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Racing News from around the World
Trans Am brings with it a 41-car field to assist in the celebration, a near record entry at Brainered International Raceway (BIR), in the Series’ long and storied history at the Minnesota-based track—marking a drastic increase over the 29-car entry Trans Am fielded only last year.
“With this new date, we’re working to build something special at BIR,” said John Clagett, President of The Trans Am Race Company. “This is unquestionably one of the true homes of Trans Am, one that we’ve been racing at since 1969. Now, with the partnership of Ryan Companies, we’re bringing the spectacle of Trans Am at BIR to a national audience on CBS Sports Network and are working to build an event that celebrates the Fourth of July in style.”
In addition, hometown fans will have the opportunity to root for a large Minnesota contingent of drivers and teams who have made their own names within the Trans Am Series, including: Derhaag Motorsports, Archer Racing, Joe Stevens, Tim Gray, Jerry Greene, Jed Copham and, last, but certainly not least, Tommy Archer.
BIR will mark Archer’s return to Trans Am’s TA2 class, complete with a brand new No. 54 c3controls Chevrolet Camaro, after having sat out the prior four rounds in a final round of treatments in his battle with prostate cancer. Now cancer-free Archer, a Duluth native, will make a return to the drivers seat; as he begins his pursuit of Trans Am podiums once more at his home track of Brainerd International Raceway.
Jed Copham, owner of BIR and now driver of the 07 BIR Performance Chevrolet Corvette, has also thrown his hat into the ring for the weekend as a member of the TA class, competing in Trans Am for the third year in a row, as he prepares to take the meaning of home track advantage to a whole new level.
Joe Stevens, driver of the No. 11 MOPAR Dodge Challenger, hot off his career high fifth place finish at New Jersey Motorsports Park joins the hometrack contingent along with Ryan Companies’ own Tim Gray, in the No. 60 Ryan Companies US Inc Chevrolet Camaro, as they both push for their first podium placements of the year.
Derhaag Motorsports, based out of Minneapolis, will look to rebound at BIR as both Simon Gregg, in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette, and Mickey Wright, in the No. 6 Fan Rag Chevrolet Corvette, prepare under the guidance of team owner Jim Derhaag, Minnesota native, who perhaps knows the nuances of the BIR course better than anyone in the Trans Am paddock.
Jerry Greene, driver of the No. 93 Temp Air Porsche 996 GT3, will also carry the Minnesota banner as the lone home-state entrant in TA3, Trans Am’s production based class—a competition that he won at BIR last year.
All eyes will also be on the hotly contested battle for the TA class Championship between current points leader Amy Ruman, driver of the No. 23 McNichols Company Chevrolet Corvette, and Paul Fix, in the No. 4 StopFlex.com/TheCarCoach.com Chevrolet Corvette. Ruman currently leads Fix by a meager 11 points going into BIR, setting up a second half of the season showdown between the two hottest drivers in the Trans Am paddock—both are yet to miss the podium; and while Ruman has four wins to Fix’s one, the pressure is on for both drivers in one of the tightest Championship races in memory.
One would be remise to neglect the presence of Doug Peterson, in the No. 87 3Dimensional.com Chevrolet Corvette. Peterson, two-time defending TA class Champion and 2014 BIR victor has had a less than optimal start to the season, hampered by mechanical issues and poor fortune; however the champ is more than well aware that there are plenty of races remaining on the 2015 circuit and a repeat performance at BIR would go a long way towards spring boarding his title defense.
Peterson, will join the likes of Cliff Ebben, John Baucom, David Pintaric, Claudio Burtin and Jim McAleese in an attempt to put a fresh face on the top of the TA class podium, one that has been dominated by Ruman and Fix so far in 2015.
In TA2 two-time defending Champion Cameron Lawrence will look for a return to form after two races in which his podium pursuits have been ended prematurely by contact on course. While he still holds a large lead in the TA2 point standings, he’s seen his gap over runner-up Adam Andretti, driver of the No. 44 Engineered Components Ford Mustang, dwindle and will be more than ready for a return to normalcy in a class that he’s dominated over the past two years.
Standing in his way will be a bevy of competitors in the 20-car deep talent pool that is the TA2 class, with front runners like Andretti; Gar Robinson, in the No. 74 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro; Dillon Machavern, in the No. 24 UniFirst Ford Mustang, Shane Lewis; in the No. 72 74 Ranch Resort Chevrolet Camaro; and Lawrence Loshak, in the No. 5 Raybestos Powertrain Ford Mustang, all looking to increase their current top five point standings and force their way into the Championship discussion for the remainder of the year.
Andretti in particular seems to have finally found his niche several races into the ECC team’s switch to the Ford Mustang platform, a switch that finally saw their efforts rewarded with a victory at New Jersey last round. Now, Andretti will aim to keep that momentum alive as he prepares to close the gap on Lawrence and reignite a rivalry with the two-time champ that went down to the wire last year.
As always, fans will be sure to keep an eye on Tony Ave, in the No. 70 Lamers Motor Racing Ford Mustang, as he continues his first season in TA2. The former two-time TA class Champion already has one TA2 win under his belt and has a history of success at Brainerd where he has four TA class victories.
Trans Am’s TA3 class will also be on display with both American Muscle and International Group set to participate. In the American Muscle class, current TA3 points leader and defending Champion, Ernie Francis, Jr., will once more be matched against Todd Napieralski, in the No. 39 Tremec/SKF/Backstreet Chevrolet Camaro—the two are currently one-two in the points as they head north to BIR where Napieralski was victorious last year—there, they will be joined by Fernando Seferis, Mel Shaw, Tim Rubright and Jason Fichter in the pony car exclusive class.
In the International Group, Minnesota’s own Jerry Greene will see the precision of his Porsche GT3 pitted against the American power of Lux Performance Group’s Dodge Vipers, driven by Cindi Lux and Steve Streimer. Greene will look to continue his success at his home track compared to the competition, as both Lux and Stremier prepare to make their Trans Am debuts at BIR.
Trans Am will kick off the weekend’s festivities on Saturday, July 4th with practice at 10:30 a.m. central, followed by “Fast Five” qualifying at 2:20 p.m. Action will continue on Sunday, July 5th at 9:00 a.m. for a second practice session followed by the second chance to qualify at 9:30 a.m. as teams prepare for the 100-mile, 40 lap, Ryan Companies Independence Day Classic at 1:50 p.m. for Round 6 of the 2015 Trans Am Championship with all three classes participating.
Trans Am will be joined at BIR by drag racing, the National Auto Sport Association, live music and a firework display for a full weekend of celebration and motorsports. Fans can keep up with the action throughout the weekend at www.gotransam.com, on Twitter at @gotransam and on Facebook at www.facebook.com.
While neither team won its class in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen last Sunday – which represented the third round in the four-round Patrón Endurance Cup Competition – Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Mustang Sampling/Cider Tree Corvette DP (P) and Corvette Racing’s No. 3 Corvette C7.R (GTLM) both remained at the top of the points standings through strong performances.
The No. 5 team scored the maximum five points by leading at the halfway point in the race, and added three more points to its tally with a third-place result in the race. The No. 3 team earned four points for its second-place position at halfway and earned two more with a fourth-place race result.
One 10-hour round now remains in the Patrón Endurance Cup, which encompasses 52 hours of racing for $300,000 in post-season awards. The competition will be decided by the 10-hour Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta on Saturday, Oct. 3, the conclusion of both the Patrón Endurance Cup and 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.
The No. 5 Action Express Racing team leads second-place Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP by a margin of seven points, 35-28. Following its victory, the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP team climbs to third in the points, tied with the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP team from Wayne Taylor Racing. Each team has 27 points.
In the Prototype driver standings, Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi hold the lead by seven over the recently promoted Joey Hand and Scott Pruett, 35-28. There is a six-way tie for the number three spot among Max Angelelli, Sebastien Bourdais, Jordan and Ricky Taylor, Michael Valiante and Richard Westbrook, all with 27 points.
The battle for the top spot in GTLM has gotten tighter as the No. 3 Corvette Racing’s lead has shrunk to four points over the team’s No. 4 Corvette C7.R. Team Falken Tire’s collective eight points from the Sahlen’s Six Hours -- five of which came from their victory in the race -- has bumped the team up to third with 27 points.
No. 3 drivers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia maintained their lead over teammates Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin in the driver standings, 33-29. The No. 911 Porsche North America team of Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet is fourth with 26 points.
The Daytona-winning No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT widened the gap in GT Daytona (GTD) over the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia to seven after scoring a perfect 10 points at The Glen, leading at the three-hour mark and taking the GTD checkered flag, 37-30. Viper drivers Al Carter and Cameron Lawrence lead Ferrari drivers Bill Sweedler and Townsend by the same margin.
Going into Sahlen’s Six Hours, the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports team of Mike Guasch, Tom Kimber-Smith and Andrew Palmer held a one-point advantage over the No. 54 CORE autosport team with Jon Bennett, Colin Braun and James Gue, 30-29, on the strength of a perfect 15-point performance at Sebring. Following their second-place finish in the race, they have extended their lead to three points, 36-33.
Points in the Patrón Endurance Cup are awarded at specific intervals throughout each race –at midway and finish of the Sahlen’s Six Hours – with the leader at the end of each segment scoring five points, four points for second, three points for third, and fourth place on back receiving two points. Points will be scored at four hours, eight hours and 10 hours at Petit Le Mans.
In addition to the overall race for the season-ending Patrón Endurance Cup, which pays out $100,000 to winning teams in the Prototype and GT Le Mans classes and $50,000 to Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona teams, top points earners in each endurance race are recognized as round winners.
Patrón Endurance Cup round-winning drivers at each event receive a limited edition bottle of Gran Patrón Platinum, numbered and signed by Francisco Alcaraz, the creator of the Gran Patrón Platinum recipe and Tequila Patrón’s Master Distiller and Blender. Round-winning entrants win special edition PRS SE Guitars in addition to signed and numbered bottles of Gran Patrón Platinum.
Calabogie creates a great challenge for teams and drivers, as it's the longest and one of the most technical tracks in Canada, with its 20 turns covering 3.137 miles (5.05 km). The beautiful circuit is located in the scenic Greater Madawaska region of the Ottawa Valley, about a one-hour drive west of downtown Ottawa.
It's "cottage country," an area dotted with small towns, lakes, mountains and forests, a place of relaxation for many Eastern Ontario residents. The laid-back feel also extends to the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin paddock during the event weekend, popular with teams and competitors.
That said, Rounds 5 and 6 of the 2015 calendar, scheduled for July 4-5 at Calabogie Motorsports Park, comprise the most important event in the series for one of its flagship teams, Mark Motors Racing of Ottawa. The circuit is the home track for the team and its dealership, Mark Motors Porsche.
Mark Motors Porsche embraces the relaxed atmosphere of the weekend just as much as its guests. But make no mistake: This weekend is serious business for the dealership, providing a superb platform to promote its business, the Porsche brand and the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin.
"We're really, really lucky to have a racetrack so close to our dealership," said Liza Mrak, Mark Motors business development manager and daughter of Mark Motors founder Louis Mrak. "The Porsche brand itself and having a track so close, it's a beautiful marriage."
Mark Motors courts potential and existing customers at Calabogie throughout the track's season, but that activation kicks into high gear this weekend.
The dealership, in conjunction with Porsche Cars Canada, offers hospitality to upward of 150 guests each day at two VIP lounges in choice viewing areas adjacent to the circuit. Gourmet food and beverages are provided, and the team's drivers visit hospitality to talk with guests and expose them to their exciting racing world.
Race weekend hospitality is just part of Mark Motors' regular involvement with Calabogie Motorsports Park. The dealership hosts formal and impromptu track day and customer education sessions at the circuit. These range from the annual driver development event, taking place this year July 8, to sessions for existing or potential customers who want to try a certain model of Porsche in a controlled, safe, challenging environment.
Porsche Cars Canada also has a fleet of vehicles that it brings to Calabogie for test drives, and interested Mark Motors Porsche customers can visit the track to take specific Porsche models of interest for a spin.
"The track does a really nice job of allocating time for people who wish to take their own car out for a few laps," Mrak said. "So what we'll do is if we have a customer who really wants to get behind the wheel but can't attend one of our organized events, we'll pick up the phone and call the track manager, and she accommodates us all the time. It's one of the luxuries of being so close to a track and having such a strong partnership."
An important part of this experience includes the drive to the circuit. The final stretch of the 70-mile (115 km) drive from Mark Motors Porsche to Calabogie Motorsports includes winding, flowing country roads. The track may be close to downtown Ottawa, but it's a world away in terms of stress levels.
"The track is in a perfect location," Mrak said. "It's the perfect drive to get warmed up and let your mind relax. Once you arrive, there's no stress, no hustle and bustle. You're completely unloaded from your day to focus in on driving.
"But the other thing that's very appealing about the track is that it's a very technical track with a lot of turns, which truly showcases a Porsche's strengths. Because there are so many turns on the track, it allows drivers to get the experience so much faster. Many tracks have more straightaways than they do turns. A great race really is best when you have a lot of turns because it really emphasizes the strength of the driver."
Driving and racing have been part of the fabric of Mark Motors Porsche since Louis Mrak opened the Porsche franchise of the dealership in 1974. Louis Mrak worked on small race teams when he arrived Canada in 1956.
Louis and Margaret Mrak and their four children - all of whom work for Mark Motors - attended a number of races in the Canadian circuits as a family affair. Some of these circuits include Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Shannonville Motorsport Park and Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, to name a few.
"We've always been intrigued by the racing industry, and that's been because of the Porsche brand and its history in racing," Liza Mrak said.
Mark Motors extended that DNA strand into team sponsorship in the newly launched Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin in 2011. Then the dealership took the next step in 2013 by forming a team for Platinum Masters drivers Marco Cirone and Perry Bortolotti, who also raced for the team last season. This season Cirone and 17-year-old rookie Harry Steenbakkers are driving for Mark Motors Racing in all 10 rounds.
It didn't take long for the team to establish a championship pedigree. Cirone won the Platinum Masters title for Mark Motors Racing in 2013 and 2014.
"Whether you're a car person or not, there's a lot of enthusiasm in the race industry," Mrak said. "It brings a wide range of people that are interested in the racing side of things together. From that energy we see the passion for the Porsche brand grow. More people inquire about the brand, which translates into new people walking through the doors of our dealership."
Mark Motors Porsche promotes its dealership and race team through a very active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Mrak also sends email newsletters to customers, encouraging them to follow the race team, and some Mark Motors dealership employees wear race team shirts during event weeks to promote upcoming races and Mark Motors Racing.
"We're just trying to take that whole excitement we go through and share it," Mrak said. "At the end of the day, if we get more people interested in the series, that's a win for us, as well."
It's all in day's, or three days', work for this team.
"It really is a team," Kelly Moss Vice President Jeff Stone said. "It's a big family, and it's amazing to see how hard everyone - from engineers, to mechanics, to drivers and everyone in between - works. We love seeing that effort turn into podiums and great results. You can't do this job for the money. You have to do it for the satisfaction that comes with seeing your efforts pay off."
After relinquishing the driver and team Platinum Cup championship lead in April at NOLA Motorsports Park, the Brey-Krause-sponsored team sought solid performances from its young Canadian star, Jesse Lazare.
Lazare didn't disappoint, finishing with a second and fourth-place finishes in Rounds 5 and 6, respectively. It was enough to propel him back to the top of Drivers Championship and put Kelly Moss in first, tied with Wright Motorsports, with 88 points in the Team Championship.
"That was our focus coming into the weekend," Stone said. "We were well prepared but didn't have much luck getting ahead of the guys in front of us. When Jesse did, he was able to catch (Angel) Benitez but just didn't have quite enough time. It's great to see Angel back, and he deserved both of those wins. Jesse hasn't had a lot of seat time in the wet, and The Glen is a hard place to find the wet line. He kept the car together and was able to do what we needed him to do."
Platinum and Platinum Masters Cup drivers William Peluchiwski and Jay Patel both had strong performances, each picking up a podium finish. In Round 5, Peluchiwski captured his first podium of the season after he finished third in Platinum Masters.
In Round 6, Patel meticulously made his way through the field during a wet race to earn a second-place Platinum Masters and top-10 overall finish.
"Bill was coming off a pretty significant crash at Watkins Glen a couple of weeks ago," Stone said. "He had a completely re-tubbed car but never missed a step, and it was great to see him up there. And the same for Jay. It was awesome for him to get that podium finish. He continues to mesh with our team and get better and better, and the chemistry is paying dividends."
Patel sits in second place in Platinum Masters Cup standings, with Peluchiwski in fourth.
In his season debut, Dan Weyland earned two top-10 finishes with an eighth- and ninth-place result in the Platinum Masters championship in Rounds 5 and 6, respectively.
"We love having Dan back and his drives this weekend were inspiring for all of us, especially knowing that he is coming from such a long break of not being in the car," Stone said.
Frank Selldorff finished 11th in Round 5 in the Platinum Masters class.
"This was probably his best race ever," Stone said. "He is on a new fitness regimen. He's doing really well, and it's showing in his driving as he continues to improve each time on the track."
The team's Gold Cup and Gold Masters drivers also brought home some hardware. David Ducote picked up his second and third consecutive podium finishes in both classes, bringing his weekend podium count to four. In Round 5, he was forced to start from the back of the grid because of a tire change on his No. 6 Waskey Porsche from qualifying. He worked his way through the field for a third-place finish, with a similar result Saturday for Round 6.
"David absolutely had what it took to get a win this weekend," Stone said. "You look at his times cumulatively, and he was quicker than his competition throughout the entire race. But coming from the back, he just had too much ground to make up. But they were great races for him, and if he continues to perform like that, he will be back in the championship hunt."
Wayne Ducote was involved in an incident on Lap 2 of Round 5 but recovered in Round 6 to win the Yokohama Hard Charger Award, given to the driver who picks up the most positions throughout the race.
"He did a great job this weekend," Stone said. "This guy just loves to race. No one gets the start he does. You watch his starts, and he is picking people off left and right. It was almost better that he got the Hard Charger than a podium."
Round 4, which was a makeup of the postponed round in April at NOLA Motorsports Park, succumbed to a similar fate this weekend. The round was abandoned once again due to heavy rain. Future dates and locations are being considered.
While the team waited for the announcement about Round 4 Saturday afternoon at Watkins Glen, they gathered around TVs and mobile phones to watch if Colin Thompson would dominate the Pirelli World Challenge Championship GT Cup class at Road America.
Thompson delivered. The young star from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, led every session of the weekend in his No. 11 Kelly Moss/Porsche of Bucks County Porsche, coming away with an increased points lead in the championship and two more victories. Thompson has nine victories this season.
"We've found a sweet spot with that driver, that car and that series," Stone said. "There is a perfect chemistry, and we've found what it takes to be successful. To have nine wins with Colin is incredible."
In Round 10, Thompson was joined on the podium by Kelly Moss/TruSpeed AutoSport partnership teammate Sloan Urry in second.
Thompson holds a 1,098-795 point lead over second place Lorenzo Trefethen.
"It was great to have all the guys back in the mix," Stone said. "Alec Udell was back and he is a genuinely good kid. Alec and Sloan and Brett Sandberg are always a threat, and we have to take our hats off to them for continuous performance and clean racing."
The PWC series will travel July 31-Aug. 2 to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, for Rounds 12 and 13. It will headline with the Verizon IndyCar Series as part of the Honda Indy 200.
Rounds 7 and 8 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama will take place July 10-12 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, during the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix Presented by Hawk Performance weekend.
The team will welcome driver Kurt Fazekas to the team. He will race in the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy event July 31-Aug. 2 at Road America and join the team for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama weekend Aug. 7-9 at Road America.
For the latest news on Kelly Moss, visit www.kellymoss.com. For updates throughout race weekend, like the team on Facebook and follow @kellymossmotors on Twitter.
Red Bull Global Rallycross will make history this weekend by contesting the first major automobile race on an active US Military Base, and BHR is honored to be a part of this historic weekend! Friday and Sunday, part of the Marine Air Station New River (MASNR) will be transformed into a race track for the teams of Red Bull GRC to entertain the Marines and their families. The 600+ horsepower GRC Supercars might not be as fast as the Marines' F-18s, but will fight just as hard as the 2nd Marine Division for a spot on the podium.
All three BHR teams tasted some success in GRC's latest round in Daytona. Patrik Sandell and the Kobalt Tools team were the fastest car on-track all weekend, and were prepared to sweep Saturday's schedule until contact in the feature race damaged the transmission. Austin Dyne took the Castrol MAGNATEC #14 to its first podium on Saturday with a strong second place finish. The River Racing GRC Lites car of Collete Davis improved all weekend, and after an electrical problem was solved on Sunday she ran with the lead pack easily in the feature event.
Patrik Sandel on Racing at MASNR:
“We had a good weekend in Daytona, and showed great speed. I know the guys working really hard and using all the Kobalt Tools in the truck to get the car back together and perfect. I’m sure we’re going to be able to fight for the top position again.
It’s going to be really cool to be race on an American military base. The American military troops mean a lot to everyone around the world, even to me being from Sweden. It’s something special to be part of an event on American Independence Day weekend on the base.
I’m very excited to get going again. Daytona was obviously a very good but also disappointing weekend for us. We know we have more to give, and it’s time to show it…”
Austin Dyne on Racing at MASNR:
“It’s just an awesome honor to ‘Race the Base’ on Fourth of July weekend and entertain the Marines and their families. There’s been so much work that went into making this happen, it’s just great it’s finally here and happening.
We had a great car in Daytona, and got our first podium on Saturday. Our Castrol MAGNATEC car was fast all weekend; but on Sunday we broke the exhaust manifold and lost a lot of power from the turbocharger. Over the off week, the team has done a lot of work to improved the durability of the cars, so we should be back as fast and stronger than in Daytona.”
Collete Davis on Racing at MASNR:
“Looking forward to racing on the Fourth of July weekend, especially on a military base. My dad is a veteran and he’s going to be there, so that will be really amazing. We had a tough weekend in Daytona, but learned a lot and made the final on Sunday. So I’m really looking forward to going to North Carolina and get after it again!”
But, for the riders and teams of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, Fourth of July Weekend means one thing. RedBud.
ProMotocross.com describes the series’ staple as this: Buchanan, Michigan's RedBud is the centerpiece of the Pro Motocross Championship. Located just above the Michigan-Indiana state line, RedBud is among the most highly regarded motocross tracks in the world, and Fourth of July weekend there is one the region's biggest events. Located in the beautiful rolling hills of southwestern Michigan - a state with an affinity for off-road recreational vehicle use - RedBud has bragging rights to claim the largest attendance of any U.S. motocross race, year after year. With just the right soil mix, plenty of room for passing, and the biggest jump on the circuit - the infamous LaRocco's Leap, named after local legend Mike LaRocco - RedBud is the top motocross destination in a region that loves its motorsports.
For Ken Roczen, rider of RCH’s No. 1 Suzuki RM-Z450, RedBud means one thing - winning. In three previous starts at the revered Michigan track, the former MX2 World Champion, boasts five podium finishes in six motos and overall wins in both 250 and 450 competition. Last July, Roczen led a total of 25 laps for a combined 1-1 finish and a convincing overall win that helped power him to the 2014 outdoor title.
“I really like RedBud a lot,” offered Roczen. “It’s going to be a big weekend for our team. There will be a lot of people at the track from Soaring Eagle and Ram Trucks so it’s pretty much a home game for RCH. I’ve won the last two years in a row so it’s always fun to go back to a track where you know you can win. I love the track at RedBud. It should be a good weekend.”
Despite battling a virus last weekend at Budds Creek, Roczen turned in a gutsy 5-4 effort to maintain second in points. Over the course of the season’s first six events, Roczen has steadily climbed the championship ladder. After coming away from the opener at Hangtown mired deep in the standings, the 21-year-old has been the model of consistency and hasn’t finished outside the top five since the first moto in Round 2 at Glen Helen. With six races left on the 2015 outdoor schedule, Roczen sits second in the championship and trails Ryan Dungey by a hefty but not unbeatable 37 points.
Roczen’s RCH stablemate Broc Tickle has performed admirably over the first half of the outdoor season and hasn’t finished outside the top nine since Glen Helen. He’s currently sixth in the standings with a 20-point margin separating him from the top five.
While Tickle has yet to find the degree of success he’d like at RedBud, the Holly, Mich., Pro Motocross veteran is eager to bolster his resume at his home track. In seven total starts at RedBud, including MX Lites, 250 and 450 competition, the rider of the No. 20 Suzuki has logged a 12th-place average overall finish, including a pair of top fives and seven top 10s in 14 motos.
Last weekend, Tickle logged a 6-9 effort, good enough for seventh overall in the final rundown at Budds Creek.
“I rode on Monday and Tuesday and worked on little stuff,” explained Tickle. “My starts were a lot better last week at Budds Creek so that was a positive. I was with the leaders getting to the first corner, I just pushed a little wide. At RedBud, the corner pushes wide so hopefully, that plays in my favor this weekend. I’m really looking forward to RedBud. I have a lot of family going to the race. It’s basically a home race for Soaring Eagle and Ram so we’re all excited to have a bunch of people there to support RCH.”
RCH co-owner Ricky Carmichael has fond memories of RedBud and, rightfully so. The 15-time AMA National Champion was nothing short of head-shakingly dominant during his time as a professional at the traditional Independence Day weekend and, in 11 starts, boasts nine overall RedBud wins. Even more impressive, in 22 motos over those 11 starts, Carmichael was on top of the box 19 times.
“RedBud is by far, the best track on the circuit,” commented Carmichael. “The promoters do a great job and the fans are amazing. I can’t think of a better track for the overall fan experience. The sightlines are awesome and the vibe at RedBud is just something every motocross fan should experience. In my humble opinion, RedBud is one of the best Fourth of July traditions in the country. I had my share of success there but now we’re looking forward to a great weekend for RCH.”
Before the pits open and the gate drops, Roczen and Tickle will meet fans and sign autographs at North End Cycle, Friday, July 3, from 6 – 7 p.m. Located just over 30 minutes southeast of RedBud in Elkhart, Ind., North End Cycle was founded in 1969 and is still family-owned and operated. North End Cycle has defined the very best in service, selection, and sales for over 46 years.
The first moto of the Red Bull RedBud National will be televised live on MAVTV Sat., July 4 beginning at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 10 a.m. Pacific. TV coverage for the second moto will shift to network TV and be televised on NBC at 4 p.m. EDT. All motos can be streamed live online through ProMotocross.com or the NBC Sports Live Extra app. NBC, NBCSN and MAVTV will combine to televise over 60 hours of racing over the course of the 12-round season.
Working collaboratively with NASCAR, the teams will support and promote the free NASCAR game on DraftKings.com with team marks, social and digital media initiatives, and other activation programs.
Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing and Chairman of the RTA stated “We are thrilled to be partnering with DraftKings, an innovative and fast growing company. We believe this partnership will be appealing to our existing fan base as well as potentially attracting new ones. The teams look forward to helping promote the new free online fantasy game, and supporting DraftKings as it makes a strong entrance into the sport.”
The partnership with DraftKings will begin in conjunction with this weekend’s Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
The RTA is a 501(c)(6) not for profit business organization comprised of racing teams which compete in stock car racing’s premier series, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. More information regarding the RTA can be found at www.raceteamalliance.com.
With his sponsor also serving as the title sponsor of the race, Nick Drake knows it’s important to deliver a great performance in Bill McAnally Racing’s No. 15 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota.
“Knowing that NAPA AUTO PARTS is sponsoring the event, nothing would be better than putting the NAPA Toyota in Victory Lane at the end of the night,” Drake said. “The BMR team has been working hard to step up our short-track performance and we look forward to going for the win.”
Drake finished seventh at the third-mile Columbus track last year in his rookie season in the series.
“Columbus puts on a great race for this series,” said the 19-year-old from Mooresville, North Carolina. “The staff there works hard to put on a big show and the fans are some of the most enthusiastic you will see all year.”
Drake is seventh in the championship standings, with four top-10 finishes in six starts this season. His career series record includes one pole, four top-fives and 12 top-10s in 22 starts. In addition, he has two starts in the K&N Pro Series West, where he scored a major win at Phoenix last year.
Drake made the transition last year from open-wheel sprint cars to stock cars.
Activities for the NASCAR race weekend get underway early, with a parade of the team haulers in downtown Columbus Friday evening. On Saturday, NAPA AUTO PARTS will have 100 guests at the track who will receive VIP tours.
The NAPA AUTO PARTS 150, which will be televised on NBCSN on July 10 at 2:30 p.m. ET, is the seventh event on a 14-race schedule. It will be the fifth series race hosted by the track.
Columbus Motor Speedway...The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East (NKNPSE) heads to Columbus Motor Speedway this weekend for the seventh race of the 2015 season, the NAPA 150. This marks the first and only trip to Columbus this season for the NKNPSE. Byron enters the NAPA 150 looking to build upon his success the last time the series was on track at Langley, where the 17-year-old picked up the win. Sargeant, Heckert and Abreu look to build upon solid runs, while Haley looks to rebound following an unfortunate incident at Langley. Rookies Abreu, Byron, Haley and Sargeant all tested at Columbus a few weeks ago in preparation for this event.
No. 5 J.J. Haley...Haley comes into the NAPA 150 at Columbus Motor Speedway looking to rebound from a rough outing a few weeks prior at Langley Speedway. This past weekend Haley went out west to compete in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at Sonoma Raceway, bringing home a third-place finish in his first K&N Series road course start. The 16-year-old has one career start at Columbus, coming in 2014, when he finished 23rd after an ignition problem. Haley enters the NAPA 150 sitting 11th in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.
J.J. Haley on returning to Columbus Motor Speedway:
"I'm really happy to be back at Columbus Motor Speedway and can't wait to get on track with my HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks crew. We have been extremely fast everywhere we have been this year, and I'm looking forward to more success this weekend."
No. 9 William Byron...Byron enters the NAPA 150 at Columbus Motor Speedway looking to continue his string of recent success after picking up the win at Langley Speedway last time out, his third victory of 2015. Byron also went out west one week ago to Sonoma Raceway and brought home a fifth-place finish in his first-ever road course start. This marks the first-career NKNPSE start at Columbus Motor Speedway for the 17-year-old in the No. 9 Liberty University Chevrolet. Byron enters the NAPA 150 leading the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings by 23 points.
William Byron on racing at Columbus Motor Speedway this weekend:
"I can't wait to get to Columbus after the success we had at Langley. This is another key race in the season, and I look forward to getting a good result in my Liberty University Chevrolet for HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks."
No. 34 Scott Heckert...Heckert enters the NAPA 150 looking to continue his momentum from the past few races. Heckert has a string of four straight top-10 finishes going in the No. 34 Project Lifesaver Chevrolet. In 2014, Heckert captured the Pole award for this event and led 56 laps before bringing home a 10th-place finish. Heckert enters the NAPA 150 sitting fourth in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.
Scott Heckert on returning to Columbus Motor Speedway:
"We ran really strong last year at Columbus Motor Speedway, so I'm excited to go back there. We're unloading pretty similar to last year in the Project Lifesaver Chevy, so hopefully we'll just have to make a few small adjustments."
No. 51 Dalton Sargeant...Sargeant heads into this weekend's race at Columbus looking to bring home his third-straight top-five finish in the NKNPSE. The 17-year-old is coming off a strong run at Sonoma Raceway out west that saw him lead the most laps and bring home a runner-up finish. Sargeant looks to continue his strong streak and bring home another solid finish in his first-career NKNPSE start at Columbus. Sargeant enters the NAPA 150 sitting sixth in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.
Dalton Sargeant on racing at Columbus:
"Everyone on the No. 51 GALT HScott Motorsports with Justin Marks team is really looking forward to Columbus Motor Speedway. As we've progressed throughout the season, we're getting closer and closer to picking up that first K&N East win, and our flat-track program continues to make some really big gains. Columbus is a really tough racetrack; we tested there a few weeks ago and actually struggled for speed. However, I'm confident we'll get that turned around this weekend, and I hope we can continue our top-3 streak."
No. 98 Rico Abreu...Abreu comes into the NAPA 150 at Columbus looking to gain even more experience in the NKNPSE. The 23-year-old captured his first career Coors Light Pole award last time the series competed, at Langley Speedway, and he hopes to utilize some of his momentum to bring home another solid finish this weekend in his first start at Columbus Motor Speedway. Abreu enters the NAPA 150 sitting 10th in the NKNPSE Driver Point Standings.
Rico Abreu on racing at Columbus:
"We got the chance to test at Columbus last week, and we got our No. 98 GoPro Motorplex/AccuDoc Solutions/Curb Records Chevy set up pretty well. Things have been going pretty well on the K&N side of things, and now my goal is to just put a whole night together. I'm really looking forward to the race on Saturday."
HScott Motorsports PR