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  

  

 
By David Phillips
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
If you want an early indication on the odds of Paul Miller Racing enjoying a successful IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship season, look no further than the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
 
Last year, Bryan Sellers, Madison Snow, Corey Lewis and Andrea Caldarelli drove PMR’s No. 48 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 into victory lane in the Rolex 24. Ultimately, Sellers, Snow and Lewis captured the GT Daytona (GTD) crown in the 2020 IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup that awards points at each of the four long-distance events.
 
In 2018, Sellers, Snow and Caldarelli (along with Bryce Miller) finished third driving the No. 48 in the season-opening Rolex 24. Sellers, Snow and Lewis followed that by winning the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts. It propelled Sellers and Snow to the overall GTD drivers’ championship, along with the team and manufacturer class titles.
 
On the other hand, a 15th-place finish in the 2019 Rolex 24 presaged an uneven campaign that produced a 10th-place finish in the season-long GTD standings, albeit with a victory at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. 
 
So the fact that PMR’s No. 1 Lamborghini finished third in GTD this year at the Rolex 24 figures to be a good omen for the team’s chances this season.
 
“Daytona has been a good place for us the last couple of years, for sure,” says Sellers. “One of the things about the Rolex 24 Hours is that because it’s such a difficult event, it’s hard when you have a bad race to dig yourself out of that hole for the rest of the season. That’s the reality: You get a lot of cars there that don’t compete for the full-season points and they can take points away that you might otherwise get if you have a tough race. You can finish on the podium in that race and your next closest competitor for the season championship can be sixth or seventh, so that’s a big points swing.
 
“A solid finish at Daytona is super important to start the campaign off in the right way, and we’ve been fortunate to have a couple of years that are strong like that. Now as to what it actually means for the rest of the season, it’s nothing, because Daytona is so extremely different from anywhere else we go.” 
 
Be the races 2 hours and 40 minutes or six, 10, 12 or 24 hours long, one relative constant at PMR has been the driver lineup. It’s featured Sellers and Snow for the entire season, added Lewis in the endurance events and Caldarelli for the 24 hours at Daytona for most of the past few seasons. It’s no coincidence that the lineup has enjoyed considerable success.
 
“It’s been the three of us for quite some time with the addition of Andrea at Daytona,” says Snow. “Some of the GTLM cars have that same stability, but a lot of the GTD cars don’t have that stability that we have, so that makes it easier for us working on the car for those endurance races, to get along well and feed off each other.”
 
That the drivers have similar styles and, generally speaking, prefer similar car setups is no small bonus.
 
“We all like the same car, we get along really well on and off the track, so it makes the driving a little bit easier for everyone,” says Lewis. “In turn, that helps the engineers and the crew dial in a setup that works for us. I think that’s a big part of the success we’ve had in the past: We’re easy on each other, so we all like the same stuff.”
 
Perhaps more important than the nuts and bolts of the setup is the fact that drivers and crew enjoy a mutual degree of trust – a dimension to the team’s “stability” that comes to the fore in the face of the inevitable moments of adversity. 
 
“I can’t sit here and say it’s always rainbows and flowers,” Sellers says. “When we’ve been together this long, we’re not scared to call each other out if it’s necessary. And by the same token, you’re not scared to be there for another person if they need it. 
 
“And I know if I’m having a rough day for any reason, I’ve got plenty of people who I’m able to turn to and get some answers on how to deal with it. That’s a good thing we have here. None of us have a good day every single day, but I can speak for myself and Corey and Madison, that we can turn to each other and ask for help when we need it and nobody frowns on you for doing so. But that goes back to the team atmosphere and the continuity of things.”
 
Another element of continuity is the current iteration of the Lamborghini Huracán GT3, entering its third season of GTD competition. While PMR, like its competitors, is constantly improving on details, there are few secrets left to be discovered.
 
“It has been the same car (since 2019),” Sellers says. “The positives in that are you have a lot of information to fall back on and there’s not a lot hidden anymore. You have pretty good directions on where to go. But there are always changes, for example, when Michelin came in 2019, that was a big change from Continental. Not only was it a change from Continental to Michelin, but we had two tire compounds; one that, let’s say, suited us very well and one that didn’t suit us as well.
 
“Now we are on the harder compound for the duration of the season, so you can spend time trying to maximize that. While I don’t think there’s any big-ticket items left for us, there’s some room for evolution.”
 
The next step in that evolution takes place at Sebring International Raceway. Needless to say, PMR is hoping to repeat the success of 2018 that saw the team parlay a podium finish at the Rolex 24 into a victory in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
 
“I’m looking forward to Sebring,” Lewis says. “Obviously, we’ve had success here in the past. But after starting off the season strong at Daytona, ultimately we want to keep that momentum going. 
 
“The three of us are constantly working on each other, on the team, constantly growing, so we’re looking for more of the same at the (Sebring) Twelve Hour. For my role as the third driver, it’s do the best that I can and realize Bryan and Madison have a full championship up ahead.
 
“So the way I look at it is that, obviously you want the Michelin Endurance Cup championship that we won last season, but ultimately you’re trying to gain points for those boys for the whole campaign. So that’s a double-edge sword in terms of my role, and I want to make sure we check all those boxes.”
 
Lewis, Sellers, Snow & Co. will begin checking those boxes on Thursday, March 18 when practice gets underway at Sebring. Qualifying streams live on IMSA.com beginning at 11:10 a.m. ET Friday, March 19. Live race coverage begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 20 on NBCSN, moves to the NBC Sports App at noon, before returning to NBCSN at 7 p.m. for the concluding hours. The entire telecast also streams on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
 
IMSA Radio will also have full weekend coverage on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio.
Teen-aged New Yorker Max Esterson clinched the TireRack.com Road to Indy iRacing eSeries Presented by Cooper Tires crown with a fine victory in the first of today’s final two 20-minute simulated races at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Fellow iRacing expert Andre Castro, also from New York, took advantage of the reverse grid pole position to romp to a clear win in the finale.
 
Esterson’s third victory was enough to clinch the championship, along with a $2,000 first prize, by a commanding 48-point margin over Bryson Morris, from Mount Juliet, Tenn., who finished seventh and fifth. Of the 37 racers who started at least one race, Morris was the only driver to finish among the top 10 in all 10 races.
 
Esterson set the fastest time among the 26-car field in the initial qualifying session, only for his regular iRacing teammate – and local Ohio favorite – Braden Eves to turn the tables in the final top-six qualifying to secure his third SimMetric Driver Performance Labs Pole Award of the season.
 
Eves (Exclusive Autosport), from New Albany, Ohio, duly held the lead at the start, but remained under intense pressure from Esterson until an unfortunate incident on the second lap resulted in Esterson moving to the front, where he remained throughout the 16-lap race. Eves resumed in seventh but his car had sustained virtual damage, causing him to slip down the order to 12th by the finish.
 
Canadian Mac Clark took advantage of the fracas to move into second. He eventually crossed the line just over two seconds behind Esterson for his second podium finish of the season.
 
Australian Road to Indy and NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran James Davison finished a relatively lonely third, clear of Turn 3 Motorsport’s pair of Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship drivers, Josh Green, from Mount Kisco, N.Y., and Dylan Christie, from Princeton, N.J.
 
Michael Myers, from Lizton, Ind., took sixth ahead of Morris, Keawn Tandon, from Calabasas, Calif., Los Angeles-based Russian Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires driver Nikita Lastochkin and Castro, whose 10th-place finish ensured him of the coveted inside front row starting position for Race Two.
 
Castro made an exemplary start to the finale, quickly pulled out a couple of seconds over fellow front row starter Lastochkin, then maintained his lead impressively to secure his first win of the year.
 
Lastochkin provided an excellent bookend to his campaign with a well-earned second, backing up his third-place finish from the opening race at Road America last month.
 
The best scrap of the race was for third place. Tandon held the position initially until Myers found a way through on Lap 10. But Christie was in the mix too, having narrowly avoided a first-lap incident which took teammate Green, Davison and Esterson (who was assessed a drive-through penalty for his part in the melee) out of contention. Christie found a way past Morris on Lap 10, then displaced Tandon two laps later before executing a textbook pass at Turn Four on the final lap to wrest away the final podium position ahead of Myers and Morris.
 
Simon Sikes (Marotti Autosport/Legacy Autosport), from Augusta, Ga., was equally impressive in fighting his way from 23rd on the grid to sixth to snag the Sabelt Hard Charger Award – and a pair of Sabelt Hero racing gloves.
 
Myers’ disappointment at narrowly missing out on a third podium finish of the season was tempered by the knowledge that his sixth and fourth-place finishes on the day were enough to vault him into the top-five of the final points table. Myers, alongside the top-five finishers, thereby secured an entry into the All-Star Invitational to be held next Wednesday, March 10, at World Wide Technology Raceway. The event will feature a host of former Road to Indy drivers and champions and will be the final “virtual” race prior to the start of the “real-world” Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires season at Barber Motorsports Park in Leeds, Ala., on April 16-18.
 
Provisional championship points after 10 of 10 races:
1. Max Esterson, 211
2. Bryson Morris, 163
3. Braden Eves, 158
4. Mac Clark, 138
5. Michael Myers, 125
6. Max Kaeser, 123
7. Josh Green, 120
8. Keawn Tandon, 113
9. Benjamin Pedersen, 112
10. Nikita Lastochkin, 111
 
Max Esterson (#42 Max Papis Innovations/Amity Search Partners Tatuus PM-18): “I was a bit worried qualifying P2. As everyone knows, it is pretty hard to pass here. I knew that if I could exit the Carousel on the first lap within a half a second, I would have a chance either going into the Keyhole or Turn Four and that's what happened. I would like to thank Max Papis Innovations, Amity Search Partners and the Road to Indy for letting me in because obviously I am not an official Road to Indy driver yet.”
 
Andre Castro (#77 Metalloid/Legacy Autosport/Marotti Autosport Tatuus PM-18): “It was nice to start on pole and have that clean air and just go from there. This week was the first time that I raced with a new sim and the difference was crazy and it was challenging to adapt to. The only practice I had were the 30 laps before the race. In practice and qualifying, I was just trying to figure it out and made a few mistakes. Now I am happy with my set up and looking forward to getting better with it. It was a great race. As always, thanks to Legacy Autosport, Will Marotti and Mike Meyer. I wanted to do something cool in the last race of the e-season as I feel I had some pretty bad luck and that was pretty much the best way to do it.”
Officials from the City of St. Petersburg and Green Savoree St. Petersburg, LLC (GSSP) announced today that members of City Council have unanimously approved for spectator attendance at the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg set for April 23-25, 2021.
 
At today’s City of St. Petersburg Council meeting, an event plan was presented by GSSP officials and Mayor Rick Kriseman’s administration, and City Council approved the resolution by a count of seven votes to zero for 20,000 spectators to attend per day. As was implemented at the October 2020 race weekend, GSSP will operate the event under specific health and safety protocols for COVID-19. Fans should visit gpstpete.com/covid19 for more information on these essential event protocols. 
 
"This is an important event for our local economy and will again serve to showcase and elevate the Sunshine City on the world stage,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “I am confident that the protocols in place will allow for a safe, fun race weekend in St. Pete."
 
The Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg traditionally kicks off the INDYCAR season. This year it will be the second race on the NTT INDYCAR SERIES schedule since the postponement from the first weekend of March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The shift to a later April weekend provides the opportunity for more fans to attend.
 
Coinciding with this announcement, the exclusive renewal period begins today (March 4) for race fans who attended last year’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and purchased 3-Day tickets. These customers will have until Monday, March 15th at 5 p.m. ET to renew their 3-Day Reserved Grandstand seats or General Admission tickets. Grandstand seating will be limited capacity again to allow for social distancing between groups. Public ticket sales will open on Thursday, March 18th at 2 p.m. ET.
 
“This is another great day for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, our race fans and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The City of St. Petersburg is always one of the crown jewel stops each season for the entire INDYCAR community,” said Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of GSSP, organizers of the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. “We are thankful for the support of Mayor Rick Kriseman, City Council, the City’s entire event team and Pinellas County for putting their faith in us again to operate this event and assisting us with our plan to host it ‘The St. Pete Way’ with the proper precautions in place.”
 
“On behalf of the entire Green Savoree Racing Promotions team, thank you to the staff at Penske Entertainment and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and of course, Mayor Kriseman and his great team at the City, and St. Pete City Council for all their hard work in making this rescheduled date happen,” said Kevin Savoree, co-owner, president and COO of GSSP. “We’re looking forward to the last weekend in April for the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. And, especially we greatly appreciate the patience of our fans as we work through all the planning. Let’s go!”
 
Competitors, spectators and all associated with the event will be subject to a health screening and temperature check before entry is permitted. All attendees will be required to wear masks or facial coverings at all times unless when eating or drinking with the “No Mask, No Entry” plan. Those who don’t have one will be issued a mask at the entry gates. The CDC’s recommended guideline of at least six feet of social distancing should be maintained while on site. Hand sanitizer and hand washing stations will be prevalent across the venue.
 
Additional event information and customer FAQs will be posted at gpstpete.com shortly. Ticket purchasers on file and also those customers who deferred tickets from the 2020 event will also receive a direct communication on the renewal and ticketing process. 
 
The 100-lap NTT INDYCAR SERIES race will be broadcast live nationally on NBC with coverage beginning at 12 noon ET. Live streaming of all INDYCAR practice and qualifying sessions will be available on Peacock Premium throughout the weekend.

In the dirt bike world, motorcycle brands stick to one color, and for Kawasaki that color has been a bold shade of lime green since 1969. That color choice wasn't random, and in fact it began at Daytona International Speedway, the site of this Saturday’s round of the Monster Energy Supercross series. Prior to that 1969 Daytona 200 road race, a green bike had held a bad luck stigma, but Kawasaki rolled out five bold green machines in a tradition-be-damned marketing shot at convention. It got the brand the attention it was looking for, and the color stuck.

 

So far, in the dirt of Daytona's infield, the green bike has had a history as brilliant as its Kawasaki Racing Green hue. Supercross’ defending champion, Eli Tomac, has been on a Kawasaki since 2016. The year he moved onto the green bike he earned his first win at Daytona, then went on to win three of the next four, including last year's race. If he can win this Saturday, he will tie Ricky Carmichael as the winningest rider at the venue (5) and Kawasaki will move into a tie with Honda (17) as the manufacturer with the most Supercross wins at the track in the premiere class. Kawasaki already owns the category in the 250SX Class at 13 wins.

 

But nothing is a given in sports or racing and the 2021 trophy hasn’t been earned or awarded yet. Tomac has never lacked speed, only consistency. His past seasons had been streaks of wins marred by random off nights, strange crashes, or inexplicable off-pace riding. He earned his first Supercross title in 2020, but 2021 has been challenging with only one win so far and his career longest no-win streak of six races in a row without a victory.

 

 

450SX Class Championship Standings

1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (180)

2. Cooper Webb, Newport N.C., KTM (174)

3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (149)

4. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (136)

5. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM (133)

6. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha (125)

7. Zach Osborne, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (123)

8. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (120)

9. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha (113)

10. Dylan Ferrandis, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Yamaha (109)

 

 

Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings

1. Justin Cooper, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha (26)

2. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Kawasaki (23)

3. Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (21)

4. Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna (19)

5. Hunter Lawrence, Wesley Chapel, Fla., Honda (18)

6. Seth Hammaker, Temecula, Calif., Kawasaki (17)

7. Kyle Peters, Greensboro, N.C., Honda (16)

8. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., GASGAS (15)

9. Robbie Wageman, Newhall, Calif., Yamaha (14)

10. Jace Owen, Mattoon, Ill., Yamaha (13)

 

IMSA today announced date changes for the Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway and the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta following today’s announcement that the 24 Hours of Le Mans has been moved to Aug. 21-22.
 
The new Le Mans date falls on the originally scheduled IMSA weekend at VIRginia International Raceway, which was slated to have a live, NBC network television window for the two-hour, 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race featuring the GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD) classes.
 
As a result of that, and the fact that several teams and drivers plan to compete at Le Mans, the WeatherTech Championship race now will be run on Saturday, Oct. 9, airing live on NBC. It also will become the WeatherTech Sprint Cup season finale for the GTD class. The new VIR event weekend will be Oct. 8-10.
 
The new date for the 24th Motul Petit Le Mans will be Saturday, Nov. 13 and also will include a live, three-hour NBC network television window. The race will include five WeatherTech Championship classes – Daytona Prototype international (DPi), LMP2, LMP3, GTLM and GTD – and close out both the 2021 WeatherTech Championship and IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup seasons. The event weekend will run from Nov. 10-13.
 
“Given the momentum we are carrying in regard to television viewership, it is important for us to preserve live, NBC network windows,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “Holding our season finale in November proved successful last year in Sebring, and we have every reason to believe we can be successful again this November at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. As always, we are grateful to all of our stakeholders – and particularly our promoter and television partners – for their flexibility and understanding as we maneuver through these changes.”
 
In addition to the WeatherTech Championship events, the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge races scheduled for both VIR and Michelin Raceway also will be moving to the new event weekends.
 
Three IMSA-sanctioned single-make series – Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and Porsche Carrera Cup North America – also will be affected by these changes. Updates will be provided by the manufacturers when confirmed.
 
All 2021 IMSA schedules remain provisional.
 
2021 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Revised Provisional Schedule
Date                Event/Venue                                           Length     Classes
Jan. 22-24       Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona     Test            DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD
Jan. 30-31       Rolex 24 At Daytona                             24 Hours  DPi, LMP2*, LMP3*, GTLM, GTD
March 20         Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring           12 Hours    DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD
                        Presented by Advance Auto Parts
May 16            Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course              2 Hr., 40 Min.   DPi, LMP3, GTD
June 5            Raceway at Belle Isle                        100 Minutes       DPi, LMP2, GTD**
June 27          Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen           6 Hours              DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD
July 4            Canadian Tire Motorsport Park             2 Hr., 40 Min.     DPi, LMP3, GTLM, GTD**
July 17          Lime Rock Park                                      2 Hr., 40 Min.     GTLM, GTD
Aug. 8           Road America                                         2 Hr., 40 Min.     DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD
Sept. 12       WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca    2 Hr., 40 Min.     DPi, LMP2, GTLM, GTD
Sept. 25        Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach         100 Minutes      DPi, GTLM, GTD
Oct. 9            VIRginia International Raceway           2 Hr., 40 Min.     GTLM, GTD
Nov. 13          Motul Petit Le Mans                                10 Hours              DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM, GTD
BLUE – IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup Event
* - LMP2, LMP3 races not for season-long WeatherTech Championship points
**- IMSA WeatherTech Sprint Cup only
 
2021 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Revised Provisional Schedule
Date                     Venue                                                      Length
Jan. 22-24           Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona      Test
Jan. 28-31           Daytona International Speedway             4 Hours
March 17-20       Sebring International Raceway                 2 Hours
May 14-16           Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course                    2 Hours
June 24-27          Watkins Glen International                       4 Hours
July 2-4               Canadian Tire Motorsport Park                2 Hours
July 16-17           Lime Rock Park                                        2 Hours
Aug. 6-8              Road America                                           2 Hours
Sept. 10-12         WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca      2 Hours
Oct. 8-10             VIRginia International Raceway               2 Hours
Nov. 10-13          Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta               2 Hours
 
2021 IMSA Prototype Challenge Provisional Schedule
Date                     Venue
Jan. 22-24           Daytona International Speedway
March 13-14       Sebring International Raceway
May 14-16           Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
July 2-4               Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Oct. 8-10             VIRginia International Raceway
Nov. 10-13          Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta
NHRA officials announced Mopar and Dodge//SRT as the title rights sponsors of the Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Bandimere Speedway in Denver, the prestigious Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis and the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa.
 
These three events will take place this season as NHRA celebrates its 70th anniversary.
 
“We’re excited and honored to have Dodge//SRT expand their ongoing support of our series, competitors and fans with the addition of title sponsorship of our most prestigious event during our 70th anniversary season, the newly named Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals,” said Glen Cromwell, NHRA President. “It is a testament to their decades-long commitment to both motorsports and automotive enthusiasts to have Dodge//SRT and Mopar remain an intricate part of the fabric that makes up our history.”
 
The three events are some of many highlights of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season. The Dodge//SRT Mile-High NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil, July 16-18 in Denver, kicks off the traditional Western Swing. The Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals takes place in Indianapolis Sept. 1-5 and is the series’ biggest and longest event of the season as racers look to lock themselves into the NHRA Countdown to the Championship playoffs. Finally, the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil Sept. 9-12 in Reading, Pa., is the first event of the Countdown playoffs and historically has shown record-breaking performances.
 
“The performance legacy of Dodge and SRT is forever intertwined with the NHRA, and taking on title sponsorship of the U.S. Nationals further enhances that connection to our roots,” said Tim Kuniskis, Dodge Brand Chief Executive Officer. “If there’s one thing Dodge//SRT performance-car customers have in common, it’s a passion for the feeling you get when you experience NHRA racing for yourself. We try to build a part of that experience into every Dodge//SRT Hellcat Charger, Challenger and Durango you can buy.
 
“NHRA drag racing is a great example of how on-track performance is translated by our engineers to the benefit of our Dodge//SRT performance vehicles,” added Kuniskis. “Dodge literally sells the same cars you’ll see racing in the NHRA’s Sportsman classes. And much of what we learn in the series’ premier classes finds its way into our Dodge//SRT Chargers, Challengers and Durangos.” 
 
“As the ultimate exhibition of horsepower for passionate motorsport enthusiasts, NHRA drag racing is the perfect place to showcase the Mopar brand,” said Mark Bosanac, North America Vice President, Mopar Service, Parts & Customer Care. “As the defending NHRA Funny Car world champions, we look forward to adding to our extensive list of accomplishments and wins. In addition, we are pleased to announce that Mopar Express Lane will return as the title sponsor for the national race event in Reading that kicks off the NHRA Countdown to the Championship."
 
Mopar, Dodge//SRT and NHRA have teamed up for a multi-year full integrated media package which will include NHRA on Fox commercials and integration as well as the specialty race, the Dodge HEMI® Challenge at the Dodge//SRT NHRA U.S. Nationals. Mopar and Dodge//SRT will also have interactive midway displays at select events throughout the season for fans to enjoy while attending NHRA races.
 
Along with sponsoring events on the NHRA tour, Mopar and Dodge//SRT are heavily involved with some of the stars of the NHRA, including 2020 Funny Car world champion Matt Hagan and Top Fuel star Leah Pruett.
 
Tickets are on sale now and ticket information for each event can be found at NHRA.com/tickets.
 
(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)
 

The opening round of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship, which was due to be held in Portimão (Portugal) in early April, has been postponed until June. Spa-Francorchamps will now host the Prologue, as well as the WEC season-opener.

The decision, approved at today's FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting, has been made following the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic including travel restrictions from different Governments in various countries, meaning travel to and from Portugal is heavily compromised. Furthermore, it is hoped that the new date for Portimão will increase the possibility of fans being able to attend the race.

For the 100th anniversary of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, the Official Prologue will now take place in Belgium from 26-27 April – the first time that the WEC’s pre-season test has been staged in Belgium. The season-opening TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will get underway a few days later (1 May). The 8 Hours of Portimão will slot into the WEC calendar in the original 24 Hours of Le Mans weekend (12-13 June).

The 6 Hours of Monza will remain in mid-July with Le Mans scheduled from 21-22 August – the ACO announcing earlier this week that it will move to August when there will be a higher chance of spectator attendance.

All changes to the 2021 WEC calendar have been made in accordance with the ACO, the FIA and the circuit organisers. 

The final two rounds of WEC Season 9, which will take place in Fuji (Japan) and Bahrain, will remain unchanged.

Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “Due to the ongoing pandemic situation, we have to be extremely flexible in our decision-making. We are continually adapting to government decisions, especially restrictions on travel between different countries. Following discussions with WEC competitors, we have no choice but to delay the start of the season. We have, however, managed to keep all the rounds on the calendar which is our number one priority. We now look forward to the opening race at Spa in May and to seeing the Hypercars do battle on track for the first time.”

Richard Mille, President of the FIA Endurance Commission: “In the reality affected by the global health crisis, all sporting calendars have to be considered fluid and nothing is set in stone. Having said that, I’m full of praise for the efforts of the promoter of the FIA World Endurance Championship for their flexibility and reactive approach. Delaying the start of the season should be beneficial for everyone involved, from the competitors to the fans.”

Frédéric Lequien, CEO of the FIA WEC: “I would like to thank our teams, suppliers, partners, the FIA, the Portimão and Spa-Francorchamps circuit organisers, the LMEM team and many others for their cooperation in what continues to be a difficult time for everyone. The new date for Portimão will give us a better chance of allowing fans to attend and we are certain that the change in schedule is more favourable for all concerned.”

By Holly Cain
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
 Judy Stropus still gets a kick sharing the story.
 
A longtime voting member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (MSHFA), Stropus vividly recalls receiving the ballot to decide the Induction Class of 2017. The esteemed list included all sorts of racing greats representing everything from sports cars to stock cars, motorcycles to hydroplanes; from legendary contributors to the hard-working veterans who have left indelible marks on the sport in some fashion.
 
And there among the sports car nominees, Stropus quietly read her own name. Understandably moved, the longtime pit road veteran – the “master” of timing and scoring, a skilled racer and a highly-respected public relations guru – Stropus did not waver on who she would select. 
 
“When I filled it out, I wrote on the ballot that I’m going to vote for me,’’ Stropus explains deadpan. “And If I’m not allowed to vote for myself, then I vote for Scott Pruett.
 
“Of course, he won, and I joked with him, I hope you didn’t win by one vote,’’ she adds laughing.
 
Pruett did earn the honor in 2017, but Stropus received word this winter that she will now be joining the IMSA champion as an esteemed 2021 inductee at the Hall of Fame located at Daytona International Speedway.
 
“I said, ‘No way, this is the sports car category and there are all these famous drivers, how does this happen?’” Stropus recalled. “I was pretty humbled by the news and had to keep it secret for months.’’
 
Stropus is the kind of person, the kind of larger-than-life personality whose real-life story and contribution to the sport can’t be done justice in 1,000 words. She is the intrigue at a dinner party, the personality magnet in any room. 
 
Stropus has worked for racing greats such as Roger Penske, Dan Gurney and Bud Moore, timed the Indianapolis 500 before women were allowed in the garage and has been a respected stalwart at IMSA races for decades.
 
Born in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1943, she and her mother emigrated to the United States in 1949, establishing a home in New York. Even while learning a new language and settling into a new way of life, Stropus was smart enough – and motivated enough - to graduate from her New York-area Catholic high school a full year early.
 
Her boyfriend at that time had a 1950 Jaguar XK120, which he used to teach the teenage Stropus how to drive. And it was during this time, her life would veer into the fast lane. Permanently.
 
“My boyfriend Paul and I were just standing in line for a movie one time and talking about cars and the people behind us ask, ‘Hey, you guys were talking about cars?’” Stropus said. “We were like, ‘Yeah, we have a Jaguar XK120 and a ‘57 Chevy.’ And they said, ‘You should join the Queens Sports Car Club on Long Island.’
 
“So we got involved. He was racing and I got involved with being editor of their newsletter, and I learned how to time there.”
 
It was the genesis and development of talents that would serve Stropus well for decades – propelling her into an unexpected career and ultimately into a revered position in the hall of fame.
 
As with many women in that era, Stropus didn’t pursue a career in auto racing to break barriers for women or to be a token gender representative. She genuinely just fell in love with the sport and, equally so, the people and stories she encountered along the way.
 
The shorthand she learned in high school essentially raised her profile in racing paddocks – an invaluable tool that Stropus used in timing and scoring. She would regularly amaze teams and officials, scoring as many as 30 cars a race in the 1970s and ‘80s before electronic scoring systems existed.
 
“Before really good computerized timing and scoring, (for) the small teams that didn’t use her services, you’d have to wait for the hourly report to come out,’’ said former IMSA GTP winning driver Tommy Kendall, who recalls the scene when his father raced in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in the 1980s.
 
“And the 14-hour reports, for example at Daytona, would come out close to the 15-hour mark so you had to try and figure out what happened to piece it together. You never really knew where you were unless you were one of her clients.”
 
As Kendall moved up the racing ranks, he and Stropus were often working alongside one another. The respect he holds for her is evident in his voice even today.
 
“What strikes me about her – and I didn’t even know her remarkable story about immigrating and not speaking the language – she really is a case study in being able to literally do whatever you want to do,’’ Kendall said. 
 
“To come into a world that is really male dominated, she just thrived and never really made a big deal about it. The thing about racing, if you can help a team be better, you’ll have a job for as long as you want, basically. 
 
“And so, what she was able to do, I think she was a pioneer. To be able to keep a 24-hour lap chart or to time literally 20 cars with a stopwatch. … Not only is she clicking the watch and getting the time written down as the 30 cars go by, she’s doing the math to keep a 24-hour lap chart. She provided a huge value to teams. 
 
“It’s hard for anyone, especially a woman in a man’s sport, even a young man in a man’s sport, you want to prove you know what you’re talking about. For Judy, it was never about her. Always about the job and she led a most interesting life.’’
 
Absolutely interesting.
 
While timing and scoring for the legendary Team Penske in its early days of the 1970s, she had to secure special permission to be able to work in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garage. At the time, women were not permitted in the work area. Stropus still has the photo of the letter granting her access to come and go to the IMS inner sanctum.
 
Although she juggled a full-time Monday-through-Friday job as a legal assistant in the 1970s and ‘80s, Stropus decided to go “all in” with her racing career as demand for her timing/scoring talent grew and her burgeoning public relations career took off. She was hired by Chevrolet and BMW to lead their massive public relations efforts spanning multiple forms of racing over decades and has particularly enjoyed her work as a Concours judge all over the country.
 
Although she is already known in racing circles for her calm, can-do demeanor, the MSHFA honor has understandably taken a reflective pause in her normally fast-paced, up-tempo life. This nod is incredibly significant to her and buoyed by the fact she will be inducted in a class that features an unprecedented three women, including Janet Guthrie and Fran Muncey, too.
 
“I never felt like a trailblazer,’’ Stropus insists. “I joke that I didn’t know I was a woman, that I was anything different. I didn’t see myself as being any different than someone else who was doing a job. I didn’t realize that until much later. This was a whirlwind time. I didn’t know any different.
 
“I just was doing what I did and whatever I did well. I went with the flow.”
 
From a humble beginning to a thriving present – shoulder to shoulder with all the great names and fellow legendary contributors to the sport of auto racing – Stropus has carved out an impactful career in a meaningful life. Achievement that will be fittingly celebrated and enshrined.
 
“Judy is always somewhere and always doing something and that something is always important,’’ said famed driver Lyn St. James. “She’s never a hanger-on. She’s always there in a capacity that’s important, and you never know what that capacity may be.
 
“Judy is a great representative of the sport, very knowledgeable.
 
“She has been there and done that with the best.” 
 
As Stropus says, contemplating this great honor, ““All I ever wanted in my life was respect.’’
 
And that, she has aplenty.
 
The Class of 2021 for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America will be inducted Sept. 29 in a special ceremony at the event center of the new M1 Concourse – an exclusive community of more than 250 secure private garages set along the 1.5-mile Champion Motor Speedway – in Pontiac, Michigan. It’s part of a weeklong motorsport celebration that will also include induction ceremonies for the Class of 2020 that had to be postponed last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. For information on the week’s activities, visit mshf.com.
Progressive American Flat Track and Memphis Shades have signed a multiyear partnership that will see the brand serve as the Official Windshield of Progressive AFT.
 
The new agreement furthers Memphis Shades already substantial involvement in the sport, most notably as the longest running sponsor (20 years) of the series’ crown jewel, the Springfield Mile.
 
“Memphis Shades have supported the sport of flat track for many years and we are grateful for their partnership with Progressive American Flat Track for the 2021 season,” said Michael Lock, CEO of Progressive AFT. "They are an integral part of the US motorcycle industry, with their Made In the USA product line and their support for the famous Springfield Mile.”
 
Memphis Shades designs and builds all of their fairings and windshields from start to finish in their 84,000 square foot Tennessee factory. Raw materials in-finished goods out, all Made in the USA. Made in Memphis! Memphis Shades’ windshields offer the comfort, protection, and stunning good looks riders desire.
 
“American Flat Track has taken the sport to new heights, and after having Hall of Famer Babe DeMay tuned race teams run out of Memphis Shades for many years, we’ve seen it firsthand. We couldn’t be more excited,” said Allen Mueller, founder and President of Memphis Shades. “The live streaming and TV coverage are outstanding.”
 
For more information, visit https://memphisshades.com/.
 
The 2021 Progressive AFT season kicks off with a Volusia Half-Mile doubleheader event at Volusia Speedway Park on Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13, 2021. Tickets for this season-opening extravaganza are on sale now at https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3321/#raceSchedule.
 
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.
 
To score the latest gear for the Progressive American Flat Track fan, visit our official merchandise store at https://store.americanflattrack.com.

Throughout most of New York's Hudson Valley, the ground is still covered in a layer of icy white snow, as it usually is in early March. While for many it may feel like we’re still in the depths of winter, OCFS race fans know they are less than a month away from the start of another exciting season of dirt track racing in Middletown, NY. This year, like those before it, The Orange County Fair Speedway is going BIG for the first event of the season. The “OC OVAL KICKOFF 40” will get the season started in 2021 on Saturday April 3rd with a $4,000 to win DIRTcar Big Block Modified 40-Lapper

Though many top drivers have begun their 2021 seasons in Florida during Speedweeks, most won't be settled into their regular season home tracks by April 3rd, giving them the ability to run the “OC Oval Kickoff 40” without conflict. That combined with a $4,000 to win purse, is sure to entice the country’s top Big Block Modified drivers to register for what will be a field of exceptional driving talent.

Of course, what would all that matter if fans weren’t able to see it? For the entire 2020 season, grandstands at OCFS were shuttered, with fans clamoring for precious drive-in spots or streaming the races online at home instead. Well, 2021 will not go down like that! Grandstands are expected to be open for The OC Oval Kickoff and the rest of the season at OCFS! Track management will still be taking extra precautions and limiting the amount of seating available to ensure proper social distance, but FANS ARE BACK IN THE GRANDSTAND FOR ‘21! Of course, the drive-in section will be back as it has every year since 1967 AND racing will continue to be livestreamed for out-of-area fans too!

Though it seems the worst of the pandemic’s fallout on racing is over, it has forced OCFS management into thinking outside of the box when planning events. One out of the box idea that’s come to fruition, was a reinvention of the Big Block Modified points series. The new 12 race series features a mix of special format or long-distance races and regular Saturday Night 30-lap feature races, but the major change comes in the form of a new "playoffs" style system designed to produce consistently exciting Big Block racing all season. It will also allow for both local competitors and outside invaders to be competitive for the points championship by winning into the "playoffs".

All Big Block races will have a unique combination of qualifying procedures which will include varying types of pill draws ,Time Trials and inversions which will be challenging and entertaining at the same time (2020’s “Revenge” redraw returns on June 17th).

Beginning with the OC Oval Kickoff (a conventional style pill draw to determine heat race positions with a redraw to determine the starting positions of the top twelve) Big Block race winners will automatically transfer to the “Final Eight” which will cut off after the July 10th “Big Block Final Eight” event. The balance of the Final Eight will be determined by the high point drivers. Then it gets taken down to the “Final Four” Big Blocks, with the final Thursday night event on September 2nd determining the order of the final 4 by their finishing positions. A simple new system that shakes things up a bit may prove to be controversial with some fans, but OCFS Management and Brett Hearn are confident it will create one of the most interesting finales in OCFS’s long and storied history.

Shake it down weekend will precede the opener with open practices scheduled for March 27th and 28th. All teams are invited to participate in the open practice. If you are a driver or team planning on competing at the “OC Oval Kickoff 40” please contact Doug Dulgarian at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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