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  

  

 

Chris Dyson shook off a season of frustration Sunday at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, leading all the way to capture the 2020 Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli combined five-class finale with a flag-to-flag victory. 

The Championship weekend saw two days of racing, with Sunday’s 100-mile feature integrating all five classes of Trans Am competition into one thrilling event on the high-speed 2.54-mile circuit north of Atlanta. 

The New Yorker led the opening 12 laps on Saturday, only to have a belt break and end his day early. Sunday, he was not to be denied. Dyson pulled away from Saturday winner Martin Ragginger at the start and held off numerous challenges. The Austrian kept the gap within one second for most of the 40-lap race, but Dyson finished strong, winning by 2.239-seconds for his second victory of the year.
 
“It’s been a tough year, but it’s nice to close it out this way,” said Dyson, who won the 2019 finale at Daytona. “We had to play every trick in my experience book today. It was really hard racing. Martin was on me the whole way, and I had to use every tool in the kit today with all the traffic out there. He was keeping me honest, but after yesterday, it sure feels good to go home with a win under our belt.”
 
Ragginger finished second in  the No. 17 Gin Amade Chevrolet Camaro, and was followed across the line by his Burtin Racing teammate Tomy Drissi in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Camaro.
 
Ernie Francis Jr. claimed his fourth-consecutive TA championship, and seventh straight class title, with a fourth-place finish. The title win breaks Tommy Kendall’s overall record for the most consecutive Trans Am championships. Kendall won three consecutive championships in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
 
Francis Jr. turned around a troublesome weekend, coming from 10th to briefly hold third before losing the podium position to title hopeful Drissi. Francis Jr. beat out Drissi by 29 points in the championship standings, which will become official with the posting of official results on Wednesday. 
 
“It was a really tough race, coming from the back,” said Francis. “Once we took the green flag we had the championship locked up. That took some pressure off of us, so we could race and have some fun out there. I was battling for the podium, but didn’t have quite enough car for that today. Maybe we’ll be back next year and take another championship.”
 
Boris Said spun in Turn 1 on the opening lap on cold tires, but came back through the field to place fourth in the No. 2 Weaver Racing Dodge Challenger. He was followed by Justin Marks in the No. 99 Trackhouse Chevrolet, Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Corvette and Simon Gregg in the No. 59 Derhaag Camaro.
 
The race had two caution periods, the first on lap 10 for the stopped fifth-place No. 10 BC Race Cars Camaro of Misha Goikhberg and a second on lap 28 for the stopped No. 16 Madison Development Mustang of Jim Gallaugher.
 
With full field of multi-class competition, the ensuring restarts were thrilling to the fans on hand as well as those watching the stream via the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App.
 
The 43-car battle featured changes in the podium finishers in three of the four competing classes in the final four laps.
 
Mike Skeen put a bow on his TA2® powered by AEM championship with his second victory of the weekend in the No. 77 Liqui Moly/Turn 14 Ford Mustang.
 
"I know that it sounds like a broken record but I am really appreciative of Stevens-Miller Racing," said Skeen. "They work really hard. We had a little bit of a worry after yesterday's race and thought about not racing today to save the car. Then we decided why not, let's go for it again. They gave me a great car. The Liqui Moly Turn 14 Distribution Mustang was on fire as usual. I had a great battle there at the start, (Thomas) Merrill was in the mix Franklin (Futrelle) was right there. We were fortunate to clear traffic and stretch our legs a little bit there at the end. It was a heck of a battle. TA2 racing is awesome. I can't wait to do some more of it."
 
Cameron Lawrence managed to poke the No. 8 3-Dimensional Camaro out front for a few laps, but Skeen was not to be denied. Lawrence finished second in class.
 
“It was a very exciting race, and it was good to lead some laps,” Lawrence said. "I had a good car the first half of the race, and I lost the rear tires towards the end. We tried to deal with Mike the best we could and sort through the traffic, and had another second-place finish.”
 
Seventeen-year-old Jett Noland wrapped up Rookie of the Year honors with his first-career podium finish in the No. 66 Nolands Roofing/Cypress Hunt Ford Mustang. The run also earned Noland the Cool Shirt Cool Move of the Race.
 
“I loved my first year in Trans Am, and hopefully, I will come back next year and do the same,” said Noland. “This has a stock car kind of feel, and that’s the kind of racing I come from. My end goal is to make it to NASCAR.”
 
Noland was followed by Keith Prociuk in the No. 9x HP Tuners/Mike Cope Race Cars Mustang, and J.P. Southern Jr., who wrapped up the Southern Cup title in the No. 61 pitrace.com Camaro.
 
Franklin Futrelle had another impressive run in the No. 58 Meco of Augusta/Greenville Mustang. He was in line for a podium when he pulled off with a cut tire with only two laps remaining. Also falling back in the closing laps was Rafa Matos, who placed 10th in the No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Camaro. Thomas Merrill ran second before a spin, and lost power while running fourth with seven laps remaining in the No. 81 Diehl-Merrill Racing/HPTuners Mustang.
 
NASCAR Hall of Famer Ray Evernham finished 16th in the No. 26 Mike Cope Race Cars Mustang.
 
“Yesterday was my first pro race, my first race in a professional series, and today was my first finish,” said Evernham. “It’s a thrill to be able to do it. I’ve raced for prize money before, in NASCAR modifieds in the 1980s and sprint cars from 2010-12, but yesterday was my first race in a professional series. And today was my first finish. The TA2® is a very good race car. It definitely rewards driver talent, and it penalizes drivers who made mistakes. It rewards driver ability. To me, that’s why Mike Skeen is fantastic.”
 
SGT had a change of leadership with two laps remaining when Justin Oakes came to the pits with a broken rear suspension after leading all the way in the No. 11 Droneworks Corvette. That gave the lead to Mark Brummond, who claimed his second victory of the season in the No. 11 Garage Door Doctor BMW M4 GT4. Adrian Wlostowski took second in the No. 96 F.A.S.T. Ford Mustang, but unofficially fell short in the battle for the championship to third-place finisher Lee Saunders in the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper.

“We bought this car four months ago, and we wanted an affordable series to race in,” Brummond said. “Five races, four podiums, two wins – that’s pretty good for us. (Oakes) had more motor than me, but we just stayed steady and muscled through it. We’ll be back next year.”
 
It was a come-from-behind race for Wlostowski.
 
“I had to check up at the start, spun the car and had to start from the back,” Wlostowski said. “I had a hard fight to second, and a good race to end the season. The crew worked all night to change the clutch.”
 
Saunders’ crew also had a long night, changing the rear end of his Viper.
 
“I think that was enough [for the championship],” Saunders said. “A bunch of guys came up from Lakeland to help us the last two days, and I think they swapped out everything but the driver. “It’s a hearbreak for Adrian, he’s a fantastic competitor.”
 
Billy Griffin wrapped up the GT season with his fourth victory, leading all the way in the No. 14 Griffin Auto Care/Sheehan’s Towing Ford Mustang. Griffin missed three races early in the season before scoring a career-first triumph in his return at Virginia International Raceway. The West Palm Beach, FL driver won the final three rounds of the season.
 
“It was wild, very eventful,” Griffin said. “I was in my mirrors the whole time, keeping an eye on the fast cars getting through their race. Surprisingly, I didn’t get hit once.”
 
John Baucom finished second in his first weekend in GT, driving the No. 86 RoadRaceParts.com Ford Mustang.
 
After unofficially clinching the inaugural XGT championship with his fourth victory of the season, Ken Thwaits did not compete in Sunday’s race. Josh Hill, his lone competition in the class, withdrew after sustaining left-front damage on his No. 15 Audi R8 LMS Ultra in an incident during Thursday’s test day.
 
Richard Grant was the TA Master winner, placing ninth, and his brother, Milton Grant, was the SGT Master winner. The Grant family has now made a combined 498 starts in Trans Am. Doug Peterson was the TA2® Master winner, finishing seventh.
 
Fans are welcome to see the 2020 champions officially crowned at the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli awards night. This year’s celebration will be held virtually in early December. Details on how to witness the ceremony will be announced in the upcoming days.
 
Full Results: www.gotransam.com/standings

By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
When a race team features two 16-year-old drivers named Tyler, addressing them becomes a crucial aspect of team communication. That explains the nicknames.
 
“Mine is T-Gon, his is T-Max,” Tyler Gonzalez said about the monikers used to distinguish him from teammate Tyler Maxson. “For short, it’s T.G. and T.M. most of the time. Together, everybody calls us T’n’T.”
 
It’s not a bad problem to have. After two races this year in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, including last week’s Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 at Sebring International Raceway, Copeland Motorsports is planning a full season in the Pilot Challenge Touring Car (TCR) class in 2021.
 
Judging from the first effort – a runner-up finish in the series debut Oct. 16 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta – the full-season plan holds promise. Especially for two teenagers who love the car they’re driving.
 
“You feel every minute detail in the car,” Maxson said of the team's No. 27 Hyundai Veloster N TCR. “They developed this car in such a way that it gives all the power to the driver. It really is just incredible to drive this thing. It’s really fast, as it’s proven this year. It’s definitely a very, very fast car, and it’s really great for the drivers.” 
 
The idea to field a TCR team came from veteran racer Dean Copeland, whose success as a driver and owner in the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series led to the opportunity to expand. He already had two youngsters in his stable, and he knew they’d work well together at a higher level.
 
“The main thing with both of these kids is they both like the same characteristics in a race car,” Copeland said. “It makes my job easy and makes for a winning duo. The seating position is the same, but they both like the car to handle the same. They have the same driving style – very fast, very up on the wheel. It’s hard to find two drivers with the same style in endurance racing. I’m lucky enough to have that going on.”
 
At their Michelin Raceway debut, Gonzalez started sixth and worked the No. 27 Hyundai into contention. During Maxson’s stint, he took the lead late in the race before settling for a runner-up finish behind the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Hyundai co-driven by Michael Lewis and Mason Filippi.
 
Afterward, the two longtime teammates – the nicknames go back to their karting days – were informally addressed as T-Max and T-Gon.
 
“That’s literally the only way we can differentiate ourselves,” Maxson said with a laugh.
 
The nicknames are likely to last for a time. After finishing 10th in TCR in their second Pilot Challenge race at Sebring, Copeland Motorsports is looking ahead to the full season in 2021 with the two Tylers in the No. 27 car. Copeland also has a sister car planned for at least a part-time TCR schedule. And, with the Mazda MX-5 Cup moving under the IMSA umbrella in 2021, he’ll have his entire fleet of cars at the same tracks much of the time.
 
“We’ll be able to have all of our teams on site at one track at one time,” said Copeland, whose shop is located in Stevensville, Maryland. “That’s exciting for us next year. … Our plan is to run two cars in TCR and have our MX-5 Cup program at the races, so we’ll have quite a few cars at the track. Hopefully, we’ll make a big splash in the IMSA paddock and have some success.” 
 
Both drivers started young, mastering go-karts at an early age and moving up to cars by the time they were 14. Before the move to Pilot Challenge late this season, Maxson won 11 races and the TCR championship in the TC America series driving a Veloster TCR N. Gonzalez, in a Veloster Turbo, won four races in the TCA category. IMSA’s minimum age for drivers is 17, but that can be reduced by one year at the discretion of IMSA officials based on previous experience in organized racing.
 
That experience in karting proved essential to their rapid ascension through the car ranks.
 
“It’s the same thing as riding a bike,” Gonzalez said. “When you learn it when you’re young, you never really forget it. Just the race craft alone; there’s no such thing as karting race craft anywhere else.”
 
What’s promising for the team is promising for the talent.
 
“By the time those kids are 18 years old, they’re going to have two or three years of experience in the IMSA paddock,” Copeland said. “If any manufacturers are looking for pro-level drivers, it’s hard to argue with an 18-year-old kid who’s been winning in IMSA for two-plus seasons already.”

The Music City Grand Prix announced today that the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will bring American muscle to the inaugural 2021 race. Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers will be taking over the track Friday and Saturday for TA2® races during the Music City Grand Prix. The three-day festival of speed, sound, food and fun is scheduled for August 6-8, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.
 
“We are pleased to partner with Music City Grand Prix to bring Trans Am’s TA2® powered by AEM to Nashville,” said John Clagett, president, Trans Am Race Company “TA2® is our fastest-growing class which races some of America’s most iconic muscle cars side-by-side. Nashville is a great city to celebrate American muscle cars—it’s a city that embraces Americana with a touch of nostalgia while offering up high-octane entertainment—Trans Am is that too, and therefore a perfect addition to the event.”
 
Several of Music City Grand Prix’s investors were instrumental in bringing the Trans Am Series race to life. Stanton Barrett, American race car driver, Scott Borchetta, CEO and president, Big Machine Label Group and Justin Marks, former race car driver, will race in the event.
 
“The opportunity to be able to race in the first-ever Music City Grand Prix weekend in the Trans Am Series is a dream come true. Working with the Music City Grand Prix team over the last several years to bring IndyCar back to Nashville has already been very gratifying,” said Borchetta. “Now, knowing that the team and I get to be part of our hometown Grand Prix and get the chance to race through the streets (and across the bridge!) downtown, this weekend has a huge circle around it on all of our calendars!”
 
Music City Grand Prix has already had an opportunity to get involved with the series at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Today, Scott Borchetta and Justin Marks will race, with Marks in a Music City Grand Prix car, at Road Atlanta’s Trans Am Series.
 
“I’m excited to participate in this weekend’s Trans Am Series and, in the process, show my support for the Music City Grand Prix. As a driver, I’m dedicated to sharing my passion for racing,” said Marks. “Getting involved in Music City Grand Prix allows me to do just that while also sharing the best-in-class food, music and entertainment that my hometown serves up.”
 
“Having investors in our event that not only understand racing, but also participate in it is a huge benefit for our team and will be for our fans next August,” said Jason Rittenberry, COO, Music City Grand Prix. “To bring a racing series that allows them to race in Nashville is special.  We can’t wait to have America’s Road Racing Series in the Music City.”
 
Racing fans will feel the new sound of Nashville when Trans Am joins GT Racing to bring even more speed to the NTT INDYCAR® SERIES Music City Grand Prix. If you are interested in securing your seats now before the general public, the Music City Grand Prix is offering two distinctive membership initiatives filled with fantastic annual benefits. For details, please visit www.musiccitygp.com/membership or call (615) 565-4650.
 

Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta was “home sweet home” for Burtin Racing Saturday in the opening round of a season-ending Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli doubleheader weekend. Martin Ragginger edged Tomy Drissi to claim the Atlanta-based team’s second straight 1-2 finish during the SVRA Atlanta SpeedFest. (Race Results)
 
After Chris Dyson stormed to the lead at the start, Ragginger took advantage of  Dyson’s early race mechanical issues to take the lead on lap 13 in the No. 17 Gin Amade Chevrolet Camaro and led the rest of the way in the 100-mile event, edging teammate Tomy Drissi by just 0.174-seconds at the checkered flag.
 
“My crew worked so hard for me to take the victory,” Ragginger said. “They deserve it more than I do. Everything went as planned. We had a good qualifying and a good race. I had quite a good lead. At the end we wanted to get a good picture of Burtin Racing 1-2 at the finish, so I slowed up. I just want to thank the whole team of Burtin Racing for giving me an amazing car, we've been fast all weekend, so I am looking forward to Sunday's race."
 
Burtin Racing finished 1-2 at Road Atlanta with Lawrence Loshak and Drissi in 2019.
 
“There are no team orders here,” said Atlanta-based car owner Claudio Burtin. “The best car and the best driver were going to win.”
 
With championship leader Ernie Francis Jr. retiring after only two laps, Drissi was looking to cut into a once-commanding 43-point lead.
 
“Ernie didn’t get hurt too bad, but we’re making it interesting,” said Drissi. “That kid, and that team, deserve everything they can get that’s good. But I don’t want it to come down to bad luck – I want to win it straight up in a fight.”
 
Ragginger has been the best man all weekend, leading practice and qualifying, although Dyson gave him a scare at the start. The New Yorker got the jump at the start and led the opening 12 circuits in the No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang. Dyson spun in Turn 6 on the following lap, and retired shortly thereafter with power steering failure.
 
Ragginger led the rest of the way for his first overall victory and second career Trans Am triumph in four starts. He took a TA3 International class victory at the 2015 Daytona finale in his series debut.
 
After blowing an engine in qualifying, Francis parked his No. 98 ZF Concept Concepts Ford Mustang after only two laps with clutch problems. Entering the race with a commanding 43-point lead, Drissi now unofficially closed the gap to 31 points entering Sunday’s finale, a 100-mile race for all five classes.
 
"We've had a tough weekend, a tough year really,” Francis Jr. said. “We had a clutch issue with the car but luckily we were able to take the green flag and get a few laps in for points which helps us out. We are digging into it, going to get it all fixed up, and ready for tomorrow to try and take it home to finish this thing."
 
Boris Said followed Drissi through traffic in the closing laps to take third in the No. 2 Weaver Racing/SRI Performance Dodge Challenge, finishing 1.108-seconds back at the checkered flag.
 
"I feel alright about a third-place finish," commented Said. "This car was good enough to win. I just didn't do the best job I could out there today. This is the most nervous I've been in a race. My son [Boris Said IV]  is about to go out for his first race in a Miata, so it's a completely different feeling for me. But, what a track. The Trans Am cars are great, 850hp around here is an unbelievable ride. It's a blast running with these guys."
 
Justin Marks took fourth in the No. 99 Trackhouse Camaro, followed by Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Company Corvette.
 
Kerry Hitt was the Masters winner, placing eighth in the No. 19 Advanced Composite Products Cadillac CS-V.
 
Dyson will start Sunday’s combined race on pole by virtue of recording the fastest race lap, 1:20.382-seconds, followed by Ragginger, Drissi and Said.
 
Ken Thwaits ran an uneventful race, leading all the way in XGT in the No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Audi R8 GT3 Ultra. The win secured the inaugural XGT title, unofficially.
 
“You never know if you’re going to get a yellow – so you can get a rest – but not this time,” Thwaits said. “Justin Oakes and I had a good battle at the beginning, but traffic allowed me to get a gap on him. Then the TA cars started coming through, and it was give and take. I am the first XGT champion – we finished all nine races this year.”
 
Justin Oakes dominated SGT in the No. 11 Droneworks Corvette. After finishing third in XGT in his Trans Am debut at Circuit of The Americas, Oakes changed to an SGT-specification engine. He also secured the Cool Shirt award.
 
“I started racing six months ago,” Oakes said. “This was my first win, and yesterday was my first pole. It just went great. We knew our pace was fast, so we just maintained it and saved the tires in case we got a double-yellow. We had a pretty big margin, so we’re very happy with that.”
 
Lou Gigliotti finished second in the No. 28 G2 Performance Corvette, 31.189-seconds seconds back.
 
Lee Saunders entered the race with a five-point lead over Adrian Wlostowski in the SGT class. Saunders took third in the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper, followed by Mark Brummond in the No., 24 Garage Door Doctor BMW M4 GT4. Wlostowski took fifth in the No. 96 F.A.S.T Auto Mustang, and now unofficially trails by 10 points entering the finale.
 
Milton Grant was the SGT Masters winner, placing seventh in the No. 55 Sentry Self Storage Porsche 911.1 GT3 Cup.
 
Billy Griffin unofficially secured the GT championship with a flag-to-flag victory in the No. 14 Griffin Auto Care/Sheehan’s Towing Ford Mustang. Griffin entered the race trailing Tim Horrell by 18 points, but Horrell did not compete in the finale due to mechanical issues with his Porsche GT4 Clubsport.
 
“I love it [on the top step of the podium] and it gets better and better every time,” Griffin said. “This was for the championship as well. The car ran great. We had a little bit of car trouble but we fixed it last night. We were here ‘til almost midnight, but we fixed it and the car was awesome. The track was very busy. Today was the most I ever looked in the mirrors, for sure.”
 
In an all-Ford Mustang GT podium, Dan Schlickenmeyer made his Trans Am debut by taking second in the No. 37 Griggs Racing/Bath County Collision Ford Mustang, followed by John Baucom in the No. 86 Mustang. Baucom was running in GT for the first time after competing in TA since 2001.
 
Thwaits, Oakes and Griffin earned poles for their respective classes by virtue of setting the fastest race laps.
 
The TA2® powered by AEM will race at 4:00 p.m. ET today. All five classes will be combined in Sunday’s season finale, set top take the green flag for 40 laps, 100 miles, at noon ET. Download the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App to live stream the races: https://nagrasports.app.link/lIQjdAuxq7

Mike Skeen unofficially wrapped up the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2® powered by AEM championship with a thrilling flag-to-flag victory in the Atlanta Speed Tour season semifinal at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Saturday.
 
With the sun setting in the background, Cameron Lawrence made a pass to the outside of Skeen in Turn 3 to take the lead in a late restart with only two laps remaining. Undeterred, Skeen fought back and regained the lead in Turn 7, and went on to win by 0.867-seconds in the No. 77 LiquiMoly/Turn 14 Distribution Chevrolet Camaro.
 
The victory marked Skeen’s fifth win of the season. He now has an insurmountable 57-point lead (unofficially) over Rafa Matos, who finished third. This would be the second-consecutive title for
Team owner Joe Stevens, who also won last year with Marc Miller.
 
The nine-race campaign comes to a close at noon ET on Sunday with a 100-mile race for all five Trans Am classes. Skeen will start from the TA2® pole by virtue of scoring the fastest race lap of 1:25-159-seconds.

“That thing felt like it would never end,” Skeen said, after having to make three restarts following yellow flag periods. “I had an awesome LiquiMolly car from Stevens-Miller car. Like they’ve done all year, they’ve given me a fantastic piece. It’s been an awesome weekend. We’ve had incredible piece all weekend long, but I was afraid I’d get jumped on one of the late restarts. Cameron had a killer run on that last one, and I thought it was over. I didn’t want to fight him too hard into Turn 1, but he had a little mistake in Turn 7 and I was able to slip by again. That puts an exclamation point on the championship!”
 
Lawrence finished second in the No. 8 3-Dimensional Services Ford Mustang.
 
"The 3-Dimensional Services Peterson Racing guys gave me a great car," Lawrence said. "We were disappointed with where we qualified yesterday. We knew we had a car that could run up front, but it's good when you're disappointed with fourth place in qualifying when you have such good guys in front of you. The guys made some awesome changes. It's been a fun year, crazy it's almost over. We are going to give it one more go tomorrow to see if we can get one more step higher on the podium."
 
Matos ran second for the opening seven laps before losing the position to Lawrence, with TA2® rookie Franklin Futrelle getting by on a restart six laps later. Matos held on, regaining the podium on the late-race restart.
 
"Today was one of the hardest races I've ever raced in my life," Matos said. "Those guys were pushing me to the edge. Hats off to my team, Silver Hare Racing, for once again making it happen. These guys gave me a car to fight for the championship and I truly appreciate that. It's been a fantastic year, and hopefully next year will bring bigger and better things."
 
Thomas Merrill, running without his left-front fender, finished fourth in the No. 81 Diehl-Merrill /HPT Tuners/Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang.

Futrelle took fifth in his TA2® debut, driving the No. 58 B2 Motorsports Ford Mustang. Futrelle made impressive passes to the outside of both Lawrence and Matos, and ran as high as second before Lawrence managed to get by. Futrelle then lost a podium finish on the final restart, and was shuffled back another position on the final lap.

 
A veteran of open-wheel competition – winning the 2008 Formula Renault SCCA National Championship – Futrelle took the last five years off to concentrate on his business.
 
“Covid was driving me crazy, so I came back,” said the driver from Augusta, GA, who was cheered on by 40 friends and family members. “It’s beyond our expectations to have the race that we did-- the top 10 guys in this field are incredible. This is all new to us. We’ve never even run a whole fuel load through the car and we knew there would be adversity that I am not used to as far as endurance racing goes in terms of brake fade and managing tire wear. I only see us getting better from here. There were a couple of lapped cars between us at the restart which was kind of strange, but that’s what they said it was going to be in the driver meeting so it is what it is. We will learn from it and see if we can get a couple notches up next time and be on the podium.”
 
Another great drive was turned in by Keith Prociuk, who came from the back of the field and finished sixth in the No. 9 HP Tuners /Mike Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang. He missed the most recent event at Circuit of The Americas due to a migraine on race day.
 
Doug Peterson was the Masters winner, placing seventh in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang.
 
Up-and-coming NASCAR driver Connor Mosack was running sixth in the No. 96 M1 Racecars Camaro, but pulled off in the closing laps due to overheating.
 
TA West contender Michelle Abbate finished 15th in her National debut in the No. 20 BC Race Cars Camaro.
 
NASCAR Hall of Famer Ray Evernham made his Trans Am debut in the No. 26 Mike Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang and ran as high as 23rd.
 
Download the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App to live stream Sunday’s 40-lap race that starts at noon ET    https://nagrasports.app.link/lIQjdAuxq7.

If you're anything like myself, you've taken to reading these author profiles in the hope that one day, somehow, you'll recognize the name of the author. Heck, you might even be a fan of theirs. If that's the case, then you're in luck! Today, we are pleased to interview an actual racecar driver; one who has appeal in not only the world of NASCAR, but sportscars as well!

Since the first season of Speedway Digest Thursday Night Thunder, we have had the opportunity to work with Waldorf Publishing to get to know some of their authors, many of whom have a passion not only for the written word, but for speed!

My co-host Mykkal Mulalley-Kapalo and myself have been grateful to the teams and racers that we have spoken with on the program, and during this unparalleled pandemic, we hope to provide you, our readers, listeners, and fans, a little snippet into some of the people who help make this the greatest sport in the world. This week, we are pleased to get to chat with another author whose love for the written word has inspired readers all over the world.
 
Today, we take you on a cavalcade through the motorsports world with Stanton Barrett!
 
What was your first car? 1988 Toyota 4x4 Truck 

What do you drive now? (I don’t know if it is good to list all my cars, what I will do is list a few and you can pick what to put, think it would be weird to list all 8 of them) Range Rover Sport, Jaguar F-Pace Diesel Sport, Chevy Silverado 

What is your dream car that you wish to own? I never did have a dream car.  Coming from the stunt world I get to drive and crash all kinds of cool cars and not so cool cars.  Then I’ve been fortunate to drive the coolest things from IndyCars to Monster Cup cars, IMSA, TransAm and so many different race cars.  Race cars are my dream cars and passion as well. 

Do you see yourself ever buying a battery operated car? I do want to have a battery operated truck when they come out and have the range that I need for my extensive driving, which often consist of long distances.  
 
If you went on a road trip, what book would you bring? It would be a history book and a Bible.  

What do you think about Elon Musk and his advances in technology? The technology and leader of innovation related to modern travel or transpiration has been a monumental endeavor that has benefited the entire human race. 
 
 
Stay tuned for more insights into the amazing authors of Waldorf Publishing in the coming weeks.
 
To learn more about Stanton Barrett, follow him on social media:
Facebook
IG
Twitter
@stantonbarrett 
 

A new study from money.co.uk recently took on the greatest drivers in Formula 1 history.

To see how some of the greatest drivers in history stack up against each other, they analyzed the performance of over 700 drivers from Formula 1's 70-year history to see how they performed in 9 different categories including career win%, championship points per race (adjusted for the current scoring system), and 2nd and 3rd place podium finishes to score and rank, on balance, the best drivers of all time.

What about Reliability and Manufacturer Bias?

To account for manufacturer reliability and performance, they accounted for the percentage of races where drivers were forced to retire due to mechanical issues as well as drivers' average number of points per race (adjusted) vs teammates over the duration of their careers.

They’ve outlined the top 10 below, but you can find the top 50 here: https://www.money.co.uk/ guides/best-formula-one- drivers

Top 10 greatest drivers of all time:

  1. Lewis Hamilton - 92.2 points
  2. Juan Manuel Fangio - 91.6 points
  3. Michael Schumacher - 86.4 points
  4. Jim Clark - 78.5 points
  5. Alberto Ascari - 78.4 points
  6. Alain Prost - 77.1 points
  7. Ayrton Senna - 70.7 points
  8. Jackie Stewart - 70.0 points
  9. Sebastian Vettel - 68.4 points
  10. Niki Lauda - 61.1 points

By equalling Schumacher's record of 7 championship wins, Lewis Hamilton surpasses Juan Manuel Fangio in our F1 driver rankings.

They also highlighted the top 10 drivers by career win % and career points (adjusted for current scoring system) below, but you can find all the data for the top 50 drivers here.

Top 10 drivers by career win %

  1. Juan Manuel Fangio - 47.1%
  2. Alberto Ascari - 40.6%
  3. Lewis Hamilton - 35.6%
  4. Jim Clark - 34.7%
  5. Michael Schumacher - 29.6%
  6. Jackie Stewart - 27.3%
  7. Alain Prost - 25.6%
  8. Ayrton Senna - 25.5%
  9. Stirling Moss - 24.2%
  10. Sebastian Vettel - 20.9%

Most total career points (adjusted)

  1. Lewis Hamilton - 4,127 (15.6 per start)
  2. Michael Schumacher - 3,961 (12.9 per start)
  3. Sebastian Vettel - 3,240 (12.8 per start)
  4. Kimi Räikkönen - 2,820 (8.6 per start)
  5. Fernando Alonso - 2,761 (8.8 per start)
  6. Alain Prost - 2,502.5 (12.6 per start)
  7. Ayrton Senna - 1,875.5 (11.6 per start)
  8. Nico Rosberg - 1,757 (8.5 per start)
  9. Nelson Piquet - 1,689 (8.3 per start)
  10. Nigel Mansell - 1,521 (8.1 per start)

 

Methodology

  • We analysed driver performance on a range of data points that are typically associated with success (detailed below) across the duration of their careers.
  • To mitigate manufacturer bias (i.e. cars with superior engineering) we took into consideration drivers average points per start vs their teammates.
  • We also looked at the % of races where drivers were forced to retire due to a mechanical fault to account for improved reliability.
  • Findings were scored and weighted using a min-max normalisation formula with final rankings weighted towards championship wins, reliability, and team performance to emphasise performance against peers and avoid manufacturer bias.

Win %, Championship Wins, Points Per Start, Podium %, Pole %, Fastest Laps, Mechanical DNF %, Average Points Vs Teammate

Sources
Statsf1.com, Formulapoints.com, Formula1.com, Racing-statistics.com
Caveats
Only drivers with more than 10 career points (adjusted) or 21 GP starts (length of 2019 season) were considered

 

Reposted with permission from the author. You can find the original post at https://www.money.co.uk/guides/best-formula-one-drivers

OPTIMA® Batteries, a leading brand of Clarios, awarded CB Ramey’s 1987 Chevrolet Corvette as the 2020 Ultimate Street Car Invitational Champion at the 13th annual OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational, presented by Advance Auto Parts, at Circuit of the Americas.

“This was incredible in every way.  I am very thankful for such a great event, to OPTIMA, FM3, all the folks who helped put it on, and sponsors to make this all come together,” said CB Ramey, first-time winner of the OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational. “I am blessed to have great friends, experts, vendors, and competitors. I could not have done it without all of their help this year, and we’ll be bringing all that and more back next year!  Cannot wait!”

“Back for its 13th year, the Invitational has continued to showcase the absolute best all-around street cars in the world," said Cam Douglass, Director of Marketing at OPTIMA Batteries, Clarios. “This year was no different. We saw so many new cars and fierce competition at the finale event at COTA. Competitors really showed up from all over the country to compete for the title at the iconic racetrack to end this year’s series.”

The 2020 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational put competitors and their vehicles to the test through a series of challenges, including the Lucas Oil Road Rally, QA1 Autocross, Falken Tire Road Course Time Trial, PowerStop Speed Stop Challenge, and the Lingenfelter Design and Engineering Competition. Each competitor received points as they competed in the challenges; their scores were totaled to determine the winner in each category. This year, Jake Rozelle took second place overall, competing in a 2003 Chevrolet Corvette, and Paul Curley came in third place in a 2003 Chevrolet Corvette.

The top three winners for the individual competitions are listed below:

QA1 Autocross
· First place: Scot Spiewak, 2003 Chevrolet Corvette
· Second place: Austin Barnes, 2009 Chevrolet Corvette
· Third place: Paul Curley, 2003 Chevrolet Corvette

Falken Tire Hot Lap Challenge
· First place: Jake Rozelle, 2003 Chevrolet Corvette
· Second place: CB Ramey, 1987 Chevrolet Corvette
· Third place: Paul Curley, 2003 Chevrolet Corvette

PowerStop Brakes Speed Stop Challenge
· First place: Clay Shearer, 2015 Porsche 911 Turbo S
· Second place: Robert DeuPree, 2013 Lamborghini Gallardo
· Third place: Paul Curley, 2003 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Lingenfelter Performance Design and Engineering Competition
· First place: Chris Smith, 1970 Chevrolet Camaro
· Second place: Cliff Elliott, 2016 Ford Mustang GT
· Third place: Jim Stehlin, 1973 Chevrolet Camaro and Jonathan Blevins, 2008 Ford Shelby GT500

The 2020 OPTIMA Ultimate Street Car Invitational will be broadcast on MAVTV on December 11 at 8 p.m. ET and re-airing at 11p.m. ET.

For more information about the OPTIMA Invitational and the 2021 OPTIMA Search for the Ultimate Street Car Series, please visit DriveOPTIMA.com

VP Racing Fuels’ involvement with the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires dates back to the program’s inception in 2010 and was enhanced in 2016 when it became the exclusive fuel supplier for all three levels of the driver development ladder system. For 2021, VP’s role as the Official Fuel will again expand to include designation as the Official Lubricant and Coolant through 2025 for Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

In addition to VP Racing Engine Oil and VP Racing Gear Oil, the partnership includes VP Racing’s new line of Stay Frosty® Performance Engine Coolants – fully-formulated engine coolants that provide greater heat transfer in order to remain cool, prevent overheating and allow performance at optimal levels. Stay Frosty® is the Official Performance Coolant of IMSA.

Founded in 1975, the San Antonio, Texas-based company has developed an extensive involvement and dedication to motorsports with over 60 race series worldwide including Official Race Series Partnerships with IMSA, NHRA, World of Outlaws and USAC in addition to the karting ranks. Its product line includes over 80 race-proven fuels, lubricants and coolants.

“We are proud to not only continue but expand our relationship with VP across our three series for another five years,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “Their passion for motorsports and commitment to quality is unrivaled. We also look forward to mapping out the expanded list of deliverables between our two companies, which will offer benefits in several new areas to our competitors.”

The 2021 season will see VP Racing Fuels race entitlements within the ladder series, at-track product displays, an expanded social media program, original content featuring Road to Indy drivers, adverts during live streaming race coverage and the addition of a season-ending VP cash award. With market competitive pricing, competitors will also see a cost-saving on all Official VP Racing Fuels products.

“We are excited to expand our relationship with the Road to Indy beyond our industry-leading race fuels, with our Stay Frosty® coolants and VP Racing Lubricants,” said Bruce Hendel, Vice President of North American Sales – Race Fuel and Consumer Products for VP Racing Fuels. “Our water-based, glycol-free race-ready coolant reduces engine temps up to 25°F and cylinder head temps up to 75°F. And our hi-performance street version also lowers engine and cylinder temps. Reducing engine temperatures improves power and reliability, while our specially formulated Racing Oils provide ultimate engine protection for Road to Indy race teams and fans alike.”

VP’s diverse portfolio includes specialty fuels for both private and public sector drone usage, supplying both commercial and military customers. It also added the production of a new VP hand sanitizer formula, with World Health Organization recommendations and guidance from the FDA and CDC, to assist its customers and partners during the pandemic, which is utilized in the Road to Indy paddock.

The 2021 schedule for all three levels of the Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will commence with an annual Spring Training outing at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla., on February 22-24 followed by the season-opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., on March 5-7 in support of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.

American muscle returns to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta this weekend for a championship showdown with an action-packed weekend of Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli racing staged as part of the  Atlanta SpeedTour event (November 19-22). 
 
With the recent cancelation announcement of the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the deeply talented TA2® powered by AEM field will now have just two races to determine the  champion after a dynamic 2020 season that first kicked off at Sebring in March. (Tickets)
 

In the doubleheader finale, 70 points are still up for grabs, including a possible 10 bonus points- three bonus points for snagging each pole position in qualifying and extra points in each race for leading a lap and leading the most laps. 

Pole position for Sunday's race will be based on the fastest race lap set in Saturday's 100-mile feature. (Live Stream)
 
Leading the TA2® title chase is Stevens-Miller Racing pilot Mike Skeen (No. 77 Liqui Moly/Turn 14 Distribution Ford Mustang).
 
Despite having to make a chassis change mid-season when a fiery crash at Road America left his Camaro beyond repair, Skeen’s consistent performance has positioned him 37 points ahead of second-place contender Rafa Matos. Skeen has been reliably rapid, with four victories further bolstered by two additional podium visits.
 
Having headed the tables since taking a Sebring win to open the year, the change of schedule doesn’t change Skeens approach as he looks forward to the Road Atlanta weekend.  
 
“The cancelation doesn’t really change our strategy,” explained Skeen. “If anything, it takes a little pressure off as there are fewer opportunities for something to happen and derail our efforts toward winning the championship. My goal this weekend is to win some more races and if we can make it through Saturday without an incident, we will be pretty safe going into the final round.”
 
But, if there’s anyone on the grid who is looking to turn the tables this weekend, it is 2018 champion Matos. Matos is hot off a win in the No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro at Circuit of The Americas, and backing up his first victory of the season is four additional podium visits, one of which saw him start 25th and storm to a third-place result.
 
Matos has proven that it doesn’t matter where he’s gridded in the starting lineup, he’s a threat for podium contention, especially at Road Atlanta. Matos remains undefeated in TA2® on the 2.54-mile road course, securing the win from pole-position in 2018 and following it up with another victory in 2019.
 
“This championship is far from over, the victory at COTA reassured that the Silver Hare team is going to be very well prepared for this last stretch of the championship,” said Matos. “As a driver, I’m super excited to be in the hunt. I have won Road Atlanta in the last two years and would be nice to have another win. Now with the double header, it’s going to be a huge weekend for the points.”
 
Now, with just two rounds remaining, a perfect points weekend while holding Skeen to a scoreless pair of races is the only chance that Cameron Lawrence (No.8 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang) has at being a three-time champion. Entering the finale, Lawrence trails Skeen by 64 points.
 
Though, if 2020 has thought anything it is to always be ready for the unexpected to happen. Lawrence’s return to TA2® has not been without its obstacles, but his end-of-season run is on an uptick. At CoTA, the Peterson Racing driver finished with a solid second-place result, his fourth podium of the season, and just last week Lawrence won big at Sebring in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.
 
While another title is mathematically possible for Lawrence, ending his season with a victory is more probable and his top focus for Atlanta.
 
“I certainly hope the Trans Am podium at COTA and IMSA Sebring win will be good momentum going into Road Atlanta,” Lawrence said. “The guys at Peterson Racing have been improving car setup every weekend and Road America, VIR and COTA is a testament to that. I’ve done well in the past at Road Atlanta so hopefully we can move up one more spot on the podium.”
 
Though Skeen, Matos and Lawrence are battling for a title, they have a stacked field of competition entered on the weekend who are happy to help take that fight down to the wire, as past winners like Thomas Merrill, Scott Lagasse and Misha Goikhberg are quite capable of swooping in and stealing valuable points from the championship campaigners.
 
Returning to the roster is the Canadian duo of Goikhberg and BC Race Cars. Last season under the BC Race Cars banner, Goikhberg (No. 10 BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro) edged Matos out of a pole-position start at Road Atlanta. This season, he’s armed with a new teammate in West Coast TA2® Vice Champion elect Michele Abbate as she makes her National Trans Am debut this weekend with BC Race Cars.
 
"I truly cannot put into words how thrilled and thankful I am for this opportunity,” said Abbate. “I am most excited to be driving for Blaise and Penny of BC Racecars because the amount of knowledge, experience, and prep work that their entire team puts into their program is bar none.  Their results speak for themselves and the experience will be invaluable to me as a driver.

"I will literally have everything I need to set me up for success and I am more than excited to capitalize on the opportunity to learn throughout the weekend,” continued Abbate. “It will be really great to see how I compare to the national tour drivers in this set up - unlike my much older chassis that we are running in the West Coast.”
 
The Atlanta SpeedTour event starts on Thursday, November 19 with testing. The official weekend commences on Friday, November 20 with practice in the morning followed by qualifying in the afternoon starting with the Trans Am class at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Saturday begins with the TA/XGT/SGT/GT race at 10:45 a.m. Eastern followed by the TA2® powered by AEM feature at 3:55 p.m. Eastern. The combined class finale will take the green on Sunday at noon Eastern.

The Atlanta SpeedTour is open to fans. Tickets are available at: SpeedTour.net.
All three races will be live streamed (starting Saturday) on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App. Download here: https://nagrasports.app.link/lIQjdAuxq7
 
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