Adam Sinclair

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 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  

  

 

One track is an ultraslick, ultramodern indoor entertainment center in a destination mall where students, grandparents, businesspeople, teachers, and just about anyone else with a need for speed race Formula 1- inspired, Italian electric pro-karts that can reach speeds up to 50 miles per hour.

 

The other, almost 50 miles northwest and established in 1919, is one of the nation’s oldest continuously operating dirt tracks where , Dirt Modifieds stock car, street stock, demo derby, and Motocross competitors battle it out in the dirt -- that glorious dirt -- right by the fairgrounds.

 

While they may appear very different on the surface, Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events Palisades, part of one of the country’s leading indoor go-kart chains, and Orange County Fair Speedway (OCFS), one of the country’s most beloved dirt tracks, have one thing in common:  the love of all things fast and fun.

 

And in a sport so driven by cutthroat competition for fans, technology, and sponsors, this collaboration may help both entities make racing more accessible to people throughout the region.

 

For the entire OCFS season, which runs April through October,  both tracks will be promoting each other. Autobahn will promote upcoming dirt track races onsite, and OCFS will help turn racing spectators into racing competitors at Autobahn. 

 

Throughout the year, the two tracks will celebrate two forms of racing that have served as gateways to NASCAR, Formula 1, IndyCar, and other top series. In January 2022, Autobahn and OCFS will have a joint event to benefit a local charity. 

 

“Both of us are in the business of affordable, family entertainment,” says Peter Reynolds, director of sponsorship and business partnerships at Orange County Fair  Speedway.” “People will drive great distances for the thrill of racing, whether they’re seated in the stands or seated in a kart. Even though we’re about 45 minutes apart, we know a lot of people who love OCFS will love Autobahn, and a lot of people who love Autobahn will love us.”

 

The 43,000-square-foot Autobahn attracts racing enthusiasts of all levels, from everyday people of all ages just looking for high-speed exhilaration to up-and-coming juniors to some of the world’s top drivers in Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR, and other circuits. 

 

Autobahn also founded the American E-Kart Championship, the first indoor electric karting competition to bring together the top drivers from tracks around the country that was featured on “Anybody’s Race” on the ESPN network. “We’re proud to collaborate with Orange Motorsports & Entertainment in bringing more attention to the great racing in the area,” says David Larson, managing partner, Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events. “Karting and dirt track racing have played such a big part in developing so many of the world’s most famous drivers. For more than 100 years, Orange County Fair Speedway has brought together fans and drivers of all levels to enjoy the thrill of racing, and at Autobahn, we’re trying to make it accessible to everyone”.

 

Autobahn Indoor Speedway offers the popular "Arrive & Drive" race format, assigning racers to one of the upcoming races and requiring no reservations.  Up to 10 drivers will compete in each race to set the fastest lap times.

 

Autobahn Indoor Speedway is a fun and exciting place for company outings, social groups and birthday parties.  Various group race packages are designed to meet the needs of most events but a custom package can be arranged (including private full facility rentals).  Groups have reserved race times, exclusive use of the track during their races and they can compete individually or in teams.

 

For more information on each venue, go to https://autobahnspeed.com or https://www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net.

What's true in life is true in sports; sometimes what looks at first to be our lowest point is really the spark for our greatest moment. Such may be the case when a young Supercross racer would not stay down Tuesday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. 

 

Cameron McAdoo had every reason to, and by the laws of physics and anatomy he shouldn't have had a choice: On the opening lap of the 250SX Class Main Event, McAdoo mistimed a jump technique and sent his Kawasaki into a nose-down dive. The front wheel touched down and pitched McAdoo over the bars. His momentum slammed him into the near-vertical face of the next obstacle, a ten-foot high over-under bridge jump. That much alone often ends a season, and almost certainly ends a race.

 

But it got worse. The racer's motorcycle traced his trajectory and slammed onto him, crushing him flat against the wall of dirt. It got worse still. McAdoo's leg hung up on the bike, and as the machine's momentum bounced it into the air it swept the racer from the ground and flung him, arms outstretched, through a violent, arching front flip and deposited him with a final slam onto the top plateau of the jump obstacle.

 

McAdoo was immobile for the briefest of moments, then moved in a slow roll universally recognized as an indication of widespread pain. With an injured rider atop the obstacle and no safe way to help him down, the race was red flagged. By the rulebook, with fewer than three laps completed, the racers would re-load the starting gate and complete a full race re-start. One of those racers was Cameron McAdoo.


McAdoo was evaluated by the series' Alpinestars medical team and cleared to race. As a secondary check, another trackside physician gave the young, eager racer another evaluation. All the while the racer pleaded to be allowed to get back on the bike that had just thrown him and race again on the track that had just bit him. McAdoo sat only four points out of the title lead with three races left. Had the racers taken off without him on the re-start he would have lost touch with any hope of a 2021 championship.

 

The racer passed the concussion and body checks. He was sore but without major injury. His bike was bent up, but still running strong. The missing front numberplate as he re-loaded into the starting gate was an indicator that nothing was quite perfect… but he was back in the race.

 

When the gate dropped, McAdoo rocked off the steel-grate starting pad and emerged from the chaotic first corner in second place. Down the next straight he leapt into the lead for a flash of a moment but lost it back with a bobble in the next corner. He was pushed back to fourth. But McAdoo was there to race. In the first five and a half minutes of the 15-minute plus one lap event the exuberant racer let it all hang out. He passed two riders to reach second place, just 3.6 seconds behind Yamaha's Justin Cooper, the race and championship points leader.

 

The story didn’t end perfectly. Maybe the adrenaline wore off, maybe his energy reserves finally depleted, or maybe he didn't want to press his luck any further and he backed down his pace. But the leader steadily slipped away. As the race clock reached :00, signifying less than two laps remaining, McAdoo lost a position to Honda's Hunter Lawrence. About two minutes later McAdoo crossed the checkered flag battling, successfully, to retain his podium spot. The young racer next found himself on the winners' stage holding a trophy when 20 minutes prior a betting person would have put up the house that he was more likely on his way to the hospital for a cast.

 

Cameron McAdoo now sits nine points away from his first championship with two points-paying rounds left for his Region. One more at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, and another – a mash-up between regions where anything can happen, on May 1 inside Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah.

 

Nine points in two races. It can be done. And if anyone can do it, a betting person might now put money on Cameron McAdoo. "Anything can happen in racing," is often said, and sometimes when that 'anything' happens it takes your breath away.

 

Round 14 Western Regional 250SX Class Results

1. Justin Cooper, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha

2. Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda

3. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki

4. Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha

5. Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha

6. Mitchell Harrison, Murrieta, Calif., Honda

7.  Coty Schock, Dover, Del., Honda

8. Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS

9. Seth Hammaker, Temecula, Calif., Kawasaki

10. Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna

 

Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings

1. Justin Cooper, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha (157)

2. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki (148)

3. Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (141)

4. Seth Hammaker, Temecula, Calif., Kawasaki (121)

5. Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna (121)

6. Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (120)

7. Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (101)

8. Kyle Peters, Greensboro, N.C., Honda (93)

9. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., GASGAS (86)

10. Coty Schock, Dover, Del., Honda (86)

By Godwin Kelly
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
When he took over as IMSA president in 2020, John Doonan couldn’t have known it would be one of the most unusual and challenging years in the sports car sanctioning body’s history. Doonan and the IMSA staff weathered the uncertainties caused by the global pandemic with aplomb.
 
2021 has presented some of the same challenges early on, necessitating schedule adjustments and continued focus on conducting safe events for competitors and fans alike. Now, following two thrilling hallmark races to kick off the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season – the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts – Doonan took a few minutes to reflect on what’s occurred thus far this year and on what’s to come.
 
How has 2021 gone for IMSA to date?
 
Doonan: We’ve come out of a very challenging 2020. When you look at the car count, we enjoyed at the Rolex 24, when you look at the incredible racing at the Rolex 24 and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring across all of our series platforms, I can tell you we do have people on the edge of their seats when it comes to product on the track. It’s amazing to me that a race like the Twelve Hours of Sebring literally comes down to (the final) 12 minutes. We certainly saw that in the case of the overall win and in several of the classes. We saw every manufacturer lead laps. I thought it was really special that we saw a privateer team in Mustang Sampling take home the overall victory, and in the case of GTLM, we saw the same thing. It was a class dedicated to factory teams and you saw a privateer team (No. 79 WeatherTech Racing) come in and win that class at Sebring. We have seen a lot of positives in that regard most recently.
 
Have you been happy with the quality of competition in the first two WeatherTech Championship races of the season?
 
Doonan: There’s no question about that. I’ve been really happy with the car counts when you think of the challenges based on the global economy, and really pleased that so many folks have entrusted their racing investments with us. We are going to keep delivering on our promise of a good experience for our participants and great competition for those who are watching us, whether it’s on NBC or streaming on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
 
From the start of this season until now, what are some of the highlights for you?
 
Doonan: Without question the on-track action, but also the return of Chip Ganassi Racing to the DPi ranks with all their success over the years. I liked the influx of LMP2 competitors. We had the addition of the LMP3 competitors to the WeatherTech Championship, where we have pillar teams like CORE autosport, Performance Tech, Riley Technologies. These are teams that have been with us (in other classes) and entered LMP3. The quality of racing there has been quite good. Across the GT platforms, in addition to DPi, there’s really a place where manufacturers shine. The representation across GTD and GTLM are up to 10 manufacturers, so we’re really proud of that. We have an all-female team competing with Katherine Legge and Christina Nielsen. Then you can look at our single-make championships with the Porsche Carrera Cup North America, which is part of their global formula and their new type 992. It’s a really special piece.
 
IMSA recently had to make another schedule revision. How has this once again shown the cooperation and adaptability for IMSA, its tracks and partners to work together to find solutions?
 
Doonan: I think we did eight schedule recasts in 2020. We’re on our third this season, which was primarily driven by quarantine requirements to go across the border. We want to be respectful of our teams and their budgets, keep everybody safe and participating. The flexibility comes with all our promoter partners. We will be racing at Watkins Glen International on July 1-2 (in place of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park). I feel like we are in a good place for the rest of the season with the stability we have with our provisional schedule. We have some unique highlights where our Lamborghini Super Trofeo series will be paired with the NASCAR races at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas (in May). That’s a neat mix as NASCAR adds more road course content to their schedule. The opportunity to bring along an IMSA single-make or challenge series to those weekends is something that delivers for our fan base and for NASCAR.
 
Does IMSA have an in-house team that monitors the course of the pandemic?
 
Doonan: We have seen a great collaboration throughout the whole company of NASCAR, which has a government affairs group that monitors state to state, region to region and nationwide. We have medical liaisons and safety folks who are keeping track of cases and vaccinations of places where we are headed and what we are heading into. We have a set of protocols that we continue to refine. Some of our biggest success stories in 2020, which has continued into 2021, is our ability to work with the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs to get our international travelers and participants into the country to participate in our events. Some 40 percent of our participants don’t live in the United States, so that’s been a big part of us being able to go back to racing.
 
Can you give us an update on the LMDh class, which is scheduled to begin WeatherTech Championship competition in 2023?
 
Doonan: The key words for that response are manufacturers, participation and momentum. We have three official announcements from three manufacturers, including Porsche, Acura and Audi. And stay tuned because the news will get better in terms of number of commitments from manufacturers. It’s their news to tell, but I can tell you we are encouraged by the number of manufacturers who want to showcase their brand and styling, all using an identical hybrid powertrain. We are seeing a lot of momentum. We are really encouraged at what we’ll see in 2023 and beyond, not only here at IMSA, but globally. We have seen 15 or 16 manufacturers are at the table, which we are really excited about. They see this as an opportunity to build on what they are already doing in motorsport, or a new opportunity for overall victories for both IMSA and other top races around the globe.
 
How about an update on the GTD PRO class that starts next season?
 
Doonan: We made this announcement in January. The timing was right to do this. We never make changes like this about classes without a lot of input from our manufacturer partners. In particular, GT racing and the consumer-identifying nature of those cars are super important to the long-term strategy of our future. The GTLM class is going to a GT3 spec, which really sets us up for success. GT3 cars are very available globally, for both a factory effort or, as we say, a Pro-Pro driver effort or a Pro-Am program. We are very hopeful that GTD PRO and GTD, as we know it today, will be operating on a single specification. This will showcase the car and the driver who is behind the wheel. We are working closely with the manufacturers to work out the final specs. We have a lot of excitement coming in 2022 in the GT ranks, then in 2023 we will add the LMDh.
 
What kinds of things are the IMSA tech officials doing now to prepare for the scope and regulations for those LMDh and GTD PRO classes?
 
Doonan: The really neat part of those classes is global homologation. We are in constant contact with our partners (manufacturers, chassis constructors), who will finalize the installations and specs on those LMDh cars. From the GT3 standpoint, we work with our partners at the FIA, who will homologate those cars globally.
 
How exciting has it been to see the debuts of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America and Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich under IMSA sanctioning?
 
Doonan: For Porsche, it’s been a big dream of theirs to establish a North American Carrera Cup. It’s a platform that has been established globally. To have a series here was a big, big dream of theirs. To see it all come together, especially with roughly three dozen cars at Sebring, was really special for them. The MX-5 Cup is near and dear to my heart personally. The racing that has gone on in the first couple of events with photos finishes at Daytona and Sebring, it doesn’t get much better.
 
What do they add to the IMSA portfolio?
 
Doonan: Those series create an entry point to IMSA. Both of those series have the potential to launch driver and mechanic, even race team careers, in IMSA. There are a lot of opportunities now, whether it’s a single-make series or the Michelin Pilot Challenge, and ultimately the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. It’s really a good launch pad for us.
 
What does the IMSA iRacing Pro Series Presented by SimCraft look like this year?
 
Doonan: It doesn’t take a race car. It doesn’t take a hauler. It doesn’t take a bunch of people. We kicked off a three-race championship last week. That side of our sport, when it comes to eSports and eGaming, continues to grow like it has for many others. This is a growth area opportunity for the next generation, and we are excited about that.

Scott Dixon’s race against history begins this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst, the season-opening event of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES season.

Six months removed from winning a sixth series championship, Dixon has A.J. Foyt’s all-time record of seven titles within reach. Foyt won the last of his championships in 1979, which means his mark has stood unmatched for 42 years.

Dixon’s sixth title was fueled by a three-race winning streak to begin the 2020 season. Can he use a similar start this year in the No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda, or will Josef Newgarden, who has won two of the past four season titles, dethrone him in Team Penske’s No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet? Or, will it be another driver – a veteran or perhaps a rising star – stealing the spotlight?

NTT P1 Award qualifying starts at 5:55 p.m. (ET) Saturday, with the race at 3 p.m. Sunday. Here are five things to watch as the drama builds this weekend:

Dixon Needs a Barber

It can be argued that Dixon is the most successful NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver in Barber Motorsports Park history and yet he doesn’t have a trophy to show for it.

Who wouldn’t take Dixon’s stat line at the 17-turn, 2.38-mile permanent road course? Eight podium finishes in 10 races, six times a race runner-up. That’s impressive by any measure.

As for reaching the top step of the Birmingham, Alabama, podium, Newgarden has been the track’s recent master, winning three of the past five races. Team Penske teammate Will Power (No. 12 Verizon 5G Chevrolet) and Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda) have won two races each. Takuma Sato, who drives the No. 30 Panasonic/Shield Cleansers Honda of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing, won in 2019, the series’ most recent race there as last year’s event was canceled amid the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Power is a four-time NTT P1 Award winner at Barber, part of the 62 poles he has scored in his career. Five more such awards ties him with Mario Andretti for the sport’s all-time lead.

New Kings To Be Crowned?

Dixon and Newgarden have combined to win the past four INDYCAR championships, and their teams – Chip Ganassi Racing and Team Penske – have won the past eight titles.

So, who breaks the streak? It’s best to look to Andretti Autosport or Arrow McLaren SP, where Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS/AutoNation Honda), Colton Herta (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda) and Pato O’Ward (No. 5 Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet) are employed.

Rossi was on pace to score five consecutive podiums to end last season until his car spun after leading 61 of the first 69 laps in the season-ending Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in October. Rossi won the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge in 2016 and has seven career wins, but he is massively hungry for his first series championship.

“I’m more motivated than you can believe, and I’m really excited,” he said. “I have a lot of points to prove.”

Herta and O’Ward have shown capable of defining INDYCAR’s future. Each enters the season 21 years old – O’Ward turns 22 on May 6 -- and they battled for the 2018 Indy Lights championship as teammates (O’Ward won).

Last year, Herta finished third in the standings with O’Ward fourth, and they’re desperate to move up. O’Ward has been outstanding in preseason testing but is still seeking his first win in the series. Herta has won three times and scored four poles to O’Ward’s single pole (at Road America last year).

An Experienced Rookie Class

INDYCAR might have to go back a couple of decades to find a newcomer class with as much high-level motorsports experience as this one.

The intrigue starts with Jimmie Johnson, who shares the record for NASCAR Cup Series championships with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt (seven each). Johnson grew up wanting to be an INDYCAR driver, and at 45 he’s finally getting his chance in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 48 Carvana Honda. He has been tutored by four-time series champion Dario Franchitti and has learned plenty from Scott Dixon, but the challenge that awaits him will be unlike anything he has experienced in his career.

“It’s a monster – that’s the best way I can put it,” Johnson said of driving one of INDYCAR’s machines. “There’s so much power, so much downforce, so much grip. It’s wild to drive.”

Driving the No. 51 Dale Coyne Racing with RWR Honda, Romain Grosjean is a nine-year veteran of Formula One, recognized as the pinnacle of global motorsports, and he finished on the podium 10 times with second-tier teams. Like Johnson, Grosjean, 34, is only scheduled to compete on INDYCAR’s road courses and street circuits this season as he adapts to the series.

“What attracts people to INDYCAR is that it’s a top series, top cars, top drivers, and the driver can actually make a difference,” Grosjean said.

Scott McLaughlin joined Team Penske’s INDYCAR program after driving for Roger Penske and Dick Johnson the past four years in Australian V8 Supercars. McLaughlin, 27, had completed his Down Under checklist, winning 56 races, three consecutive season championships and earning 76 poles and 106 podiums. It was time to move on, and he did so at the end of last year by competing in INDYCAR’s season-ending race in St. Petersburg. He finished 22nd.

“There’s a bit of nerves, absolutely,” said McLaughlin, the driver of the No. 3 PPG Chevrolet, of the full season that awaits. “There’s an unknown there, but I said to my wife last night I feel as prepared as I can be right now. The only thing I lack is experience, and that will come.”

Faces in New Places

Among the 24 entries at Barber Motorsports Park are several INDYCAR veterans who have different opportunities for the upcoming season.

Felix Rosenqvist, Ed Jones and Alex Palou have new teams while Sebastien Bourdais, James Hinchcliffe and Dalton Kellett have increased their number of races with the teams with which they finished the 2020 season.

Rosenqvist, who won a race last year at Road America, will drive the No. 7 Vuse Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet. Jones is back in the series after a year away, and he returns to the organization in which he had success in 2017 (he finished third in the Indianapolis 500). Jones will drive the No. 18 Team SealMaster Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan Honda. Palou is now in the No. 10 NTT DATA Honda of Chip Ganassi Racing.

Bourdais (No. 14 ROCKiT Chevrolet) and Kellett (No. 4 K-Line Insulators USA Chevrolet) now have full-season roles with AJ Foyt Racing. Bourdais is a four-time INDYCAR champion with 37 career race wins. Kellett drove in eight races last year for the team as a rookie.

Hinchcliffe is set for his second stint with Andretti Autosport, having won three of his six career races there. After competing in six races with Michael Andretti’s organization in 2020, Hinchcliffe will be full-time in the No. 29 Genesys Honda fielded by Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport.

“I think expectations are high for the year (as Andretti) has got a pretty stacked lineup,” Hinchcliffe said. “There was good momentum with the team at the end of last year.”

How To Watch

Nine of the 17 races, including this weekend’s and the two at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Month of May, will air live on NBC. The other eight can be found on the NBC Sports Network.

Fans can enjoy live coverage of all practice and qualifying sessions, as well as coverage surrounding the “500,” Indy Lights races, race day warmups and full-event replays of the 2021 season on Peacock Premium, NBC’s direct-to-consumer platform, for $4.99 per month. Signup information can be found at www.peacocktv.com.

At the track, a capacity of 20,000 has been reached for Sunday’s race. General admission tickets remain for action on Friday and Saturday.

Mercedes-EQ's Stoffel Vandoorne launched himself into the mix of the drivers' championship with his first race win of the season, followed over the line by Alexander Sims (Mahindra Racing) and Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team).
 
Belgian bounced back from a disappointing race yesterday to fight his way from fourth on the grid, securing TAG Heuer Fastest Lap for good measure - catapulting him from 15th in the standings to fourth in 24 hours.
 
Sims put on an overtaking masterclass when racing returned green after a caution period on his way to second spot, with TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team driver Pascal Wehrlein taking the final podium position after Norman Nato (ROKiT Venturi Racing) was disqualified for energy overuse.
 
Action-packed race once again started behind the MINI Electric Pacesetter, with Julius Baer Pole Position winner Nick Cassidy (Envision Virgin Racing) spinning out of the lead soon after the race was underway.
 
Drivers' championship leader Sam Bird (Jaguar Racing), and the man third in the running pre-race, Nyck de Vries (Mercedes-EQ), were wiped out making contact with one-another as they fought for points on the cusp of the top 10.
 
 Edoardo Mortara (ROKiT Venturi Racing) came home fourth, followed by Maximilian Günther (BMW i Andretti Motorsport), Mitch Evans (Jaguar Racing), António Félix da Costa (DS TECHEETAH), Tom Blomqvist (NIO 333), Nico Müller (DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT) and Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams) completing the points paying positions.
 
Formula E returns in two weeks’ time with the all-electric racing series heading to Spain for the inaugural Valencia E-Prix on April 24 & 25.
 
 
Follow the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship on FacebookInstagramTwitterTikTok and YouTube@FIAFormulaE #ABBFormulaE
DS TECHEETAH's Jean-Éric Vergne took the 10th win of his Formula E career around the Circuito Cittadino dell'EUR, followed closely behind by Jaguar Racing duo of Sam Bird and Mitch Evans.
 
Jaguar Racing achieved their first double podium in Formula E, with the British squad being led to the chequered flag by Bird, who started the race in 10th and Evans in 12th.
 
The MINI Electric Pacesetter led the cars off the start line due to mixed conditions on track. Once the pack was released it wasn’t long before Julius Baer Pole Position winner Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) and André Lotterer (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team) tangled, leaving them both out of contention.
 
 Vergne and Lucas di Grassi (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler) enjoyed a game of cat and mouse with the pair continuing to swap positions through Attack Mode activations. On Lap 21, the Brazilian slowed with a technical issue, leaving Stoffel Vandoorne (Mercedes-EQ) to take evasive action and spin into the barriers.
 
The Safety Car was deployed and brought the cars across the finish-line, with the podium finishers followed by Robin Frijns (Envision Virgin Racing), Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams), René Rast (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler), Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team), Alex Lynn (Mahindra Racing), Maximilian Günther (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) and Nick Cassidy (Envision Virgin Racing).
 
Sébastien Buemi (Nissan e.dams), René Rast (Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler), Pascal Wehrlein (TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team), Alex Lynn (Mahindra Racing), Maximilian Günther (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) and Nick Cassidy (Envision Virgin Racing).
 
 
Follow the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship on FacebookInstagramTwitterTikTok and YouTube@FIAFormulaE #ABBFormulaE
 After a quiet 2020 season at Dirt Oval at Route 66, there is a ton of excitement and anticipation surrounding the action heating back up at the state-of-the-art Joliet, Illinois facility in 2021. As always, promoter Sherri Heckenast has a diverse schedule for this year including visits by the All Star Circuit of Champion Sprint Car Series and the DIRTcar Summer Nationals tour, along with Monster Truck events, the world-famous Team Demolition Derby programs, car shows, and even a rodeo. However, one weekend stands out on the calendar, as the Progressive American Flat Track (AFT) series invades the Dirt Oval at Route 66 on Saturday, May 29 over the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
 
Celebrate Memorial Day weekend at the Dirty “O” and feel the rush of America’s Original Extreme Sport at its finest! On Friday, May 28, the amateur riders will take to the half-mile ahead of the Progressive AFT athletes who will tame the dirt oval for the Chicago Half-Mile on Saturday, May 29.
 
Gates will open both days at 3:00pm with Opening Ceremonies on each occasion slated for 6:00pm. Advanced tickets are now currently available for purchase for this spectacular by ordering online at www.dirtoval66.com or by visiting the direct link at www.etix.com/ticket/v/11075/the-dirt-oval.
 
Advanced General Admission tickets for Friday’s amateur event are only $15.00 for adults, while advanced reserved tickets for Saturday’s Progressive AFT Chicago Half-Mile are only $35.00. A two-day advanced ticket option is also available for adults for only $45.00. Make sure to take advantage of this special advanced pricing as tickets on race day go up to $20.00 for adults on Friday, $40.00 for adults on Saturday, and $50.00 for a two-day adult ticket. Children 12 and under are admitted for FREE all weekend long.
 
Dry camping is available all weekend long at the Dirt Oval at Route 66. A single day of camping on either Friday or Saturday is $30.00, while you can camp on the grounds both days for $50.00. Keep visiting www.dirtoval66.com as the show nears for more information on this Track Enterprises / Top Notch event.
 
You can learn more about the Dirt Oval at Route 66 or order tickets and camping for any 2021 event by logging onto www.dirtoval66.com. They are also on all social media platforms including Facebook (facebook.com/dirtoval66), Twitter (twitter.com/dirtoval66), and Instagram (instagram.com/dirtoval66). The Dirt Oval at Route 66 is conveniently located at 500 Speedway Boulevard in Joliet, Illinois and the track phone number is 815-740-8000.
It’s time to go racing! A protracted off-season is finally at an end, teams and drivers have completed their exhaustive testing programs, and now some of the eagerly anticipated questions can begin to be answered. A new year for the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires kicks off this weekend, April 17-18, at Barber Motorsports Park in conjunction with the opening round of the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The event marks the Road to Indy’s first races in Alabama since the 2017 season.
 
All three levels of the world renowned open-wheel driver development program – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship – have attracted high-quality fields which will do battle over two races on the undulating and challenging 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course situated just outside Birmingham, Ala. At stake this year is a range of scholarships and awards valued at over $3.1 million which will enable talented young drivers to progress from the grass roots of the sport to the pinnacle, the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and the Indianapolis 500.
 
GMG/HMD Lays Down the Gauntlet
The primary focus this weekend for the Road to Indy will be the return of Indy Lights, the top rung on the ladder, following a one-year hiatus caused by effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. The Andretti Autosport powerhouse had swept the championship in each of its last two years through the efforts of talented youngsters Patricio O’Ward and Oliver Askew, but already a serious new challenger has emerged in the form of Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports, which led the way convincingly during last week’s traditional Spring Training open test at Barber.
 
 
Teammates David Malukas, from Chicago, Ill., Linus Lundqvist, from Stockholm, Sweden, and Danish-born Benjamin Pedersen, who now hails from Seattle, Wash., dominated the top of the timing charts, separated by a hair over two tenths of a second. But hot on their heels were the Andretti pair of Robert Megennis, from New York., N.Y., and Kyle Kirkwood, from Jupiter, Fla. All five were blanketed by just 0.4426 of a second.
 
Malukas, 19, and Megennis, 21, have experience on their side after finishing sixth and fifth, respectively, in the 2019 Indy Lights title-chase, although Barber was not on the schedule at the time. Kirkwood, meanwhile, is seeking an unprecedented three consecutive Road to Indy Scholarships after dominating the USF2000 series in 2018 and adding the Indy Pro 2000 title in 2019. Kirkwood is especially anxious to commence the season after the 22-year-old’s plans for 2020 were put on ice due to the pandemic.
 
Lundqvist, also 22, is another proven winner after lifting the prestigious BRDC British F3 Championship title in 2018 and adding last year’s Formula Regional Americas powered by Honda in imperious style.
 
Additional interest this week is provided by the long-awaited return of the Carlin team, Indy Lights championship winners with current NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver Ed Jones in 2016; the graduation of last year’s Indy Pro 2000 champion Sting Ray Robb, from Payette, Idaho, with 2015 and 2017 championship-winning team Juncos Racing; and the enhanced safety aspects provided by a new cockpit protection device which has drawn effusive praise from the teams and drivers.
 
Official practice for the Indy Lights Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Cooper Tires will commence on Thursday afternoon with the opening 30-lap race set to start at 12:15 p.m. CDT on Saturday, April 17. The green flag for the 35-lap Race Two is slated for 12:20 p.m. on Sunday, immediately preceding the NTT INDYCAR SERIES headline event.
Coverage can be found on Peacock Premium in the U.S., on REV TV in Canada and internationally via live streaming on the Road to Indy TV App and at RoadToIndy.TV and indylights.com.
 
Juncos, JHDD Chasing Indy Pro 2000 Glory
There’s a similar storyline in Indy Pro 2000 as Juncos Racing, champions in three of the last four years, faces stern opposition from newcomers Jay Howard Driver Development in the season-opening Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix of Alabama Presented by Cooper Tires.
 
 
Mexico’s Manuel Sulaiman, who won twice during a solid rookie campaign in 2020, topped the timing charts following two days of testing last week after joining the Juncos team, but only by a few fractions of a second over last year’s USF2000 champion Christian Rasmussen, from Copenhagen, Denmark, who is stepping up with Jay Howard’s team. Fellow rookie Kyffin Simpson (Juncos Racing), from Grand Cayman Island, whose season already has been given a flying start after romping to victory in the opening three Formula Regional Americas races of the season last month in Georgia, also was within a few thousandths of Sulaiman.
 
Very much in the mix were returning drivers Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing), from New Zealand, who claimed a breakthrough victory in the final race of the 2020 season on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., and Artem Petrov – coincidentally from the “other” Saint Petersburg, in Russia – who has joined the Exclusive Autosport team after claiming two race wins in 2020. Watch out too for Petrov’s teammate, Braden Eves, the 2019 USF2000 champion from New Albany, Ohio, who returns after his race-winning campaign in 2020 was curtailed by a crash at Indianapolis.
 
Other highly rated rookies include Irishman James Roe, who posted the fifth fastest time for Turn 3 Motorsport, and USF2000 graduates Cameron Shields (DEForce Racing), from Australia, and Reece Gold (Juncos Racing), from Miami, Fla. All of the top eight recorded laps within less than a half-second of each other during last week’s test.
 
And don’t count out RP Motorsport USA either. The pandemic sadly sidelined the Italian-based organization’s hopes of defending its 2019 crown, won by Kyle Kirkwood, but the team will be back with two talented young chargers in third-generation Brazilian Enzo Fittipaldi and Englishman Enaam Ahmed. Both have championship-winning credentials from Europe and could be seen climbing up the timing charts during last week’s Spring Training test.
 
At stake this season is a scholarship valued at over $718,000 which will enable the series champion to move up to Indy Lights in 2022.
 
The wide-open Indy Pro 2000 field will see action on all four days, with testing and one official practice session on Thursday, two separate qualifying sessions on Friday and then two races, the first over 25 laps at 11:10 a.m. CDT on Saturday and the second, over 30 laps, at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday. Global live streaming can be found on the Road to Indy TV App and at RoadToIndy.TV and indypro2000.com.
 
Pick a Winner in USF2000
Echoing the intensity of the two highest levels on the Road to Indy ladder, USF2000 also seems set for a sensational season of racing. A field of over 25 competitors is expected for the opening round, all of them chasing a champion’s prize worth over $400,000.
 
 
Impressively, the fastest 16 drivers – representing seven different teams – at Spring Training were bracketed by less than a second. Pride of place was taken by Christian Brooks (Exclusive Autosport), from Santa Clarita, Calif., who narrowly headed the DEForce Racing pair of Prescott Campbell, from Newport Beach, Calif., and Nolan Siegel, from Palo Alto, Calif.
 
Brooks, 20, Brazilian Kiko Porto (DEForce Racing), 17, and Michael d’Orlando (Cape Motorsports), 19, from Hartsdale, N.Y., are the only drivers in the field with a USF2000 victory to their credit. Brooks and Porto achieved their maiden wins during last year’s series finale at St. Petersburg, Fla., while d’Orlando, who is the top returning driver after finishing fourth in the 2020 title-chase, earned his laurels a little earlier at Mid-Ohio.
 
Other potential front-runners will include fellow series veterans Josh Green (Turn 3 Motorsport), 18, from Mount Kisco, N.Y., and fellow Team USA Scholarship winner Simon Sikes, 20, from Augusta, Ga., who did not attend the Spring Training test but has already shown well in winter testing for the Legacy Autosport team.
 
Well over half of the field will be comprised of USF2000 rookies, many of whom already have achieved previous success either in the karting ranks or other junior open-wheel series. Impressively, fastest of them all last week was 16-year-old Jace Denmark, from Scottsdale, Ariz., driving for Pabst Racing.
 
The Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix of Alabama will commence with testing and practice on Thursday, a pair of qualifying sessions on Friday and then two races – one of 20 laps, the other 25 – on Saturday at 8:00 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. CDT. The Road to Indy TV App, RoadToIndy.TV and usf2000.com will feature live streaming coverage of USF2000 on-track activity.

Something very unexpected has resulted from Supercross’ unique 2021 race schedule. A calendar heavy with triple-headers, something not done in the sports’ 47 year history prior to the pandemic. The condensed schedule was designed to ease stress on riders and teams while also creating a "race bubble" environment that would allow fan attendance. What it's done is delivered compelling evidence that riders have a unique relationship with each race venue.

 

The Supercross tracks are extensively altered during the triple-headers, often changing direction between events; only the dirt and stadium remain constant. But added to track layout are so many other variables such as riders' physical performance, motivations, and emotions as well as mechanical issues, how the track breaks down through the night and of course the rider's starting position at the beginning of the Main Event. It seemed back in January that the triple-headers would have a negligible effect on which rider won. But the result has been very different.

 

The triple-header in Houston that kicked off the 2021 season delivered three different winners, as would be somewhat predictable. But then one rider, Honda's Ken Roczen, grabbed three wins in a row at the next venue, Indianapolis. It raised some eyebrows, but most attributed it to a new motivation after some tough point losses in Houston. Certainly it wasn't the first time one rider started a win streak in a season.

 

The series next moved to a two-race stand in Orlando. Roczen's win streak was broken, and another started. Cooper Webb, the 2019 champion, took both wins on his KTM. Then Webb's streak was broken at the only single-race venue on the schedule, the open and fast track built across the infield at Daytona International Speedway. That win was grabbed by defending champion Eli Tomac on his Kawasaki.

 

Going into the third triple-header in Arlington, Texas, Tomac had momentum and was motivated to regain points, Roczen was ready to battle to retain his points lead, and Webb was hungry, only two points out of the title lead. All three were well motivated and, as far as anyone outside the teams knew, healthy. But the three rounds at Arlington fell again to one single rider. It was Cooper Webb's second streak, and it put him into the points lead. 

 

But Webb's streak was yet again broken on Saturday night at the first of three races on the infield of Atlanta Motor Speedway. Tomac grabbed the win convincingly on the red Georgia soil at the open air venue. Will Tomac run Atlanta? The high-speed tracks and open-air conditions suit him. Or is there something more to it?

 

Athletes have a 'feel' for places, and maybe that positive feeling is the nth degree difference these top athletes win and lose by. It's an intangible force that's never seemed so apparent in Supercross before this year. If there is something to the rider/locale relationship, Tomac could use the points boost. He has 36 points to make up with only four rounds remaining. Or maybe Roczen can break the trend and claw back some of the 22 points he needs to earn his first 450SX Class title. Cooper Webb is not a rider to go into season management; he's very motivated to stretch his points lead.

 

There are two rounds left this week in Atlanta: SuperTuesday tonight, and then this Saturday, April 17th. Then the series wraps up with two races inside Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. A final double-header to cap off a season that's possibly revealed a stronger bond between Supercross athlete and venue than has ever observed before.

 

Time will show how it plays out in the championship points battle. But if you believe in patterns watch for Eli Tomac to pull off two more wins in Atlanta. To see for yourself, ticket information to attend one of the four final races, and viewing information to catch the racing on the Peacock app and on NBCSN are available at SupercrossLIVE.com.

 

 

Atlanta 450SX Class Results

1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki

2. Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda

3. Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM

4. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Husqvarna

5. Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha

6. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha 

7. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM

8. Joey Savatgy, Clermont, Fla., KTM

9. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda 

10. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS

 

450SX Class Championship Standings after 13 of 17 Rounds

1. Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM (296)

2. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (274)

3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (260)

4. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (227)

5. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (200)

6. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha (191)

7. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Husqvarna (190)

8. Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha (171)

9. Joey Savatgy, Clermont, Fla., KTM (153)

10. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (152)

 It isn’t a stretch to say not many people are looking forward to the return of this weekend’s DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway more than former Funny Car world champ J.R. Todd.
 
The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series star won the first two four-wide events in Las Vegas, including the most recent one in 2019 in his 11,000-horsepower DHL Toyota Camry. Todd has performed well in Vegas, as has the Kalitta Motorsports team and that has continued in the unique and spectacular four-wide setup. After the race didn’t take place a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Todd is ready for more four-wide success in Las Vegas, especially after winning the opening race of the 2021 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.
 
“We’re hoping we can keep riding that wave,” Todd said. “Hopefully we can get back there and have another good weekend, and we’re looking forward to it. Having that much time away from a four-wide race, I’m sure everyone is going to be extra cautious in Q1, but it will be routine after that. We’ll just try to go up there and hit the gas on time.”
 
Mike Salinas (Top Fuel), Todd (Funny Car), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle) were winners of the 2019 four-wide event. This year’s race will be televised on FOX Sports 1, including finals coverage starting at 8 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, April 18. It is the second race of the 2021 season and the excitement is high for one of the biggest spectacles in the sport. All grandstand tickets have been sold for the weekend, as state and local officials allowed the track to host fans at 50-percent capacity for the race in Las Vegas.
 
Todd impressed at Gainesville and after going winless in 2020, he can start in commanding fashion with a strong performance in Las Vegas. He’ll have to get by the likes of defending world champ Matt Hagan, Robert Hight, John Force, Ron Capps and Cruz Pedregon, but crew chiefs Jon Oberhofer and Todd Smith have always delivered a strong car in Vegas for Todd.
 
“Todd and Jon O always have a good handle on the track whether it’s two-wide or four-wide, so that gives you confidence,” Todd said. “It was nice to start the year fresh in the winner’s circle, and we just want to keep it going.”
 
Top Fuel’s Antron Brown hasn’t tasted four-wide success in Las Vegas, but he did win at the track last fall to close out a resurgent 2020 season. That momentum continued with a solid outing in Gainesville, and Brown has plenty of overall four-wide success thanks to two wins in Charlotte. He’ll have to take on top names like defending world champ Steve Torrence, Doug Kalitta and Brittany Force, but a four-wide event always gets Brown and his Don Schumacher Racing team excited to race his 11,000-horsepower Matco Tools/Sirius XM/Toyota dragster.
 
“I’m super pumped about going to Vegas and racing four-wide.” Brown said. “It feels great to kick off our West Coast opener in Vegas since the last time we raced there, we finished our weekend in the winner’s circle, and we want to continue that trend out there this weekend. We know it’s going to be controlled chaos with it being a four-wide event, but our Matco Tools Toyota with the support of Sirius XM, Global Electronic Technology, and Hangsterfer’s, is ready to roll. Our whole team is really excited and I’m looking forward to getting out there.”
Greg Anderson is certainly among the favorites in Pro Stock, advancing to the final quad of the 2019 race. He also has momentum after winning in Gainesville to earn his 95th career win and will face off with the likes of Erica Enders, who won in Vegas to close out the 2020 season, Troy Coughlin Jr., Kyle Koretsky, Deric Kramer and Mason McGaha.
 
Pro Stock Motorcycle took part in four-wide racing at Las Vegas for the first time in 2019, with Hector Arana Jr. earning the victory. Others to watch in the two-wheeled class include defending champ Matt Smith, who won in Gainesville to open 2021, Angie Smith, three-time world champ Angelle Sampey and Jerry Savoie.
 
The race also includes thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where future stars of the sport hone their skills. The drivers in Top Alcohol Dragster and Top Alcohol Funny Car will also race in a four-wide format for the first time in class history. After qualifying on both days, fans can watch a thrilling four-wide jet car exhibition featuring the Lucas Oil “Muy Caliente” jets, the “Iceman” jet dragster and the “Volcano” jet dragster. Jet cars are thrust-driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
 
Camping World Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature one round at 3:30 p.m. PT on Friday, April 16, with the two final rounds slated for 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 17. Final eliminations are scheduled for 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 18. Television coverage includes qualifying action on FS1 at 7 p.m. ET on Friday, April 16, and eliminations beginning at 8 p.m. on Sunday, April 18 on FS1.
 
(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)
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