Saturday, Nov 26
Adam Sinclair

Adam Sinclair

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  

  

 

Mikhail Goikhberg continued his march from the front of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda series, completing a weekend sweep of Rounds 5 and 6 with a victory Saturday at Watkins Glen International. The unstoppable Canadian has won five of six rounds this season in the No. 10 JDC Motorsports Élan DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine and on Cooper Tires. He finished second in Round 3 on June 7 at Kansas Speedway and has 118 points this season, just two shy of perfection. 

"I want to thank JDC and everyone who is involved in that program," Goikhberg said. "We are getting better every weekend, and I really like where this program is going. And thanks to Cooper Tires and Mazda for making this series possible. The tires were very consistent and manageable in this race." 

Andrew Novich and Hayden Duerson finished second and third, respectively, today on the 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit at scenic, historic Watkins Glen to each record their first career podium finishes in the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Development Series. 

Goikhberg won Round 5 under caution Friday. But he had to work harder for the victory Saturday morning under a second consecutive day of brilliant sunshine. 

After starting from the pole, Goikhberg rocketed to a lead of 13.009 seconds over Craig Duerson just 15 minutes into the 45-minute race. But Goikhberg's cruise control ended shortly thereafter when the No. 31 Eurosport Racing entry of Michal Chlumecky spun into the gravel in the famous "Boot" section of the circuit, triggering a full-course yellow. 

"We worked to a nice, comfortable lead there and just tried to conserve the tires," Goikhberg said. "When you are chasing someone, that (full-course yellow) is the greatest thing in the world. But when you are leading, you are not looking forward to being chased." 

Craig Duerson's No. 27 Performance Tech Motorsports entry suffered a mechanical problem in Turn 3 during the caution period, forcing him out of the race. The withdrawal of Duerson - Hayden Duerson's father - lifted 16-year-old Matt McMurry to second and Novich to third. 

But Novich judged the restart perfectly, zooming from third to first on the front straightaway and into Turn 1. Novich, from Novato, California, built his lead to .469 of a second over Goikhberg two laps after the restart in the No. 61 Comprent Motor Sports entry. 

Goikhberg struck back one lap later, passing Novich for the lead with eight minutes remaining in the race. Goikhberg then pulled away over the closing laps, taking the checkered flag 4.336 seconds ahead of Novich. 

"There is just no holding off Mikhail," Novich said. "He's so much quicker through the corners. He didn't even out-motor us; it was pure driver skill. He's got a lot of experience, and that's what it takes to win here." 

Hayden Duerson, from Gulfport, Mississippi, was 8.349 seconds behind the winner in the No. 39 Performance Tech Motorsports entry. He took third late in the race when McMurry spun. 

 "Starting 12th, we really had our work cut out for us today," Duerson added. "We thought we had to change engines last night, so going into today I was hoping to just survive the race and see what happened from there. As the race progressed, I just picked off one car at a time and really kept my head about me. Coming up to the restart I realized I was in fifth, and after my dad had a mechanical issue, I was able to capture fourth, then third at the start. And when I looked in the mirrors, I saw they were really far behind and Mikhail (Goikhberg) and Andrew (Novich) had gotten away. I decided it was best just to maintain my pace, finish the race and bring the car home for Performance Tech."

Lamont Harris, from Palm Beach, Florida, finished fourth overall and was the leading Masters (age 40 and older) finisher in the No. 65 8Star Motorsports entry. John Falb, from Las Vegas, finished fifth overall and was the second Masters finisher in the No. 77 ONE Motorsports entry. 

"It was a great race and a really fun weekend," commented Harris. "It took awhile to get going. I really like the longer races and wish all of the races could be longer. The biggest difference between yesterday and today for me was the time in the car. It takes a little bit longer for me to get into my groove, so the longer races play better into what I'm doing out there."

Gerry Kraut, from North Oaks, Minnesota, was sixth overall and the third Masters finisher in the No. 55 JDC Motorsports car. 

Jerome Mee, from Bellaire, Texas, rebounded from a crash in Round 5 Friday to earn his first Lites 2 victory of the season in the No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing entry. Lites 2 championship leader Brian Alder, from Marysville, Ohio, finished second in the No. 22 BAR1 Motorsports car. Round 5 Lites 2 winner Ludovico Manfredi, from Key Biscayne, Florida, placed third today in L2 in the No. 30ANSA Motorsports entry. 

 "I am very excited," Mee said. "It was a long race. Great race. I got very lucky and got a jump on Brian (Alder) early. He had great pace in qualifying, so I was quite surprised by that. But my car got up to speed really quickly, and I was able to build a good lead for a while. Then the restart came, and Ludovico (Manfredi) did a great job catching me on the restart. I was able to rein him back in, and then he just had a slight mishap, I think, at (Turn) 7, and I cut inside him and got him and cruised it the rest of the way home. I have to thank Brad and my crew. We were here until 12:30 a.m. last night wrenching that car after the wreck, and I am just flat-out exhausted. Great race."

Rounds 7 and 8 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda will take place July 10-13 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, the only rounds of the series in Canada. 

For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter. For more information about Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #CTPL @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.

 

After starting from the pole of  Saturday’s Round Five of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, part of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston at NRG Park Kenton Koch, of Glendora, California dominated the race and finished  finished the race with a 23-second lead. 
 
His domination started during Friday's qualifying session, where his No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5 finished the 30-minute qualifying session with best lap of 1:22.536 (71.270 mph). Koch said he was feeling very comfortable at the controls of his machine, and his lap time broke the previous qualifying record by 1.5 seconds.
 
“The car is very solid,” Koch said. “At this point the only thing that can go wrong is me. I think things are starting to turn around this season. I’ve gotten my head in the game.
 
Hot and humid conditions in the city that sits on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico created difficult conditions for Saturday's race. The exhaustion could be seen on the faces of each driver as they climbed from their racing machines. The podium finishers, while standing in a sweat-drenched driver suit, were barely able to bring forth a smile for the victory circle photos.
 
“The car was great,” Koch said. “The car was handling so good that I barely felt like I was exerting any energy, but the heat really gets to you. There’s no breeze coming into the car, even though it’s an open cockpit, because the windshield just blocks it all. The air just gets deflected around you, and with these conditions it took a toll on me.”
 
While finishing second, Dean’s No. 16 Projections Research/PPG MX-5 sustained damage as a result of the uneven surface of the street circuit. The damage forced him to keep from driving his car at the absolute limit.
 
“This track is just brutal,” Dean said. “By the second or third lap, the brake master cylinder went bad. I had to put my foot to the floor just to get the car to slowed down. It didn’t matter how early I braked, it just wasn’t going to slow the car down.
 
Driving the No. 8 OOTSK Performance/Bimmerworld MX-5, Sparks completed the podium after starting in the ninth position. Consistent laps and patience were the two things that helped Sparks get to the front.
 
“Starting ninth, I knew I was going to have to play a waiting game,” Sparks said. “I stayed back, followed the pack and tried to make smart moves. On lap 23, a five other guys got bunched up going into turn three and I was able to pass four cars in the span of 100 feet. Once I got around them, I was able to stretch my legs and get out in front of them.
 
Joey Bickers, of Moorpark, California, brought his No. 29 Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5 home in fourth. On lap 24, Bickers was able to make an outside pass by Lucas Catania stick as the two battled for position heading around the NRG Astro Dome.
 
Catania, of Cazenovia, New York, completed the top five positions. Starting from the inside of the third row, Catania nailed the standing start in his No. 17 Atlanta Motorsports Group/NY Spine & Wellness/SOS MX-5. Catania was able to pick up two positions before getting to the turn two chicane. However, by the start of lap two Patrick Gallagher had gotten back to third place, before dropping out of the race after making light contact with the concrete barrier just past Turn 9.
 
In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, Drake Kemper, of Toluca Lake, California, led the class from beginning to end. Driving the No. 99 Royal Rugby SBMX-5, he made the most of his prime starting position, which allowed him to put some room between himself and second place.
 
“I couldn’t be more relieved,” Kemper said. “We had a great race without any serious incidents with evenly-spaced yellow flags. I was able to group up with a couple Cup cars and ran away.
 
Ben Albano, of Greenwich, Connecticut, drove to a second-place finish at the controls of his No. 61 Project Yellow Light SBMX-5. Robby Foley, of Randolph, New Jersey, completed the podium, holding the position from beginning to end.
 
Round Six of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires took place on Sunday, at noon (CDT).
 

Colin Thompson earned his first career Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama victory in wild fashion Friday at Watkins Glen International, passing championship rival Angel Benitez Jr. in the final turn. The young man from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, held off Benitez by .108 of a second at the finish in the No. 14 Kelly Moss/Porsche of Bucks County 911 GT3 Cup car. He worked lapped traffic perfectly over the closing laps to pass Michael Lewis and catch Benitez, trimming a gap of 4.797 seconds to Benitez with less than five minutes remaining in the 45-minute race.  

"If you would have told me I was going to win the race with six laps to go, I would never believe you," Thompson said. "But I was able to make a pass on Michael that didn't slow us up, and we were wicked good getting through lapped traffic. When I got to Angel, going into the first corner of the last lap, it was a battle to get by him and we were able to sneak by him on the last corner of the last lap."

Lewis placed third in the No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian entry, just .355 of a second behind Thompson in a fantastic finish in Round 6 of the season.  

The final lap was a breathtaking duel between Benitez and Thompson, with their dramatic dicing through lapped traffic to add another twist.  

Benitez, from Valencia, Venezuela, led Thompson by .113 of a second in the No. 05 Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport Porsche at the white flag. Both cars snaked around the 11-turn, 3.4-mile circuit in tandem on the final lap. Benitez came up on the lapped car of Seth Davidow - Thompson's Kelly Moss Motorsports teammate -- in the famous "Boot" section of the circuit, with less just four turns remaining in the race.  

Davidow made his car wide, letting Thompson get a critical run exiting the penultimate corner of the circuit, a left-hander. Then Benitez and Thompson split Davidow's lapped car entering the final corner, a right-hander, with Benitez on the outside and Thompson on the inside.  

Thompson dove hard for the curbing in the corner and made his Porsche 911 GT3 Cup stick at the apex, powering out of the corner and driving to the checkered for a thrilling first victory. International Motor Sports Association officials penalized Davidow 30 seconds after the race for blocking.  

"We had a good car, an incredible car," said Benitez, who drives for the only single-car team in the Platinum Cup division. "The guys from Formula Motorsport and Avid Motorsports did a great job setting up the car. We were the fastest, and we were away from the pack. And suddenly other teams with more cars were putting their cars in front of me just to block me. He (Thompson) passed me in the last turn, and it's not cool at all that teams do that. We are all here trying to do our best to improve. They shouldn't win like that. I want to say thank you to IMSA for doing this, and I know they will do the best to resolve it."  

Thompson took the championship lead by two points, 96-94, over Benitez with the victory. He and Benitez entered this event tied atop the standings with 76 points.

Kasey Kuhlman, from Cincinnati, finished fourth overall and was the first Platinum Masters (age 45 and older) finisher in the No. 15 Wright Motorsports entry. Christina Nielsen, from Aarhus, Denmark, rounded out the top five in the No. 25 NGT Motorsport Porsche.  

"It was my first start on the first row since 2011, so I was very excited," Kuhlman added. "I had a good car. I lost my helmet cooler right at the start of the race, and the heat just got to me. Fatigue, I think, cost me an (overall) podium spot. It was a good run. Didn't make a lot of mistakes but just a little slower than the rest of the group. I'm happy with the day overall."

Javier Quiros finished second in the Platinum Masters in the No. 27 NGT Motorsport entry, with David Williams rounding out the Platinum Masters podium in the No. 37 TPC Racing 911 GT3 Cup car.  

 "At the beginning, I tried to keep up with the big bunch of guys, but I don't know - something happened to me," Quiros explained. "My brake or something got stuck, and everyone started passing me. In about the eighth lap, I thought to myself, 'OK, Javier, you can either stop in the pits and drink water or start to move. So I decided to start moving. And I did, but it was little too late. I picked up quite a few places and was able to get second in the class, but tomorrow I want the win."

Masters driver Michael Levitas was the top Gold Cup (2010-2013 model cars) finisher in the No. 35 TPC Racing entry. Joining Levitas on the Gold Cup podium were runner-up and fellow Masters driver Jeff Mosing in the No. 01 Topp Racing entry and Kristin Treager in the No. 52 Wright Motorsports Porsche.  

"It's just flippin' fantastic. It was a great race," added Levitas. "That was just a classic race from top to bottom, where if I wasn't good at the start, it was done. It was tough. It was just a great race. This is how races should be. Great competition, great series. IMSA just did a fantastic job, and the competitors are awesome. But I'll tell you when I get home I'm getting Yokohama tires for my Porsche. My car was so tight on the start. I was grinding my front left tire so hard. I had such confidence with those tires. Yokohama, great tires."

2009 Gold Cup season champion Melanie Snow was the third driver on the Gold Masters podium in her season debut in the No. 57 Wright Motorsports Porsche. 

 "I had a really bad start, so I was trying to make it back up," Snow stated. "There was a car off in just about every turn on that first lap, so if you could avoid the mayhem it was good. I just tried to get my head back together and get back in the groove after all the weaving and swerving. And then I just picked it up. I think I overdrove a little in the beginning and wore my tires down, so I had to let them rest. I was hoping to catch chase Kristin (Treager) and (Patrick-Otto) Madsen down in the end, and I just wasn't able to do it. It was my own fault. I pushed too hard in the beginning and had some quick laps, but it was so fun to be back in the car again and so great to be back here. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little better for me." 

Mark Bullitt earned the Yokohama Hard Charger Award after climbing to ninth after starting 14th in his No. 26 NGT Motorsport Porsche.  

"It was very good," Bullitt concluded. "The car was great, and the track is amazing. We didn't have a lot of traffic to deal with, so we could make up a lot of spots step by step. It was very consistent, just good times."

Round 7 of the season, another 45-minute race, was held at 6:45 p.m. (ET) Saturday.  

For more information about Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, visitwww.gt3cupchallengeusa.com, follow hashtag #GT3USA @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook. For live updates of on-track action during the season, follow @IMSALive on Twitter.

Mikhail Goikhberg drove to his fourth win in five races this season in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Round 5 race Friday at Watkins Glen International. The driver from North Vancouver, British Columbia, led all but a half of a lap the 30-minute race and built almost a five-second lead over the rest of the field on the No. 10 JDC Motorsports entry before the final yellow flag that ended the race.

"We are taking it by a race-by-race approach, and it has been working for us," Goikhberg said. "The race was rather uneventful for us, but we will learn some things for tomorrow." 

Robert Alon's second place finish at the 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit was his first podium of the 2014 season in the No. 9Performance Tech Motorsports entry. Richard Fant grabbed third and first place in the Masters championship in his No. 44 Ferrari of Houston Race Team entry.

 "I kept the race car on the track with is always good," Fant said. "And a few guys took themselves out, which I appreciate as long as they didn't get hurt. But I was able to move up and finish third overall and P1 in Masters, so I'm real happy about that."

 While Goikhberg controlled the race from the front, for most of the race Andrew Novich and Craig Duerson battled for second. An incident between the two toward the end of the race took them both out of contention, leaving the door open for the rest of the field.

Ludovico Manfredi was the top Lites 2 finisher in the No. 30 ANSA Motorsports Élan DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine after avoiding a crazy first turn and first lap. 

"It was hectic at the start, which is probably why I managed to win the race because much of the competition was eliminated around the first corner on the first lap," Manfredi said. "I got hit, too, but for some reason the car was able to continue, and from there on it was pretty uneventful for me. But it's a great track, and it is an honor to be here under any circumstances." 

The second race, a 45-minute event, was held at 8:10 a.m. (ET) Saturday, June 28. For more information about Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #CTPL @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.

 

Performance Tech Motorsports survived a hectic Race 1 at Watkins Glen International for Round 5 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda series. Each of the drivers finished the race with a unique story.
 
Robert Alon landed his first podium of the season with a second-place finish in the L1 category.
 
"The team just put a great car under me," Alon said. "We didn't have the best qualifying. We got caught in some traffic, and some stuff went down. But the car held up, we stuck to it and had an amazing outcome. I'm excited to land on my first podium of the season." 
 
Hayden Duerson and Jon Brownson battled for positions after dealing with consequences of driver error.
 

"We had a good start," Duerson said. "Went into Turn 1 and unfortunately the first-lap incident was right in front of us. I had to actually go up over the exit curbing and off to the side to avoid it. I got very lucky that I wasn't involved in that. After the restart, we were running ninth, and we were making progress. Unfortunately I turned the car off on my own while making an adjustment to the handling. I accidentally hit the ignition switch and from there, once we got the car fired back up, we were in the back, and it became a game of how many cars I could pass before the end. While that's unfortunate, we know we have a good car for tomorrow." 

 "Race one lived up to the excitement that is Prototype Lites racing," Brownson said. "I thought that I was getting off to a good start. I guess I got off to a little too good of a start, according to the officials. Such is life sometimes. Sometimes you're the windshield; sometimes you're the bug! But it's a beautiful racetrack, a great place to be racing and a great series to be racing in. It's great to be out there, and I look forward to a better performance tomorrow."

Craig Duerson found himself caught in an on-track incident after dealing with knockback, a brake issue when excessive gases separate the brake pads from the rotor, creating a soft brake pedal.
 
"It was a good race," Craig Duerson said. "The car was good, but the track conditions were a little slippery. But overall, the car was handling well. First session, I pulled away, and then there was a four-lap caution. Honestly, third and fourth jumped the restart. And that kind put me back down. I passed one car and was going to pass the other and had no brakes. I went over and apologized. It was my fault. It hurts me in the points. I realize that. I'm not out there to crash. I am out there to race clean and have everybody's respect and have everyone else race clean. And I'm looking for rules to be enforced when things happen that shouldn't." 
 
Joel Janco ran a clean race and was able to keep his car out of the drama on track. 
 
"The race went well," Janco said. "We didn't have any incidents, really. I didn't damage the car, and I wasn't last! I think we did pretty well."

Team Principal Brent O'Neill is looking past the difficulties to Race 2 Saturday, when he is confident in his drivers and his Prototype Lites cars ability to land on podium.

 "Race one was tough," O'Neill said. "I think Craig turned the fastest lap of the race, so we should be starting on the pole. I don't know what happened. He must have gotten some knockback in the brakes or something. But (Andrew) Novich had blocked him twice in the Bus Stop, so at the end of the day, something was going to happen. Mikhail (Goikhberg) had us all covered today, but we'll work on the cars and be ready for tomorrow."

The fighting five completed their Watkins Glen weekend with Performance Tech at 8:10 a.m. (ET) Saturday, June 28 for Race 2 of Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda. Follow the race on live timing and scoring onscoring.imsa.com/series/prototype-lites

 Christian Szymczak, of Palos Verdes, California, stopped the clock with the quickest time in the first practice for Round Five of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, part of the Shell and Pennzoil Grand Prix of Houston at NRG Park, while  Kenton Koch, of Glendora, California set the fastest time in practice two
 
While Szymczak will not compete in either of the two races at the Grand Prix of Houston, he showed no lack of pace in his No. 34 ALARA Racing MX-5 setting a 1:23.456 (73.332 mph). After winning last year’s Mazda MX-5 Championship last year, Szymczak is putting in some time behind the wheel of a race car in preparation for next season when he is schedule to utilize his Mazda Scholarship funds.
 
“The course started out really slick,” Szymczak said. “That may affect what we do with the car, moving forward. The curbs seem really harsh, a lot more than last year. I’ll have to talk with the engineers to see what we can do as the weekend progresses. We’ll see how the cars hold up since we’re really putting a beating on them out there.”
 
Dean, the Championship point leader, was third quick in session one with a time of 1:24.259 (72.633 mph). On the No. 16 Projections Research/PPG MX-5, Dean is trying a completely new setup that is completely different than the one used last year at this event.
 
“We’ve done a lot of work to figure out what is going to work best before coming out here,” Dean said. “After last year, even with only two sessions, we knew it was going to be bumpy. We have a completely different setup on the car. It’s a lot different than what we’re used to. I thought the car was working really well, under me.”
 
In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge class, Drake Kemper, of Toluca Lake, California, was the top driver. He stopped the clock at 1:26.091 (71.087 mph) while driving the No. 99 Royal Rugby SBMX-5.
 
“Coming into this weekend I was a little worried,” Kemper said. “I didn’t do that well in practice. We had a lot of problems with the brakes going out quickly. The first goal was just survival, at this point. I’m glad the whole session went green. I’m just feeling comfortable, right now.”
 
In his No. 12 ALARA Racing/Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Tires MX-5, Koch finished the  second 30-minute practice session with a best lap of 1:22.855 (73.864 mph). That time is faster than the existing track record, but Koch feels like there is still some time to be found on course.
 
“I feel really good right now,” Koch said. “The car is incredibly solid. The ALARA guys put together a great car for this weekend. I’ve never driven a better car. Considering the changing conditions of a street course, it has been working flawlessly.
 
The points leader Dean brought the No. 16 Projections Research/PPG MX-5 back to the paddock after claiming the second position with a 1:23.398 (73.387 mph). After some mid-session adjustments, Dean is looking forward to moving forward with the race weekend.
 
“We went out with the same car with which we ended last session,” Dean said. “We were at a loss as to what to change since the car felt so good during the first practice. The car felt different this time. I’m not sure what changed, but we were still out on old tires. So, we’ll see what new rubber affects the handling.
 
Cooper, driving the No. 48 Atlanta Motorsports Group MX-5, is showing why he is a former series Champion. Cooper clawed his way to third in practice two, with a fast time of 1:23.929 (72.918 mph). Cooper ran this track in a different series last year, making the learning curve less steep. However, learning what it takes to go fast in an MX-5 Cup car has taken a little adjustment.
 
“We’re working on some stuff,” Cooper said. “The track is interesting. I raced here last year, but it’s hard to translate the experience in a different class to these Cup cars.”
 
In the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge, Ben Albano, of Greenwich, Connecticut, was at the top of the class for session two. He set a fast lap of 1:25.617 (71.481 mph) in his No. 61 Project Yellow Light SBMX-5. Albano is looking to keep his momentum going heading into the rest of the weekend.
 
“Consistency is going to be key as we progress through the weekend,” Albano said. “The BFGoodrich tires and Hawk Performance brakes have held up really well. It’s just a matter of conserving the car and not pushing the car past its limit. It’s so easy to overdrive the car, especially on a circuit like this. I can’t give enough credit to the brake and tire manufacturers for their products.
 
The SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires hits the track for qualifying Saturday, at 8:30 a.m. (CDT), with Round Five starting at 12:10 p.m. (CDT). Round Six is slated to take place on Sunday, at noon (CDT).
 
The USAC Silver Crown Series returns to Memphis International Raceway (MIR) on Sunday after a 10-year hiatus. There will be 18 drivers, including NASCAR driver and hometown favorite Ricky Stenhouse Jr., competing for the coveted win at the .75-mile race track.
 
USAC Silver Crown Series regulars Tracy Hines and Kody Swanson are heading into MIR tied for first-place in the point standings with 228. They are just 27 points ahead of two-time champion Bobby East after four races in the 2014 season. Hines may have the advantage on Sunday as he has competed in all four previous USAC races at MIR. His best finish of second came in 2000 at the tri-oval.
 
Stenhouse Jr. hails from Olive Branch, Miss. and grew up racing at MIR. He will make his first USAC Series appearance in six years at his hometown track driving the No. 99 RE Technologies car for the 100-lap shootout. Sunday will also mark the first time Stenhouse Jr. has raced on the pavement at MIR. His previous races entered at the facility were run on the former dirt track.
 
Here's a look at the entry list for Sunday's race:
 
CAR #   DRIVER/HOMETOWN                                          ENTRANT/SPONSOR/CHASSIS/ENGINE
 
2              PATRICK LAWSON/Edwardsville, IL               Patrick Lawson/Rebel Smokers/Beast/Chevy
3              A.J. FIKE/Galesburg, IL                                      RFMS Racing/Liberty Village - McGladrey/Beast/Foxco
4              JARETT ANDRETTI/Mooresville, NC               Andretti Autosport Short Track/Window World - Superior Auto/Beast/Toyota
07           JACOB WILSON/Crawfordsville, IN                 Wilson Brothers Racing/Jet Star/Beast/Toyota
9              CALEB ARMSTRONG/New Castle, IN            Neil Armstrong/Armstrong/Beast/Chevy
10           BOBBY EAST/Brownsburg, IN                          Tony Stewart-Curb Agajanian Racing/Chevrolet Performance - Curb/Beast/Chevy
16           TRACY HINES/New Castle, IN                          Mark Lightfoot/Hughs Brothers/Beast/Mopar
17           CHRIS WINDOM/Canton, IL                              RW-Curb-Agajanian Motorsports/Curb Records - Driven Racing Oil/Beast/Toyota
25           DAVE DARLAND/Lincoln, IN                            John Vance Racing Team/Aristocrat Products/Beast/Gaerte
35           C.J. LEARY/Greenfield, IN                                 Taylor Ferns Racing/Motor City Auto Transport - Simpson Race Products/Beast/Toyota
40           DAVID BYRNE/Shullsburg, WI                          Byrne Racing/Truck Country Shullsburg - Bytec, Inc./Beast/Chevy
55           RANDY BATEMAN/Murphysboro, IL                Randy Bateman/Bateman Racing - Gary's Auto Body/Predator/Chevrolet
63           KODY SWANSON/Kingsburg, CA                    DePalma Motorsports/Radio Hospital/Beast/Hampshire
81           JOHN HUNT/Tulsa, OK                                      Curtis Williams/Williams/Beast/Chevy
92           CALE THOMAS/Fairland, IN                             Carl Thomas/Engler Factory Kahne/Beast/Mopar
98           BOBBY SANTOS/Franklin, MA                          RPM-Fred Gormly/RPM Auto Enterprise/Beast/Mopar
99           RICKY STENHOUSE JR./Olive Branch, MS   RE Technology/Ford Racing/Beast/Roush-Yates Ford
125         DAVEY RAY/Davenport, IA                                Eddie Sachs Racing/Eddie Sachs Racing/Beast/Chevy
 
 
Gates open at 10:00 a.m. CT on Sunday for the "Memphis 100 with Ricky Stenhouse Jr.". Practice is scheduled for 10:00 a.m., qualifying at 11:30 a.m. CT, followed by a driver autograph session and the start of the race at 2:00 p.m. ET.
 
Advance purchase tickets are still available at www.racemir.com until tomorrow, Saturday. Save $5 on general admission or a pit pass. Family four-packs are $60 which include admission for two adults, two children, and a hot dog and beverage for each person. Tickets are available at the gate on race day. $25 for adults, $40 for a pit pass and children 12 and under are $10. 

Due to the continuing heavy rain and forecast for the remainder of the day, USAC and Memphis International Raceway officials announce the postponement of the "Memphis 100 with Ricky Stenhouse Jr." .We will announce a new date as soon as it has been determined. If you purchased a ticket in advance, they will be honored for the rescheduled date. 

Memphis International Raceway (MIR) and United States Auto Club (USAC) have announced the cancellation of the "Memphis 100 with Ricky Stenhouse Jr." Due to prior commitments and scheduling conflicts, we are not able to reschedule the race for 2014. All tickets purchased online will automatically be refunded and any tickets purchased at the MIR office can be refunded by mailing in your tickets with your name/address and a refund will be sent to you or stop by our office. We apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you for supporting MIR and we look forward to seeing you out here for the Sonic Rush Tour on Saturday, August 2.

Please call (901)WOW-Race or visit www.racemir.com for more information or questions pertaining to the "Memphis 100 with Ricky Stenhouse Jr." 

 

At this stage last year, Mazda had scored three of their nine wins with the SKYACTIV-D Mazda6 in the Grand-Am GX class on their way to the manufacturers’ championship.  For 2014, however, the team has made a massive step up to the highest level, with Mazda now racing in the top prototype class of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.  

“As racers, we won’t be happy until we win races and challenge for championships," noted John Doonan, Director of Motorsports for Mazda North American Operations. "As a car company, developing new technology in the harshest of environments, we couldn’t be happier with how the season has progressed.  This is year two of a five year plan, and we have lived up to the Mazda  standard of Courage, Creativity, and Conviction.  After the sprint races, it will be great to return to a true endurance race, one where our SKYACTIV efficiency has an opportunity to pay off in terms of fewer pitstops.  We knew that coming to a new series with the smallest engine would be a challenge, but that’s why we race – to build better cars.  We are asking our race engine to do three times the workload of the production engine – a huge task.  We are now within a few percentage points of the lap speeds of the fastest cars while beating everyone on fuel economy.  Our collective efforts will be rewarded.” 

While the team is still chasing their first win of the season, the progress has been dramatic with significant gains made at each race. Since the opening race, the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the Mazda SpeedSource team has been operating on an almost 24/7 level developing the powertrain and chassis.  At each race, the team has brought new hardware to test in real world race conditions.  Since the first race, there has only been one mechanical DNF, and both cars ran flawlessly at Detroit.  The latest improvements, focused on cooling, include:

  • The additional of a cooling fan on the high pressure intercooler
  • The addition of radiator extraction louvers on the top of the sidepods
  • A change from a single pass to a dual pass radiator
  • Ongoing optimization of engine mapping for efficient shifting 

For Watkins Glen, the regular driver lineups of Sylvain Tremblay and Tom Long in the #70 and Joel Miller and Tristan Nunez in the #07 will be supplemented by Ben Devlin and Tristan Vautier.  Miller and Nunez scored the GX class win in 2013 in their Mazda6. To make the racing as accessible as possible, Mazda will once again be offering a live ‘second screen’ during the race.  Fans watching the race live on FOX Sports1 can simultaneously ride along in the Mazda cars via the Mazda YouTube channel. 

In addition to the TUDOR Championship race, the Watkins Glen weekend will also feature round six of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and a doubleheader for the Cooper Tires IMSA Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda.

Mazda leads the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Street Tuner Manufacturers’ Championship thanks to three straight wins.  Freedom Autosport and CJ Wilson Racing will both have their MX-5’s ready to do battle with BMW, Porsche, Honda, Nissan, and Hyundai.  This race will be on Saturday morning. 

MX-5 fans will also want to follow the action from the streets of Houston where rounds five and six of the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires will take place.  John Dean II and Kenton Koch have each scored a pair of wins in the first four races.

With Mazda being a leading player in all aspects of sports car racing with an emphasis on endurance road racing, every weekend provides a new challenge for the brand in various levels of motorsports. Mazda is the number-one brand for road-racers across North America among both club racers and professionals, and thousands of Mazda-powered grassroots racers compete in various classes with the SCCA and NASA highlighted by Spec Miata, the world’s largest spec class with over 2,500 cars built.  

 

British racer Katherine Legge has become the first female driver and the 11th  in total to be confirmed to race in the new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship after signing for the newly rebranded Amlin Aguri Formula E team. 

“For me this is a really exciting opportunity," Legge said. "The car is fantastic, it looks amazing and it will be very quick. Racing through the streets of the world’s leading cities will be an incredible experience and I think it’s a great chance to bring racing to the people.  We will be driving in their cities on their streets.”

The 34-year-old former Champ Car racer becomes the first of the team’s two drivers to be announced which has since changed its name from Super Aguri following a new sponsorship deal with leading independent insurance company Amlin. 

“Amlin has always been focused on developing winning strategies using a combination of experience, expertise and data analysis - and this skill is equally applicable to insurance and motor racing," added Charles Philipps, CEO of Amlinm. "We are serious about racing and serious about winning.”

Legge joins previously confirmed drivers Daniel Abt and Lucas di Grassi at Audi Sport Abt, Sam Bird and Jaime Alguersuari at Virgin Racing, Bruno Senna and Karun Chandhok at Mahindra Racing, Nick Heidfeld and Stéphane Sarrazin at Venturi, Franck Montagny at Andretti Autosport and Jarno Trulli at TrulliGP. 

After rising through the junior single-seater ranks, in 2005 Legge competed in the Toyota Atlantic Championship winning the series opener at Long Beach and ending the season third overall. Later that year she made history by becoming the first woman to test a Formula 1 car since Sarah Fisher (2002) with Minardi. The following year she signed to drive in the 2006 Champ Car season and became the first woman to lead a lap in the series' history. After a second year she switched to the DTM series enjoying seasons with Futurecom TME and Abt Sportsline. In 2012, Legge moved to the States to make her IndyCar debut, remaining in the US for a second season although this time competing in the American Le Mans Series. 

"Formula E will be a very exciting and demanding championship and I think it brings an interesting new dimension to the sport," commented Team Principal Mark Preston. "This is as much about strategy as it is about driving fast – its playing chess at 220 km/h.” 

Formula E is the world’s first fully-electric race series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fans, whilst accelerating the interest in electric vehicles and promoting sustainability. Competing entirely on city-centre circuits – with races in China, Malaysia, Uruguay, Argentina, US, Monaco, Germany and the UK – it uses cars capable of speeds in excess of 150mph (225kph). Its 10 teams feature some of the leading international names in motorsport including Alain Prost and Michael Andretti, along with high-profile environmental supporters including Sir Richard Branson. 

“I’m delighted to welcome Katherine to the FIA Formula E Championship and also Amlin who have shown their commitment to sustainable mobility and to the FIA’s new all-electric race series," added Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E. "It’s fantastic to have our first female driver too and we very much hope she is the first of many to join the championship.”

 

The AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike class has been unpredictable and electrifying this season and the last event  at  Barber Motorsports Park might have been the most action-filled yet. The round showcased one of this year's themes, a different rider earning the spoils of victory.

In the DAYTONA 200, it was Danny Eslick. At Road America, Jake Gagne took the double win. GoPro Daytona SportBike is a topsy turvy world and it was Westby's turn to shine in Alabama, in the heat, on his gold Yamaha. The popular Oklahoman won two very different contests in Birmingham - one (mostly) from the front, and the other a performance where he stalked his rivals and moved through the front pack.

Westby, after founding his own team with backing from Yamalube for this season, impressed at Daytona by running in the lead pack, but crashed out before the last pit stops. At Road America, he looked to be in line for a podium before a last-lap mechanical. He shored up that first podium with a third on Sunday in Wisconsin but was a little disappointed after easing up as the rain began to fall late in that one.

"The Wolverine" headed into the Triumph SuperBike Classic as one of the top riders in class, having shown his speed in earlier races despite his bad luck. His performance in Alabama, however, was a cut above, and the wins justified the risk he took to form his own squad.

On Saturday, Westby took advantage after a red flag to move to the front by the second lap after the restart. Westby said he sensed chaos after a crash involving Jake Lewis on his MotoSport.com/Meen Yamaha machine, Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha pilot Garrett Gerloff and RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's Jake Gagne. He motored on, clicking off laps in the Alabama heat.

"I was able to take advantage of the red flag," said Westby. "I knew the guys were off track, off the line, and there was a little bit of confusion. You just have to keep going until they throw that flag and it ended up working in my favor. The last couple of laps, I saw one guy go flying past, and I knew they were going to try to do something, so I just tried to attack back as quick as I could."

On Sunday's start, Westby slipped to sixth in the order and watched the opening laps shake down. Westby passed Danny Eslick on the Riders Discount Racing Triumph entry early on but at halfway he was just fifth and had shown little to convince anyone he would repeat his win. Over the second half of the contest, Westby worked by Latus Motors/Castrol/Triumph Racing's Bobby Fong, Castrol/Triumph/Sportbike Track Time' Jason DiSalvo, Lewis and Gagne. Westby had moved to the lead with three to go, advancing his position in the same late corner each time.

"Yesterday was a first for me when I led the race and won it that way," Westby said after completing his sweep. "Today, I felt like these guys had a leg up on me. I wasn't quite as comfortable as I wanted to be early on. I was a little slow in some parts of the track but I was really good in the 'Alabama Rollercoaster,' as they call it. It was a real barnburner of a race, super hot out there and the conditions were tough. I put my head down and waited until my moment. I passed everyone back there in the back, just a block pass and then making it stick. I had some different lines where I could hold it until the end and earn the position. It was a really great race, and I am proud of what we were able to accomplish."

Westby also vaulted up the points chart following the trip to Birmingham. He's now fifth but just 22 points out of the lead. He was 16th and 52 points out after Race 1 at Road America.

Gagne still leads the points, rallying after Saturday's crash to take third on Sunday. He led most of the race but didn't have the endgame to earn win No. 3 of 2014.

"I started having a little issue towards the end and the gap was closing," said Gagne. "The last few laps had me battling again with Jake (Lewis) and Dane Westby. I felt I could make the charge for the lead but I made a small mistake in the chicane and lost two positions. I finished third and took some points but I can't say I'm too happy. At this point we're only going to be happy with wins so it's onto Laguna and another chance to win."

JD Beach saw a strong second on Saturday but a late mistake and a run off the track Sunday spoiled his chance at a double podium. Even though Beach gathered it back up to salvage fifth, he looked to be in good shape as the laps wound down. Still, the Factory Yamaha pilot's battle for the win on Saturday added to his fine resume in 2014.

"It seems like Dane and I keep finding each other out there," said Beach on Saturday. "Dane's a great rider, and we had a really good battle. There were just a few spots where he had me. I got on the gas too hard and nearly bucked myself off at the end."

The top Rookie in the class this year has been Tomas Puerta. The Colombian bagged two more top ten finishes for the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull team.

With the wild 2014 season as a backdrop, the next showdown at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca might be the most unpredictable race of the weekend. The joint AMA Pro-FIM event will take place on July 11-13 in Monterey, California.


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