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  

  

 

With Bike Week in full swing at the world center of racing, Bell Helmets announced the launch of the 2019 Seasonal 1 series of helmets featuring new designs for some of their most popular models.

Among the new designs are collaborations with Fasthouse, on a new design for the Moto 9 FLEX, and Roland Sands Design on a new SRT Modular. In addition to these collaborations, the new line includes a handful of additional graphics that riders will love.

These and other helmets are available on their website.

Street: https://www.bellhelmets.com/en/c/street-bike-helmets

Dirt: https://www.bellhelmets.com/c/dirt-bike-helmets

On a hot and muggy day at Sebring International Raceway – one of the most physically demanding road courses in the world – it was one of the few cars in the IMSA Prototype Challenge field with only one driver that came away with the checkered flag Thursday.
 
Stevan McAleer battled the heat and Sebring’s notorious bumps to score the victory in the No. 43 Robillard Racing Norma M30 by 11.355 seconds over the No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports Norma M30 of Austin McCusker and Rodrigo Pflucker.
 
It was an adjustment on a speedy pit stop that helped propel McAleer to the win. Pitting from the second position during a series of green flag pit stops with 48 minutes remaining, the Robillard Racing crew made quick work in the pits and by the time the sequence of stops cycled through with 39 minutes remaining, McAleer found himself in the lead over McCusker, whose co-driver Pflucker led all but one lap in the race’s opening hour.
 
“We made a tire pressure adjustment for the second one and I said the kid in first in the 47 car [Pflucker], I really didn't have much for him at the start,” said McAleer. “Once we put the new tires on, we did a pressure change and it really, really, really helped balance the car. I'll be honest with you, I had a blast. The Muehlner guys for sure killed the pit stop. I'm super happy for the team.
 
“A really cute story, Sebring was my first ever race in America back in 2006 and ever since then I fell in love with it. It is my favorite track in the world.”
 
The runner-up finish for McCusker and Pflucker was the duo’s second consecutive to start the season and moved the Forty7 Motorsports team to the top of the series standings. It continues an impressive stretch for the No. 47 entry dating back to 2018 when McCusker and then-co-driver TJ Fischer scored four podium finishes and two wins in six races, finishing second in the series standings. Pflucker started the Sebring event from the pole after earning the top spot in qualifying earlier Thursday morning.
 
“I think we got jumped in the pits,” said McCusker. “I don't know if it was my out lap or if we were slow in the pits. From there on he started to inch a little bit on us, a second or two after the gap in the pits. But I'm happy with where we're at. Second on the podium. Points lead. Can't complain.”
 
The No. 23 Alianza/Gilbert Motorsports Norma M30 and Anthony Simone seemed poised to score its first podium of the season late in the race, but slowed on track with 11 minutes remaining. The No. 26 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3 of James McGuire and Matthew Bell capitalized on the No. 23’s misfortune to round out the podium. Bell set the fastest lap of the race with a lap of one minute, 58.352 seconds.
 
Five different teams took the top five positions in the race with the No. 4 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P3 of Blake Mount and Max Hanratty and the father-son duo of David and Dylan Murry in the No. 54 MLT Motorsports Ligier JS P3 rounding out the top five.
 
Finishing 11th, but winning the Bronze Cup as the highest-running Bronze-only driver lineup was Jonatan Jorge, and his P1 Motorsports co-driver Joel Janco. It was the second consecutive race the “JJ” duo stood on the top step of the podium after also winning the Bronze Cup at Daytona in January, but this one was a bit more challenging with Jorge battling food poisoning coming into the event.
 
“The champagne is helping,” joked Jorge after the race. “It was a bit of a long night for sure. I’m just happy for Joel and the team to be up on top, the car was very good today. The track kind of got away from us a bit at the middle there so we had to adapt, but I’ll tell you what, it feels good to be here.”
All IMSA Prototype Challenge races are shown on NBCSN throughout the season with the Sebring broadcast scheduled for Thursday, March 28 at 2 p.m. ET.

ProX Racing Parts was well represented on a pair of big stages over the weekend where Pro Circuit Racing’s Austin Forkner picked up his fourth win in five races at the Daytona Supercross and Tayla Jones took the checkered flag at the Big Boar GNCC in nearby Palatka.

 

Forkner was consistently fast throughout the day at Daytona International Speedway and went on to win his heat race by over 17 seconds heading into Saturday night’s main event for the Eastern Regional 250SX Class.

 

The rider of the ProX-sponsored No. 24 Kawasaki KX250 snagged the holeshot for the main event before yielding the point and slipping back to third. It didn’t take long for Forkner to reel in the top two and by Lap 3, he was back on top of the leaderboard.

 

As the laps clicked off, Forkner held down the top spot but not without pressure from the competition. GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton turned in an impressive effort and had his sights set on the leader, but it was Forkner who took the checkers and treated the boisterous crowd to a post-race burnout on the pavement in the middle of Daytona’s famed tri-oval.

 

"It was tough," Forkner said of the demanding Ricky-Carmichael designed race course. "Just not making mistakes was one of the biggest things. I honestly didn't feel like I was going super-fast. Just every rhythm, every jump, every lap was perfect - that was the key.

 

“This is like a dream come true to win the Daytona supercross! The track and fans here are so unique and unlike anything else … Tonight was a night I will remember forever. I have never gotten to do a burnout on the pavement. I was just holding it wide open as the crowd was cheering me on.”

 

An hour north of Daytona, the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) kicked off its season at the fifth annual Big Boar GNCC where Tayla Jones defeated some of the best women motorcycle racers the industry has to offer in Sunday morning’s WXC Class race.

 

The savvy Australian was strong out of the blocks, played it smart throughout the two-hour endurance contest and went on to pick up her eighth-career GNCC victory.

 

“It was great to get the first one in the books and take home the win in Florida,” Jones said via her Instagram account. “The track was fun, and I had a great time. A few too many crashes but we are all good and ready for Georgia this weekend to do it all again! A big thank you to all of my awesome sponsors who make it possible for me to go racing.”

 

The 2019 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Championship resumes this weekend, in Washington, Ga., with the Specialized General GNCC.

 

Monster Energy AMA Supercross series visits the “Racing Capital of the World” this weekend for its annual tilt at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The 11th of 17 races of the 2019 supercross championship calendar will be televised on a same-day-delayed basis on NBCSN Saturday, March 16 beginning at 11 p.m. Eastern Daytlight Time, 8 p.m. Pacific.

Don’t look now, but the defending IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge champions are back on top.
 
Owen Trinkler delivered the first Motul Pole Award for Team TGM driving the No. 46 Mercedes-AMG GT4 on Thursday evening, recording a best lap time of two minutes, 10.521 seconds (102.066 mph) in the Grand Sport (GS) class.
 
The Nashville native, who is defending his GS title alongside his 2018 co-driver Hugh Plumb, will lead the 43-car field to green on Friday at Sebring International Raceway.
 
The two-hour Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 will be streamed live on IMSA.tv beginning at noon ET.
 
Not only was this the first Motul Pole Award for Trinkler since 2009 – being a rare starting driver over the years – this was also the second pole position for the Mercedes-AMG GT4 in the Pilot Challenge. Additionally, Friday’s race will mark Trinkler’s 150th start in the series.
 
“We worked all weekend so far in our practices on long runs, but we made a change right before qualifying to make it look quick for one lap,” said Trinkler. “I told the guys, ‘Give me one lap and if it’s a clear lap, we’ve got a good shot at the pole.’ I’m so happy for these guys at TGM and Ted (Giovanis) and Joe (Varde) and Hugh and everybody on this team to get our first pole. It means a lot.
 
“I mean the AMG GT4, man, that’s a beautiful car. It’s an awesome car and I’m so happy to be in that product and AMG Mercedes, what they do for us. We’ll have some fun tomorrow and see what we can do.”
 
The GS qualifying session was red flagged with five minutes remaining due to an incident and did not resume. Kuno Wittmer will start second in the No. 75 Compass Racing McLaren GT4 that he shares with Paul Holton and with whom he also won the first race of the season at Daytona. Starting third will be Tyler McQuarrie in the No. 39 Audi R8 GT4 for Carbahn Motorsports with co-driver Jeff Westphal.
 
Thursday Practice Times Foreshadow Motul Pole Award for JDC-Miller and Casey, Jr.
If the No. 17 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi RS3 LMS TCR wasn’t already a threat to win the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 in the TCR class before Thursday, they sure are now.
 
After his co-driver Mikey Taylor posted the fastest laps in the first two practice sessions, Britt Casey, Jr. earned the Motul Pole Award with the quickest lap time of the 15-car TCR field at two minutes, 13.751 seconds (99.601 mph). This is the second consecutive Motul Pole Award at Sebring and fourth Pilot Challenge pole in Casey, Jr.’s career.
 
“We’re sitting on pole, two years in a row at Sebring,” said Casey, Jr. “One of my favorite tracks to be honest. It’s brutal on the drivers, it’s brutal on the cars and I think it really matters taking care of your equipment so hey, we’re here now and we’re clicking pretty good going into tomorrow.”
 
Lined up outside the front row for the team’s second Pilot Challenge start is the No. 84 Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic with starting driver Brian Henderson and team owner Todd Lamb sharing driving duties. Making it three different manufacturers in the top three starting spots is the No. 98 Hyundai Veloster N for Bryan Herta Autosport and with qualifying driver Mark Wilkins and Tom Dyer.  
Nighttime is the right time for Corvette Racing, or at least it was on Thursday in practice for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts.
 
While the day’s fastest times in the other three IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship classes were set during one of the two daytime sessions, Antonio Garcia posted the fastest GT Le Mans (GTLM) time of the day at 1:56.954 inside the final 30 minutes of what was a 90-minute night practice session in preparation for the once-around-the-clock race set to start at 10:30 a.m. ET Saturday.
 
The evening speed may bode well for Garcia and co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller, as they’re also competing in Friday’s FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) 1000 Miles of Sebring. The qualifying session for that race – which starts at 4 p.m. ET and is expected to last approximately eight hours – followed WeatherTech Championship night practice.
 
“The good thing about this is, even if we had some misses earlier in practice, we went back out and followed the plan,” Garcia said. “For sure, this was a qualifying run towards the WEC. This is maybe the only advantage we have, knowing we can do this right away before qualifying. Let’s see if the other car behaves exactly the same, because if it does, we might have a good chance.”
 
The fastest overall time of the day came in the afternoon session, when Olivier Pla lapped the 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway circuit at 1:46.834 in the No. 55 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P DPi machine. Pla and his co-drivers – Jonathan Bomarito and Harry Tincknell – also are pulling double duty, racing for Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK in the WEC race.
 
Matt McMurry led all three LMP2 practice sessions, but his best lap was a 1:50.877 set this morning. He’s sharing the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA with Gabriel Aubry and Anders Fjorback.
 
And in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, the fastest time of the day went to Bill Auberlen in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3. Auberlen’s best lap from the afternoon session was 2:00.583 in the car he will co-drive with Robby Foley and Dillon Machavern.
 
Friday’s WeatherTech Championship schedule calls for a fourth practice session from 8 to 9:25 a.m. ET, followed by qualifying from 9:55 to 11 a.m. ET. The qualifying session will be streamed live with IMSA Radio commentary on IMSA.tv. 
Are you ready to rock? I said, ARE YOU READY TO ROCK?
 
Tristan Nunez is, which is a good thing, since he’s got a lot of rocking and rolling to do over the next day-and-a-half at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. Friday morning, Nunez will be doing his day job, which is co-driving the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P DPi car with Oliver Jarvis and Timo Bernhard.
 
That includes qualifying for Saturday’s legendary 12-hour race, and Nunez has a good shot, as the team was strong in practice on Thursday. Qualifying starts at 9:55 a.m. ET and will be streamed live on IMSA.tv.
 
After qualifying, Nunez will debrief with the team and set a plan for tomorrow’s race. And then … he’s going to be onstage in the Spring Brake Party Zone in the world-famous infield of the 3.74-mile Sebring International Raceway circuit.
 
And he won’t be there to do a driver Q&A or Fan Forum. Nope, Nunez is there to perform with his band.
“The band’s name is ‘Acceleration,’ which is pretty fitting, actually, for this year for Mazda,” Nunez said. “It’s the ‘Year of Acceleration’ as they like to call it. It’s their little slogan for this year, so it kind of worked out perfectly.
 
“It’s me, my dad, who’s a bass player, and then a family friend of ours. So, I play drums on some of the songs and vocals, and I’ll play guitar and vocals for some of the songs as well. It’s going to be fun. We’re doing a couple covers and then some of my original songs that I’ve written and have composed with the band. They come across really nicely, and I think on a live performance it’s going to sound really well.”
 
Nunez explained the band will be playing a mix of classic rock covers and original “alternative rock” songs he’s written and composed with his bandmates. It’s something he’s been doing for the past four years, and he applies the same focus to music that he does to driving the race car.
 
“I think there’s a lot of similarities,” he said. “With every musician and every driver, I think it’s different the way they prepare, but for me, it’s going to be the same. I just cannot think about it. If I overthink it, then I’m just going to dig myself into a rut, and I would do the same thing in the race car.
 
“If I overthink qualifying before I go out there, I’d overthink things and I’d make some mistakes. I think it’s going to be the same thing when I’m performing. I just need to not think about it at all, think about qualifying and then get on stage and do my thing.”
 
And when it happens, it’ll be the realization of a dream he’s had for some time.
 
“I think when I get on stage, I’m going to be all about it,” he said. “It’s going to be fun. I’m really excited. I’ve been thinking a lot about it.
 
“It’s been actually kind of a dream of mine to play here. I remember seeing the stage just on the inside of the front straightaway in years past. Now that it’s in the big fan zone with the new bridge, it’s going to be awesome.”

Briar Bauman (No. 14 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) kicked off his 2019 AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines championship campaign in front of AFT's largest crowd at the Daytona International Speedway with a statement victory in Thursday night’s American Flat Track season opener, the third annual DAYTONA TT presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys.

 

Bauman went handlebar-to-handlebar with brother Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) on the opening lap of the 25-lap Main Event under the lights at Daytona International Speedway to secure the lead. Once established, Bauman systematically stretched out an imposing advantage at the front.

 

TT legend Henry Wiles (No. 17 Bandit Industries/DPC Racing/Wilco Racing Indian FTR750) was desperate to give chase but found himself trapped behind Bauman’s brother and teammate as the leader made his escape.

 

Wiles finally made his way through near half distance, but at that point it didn’t make a difference. Bauman continued to race off into the distance, further opening the gap before finally cruising past the legendary tri-oval’s start/finish stripe for the final time with a 5.149-second margin of victory.

 

“To hop out there in the front -- it’s all about trying to put in a gap in the beginning,” Bauman said. “I’ve been training hard this offseason. I tried to throw down as much as I could and get a little bit of a gap and maintain the rest of the race.”

 

Even before Thursday’s win, the ascending Bauman’s profile was rapidly on the rise. And now as the newest member of Indian’s Wrecking Crew, he’s well positioned to take the next step forward and make a run at the 2019 AFT Twins Championship -- as evidenced by his stunning form in the season opener.

 

Besides handing him the (very) early title advantage, Bauman’s triumph also brings the DAYTONA TT win streak of reigning Grand National Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) to a halt at two. Those prior victories served as springboards for dominant title runs in ‘17 and ‘18, but Mees’ ‘19 opener packed at least a half-season’s worth of drama into a single night. Mees crashed twice in the Semi and then retired with a mechanical issue in the Main while running fifth.

 

Jake Johnson (No. 5 Estenson Racing/Monster Energy Yamaha MT-07 DT) gave Yamaha’s trick new flat track machine a podium debut by finishing in third behind Bauman and Wiles.

 

Meanwhile, Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R Rev X) registered perhaps the hero ride of the evening. After being forced to use a Provisional Start just to make the Main, Vanderkooi battled his way up from the back of the pack to an eventual fourth.

 

Bronson Bauman rounded out the top five.

 

Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Browns Motorcycle Attorneys

 

Jesse Janisch (No. 132 Roof Systems Dallas TX/Öhlins Yamaha YZ450F) added yet another blowout TT victory to his burgeoning résumé with a wire-to-wire win in the Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys Main Event at the DAYTONA TT.

 

Janisch pushed hard on the race’s opening lap to corral the field behind him and then took full advantage of his superior speed with an open track in front of him. He ultimately wheelied past the checkered flag with a comfortable 2.577 seconds to spare.

 

“To start off Daytona with a victory… it’s amazing,” Janisch said. “Last year, we left here with a second, and that was a great way to start off the season. Just putting in all the work over the course of the winter and leaving here with a win is amazing. The Roof Systems team has really made a home for me. We’ve really built a great program.”

 

Janisch was followed to the line by Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 D&D Cycles/FlatTrack.com KTM 450 SX-F), who registered a remarkable ride to complete his “Road to Recovery” where he started it -- on the podium.

 

Gauthier was victorious in the first AFT Singles DAYTONA TT Main Event back in 2017 and was stacking wins on top of that one before being suspended for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. After sitting out the majority of the past two seasons, Gauthier only learned he would be eligible to compete again days ago. He made the most of his second chance.

 

And in an always merciless DAYTONA TT in which numerous AFT Singles title hopefuls don’t even make the Main Event due to the ocean deep field teeming with big name wild cards hailing from multiple nations and racing disciplines, defending class champ Dan Bromley (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) just did what he does.

 

After earning last year’s crown on the strength of 13 podiums in 18 races, Bromley is now one for one in 2019 to open his title defense with a third-place result.

 

Long-time AFT Twins competitor Mikey Rush (No. 15 RMR Honda, Red Riders Rewards Honda CRF450R) and up-and-coming Australian Max Whale (No. 18 Weirbach Racing Kawasaki KX450F) completed the top five.

 

Be sure to tune into the feature broadcast of the DAYTONA TT on NBCSN with flag-to-flag coverage of both Main Events enhanced by in-depth coverage of the many dramatic storylines through exclusive athlete features and interviews. and onboard footage. It will debut on Sunday, March 24, at 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT and will re-air on Thursday, March 28, at 12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT.

 

American Flat Track will be back in action for Round 2 of the 2019 season in just over a week’s time as the series travels to Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Ga., for the Atlanta Short Track presented by Cycle Gear on Saturday, March 23. Live coverage can be viewed on FansChoice.tv starting at 1:30 p.m. ET with Opening Ceremonies scheduled to get underway at 7:20 p.m. ET. Tickets are on sale and can be purchased at https://tickets.americanflattrack.com/.

As ESPN begins its second consecutive year of coverage of the FIA Formula One World Championship this week, the offerings are expanding for 2019 with two new race week programs joining the telecast schedule for all 21 races. The new season launches this week with the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix from the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit.

 

The live telecast of the Australian Grand Prix will air Sunday, March 17, at 1:05 a.m. ET (late Saturday night) on ESPN. The On the Grid pre-race show will precede the race at 12:30 a.m. Live coverage of the weekend’s three practice sessions and qualifying also will air on ESPN platforms.

 

ESPN is again teaming with Sky Sports and Formula 1 to bring Sky Sports’ award-winning presentation of Formula 1 racing to American viewers. New this season will be Sky’s Welcome to the Weekend program, which will air on Thursdays of race weekends on ESPN3. The half-hour show previews the race with driver interviews as well as commentary and analysis from the Sky team. The Australia edition will expand to an hour and will air at 3 a.m. ET on Thursday, March 14, with replays available on the ESPN App.

 

Also part of ESPN’s expanded F1 coverage this year will be Sky’s Pit Lane Live, a one-hour program airing on race day. Pit Lane Live features the Sky F1 commentators discussing the upcoming race and all the latest news from the paddock, with the show also including feature stories. Pit Lane Live from Australia will air at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 16, on ESPN3, also streaming on the ESPN App.

 

The Sky Sports team has been bolstered for 2019 with the addition of former world champion Jenson Button, joining fellow former champions Damon Hill and Nico Rosberg as Sky commentators. David Croft returns in the lead announcer position for the race telecasts.

 

Former F1 driver Martin Brundle, regarded by many as the “Voice of Formula 1,” also returns to the Sky team as an analyst and for his popular pre-race grid walk. Also, former F1 drivers Johnny Herbert, Anthony Davidson and Paul di Resta continue their roles as analysts with the Sky team, with another former F1 driver, Karun Chandhok, rejoining the commentary team this year.

 

ESPN will once again air the Formula 1 races commercial-free with sponsorship from Mothers Polish.

 

Prior to the Australian Grand Prix weekend, a Formula 1 season launch preview program will air live on Wednesday, March 13, at 2:10 a.m. ET on ESPN3. The 50-minute program, produced by Formula One Media, will be available for replay via the ESPN App.

 

The 2018 season marked the return of Formula 1 to ESPN and ABC on American television and fans tuned in, making F1 the only major racing series to see year-over-year viewership growth in the U.S. for the season. And Formula 1 was back to its original U.S. television home – the first race ever aired in the country was on ABC in 1962. F1 races also aired on ESPN from 1984-1997.

 

In addition to the telecasts, ESPN’s coverage of Formula 1 also includes the dedicated ESPN.com Formula 1 website, which reports on the championship year-round.

 

Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix on ESPN Networks

(all times Eastern)

 

Wednesday, March 13

2:10 a.m.

F1 Season Launch

ESPN3

Thursday, March 14

3:00 a.m.

Welcome to the Weekend

ESPN3

 

8:55 p.m.

Practice 1

ESPN3

Friday, March 15

12:55 a.m.

Practice 2

ESPNEWS

 

10:55 p.m.

Practice 3

ESPNEWS

Saturday, March 16

1:55 a.m.

Qualifying

ESPN2

 

7:00 a.m.

Qualifying (re-air)

ESPN2

 

11:30 p.m.

Pit Lane Live

ESPN3

Sunday, March 17

12:30 a.m.

On the Grid

ESPN

 

1:05 a.m.

Race

ESPN

 

6:30 a.m.

Race (re-air)

ESPN2

 

9:00 p.m.

Race (re-air)

ESPNEWS

 

(All telecasts also streaming live and available for replay on the ESPN App)

The wait is over. American Flat Track is set to kick off the 2019 season under the lights at Daytona International Speedway for the third annual DAYTONA TT presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys this Thursday, March 14.

 

The Bigger, Better, Faster circuit has been completely redesigned under the expert guidance of some of the sport’s leading legends. The new layout features a higher-speed section utilizing the fabled Speedway’s start-finish straightaway on the banked tri-oval asphalt, along with wide-open corners in the dirt that should maximize passing opportunities along the way.

 

The focus will shift from the track to the racers navigating it come Thursday evening. No rider has shone brighter under the spotlight than two-time defending AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750).

 

Mees has established himself as a dominant force, both in the DAYTONA TT -- where he comes in with two consecutive victories -- and the series at large, where he’s won two straight crowns on the strength of a combined 20 victories. 

 

Of course, there will once again be a deep pack of privateer Indians coming off a season in which the manufacturer garnered all but one Main Event victory.

 

Fans cannot miss the powerhouse Estenson Racing effort that’s set to field a trio of Yamaha MT-07 DTs. Gifted pilots Jake Johnson (No. 5 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07), JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07), and Kolby Carlile (No. 136 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07) are all versatile riders with the potential to break out on any given weekend. 

 

If anything, the Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys contest is even more difficult to predict. The Roof Systems AFT Singles class boasted ten different winners last season, and the DAYTONA TT always elevates the number of variables to consider -- not to mention the talent level -- into the stratosphere.

 

‘18 class champion Dan Bromley (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) carries in his shiny new #1 plate along with bragging rights as last year’s DAYTONA TT victor. He’s also newly backed by a full-factory KTM effort, where he’s joined by the winningest rider in AFT Singles history, Shayna Texter (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing SX-F 450). Texter’s historical struggles on TT circuits are well known, but perhaps the faster, more wide-open layout of this year’s course will play more into her favor.

 

A long list of rivals looking to get their title campaigns started off right includes last year’s championship runner-up and ‘16 class champ Ryan Wells (No. 94 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), who moves over to Estenson for 2019.

 

Highly-anticipated wild cards and all-timers, Jeff Ward (No. 336 Blackmore Ranch/Monster Energy 450 SX-F) and Ryan Sipes (No. 264 Red Bull/Leatt/KTM 450 SX-F), rank among the most decorated motorsports icons on two (or four) wheels.

 

As one would expect, the off-track attractions and activities for an American Flat Track season opener set in the middle of Bike Week are suitably spectacular:

 

A Pre-Event Bike Night Kickoff Party at ONE DAYTONA gets the celebrations rolling on Tuesday, March 12, from 6:00-8:00 pm, which includes a Rider Meet & Greet and Q&A session. The stars of AFT are bringing their race bikes and rigs along and the admission is free, so that’s a no-brainer for AFT fans.

 

On race day -- as if the action on track wasn’t enough -- the UNOH Fanzone will features vendors, motorcycle displays, Kid Zone with inflatables and rock wall, trike racing and live music from Beartoe and Friends. A fireworks display will follow the AFT Singles and AFT Twins Main Events to close things out right.

 

Meanwhile, Super Hooligans Round 2 will take place on a custom-built short track inside the tri-oval. Of particular note, the RSD-sponsored Super Hooligans will race on new, customized Indian FTR 1200 machines. World-famous freestyle motocross icon and founder of Nitro Circus, Travis Pastrana, will make his return to DAYTONA as part of the Super Hooligan roster.

 

Founder of RSD and ringleader of the Super Hooligans, Roland Sands, will serve as the DAYTONA TT Grand Marshal.

 

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased at www.americanflattrack.com. Tickets start at just $35 online ($45 at the gate), and upgraded options include the amazing Trackside Bleachers on Pit Lane and President’s Row VIP (climate-controlled, dinner buffet included, cash bar and premium second-floor views) packages.

 

If you can’t make it to DAYTONA, FansChoice.tv has you covered beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET with Opening Ceremonies (featuring Billy Lane, Scott Parker and Jay Springsteen) scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET at www.fanschoice.tv.

 

Finally, be sure to tune into the feature broadcast of the DAYTONA TT on NBCSN with flag-to-flag coverage of both Main Events enhanced by exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage. It will debut on Saturday, March 24 at 4:00 p.m. ET/1:00 p.m. PT and will re-air on March 28 at 12:00 p.m. ET/9:00 a.m. PT.

 

Looking for the in-depth analysis of what to anticipate about the DAYTONA TT?
READ THE FULL STORY HERE: www.americanflattrack.com/news

The 3.74-mile, 17-turn Sebring International Raceway course layout is one of the most challenging and respected anywhere in the world.
 
Built on the site of the former Hendricks Army Airfield used in World War II, the track uses a combination of former concrete runways – the same concrete from back in the day – and asphalt sections. It’s memorable enough to remain fresh in the mind of Allan McNish, a four-time Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts overall winner and the grand marshal of both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship 12-hour event and Friday’s FIA World Endurance Championship 1000 Miles of Sebring.
 
Here’s the Sebring racetrack according to McNish:
 
You could stand at the outside of Turn 1 and just watch a car going through there, and you could see the driver – even in a closed-cockpit car – you could see the driver sweating and having to hang onto it. The car’s bucking around underneath you, trying to make sure you don’t have a little bit too much lateral load onto the right rear as you come over the bump from the concrete onto the tarmac at the exit of 1, because that could quite easily spit you into the barrier on the left-hand side.
 
“Just things like that, you get a real feeling that these cars are going so quick. Like, so, so fast. A small mistake is a huge mistake in terms of the consequences at Sebring. That, I think, made us as drivers treat it with a lot of respect. At the same time, the fans could really watch it. When I say fans, I’m talking about us drivers who weren’t qualifying, going and watching out there just to see how much your teammate is giving it one, because you could see it live and it gave such feedback. That’s one very special thing about it.
 
“There’s not many corners, in all honesty, at Sebring, where you didn’t really have to be on top of your game. I talked about 1, that’s because of the bumps, the fast entry speed and the blind apex and the fact the track narrows up on exit.
 
“But then you talk about 3, going into 3 at the chicane there. You hit the brakes and you’ve got to watch out, because there’s a little dip on the right-hand side and it’s easy to lock the right-front into there. It’s also easy to brake too early, because then you miss your apex and then you lose the front and it washes out and it compromises you in 4 and into 5 and then all the way down into 7.
 
“At 5, you’ve got to change your line through the race, because it hooks up in a different way from the start of the race to the middle to the end. At 7, again, you’ve got to change your line, and you’ve also got to be careful in the first attack on the braking.
 
“At 10, you can brake so deep into 10 that you cannot believe when the grip’s there. You’ve got to adapt and understand what you can do and how you can overtake on the inside in 10, as well, which at some points in the race is not so easy.
 
“Through 11, 12 and into 13, can you overtake into 13 or not? It’s a big risk, so you need to be able to do it in traffic, because you can lose a second out of 13 following a GT car through there. But at the same time, you need to have the front grip to be able to achieve it.
 
“Then, into 15, floating so much speed into 15 without compromising your run through 16 and onto the back straight. So, every corner itself, before you sort of take the big deep breath and wing around the wall and over the bumps in 17, it requires total focus and concentration. That’s why it’s a really, really cool one. I’ve got memories of every single corner and something that’s gone on at every single corner.”
 
McNish is convinced that the track layout is one of the key reasons why thousands of race fans return each year, as they will again this week. Tradition is a valuable commodity in motorsports, and Sebring has it in spades.
 
“From watching videos of Stirling Moss driving around there whenever it was (Moss won in 1954), it hasn’t really changed that much from then either,” he said. “That’s something that gives it a real character. It’s something that I think as well, when you go back, you’ve got a memory of something that you can really attach to.
 
“I’m sure that’s why the fans come back and they come back every single year in droves. They’ve got their rituals. If you go back a few years, you do build up the relationship with the particular sets of fans. The one that most people think of, obviously, is the Turn 10 Club, but those guys, they live and love and breathe it just as much as we do as competitors or drivers or team bosses or whatever it is. That gives that race a special, one-off, unique atmosphere that I’ve never found anywhere else.”
 
Live television coverage of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring begins Saturday, March 16 at 10:30 a.m. ET on CNBC, with continuing coverage on the NBC Sports App and NBCSN. IMSA Radio will have live coverage throughout race week on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and the IMSA App, with IMSA Radio’s race call available on SiriusXM Radio (Sirius 216/XM 201/Internet 972).
 
Tickets for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring event week, which has been dubbed the “Super Sebring” event weekend, are available now on SebringRaceway.com. Race week also includes a 1,000-mile FIA World Endurance Championship race and the two-hour Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 for the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge on Friday, March 15; and a one-hour and 45-minute IMSA Prototype Challenge race on Thursday, March 14.
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