Thursday, Oct 21
Adam Sinclair

Adam Sinclair

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

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

Contact Adam: Email  

  

 

Sugarlands Distilling Co. today announced the launch of One-Two Punch, a new, limited-edition ready-to-drink (RTD) canned moonshine cocktail. One-Two Punch will be made available for purchase for the first time this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway during the NASCAR Playoff tripleheader weekend.

Proceeds from the sales of One-Two Punch will benefit Folds of Honor, with 5% of each purchase going to the organization. Folds of Honor is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to the spouses and children of military members who have fallen or been disabled while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Founded by Lieutenant Colonel Dan Rooney in 2007, Folds of Honor has awarded more than 35,000 scholarships totaling over $165 million in educational impact.

“We proudly support our military and giving back is one of our core values as a company,” said Ned Vickers, president and founder of Sugarlands Distilling Co. “We’re grateful for the work Folds of Honor does for the brave men and women who serve our country and we consider it a privilege to support their mission of helping military families.”

A refreshing, lightly carbonated blend of tropical fruit, including pineapple, coconut, citrus and a hint of cherry, One-Two Punch will be available in four-packs of 12-ounce cans at retailers nationwide beginning this fall. One-Two Punch represents Sugarland’s entry into the ready-to-drink canned cocktail marketplace.

“The RTD canned cocktail category has experienced explosive growth over the past few years and we’re excited for our One-Two Punch to become a category leader just like our award-winning moonshine,” said Patrick Sullivan, Sugarlands chief revenue officer. “Adding an RTD offering further diversifies our product portfolio and furthers our commitment to deliver unique craft cocktail experiences for our customers and partners.”

Since launching in 2014, Sugarlands Distilling Co. has rapidly expanded both its offerings and availability across the country. Now available in 40 states, Sugarlands offers an array of award-winning moonshine, rum, cream liqueurs and rye whiskey. Sugarlands has recently collaborated with the likes of country music superstar Cole Swindell, the Atlanta Braves, baseball Hall of Famer Chipper Jones and the Ryder Cup to develop unique craft cocktails for each.

For more information, please visit www.sugarlands.com and follow Sugarlands on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook @SugarlandsShine.

NHRA officials announced today the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series schedule to include 22 national events throughout the course of the season. Details on Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock, and Pro Stock Motorcycle schedules will be announced in the upcoming weeks.
 
NHRA looks forward to its 22-event schedule next season with the return of fan favorite events such as the NHRA Arizona Nationals in Phoenix, the Virginia NHRA Nationals in Richmond and the Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals in Seattle, which will serve as the traditional conclusion of the annual Western Swing.
 
The 2022 season kicks off in Pomona for the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals Presented By ProtectTheHarvest.com. For the first time in four seasons, the NHRA will host a specialty race amongst the stars of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series nitro categories. Fans will be treated to not one but two NHRA Allstar Shootout events in 2022, at the AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals and the prestigious Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals over Labor Day weekend. Then, teams will focus in on the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs and set their sights on an NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series world title.
 
“Next season will see 22 national events from the NHRA Camping World series,” said NHRA President Glen Cromwell. “We look forward to bringing our loyal NHRA fans a season packed full of thrilling racing action.”
 
For more information about the 2022 schedule and to purchase tickets, please visit NHRA.com.
 
2022 NHRA CAMPING WORLD DRAG RACING SERIES SCHEDULE
 NHRA Camping World Series Regular Season
 
Feb. 17-20 - Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com, Pomona, Calif.
Feb. 25-27 - NHRA Arizona Nationals, Phoenix
March 10-13 - *AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville, Fla.
April 1-3 - NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Las Vegas
April 22-24 - Mopar Express Lane NHRA SpringNationals presented by Pennzoil, Houston
April 29-May 1 - NGK NTK NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Charlotte, N.C.
May 13-15 - Virginia NHRA Nationals, Richmond, Va.
June 3-5 - NHRA New England Nationals, Epping, N.H.
June 17-19 - NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tenn.
June 23-26 - Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Norwalk, Ohio
July 15-17 - Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil, Denver
July 22-24 - NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Sonoma, Calif.
July 29-31 - Flav-R-Pac NHRA Northwest Nationals, Seattle
Aug. 12-14- Menards NHRA Nationals presented by PetArmor, Topeka, Kan.
Aug. 18-21 - Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd, Minn.
Aug. 31-Sept. 5 - *Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis
  
NHRA Camping World Countdown to the Championship
Sept. 15-18 - Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil, Reading, Pa.
Sept. 23-25 - NHRA Carolina Nationals, Charlotte, N.C.
Sept. 30-Oct. 2 - NHRA Midwest Nationals, St. Louis
Oct. 13-16 - Texas NHRA FallNationals, Dallas
Oct. 27-30 - Dodge//SRT NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil, Las Vegas
Nov. 10-13 - Auto Club NHRA Finals, Pomona, Calif.
 
*NHRA Allstar Shootout

 

(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)

This might be Justin Ashley’s first time in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series’ Countdown to the Championship, but the rising Top Fuel star isn’t letting the moment get to him. Ashley, the NHRA’s reigning rookie of the year, advanced to the final round of the first race of the playoffs and will look to keep that momentum rolling at this weekend’s DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX Dragway.
 
The strong start to his first playoff appearance bumped Ashley from seventh to fourth in points in his 11,000-horsepower Smart Sanitizer/Strutmasters.com Top Fuel dragster. The fall race at state-of-the-art zMAX Dragway in 2019 marked Ashely’s first career Top Fuel race, where he advanced to the semifinals. It was a memory Ashley won’t forget and he’ll try to create an even bigger moment at the third race in a rigorous stretch of four straight race weekends.
 
“I love everything about racing in Charlotte. It is a beautiful facility and since it is a Bruton Smith track you know everything will be first class,” Ashley said. “I remember my first race there in 2019. I just wanted to do my best and we raced to the semifinals and almost made the finals. I know how hard (team owner) Dustin Davis, (crew chief) Mike Green and the crew guys are working right now and it is a complete team effort.”
 
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Deric Kramer (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were winners of the 2019 event. This year’s race will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and FOX, including live final eliminations coverage on FOX starting at 2:00 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Sept. 19. It is the second of seven races in the Countdown to the Championship and the 15th of 20 races during the 2021 season, and Ashley is thrilled with how his team is performing.
 
In Reading, he knocked off points leader and three-time defending world champ Torrence in the semifinals, pulling within 55 points of first. Of course, Torrence been dominant in recent seasons and that includes an incredible stretch of five straight wins at zMAX Dragway. Ashley will also have to take on championship hopefuls like Reading winner Billy Torrence, Antron Brown and Leah Pruett, but the young standout could be peaking at the perfect time. He also showed impressive resolve in his first playoff races, beating a trio of championship contenders en route to his runner-up finish in Reading. Repeating that throughout the Countdown to the Championship won’t be easy, but Ashley showed he’s capable.
 
“Everyone out here racing at an NHRA national event is a tough competitor but when you also add on the fact that every driver I raced on Sunday was in the Countdown that makes me very proud of this Top Fuel team,” Ashley said. “We’ve made it to two finals in the last five races. That’s a testament to Mike Green. He’s gone above and beyond to put his imprint on this program. I could not be more pleased with the results. This is what I have dreamed about and I am so fortunate to be able to chase this Top Fuel championship with this group of amazing teammates.”
 
In Funny Car, J.R. Todd continues to put together consistent performances, advancing to the semifinals of the opening playoff race. In the hotly-contested class, though, wins will be necessary against a loaded field. Todd, a former world champ, is just 39 points behind leader John Force, with Matt Hagan and Ron Capps also within five and 15 points, respectively, of the 16-time world champ.
 
That means Funny Car is as tight as ever, but the competitive racing seems to bring out the best in Todd. He loves this time of year and the frequent racing that comes along with it, and the 19-time winner, who was the runner-up to Force at the spring race in Charlotte, is eager to get to work this weekend in his 11,000-horsepower DHL Toyota Camry.
 
“You want to go to the later rounds no matter what and not put yourself in a hole. We will go to Charlotte and fight it out,” Todd said. “I think it is going to be a battle all the way down to the end between a pack of cars. I just want to be in that pack when it comes down to Pomona. I like racing as much as possible which is why I like this time of year. It is all about getting momentum, getting on a roll and staying hot. I am glad we get to go back at it in a couple days.”
 
Greg Anderson built on his Pro Stock points lead with a his historic 97th career win in Reading, tying Warren Johnson for the most in class history. He’ll try to break the record in Charlotte, but will face stout competition from talents like defending world champ Erica Enders, rookie Dallas Glenn, whose first career win came at the track earlier this year, and Aaron Stanfield.
 
Steve Johnson won in Charlotte earlier this year at the spring race, and he’s in the points lead in Pro Stock Motorcycle thanks to his victory last weekend. He’ll look to stay there racing against the likes of defending world champ Matt Smith, Reading runner-up Eddie Krawiec and Angelle Sampey.
 
The DeWalt NHRA Carolina Nationals will also feature thrilling competition in the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, which will have its eighth of 11 races in 2021. Jose Gonzalez is the current points leader as he seeks his first world title. The event also includes the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where the future stars of the sport earn their racing stripes.
 
After nitro qualifying on Friday, stick around to a thrilling jet car exhibition. “The Diamond Jim Racing” jet Funny Car and “Mustang Sally” Jet Funny Car will both make runs on Friday. The Southeast Nostalgia Pro Stock Association will also make exhibition runs during the weekend.
 
As always, fans are granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans a chance to see teams in action and service their hot rods between rounds. 
 
NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 6:15 p.m. ET on Friday, Sept. 17 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 1:30 and 5:15 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, Sept. 19. 
   
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-455-FANS (3267). Tickets also are available online at www.zmaxdragway.com. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.

 

(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)

It was by no means easy, but professional off-road racer and General Tire Down & Dirty Show Powered by Polaris RZR host Jim Beaver managed to keep his Best in the Desert UTV Unlimited class championship hopes alive at the UTV Legends Championship in Laughlin over the weekend. After fighting from the back of a 20-entry field from the first lap, Beaver and the #2915 General Tire Polaris RZR team managed to score a fourth place finish to climb to second place in the standings.
 
Beaver suffered an almost immediate setback at the start of the race on the always brutal Laughlin course, needing to limp through much of his first lap to get back to the pits. The early struggle took him out of contention for the race win, and forced him to battle through the dust for the remaining seven laps of the race.
 
But armed with “Mona Lisa,” a former BITD title-winning car and a multi-time podium finisher this year, the #2915 team managed to pick off opponents one by one through both on-track passes and rivals’ DNFs. When all was said and done, Beaver would only be scored fourth at race’s end, but it was good enough when combined with others’ finishing spots to help him jump another spot in the championship in the double-points race.
 
“This wasn’t the weekend we drew up, but all things considered, we can take what we got out of Laughlin for the championship,” admitted Beaver. “It’s terrific to be able to see where this program is at and look at another top-five finish as a less successful day than we’d hoped for. The good news is that we’ve got one more shot to take the points lead, and it’s in my own backyard in Parker. You don’t always get these kinds of opportunities in your career, so we’re determined to make the most of it!”
 
Beaver’s hometown of Parker, Arizona will play host to the 2021 BITD season finale, the BlueWater Desert Challenge on the first weekend of November, where he’ll look to make up the final spot. But before then, his attention turns to this weekend’s Sand Sports Super Show, where he’ll be on site recording a future episode of the General Tire Down & Dirty Show Powered By Polaris RZR with Tiffany Stone on Saturday from 1-2:30PM in the Pro Armor booth. Click here for more information on the event and to buy tickets. In addition, stay tuned for new episodes of the Down & Dirty Show, Project Action, and more on Apple Podcasts this week.
 
Jim Beaver Motorsports is supported by General Tire, Vision Wheel, Polaris RZR, Rigid Industries, Fistful of Bourbon, GSP XTV Axles, DirtFish, Discount Tire, Gibson Exhaust, Rugged Radios, Pro Armor, HCR, Acronis, Impact Racing, Optimas Powersports, Northern Chill, Marwin Sports, and iRacing. For more information on Jim Beaver and the General Tire Down & Dirty Show Powered By Polaris RZR, visit DownAndDirtyShow.com, follow @JimBeaver15 on all social media channels, and follow @DownAndDirtyShow on Instagram.
 

Many of the big name INDYCAR drivers the fans will see on the track at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend will kick-off the festivities with a driver reception Sept. 16.
 
Tarpy’s Roadhouse, a member of the Coastal Roots Hospitality family, and a valued partner of WeatherTech Raceway, will host the party from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. the night before all the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey action begins.
 
Scheduled drivers include:

  • Takuma Sato – Part of the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing team; two-time Indianapolis 500 winner (2017, 2020) and currently 11th in the NTT INDYCAR Series standings thanks to seven top 10 finishes in 2021
  • Marcus Ericsson – Part of the Chip Ganassi Racing team; currently fifth in the NTT INDYCAR Series standings thanks to three top 5 finishes, including two wins, in 2021
  • Ed Jones – Races for Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan; was the 2017 INDYCAR Series Rookie of the Year and has two top 10 finishes in 2021
  • Felix Rosenqvist – Competes for Arrow McLaren SP; has two top 10 finishes in 2021
  • Max Chilton – Competes for Carlin, racing in his fifth season in the NTT INDYCAR Series
  • Dalton Kellett – Races for A.J. Foyt Enterprises; new to the INDYCAR scene with 22 career starts under his belt  

The driver reception will feature autograph and Q&A sessions, as well as food and drink specials. All ages are welcome to come meet some of the stars of the INDYCAR circuit.
 
The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, Sept. 17-19, is the penultimate stop for the NTT INDYCAR Series in 2021. The challenging circuit at WeatherTech Raceway offers plenty of action as compelling storylines play out on the road to the Series championship.
 
But the excitement doesn’t stop on the track, as go-karts and a Ferris Wheel will provide a fun family atmosphere in the Hagerty Marketplace. The whole family can explore the open paddock and experience a pit lane walk prior to the start of the race.
 
Tickets are on sale at WeatherTechRaceway.com. And for Monterey Country residents, a 25 percent discount on general admission ticket purchases is available prior to midnight on Friday, Sept. 17.
 
To contact Coastal Roots Hospitality, call (831) 647-1085 or visit www.coastalrootshospitality.com.

 

(Courtesy of WeatherTech Raceway)

The ongoing battle for this year’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship crown – along with a scholarship valued at $1.3 million to ensure entry into a minimum of three NTT INDYCAR SERIES races in 2022, including the Indianapolis 500 – will continue this week with a pair of races at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, Calif. David Malukas, from Chicago, Ill., and fellow American Kyle Kirkwood, from Jupiter, Fla., remain locked in combat, separated by just a handful of points, 429-424, as they enter the final phase of the 20-race season which will wrap up at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, on October 2-3.
 
This past weekend and a few hundred miles to the north at Portland International Raceway, in Portland, Ore., honors once again were shared by the two title protagonists. Each emerged victorious from one of the two 30-lap races, although HMD Motorsports’ Malukas managed to extend his slender advantage by a couple of points over his Andretti Autosport rival by virtue of claiming a pair of pole positions.
 
Malukas might hold a slight edge heading into this weekend’s Indy Lights Grand Prix of Monterey Presented by Cooper Tires, having previously raced an AER turbo-powered Dallara IL-15 at the challenging 2.238-mile during his rookie campaign in 2019. But Kirkwood knows how to win at WeatherTech Raceway, having clinched the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires with a victory that same weekend two years ago.
 
 
Several other drivers also have high expectations at the scenic venue nestled among the coastal hills overlooking the Monterey Bay. Swedish rookie Linus Lundqvist, who runs under the Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports banner, still harbors an outside hope of claiming the championship following another pair of podium finishes last week to accompany his two wins earlier in the season. His teammate, Seattle, Wash.-based rookie Benjamin Pedersen finished fourth in both Portland races and is also the only driver to have completed all 558 laps that have comprised the first 16 races.
 
Kirkwood’s Andretti Autosport teammate, Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y., hopes to build upon a podium finish on Indy Lights’ most recent visit to the California venue in 2019, while Rasmus Lindh returns after displaying impressive pace on his series debut at Portland with Juncos Hollinger Racing. Lindh, from Gothenburg, Sweden, has mixed memories of WeatherTech Raceway after sharing the Indy Pro 2000 spoils with Kirkwood in 2019 but losing out on the championship crown – and a scholarship to ensure graduation into Indy Lights – by a scant two points.
 
A compact schedule will begin on Friday, September 17, with 45 minutes of practice at 10:10 a.m. PDT, followed by the first of two 30-minute qualifying sessions at 1:30 p.m., which will set the starting order for Race One at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday. A second qualifying session at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday morning will determine the grid for Race Two at 10:15 a.m. on Sunday, immediately prior to the NTT INDYCAR SERIES headline event.
 
Comprehensive coverage can be found on Peacock Premium in the U.S., on REV TV in Canada, and internationally on The Race YouTube channel, the Road to Indy TV App and at RoadToIndy.TV and indylights.com.
 

The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli is one of the longest-running championships in motorsport, and will celebrate its 55th season with a diverse 12-race 2022 schedule that will include multiple road courses, a roval and a street circuit.

Trans Am’s 2022 roster of races will be staged at legendary venues across the United States as part of SpeedTour, IndyCar Series, and NASCAR events. The championship schedule will also continue to support the goal of cost containment for the robust paddock, with condensed weekend formats as well as utilizing multiple back-to-back, single tow race weekends that will be geographically friendly to participants.

The National program has grown for 2022 to include the “Roval” circuit at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the historic Sonoma Raceway, which hosted the Trans Am ProAm and West Coast championships in 2021. ProAm Championship drivers will also have a choice of which six events they want to attend to campaign for their title.

"We took feedback from our competitors this season to design a more balanced schedule that not only offered challenging tracks, but also kept an eye on cost," said Trans Am Race Company President John Clagett. "With venues like Sonoma, Sebring and Watkins Glen, the drivers will get a chance at the most iconic and legendary tracks in America.We’ve still got a lot of racing to do in 2021, but the enthusiasm about next year is really strong."      

Trans Am will continue its tradition of opening its season at Sebring International Raceway, February 24-27. Trans Am held its inaugural event at Sebring in 1966 ahead of the track's trademark 12-hour race. Since then, America's road racing series has held 16 races (with the 17th appearance in 2022) at the fabled Florida circuit.

Trans Am will travel to Charlotte Motor Speedway March 17-20 as the first leg of a back-to-back weekend with SpeedTour. After the drivers take to Charlotte “Roval," they will travel to the always-competitive Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta March 24-27.

Following a short break, the National Championship will make a West Coast swing on consecutive weekends with visits to Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca (April 22-24) and Sonoma Raceway (April 30-May 1) , the dates are also slated for the  growing Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship.

The 2022 schedule will mark the first appearance for the National Championship at Sonoma Raceway since 2004. Sonoma hosted the National Trans Am Championship 24 times, consecutively from 1969 through 2004; then returned to the schedule in 2018 as host for a West Coast Championship round.

The series then heads back to the other side of the country for a fan favorite and another traditional event the Trans Am SpeedTour Classic at Lime Rock Park over Memorial Day Weekend (May 27-30) with Sportscar Vintage Raceway Association (SVRA).    

The final back-to-back  kicks off Trans Am's summer tour with the first of two events slated for Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (June 23-26). Once again Trans Am will celebrate America’s independence at one of the most iconic road courses in the country, Road America, staging two 100-mile races (TA2 in one; TA/XGT/SGT/GT in the other) as part of the NASCAR Cup Series event July 1-3.

The race will mark the 50th year of Trans Am racing at Road America. The series first raced there in 1970, a race won by the legendary Mark Donohue. Since that inaugural race, Trans Am has raced at the circuit 50 times over 40 seasons. The only years off were 2006-08, when the series ran an abbreviated schedule. Trans Am also held a pair of feature races at the circuit in 1977.

The TA and production classes will take a hiatus as TA2® travels south for the second-annual Big Machine Music City Grand Prix with the IndyCar Series (Aug. 6-7). In its inaugural event, Trans Am broke a class entry record with 38 muscle cars roaring across 553 yards of bridge through the streets of Nashville in front of 110,000 screaming fans.

"We were honored to be invited back for the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix next year with IndyCar" said Clagett. "The entire event was top notch and offered great exposure for the series.”

The full Trans Am program returns to action at Watkins Glen International (Sept. 9-11), it will be the 34th showing for the America's road racing series on the historic circuit. 

The teams then head south to the scenic Virginia International Raceway for the National Series' penultimate round Sept. 24-26 with the final race set for Circuit Of the Americas November 4-6, which will host the season finale for both the Trans Am National and West Coast championships.

The full official 2022 Trans Am Series West Coast presented by Pirelli Championship schedule will be released at a later date.

For more information on Trans Am, visit www.GoTransAm.com.

2022 Trans Am National Schedule

  • Feb. 24-27       Sebring International Raceway (with SpeedTour)
  • March 17-20    Charlotte Motor Speedway (with SpeedTour)
  • March 24-27    Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta (with SpeedTour)
  • April 22-24       Weathertech Laguna Seca (with SpeedTour)
  • April 30-May 1 Sonoma Raceway (with SpeedTour)
  • May 27-30       Lime Rock Park:  (with SpeedTour)
  • June 23-26      Mid-Ohio Sportscar Course (with  SpeedTour)
  • July 1-3           Road America (with NASCAR)
  • Aug. 6-7          Big Machine Music City Grand Prix (TA2 only with IndyCar)
  • Sept. 9-11       Watkins Glen International (with SpeedTour)
  • Oct. 6-9           Virginia International Raceway (with SpeedTour)
  • Nov. 4-6          Circuit of the Americas COTA (with SpeedTour)

The halfway stage of the ADAC GT Masters at the DEKRA Lausitzring was the ultimate season highlight for MANN-FILTER. In the 70th anniversary year the two MANN-FILTER Team LANDGRAF–HTP/WWR drivers made the premium filter brand proud with a place on the podium. The many spectators in yellow-green fan clothing and the familiar MANN-FILTER caps also gave Luci Trefz a special boost – by coming ninth in the second race, the youngster proved once again that he can keep up with experienced GT3 drivers.

The greatest challenge of the weekend was the DEKRA-Lausitzring itself. Because of its fast sections, narrow curves, and bumps, the drivers describe it as very "technical". At 3.478 kilometers in length, the track is one of the shortest in the 2021 ADAC GT Masters Calendar.

 

Consistency is the key to success

 

While the "Super Sports Car League" championship contest intensified, the tactics of the MANN-FILTER Mercedes team were clearly defined: Scoring consistently while avoiding breakdowns. And the two AMG works drivers, Raffaele Marciello (27, Italy) and Maximilian Buhk (28, Germany), faithfully pursued the strategy this weekend.

When the starting gun went off for the first race of the weekend, driver Raffaele Marciello was easily able to hold position 4. Then Buhk took over for the second stint. Unfortunately, oil leaking from a competitor’s car meant a 40-minute interruption to the race. Nevertheless, Buhk crossed the finishing line still in fourth place, meaning that the team collected a solid 13 points. The Audi Mamba from the Land-Motorsport team was less fortunate. Luci Trefz started the race in the 21st position but was forced to finish early because of a technical fault.

 

On Sunday, the Buhk/Marciello duo had a fitting gift for the 70th MANN-FILTER anniversary: At the start of the second race, Buhk did not hesitate long, moving straight into third place. His teammate Marciello refused to take any unnecessary risks when his turn came and was able to finish the weekend with the bronze trophy. "It was important that we took home points and can continue the fight for the championship," says Maricello, summing up the weekend’s events. "Obviously we were hoping for more, but you can't win all the time. We're happy with our haul of points, but now we have to focus on finishing the job and winning the championship title."

 

A strong performance by youngster Luci Trefz

Youngster Luci Trefz (19, Germany) once again highlighted his skills: After his teammate, Christopher Haase (33, Germany), handed over the Audi during the second race in nineth place, the 19-year-old demonstrated his stamina. He did not cave in to the pressure from the cars behind. Thanks to his courage in the race, his ninth place collected seven championship points. "Luci did an incredible job toward the end. He had to handle two safety car phases and keep his opponents at bay behind him. At the same time, he kept pushing forward", says Audi sports driver Christopher Haase in praise of his teammate.

 

MANN-FILTER celebrates its anniversary with a special foil and spectators in the paddock

 

For the first time since the corona pandemic started, spectators were allowed back into the paddock. This was especially evident on the 70th anniversary of the premium filter brand: The yellow-green caps were everywhere, which was a special highlight, particularly for the youngest member of the team: "It was my first time taking part in a pit walk and, wow, so many people! So many were wearing yellow-green in the stands as well. There was so much energy in the paddock. It was wonderful to see that the fans were able to be there to experience the sport we love so much. I'm in my third year with MANN-FILTER now and am absolutely loving it. MANN-FILTER has become like family to me, and I'm glad that I'm part of it and able to join in the anniversary celebrations."

 

MANN-FILTER thanked its loyal fans with a special foil for the ADAC GT Masters halfway stage. Both the Audi and the Mercedes Mamba were emblazoned with a large sticker for the filter brand's big birthday.

 

In the fight for the championship, the team had initially hoped to reascend to the top of the table, but this was not entirely successful. Even so, the third place by Buhk/Marciello was enough to reduce the lead. Just three points separate the MANN-FILTER Duo from the top position.
The battle for the title will blaze up again at the next ADAC GT Masters race at the Sachsenring in early October (10/01 - 10/03).

The roar of INDYCAR racing was noticeably absent from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 2020 amid the pandemic. Which makes it all the more exciting that the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, a fan favorite event, returns Sept. 17-19.
 
The action begins on Friday, Sept. 17 with practice and qualifying for Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, and practice for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The first Indy Lights race takes place Sept. 18, as well as NTT INDYCAR qualifying. The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey – the penultimate race of the 2021 season – begins at noon Pacific Time on Sept. 19, with coverage on NBC. It is preceded by the second Indy Lights race, which starts at 10:05 a.m. PT.
 
“We are thrilled to be welcoming INDYCAR back to our beautiful race track for the first time in two years,” said John Narigi, president and general manager of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “We at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca missed having INDYCAR here in 2020, as did the Monterey community and all of our dedicated fans.”
 
Alfonso Ribeiro, best known for his role as Carlton in the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” and as the current host of “America's Funniest Home Videos,” will sing the National Anthem prior to the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sept. 19. 

Following the action at the Grand Prix of Portland on Sept. 12, Alex Palou – who took the checkered flag in Portland – now leads the NTT INDYCAR SERIES by 25 points over Pato O’Ward. With a maximum of 54 points available in Monterey this weekend, every lap could make or break a season championship.
 
David Malukas is the leader in the Indy Lights standings, a mere five points ahead of Kyle Kirkwood. With just two races left at WeatherTech Raceway before the final two at the season finale at Mid-Ohio, it’s a two-man battle for the title. At stake for the Indy Lights champion is a scholarship valued at $1.3 million that will guarantee entry into a minimum of three NTT INDYCAR SERIES races in 2022.
 
Tickets are available at WeatherTechRaceway.com. Children ages 15 and under get free entry when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Premier and Reserved event camping is available to book and can be reserved by calling the Tickets & Accommodations Office, Monday – Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at (831) 242-8200.
 

 

(Courtesy of WeatherTech Raceway)

Miami-based Italian-Canadian Indy Lights racer Devlin DeFrancesco will make his debut at the iconic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna this weekend.
 
Rounds 17 and 18 of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship will be run over the penultimate weekend of 2021 action for the final step of the Road to Indy ladder.
 
While DeFrancesco has never previously raced at the iconic Monterey circuit, he has completed hundreds of laps in preparation aboard his Allinsports Simulator.
 
The circuit is famous for some of the most iconic moments in INDYCAR history, including Alex Zanardi’s pass of Bryan Herta for the win in 1996 and Mario Andretti’s final INDYCAR race in 1994.
 
But it is not just the real racers who know their way around the 2.238-mile circuit. The track is one of the most popular virtual circuits across many gaming platforms, including Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport, iRacing, Assetto Corsa, Project Cars – even dating back to the INDYCAR Racing PC game from the 90s.

 
DeFrancesco is looking to bounce back this weekend after a challenging opening leg of the “Western Swing” in Indy Lights at Portland International Raceway. An electrical problem at the start of Round 15 put him several laps behind his rivals. In Sunday’s Round 16, he battled a handling issue aboard the No.17 entry en route to a seventh-place finish.
 
This weekend’s WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca weekend features a packed schedule with just a single practice session on Friday before qualifying later that afternoon.
 
Race fans can catch the action live on NBC’s Peacock streaming service throughout the weekend. REV TV will present the action for fans in Canada, while international fans can watch the live stream at The Race’s YouTube channel at the-race.com/youtube.
 
DeFrancesco’s 2021 Indy Lights campaign is backed by hydrogen production and dispensing fueling infrastructure innovators, Powertap Hydrogen; Kimoa – the fashion, clothing, and accessories brand founded by Fernando Alonso; world-class racing simulator manufacturer AIS; Apple’s largest premium retail partner, Simply Mac; Seattle, WA-based Jones Soda Co; software and services company Fyllo; Seattle-WA and Sol Yoga.

WEATHERTECH RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA SCHEDULE

Friday, Sept 17: 
10:10 AM-10:55 AM Practice
1:30 PM-2:00 PM Qualifying 1

Saturday, Sept 18: 
9:45 AM-10:15 AM Qualifying 2
12:45 PM-1:45 PM Race 1

Sunday, Sept 19: 
10:15 AM-11:15 AM Race 2
(US Pacific time)

 
DEVLIN DEFRANCESCO Q&A

Q: You tested here earlier this year; what are your impressions of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca?
A:
 "I’m really looking forward to Laguna Seca. We had a great test out here early in the year, and the circuit was everything I expected and more. It includes the Corkscrew, which is obviously one of the most famous corners in the world. It’s actually not that difficult, but you do have to be careful you don’t arrive in there too hot. 
“The secret to a lap here is linking the corners together. The run from the Andretti hairpin to the Corkscrew is where you make all your time. If you make a small mistake in Turns 3, 4, 5 or 6, it can really compromise your lap. This place has a great flow to it when you get it right, and it’s really rewarding. I’ve had a lot of laps in the Indy Lights car since that test, and I can’t wait to get back on track on Friday."

Q: What makes this circuit so iconic and popular?
A:
 “There have obviously been some incredible races here in the past - not just in INDYCAR, but sportscars, MotoGP, Superbikes, and more.
“But for my generation, anyone who has any interest in the sport has already driven here virtually.
“Laguna Seca is available on virtually every single gaming platform - PlayStation, X-box, PC - everything.
“They have been replicating this track virtually since before I was born.
“I’ve done a lot of laps in preparation aboard my Allinsports simulator. That has been a big help, but there is no substitute for the real thing. I can’t wait to get back out there on Friday.”

Q: How much are you looking forward to bouncing back after Portland?
A:
 “That is absolutely the plan. The Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport guys have given me a super reliable car all season and last week was the first time we’ve had any problems at all.
“But we also didn’t nail the set-up – I’ll be looking forward to going back to Portland next year to really work that place out.
“For Laguna Seca, I really enjoyed the test at the start of the year, and I’m now far more familiar with the Indy Lights car. I’m very keen to bounce back with a strong weekend before we head to Mid-Ohio to close out the season.”
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