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  

  

 

 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

By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
 A picture-perfect day at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca wound up just that on Sunday for Danny Formal and Kyle Marcelli, who dominated the second Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America race of the weekend.
 
Formal and Marcelli started from the pole position and were never headed in taking the overall and Pro class victory in the caution-free, 50-minute race. It marked the third win in the last four outings for the co-drivers of the No. 1 Prestige Performance with Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo Evo.
 
“We’ve just turned this thing around,” Marcelli said. “Big thanks to Wayne Taylor Racing having the confidence in us. Three wins in four races is pretty awesome. Our car struggled a little in the afternoon heat yesterday, we made a couple minor changes overnight and it was really good in the cool temperatures today.”
 
Formal started in the No. 1 Huracán on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile WeatherTech Raceway circuit and gapped a lead of nearly four seconds before the mandatory pit stop window opened 20 minutes into the race. Marcelli did even better, stretching the margin to 11.306 seconds at the checkered flag.
 
“We struggled at the beginning of the year and the team never stopped working,” Formal said. “And the car was just fantastic today. We struggled a little with Race 1 pace and worked with the engineers at Wayne Taylor and got a perfect car. I told the guys, ‘I’m going to take care of the tires for Kyle,’ got a nice little lead and Kyle just expanded, expanded, expanded it. I’m just so happy and so grateful for this opportunity.”
 
Pro class leader Richard Antinucci (No. 27 Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini Las Vegas Huracán) finished second, allowing the two-time champion to stretch his lead to 13 points over Stevan McAleer (No. 16 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán) with but next month’s doubleheader round at Misano, Italy, remaining.
 
ProAm leaders Brandon Gdovic and Bryan Ortiz completed a weekend victory sweep in the No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán to all but clinch the class championship. They hold a 30-point lead with two races remaining.
 
“I think that about gives us mathematically the championship, as long as the cars make it over to Italy,” said Gdovic, who won the North American Am championship in 2015. “Even if it’s locked up, we’re not going to stop fighting for wins. Hopefully, we can go to Misano and get two more regular-season wins and then go for that World Finals championship.”
 
Ortiz was the star on Sunday, taking over the car third in class on the pit stop. The Puerto Rican driver charged to the front and then some, winning by nearly 30 seconds in Pro Am to give the duo their sixth win this season.
 
“Brandon did a great job the first stint saving the tires and managed the car,” Ortiz said. “When I got into the car, we had plenty of car to fight. We had a great pace the second part of the race, so we passed the cars in the class and were able to keep moving forward and have a great finish.”
 
Luke Berkeley (No. 23 Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini Broward Huracán) achieved maximum points in the Am class over the weekend to take first place in the standings. The 17-year-old series rookie claimed the pole position and class win in both races. With an eye toward moving up in class next year, Berkeley has built a 15-point lead in the Am standings.
 
“I want to get some experience (racing against the Pro drivers) without disrupting them,” Berkeley said. “It was very good. Honestly, I just wanted to use this weekend to get a better point advantage in the championship and learn for next year. This race was perfect for that. I’m super stoked to get my first weekend sweep.”
 
John Hennessy (No. 33 O’Gara Motorsport/US RaceTronics, Lamborghini San Diego Huracán) continued his impressive recovery from an early season wrist injury, winning Sunday in LB Cup to notch his third victory in the past four races.
 
“It was good, especially after yesterday’s debacle crashing out,” Hennessy said. “I just had to shake that off. The idea was just to get a five-second lead and see what happens behind me. Stuff did happen and I was able to come in comfortably.”
 
A last-lap pass allowed Matt Dicken (No. 36 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán) to finish second in LB Cup and grab a one-point lead in the class standings over Mark Kvamme and Terry Olson (No. 47 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán), who finished third.
 
Drivers, teams and equipment head to Italy for the final two races of the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America calendar Oct. 28-29 before they join competitors from the European series in the World Final on Oct. 30-31 at Misano.
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
 
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca: Unofficial Results
 
Ricky Taylor finished it, but Filipe Albuquerque’s earlier effort may have won the race.
 
Albuquerque fought issues related to a blocked brake air duct, then handed the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura ARX-05 to Taylor, who regained control of the lead with 25 minutes remaining to lead the duo to victory Sunday in the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
 
The victory padded the pair’s lead in the driver standings for the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. They now lead Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr, who finished third Sunday in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, by 100 points with just two races remaining in the 2021 season.
 
As Albuquerque led the field during his second stint, sensors indicated elevated temperatures in the car’s right rear tire. Wayne Taylor Racing engineers atop the pit stand suspected the air duct leading to the brake was blocked by debris, but Albuquerque needed to stay on track until the next scheduled pit stop.
 
“I started to lose it, and it was like, 'OK, boys, how many laps to go (before the next stop)?’” Albuquerque said. “I was sliding all over, braking was really hard, and it was 14 laps to go? And that’s why they hire us, to do the job whatever the condition is.”
 
After the driver change, Taylor fell behind Olivier Pla, whose Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian team used a strategy move to get Pla’s No. 60 Acura ARX-05 into the lead. However, Pla had to slow dramatically to save fuel to reach the finish of the two-hour 40-minute race, and Taylor passed him easily with 25 minutes left.
 
Taylor praised Albuquerque and the team for their ability to deal with the unexpected duct issue, running Acura’s win streak at WeatherTech Raceway to three straight years.
 
“These things happen,” Taylor said. “Everybody is going to have bad luck throughout the year, but it came at a point in the year when we had that kind of downward momentum. And it was the time of year where the (No.) 31 is coming.
 
“Everybody said before the weekend the ‘Jaws’ music was playing, so I think the team responded really well to the 'Jaws' music. They didn’t really let it get to us. The team did their job.”
 
Renger van der Zande passed Nasr with two minutes left to secure second place for himself and co-driver Kevin Magnussen in the No. 01 V-Performance Academy/Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac. Pla finished fourth in the No. 60 with co-driver Dane Cameron.
 
The moral of Sunday’s story? When adversity arrives, keep moving forward. You might just outrun it.
 
“There is always adversity throughout the race,” Taylor said. “It’s how you deal with it in sports car racing that makes the difference.”
PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports Nabs 25th WeatherTech Raceway Win
 
While Taylor and Albuquerque celebrated the victory and increased points lead in DPi, Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen did the same in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class. 
 
Keating started first in class but dropped behind at the start. He recovered, then Jensen brought the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 home a lap ahead of runner-up Gabriel Aubry in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA he co-drove with John Farano. It gave PR1 Mathiasen five wins at the 2.238-mile road course and 25 in top-level IMSA competition.
 
The start wasn’t much to see, Keating said, but the finish was.
 
“I had a miserable start,” Keating said. “I think I went into Turn 2 in third place. I knew we had a setup on our car that was really aimed towards the end of the stint. It was going to be a bit difficult to drive the first few laps, so I didn't have anything for those guys.”
 
A caution period gave Keating the opportunity to regain the lead, and Jensen finished the victory to increase their lead in the LMP2 standings over Tristan Nunez and Steven Thomas, who combined to finish third in class Sunday in the No. 11 WIN Autosport ORECA.
 
"It's important to win and extend the lead, and it's important that our best competitors finished third,” Jensen said of the points margin, now 113 with just the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in November remaining for the LMP2 class. “We go into the last round in a good position. I'm not really into the points and where we have to finish, but I am sure we are standing pretty good.” 
 
The WeatherTech Championship season resumes for the DPi, GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes Sept. 24-25 with the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
 
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca: Unofficial Results
 
 After running in the shadow of its sister car most of the year, the No. 4 Corvette finally emerged Sunday under the bright California sky.
 
Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy collected their first full-points victory of the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, winning the GT Le Mans (GTLM) portion of the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The drivers of the No. 4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C8.R outpaced No. 3 Corvette teammates Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia to collect the 18th win of Milner’s IMSA career and the 16th for Tandy.
 
Milner and Tandy have won twice before this season, but those triumphs came in the Motul Pole Award 100 qualifying race for the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January and the non-points Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Detroit in June. They had finished second to Garcia and Taylor on three occasions in 2021 before turning the tables on Sunday.
 
“It feels like we have a monkey off our back a little bit with getting a full race win,” Milner said following his third WeatherTech Raceway victory. “We've had really fast Corvettes all year long, even last year with Olly (Gavin). For one reason or another, we couldn't put it together. … It feels great today to get that win.”
 
The No. 4 shadowed the No. 3 most of the race, with Taylor and Garcia leading 68 of the first 74 laps. The decisive moment came in the final round of pit stops. Tandy stopped two laps later than Garcia but nearly cost himself the win with a hasty departure along the tight pit exit lane. Tandy locked his brakes entering the hairpin exit, slid into the dirt and briefly onto the track before veering back onto the pit exit lane to complete a legal return to the track just in front of Garcia.
 
From there, Tandy steadily edged away for the win. The No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 shared by Cooper MacNeil and Matt Campbell finished third.
 
"The previous stop, I exited the pit and braked way too early (in the pit exit lane) and thought I'd given up too much time,” explained Tandy, who won at WeatherTech Raceway for the second time. “Knowing it was going to be close on where we were going to come out on the last stop, I braked a little later – not by much – but she didn't want to stop. The front wheel locked and took a little trip across the gravel. I managed to get back into the pit exit before blending on the track. There was no real harm done.”
 
Garcia and Taylor still maintain a comfortable 187-point lead in the GTLM standings over Milner and Tandy with three races remaining.
Pfaff Motorsports Wins Second Straight GT Daytona Race
 
Pfaff Motorsports is getting hot at the right time, putting drivers Zacharie Robichon and Laurens Vanthoor squarely in the GT Daytona (GTD) championship conversation. Robichon and Vanthoor won for the second straight race on Sunday, taking the No. 9 Plaid Porsche 911 GT3R to victory lane at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. On the heels of a win last month at Road America, Robichon, Vanthoor and the No. 9 moved into second in the GTD season standings and closed within 27 points of the lead.
 
“The target was clear from Day 1 that we wanted to try to win the championship because we are a new team together,” said Vanthoor, who joined Pfaff this season after driving the previous four years for the Porsche GT Team in GTLM, winning the 2019 championship. “For me also, it was a bit of an adaptation coming from GTLM to GTD; it is a little bit different.
 
“I think that we are now in a good position but there are still three races to go and a lot that can happen. But for me, I always set myself personally a goal. And this year it’s really been to win the championship, so I hope we can fulfill that.”
 
Robichon started in the No. 9. Vanthoor, the GTLM winner last year at WeatherTech Raceway, slid into the cockpit an hour into the race during the first pit stop. He soon passed Patrick Long in the pole-sitting No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche for second place. Following a lightning-quick final stop from the Pfaff crew, Vanthoor took the lead and held it for the final hour.
 
Vanthoor finished 5.512 seconds ahead of Bryan Sellers in the No. 1 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 – the fifth podium finish this year for Sellers and co-driver Madison Snow who are without a win. Long and co-driver Trent Hindman finished third in the No. 16 Porsche.
 
“I think a huge shout-out has to go to the team,” Robichon said, “because in my first stint there were a couple issues that I immediately pointed out to them and they rectified it to give the absolute best possible car to Larry. I think we all saw what he did.”
 
Robby Foley and Bill Auberlen, who led almost half the race in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, finished fourth to retain the GTD championship lead by 27 points over Robichon and Vanthoor. No. 23 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage GT3 pilots Roman De Angelis and Ross Gunn fell to third in the season points chase but still lead the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup standings by 168 points over Auberlen and Foley.
 
Both GT classes are in action again at the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on Sept. 25. Live coverage begins at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and IMSA Radio.

 

By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
Don’t look now, but that crazy plaid Porsche is back in the mix.
 
Laurens Vanthoor and Zacharie Robichon teamed to drive the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3R to victory Sunday in the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) class in the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Championship at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
 
The victory – the team’s second in a row – pulled Vanthoor and Robichon to within 27 points of the lead with three GTD races left in the 2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. It also punctuated a remarkable recovery from a lost 2020 season in which the Canadian-based team was able to compete in just two races.
 
While the come-from-behind theme of this season wasn’t the initial plan, the championship was always the goal.
 
“We’re a new team together this year, and we try to find some ways and tricks with the car,” Vanthoor said. “We’re heading in the right direction. It’s promising so far.”
 
Pfaff made everyone take notice with its 2019 debut in the WeatherTech Championship. Robichon and the No. 9 finished third in the GTD standings, with a pair of wins. Then came 2020, which essentially put the program in mothballs due to border travel restrictions.
 
Vanthoor, the 2019 GT Le Mans (GTLM) champion, joined Robichon in the car this year. The team focused solely on the season championship, bypassing the two races that count only toward the IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup in GTD.
 
That vision was rewarded early, with Vanthoor, Robichon and Lars Kern winning the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts in March. The promise bobbled slightly mid-season but recovered in force last month with a win at the IMSA Sports Car Weekend at Road America.
 
“Obviously, Road America was a great weekend,” Robichon said. “... Everybody was working together super well, so we were relatively confident coming into (WeatherTech Raceway). I think in practice and in qualifying, we knew all the pieces were there.”
The pieces fit together well enough to reach the front of the field when it mattered most Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway. Robichon started fifth in class and 18th overall, then handed the car to Vanthoor, who took over in third place and finished triumphantly. Aiding the run was the fact that the vast majority of the race ran entirely in green-flag conditions following an early full-course caution.
 
“The car wasn’t easy to drive but it was very quick,” Vanthoor said. “And it allowed me to drive in a way that I could preserve tires. I think that was our key. We didn’t really have the one-lap-only pace, but we could go longer than the others, I felt.”
 
Following their latest win, Vanthoor and Robichon trail only Turner Motorsport drivers Bill Auberlen and Dillon Machavern by a slim, 27 points in the GTD standings. The next race is the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach, Sept. 25 on the famous Southern California street course.
 
“We are now in a good position, but there are still three races to go and a lot that can happen,” Vanthoor said. “But for me, I always set myself personally a goal, and this year it’s really been to win the championship. I hope we can fulfill that.”
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
 
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120: Unofficial Results
 
Two spirited drives – first by Max Root, then by Jan Heylen – tightened the championship battle in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
 
Root kept the No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport in front at the start of the race, and Heylen brought the car home with a comfortable lead Saturday to win the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
 
The victory brought Heylen closer to Bill Auberlen and Dillon Machavern in the driver standings of the Michelin Pilot Challenge’s Grand Sport (GS) class. Heylen pursued Auberlen during the second half of the race until Auberlen’s No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4 drifted off course in Turn 6, allowing Heylen to make the race-winning pass with 38 minutes left in the two-hour race.
 
Auberlen’s right-rear tire went down immediately after the off-course excursion, forcing him to the pits for an unscheduled stop. He finished 14th, which let the rest of the field gain ground in the points. Heylen pulled to within 80 points of the co-leaders with two races remaining this season – at VIRginia International Raceway on Oct. 10 and at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Nov. 12.
 
Robby Foley and Vin Barletta, who finished sixth in Saturday’s race, are second in GS standings in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4, 40 points behind teammates Auberlen and Machavern.
 
Heylen crossed the finish line 4.563 seconds ahead of Indy Dontje, who prevailed in a late battle for second place in the No. 4 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4 he co-drove with Russell Ward.
 
It was Heylen’s first Michelin Pilot Challenge victory despite four podium finishes.
 
“A win has been missing,” Heylen said. “We came close a couple of times this year, but it was a good points day. … I hope this gets us back in the hunt. It will be an exciting last two races.”
 
Root, subbing for Ryan Hardwick for the second time this season, won the Motul Pole Award in morning qualifying and set the pace before turning over the No. 16 to Heylen. Root has won the pole in both of his Michelin Pilot Challenge races. He and Heylen finished second in the race at Sebring International Raceway in March. The victory capped a big day for Wright Motorsports, as Trent Hindman also qualified on the GT Daytona (GTD) class pole for Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race.
 
Alec Udell and Bryce Ward shared third place in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG.
Hyundai, Bryan Herta Autosport Sweep TCR Podium
 
Mark Wilkins passed teammate Parker Chase with on the penultimate lap to lead a sweep by Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian in the Touring Car (TCR) class. Patience was the key for Wilkins, who stalked Chase for several laps before making his move.
 
“It was a race of patience – just getting a little bit back on Parker,” said Wilkins, who co-drove the No. 33 BHA Hyundai Elantra N TCR with Harry Gottsacker. “When I got to him, I had to figure out where I was going to pass him. … We couldn’t be too risky. He put up a great race. We had a little bit more than they did at the end.”
 
Chase held on for second place in the No. 98 BHA Elantra co-driven with Ryan Norman. TCR points leaders Michael Lewis and Taylor Hagler finished third in the No. 77 BHA Hyundai Veloster N TCR. Lewis and Hagler hold a 180-point lead over Chase with two races remaining.

Italian-Canadian Indy Lights racer Devlin DeFrancesco has his sights set on bouncing back this week at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca after a troubled weekend in Portland.

DeFrancesco’s race in Round 15 on Saturday was compromised by an electrical issue that forced the 21-year-old to head to the pits twice before the green flag.

He eventually rejoined the race three laps down after his Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport crew solved the issue, but the race turned into a test session for DeFrancesco.

Sunday’s round 16 of the Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires championship began well for DeFrancesco when he grabbed three places off the start with an aggressive move into turn 1, but he battled handling issues as the race continued and eventually crossed the line in seventh place.

 
Now happy to be leaving Oregon, DeFrancesco and the Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport will head 741 miles south to compete at the legendary WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

DeFrancesco and the team tested at the fabled Monterey venue earlier this year, and the Miami-based racer is eagerly awaiting the chance to bounce back this upcoming weekend.

The WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca event will feature the penultimate rounds of the 2021 championship, which concludes at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on October 1-3.
 
DEVLIN DEFRANCESCO
“My start was pretty good. I was aggressive when it went green, and I was able to make up a couple of spots down the inside.
“From then on, however, it was a bit of a struggle, but I pushed as hard as I could.
“I’m looking forward to putting this weekend behind us and setting our sights on Laguna Seca next week.
“We tested there at the very start of the year, and it went very well, so I’m hoping we can replicate that next weekend.”

 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

Professional off-road racer and General Tire Down & Dirty Show Powered by Polaris RZR host Jim Beaver will continue his pursuit of a Best in the Desert class championship this weekend at the UTV Legends Championship in Laughlin, Nevada. The #2915 General Tire Polaris RZR remains in the top three in UTV Pro Unlimited class points coming off of a strong run at Vegas to Reno, which saw an epic four-way battle for the lead in much of the race and ended with a second place finish.
 
“When we set our schedule for 2021, we fully expected to have some decent results, but what we’ve been able to accomplish in Best in the Desert so far this year has blown me away,” said Beaver. “We’ve got two races to make up two spots in the standings and go for the Unlimited class title, and our sights are set on making that happen. Laughlin has always been a challenge but we’re well prepared to take it on. I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel!”
 
Since taking over “Mona Lisa” from Mitch Guthrie Jr. and moving into the Unlimited class, Beaver’s 2021 season has been one of his best in recent memory. He’s taken multiple podium finishes, including back-to-back runner-up results across two sanctioning bodies at Legacy Racing Association’s Baja Nevada and BITD’s Vegas to Reno, and has only finished outside of the top five once in any event this year.
 
The strong results have launched Beaver into the thick of a tight championship battle at the head of the Unlimited class, where he sits 24 points out of the division lead in third, and just three points out of second place. In order to take the next step, the #2915 team will need to conquer eight laps on the grueling 17-mile Laughlin course, well known for putting both cars and drivers under significant stress.
 
Beaver’s return to the cockpit comes in the midst of an incredible year for his media company, JB15. The organization’s clients cleaned up in last weekend’s World Championship Off-Road Races at Crandon International Raceway, with multiple race wins and championships. In addition, stay tuned for new episodes of the General Tire Down & Dirty Show Powered By Polaris RZR, 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.
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