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Toyota Racing Development’s (TRD) Christian Eckes (No.15 JBL Audio Toyota) takes the show down the road with his Venturini Motorsports team when the ARCA Menards Series returns to Charlotte Motor Speedway for Thursday’s prime time General Tire 150.  

From early season points leader to falling out, Eckes has re-emerged back into the mix after back-to-back solid short track performances. Following a well-documented rough patch, the 18-year old driver has catapulted himself back into championship conversations with a win at Nashville and a third place finish last week at Toledo.

Currently sitting fourth in the point standings Eckes is on the hunt just 95-points behind series leader and teammate Michael Self. 

Competing in his first full ARCA season Eckes is making the rounds visiting many intermediate tracks for the first time. Eckes, 18, a New York state transplant now residing in Cornelius, NC will make his first ever start at the 1.5-mile Charlotte speedway. “I’m very excited to go racing at Charlotte this week. It’s probably the first time I haven’t packed a suitcase in 2 years, so that’s definitely a plus,” said Eckes with a smile.  

“It’s always exciting to come to these new tracks for the first time. I take a lot of pride in getting myself ready – been studying a lot of film and spending time in the simulator prepping. Any my guys have been working their tails off preparing our brand new Rowdy Manufacturing chassis for this race. We came out a couple weeks ago to shake it down and had a really good test. I think we’ve got a great piece. We’re ready to go.”

 Eckes with 32 career ARCA starts has earned four wins and three poles since entering the series in 2016. The Middletown, NY driver has notched 14 top-5’s and 22 top-10’s overall. 

 The ARCA Menards Series returns to Charlotte on Thursday, May 23 as part of a double header which features Pole Night for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600. Two hours of practice for the General Tire 150 is scheduled for 11:30 am ET, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 5 pm ET, and the race is set to go green shortly after 9 pm ET. The race will be televised live on FS1.

VMS PR

After starting second to last in the first race of the season for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama, Roman De Angelis finished the weekend in first, winning Race 2 on Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
 
In the No. 79 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Car, De Angelis started third and quickly jumped to second at the start of the race, ready to hunt down Race 1 winner and leader Jeff Kingsley in the No. 16 Policaro Motorsport Porsche.
 
 
 
 
While De Angelis was in hot pursuit of Kingsley, a caution in the first 15 minutes of the race bunched the field back together. Shortly after the restart, De Angelis made a move on the inside of Kingsley approaching the Andretti Straightaway to claim the lead with 25 minutes remaining.
 
About five minutes later, rain began to fall over the 2.459-mile circuit, enough to bring out a red flag that ultimately closed out the race. The win gave De Angelis his second career Platinum Class victory in GT3 Cup Challenge Canada.
 
“I knew we had the car to make the move, but it’s really difficult to pass here at Mosport,” said De Angelis. “It’s a really difficult track. It’s fast and flowing, not a lot of heavy braking zones, so you can’t just tuck the nose in there and brake a little bit deeper than the other guy. We really took advantage of that restart. The car was awesome as always. We showed that we had the pace yesterday and we put it to show again today.”
 
With a fourth-place finish on Saturday and the win on Sunday, De Angelis holds a narrow one-point lead in the championship over Parker Thompson in the No. 3 SCB Racing Porsche, 63-62.
 
 
Thompson wound up third on Sunday behind Patrick Dussault in the No. 77 Porsche for Lauzon Autosport. Thompson passed Dussault just prior to the red flag, but the pass was deemed outside track limits and Dussault was promoted back to second place.
 
Finishing fourth and winning the Platinum Masters class was Alan Metni in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche. Like De Angelis, Metni is competing in both GT3 Cup Challenge Canada as well as south of the border in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. The win comes in Metni’s second start of GT3 Cup Challenge Canada competition.
 
“It’s good progress, it’s a lot of fun,” said Metni. “I came up here to learn. I know that some of the best drivers are up here, some of the best tracks are up here and I thought I could learn a lot from coming up here and running with them. I appreciate them letting me do that. We learned a lot, getting a little better each time we do this and hopefully eventually we’ll end up on the main podium.”
 
While Metni leads the Platinum Masters championship by seven points, 67-60, it’s a three-way tie for second place between Etienne Borgeat and Perry Bortolotti – who rounded out the Platinum Masters podium on Sunday, respectively – and Platinum Masters Race 1 winner Marco Cirone.
 
In the Gold Class, Sam Fellows in the No. 35 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche reflected on his first weekend in the series following his two wins and Yokohama Tire Hard Charger Award on Sunday.
 
“It was a lot of fun, but I also learned a lot especially in Race 1,” said Fellows. “I was chasing some of the Platinum guys, but had a bit of a mishap in Turn 5. At the end of the day, it’s a learning experience because you’ve got to walk away from things like that and be positive. I’m not going to make that mistake again.
 
“Today was a better day for me. I feel like if it stayed green, if the rain hadn’t come out, I think I could’ve picked up a couple more of the Platinum guys just near the end with the pace that we had. I’m optimistic and I can’t thank Pfaff Motorsports enough, Porsche of London, Durham Tourism and Piloti Shoes. It was a great weekend and we’ll go to Montreal with our positivity.”
 
Rounds 3 and 4 of the 2019 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama season will take place at the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal featuring Formula 1 on June 7 – 9. In the meantime, news and updates on GT3 Cup Challenge Canada can be found on IMSA.com and Porsche.com/Canada, as well as on social media using the hashtags #GT3Canada and #IMSA
Defending Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence secured his second consecutive victory at the Virginia NHRA Nationals and third of the season Sunday evening at Virginia Motorsports Park. 
 
Ron Capps (Funny Car), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were also winners in their respective categories at the eighth of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. 
 
S. Torrence walked away Sunday with his 30th Top Fuel victory in his Capco Contractors dragster with his run of 3.881-seconds at 319.82 mph to defeat Antron Brown’s 3.899 at 309.49 in the final round. This was the 10th time the pair had met in the finals. Brown won the first five and S. Torrence has clinched the last five victories. 
 
S. Torrence secured round wins against Todd Paton, Scott Palmer, and his father Billy Torrence en route to his 45th career final round. 
 
“Hands down and hats off to the whole Capco team,” S. Torrence stated. “Those guys gave me the best race car of the day. We were the guys that went down the track four times in a row. All I had to do was not run over anything or anybody and they gave me the best car ever. Richard Hogan (crew chief) and Bobby Lagana (crew chief) they make the right calls when the pressure is on and when the heat is out there. In cowboy terms, I rode the two best horses out there.” 
 
Brown defeated teammate Leah Pritchett, Brittany Force and Mike Salinas. 
 
Capps secured his second consecutive Funny Car Wally in his NAPA Brakes Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to defeat the defending world champion J.R. Todd in the finals. This win marks Capps’ 62nd Funny Car win and 63rd overall along with his 30th victory with crew chief Rahn Tobler since 2012. 
 
Capps beat Jim Campbell, Robert Hight and teammate Tommy Johnson Jr. to reach the final round, earning his first career win at Richmond Motorsports Park. 
 
“Just go up there and not make a mistake was my mindset today,” Capps said. “Tobler told me in the trailer prior to the final round, ‘I don’t know why it smoked the tires all day. Everybody has had problems and we’re just going to put it like we did first round when it went 3.99.’ I rolled it in there and obviously it went a bit slower but that’s what he went up there to do. Vintage Rahn Tobler.” 
 
Todd beat Bob Tasca III, teammate Shawn Langdon and Jonnie Lindberg to reach the finals. 
 
Butner locked-in his fourth win this season when his pass of 6.599 at 209.01 in his Jim Butner Auto Chevrolet Camaro took down Greg Anderson. This is Butner’s fourth victory this season, first at the facility and 11th of his career. Anderson was the last driver in 2004 to secure four victories within the first five events of the season. 
 
Butner also went to the final round of the SAMTech.Edu Factory Stock Showdown where he fell short to Drew Skillman on a holeshot.
 
“It’s been an amazing season and a good call to come back,” Butner stated. “We made a very good run in the final. Greg and I both made mediocre runs up until that point. The track was great. It’s very smooth and the Franklins did a great job with this place and it would be nice if we came back here a couple of times. It was fun running two cars multiple rounds today. It was a good day and I can’t complain.” 
 
Butner defeated Wally Stroupe, Chris McGaha and Jeg Coughlin Jr. on his way to his 24th career final round. 
 
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hines, the No. 1 qualifier, earned his third straight victory, fourth overall of 2019 and 52nd in his career after going 6.845 at 195.68 on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Street Rod to defeat teammate Eddie Krawiec in the final round. The last Pro Stock Motorcycle rider to win four of the first five events to start the season was Hines’ brother, Matt Hines, in 1998. 
 
“We have developed a very good hot weather tune up for our Street Rods and that’s saying a lot,” Hines said. “We typically tend to not look forward to the middle of the season because that’s where our performance tends to fall off and people make up ground on us. Today we were able to take what we’ve learned the last couple of weeks between Charlotte when it got hot and Atlanta when it was really hot. We don’t ever go up there (the starting line) with the same tune up, ever. It was a little bit of picking on it here and there which has led to us finding the window where we need to be.” 
 
The category points leader defeated Jiana Salinas, Ryan Oehler and defending world champion Matt Smith to reach the final round. Krawiec took down Kelly Clontz, Karen Stoffer and Hector Arana Jr. en route to his 25th final round against Hines. 
 
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues to Chicago for the Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Route 66 Raceway May 30th – June 2nd. 
Sidnei Frigo claimed his first victory of the season at Virginia Motorsports Park in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service on Sunday, winning the second annual Virginia NHRA Nationals, where the series was presented by Real Pro Mod Association. It is the fifth of 12 races during the 2019 season. 
 
Frigo ran 5.796-seconds at 256.55 mph in his Itatiba Sao Paulo Brazil Chevrolet Camaro picking up the final round win on a holeshot over Stevie “Fast” Jackson’s pass of 5.768 at 251.16. 
 
It marks the third career E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod victory for Frigo, who qualified second and also earned round wins over Chip King, Alex Laughlin and Eric Latino . 
 
“My team really pulled through today,” Frigo stated. “For some reason, our turbo car runs really well in the heat and I wouldn’t be mad if it was this in Topeka at our next race. I saw Stevie over there at half track and I know that the turbo power really comes on at the top end. All I could think of was that we had him. It was really cool.” 
 
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service continues June 7-9 with the Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals presented by Minties at Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kan. 
 
Acknowledged as a premier amateur road racing series in North America, Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour winners can truly take pride in their accomplishment. But emerging victorious more than once in the same weekend at a single event, that's something to be cherished. And that's exactly what a handful of drivers achieved this weekend at Portland International Raceway (PIR) during a two-day event hosted by SCCA's Oregon Region.
 
Driver Scotty B. White can legitimately lay claim to an exalted status after earning three first-place finishes over the course of 48 hours. On Saturday, White scooped up the Touring 3 (T3) win in his No. 0 GOT CDL?/Extreme CMT/Hawk Brakes Ford Mustang. On Sunday, White was again victorious in T3 on the 1.97-mile, 12-turn circuit, but also slipped into his Ford Mustang for a GT-3 win later in the day.
 
A racer who brought home two wins was Bill Collins, a serious challenger frequently seen at Hoosier Super Tour events. In his No. 63 Interstate Truck Driving School Chevrolet Corvette, Collins drove to both Touring 1 and Touring 2 victories on Sunday.
 
"This is the first time I've ever done this," Collins said about grabbing two wins on the same day. "Racing in SCCA keeps me young. We love this stuff and I'm going to keep doing this forever. I'm almost 69 years old and I'm going strong."
 
Speaking of strong, Formula Mazda champion Melvin Kemper took wins Saturday and Sunday in his No. 4 Goodyear MSR Formula Mazda. But the wins didn't come easy. On both days, Kemper had to fight with Bill Weaver and his Star Formula Mazda.
 
"Bill got a really good jump Sunday, and it was on," Kemper said. "I caught back up in traffic and we seesawed a little bit. He's pretty quick and tough. Bill would've been really tough to pass ... but he got caught up a little bit in some traffic."
 
B-Spec racer Cherie Storms, in the No. 16 WCS Motorsports Mazda 2, also managed back-to-back wins on the weekend. However, it came at a price. Cherie and her father, Ford Fiesta driver W.C. Storms, were fighting for the B-Spec victory when they both came across a portion of track slicked down by the fluids of another racecar.
 
"We were having a great race, me and my dad, and I was so happy keeping him behind me," Cherie said. "But there must have been oil down in turn 12 and my car just took off and hit the wall, and dad took off behind me and we were both in the wall.
 
"I was able to get out of the wall and finish the race," Cherie continued. "It was important for me to finish the race, even if they were slow laps. I'm just happy to finish and really happy to race with my dad. Big thanks to my dad ... and we got some work to do on these cars after this weekend."
 
Other competitors who claimed double victories during the weekend included H Production's Michael Cummings in the No. 32 Huffaker Engineering/Hoosier Tires Austin Healey Sprite, Formula 500's Lance Spiering in his No. 29 KBS MK VII, Formula Continental® newbie Nick Persing in the No. 29 OPI Commercial Builders Inc Van Diemen RF00, Thomas Burt in his No. 45 SCCA Formula Enterprises 2 Mazda, Prototype 1 ace Jim Devenport in the No. 23 Cranbrook Group Norma M20F, Prototype 2 star Tim Day Jr. in his No. 8 Mere Mortal Apparel/George Dean Racing Engines Stohr WF1, GT-3 champion Collin Jackson in the No. 53 Specialty Engineering Nissan 240SX, Touring 4 driver Derrick Ambrose in the No. 70 CorkSport Mazda Performance/BFGoodrich/Monarch Inspections/G-LOC Brakes Mazda 3, Super Touring® Lite's Kristina Etherington in the No. 96 EZ Racing Mazda RX-8, and Super Touring® Under's Whitfield Gregg in the No. 22 TFB Mazda Miata.
 
With two of three Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour events out west now complete, the series packs up and heads east for a May 31-June 2 weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio -- a venue that has hosted several SCCA National Championship Runoffs® over the years. More information can be found at www.SCCA.com.

Hoosier Racing Tire, the world’s largest exclusive racing tire manufacturer, has agreed to exclusively supply the brand-new TitansRX Rallycross Series with their “black gold” for the 2019 season. “We are very happy to have closed a partnership with TitansRX, as Rallycross has always been an integral part of our racing portfolio. TitansRX is a brand-new, exciting project, which we are delighted to team up with”, Martin Heckers, Head of Hoosier Racing Tire Europe, said.

 

"From our first contact with Continental and Hoosier Tire, we have experienced great professionalism, dedication, motorsport passion, service orientation and all the attributes that make a partnership great. Add to that all the testing and improvement on the Hoosier RX tires since we started, the entire TitansRX Europe team and all drivers have been highly satisfied with Hoosier Tire’s products. Not only is it a great Rallycross tire to drive, but it was fine-tuned to match the needs of the Pantera race car and the series format. We look forward to a successful long-term partnership”, series promoter Max J. Pucher was all smiles.

 

Headquartered in Lakeville, Indiana, Hoosier is renowned for its engagement in motorsport and has been providing tires for numerous racing series including NASCAR, IndyCar and the American LeMans Series. Since 2016, the company, which was founded by NASCAR driver Robert Newton, has become part of Continental AG, the fourth largest tire manufacturer. In its state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, dedicated solely to manufacturing racing tires in three shifts per day, the American tyre experts produce 1,400 different articles ranging from Kart, to Circuit, to Drag Racing, Rallye, Rallycross and Oval Racing equipment.

Alex Tagliani did not have the kind of day he was hoping for in the opening round of the 2019 NASCAR Pinty's Series held at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP). Disappointing, was the word that came to mind when he crossed the finish line in 11th place, 10 seconds back of race winner Kevin Lacroix. The Montreal native had a day full of ups and downs in Sunday's Clarington 200, running among the leaders at the start of the race after qualifying third on Saturday.


A race contact in the last corner of lap 3 on the 3.957-km famed Ontario road course sent Tag into the pits with a right rear shredded tire and causing him to rejoin the field in 23rd and last place. But, he fought back to lead the race on lap 17 of 51 when the leaders pitted to change their General Tire rubbers. The Team 22 Racing #18 Chevrolet EpiPen-RONA/St Hubert led for the next eight laps but since Tag was off sequence with the leaders, he now had to choose the moment to pit. He did at the start of lap 36, but just as the track was going green.

"This is not the kind of situation we were looking for to start the 2019 championship hunt," said Tagliani, "but in the end, it could have been much worse with everything that went wrong today. In the opening laps, I was involved in a racing incident that shredded my right rear tire that tore parts of the body of my Chevrolet Camaro on my way to the pits. We made a few stops to repair the damage and I finally rejoined the field in last place, but still on the leader's lap.

"A day full of situations that I need to avoid in the future if I want to win. Let's hope we have a better day at Jukasa," concluded Tagliani. 



Twenty-three cars started the Clarington 200 with 20 cars running at the finish, all on the lead lap. The race was under full course caution five times for a total of 23 laps. There were six lead changes among five drivers; Tagliani led eight laps.


The Clarington 200, the opening round of the 2019 NASCAR Pinty's Series, will air on TSN on Saturday, May 25 at 11:30 p.m. ET.


The APC 200, round 2 of the 2019 NASCAR Pinty's Series will be held June 1 at 8 p.m. at Jukasa Motor Speedway oval track located in Hagersville, near Hamilton, Ontario.


In the Drivers Championship, Tagliani is 14 points behind the leader. In nine NASCAR Pinty's start at CTMP, Tagliani has a pole, one win, three top-five and four top-ten finishes. In 72 NASCAR Pinty's starts, Tag has collected nine poles, won 8 times, finished 30 times in the Top-5 and 48 times in the Top-10.
 

If Ken Roczen was in a two-plus year drought, you wouldn’t have known it Saturday afternoon. 
 After nearly two-and-a-half years without a win and an uphill climb to overcome a pair of potential careerending injuries, Wiseco-sponsored rider, Ken Roczen, finally launched the proverbial monkey from his back and returned to the top step of the podium with a championship-caliber 1-2 finish to collect the overall win in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season opening Bell Helmets Hangtown Motocross Classic at Prairie City SVRA in Sacramento, Calif. 

 Roczen, a two-time Pro Motocross 450 titlist, tested his championship mettle against not only the best in the business, but against unseasonable cold and rain at the legendary California raceplex to pick up his 16th career Pro Motocross win. 

 “It’s been a very, very long time,” commented Roczen following the win. “Just overall the whole day was good. I just went out there, and it’s really difficult at the first race what to expect and where everybody’s at. Every time I went out there, I just did the best I could. It got us an overall (win), so I’m very happy, especially with how muddy and how sloppy it was. It could go the other way, too.”

 The veteran 25-year-old Team Honda HRC rider, who just signed a three-year contract extension, rewarded his team by pacing both qualifying sessions and leading all 15 laps of the first moto, taking the checkered flag by a handsome 15 seconds. 

 As a brisk, steady rain settled in the area, the 40-rider, 450 Class field met a more demanding racecourse for the second moto. Roczen rounded the first corner fifth in the running order, but the affable fan favorite found his way to the point by Lap 2. The rider of the No. 94 Honda CRF450R held down the lead for the next three circuits before yielding the top spot three laps later to eventual moto winner Eli Tomac. 

 As the laps continued to click off and the race wound down, Roczen settled into as manageable of a rhythm as conditions would allow to finish second and lock up his first overall win since 2016. 

 “I think we have more in the tank,” said Roczen who will carry the coveted red plate holding a four-point lead over Tomac in to Round 2. “With the conditions as bad as they were, I was really happy with a 1-2 finish. I had to back it down. I had a couple big moments. It was super sloppy out there. I just kind of did my thing. I went down and got stuck behind a lapper in the deepest rut possible on the last lap, so I was kind of sweating there for a little bit just because there was one more lap to go, but we made it happen in some gnarly conditions. We’re going to enjoy this overall. Me and my team have been working very hard and this is really a dream come true.” 

 Roczen’s Team Honda HRC teammate Cole Seely wasn’t as fortuitous and met his fair share of challenges at the Hangtown opener. The journeyman Honda jockey earned a respectable ninth-place
finish in the first moto, but the conditions in the second moto got the best of Seely, leaving him 18th in the final contest. Still, the Newbury Park, Calif., native managed to salvage a 14th-place overall finish, a respectable effort considering the circumstances. 

 “The opening round had its ups and downs for sure,” commented Seely, who missed most of the last two outdoor seasons with his own injuries. “I think I qualified pretty good for not having raced an outdoor in almost two years. I was happy we were able to get at least one moto in before the storm actually rolled in. I was also happy with how I rode. I felt like I managed the race well and had more energy at the end of the moto than I normally do. The second moto was tough. I fell way too many times and just didn’t have very good luck. If there was a way to build some more skill for muddy races then I would but the only time we really get to practice that is in race situations. Moving forward I think I know what I need to work on and that will help set some additional goals to push through the season.”

 Across the paddock in the 250 Class pits, the GEICO Honda team fielded CRF250Rs for Eastern Regional 250SX Class Champion Chase Sexton, R.J. Hampshire, Christian Craig and Hunter Lawrence. While none of the Wiseco-sponsored Red Riders were able to capture podiums at the Pro Motocross opener, the potent foursome finished fifth, sixth, tenth and eleventh overall, respectively. 

 “Not what I wanted, just didn’t feel super comfortable all day,” said Sexton. “The good side was that my starts were pretty good, but I definitely wish I could have stayed up there a little better. Had a quick crash in Moto 2 and that cost me, but the conditions were pretty tough. It’s okay though, we scored good points, and we will put in the work and come out swinging for Round 2 this weekend.”

 The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship returns to Fox Raceway this weekend when the series will visit the Pala, Calif., track for the first time since the 2011. The first motos from the Lucas Oil Fox Raceway National will be televised live on MAVTV Saturday, May 25 beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 1 p.m. Pacific. Live coverage of the second motos will shift to NBCSN beginning at 6 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m. Pacific. 

This coming Friday, May 24, perhaps could provide a turning point in the careers of a talented field of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires drivers as they chase glory in the 17th Annual Freedom 100 Presented by Cooper Tires at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Such was certainly the case one year ago when a thrilling victory for 18-year-old Colton Herta provided the springboard toward a full-time ride in the NTT IndyCar Series.

Round Seven of this year’s title-chase marks the first of two oval events on the 18-race calendar and a chance to impress both a live television audience on NBCSN as well as a large and enthusiastic crowd who will gather at the famed Brickyard for the traditional “Carb Day” festivities. The day also features one last opportunity for the 33 qualified drivers in Sunday’s 103rd Indianapolis 500 to fine-tune their cars prior to the race.

No fewer than 23 drivers in the Indy 500 field cut their teeth in Indy Lights – including nine former Indy Lights champions – and the stakes are high with the series champion earning a guaranteed entry in three IndyCar events in 2020, including the 104th Indy 500.

The championship chase is finely poised with a trio of rookies making the early running. The latest in a long line of Flying Dutchmen, 18-year-old Rinus VeeKay (Juncos Racing), from Hoofddorp, Netherlands, currently holds a slender one-point advantage over rising American star Oliver Askew (Andretti Autosport), from Jupiter, Fla., after six races, with Askew’s teammate, Robert Megennis, not far behind in third.

VeeKay, who is mentored by fellow countryman and two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, is coming off an emphatic victory in the most recent race on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix road course. Askew has finished on the podium in five of the six races, including a pair of wins at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. His only blemish came in Round 2 on the streets of St. Petersburg, where a clash of wheels while disputing the lead with VeeKay ended in a heavy impact with the wall.

 


Megennis Tops Testing
Megennis, 19, from New York, N.Y., secured his first two podium finishes in Texas, then claimed a fine maiden victory during the first of two races at Indianapolis. Megennis maintained his momentum today on the 2.5-mile oval by posting the fastest lap, 45.5202 seconds, an average speed of 197.714 mph, after a total of more than three hours of testing.

“It is just so much fun racing here,” said Megennis. “Today was everything I expected it to be, and more. Running flat out, going 200 mph, being two, three, four-wide: you don’t get that anywhere else. I ran a bunch in traffic to get used to it: There’s such a big draft here and it was a blast. Andretti Autosport gave me such a great car and we prepared so well in advance that we barely changed anything. It’s not the most important thing, to get P1 in testing, but it’s still a nice way to finish off before we come back on Thursday. I can’t thank all my partners enough for getting me out here!”

VeeKay continued his consistent form by placing second on the speed charts in each of today’s sessions. His best lap at 45.5949 was mere 0.0747 shy of Megennis’ benchmark.

“It was really fun, really cool, especially the first lap that you’re all the way flat,” said VeeKay. “Amazing. These are very high speeds and the racing is so close – the teams are so competitive, and it makes for fun racing. You really feel the speed here, but it’s never quick enough, you always want to go faster. The team gave me a great car to be able to push. I spent some time in traffic today and really learned how the car will be on Thursday, based on our qualifying sims, so I think we’re ready! It’s such a special track, so hopefully this will be a memorable week.”

Also impressive today was Jarett Andretti aboard a fourth Andretti Autosport Dallara-AER IL-15. Andretti, 26, from Indianapolis, Ind., was fifth fastest on his first public outing in an Indy Lights car. The third-generation racer, whose father John raced 12 times at Indianapolis, will be making his Indy Lights debut this week, 50 years on from great-uncle Mario Andretti’s lone Indy 500 triumph.

“It’s hard to put into words exactly what this means,” said Andretti. “You take a glance at the Pagoda and you start to take it in. The only other time a track has hit me like that was in the 24 Hours of Daytona, when I saw the Ferris wheel at 3 a.m.! You have to take in those moments and really appreciate them. But this is totally different than any track I’ve ever been on. It was good to get the experience of running in traffic; getting better in that area will be one of the most important things. Now we’ll continue prep work, watch a lot of video and prepare as much as I can.”

Others to watch this week include Canadian Dalton Kellett (Juncos Racing), who took the pole position last year and has three consecutive podium finishes to his name at the hallowed Speedway; and USAC open-wheel star Chris Windom, from Canton, Ill., who was ninth fastest in today’s test and is due to make his long-awaited Indy Lights debut with Belardi Auto Racing.

Windom’s incredibly busy schedule this week will include the 64th Annual “Hoosier Hundred” USAC Silver Crown race at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds on Thursday night, while on Friday, after completing the Freedom 100, he will head directly to nearby Lucas Oil Raceway for the traditional Dave Steele Carb Night Classic USAC Silver Crown race.

The drivers will be back on track Thursday, May 23, for 45 minutes of practice at 10:00 a.m. EDT, followed by single-car qualifying at 1:30 p.m. The race will start at 1:00 p.m. on Friday.

The Freedom 100 Presented by Cooper Tires will air live on NBCSN and live and on demand on NBC Sports Gold. Outside the U.S., the race will be live streamed globally on RoadToIndy.TV, the Road To Indy TV App and indylights.com.

This year’s race will see an increased prize package with a total of $85,000 awarded to the top-three finishers, including $50,000 to the winner. In addition, TSOLadder.com Presented by Cooper Tires – which provides dedicated coverage of the Road to Indy – will be posting a new award to the race leader at the white flag – the #TSO1ToGo Award.

With the eyes of the open-wheel racing world centered on Indianapolis during the month of May, the future stars of the NTT IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 gain a spotlight of their own this week as the two junior levels of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires head to Lucas Oil Raceway for the traditional Dave Steele Carb Night Classic – “The Race Before the 500” – and the Cooper Tires Freedom 90 and Freedom 75.

Competitors in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship will both have an opportunity to garner some headlines at the fast and challenging 0.686-mile high-banked oval situated just a few miles west of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Brownsburg, Ind. The action-packed evening on Friday, May 24, also will include Round Five of the USAC Silver Crown Championship in which 2016 series champion Chris Windom, from Canton, Ill., will be competing just hours after making his eagerly anticipated Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires debut in the Freedom 100 Presented by Cooper Tires at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Frost Chases First Indy Pro 2000 Win
Two drivers have dominated proceedings in the opening two weekends of the Indy Pro 2000 season. Canadian Parker Thompson (Abel Motorsports) swept both races on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., in March, while Sweden’s Rasmus Lindh (Juncos Racing) mirrored that feat a couple of weeks ago on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix road course.

A third contender, Danial Frost, doesn’t yet have a win to his name but the 17-year-old rookie has proven himself to be a major force. Frost, from Singapore, guided his Exclusive Autosport Tatuus PM-18 to three podium finishes in a row following a fourth-place result on his St. Petersburg debut. He then displayed sizzling pace on his oval debut during the recent open test at Lucas Oil Raceway, marking himself as a firm favorite for honors in Friday night’s Cooper Tires Freedom 90. The team will be seeking its second straight win at Lucas Oil Raceway following an emphatic victory last year for Parker Thompson.

 

“I did a lot of sim work before I came here, to prepare as much as possible,” said Frost, who completed more laps than anyone else, 208, and comfortably topped the speed charts in all three test sessions. “It’s difficult, coming from the road course at Indianapolis to the oval at Lucas Oil. (Turning) left the whole time is much harder than it looks from the outside! Being close to the wall, taking that line to be quick, it’s all a new thing for me.”


Despite that, Frost ended the test day almost a half-second faster than his closest rival, although the remainder of a closely matched field was covered by almost exactly the same margin.

Teammate Nikita Lastochkin, from Los Angeles, Calif., underlined the potency of the Exclusive Autosport team by posting the second-fastest time, narrowly edging out Mexican Moises de la Vara (DEForce Racing). Kyle Kirkwood (RP Motorsport USA), from Jupiter, Fla., who bossed last year’s USF2000 race at Lucas Oil Raceway en route to the championship, Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports), from Louisville, Ky., and series points leader Lindh also set times within a tenth of a second of Lastochkin.

Lindh’s teammate, Sting Ray Robb, from Payette, Idaho, was only another tenth of a second slower in seventh, while Thompson, last year’s winner, turned the eighth fastest time at the test.

The teams will return to Lucas Oil Raceway on Thursday, May 23, for practice (4:15 p.m.) and qualifying (6:45 p.m.), with the green flag for Friday’s 90-lap race set for 7:50 p.m. EDT after a final practice session at 4:30 p.m.

 

Eves Seeks to Maintain 100 Percent Record
In stark contrast to last week’s Indy Pro test at Lucas Oil Raceway, no clear favorite emerged when the USF2000 contenders conducted their own one-day test at the high-banked, high-commitment oval. In fact, 16 of the 19 cars turned laps within a third of a second of each other.

 

Nevertheless, given his perfect four-for-four start to the season – plus the fact his Cape Motorsports team has won five of the seven most recent events at Lucas Oil Raceway – rookie Braden Eves, from New Albany, Ohio, will have a target on his back as he attempts to keep his streak alive.

“Our test last week went pretty well,” related Eves. “We weren’t the fastest but that wasn’t the goal. We just wanted to learn about the track and make sure we are as well-prepared as possible going into the race.”

 

Eves, who was sixth fastest overall at the test, just 0.1336 shy of the benchmark, will have to fend off equally highly rated teammate Darren Keane, who perhaps began to turn around a difficult start to the season with a strong second-place finish two weeks ago on the Indianapolis road course. Teenager Reece Gold will drive a third Cape Motorsports Tatuus USF-17.

Fastest of all at the test was Mexican Manuel Cabrera, who is also looking to turn around his fortunes following a tough start to his campaign with Exclusive Autosport. Cabrera has a best finish of 11th to his name from the opening four races, despite showing good speed on the road course when he qualified fourth fastest for Race One. The test also was a case of good news and bad news. Cabrera set the best time of all in the first session but took no further part in the proceedings after overstepping the limit and crashing mere moments before the checkered flag.

 


Wisconsin-based Pabst Racing, which guided Jake Eidson to victory at Lucas Oil Raceway in 2015, also enjoyed a strong test with three of its four drivers among the top five. Yuven Sundaramoorthy, from Oconomowoc, Wis., led the way, merely 0.0033-seconds slower than Cabrera and fractionally ahead of Colin Kaminsky, from Homer Glen, Ill., and Mazda Road to Indy Scholarship winner Hunter McElrea, from Gold Coast, Australia. McElrea, who also won last year’s Australian Formula Ford Championship, has enjoyed an excellent start to his North American career with four consecutive podium finishes.

Also well to the fore in testing was 14-year-old Jak Crawford, from Houston, Texas. Crawford, who made an impressive series debut at Indianapolis with DEForce Racing, finishing fourth in Race Two, was quickest of all in the final session and ended the day with the fourth fastest time overall.

 

Jack William Miller, from Carmel, Ind., also found time in the final period, ending the session second fastest only to Crawford for the Indianapolis-based Miller Vinatieri Motorsports team.

 


The only oval event of the USF2000 season will commence with 30 minutes of practice on Thursday afternoon, followed by qualifying at 6:00 p.m. EDT. The 75-lap Cooper Tires Freedom 75 will kick off the proceedings on Friday, May 24, with the green flag set for 6:45 p.m. after a final practice session at 4:05 p.m.

Both the Cooper Tires Freedom 90 and Cooper Tires Freedom 75 will be live streamed globally on RoadToIndy.TV, the Road to Indy TV App and the series respective websites at indypro2000.com and usf2000.com.

 

 

 

CrowdStrike, the Official Internet and Cloud Security Provider of SRO America, gave its local supporters, along with great Canadian race fans, many reasons to cheer during the Blancpain GT World Challenge America weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 

George Kurtz and Colin Braun teamed to drive the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/Accel/DXDT Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the pair of 90-minute Blancpain GT World Challenge America races at the historic 2.5-mile, 10-turn circuit outside Toronto. The Victoria Day weekend drew thousands of Canadian fans, and CrowdStrike did its part to entertain.

 

It started Friday with GT qualifying for both Saturday’s and Sunday’s races. In the first qualifying session, Kurtz set the second-best time in the Pro-Am category to give the No. 04 CrowdStrike Mercedes-AMG its best starting position of the season for Race One.

 

Kurtz drove the first 42 minutes with a consistent pace and pitted from third place. The CrowdStrike/DXDT Mercedes-AMG re-emerged in the same position with Braun at the wheel for the final 48 minutes. He maintained that gap to ensure the second podium finish of the season for CrowdStrike Racing.

 

“It was a great weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for everyone at CrowdStrike,” Kurtz said. “The fans here are always great, as were our CrowdStrike staff and guests who joined us for the weekend. Qualifying second for Race One was a big thrill, as was reaching the podium with Colin again. It’s all great momentum for our season. A big thanks to team sponsors AWS, Accel, CeramicPro, SimCraft, SINET and Sparco for all their support this weekend and all season.”

 

 

Sunday’s 90-minute race was another smooth and measured drive for both Kurtz and Braun, who started from fifth in class. By the time Braun pitted for the mandatory driver change to Kurtz, the CrowdStrike Mercedes-AMG ran third. Kurtz rejoined the race in fourth place and drove the final 42 minutes without incident.

 

“Overall it was a solid weekend for the CrowdStrike team at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park,” Braun said. “George had a fantastic stint on Saturday and we were able to finish on the podium in third place! Sunday was a little more challenging for us. We finished just shy of the podium in fourth but learned a lot for the next race. Can’t thank CrowdStrike and the DXDT Racing guys enough for all they do to prepare great cars for us.”

 

 

 

Added Kurtz: “We saw a little bit different conditions Sunday and couldn’t replicate our podium finish. But it was great to see our DXDT Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 teammates Ryan Dalziel and David Askew finish second in the Pro-Am category. Congratulations of them and everyone at DXDT Racing for their efforts.”

 

It was the first international event for CrowdStrike Racing this season, and the program’s presence on Victoria Day weekend sets the stage for CrowdStrike’s Motorsports Partnership with Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport during next month’s FORMULA 1 PIRELLI GRAND PRIX DU CANADA.

 

It will be the first North American race in CrowdStrike’s first year as the official cybersecurity partner for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport.

 

The Blancpain GT World Challenge America next competes at Sonoma Raceway from June 7-9. Race One is set for 2:10 p.m. PT on Saturday, June 8 with Race Two at 11:15 a.m. PT on Sunday, June 9. For more information, visit CrowdStrikeRacing.com.

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