Saturday, Jun 10
Adam Sinclair

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for, 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

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  



From ninth on the starting grid, Max Verstappen delivered a driving masterclass to take a thrilling win in today’s FORMULA 1 CRYPTO.COM MIAMI GRAND PRIX. In front of a sell-out crowd, the Red Bull ace came through the field to overtake his team-mate Sergio Perez with just nine laps to go. As the pair went wheel-to-wheel at Turn 1 on lap 48, the crowd leapt to their feet to celebrate. It was a thrilling end to the second-ever Formula 1 race held at the state-of-the-art Miami International Autodrome.

Verstappen’s 38th victory in his career and his second in Miami Gardens extended the Dutchman’s lead over his team-mate Perez at the top of the FIA Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship to 14 points. His performance was particularly impressive given his starting position of ninth on the grid. Max chose to start on the hard tyre, the majority ahead of him began on mediums, meaning he ran longer into the race before making his pitstop.

“It was a good, clean race and I picked off the cars one by one,” said the reigning World Champion. “I could stay out long on the hard tyres and that made the difference today. I then had a good little battle with ‘Checo’ at the end but the most important thing is that we kept it clean. To win from P9 is extremely satisfying — a great win today.”

Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso joined the Red Bull pair on the podium to record his fourth top-three finish of the season ahead of Mercedes’ George Russell. Behind them Carlos Sainz finished fifth, but his final classification included a five-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

Throughout the 57-lap event there was action up and down the field with drivers running on alternate tyre strategies and taking advantage of the Drag Reduction System (DRS) ensuring there was plenty of overtaking action at three main areas: Turn 1, Turn 11 and at the end of the back straight into Turn 17. The quality of the racing and the excellent reliability meant all 20 cars made the chequered flag — with South Florida’s very own Logan Sargeant the final runner to finish the race.

The overtaking action was so good, that at one stage Fernando Alonso came across on his team radio to complement a move his team-mate Lance Stroll had made late in the race, having watched the pass on one of the circuit’s big screens as he was driving around the track. Alonso started the race on the medium Pirelli compound and made his one and only pitstop on lap 25, four laps after Perez. When the time came for Verstappen to finally stop to change his hard compound tyres (at the end of lap 45) he emerged just 1.5s behind his team-mate. Despite a spirited attempt from Perez to hold Verstappen back, the decisive move for the lead of the race took place into Turn 1 on lap 48.

In addition to the exciting action on the track, the sell-out crowd was treated to a full day of entertainment at the Miami International Autodrome. There was music from award-winning DJs Tiësto and Cedric Gervais headlining at the Hard Rock Beach Club, and FISHER performed a set to round out the weekend after the podium celebrations. There were also pre-grid performances from bilingual Latin girl group Bella Dose, while the national anthem was sung by chart topping Puerto Rican singer and songwriter, GALE. The pre-race grid ceremonies were a new feature for 2023 with LL COOL J announcing each of the 20 drivers in turn, conducted by and attended by the F1 Grid Kids, hailing from the local Miami Gardens community.

“It has been a fantastic weekend, an incredible race day and I’m proud of the entire team who have worked so hard to put together this year’s event,” said Tom Garfinkel, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium and Managing Partner of the FORMULA 1 CRYPTO.COM MIAMI GRAND PRIX 2023. “Thanks to Stephen Ross and the hard work of so many people on our team, we were able to deliver an event that showcased Miami to the world and stayed true to our commitment of improving from Year 1 to Year 2. It is our goal to provide a best-in-class experience for everyone, from the guests enjoying the new Paddock Club, to the fans around the Campus soaking up the atmosphere, to the teams enjoying their new home on the field of Hard Rock Stadium. We can’t wait to welcome everyone back next year and celebrate another weekend of great racing together.”

Of course, Miami isn't the only F1 event in the USA. After the epic weekend, the eyes of racing fans turn to the next huge event in the states - Las Vegas! Of course, with any good thing, there is a South Florida connection. 

"After acquiring The Mirage in December 2022, and knowing we now sit at the 50 yard line of the strip, we knew having a presence at the inaugural Las Vegas GP could be a big opportunity to expand our brand’s presence in the sport," stated Keith Sheldon, President of Hard Rock Entertainment. "As a presenting partner of the Formula 1 HEINEKEN SILVER LAS VEGAS GRAND PRIX, we will have our own Strip-adjacent grandstand structure with seating for 3,000 fans, which will also give us the opportunity to offer best in class hospitality experiences on property, as well. We think the Vegas Grand Prix will have a similar cultural effect on the city as the Miami Grand Prix did and should continue to raise American awareness of just how incredible the sport is.  Also, as part of our deal with F1, we will be offering retail collaborations, VIP activations, and will be working with the Las Vegas Grand Prix team to launch a made-for-Vegas educational program with a focus on global hospitality which we will share more info on in the coming months."

As the official beer sponsor of F1, Heineken had a big, star-studded presence around the track, with celebs like Hayley LawDamson Idris and Hilary Knight hitting up hot spots like the Heineken Silver Paddock Club, Heineken Highline and Heineken’s Greener Bar at Paseo Park.
As momentum builds towards the F1 race in Austin this October and ultimately the first-ever Formula 1 Heineken Silver Las Vegas Grand Prix this November, we here at Speedway Digest are committed to bringing you all the latest news and insight into America’s fastest-growing sport!


PETA sent a letter today to Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles pledging to match or exceed the $10,000 that the American Dairy Association Indiana Inc. pays the Indy 500 winner to drink cow’s milk if Boles puts the brakes on that plan and instead agrees to switch gears to sustainable, animal-friendly, vegan milk. This year, race cars are providing drivers with better protection through the addition of stronger rear-wheel tethers and higher padded headrests, and a move away from dairy would add protection for their health, the environment, and cows.
“In the dairy industry, mother cows are forcibly impregnated over and over, and their calves are taken away from them within hours of birth,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “Instead of promoting a high-cholesterol, cruelly obtained product that’s responsible for greenhouse gas emissions galore, it’s time the winner chugged a glass of vegan milk in the victory lane, or even orange juice, as Emerson Fittipaldi did.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Boles follows.
May 8, 2023
J. Douglas Boles
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Dear Mr. Boles:
Greetings! I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, including many thousands in Indiana—with an exciting offer we hope will help fuel the shift toward an ever-growing demand for vegan milks. We will match or exceed the $10,000 that the American Dairy Association Indiana Inc. pays the winner of the Indianapolis 500 to drink cow’s milk in Victory Lane if you agree to replace it with some of the many delicious varieties of plant-based milks widely available. We’d even supply these tasty vegan milks for the teams!
As you know, ahead of the race the drivers are asked whether they prefer fat-free, 2%, or whole milk, but dairy-free options are not included—and that’s not right. We want everyone, including race car drivers, to consider that they now have choices and may want to avoid consuming cow’s milk for ethical, environmental, health, religious, or other reasons—perhaps they are lactose intolerant or perhaps they might simply want to try plant-based milks. Our sponsorship would allow them to do so, while paying homage to a legend like Emerson Fittipaldi, who preferred orange juice.
A most compelling reason to encourage Indy 500 drivers (and fans) to leave dairy in the dust is that like all mammals, cows produce milk to feed their babies. In the dairy industry, mother cows are forcibly impregnated over and over and their deeply loved calves are taken away from them within hours of birth so that humans can sell their milk. This milk actually leaches the calcium out of human bones, increases the risk of prostate cancer, and is among the top sources of saturated fat in the American diet. When you consider that the production of plant-based milks emits less greenhouse gases and uses less land and water than dairy farms do and that dairy milk consumption recently hit an all-time low, while vegan milks are now a staple for 48% of Americans, it’s clearly time to put the brakes on this old-style dairy promotion.
We’d love to work with you to drive a cruelty-free vegan milk onto the podium at the largest single-day sporting event in the world. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid Newkirk

Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy called on Thoroughbred racing industry leaders to embrace the goal of “no young, healthy horses dying on tracks in training or competition” as an aspirational goal in the wake of a cluster of deaths of healthy horses in the run-up to the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby.

Seven horses died at Churchill Downs last week, stirring the conscience of the American public and causing responsible leaders in the horse racing industry to take a closer look at a culture that treats regular deaths as an inevitable consequence of competition.

That rash of deaths reminded many racing followers of 42 horse deaths in 2019 at Santa Anita in California. With public concern about the deaths, industry leaders instituted policies to address horse safety and the toll of dead horses in 2022 diminished to 12 at that premier racing venue.

The sport’s new national governing body – The Horseracing Safety and Integrity Authority (Authority) – begins implementation of a national race-day antidoping regulatory plan this month. That plan will bring long-needed uniformity to a patchwork system of regulatory control built around the work of 38 distinct state horse racing commissions. The Authority also has broad authority to institute changes to improve horse safety at Thoroughbred tracks.

Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy are calling for a culture change within the industry and specific actions by the Authority to reduce on-track deaths of otherwise healthy horses:

  • Robust enforcement of the race-day doping prohibitions, with meaningful national suspensions and other penalties for violators of the rules. The Authority, set to start on-track implementation May 22, should accelerate its work and apply its anti-doping rules prior to the running of the Preakness, especially in light of the events preceding the Kentucky Derby.  
  • Banning the use of the whip in American racing.
  • Developing a plan to hold trainers and owners accountable to reduce death rates for racing horses to levels approaching zero, with appropriate national suspensions for trainers whose horses die at the tracks.

“The moon shot for the industry is to achieve a zero tolerance for on-track deaths,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action. “A ban on reckless doping is just one key element of getting to zero deaths. It will also require breeding of horses for soundness, keeping unfit horses out of competition, and a commitment to making proper veterinary assessments in real time to safeguard the well-being of the animals.”

“By creating the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority, Congress has provided a mandate for protecting horses in American racing,” added Pacelle. “Horse safety at the tracks should become the top priority for everyone involved in the business.”

Original Grain, the renowned watchmaker known for its craftsmanship and commitment to sustainability, today announced its partnership with Indian Motorcycle to launch the new Indian Motorcycle Collection featuring three one-of-a-kind timepieces.


The Indian Motorcycle Collection features one-of-a-kind watches made with authentic, machined aluminum from the manufacturing process of Indian Motorcycle crankcases. Each piece has a resin inlay and preserved aluminum in the bezel or bracelet. Two of the watches come complete with a custom leather watch roll, making it the perfect accessory for road warriors and adventure seekers alike.

“We are so thrilled to be working with Indian Motorcycle, America’s First Motorcycle Company. We wanted our collection to reflect the heritage of their brand as well as Original Grain's commitment to creating exceptional timepieces,” said Ryan Beltran, Co-founder of Original Grain. “By using machined aluminum from Indian Motorcycle’s crankcase manufacturing process in the bezel, we’re able to sustainably craft our watches and bring the spirit of adventure on our wrists wherever we go.”


Starting at $349, the new watch collection will be available for purchase exclusively on the Original Grain website. These timepieces are not only perfect for watch enthusiasts, but also make for unique and meaningful gifts for those who appreciate adventure, craftsmanship, and American heritage. For more information visit or find the brand on Instagram, Facebook and Tik Tok.


By John Oreovicz

IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A factory-backed drive in a top-class prototype is considered the career pinnacle for sports car drivers. The new Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is creating opportunity for a fresh generation of stars, most having graduated to prototypes from GT competition.


At the recent Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, only one of the six GTP drivers who earned a trip to the podium was older than 32. Last year, all six were factory-affiliated drivers racing GT machinery in the WeatherTech Championship and around the world, striving to get the call to be part of their manufacturer’s 2023 GTP program.


Now their dreams have come true, and they have been entrusted with racing the fastest, most technologically advanced prototypes in the world.

In that Long Beach sprint race, the No. 25 BMW M Hybrid V8 shared by 30-year-old Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly, age 32, just lost out to the No. 6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 driven by 28-year-old Mathieu Jaminet and 38-year-old Nick Tandy, the senior member of a podium that also included third-place No. 7 Porsche drivers Felipe Nasr (30) and Matt Campbell (28).


“It’s pretty cool for us as ‘GT guys’ to be up here,” observed De Phillippi. “Mathieu and I were door-to-door at (Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta) about five months ago, and now we’re here up on top on the podium. That’s pretty cool.”


De Phillippi joined BMW M Team RLL in 2018, notching four IMSA race wins in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO) classes. Familiar with the team and with BMW’s corporate culture, the Californian’s biggest task was adapting to a bigger, more capable racecar in the LMDh platform prototype.


“It's been a great new challenge,” De Phillippi said. “Obviously, it’s a lot faster, for one. But the big thing is the drivability window, and the margin for error is next to nothing. Compared to a GT car, you can’t get away with a lot. There’s so much power that everything just happens quicker. It’s easy to get yourself in trouble fast in these things. You sit lower, it’s more rigid, so it feels faster. But it also is a lot faster.”


‘There’s a Lot of Information on Our Table Now’

Though just 30, Nasr boasts arguably the most diverse resume of all drivers in the GTP class, with experience in Formula 1 and two WeatherTech Championship titles in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class, the predecessor to GTP.


Last year, while the Porsche GTP car was under development, Nasr served as endurance driver in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R (992) that Jaminet and Campbell guided to five race wins and the GTD PRO championship. It’s the sheer complexity of the hybrid-powered GTP cars that excites the Brazilian ace the most.


“Having driven sports cars for quite a few years now, this is one of the most advanced cars I’ve driven in sports car racing,” Nasr said. “To run the car on track as a driver, you have lots of different aids and things you can do on the steering wheel that influence your driving style – your stint plans and stuff like this, energy regeneration, how to manage that all. There’s a lot on our table now, a lot of information that we didn’t use to have in the DPi days.”


For Jaminet, who had no prior prototype experience, the biggest factor that eased his GTP adaptation was the similarity in controls between the Porsche 911 GT3 and the 963 prototype.


“The wheel and the radio button and the kill switch for the engine are all pretty much in the same position, so the transition is actually quite nice,” he remarked. “We have pushed for a couple of years to make this happen because it makes it easier for us drivers to jump from one car to another.”


Jaminet and Campbell continue to race 911-based Porsches around the world, including in the upcoming Nurburgring 24 Hours.


“As far as driving the cars, they’re just different,” Jaminet explained. “If they’re both in a good window, they’re both fun, just very different. You can’t really compare, but I also feel I didn’t have to change so much my driving style from one to the other. It suits pretty well both cars, but it ends up feeling very, very different.”


Doing the GTP-GT Double Is Draining

Porsche factory driver Laurens Vanthoor actually raced both Porsches in the space of 24 hours at Sebring in March. Vanthoor competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 1000 Miles of Sebring in a Porsche Penske Motorsport 963, before tackling – and winning – IMSA’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring the very next day in Pfaff’s GTD PRO 911 GT3.


Starting the Sebring WEC race in a Porsche prototype was a career highlight for 31-year-old Vanthoor, who raced GT cars for Audi from 2013-16 before joining Porsche’s factory GT lineup in 2017.


“I was actually really excited like a kid,” Vanthoor recalled on his “Over the Limit” podcast. “I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for 10 years, when I was with Audi, and now it’s happening. I still get goosebumps when I think about it. It’s something I was waiting for, for a long time.”


Vanthoor described the marathon double as “exhausting” and admitted he was too tired to join the Pfaff crew to celebrate their class victory after the Twelve Hours.


“Sebring is quite physical,” he said. “You feel it in your muscles, and whenever I get out of the (GTP) car, I’m just tired because the speeds are high and there are so many things to do in the car and functions you have to manage. You can adjust so many things in the car, it’s so complicated, and at the moment, not everybody understands. So it’s a lot of thinking besides driving, and that’s the exhausting part.


“The warmup (in the GTD PRO 911) was a bit weird in the beginning – it felt like I was driving a bus!” he laughed.


Yelloly, a BMW contracted driver since 2019, believes that switching between the two cars requires an almost completely different mindset.


“I’m lucky enough I still get to do GTs in Europe, so hopping between the two is the perfect combination,” he said. “The driving styles I would say are quite different. It’s two entirely different mentalities you have to go about. You get the real door-to-door hitting people in GTs, but here (in GTP), the speeds are a lot higher and you have to be more careful.


“It’s quite a privilege to be able to jump between the two, like having the best of both worlds.”

 Lucas Oil, a long-time partner of both Richard Childress Racing and ECR Engines, returns as the primary sponsor of the No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet driven by Kyle Busch at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 14, 2023. The paint scheme of the No. 8 car will be a ‘throwback’ to February when Kyle Busch took the Lucas Oil Chevrolet to victory lane at Auto Club Speedway. Earlier this year, Lucas Oil announced that it was enhancing its partnership with Richard Childress Racing in 2023 with continued technical and development support of RCR and ECR Engines. The race airs live at 3:00 p.m. ET on FOX.


“We couldn't be more thrilled to be back as the primary sponsor of Kyle’s No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet at the historic Darlington Raceway. Fans loved seeing the red, white and blue Lucas Oil colors leading the pack earlier this year, so we decided to bring back our ‘throwback’ paint scheme to honor Kyle’s win at Auto Club in February,” said Brandon Bernstein, director of partnership marketing for Lucas Oil. “Having the opportunity to be the primary sponsor of Kyle’s car for the second time this season is a tremendous honor for Lucas Oil, and it underscores the strength of our partnership with RCR and ECR Engines. We’ll be rooting for Rowdy and look forward to a sensational race.”   


Since 2014, Lucas Oil has served as the official lubricant of RCR and ECR Engines and is the official motor oil of ECR Engines. ECR Engines and Lucas Oil have recorded a total of 125 wins between 2014 and 2022, with another eight victories in 2023.


“This has already been an incredible season for RCR and ECR Engines, and we can definitely attribute a lot of our on-track success to Lucas Oil’s remarkable performance and continued technical support,” said Bob Fisher, senior vice president of ECR Engines. “Having Lucas Oil as the primary sponsor of the No. 8 car at Darlington is very special to all of us at RCR and ECR Engines and we believe that our partnership will yield the edge needed to have another shot at victory lane.”


Through innovative product research and development, along with aggressive marketing programs, Lucas Oil has established itself as an industry leader, producing only the best line of lubricants and additives available anywhere. 


“We continue to see the benefits of having Lucas Oil as the official engine oil of RCR and ECR and we know that it has contributed to the reliability we’ve shown on track this season,” said Torrey Galida, president of RCR. “Lucas Oil is a premier organization with deep racing roots and we’re very thankful for the support they provide to both RCR and ECR Engines.” 


For more information and all that is going on at RCR, visit

Dr Pepper has officially returned to NASCAR as part of its long-standing partnership with 23XI Racing, the NASCAR team owned by six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin. Next Sunday, at the Goodyear 400 race at the Darlington Speedway, racing fans will have a chance to scan the fastest QR code in the world, located on the front of 23XI driver Bubba Wallace’s racecar. 

Those who are quick enough to successfully scan the code can enter for the chance to win a limited edition racing-themed can of Dr Pepper– deemed “the world’s fastest can” by the brand and signed by Bubba Wallace. Only 175 cans will be up for grabs!

The QR code will direct fans to Pepper Perks, Dr Pepper’s rewards program, where they can enter for a chance to win the limited edition can. This contest requires Pepper Perks membership, but it is free to join and easy to sign up! Winners will be selected at random. 

May 12, 2023

By Mark Robinson

IMSA Wire Service

Practice 1 Results


MONTEREY, Calif. – Bright California sunshine on Friday provided a shimmering backdrop to a busy opening IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice ahead of Sunday’s Motul Course de Monterey Powered by Hyundai N. When the 90-minute session took the checkered flag, Matt Campbell sat atop the leaderboard in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963.


Colin Braun set the standard early with a lap of 1 minute, 17.019 seconds (104.607 mph) in the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Acura ARX-06 that stood until Campbell’s 1:16.703 (105.038 mph) flyer with five minutes to go at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.


“It was good,” Campbell said of the lap in the No. 7 that he shares with Felipe Nasr. “I only drove the last 20 minutes of the session. Felipe did a lot at the beginning and then I just jumped in. I just got some mileage at the end, so feeling comfortable and that’s the main thing heading into tomorrow.”


“For me, the first time here in a prototype so very different obviously to what I’m used to, but very enjoyable,” Campbell added. “Now we’ve got a lot to go through tonight – the session was very late today – to get ready for tomorrow. Tomorrow’s a big day with final practice and qualifying.”


Braun’s early lap held up for second overall. Mathieu Jaminet was third in the No. 6 Penske Porsche 963 at 1:17.115 (104.477 mph). Jaminet and co-driver Nick Tandy are coming off a win last month at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, giving Porsche its first GTP victory and making it three different manufacturers to win the first three races of the new top prototype era, following Acura and Cadillac.


The lone substantial incident of Friday’s practice occurred less than 20 minutes in when Sebastien Bourdais ran wide over the curbs approaching Turn 6, lost control of the No. 01 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R and slid into the tire barrier. Bourdais walked away from the crash but the Chip Ganassi Racing-prepared car sustained significant right-side damage and was finished for the session.


Other class leaders in practice were: Louis Deletraz in Le Mans Prototype 2, 1:17.897 (103.428 mph) in the No. 8 Tower Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07; Frankie Montecalvo in GT Daytona (GTD), 1:24.796 (95.013 mph) in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3; and Ben Barnicoat in GT Daytona Pro (GTD PRO), 1:25.020 (94.763 mph) in the No. 14 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.


The final WeatherTech Championship practice starts at 11:55 a.m. ET Saturday. Qualifying streams live on Peacock and at 3:55 p.m.


Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute race airs live at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.

JDC-Miller Taking Baby Steps with GTP Program


For most teams and drivers, seeing the checkered flag at the end of a race is when they can exhale, relax and smile. For John Church and JDC-Miller MotorSports, seeing Sunday’s green flag to start the Motul Course de Monterey will bring satisfaction enough.


JDC-Miller becomes the first customer team of the new GTP era this weekend, joining the eight factory-backed entries representing four manufacturers. Veteran Mike Rockenfeller and 19-year-old Tijmen van der Helm are piloting the No. 5 Porsche 963, turning their first-ever laps in the car during Friday’s practice at WeatherTech Raceway.


“It’ll be nice when the green flag flies on Sunday and we can relax and just start doing our thing,” Church, the team’s managing director, admitted.


Rockenfeller turned 17 laps during Friday’s 90-minute session, with a top lap of 1:19.563 (101.262 mph), 2.860 seconds behind GTP pacesetter Matt Campbell in the No. 7 Porsche Penske Motorsports Porsche 963.


Church said the plan for WeatherTech Raceway couldn’t be more straightforward.


“For this weekend, we want to make every session and run as many laps as we can,” Church said. “I mean, it’s a test weekend – just get a feel for everything and like I keep telling the guys, we’re here to learn all the stuff we don’t know. There’s a lot of things that we don’t know that we don’t know, so we’ve just got to go and run and figure it out.”


Rockenfeller is being leaned on for his experience developing race cars. He is a two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, including overall in 2010 in an Audi Le Mans Prototype 1, was the Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winner the same year in an Acton Express Racing Porsche-Riley, and is one of the drivers who’ll take on Le Mans next month in the NASCAR Garage 56 Camaro.


The 39-year-old German understands well that the JDC-Miller program must walk before it can run.


“Honestly, I think we can feel as winners if we do every session (this weekend) more or less on time, if we have no big issues and we stay on track,” Rockenfeller said. “If we finish the race, I’m happy. I go home happy because we will learn a lot.”


Mazda MX-5 Cup Car Raffle Benefits Parkinson’s Fight with Michael J. Fox Foundation

Fans have a chance to win an actual Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires race car and help the fight against Parkinson’s disease at the same time, thanks to an initiative from Mazda, Whelen Engineering, Flis Performance and Team Fox.


The race car, valued at $100,000, was unveiled Friday at WeatherTech Raceway. With a minimum donation of $25 to, fans will be entered in a raffle to win the car specially designed by Flis. Proceeds benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.


For Sonny Whelen, the initiative is personal. The owner and executive vice president of Whelen Engineering that competes in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship suffers from Parkinson’s, the debilitative brain disorder that currently has no cure.


“I have been a passionate supporter of The Michael J. Fox Foundation and their mission to find a cure for Parkinson’s for many years,” Whelen said. “I am especially proud to bring this project to fruition and raise money for the important research that needs to be done to find better treatments and, ultimately, a cure.” 

Friday Notes


  • Mercedes-AMG and Audi set the pace in IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge practice Friday at WeatherTech Raceway following a pair of on-track sessions. Scott Andrews turned the fastest lap in the Grand Sport (GS) class, 1:30.918 (88.615 mph), in the No. 27 Lone Star Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4. In the Touring Car (TCR) class, Denis Dupont (No. 15 Rockwell Autosport Development Audi RS3 LMS SEQ) topped the chart at 1:32.588 (87.017 mph). Qualifying for the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 starts at 2 pm. ET Saturday, with the two-hour race streaming live on Peacock at 7:30 p.m.


  • Danny Formal, half of the defending champion duo in the Pro class of Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America, was quickest following the first two practice sessions of the 2023 season. Formal, who shares the No. 1 Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport, Lamborghini Palm Beach Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo2 with Kyle Marcelli, was clocked at 1:24.625 (95.205 mph). Super Trofeo races are set for 5:20 p.m. ET Saturday and 12:40 p.m. Sunday.


  • Gresham Wagner (No. 5 Spark Performance) qualified on the pole position for Saturday’s Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires race with a best lap of 1:38.301 (81.960 mph). The first race 45-minute race of the weekend doubleheader takes the green flag at 2:50 p.m. ET on Saturday, with Sunday’s race set to start at 11:35 a.m. ET.

Joel Granfors started a lowly 18th for this morning’s second leg of the Discount Tires Grand Prix of Indianapolis on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix road course. But the rising star from Eskilstuna, Sweden, took advantage of a series of opportunities and ended up with a convincing maiden USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires victory.


Salvador de Alba, from Guadalajara, Mexico, capped a banner day for the Canadian-owned Exclusive Autosport team by finishing second. Jace Denmark, from Scottsdale, Ariz., finished third for Pabst Racing.




Championship leader Myles Rowe, from Brooklyn, N.Y., looked to bounce back from a disappointing race on Friday after claiming the Cooper Tires Pole Award for Pabst Racing with Force Indy by virtue of setting the fastest lap in yesterday’s race. Rowe duly held onto the lead at the start, only for an unforced error at Turn Seven on the opening lap to send him wide onto the grass and to the tail of the field.


Instead it was Francesco Pizzi, from Rome, Italy, who took the early advantage for TJ Speed Motorsports after starting second.


An early full-curse caution following an incident farther down the field proved pivotal in the outcome of the race. Pizzi, still out front, was slow on the restart and consequently was swamped by the chasing pack.


De Alba, who was seventh in line for the resumption, timed his jump to perfection, leaping into the lead by the start/finish line, followed by the opportunistic Granfors, who had made up nine positions over the course of the first couple of laps and then leapt from ninth to second.


But the rookie Granfors was far from done. After another full-course caution interruption, the Swede took advantage of a big draft from de Alba as the leaders sped toward Turn One, then promptly braked later, on the outside line, to grasp the lead.


Granfors, who finished second in last year’s GB3 Championship in the UK, never looked back as he raced away to take the checkered flag over three seconds clear of de Alba.


Denmark also profited from the restarts, jumping from sixth to third, which he maintained to the finish.


Ireland’s Jonathan Browne enjoyed a strong weekend for Turn 3 Motorsport, securing his second successive fourth-place finish ahead of the remarkable Rowe, who atoned for his earlier gaff by storming back through the field and finishing fifth to further extend his championship lead.


Granfors, unsurprisingly, earned the Tilton Hard Charger Award, while Michael and Kimberly Duncalfe claimed their first PFC Award of the season as the winning car owners.


Next up for the USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires contenders is their lone oval race of the season at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park on Friday evening, May 26.


Provisional championship points after 6 of 18 rounds:

1. Myles Rowe, 139

2. Kiko Porto, 100

3. Francesco Pizzi, 98

4. Joel Granfors, 95

5. Jace Denmark, 91

6. Reece Ushijima, 86

7. Lirim Zendeli, 82

8. Jonathan Browne, 80

9. Salvador de Alba, 77

10. Jack William Miller, 67


Joel Granfors (#92 Corpay Cross-Border-Exclusive Autosport Tatuus IP-22): “It was a crazy race. I started P18, all the way in the back after the DNF in Race 1. I made a good start. I think I managed to get up to P8 after the first two laps then the safety car came out. I had a really good restart. There was a miscommunication with some drivers and we took advantage of that. I think I went from P10 to P2 going into Turn One and then the pace car came out again. I just managed to slipstream Salvador going up into Turn One and managed to brake later than him. From that point on, I was trying to do as quick laps as possible to pull away. I got a gap and managed the tires until the end. It is a dream come true to win here.”


Salvador de Alba (#91 Archandel/Red Cola/Mecano/Z Motors-Exclusive Autosport Tatuus IP-22): “It was a very strange race. I started P12 and gained some spots at the start. Then there was a yellow and the restart was so wild. The leading driver got on the power too late and as soon as it went green, I went to the outside lane and I ended up first. I had quite good speed, but not as good as Joel who took P1. I managed P2 and a podium which is my first podium of the year. I am very happy about that and hope it is the first of many this year.”


Jace Denmark (#20 Metal Works Custom Fabrication-Pabst Racing Tatuus IP-22): “My first start was really awesome. I think I went to sixth or so, and then we had a caution. The restart was super chaotic. I don’t know what the leader was doing but he clearly didn’t pay attention in the driver’s meeting and started way later than what the start zone should be. It bottled everything up but good for me because I came out third from that and just ran my race. I was defending from Jonathan Browne for a while and just finished the race a little behind Salvador. A great race and a great rebound from yesterday. It is nice to finish Indy on a good note. Usually, I don’t have much luck here so this helps going into the Freedom 90."

Formula 1 is one of the most thrilling motorsport competitions around the world, with millions of fans globally. The sport is known for featuring some of the world's most talented drivers, whose skills and strategies on the track have captivated fans for decades. In recent years, however, the sport has also been fueled by controversies and scandals, as well as increased media attention , no doubt thanks to Netflix's Formula 1: Drive to Survive. These factors have contributed to F1's growing popularity, making it one of the most exciting and talked-about sports in the world today.
Despite all the controversies, the drivers are the heart of the sport, and the researchers from came up with a list of the most popular drivers currently on the grid. To do this, the researchers gathered the following data for each driver: the number of Instagram followers, the number of Twitter followers, the number of tags on TikTok, the number of Wikipedia page visits, and global volume searches for each of the 20 drivers.
One notable name that is missing is the popular Daniel Ricciardo, as he is not on the grid this season, but if he were, he would have been in fifth place on this list.
Full data available HERE.

The reigning world champion Max Verstappen has a massive social media following with over 3.2 million Twitter followers and 9.7 million Instagram followers, but what put him at the top of this list is his enormous popularity on TikTok - his name has been tagged over 8.3 billion times on the app.
In second place is Lewis Hamilton, with 8 million Twitter followers and 32.3 million Instagram followers. He is the most searched driver, with a global volume search of over 2.4 million and his Wikipedia page has over 400k visits in the past month alone.
Charles Leclerc has a strong social media presence with 2.5 million Twitter followers and 10.6 million Instagram followers, which puts him in third place. He has also been tagged on TikTok an impressive 6.2 billion times.
In fourth place is Lando Norris. The Belgian-British driver has 2.3 million Twitter followers and 6.1 million Instagram followers. 
Sergio Pérez is the fifth most popular driver currently on the grid, with over 3.6 million Twitter followers and 5.6 million Instagram followers. His Wikipedia page has been visited more than 132k times in the past month.

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