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
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will bring a pair of new Tennessee-based partners with a dedication and passion for motorsport to the streets of Nashville as the largest TA2® field in history is set for the inaugural Music City Grand Prix August 6-8.
Trans Am drivers and Nashville business owners Scott Borchetta and Ken Thwaits have teamed up as key partners for the 100-mile TA2® street race, bringing the Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers presents the Franklin Road Classic to a near sold-out Nashville crowd.
"We are thrilled to have Trans Am be a part of this first-ever event on the streets of Nashville, it is tremendous to see how the community has engaged with this event, and I think Trans Am will put on a great show,” said John Clagett. “Scott (Borchetta) has not only developed several tremendous businesses, but he’s also come a long way really quickly as a Trans Am driver. It is awesome to have two of our Nashville drivers team up to make the most of this event."
Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers are the latest in Big Machine Distillery’s growing line of premium products and have quickly become the go-to cocktail of the summer. Big Machine Distillery is part of the Nashville-based multimedia conglomerate that also includes the Big Machine Label Group and Big Machine Racing which Borchetta owns and races under in the Trans Am TA2® class in the No. 48 Big Machine Spiked Coolers Chevrolet Camaro. Borchetta enters the Nashville weekend 11th in the TA2® championship.
Just released in April, Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers are refreshing ready-to-drink adult vodka juice pouches that are available in three refreshing flavors – Cranberry, Lemonade and Tropical. The new Big Machine Vodka Spiked Cooler juice pouches, along with a variety of spirits and cocktails from Big Machine Distillery, will be available at the track for fans 21 and older near the Trans Am paddock.
“Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers are blowing up! Giving title support for the first-ever Trans Am race through the streets of Nashville will be loud and memorable,” said Borchetta, president and CEO of all things Big Machine. “I’m excited to race in Nashville again as I haven’t raced here since my last championship-winning run at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway in our Team 98 Supertruck in 2005. After I strap in, I have to remember it’s just another race and to focus on getting the job done.”
Located in Franklin, Tennessee, a suburb of Nashville, Franklin Road Apparel Company is a men and women’s fashion boutique that evokes the easy-going lifestyle of the South with the sophisticated styling of city life.
Franklin Road Apparel will showcase its apparel at the Music City Grand Prix in a pop-up store located next to the Trans Am pit area in the main paddock. The booth will feature high-end Trans Am tee shirts with Borchetta’s Big Machine Vodka Spiked Cooler TA2 car ripping around the track. Only a limited number of shirts will be produced, making it an instant commemorative item to mark Trans Am's inaugural visit to the streets of Nashville.
Thwaits is a privateer in the Trans Am class driving for his Showtime Motorsports team. In Nashville, Thwaits will race as a guest driver in the Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers presents the Franklin Road Classic under the Mike Cope Racing banner wheeling the No. 6 Franklin Road Apparel Chevrolet Camaro.
"Franklin Road Apparel is excited to partner with the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli for the TA2® race in Nashville," said Thwaits. "Having a big presence at the inaugural Music City Grand Prix in the Trans Am paddock is fantastic! Our Franklin Road Apparel store located in Franklin, Tn. and this is a great opportunity to get in front of our client demographic, letting people know where to find the coolest men’s and women’s apparel in Middle Tennessee. Our pop-up booth at the race will feature unique event-themed shirts, for patrons unable to make an in-person visit to our store, they can always stop by our virtual store at www.franklinapparel.com
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2® drivers will participate in two practices on Friday August 6 (11:00 a.m. ,2:15 p.m. CT), before the morning split qualifying sessions starting at 11:00 a.m. Central on Saturday. The Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers presents the Franklin Road Classic will go green on Saturday afternoon at 1:25 p.m. Central. Trans Am will announce how to watch the 100-mile Nashville sprint in the upcoming days.
For more event information, visit www.gotransam.com
Kyle LeDuc and Ryan Beat continued their dominance in the Championship Off-Road (COR) series, taking first place in their respective divisions at the Dirt City Motorplex in Wisconsin over the weekend. The two wins took place during round eight as LeDuc and Beat relied on Toyo® Open Country® tires to get to the finish line.
Located in Lena, WI, the Dirt City Motorplex is one of the most exciting and fast-paced tracks on the COR series circuit. Round eight showcased a tough field of competitors in both the Pro 2 and Pro 4 divisions. The qualifying order was inverted, sending drivers with the fastest times in qualifying to the back of the field for the start of the race. Overtaking defined the races all weekend, as the fastest drivers made their way through the pack to compete for the checkered flag.
LeDuc and his #99 Monster Energy / Toyo Tires / WD-40 / Ford Raptor Pro 4 Truck started round eight in the eighth position after qualifying first. He was able to take the lead and hold on for another victory on the season. Beat and his #51 Bilstein / Toyo Tires / Lucas Oil / Chevrolet Pro 2 Truck laid down the fasted lap of the race, propelling him to another dominant victory in his division.
“Today’s victory was a great one and it was on bone stock, off the shelf DOT Toyo tires,” said Kyle LeDuc. “We had amazing traction and made it from eighth in the field, due to an inversion after qualifying first, to bring it all to the finish with the top spot and getting closer to a points lead. Big thanks to the track crew and everyone at Toyo Tires.”
LeDuc is a seven-time Pro 4 champion in the Lucas Oil® Off-Road Racing Series and he picked up his fourth victory of the season. Beat is a three-time Pro-Lite off-road racing champion and recorded his second win in the COR series, taking the points lead in the championship.
“It was an amazing round eight for us being able to pick up another win and the championship points lead,” said Ryan Beat. “The track was very technical with wet slick, blue groove, and heavy traction conditions so tire combination was critical. My Toyo Open Country C/T tires were the key to this success.”
“It was another incredibly successful weekend for Kyle and Ryan,” said Stan Chen, senior manager, events and sponsorships, Toyo Tire U.S.A. Corp. “It is great to see their consistent pursuit for wins in the COR series and with two weekends of racing left, a championship is in reach for both drivers.”
To learn more about the Open Country line of tires visit https://www.toyotires.com/product/open-country.
Ready for a street fight? The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli is more than ready.
When racing takes to the streets of Nashville for the Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers presents the Franklin Road Classic (August 6-8), it will be the latest chapter for Trans Am racing on a temporary layout. In fact through its long history, Trans Am has staged over 100 events on street circuits, airport runways, and even a city park.
The first Trans Am on a street course was in historic Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. The event served as the 1976 season finale, and George Follmer gave future star Al Holbert a driving lesson to bring home the season championship. That was the first of 22 Trans Ams at the Canadian layout – more than any other temporary circuit.
The most recent road race for the series was at Belle Isle Park, located in a county park in the Detroit River, with Canada on the south and the United States to the north. Trans Am raced there 21 times, most recently in 2019 for a double-feature when Tony Ave drove to victory in his 100th Trans Am race and IMSA's Misha Goikhberg opened the weekend with a win.
Running in partnership with Championship Auto Racing Teams and its successor Champ Car, Trans Am races were a staple of the open-wheel weekends on temporary courses from the late 1980s through the beginning of the 2000s. The series hosted eight street races in both 1990 and 1996; in 2005, seven of the nine Trans Am weekends were on temporary layouts.
Paul Gentilozzi is the most successful driver on the streets, winning 18 races. Tommy Kendall is second with 14 victories, followed by Ron Fellows with 10; Scott Pruett with nine; and Irv Hoerr and Scott Sharp with six each. Occasional TA competitor Boris Said could break a tie with fellow five-time winner Dorsey Schroeder with a victory at Nashville. Said also won the closest race, beating Greg Pickett by 0.147-seconds in 2005 on the bumpy layout in San Jose, California.
Though Ave is entered for the Music City Grand Prix, his first entry of the season, Adam Andretti is the only active driver with a TA2 street course victory.
"That is quite an honor to be taking that statistic into the Music City Grand Prix," said Andretti. "That day in Detroit was very special for sure, however I don’t think with a brand new layout for every competitor in Nashville that it brings me any advantage in my Peterson Racing Ford Mustang so to speak. Our family always carries a lot of confidence in street races and that is no different for me. My brother John had great success on street courses and my uncle Mario and cousin Michael had amazing records on the streets. Great success doesn’t come without a great team behind you and with Peterson Racing I know I’m there with the very best! With the large entry list the strategy I believe for all of us competitors will be stay clean so we can get as many green flag laps possible and put on a great show for the fans."
Trans Am raced 14 times in the marquee event at Long Beach, California. It visited St. Petersburg, Florida nine times on three different layouts. Other memorable layouts included Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas; Tamiami and Bayfront parks in Miami; the parking lots of RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and Giants Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands; Niagara Falls, New York; and Isla Gran de Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to end the 2003 campaign.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2® drivers will participate in one practice on Friday August 6 (2:15 p.m. CT), before the morning split qualifying sessions starting at 11:15 a.m. Central on Saturday. The Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers presents the Franklin Road Classic will go green on Saturday afternoon at 1:45 p.m. Central. Trans Am will announce how to watch the 100-mile Nashville sprint in the upcoming days.
For more event information, visit www.gotransam.com
The best authors are able to transport you to a world of their own creation, where you believe, if only for a moment, that you are actually in that space.
Since the first season of Speedway Digest Thursday Night Thunder, we have had the opportunity to work with Waldorf Publishing to get to know some of their authors, many of whom have a passion not only for the written word, but for speed!
My former co-host Mykkal Mulalley-Kapalo and myself have been grateful to the teams and racers that we have spoken with on the program, and during this unparalleled pandemic, we hope to provide you, our readers, listeners, and fans, a little snippet into some of the people who help make this the greatest sport in the world.
Today, we are pleased to highlight Ian Lewis.
What was your first car? A Morris Minor. I can’t believe how tiny it was.
What do you drive now? A Skoda Yeti. It’s fun.
What is your dream car that you wish to own? I’m very happy with what I have, for now; but the forthcoming all-electric Skoda Enyaq iV is very appealing (apart from the name).
Do you see yourself ever buying a battery operated car? Yes (see above). But it has to have a real-world range of at least 200 miles.
If you went on a road trip, what book would you bring? Guide books for the areas I’m travelling in or through. And Dickens’s “Bleak House” to re-read.
What do you think about Elon Musk and his advances in technology? I think he’s an inspiration, but I’m not sold on his sky-clutter satellites.
Be sure to follow Ian Lewis on social media:
FB and Instagram: @ianlewis1900 also www.storymachine.co.uk
Stay tuned for more insights into the amazing authors of Waldorf Publishing in the coming weeks.
Don Schumacher Racing sweeps the 61st annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com
(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)
Practice and Qualifying (recap)
The #47 WeatherTech Canada | Groupe Bellemare team worked on refining their race setup for this first run in the new car and posted the seventh fastest time in practice and third fastest time in qualifying, 0.128 seconds off the pole.
“We had a technical problem during the first 15 minutes of the practice session, leaving us little time on track. The set-up needed some fine tuning, and we made some major changes for qualifying, allowing us to qualify in third place for the start of Race 1,” explained Louis-Philippe Dumoulin.
Race 1 – 6th place (recap)
After a few hours of rain delays, the race was action-packed with eight caution periods. Louis-Philippe Dumoulin used his experience to keep a respectable pace and fight off constant attacks from those behind him.
“The #47 WeatherTech Canada | Groupe Bellemare car under-steered throughout the race and it was difficult to drive. We had some good battles and there were a few rubbing incidents along the way. The track has little grip and that creates situations where we have to elbow our way through.”
Race 2 – Podium Finish (3rd) - (recap)
The second race of the evening showed us a more aggressive Louis-Philippe Dumoulin after starting 11th on the grid. The hard racing started right off the start. The veteran driver began a steady climb up the order, oscillating between 10th and 8th position despite some understeer left over from the first race. After a restart on lap 84, Louis-Philippe Dumoulin's driving became more incisive and he pushed his still fast car towards the front pack with intelligent moves that got him a podium finish after some take-no-prisoners laps at the end.
“I was using the outside groove, and everything was going well, even if we lost a few positions in the middle of the race because of traffic. At the end I fought with the #22, my tires were used up, the track was slippery, and we still managed to finish third,” concluded Louis-Philippe Dumoulin.
Frontline Workers 125 & General Tire 125 (recap)
- Raphaël Lessard won both races ;
- Race 1 saw 8 caution periods, with only 3 in Race 2.
Jean-François et Louis-Philippe Dumoulin will return to the track where they started their racing careers on next August 14 and 15, after almost two-year absence. The Dumoulin brothers had a memorable experience in 2019 as they were both on the GP3R podium, a thrilling first for them and their family. The #47 WeatherTech Canada | Groupe Bellemare team had won the 50th edition of the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières and the Dumoulin family was celebrating 50 years of participation in motorsports.
Since 2016, many individuals, families, businesses, and organizations have teamed up with the Dumoulin Competition “Race Against Cancer” initiative. In today's unprecedented context, cancer victims need our support more than ever. To make an online donation, go to : lacoursecontrelecancer.ca
"The Dumoulin Corner" at the Gilles-Villeneuve Museum
On May 8, 2018, brothers Jean-Francois and Louis-Philippe Dumoulin proudly unveiled “The Dumoulin Corner” at the Gilles-Villeneuve Museum. Racing fans who have not been able to discover “The Dumoulin Corner” to date will have the opportunity to do so as the exhibit continues at the museum for another year. You will also have the opportunity to see Luc Pilon's creation that inspired the logo of the Dumoulin family's “50 years at the wheel”.
With the previous two rounds taking place at new venues, many of the 2021 Formula DRIFT PRO Championship teams were glad to return to the familiar surroundings of Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, WA for Round 5: Throwdown.
The Seattle round marks the second half of the season and is the point at which a number of leading drivers need to mount a determined assault on the title before it escapes their grasp. And with the new-for-2021 Knockout Qualifying Format throwing up some unpredictable qualifying results, it’s proving even harder to predict the FD PRO Championship winner.
Continuing to keep everybody on their toes, qualifying immediately threw its first wrench into the machine as the session began. With Matt Field (USA) – the 2021 FD PRO Championship points leader – running first to set the bar for the rest of the field, there was an audible gasp when a dramatic correction during the run meant his first attempt was judged incomplete.
By the rules of the Knockout Qualifying Format (KQF), only the bottom eight qualifiers run a second time. For everybody else, you have one chance to determine your position in Saturday’s Top 32 heats. And with Field relegated to the bottom eight, the best qualifying position he could now achieve was 26th place. However, a second incomplete run could see him pack his bags and head home.
At his second attempt, Field found his stride in the Falken Tire / Drift Cave Chevrolet Corvette and was awarded 95 points. This would have equaled the top qualifying score had it happened in the first round. However, KQF meant it was enough for 26th and guaranteed further drama in the competition heats.
While Field faltered, 2013 FD Champion Michael Essa grabbed the opportunity in both hands and threw down an impeccable qualifying run. In doing so, he maintained his impressive 2021 qualifying form, but Essa needs to convert Friday success into Saturday silverware. Sitting in 16th place coming into Round 5, he’s one of the drivers for whom the 2021 title could soon drift beyond his reach if he doesn’t act quickly.
The same applies to three-time FD Champion Chris Forsberg (USA) who qualified second after languishing in the KQF zone in previous rounds. He seemingly resolved the technical issues that plagued his NOS Energy / GT Radial Nissan 370Z to keep his title challenge alive. The solution was a cable operating his electronic throttle body to avoid the unexpected closure he’d been experiencing.
Third-placed Ryan Tuerck in the Gumout / Nitto Tire / Mobil1 Toyota Corolla Hatchback was one of three drivers to score 90 qualifying points, taking the position by virtue of a superior style score. Sitting in eighth, 102-points behind Field, Tuerck still has a fighting chance, which is what he does best.
Fourth place went to 16 year-old Branden Sorensen (USA) in the 212 Performance / Sorensen Motorsports BMW. The FD PRO rookie’s remarkable achievement is a reflection of his huge talent and it’s surely a matter of time before he stands on the podium.
Another qualifying anomaly we should consider is that of Chelsea DeNofa (USA) who sits second in the FD PRO Championship and is the only driver to score two wins this season. Having stated that he prefers to chase in the competition heats driving his BC Racing / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D, there was speculation that he might deliberately qualify poorly in order to move himself down the ranks. If that was the case, it almost backfired because he made a significant correction in Outside Zone 3, resulting in a score of 75 points. This dropped him into the KQF bottom eight and required him to run a second time.
On his second run, DeNofa got a score of 92 points, which would’ve put him in third place had it happened in the first round. However, it put him in 27th and against Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis (Lithuania) in the Falken Tire / Feal Suspension Nissan S15. Bakchis is fourth in the FD PRO Championship and not somebody most people would pick for their first competition heat.
With 33 drivers attempting to qualify for the Top 32 competition heats, at least one would be eliminated. Unfortunately, after two incomplete runs, the axe fell on Wataru Masuyama (Japan) who was clearly suffering technical problems with his Buy Now Japan Nissan Silvia S15.
Despite the high-risk qualifying strategy, Chelsea DeNofa’s gambit paid off, resulting in his third win of the season and second in a row, finally handing him the lead in the 2021 Formula DRIFT PRO Championship by a narrow one-point margin from Matt Field.
Field’s fate was also determined by his qualifying position, reaching the Top 4 but being relegated to fourth, behind Dylan Hughes (USA) who put his Permatex / GT Radial BMW E46 in third place by virtue of a superior qualifying position.
Surely DeNofa questioned his tactics as he lined up alongside Bakchis in the Top 32 heats. The Lithuanian driver is among the top drift racers in the world and never a pushover. Both drivers attacked without mercy but a small error by Bakchis in the chase position saw him make contact with DeNofa’s door, which pivoted the BC Racing / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D into the wall, halting both drivers. With Odi assessed at fault, DeNofa returned to the pits to repair and prepare for his Top 16 heat against Trenton Beechum (USA).
In an all-Mustang confrontation, DeNofa made a big correction in Outside Zone 1 while trying to maintain proximity to Beechum’s Clonex Racing / Nexen Tire Ford Mustang. With DeNofa under pressure, he drove hard and opened a lead over Beechum. And as Beechum tried to close the gap he corrected in Outside Zone 3, straightened, ran off the track, and DeNofa took the win.
With the god’s smiling on Chelsea, he got a bye run through the Top 8 after Jeff Jones (USA) failed to repair the Jeff Jones Racing / GT Radial Nissan 370Z during a five-minute Competition Time Out. This was after his Top 16 competitor, Dean Kearney (Ireland) also failed to repair his Oracle Lighting / Team Karnage Viper. With both drivers out of the competition, the peculiar twist of fate propelled DeNofa to the Top 4 and a battle royale against Hughes.
The BMW driver had an impeccable lead run but couldn’t match DeNofa’s proximity in the chase position. And that’s how Chelsea found himself waiting on the starting line for Ryan Tuerck to address an overheating problem, which saw the Toyota towed back to the pits for more coolant and quiet prayers. However, the overheating instantly recurred as the Gumout / Nitto Tire / Mobil1 Toyota Corolla Hatchback returned to the line.
Jumping out of the car, Tuerck congratulated his adversary and DeNofa took his second victory run before stepping onto the podium to accept the trophy.
“What an awesome event, but this was definitely not how I wanted to win,” DeNofa explained. “But a win is a win and we get the points. We’re definitely chasing the Championship right now. In fact, I think we’re leading, so we’re all pumped!
“The car is running great but I typically don’t do well here, so it’s nice to get some luck. The track is challenging; I think transitioning off the banking is one of the trickiest sections of the entire season. But we figured it out and with a bit of luck we got on the podium. And I think we can keep doing this for the rest of the season and go all the way!”
Not only did DeNofa win the event but many of his fellow title challengers stumbled early in the heats, helping to widen the gap to rivals Aasbo, Bakchis and even teammate, Gittin Jr.
Despite Branden Sorenson’s incredible qualifying position, Jonathan Hurst (USA) was the top rookie, finishing ninth overall driving the Cash Racing Infiniti G37.
And to get his thoughts on the return to Evergreen Speedway, we caught up with Formula DRIFT President, Jim Liaw: “It’s great to be back in the Pacific Northwest with packed grandstands after we were unable to have fans last year,” he told us. “It’s always been one of our favorite rounds because of the tremendous energy the fans bring to the event. The teams and drivers certainly missed them last year and certainly brought more intensity this year with fans in attendance. So, we were delighted to have the capacity crowd witness the start of the second half of the season as we head towards the Final. And with visits to St Louis and the unforgiving walls on the Streets of Long Beach yet to come, anything could happen before we reach the Irwindale Finals.”