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.
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Leaving nothing to chance, Chris Dyson pulled away from the field to win another spectacular Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli race on Sunday to complete a doubleheader weekend of combined-class racing at Watkins Glen International. (VIDEO: TA Race Highlights)
After winning Saturday’s race, Dyson continued his march toward his first TA title by beating Boris Said by 5.848 seconds on Sunday. CD Racing’s Guy Smith took third in Dyson Racing’s No. 21 Amamos LaVida Tequila Ford Mustang, beating out Amy Ruman’s No. 23 McNichols Corvette in a thrilling late-race battle.
“God bless the empire state, God bless New York, I am so proud to be back here,” said Dyson, who made his professional debut at The Glen 20 years ago. “It was just magnificent up here today. We made some tweaks overnight, and it worked out fantastically for us today. The ALTWELL CBD Ford Mustang feels so good and was fast every single lap. I could push; I could drive into a pace; we definitely had our hand in it today the whole way. I’m really proud we got a one-three finish for the team, so that’s terrific for the points. To win two in a row here at Watkins Glen is very satisfying for us.”
Dyson saw troubles take out challengers Ernie Francis Jr. and Tomy Drissi. After going out with clutch problems in the closing laps of Saturday’s run, Francis dropped a belt and later overheated in the No. 98 Future Star Racing Ford Mustang but was able to take the checkered flag two laps down after having led in the early stages of the race.
Dyson had battled with Drissi on Saturday, and the two were once again in close contention on Sunday as Drissi challenged Dyson up until sustaining tire and suspension problems exiting Turn 4, sending him into the guardrail.
Said started the No. 2 Pancho Weaver Technique/SRI Dodge Challenger from the back of the 34-car grid after missing Saturday’s race. He thrilled his many fans in the large crowd by storming into contention, but had nothing for Dyson following the final restart. Said won the Chill Out move of the race for coming from last to second.
"I love coming here, it's like my home track," Said explained. "Of all the tracks I've raced from all over the world, this circuit is badass and the best I've ever driven. I had a blast coming from the back, I wanted Chris (Dyson) really bad, he's a good blocker. I tried to put the fender on him but didn't want to rough him up too much to upset him and his championship. He won today fair and square. Pancho Weaver builds the best cars, and I had a lot of fun today driving from the back.”
The run to the Trans Am podium was a welcome one for Smith, who celebrated his birthday in style.
“I actually went into neutral, I was so busy trying to keep her back, I wasn’t even looking at what I was doing,” Smith admitted about his late race battle with Ruman. “It was a bit of a comeback. She drove really, really well, and was super late on the brakes.. This Trans Am racing is just crazy. It’s a lot of fun, the racing is first class, and we put on a good show for everybody.”
Ken Thwaits took fourth in the No. 4 Franklin Road Apparel Camaro, and was the TA Masters winner.
Following the caution for Drissi, the Lap 21 restart generated a major incident in the Esses that turned around the TA2® race.
Up until that point, Connor Mosack had dominated the class in the No. 92 Nik Taylor/IFS M1-SLR/Fields Chevrolet Camaro, and the Team SLR driver got away on a clean restart. Behind him, though, cars began spinning – including three of the cars dueling for second. Mike Skeen, Misha Goikhberg and Thomas Merrill all spun into the wall; Saturday winner Rafa Matos missed the wreck but fell from third to seventh while avoiding the incident; and Tyler Kicera managed to sneak through without damage and advanced to second in the class. (VIDEO: TA2 Race Highlights)
After a black flag to clean up the incident, Mosack went on to win by 0.883-seconds ahead of Kicera for his first TA2® victory.
“It feels amazing,” Mosack said. “Team SLR gave me a great car – it was the best car all weekend. It’s a big relief; it takes a lot off my shoulders to finally get my first win. I feel there’s more to come the rest of the year. Hopefully, we can get it done again at VIR. I saw the wreck behind me, and it took out some of the good guys. But I knew we still had some good guys behind us, and I had to hold them off there at the end. It definitely wasn’t an easy race, but as the laps went on, the car got better, and that helped us out.
Kicera came through the incident unscathed to take second in the No. 5 Silver Hare Racing Ford Mustang. The Pennsylvanian considers WGI his home track, making his racing debut there 10 years ago.
“The seas parted, and I drove through,” said Kicera. "It's been a really long weekend. "We've battled uphill the whole time. Huge thanks to Silver Hare Racing for all their help getting the car put back together twice this weekend. I don't know how I made it through that crash, but I did, and tried to give Connor (Mosack) everything at the end there. I thought I might have had him on the restart, but Rafa (Matos) was coming, and I just went into defense mode to try and maintain second. It was a fun race and great result for us."
Matos fought back to take third in the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang.
"Today was a day to just finish and get the points," said Matos, who extended his lead in the TA2® title chase. "We were able to avoid the crash, going up the Esses that was a big wreck, I had to go through the grass and my grill was full of grass. I am really happy with where we finished today, and hope to clinch the championship in Virginia."
Matos’ teammate Doug Peterson was the TA2® Masters winner, placing 12th despite a late incident after losing power steering.
Erich Joiner placed 10th overall after leading all the way in XGT, unofficially clinching the title in the No. 10 Good Boy Bob Coffee Roaster Porsche 991 GT3 R. He was challenged by the late addition of Simon Gregg to the class.
"The first few laps I was asking my crew, 'where's Simon (Gregg) where's Simon?'" explained Joiner. "He's a world class driver and he got me in Sonoma earlier this year so I was worried about him! It was a huge race, and I made it through that wreck, thankfully. We had a good time out there and put on a great show for the fans here camping and those watching from home."
With his TA class Camaro unable to race, Simon Gregg unloaded his spare car, a Mercedes AMG he occasionally runs in Trans Am West and now uses as a show car to promote the Peter Gregg Foundation in tribute to his father, a three-time Trans Am winner at Watkins Glen.
SGT also saw an unofficial title clinch, with Justin Oakes winning his sixth race of the year in the No. 11 Droneworks Corvette.
"I have an amazing team from GSpeed," Oaks said. "My coach Jason Heart is incredible at getting me up to speed fast and getting me comfortable with the tracks. It's my first year in the series, it's a brand new car, so I had a lot of learning to do. We've done a great job together as a team. Again, I had great competitors to race against. It was really fun going against Natalie (Decker) there at the end. I just couldn't be happier."
Oakes survived a late challenge from Natalie Decker, who came up only 0.720-seconds shy in the No. 29 NI29 Technologies Audi R8.
"It's a dream to be racing here," Decker said. "I've been wanting to come here since I was a little girl. Thank you so much to Tony Ave. I love his team, he has the best crew. It was great to put WiscLift and Nerd Focus on the podium with a second-place finish."
Milton Grant finished third in the SGT class and first in the SGT Masters Class.
Next up for the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli is a visit to Virginia International Raceway on Sunday, Sept. 26. The campaign concludes at the Circuit of The Americas on Sunday, Nov. 7.
Official Race Results
Indian Motorcycle Racing, presented by Progressive Motorcycle Insurance, and its two-man factory race team are set to battle it out for the brand’s fifth consecutive rider championship. Jared Mees, winner of the last four races, took control and secured the top spot on the SuperTwins leaderboard with just one race remaining. Wrecking Crew teammate and reigning two-time SuperTwins champion, Briar Bauman, finished the weekend with back-to-back third-place finishes.
On Saturday, Mees wasted no time getting out ahead of the Main early and fast. He came into the weekend with first place in mind, as he makes a late-season push to claim his seventh-career Grand National Championship. The race quickly became a competition for the other two podium positions, as Mees distanced himself with a comfortable lead that allowed him to cruise past the finish line while celebrating with both hands in the air. Six riders joined the battle for second and third, which led to last-lap heroics by Indian Motorcycle privateer Jarod Vanderkooi, as he secured his fourth second-place finish of the season.
During Sunday’s Main, Mees took control after a few laps and began to distance himself. Bauman again caught himself in a battle for second – exchanging passes with Indian Motorcycle privateer Sammy Halbert. Both Bauman and Halbert were followed closely by Vanderkooi and fellow Indian Motorcycle privateer Bryan Smith, who recently made his retirement announcement and was riding Mees’ back-up bike. Just as Mees finished with ease, the pack battling for second saw Smith make an incredible two-rider pass and finish his legendry 20-year career with a second-place finish.
“What an amazing weekend in Sacramento. Not only do we have our two star riders set to go head-to-head for the 2021 championship, but fans got to witness Bryan Smith finish his illustrious career with a second-place, podium finish and take one last victory lap with his good friend and long-time rival, Jared Mees,” said Gary Gray, Vice President of Racing, Service & Technology. “This is what racing is all about, and exactly the type of finale the fans want to see, as Briar strives for his third-consecutive championship and Jared his seventh.”
With 60 career wins, six championships, and multiple records, Mees has been vocal about his career goal to reach Scottie Parker’s record of nine championships. Leading Bauman by four points, Mees has finished strong, winning five of the last six races, and put himself in a position to recapture the No. 1 plate.
The 2021 AFT season will conclude with the Charlotte Half-Mile on Friday, October 8, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. For more information on Indian Motorcycle Racing, visit IndianMotorcycle.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
In what is believed to be a first in the world of Progressive American Flat Track racing, Sammy Halbert and the Coolbeth-Nila Racing team announced today that the team will be reducing and then offsetting its carbon emissions related to the Sacramento Mile race on Sept. 11 and 12, assisted by their official sponsor, Castrol.
“For some time, the team and I have been interested in finding some way we could help promote sustainability,” said Sammy Halbert. “And with their approach to “driving change,” Castrol was the perfect partner. Our effort at the Sacramento races is an achievable first step toward more comprehensive carbon emissions reduction aspirations for the team and we think it demonstrates that every business, small or large, can look at their activities and take some action today.
Castrol helped the Coolbeth-Nila team better understand and quantify its greenhouse gas emissions for a given race, both on and off the track.* The team then developed a plan to reduce those emissions at the Sacramento races and offset the balance, in this case those from bikes in the race and air/ground travel to and from the race, with carbon offsets. Reduction plans include using ride shares instead of rental cars, driving together instead of flying separately to and from the race and using electric bikes for transport within the track instead of gas-powered dirt bikes.
“At Castrol, we’re firm believers in the idea that small steps together can make a difference,” said Castrol’s Vice President of Marketing, Rayne Pacek. “And teaming up with Sammy Halbert and Coolbeth-Nila Racing to help them begin to work towards their goals is another example of helping our partners get started in their efforts to drive change.”
In addition to working with Sammy and Coolbeth-Nila racing, Castrol continues to expand its carbon neutral product range, which includes our ultimate motorcycle lubricant, Power 1, to give consumers and customers more lower carbon choices.
“We’re excited to get this effort underway,” said Kenny Coolbeth, Jr., team manager. “It’s really gratifying to be able to show our world of motorcycle racing some of the steps we can take now to start to address our carbon emissions.
The initiative is part of Castrol’s ongoing relationship with Sammy Halbert and his team and is another step towards supporting its partners in achieving their lower carbon ambitions. Consumers interested in learning more about Castrol’s carbon neutral initiative can visit Castrol.com/DrivingForChange.
*Emissions were calculated using US EPA emission factors for what are considered to be relevant categories of transportation for the activities. Methodology focuses on the following four emissions sources: air travel, car travel, fuel use for motorbike on race day, fuel use for on-site generator on race day. The full methodology statement can be found here: https://go.bp.com/VmaUe