insurmountable gap for Borders as he slowly reeled in Bogetich. At the end, Bogetich’s winning margin was only three seconds.
“If this race had gone another lap or two, he would’ve gotten around me,” Bogetich acknowledged while holding his first-place trophy.
Next up for the 2020 Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship is an August 21-23 visit to Sonoma Raceway about 45 minutes north of San Francisco. Fans can follow live timing and scoring on GoTransAm.com.
- Reduction in ticket availability to conform with state and local guidelines for sporting events
- Reserved seating areas to include buffer zones to provide ample space between fans
- Everyone (including fans, competitors, staff, etc.) on-property will undergo a medical screening prior to admittance into the facility
- Fans entering the venue will be required to wear facial coverings. Masks will be provided at no charge.
- Enhanced sanitation and disinfection protocols with frequent cleaning throughout the facility
- Enhancements to mobile ticketing and elimination of printed tickets
- Regular medical screening of staff and competitors
Its list of winners is a “who’s who” of racing, from Mark Donohue and Peter Gregg to Tommy Kendall and Dorsey Schroeder, from Paul Gentilozzi and Scott Pruett all the way to Ernie Francis Jr. and Rafa Matos.
This weekend marks the 49th Trans Am feature race at Wisconsin’s picturesque Kettle Moraine.
The Trans Am Series debuted in 1966, and first visited Road America during its classic 1970 Campaign. Donohue took his first of back-to-back triumphs in Roger Penske’s red, white and blue AMC Javelin, as the inaugural event saw Donohue and Parnelli Jones tie for fastest race lap, with Bud Moore Ford Mustang driver George Follmer winning the pole.
John Greenwood was the 1973 winner in one of his famed Corvettes. The following year, Gregg took his first of three Road America victories, in different Brumos Racing 911-based Porsches. He won in a Carrera in 1974; a 934 in 1977; and a turbocharged 935 in 1979. The series held two feature races in 1977, with Ludwig Heimrath winning the Saturday event in a Porsche 934.
The mid-1980s saw David Hobbs win the 1983 event in a Camaro. Jack Roush fielded five consecutive winners beginning with Willy T. Ribbs in 1985; Pete Halsmer in 1986-87; Scott Pruett in 1988; and Dorsey Schroeder in 1989. Tommy Kendall ended Roush’s reign by winning in a Chevrolet Beretta in 1990, but the tall Californian put Roush back on top in 1996-97, taking back-to-back races in a Ford Mustang.
Schroeder also won in a Tom Gloy Mustang in 1994, with Buz McCall Camaro driver Scott Sharp winning in 1991 and 1993. Also winning in Gloy Mustangs were Ron Fellows (1992) and Boris Said (1995).
“Road America was my favorite track, because it was the closest to where I grew up in St. Louis,” Schroeder said. “It was a four-mile track, and coming from a background with Formula Atlantic, H Production and Sports Renault, I’ll never forget the speed the Trans Am car carried down the straightaways, the kink and the carrousel. To be able to win against those guys my first time around was fantastic – one of my career highlights, for sure. My second win was memorable, because it was raining and I was following my teammate, Ronnie Fellows, in Canada Corner. He had just taken the lead from me, and when he locked up his brakes, he spun into the gravel. Seeing that, I had enough distance to save the car, avoid spinning and go on to win the race.”
The end of the Nineties saw the emergence of Paul Gentilozzi’s Rocketsports as the dominant team at Road America. The team owner won in 1999 in a Mustang and in 2000 in a Jaguar. Gentilozzi also fielded winning Jaguar XKRs for Pruett (2003), Kendall (2004) and Klaus Graf (2005). Another double winner was Said, who triumphed in 2002 in a Panoz Experante.
Graf’s victory was the last Trans Am appearance for four years, ending 36 consecutive years at Road America. The relaunched series returned in 2009, with Cliff Ebben winning in a Mustang in 2009, 2011 and 2016, and Tony Ave’s Corvettes winning in 2010 and 2012. Doug Peterson was the 2013 and 2014 winner in a Corvette.
The Francis era begin in 2014, with the young Floridan winning his first of back-to-back TA3 Am victories. Francis took the Breathless Mustang to victory in TA4 in 2016, and then to the TA class the following year, winning overall in 2017 and 2019. Said won his third race in three decades in 2018 in a Dodge Challenger.
TA2® debuted in 2011 as a separate class on the four-mile circuit, with Scott Tucker winning in a Porsche 997. Cameron Lawrence won the class in 2013 and 2014, with Ave adding another victory in 2015. For 2016, Tony Buffomante won the first stand-along TA2®, with other winners Sheldon Creed (2017), Ty Majeski (2018) and Matos (2019).
Schroeder continues to remain active with the series, now serving as Race Director at each event. He shared a few ideas about his keys to winning two races at Elkhart Lake.
“Probably the biggest secret to racing at Road America is you really have to set up the car good enough so that you will still have something to race at the finish,” Schroeder said. “You run the car really hard there, you lean on the tires and brakes really hard. You have to leave enough for the end to do combat. Trans Am often gets down to a caution with a few laps to go, and you better have a lot left, because you’re going to work hard during those final laps.”
Trans Am will make a huge return in 2020, featuring a robust 51-car field among the five classes, TA, TA2® powered by AEM, Xtreme GT, SuperGT and GT.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli field will participate in a test day on Thursday. Friday kicks off with a pair of practice sessions in the morning, followed by split back-to-back qualifying sessions in the afternoon.
The weekend ends with the TA/XGT/SGT/GT 100-mile feature starting at 8:00 a.m. Central, followed by TA2® powered by AEM Muscle Car Challenge starting at 2:15 p.m. Central. For live timing and scoring, event photos and post-race recap videos visit GoTransAm.com. For live race updates follow @GoTransAm on Twitter.
CrowdStrike Racing is gearing up for its biggest weekend of competition in SRO America – its home event at Sonoma Raceway just north of San Francisco. A new-look way of hosting guests in a virtual environment, exclusive online content and other special features will be part of the CrowdStrike experience from August 7–9.
All this will be available, virtually, to CrowdStrike and AWS staff, guests, supporters, fans and executive conference attendees throughout the GT World Challenge America Sonoma 2020 Powered by AWS and Sponsored by CrowdStrike. It’s the most advanced experiential program by CrowdStrike at any motorsports event since it became active in SRO America in 2017.
“This is the most unique weekend for CrowdStrike that we have ever had,” said CrowdStrike CEO and co-founder George Kurtz, who also drives for CrowdStrike Racing in the premier GT World Challenge series. “Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic forced a break in our racing, we quickly began planning how best we can educate and entertain our clients and supporters in new and interactive ways. I think it’s safe to say that what we have planned sets a new standard in exclusive, interactive content anywhere in SRO’s global platform. We are excited and proud to be associated with this historic weekend at our home track in Sonoma.”
This all is in addition to CrowdStrike Racing coming off its biggest on-track achievement as part of GT World Challenge Powered by AWS with the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3: an overall victory at Virginia International Raceway for Kurtz and Colin Braun.
A NEW ONLINE EXPERIENCE
At the center of CrowdStrike’s virtual experience surrounding Sonoma is an event-specific page on the new crowdstrikeracing.com that will offer a number of opportunities for visitors to go behind the scenes of the CrowdStrike Racing and DXDT Racing operation.
The highlight of the online experience will be an exclusive live stream of both 90-minute, two-driver races: 1:45 p.m. PT on Saturday, Aug. 8, and 1:15 p.m. PT on Sunday, Aug. 9. The stream goes beyond GT World Challenge’s standard race broadcast. The CrowdStrike production will have its own special commentary with additional on-board footage of the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Additional online content will include a tech talk with CJ Moses and Kevin Boehm, CrowdStrike drivers in the TC America series, CrowdStrike Racing racecar walk-arounds, driver and team Q&A sessions, plus a downloadable coloring book for the youngest racing fans.
There also is business to tend to during the weekend. The latest of CrowdStrike’s CXO Summits will be a virtual offering on Friday, Aug. 7. Appropriately, discussion with CrowdStrike leadership will focus on how businesses can continue to remain secure both physically and digitally in a dynamic environment that is increasingly remote for many businesses.
GT WORLD CHALLENGE POWERED BY AWS
Teammates Kurtz and Braun will arrive at Sonoma with aspirations to break their tie in the GT World Challenge America Drivers Championship lead, with valuable points earned thanks to their thrilling victory at Virginia International Raceway in the most recent SRO America event.
Kurtz took the checkered flag by 0.226 seconds in a close, exciting finish. Braun had started the race second and held the position for the first 50 minutes before the No. 04 CrowdStrike Mercedes-AMG took the lead for good after the race’s mandatory pit stop for fuel, tires and driver change to Kurtz.
Proving that “Every Second Counts”, the DXDT Racing crew performed the fastest pit stop of the weekend to install Kurtz into the lead for good despite a late-race caution period that erased an 11-second lead.
“We’re all looking forward to getting back to the racetrack, especially at a place like Sonoma Raceway,” Braun said. “It’s been an amazing start to our season with George and our Mercedes-AMG Evo package. I’m confident that we are hitting our peak at the right time. It couldn’t come at a better time with all the things that CrowdStrike has planned around this weekend. There will be many eyes on us at Sonoma, and we plan to give all our fans a great show for their support. I know George and I will continue to focus on improving and executing our plan even under that extra pressure & excitement!”
Braun and Kurtz also posted second-place finishes during the season-opening weekend at Circuit of The Americas to start their championship challenge.
TOURING CAR AMERICA
Moses and Boehm are eager to return to competition at Sonoma in TC America. Both are looking to build on the experience gained in the first two event weekends in their Honda Performance Development racecars. The Sonoma weekend will again include three TC America races – one each on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Moses showed promise at both Circuit of The Americas and VIR in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT HPD Civic Type R TCR on the heels of a very strong and successful SRO Winter Series.
The VIR weekend shaped up to be Moses’ best of 2020 with impressive pace early in the event. However, a series of mechanical issues prevented Moses from showing the true potential of the No. 04 HPD Type R TCR. With those issues resolved, he is confident of climbing up the class standings at Sonoma.
“It was good to get a taste of what the CrowdStrike/AWS HPD Type R TCR is capable of in the early-going at VIR,” Moses said. “Now as we head to Sonoma, confidence is growing. This is a very technical track that requires total focus. I’m very excited for what this event sponsored by CrowdStrike offers. It will be great for us all to race and interact with our supporters from all over.”
Boehm is coming off three consecutive fourth-place TCA finishes at VIR in his No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS HPD Civic Si. In his first season of racing at the SRO level, Boehm has shown impressive speed and performance early with a podium finish at COTA among his highlights.
The four-time SCCA National Champion is eager to take the next step at Sonoma, a track he has visited just once but came away from with his third SCCA National Championship.
“I think we’re setting up for a good event at Sonoma,” Boehm said. “Sonoma is a track that rewards both patience and aggressiveness. I’m confident we have our issues from VIR resolved and can challenge for race wins at Sonoma. To get our first win would be a bonus with all the support from CrowdStrike and all it is putting into this event. I’m excited to be part of it.”
CrowdStrike Racing will be part of SRO America’s event weekend at Sonoma Raceway from Aug. 6-9. For more information on the series, visit the new crowdstrikeracing.com.
For years, Jean and Aaron Wilson watched races at Road America from their favorite spot in Turn Six. They got to know the fans around them, forming a “racing family” that met every year. Even after Jean was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, she and Aaron still found joy in the community and excitement of racing. Jean passed away in November, and this weekend will be Aaron’s first race without his beloved wife by his side. Jean will be celebrated and remembered by her racing family and by Racing to Alzheimer’s, who has added her name to the #80 BimmerWorld BMW M4 GT4.
Jean’s name joins over 120 others that are emblazoned on the #80 BMW, which is driven by Nick Galante and Dillon Machavern in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series. Racing to End Alzheimer’s is a non-profit, and supporters can contribute $250 for the opportunity to put the name and hometown of a loved one affected by Alzheimer’s on the car. Aaron’s fraternity brothers at Alpha Phi Alpha decided that was the perfect way to honor Jean and to help fight Alzheimer’s.
100% of proceeds goes to organizations working to find a cure and to provide improved care. A matching donation from corporate sponsor Legistics doubles the amount of money to make an even bigger impact.
To Racing to End Alzheimer’s, everyone fighting the disease is a champion in their own right. “Every time you see a name on our car honoring someone, it represents not just that person affected by Alzheimer’s, but also their family who literally stops just about everything to provide love and care,” says Racing to End Alzheimer’s founder Phil Frengs. “So I salute the families’ champions — the person named on the car and each one of the family members who show their love and respect to their loved one. I send nothing but my best wishes and my love to them, as well.”
During the hiatus in racing during the first half of the year, Frengs decided to honor the Racing to End Alzheimer’s champions in another way. He created On the Road Again: The Ultimate Tour for the Cure. This two-week road trip from Daytona Beach, Fla., to Monterey, Calif., raised awareness and funds in a BMW M4 that looked just like the race car, including all of the names. Along the way, Frengs presented checks to both the Nantz National Alzheimer Center at Houston Methodist Hospital and UCLA’s Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program.
Now that racing is underway again, fans can look for Jean’s name on the #80 BimmerWorld BMW when the race starts on Saturday, August 1 at 2:45pm ET. It will be broadcast live on IMSA.tv and again on Sunday, August 2 at 12:05pm on Trackpass on NBC Sports Gold.