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.
Contact Adam: Email
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.
After an extended off season, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship finally returns to action this weekend, launching its fourth season at ThunderHill Raceway Park this weekend (July 31-August 2).
Over the last three seasons, the Trans Am West Coast Championship field grew some 27 percent, with additional growth is anticipated as the 2020 season progresses. Nearly 20 drivers are slated to participate in the amended season opener at ThunderHill, with the field bringing a diverse mix of machines and backgrounds, including drivers from three countries.
A mixed-class of TA, TA2® powered by AEM, Xtreme GT, SuperGT and GT classes will take to the three-mile orginal course ThunderHill East starting Friday with a day of testing, followed by practice and qualifying on Saturday, culminating the weekend with a 99-mile feature race at 1:15 p.m. Pacific.
Local favorite Greg Pickett, whose win last season at ThunderHill marked his 21st Trans Am career victory, will be gunning for another Trans Am win. Driving the No. 6 Pickett Racing Ford Mustang, Pickett will attempt the rarest of feats- to collect professional race wins in six consecutive decades.
During his 2019 run, Pickett was plagued with multiple engine issues that saw him miss half the season. The Trans Am legend is looking to avoid that outcome in 2020, and has partnered with engine builder Katech with the championship in focus.
“I first got involved with the gang from Katech in the mid 80’s,” said Pickett. “It’s easy to understand why, that after our disastrous, multiple engine-related failures last year, we are very happy to once again be reunited with Katech as our engine partner for 2020. It’s not how fast you can go … it’s how long you can go fast, and we are looking forward to a long season this year.”
But, Pickett will have two rivals looking to upset his attempt at writing history. Local SCCA driver Michelle Nagai (No. 72 NagaiRacing/BerkeleyJetDriveInc Chevrolet Corvette) will be searching for a bit of redemption from her 2019 outing at ThunderHill. After leading from the drop of the green flag, Nagai set the pace for the race last season on the Northern California circuit before failing brakes sent her retiring to the pits.
Michael Fine (No. 66 Architectural Glass Systems Chevrolet Camaro) spent last season consistently slotting into podium position. With a season of experience behind him, Fine has his eyes set on upseting Pickett at ThunderHill with his first career TA victory.
Last year, Simon Gregg enjoyed tremendous success in the Trans Am West Coast Championship in the TA class. Driving a Corvette, he won three races and went on to win the TA West Coast championship. This season, Gregg will switch from piloting a Corvette to fielding a Mercedes AMG GT3, entering the new XGT class on the West Coast in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports machine.
Last season the TA2® West Coast title was decided in the final round by a mere three points between Brad McAllister and Anthony Honeywell (No. 76 Honeywell Competition & TFB Chevrolet Camaro). Due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions, McAllister will not make the trip from his Portland homebase to ThunderHill, leaving Honeywell the opportunity to gain ground early in the season to launch his 2020 championship campaign.
In the SGT class, reigning race winner Carl Rydquist returns to the lineup to defend his win from a year ago, wheeling the No. 4 MyRaceShop.com/Tel-Tac/Mendeola Factory Five GTM.
Rydquist has some stout competition this season standing between him and the year-end Crystal Sensations trophy. Teaming up with Tony Ave and AVE Motorsports in the No. 04 N29 Technologies LLC Audi R8, NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck driver Natalie Decker joins the West Coast competition for the first time in a full season campaign.
“We are looking forward to running Natalie for a points championship this year, as well as having her help us develop some new equipment for the team,” said Ave. “We’ve got some different things up our sleeve for 2020 and beyond, and Natalie is a perfect fit to both develop the opportunities and reap the benefits in the driver’s seat as well.”
California-native and 2019 GT West Coast Vice Champion Beau Borders (No. 7 APEX Race Parts Ford Mustang) will once again challenge for the championship. However, Joe Bogetich ended his 2019 season with a win, and will campaign in the No. 65 Westover Corporation Chevrolet Camaro to start his 2020 season how his rookie season ended, with a victory.
Fans can follow live timing and scoring on GoTransAm.com. West Coast drivers Michele Abbate (Friday), Cameron Parsons (Saturday) and Natalie Decker (Sunday) will takeover the series Instagram and Facebook stories throughout the weekend, giving fans an insider look on a race weekend from a driver’s perspective.
Indian Motorcycle, America’s First Motorcycle Company, announced today the integration of Apple CarPlay® to its model year 2020 lineup of bikes equipped with the 7” Ride Command system. Continuing its mission to further enhance the riding experience, this latest update continues to deliver industry-leading technology which provides riders with a way to stay connected while out on the road.
Apple CarPlay® is now supported on 2020 Chieftain, Roadmaster and Challenger models with navigation. iPhone® users can easily access Apple Music, Maps, send messages with Siri and more through the Ride Command 7” screen and a supported Bluetooth headset (not included) – all on a user-friendly interface that iPhone users will instantly recognize. This integration also increases global accessibility to navigation.
Apple CarPlay is just one of several improvements made to Indian Motorcycle’s leading Ride Command system. Riders can now expect improved navigation location management, improved boot time, audio muting and control improvements (including navigation audio), widget fixes and a new fuel economy widget, and improved search functionality within navigation.
Local favorite Braden Eves, from New Albany, Ohio, vaulted from sixth in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires points table to second yesterday afternoon following a finely judged victory for Exclusive Autosport at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Championship leader Danial Frost, from Singapore, maintained his points lead with a strong second-place finish for Turn 3 Motorsport, while popular Canadian Parker Thompson bounced back from a dismal opening weekend earlier this month at Road America to finish close behind in third for DEForce Racing.
The Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders got off to a hot start this morning with the top eight cars in qualifying separated by a hair over a half-second. Eves, who won last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, along with a scholarship to ensure graduation onto the next step of the acclaimed Road to Indy ladder, emerged as top dog to scoop his first Cooper Tires Pole Award by a scant 0.0394 of a second over Frost. Payette, Idaho’s Sting Ray Robb qualified third for Juncos Racing with Thompson in fourth.
After the first attempt at a start was waved off because the full 17-car field wasn’t properly aligned, Eves timed his getaway perfectly at the second time of asking to lead Frost into the first corner. It seemed as though Frost’s car reached its optimum performance a little earlier than Eves, but the local man clung onto his lead and gradually increased his pace as the top two began to edge clear of Thompson, who had found a way past Robb at the start.
There seemed to be nothing to choose between the two leaders. Eves, though, made not the hint of a mistake even with Frost remaining hot on his heels.
There was a brief respite for Eves when the caution flags flew at half-distance following a spin for top-10 runner Moises de la Vara (DEForce Racing) at Turn Six. Frost hoped the restart might allow an opportunity for him to make a move for the lead. But again Eves was up to the challenge, and even though his lead was always tenuous, he held on to take his first Indy Pro 2000 victory by just 0.3024 of a second.
Eves’ performance also ensured a first PFC Award for Michael Duncalfe as the winning car owner.
Frost was content to finish second, realizing the importance of the season-long championship which offers a scholarship valued at over $600,000 to ensure graduation onto the top step of the Road to Indy ladder in a rejuvenated Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires next year.
Thompson, too, was delighted with third, especially with young Mexican teammate Manuel Sulaiman chasing him home just 1.8 seconds in arrears.
Road America winner Artem Petrov (Juncos Racing), from Saint Petersburg, Russia, finished fifth ahead of Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing), from Homer Glen, Ill, who fought off race-long challenges from Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport), New Zealander Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing) and Jacob Loomis (BNRacing with Team Benik), from Corinth, Texas. After starting 15th, Loomis’ ninth-place effort earned him the Tilton Hard Charger Award.
A disappointed Robb rounded out the top 10 following an off-track excursion at the exit of the Keyhole.
A separate qualifying session tomorrow at 8:45 a.m. will set the starting lineup for the next 25-lap race in the first-ever midweek standalone triple-header which will start at 12:30 p.m. The grid for Round Five, set to start at 4:45 p.m., will be determined according to each driver’s fastest race lap in Round Four.
No one came close to challenging the current dominance of Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship leader Christian Rasmussen yesterday afternoon at the first of three midweek races which will comprise the USF2000 Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio Presented by Cooper Tires Honoring First Responders. Rasmussen, 20, from Copenhagen, Denmark, quickly moved up from his third-place starting position for Jay Howard Driver Development, overtook pole winner Eduardo Barrichello (Pabst Racing) on the third lap, then simply drove away into the distance at the challenging 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Second-generation Brazilian racer Barrichello held on for a career-best second-place finish, despite a determined challenge from 15-year-old Floridian Reece Gold who also secured his best result to date for Cape Motorsports.
The standalone triple-header race meeting for the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires began with a 30-minute practice session this morning, followed a couple of hours later by qualifying. Barrichello, 18, was fastest in both to clinch his first-ever Cooper Tires Pole Award. Gold was just 0.0045 of a second adrift to ensure a starting position on the outside of the front row. After winning both season-opening races from the pole at Road America earlier this month, Rasmussen had to be content with a position on row two of the grid alongside Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports).
Barrichello made a good start to maintain his position at the front, but it wasn’t long before Rasmussen was looming large in his mirrors. On the third lap, Rasmussen made a bold move around the outside over the crest of the hill at Turn Five, which ensured he would have the inside line as the two leaders plunged downhill again into Turn Six. It was a fine maneuver, and thereafter he was in a class of his own as he set and reset fastest lap of the race before finally taking the checkered flag a massive 12.7818 seconds clear of Barrichello.
Rasmussen’s magnificent effort ensured a third successive PFC Award for team owner Jay Howard, who himself is a former champion in both USF2000 and Indy Lights.
Barrichello looked to have second place fairly comfortably within his grasp at the halfway point in the 20-lap race. But Gold had other ideas. The youngster from Miami, Fla., closed inexorably during the final stages without ever quite getting close enough to cause Barrichello too much concern.
Behind, Gold’s teammate d’Orlando also was part of the battle until he had to fend off the attentions of Matt Round-Garrido (Pabst Racing). After starting a lowly 15th, the Englishman made rapid progress through the order, earning the Tilton Hard Charger Award as he finished fifth, hot on the heels of d’Orlando.
Unfortunately, another Cape vs. Pabst battle had ended in tears early in the race when Josh Green, a podium finisher at Road America, tangled with Yuven Sundaramoorthy in the Carousel on the opening lap.
Christian Brooks (Exclusive Autosport), from Santa Clarita, Calif., finished a distant sixth, followed closely by Kyle Dupell (Cape Motorsports), with USF2000 debutant Kiko Porto, from Brazil, taking eighth for DEForce Racing. Australian Cameron Shields (Legacy Autosport) and Californian Bijoy Garg (Jay Howard Driver Development) completed the top 10.
Spare a thought also for Jack William Miller, who displayed prodigious pace – setting the second fastest lap of the race – for Miller Vinatieri Motorsports. Unfortunately, he finished two laps off the pace in 16th after his car had failed to fire up on the starting grid.
Miller, and others, will have another opportunity to shine tomorrow when the action continues with a second qualifying session at 8:00 a.m. to establish the grid for Round Four, which is set for 11:30 a.m. The starting order for Round Five, which will start at 3:15 p.m., will be determined according to each driver’s fastest race lap in Round Four.
Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) today announced that its first-ever TV show featuring America’s premiere vintage racing organization will premiere this Sunday, August 2, on MAVTV at 9:30 am.
In all, there will be eight airings of four episodes throughout August. In addition to the August 2 premiere the other episodes will be presented at 9:30 am and 12:30 pm on August 9, 16, 23, and 30.
“This is the culmination of a lot of work to build the SVRA and SpeedTour brands,” said Tony Parella, SVRA CEO and majority owner of the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli. “Since I acquired SVRA in 2012 all of my team has worked diligently to build a special national platform that provides a unique and diverse auto racing option for fans, competitors, and sponsors alike. Trans Am has a strong history of television coverage and we are bringing SVRA and everything about SpeedTour weekends into the mainstream motorsports conversation.”
Each episode presents two-to-three storylines following drivers and teams throughout a SpeedTour weekend. Episodes focus on the Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway weekends from 2019, as well as Sebring in 2020. While the focus is SVRA, all aspects of SpeedTour are incorporated into the presentations. The season promotional trailer can be obtained at this link.
The MAVTV series is a logical extension of bringing the best in vintage racing to fans through video. In March SVRA rolled out a full-service digital media platform to provide live SpeedTour coverage. Fans around the globe can enjoy live competition through free streaming media to their phones, and computers. Free downloads of the enabling apps are available for both Apple and Android. Love coverage is also available through the SVRA YouTube channel.
by Jim McIlvaine
Pike's Peak International Raceway (PPIR) was built during the track-building boom of the late-1990s, with the intent of drawing a “big time NASCAR race” in 1998. The biggest NASCAR races ever run at the track included some Busch and Truck races, but it wasn't long before International Speedway Corporation came in and bought the track, suspending racing operations and shipping the scoreboard off to Texas Motor Speedway.
The last race at PPIR before the sale was an IRL race in 2005 and the track went quite for a few years. ISC eventually sold PPIR to new owners, who resumed operations in 2008. NASCAR hasn't returned to race since the sale, but several teams still use it for testing. One of the series the new track owners have brought in is OPTIMA's Search for the Ultimate Street Car, presented by Advance Auto Parts.
Unlike their stock car counterparts, cars in this series actually resemble stock factory cars, because they all came into existence at the end of an assembly line somewhere. While this series has some rules, it is relatively wide-open in many areas, when compared to other forms of racing. Want to add a supercharger? Go ahead. Do you want wider tires? That's fine too. What about bigger brakes? That's also allowed.
There are some aerodynamic limitations and tires must be 200+ treadwear street tires, but beyond that, competitors are mostly free to build the very best street-legal car they can to compete in this series. The end result is dozens of Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes and other street cars, taking to the 10-degree banking at PPIR for a street car showdown that pits all of these street-legal cars against each other in seven different classes.
Since these are amateur competitors and no one wants to wad their car up, drivers don't race wheel to wheel, but compete against the clock for the fastest times in three different timed segments, the QA1 Autocross, the PowerStop Speed Stop Challenge and the Falken Tire Road Course time trial. The point totals from those events are added to the point totals from the Lucas Oil Road Rally and the Lingenfelter Design & Engineering Challenge and winners are invited to the grand finale in Las Vegas.
In Las Vegas, the cars will be displayed all week at the SEMA Show, before heading out to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational. In addition to having the appearance of legitimate street cars (because they all are), these cars also retain all the functionality. They have full interiors, working lights, windshield wipers, radios and HVAC systems. If they don't, they lose so many points, they won't be competitive.
While not your typical form of motorsports, the reaction to the series has been overwhelmingly positive and many competitors now build cars specifically to compete in this series. The great thing about those cars, is that they're all still street-legal, so if they decide they want to do something else, whether it's go on a cross-country drive or race in another series, they're not stuck with a purpose-built, one-trick pony.
The Pike's Peak stop was the third of seven regular season events and signaled the third “West coast” event, while also being centralized enough, that many of the Midwest, Southern and East coast competitors made their way to Fountain, Colorado. The result was a massive, sold-out 70-car field and extremely tough competition from start to finish.
The end result is a series that goes well beyond just a few marquees, like Chevy versus Ford versus Dodge or Toyota. At any given event, you're just as likely to see names Porsche, Subaru and Mitsubishi, as well as retired brands, like Datsun, Pontiac and Mercury. When Mike DuSold gets his '30 Ford built for 2021, we'll also see nearly a century's worth of cars and trucks competing against each other for the ultimate street car title.
Watch the TV series every weekend on MAVTV to get familiar with the top names and if the series comes to a track near you (and health officials allow it), be sure to check it out in person.
DriveOPTIMA at Pike's Peak International Raceway Results
GT Class (post-1989, 3,200+ pounds, 2wd sedans, 4-seater coupes, trucks, etc...)
1. Dennis Healy, 2015 Ford Mustang GT
2. John Grow, 2018 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
3. Jonathan Blevins, 2008 Shelby GT500
Classic Car Liquidators GTV Class (pre-1990, 3200+ pounds)
1. CB Ramey, 1987 Chevrolet Corvette
2. Eric Sheely, 1972 Chevrolet Corvette
3. Chris Smith, 1970 Chevrolet Camaro
GTS Class (post-1989, 3200+ pounds, two-seaters & awd vehicles)
1. Austin Barnes, 2009 Chevrolet Corvette
2. Steve Kepler, 2013 Nissan GT-R
3. Jordan Priestley, 2017 Chevrolet Corvette
Holley EFI GTL Class (non-compacts under 3200 pounds)
1. Jake Rozelle, 2003 Chevrolet Corvette
2. Robert DeuPree, 2013 Lamborghini Gallardo
3. Scot Spiewak, 2003 Chevrolet Corvette
GTC Class (two-wheel drive compacts, 107-inch wheelbase or less)
1. Dave Stock, 2006 Mazda Miata
2. Thomas Litton, 1997 Mazda Miata
3. Matt Davis, 2004 Pontiac Vibe
Outlaw Class (relaxed aero rules, pro drivers allowed)
1. Michael Damman, 2009 Chevrolet Corvette
2. Jim Boller, 2010 Chevrolet Corvette
3. Josh Stahl, 1969 Mercedes-Benz SEL
Spirit of the Event Award:
Josh Stahl, 1969 Mercedes-Benz SEL
2020 OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car Schedule
Las Vegas Motor Speedway March 14-15
Willow Springs International Raceway May 29-30
Pike's Peak International Raceway July 11-12
Atlanta Motorsports Park July 25-26
Road America August 14-15
NOLA Motorsports Park September 19-20
NCM Motorsports Park October 10-11
OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational November 7-8
Jared “the Jammer” Mees Unequivocally Takes First Place in Both Races, Earns 50th Career Win; Indian FTR750 Factory & Privateer Riders Sweep Back-to-Back Podiums
Indian Motorcycle Racing, presented by Progressive Motorcycle Insurance, kicked off American Flat Track’s 2020 opening weekend in commanding style – earning back-to-back podium sweeps. As the sport’s premier race bike, the Indian FTR750 took the top six and top nine spots on Friday and Saturday night, respectively.
Ultimately taking control of both races was five-time Grand National Champion and Wrecking Crew Rider Jared Mees, who earned his 49th and 50th career wins. During the Volusia Half-Mile I, Mees displayed a seemingly effortless win as he separated himself from the pack on his way to a commanding victory. On Saturday night, at the Volusia Half-Mile II, Mees started the Main from the second row behind, but was able to slide through the field and take home his second win of the weekend.
“Our team has been chomping at the bit to get out on the track and race since the season was postponed,” said Gary Gray, Vice President – Racing, Technology and Service for Indian Motorcycle. “To get out there and have the success we did two days in a row really made a statement.”
Joining Mees in the box in both races was reigning Grand National Champion and Wrecking Crew Rider Briar Bauman, who finished second both nights. During the Volusia Half-Mile I, Briar held third place until the final lap where he was able to overtake Indian FTR750 privateer Sammy Halbert to finish second. Briar had another competitive outing at the Volusia Half-Mile II, where he ran in second for a vast majority of the Main.
Mees starts off the season as the series points leader with 50 points, while Briar Bauman is in second with 40 points, followed by fellow Wrecking Crew teammate Bronson Bauman who sits in fifth with 27 points.
The season looks to continue on August 28, in the Northeast, at a to-be-determined track. For more information on Indian Motorcycle Racing, visit IndianMotorcycle.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.