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  

  

 
John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
Aston Martin became the first manufacturer to win two IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class races in the 2020 season as Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy drove the No. 60 KohR Motorsports Vantage GT4 to an unchallenged victory Sunday, completing a weekend sweep of the Mid-Ohio 120 doubleheader at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
 
Stacy was running third behind a pair of Mercedes-AMG GT GT4s with 26 minutes remaining in the two-hour event when the No. 57 Winward Racing entry driven by Alec Udell made contact with race leader Dylan Murry’s No. 35 Riley Motorsports Mercedes at Turn 4. Murry spun off, while Stacy quickly closed on Udell and passed him for the lead a lap later. Udell was later assessed a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility and finished sixth.
 
Stacy, meanwhile, pulled away over the final 15 laps to win by 6.473 seconds over Murry and Jim Cox, with Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal teaming for third place in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Audi R8 GT4.
 
The Aston Martin team claimed its second overall and GS class victory in a span of less than 24 hours despite being forced to make an unexpected additional extra driver change, as Stacy was required to meet IMSA’s minimum drive-time.
 
“Fortunately, we had another fuel stop to make, so we called an audible and made another driver change,” Marcelli said. “We had a couple little mistakes yesterday, so we knew we had to execute better today.”
 
“This weekend was huge for us,” Stacy added. “We really felt focused for this weekend and got the car dialed in really well. To be in two victory lanes back to back is awesome.”
 
Marcelli and Stacy completed 77 laps of the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio road course in Lexington, Ohio, as the Pilot Challenge wrapped up the weekend. The duo now leads the GS championship standings by seven points over McQuarrie and Westphal.
 
The Touring Car (TCR) class was dominated most of the race by the No. 77 LA Honda World Honda Civic TCR piloted by Taylor Hagler and Ryan Eversley. But the entry retired with a mechanical issue with 20 minutes remaining, ceding victory to Gavin Ernstone and Jon Morley in the No. 61 Road Shagger Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR.
 
When Ernstone handed the car off to Morley, the Audi pairing committed to an aggressive fuel-saving strategy that Morley executed to perfection without needing to make a second stop. He crossed the line 1.557 seconds ahead of Gabby Chaves, who shared the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Veloster N TCR with Ryan Norman. Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson took third place in the No. 54 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi RS3 LMS TCR.
 
“I had a pretty miserable stint and got hit a lot,” reported Ernstone, who won for the second time in 2020 to add to his team’s victory in the 2020 season opener at Daytona International Speedway. “Our pit crew is strong every race, and that’s what it came down to. We ran some numbers and Jon did a fantastic job of fuel saving.”
 
“We committed to full fuel-saving mode, and I’m so thankful it worked out,” added Morley. “At the end, I tried to go just fast enough to leave a little buffer and go fast for a couple corners if I needed to.”
 
The next round for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge is during the Motul Petit Le Mans event weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Oct. 15-17.
Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli wrapped up the Heacock Classic Gold Cup on Sunday with the final race of its doubleheader with all five classes taking the green in a singe race at Virginia International Raceway. The 41-car field generated action from the drop of the flag all the way to the checkered flag, with three safety car periods setting up dramatic restarts.
 
The more, the merrier for Ernie Francis Jr.
 
Ernie Francis Jr. held off Chris Dyson on a late restart, and scored his 46th career Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli victory by a scant .911-seconds.
 
The 22-year-old six-time Trans Am champion is credited with leading all the way in the No. 98 One South Wealth Advisors Ford Mustang. But it wasn’t as easy at that looks as Chris Dyson made numerous attempts to nose ahead in the No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang. The win marked a record-breaking moment for Francis Jr. as he passed Scott Pruett for fourth on the all-time list with his 23rd overall TA victory.
 
"I can't say enough about my team,” said Francis “We were worried about a doubleheader weekend and how that would affect the car. Everything went smooth and they were on top of it. The car was on rails the entire weekend. It is great to be able to maximize on points this weekend with two wins. We got good momentum going towards the rest of the season so we can take home the championship. I can't wait to get to the next one!”
 
Road America winner Chris Dyson was disappointed after coming so close to the victory.
 
"It never feels good to come in second,” Dyson said. “We are here to win, but we had a great battle the entire way with Ernie (Francis Jr.) VIR is a tough place to pass, but that is how it is. We got held up a bit and I had more work to do than I thought. We had enough to rein Ernie in, but not enough to get by." 
 
Amy Ruman completed the podium, placing third in the No. 23 McNichols Company Corvette. Running a strong third in the early laps, she had memorable battles along the way with Tomy Drissi in the No. 8 and late substitute Paul Menard, who drove the No. 2 Weaver Racing Dodge Challenge that had been taken to second by Boris Said on Saturday.
 
"It feels great to get that last step of the podium especially after a tough-fought race,” Ruman said. “Toward the end, our rear tires were giving out and I didn't have enough to keep pace. We lucked into third at the end, but that's just how racing goes. I had a great start and hoped to keep that position but after I slid back a little I continued to fight. We had a good third place car and I am happy with a podium." 
 
Drissi spun in the final turn with a cut tire on the No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro shortly before the final caution, and lost a lap in the pits. He finished sixth in the class, one position ahead of Menard, who dropped out with four laps remaining.
 
Looking for his seventh-consecutive crown, Francis now unofficially leads Drissi by 37 points, with Dyson another 11 points in arrears.
 
Skeen surprises Kicera, goes last to first in TA2
 
TA2® Powered by AEM point leader Mike Skeen came from last to first to win his fourth race of the season. Parking his No. 77 Liqui Moly Camaro after struggling to sixth on Saturday, Skeen borrowed Bob Lima’s No. 63 Camaro for the race.
 
Saturday winner Tyler Kicera pulled away at the start, dominating the race in the No. 4 Carbotech Brakes Ford Mustang, while Skeen battled into podium contention. Lined up third on a restart with four laps remaining, Skeen quickly passed Cameron Lawrence in the No. 8 3-Dimensional Services Mustang and then Kicera.
 
Skeen took the checkered flag by .248-seconds ahead of Kicera, with Lawrence a close third. Keith Prociuk ran a very competitive race in the No. 9 HP Tuners/Mike Cope Mustang, while Doug Peterson finished fifth in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Services Group Mustang.
 
"It just comes down to the Stevens-Miller Racing guys giving me an awesome car and a big shout-out to Bob Lima for letting us use his car,” Skeen said. “I have never driven this particular car before but they set it up great. Tyler (Kicera) was checked out and there was no way we would have been able to catch him had it not been for that last yellow. On the restart, we came down with the accordion effect with the pack. It all fell into place. Very happy to have taken over the lead and very happy to know he didn't know I was in the lead because he certainly had the pace to get by us. It has been a pleasure to race here at home and in front of friends and family."
 
The last-to-first charge earned Skeen the Cool Shirts Cool Move of the Race Award, while he increased his lead to 42 points over Merrill for the season championship.
 
Kicera admitted that Skeen’s change of cars took him by surprise following the late restart.
 
"I thought I had a very good restart - I went at the green and went to the outside of some GT cars,” Kicera said. “To be honest, his number threw me off so I didn't know it was Mike (Skeen) getting past me. I wasn't pushing that hard because I saw Cameron (Lawrence) behind me so I just kept maintaining. My dad came over the radio on the last lap saying, "Go get 'em" and I didn't know what he meant. I realized what was going on so I started pushing on the last lap. Maybe one more lap and I would have been able to catch him. It is disappointing given how dominant we were all weekend." 
 
Joiner, Wlostowski, Davison turn the tables
 
After coming up short on Saturday, Erich Joiner ran a dominant race to take his third XGT victory in the No. 10 Championship Coffees and Tool Porsche 911 GT3 R. Point leader Ken Thwaits took second in the No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Audi R8 LMS Ultra, and unofficially leads by 41 points.
 
"Today's race was crazy,” Joiner said. “The mix of all the cars made for some interesting and fun racing. A big thank you to my crew for putting my car back together. They did a phenomenal job. It was the first time I have raced with TA2 and there was a ton of rubbing wheel to wheel, which put me in an uncomfortable position. My fastest lap time was faster than the TA2 pole time but they were in a different race, so I knew I had to focus on keeping my car clean to make it to the end."
 
After finishing second three times, Adrian Wlostowski scored his first career SGT triumph in the No. 96 F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang. He led most of the race, although he had to repass Lou Gigliotti midway through the event to maintain his advantage.
 
"I want to thank everyone on my team,” said the New York City driver. “They put in all the hard work to help me get to the top step of the podium today. We had a crazy race - we didn't give up an inch. I knew our car struggled at certain sections of the track so I stayed aggressive where I knew where the car was good. It is a blessing to get my first Trans Am win and I am excited to get to COTA." 
 
Mark Brummond placed second in the No. 24 Garage Door Doctor BMW E92 M3, although he was passed by Francis shortly before the final caution to put a lap behind Wlostowski.
 
Gigliotti was running third in the No. 28 G2 Performance Corvette with eight laps remaining when he spun in Turn 1, also eliminating Saturday winner Lee Saunders, who was making a bid for a podium position in the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper. Saunders saw his point advantage trimmed to 26 points over Wlostowski.
 
In GT, Steven Davison scored his second victory of the season in the No. 22 Davinci Plastic Surgery Aston Martin Vantage, beating Saturday winner Billy Griffin in the No. 14 Griffin Auto Care Mustang. Point leader and two-time winner Tim Horrell packed up the No. 45 Breathless Racing Porsche GT4 Clubsport after retiring with mechanical issues in the Saturday event. Horrell now leads Davison by 34 points.
 
The race had three full-course cautions. The first waved on lap 2 to retrieve the stopped No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Camaro of Rafa Matos, who stopped in Turn 5. On lap 17, Aaron Pierce spun in Turn 5 and was collected by another car that was able to continue. The final caution, on lap 22, was for the Gigliotti-Saunders incident.
 
With the cancellation of the Lime Rock Park event scheduled for Oct. 16-17, the next action for the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will be at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas on Nov. 7-8
By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course proved to be a happy hunting ground for Acura Team Penske as Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor powered to their third consecutive race win in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship.
 
Driving the No. 7 Acura DPi, Taylor claimed the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, crossing the line just 0.607 seconds ahead of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac DPi shared by Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr after two hours and 40 minutes of racing on a glorious fall afternoon. It also was the team’s third straight Mid-Ohio victory at Acura’s home track.
 
Ryan Briscoe and Renger Van Der Zande finished third in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi, while the No. 6 Acura Team Penske Acura DPi that Dane Cameron drove to the Motul Pole Award earlier in the day had a fraught afternoon in the hands of teammate Juan Pablo Montoya to finish seventh.
 
Cameron led the first stint and handed over to Montoya during a full-course caution, just 40 minutes into the race. The No. 6 Acura maintained the lead, but Montoya was not able to stretch the gap to second place and he dropped to third after going off course while trying to lap a GTD class competitor.
 
Montoya fell to seventh after pitting to inspect the damage, but the Penske Acura again worked its way back up to third place and a potential podium finish with a little more than 10 minutes remaining. But Montoya spun in Turn 1 and ultimately finished three laps behind the winning Acura Team Penske entry in seventh place.
 
Castroneves qualified second fastest, but he dropped to fourth place on the opening lap. While the No. 6 car might have had more ultimate speed, the No. 7 car remained within a few seconds of the lead all afternoon, and that consistency paid off. Taylor drove the anchor stint, leading the final 30 laps. Nasr closed to within a second at the checkered flag, but Taylor judged the finish to perfection.
 
The Penske pair led a total of 37 laps and their latest triumph follows victories at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
 
“This is a combination of everyone at Acura Team Penske, not just Ricky and I,” noted Castroneves, who said the last time he won three races in a row occurred in 2000 in Indy cars. “We all work together and share a lot of information. The No. 6 car was probably a little faster than us today, but somehow, we keep winning. But I knew to be patient at the start, and that helped put us here (as the winners) today.”
 
“It was a great team effort all weekend,” Taylor added. “Everyone learns from each other, and I think that’s why this team is so successful.”
 
Taylor is the first driver to take three consecutive overall IMSA victories since he and his brother, Jordan, teamed up to win five consecutive events to start the 2017 season when they both drove for the Konica Minolta team owned by their father, Wayne Taylor. Jordan Taylor co-drove the winning GT Le Mans class winning Corvette C8.R Sunday at Mid-Ohio.
 
“We’re best friends outside the track,” Ricky Taylor related. “It’s hard enough for one of us to win one of these races. So, when we are both able to share the joy of winning, it’s extra special for sure.”
 
Briscoe and van der Zande retained the WeatherTech Championship DPi class points lead with 180 points, but the result vaulted Taylor and Castroneves from sixth to third, just five points behind the leaders. Derani is alone in second place with 177 points, Nasr having missed the July 4 race at Daytona in July after contracting COVID-19.
 
Television coverage of the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio can be seen on NBCSN tonight at 11:00 p.m. ET.
 
The WeatherTech Championship DPi season resumes Oct. 15-17 with the Motul Petit Le Mans and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Next up for the series is a 100-minute, GT-only race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL on Saturday, Oct. 11.
Defending Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence vaulted into the points lead on Sunday at Gainesville Raceway, powering past his father, Billy, in the final round to win the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals for the first time in his career.
 
Ron Capps (Funny Car), Alex Laughlin (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the seventh race of the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season.
 
Torrence, who has won back-to-back world titles, went 3.809-seconds at 322.11 mph in the final round in his 11,000-horsepower dragster, which paid special tribute to “Big Daddy” Don Garlits’ iconic “Swamp Rat 14.” With Garlits watching on the starting line, Torrence and his throwback look slipped past his father’s 3.810 at 320.74 to win for the third time this year and 39th time overall. Torrence, who beat Tony Schumacher, Doug Foley and Leah Pruett to reach the final round in Gainesville for the first time, also moved into first in the class by 22 points over Doug Kalitta to cap off a memorable weekend.
 
“To come out here and have the opportunity to run the ‘Swamp Rat 14’ and have (Garlits) here with us, it’s icing on the cake for anything you want to do,” Torrence said. “We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, that’s just a testament to how hard Richard Hogan, Bobby Lagana and every one of these Capco boys work. For my dad to go to the final round, both of us are doing well. We’ve just to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”
 
Billy Torrence reached his second final round this season and ninth in his career with victories against Todd Paton, Shawn Langdon and Terry McMillen.
 
Capps picked up his fourth career win at Gainesville with a clutch performance, running 3.937 at 323.12 in the final round in his 11,000-horsepower NAPA Auto Parts Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to squeak past Tim Wilkerson’s 3.945 at 325.92. It gave Don Schumacher Racing its 10th straight Funny Car win and came in a backup car after an explosion during Capps’ semifinal victory against teammate Matt Hagan. The team, led by crew chief Rahn Tobler, got the new car ready quickly, and Capps, who also had round wins against John Smith and Alexis DeJoria, delivered his second win in 2020 and 66th in his standout career.
 
“To be able to win four (Gatornationals) is pretty wild,” Capps said. “We put a spare car together that went out on its first full run and went 3.93 and won the Gatornationals. To run that well and have it be in the final round of the Gatornationals, it’s unbelievable. Rahn had it perfect and I felt pretty good about it. The best part is keeping the streak alive for Don Schumacher Racing. The guys on this team bring out on the best in me, and those semifinals were a big round. We had to make points up and we came through.”
 
Wilkerson reached his first final round this season and 45th in his career after beating Terry Haddock, Tommy Johnson Jr. and Bob Tasca III. Jack Beckman maintains a four-point lead over Hagan.
 
Pro Stock’s Laughlin turned around his 2020 season in a major way, racing to his first victory of the year in his Havoline/Laughlin Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro with a run of 7.068 at 204.76 in the final round against Aaron Stanfield. It was Laughlin’s first final round of the season and also made up for his crushing loss in the final round at Gainesville a year ago. He beat Kenny Delco, Kyle Koretsky and No. 1 qualifier Deric Kramer to reach the championship round before cruising to his fourth career win.
 
“After the first qualifier, I thought we were going to win the race this weekend,” Laughlin said. “This track has always been really good to me. I was amped (in the finals) and I just went nuts when I saw the win light come on. What a weekend. More than anything, I just needed that this year with how awful a year it’s been. We had a completely brand new crew this weekend and we were just trying to find a routine. Everything just paid off.”
 
Stanfield reached his first career final round in Pro Stock thanks to wins against Bo Butner, Cristian Cuadra and Jason Line. In the points race, Line jumped two points ahead of Erica Enders.
 
In Pro Stock Motorcycle, Matt Smith finished off a dominant weekend with his first win of the season on his Denso/Stockseth/MSR EBR, going 6.843 at 196.99 to beat defending world champ Andrew Hines in the final round. It also gives Smith, who was the No. 1 qualifier, his 25th career victory, continuing a stretch that also saw him win the Mickey Thompson Pro Bike Battle at the most recent race. He knocked off Kelly Clontz, John Hall and Scotty Pollacheck to reach the final round before his wire-to-wire win against Hines. Smith moved into the points lead with his first win at Gainesville, celebrating a special weekend that also saw his dad, Rickie, win in Pro Mod.
 
“I’ve tried since 2006 to win this race and I've never been able to do it,” said Smith, a three-time world champ. “I’ve watched my dad do it a couple times and it means a lot to win it. I’ve always wanted to win Gainesville and leave with the points lead, and I was able to do it. Right now, I think Team MSR has the best team out here and we have the power to win this thing. We’ve just to keep everything together, but we have the power to win races and win a championship.”
 
Hines reached his 98th final round with victories against Hector Arana Jr., and teammates Eddie Krawiec and Angelle Sampey.
 
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Oct. 2-4 with the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals presented by Pennzoil at World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis.
 
(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)
 On a special weekend that saw him share the winner’s circle with his son, Matt, multi-time world champ Rickie Smith raced to his first win of the 2020 E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series season on Sunday, beating Mike Janis in the final round of the 51st annual AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals at Gainesville Raceway. 
 
It was the fourth race of the season in the class and Smith became the fourth different winner in the talent-filled category, going 5.801-seconds at 249.63 mph in his nitrous-powered Camaro to defeat Janis, a former world champ. 
 
Smith, racing for just the second time in 2020, reached his 25th career final round with victories against Doug Winters, Jim Whiteley and No. 1 qualifier Brandon Snider. He never trailed in the championship round and rolled to his first win this season and 16th in his stellar Pro Mod career. Smith’s son, Matt, also won on Sunday in Pro Stock Motorcycle to add to the excitement.
 
“I’m just amazed that God has let me do this for this long,” Smith said. “You’ve just got to not make mistakes and stay focused. The older you get, the harder it is to stay focused. But I’m so tickled about this.”
 
Janis advanced to his 12th career final round with wins against Kris Thorne, Chad Green, and Khalid alBalooshi. Janis also jumped into the points lead and now holds a 16-point advantage against reigning world champion Stevie “Fast” Jackson with three races remaining in 2020.
 
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series continues Oct. 2-4 with the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Midwest Nationals presented by Pennzoil at World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis.
 
(Courtesy of NHRA Communications)
Andretti United Extreme E are delighted to confirm that Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen will join their team as they take on the inaugural season of the all-new electric series – Extreme E.

Catie and Timmy will race together in the five-race global voyage, which highlights the impact of climate change on some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems and promotes the adoption of electric vehicles to help preserve the environment and protect the planet.

Catie Munnings is an up and coming British rally driver who started competing from a young age. In 2016 and at just 18 years old, Catie won the European Rally Championship Ladies trophy. In 2017 and 2018, she claimed a series of stage class victories while also forging a successful TV career as the host of CBeebies show, Catie’s Amazing Machines. In 2020 Catie made her debut in the World Rally Championship. 

Timmy Hansen began his motorsport career in karting and circuit racing before switching his focus to rallycross from 2012. After finishing third overall and winning Rookie of the Year in the 2013 European Rallycross Championship, the following year Timmy made the step up to the FIA World Rallycross Championship, taking his maiden win in Italy before finishing fourth in the standings. More wins came for the Swede in the following years, including finishing runner-up in the World RX in 2015 with Team Peugeot, with Hansen taking the Team World Championship title. He finished sixth in the 2018 championship and in 2019, he recorded four wins, clinching both the Drivers and Teams title, alongside his brother and teammate, Kevin Hansen.

Andretti United Extreme E will make their debut in the brand-new electric racing series next year. The team has been created by two powerhouses in motorsport – Andretti Autosport and United Autosports, who will combine their talent and experience to take on the world of electric racing in 2021.

For more information on the team, please visit www.andrettiunitedxe.com or follow the team on their social media channels.
James Hinchcliffe has been confirmed as the driver of the No. 26 Gainbridge Honda with Andretti Autosport for the remaining three events on the 2020 NTT INDYCAR SERIES calendar. This comes following an announcement Wednesday confirming that Zach Veach would not return to the 26 car for the remaining events.

Hinchcliffe has competed in three prior events [Genesys 600 at Texas Motor Speedway, the GMR INDYCAR Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500] this season with Andretti Autosport in the No. 29 Genesys Honda.

The Harvest GP presented by GMR will see Hinchcliffe join Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS / AutoNation Honda), Ryan Hunter-Reay (No. 28 DHL Honda), Colton Herta (No. 88 Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana Honda) and Marco Andretti (No. 98 U.S. Concrete / Curb Honda) for the doubleheader race weekend. The pair of races on the IMS Road Course will be broadcast live Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET on USA Network and Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli returns to VIRginia International Raceway this weekend (September 25-27) for an event unlike any other on the schedule in its 56-year history.
 
Trans Am will hold separate races for the TA/XGT/SGT/GT and TA2® powered by AEM classes on Saturday (September 26), and then a combined event on Sunday (September 27) for all five classes. 
 
Fifty-one drivers are slated to compete in the Heacock Classic Gold Cup double feature at VIR, and the three-way split start scenario during Sunday’s race is sure to spark excitement from an already rivalry fueled TA2® powered by AEM class.
 
Fans can stream the weekend spectacle from the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App.
 
The Drama of TA2®.
 
Since the opening race at Sebring International Raceway, much of the world has adapted to social distancing and no contact interactions. But that is far from true in the TA2® powered by AEM. Since the post-quarantine return at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, TA2® has delivered everything from photo finishes, intense wheel-to-wheel racing, dramatic contact and controversial finishes this season. 
 
The TA2® competitors are eager to get back to competition, having had the Road America round end short of the 100-mile scheduled race distance ( Road America Wrap Up Video).
 
While TA2® points leader Mike Skeen emerged from the Road America melee unscathed, his No. 77 Liqui Moly / Turn 14 Distribution Chevrolet Camaro was not as fortunate. Damaged beyond repair, Skeen traded in his Camaro and will break in a new Ford Mustang at VIR prepared by reigning TA2® team champions Stevens-Miller Racing this weekend. 
 
However, through the trials and tribulations of the TA2® season, Skeen has remained nearly perfect in results, winning three of the four rounds. He leads the championship with 129 points, 21 points ahead of second-place Thomas Merrill.
 
“There have been a lot of tough battles in TA2 this year, but Stevens-Miller Racing has given me a great car at every event to fight up front,” Skeen said. “Even though we’ve switched to a Ford-powered Mustang for our No. 77 Liqui Moly/Turn 14 Distribution car, Howe Racing and Katech have helped tremendously in getting us fixed up after Road America. I can’t wait for the doubleheader weekend here at VIR.”
 
With tensions already high from Road America, VIR also marks a scary moment in Scott Lagasse Jr.’s racing career. Last season on his way to defending his 2018 season VIR win, Lagasse Jr. went airborne as he raced through the Roller Coaster section of the track. The incident saw his white Camaro come to rest upside down. The popular and experienced Floridian emerged from the incident, but missed the last two events of the season for precautionary reasons (Flip Video 2019 ).
 
“VIR is a favorite for everyone on the M1 Racecars team,” said Lagasse Jr. “This is one race we have circled on our calendar every year because of the great people, hospitality and scenery. Last year, the safety crews did an amazing job helping me after the accident. I’ve seen the track from some unique angles and there isn’t a better view than the top step of the podium. I’m focused on the future of Trans Am and M1 Racecars and excited about where the series is going.” 
 
Thomas Merrill (No. 81 Diehl-MerrillRacing/HPTuners/MCR Ford Mustang) crossed the finish line first last season at VIR, but a post-race penalty awarded the win to eventual 2019 Champion Marc Miller. With the speed and power to take the checkered and his strength to use traffic to his advantage, Merrill is looking to turn his 2019 missed opportunity into 2020 victory.
 
The 2018 TA2® champion Rafa Matos is hungry for a victory. In two races he’s rallied from last place (or near last place start) to contesting for a win. At Mid-Ohio, mechanical issues sent him home early, at Road America he made up 25 positions to take first on the red-flag lap, a lap that wasn’t scored. After reverting back to the last scored lap before the red flag, Matos had to settle for third-place, which is the highest placement he’s earned so far this season, three separate times. Driving a new car for a new team this year, No. 7 Silver Hare Racing Chevrolet Camaro, Matos is on the verge of a season breakthrough.
 
“I think this weekend will shape out the final part of this season,” Matos commented. “We are seating third right now but anything can happen at this point. We can leave VIR leading the championship if we handle everything correctly.”
 
At Road America Cameron Lawrence won his first pole position of the season, but failed to complete a circuit after a first-lap incident with another car sent his wounded No. 8 3-Dimensional Services Group Ford Mustang to the pits early. Winning at VIR during his championship season in 2013, Lawrence has mastered the 3.27-mile, 17-turn facility, and with an added race to timetable, Lawrence has an additional opportunity to make up points to close the gap on the championship.
 
With the race winner receiving 30 points, the fastest qualifier earning three points and a bonus point awarded for leading a lap and another additional point for leading the most laps, the championship standings after the double-header at VIR could look quite differently than they did before the weekend.
 
Schedule
 
The official Heacock Classic Gold Cup weekend for Trans Am kicks off on Friday with back-to-back group practices starting at 11:20 a.m. Eastern, followed by 15-minutes qualifying sessions in the afternoon starting at 4:40 p.m. Eastern with the TA group, followed by XGT/SGT/GT, then TA2®.  For Live Timing and Scoring, follow www.gotransam.com/livetiming

Saturday opens with the TA/XGT/SGT/GT 100-mile feature (or 75 minutes) at 11:20 a.m. Eastern. The TA2® powered by AEM class will take the green at 1:15 p.m. Eastern for its 100-mile feature (or 75 minutes).
 
On Sunday, all five classes will take the green in a three-way split at 11:05 p.m. Eastern
The two-day race event will be live streamed on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App.  

In the spirit of celebrating Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta’s 50th anniversary year, one of the three original founders of the racetrack, Earl Walker, will serve as the Grand Marshal at the 23rd Annual Motul Petit Le Mans.

As the track celebrates five decades of some of the greatest racing in the world, we are honored to celebrate Mr. Walker as one of the reasons this world-renowned facility came into existence. He and his partners had an idea to build a ribbon of asphalt in the foothills of the north Georgia mountains and since it’s inception in 1970, this racetrack has seen some of the most acclaimed teams, series, drivers and cars in all of racing history try their hand at finding victory on it’s 12 turns.

Mr. Walker graduated from Georgia Tech and worked in the aerospace industry from 1961 through 1967. During this time, he met future business partner Dave Sloyer at Lockheed Martin in Marietta. Walker and Sloyer got involved in sports car racing and decided that motorsports fans from the Atlanta area needed a place to race, and the idea for Road Atlanta came to be. They enlisted a third partner, former Coca-Cola president Arthur Montgomery, to help build the racetrack and the rest is history.

Racing fans around the world owe much to Earl Walker and his partners and their vision to create this amazing facility and we are proud to pay tribute to his contributions by having Mr. Walker serve as Grand Marshal at Motul Petit Le Mans this year.

 

A BMW M8 and BMW M5 LCI will serve as the Official Safety and Pace Car at the 23rd Annual Motul Petit Le Mans, respectively.

This marks the third consecutive year that the BMW brand will fill these important roles, as the pace car will lead the field of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams to the green flag and will pace the competitors throughout the race. BMW will also activate at the 10-hour event in the form of prominent trackside signage.

BMW currently sits second in the IMSA WeatherTech Championship manufacturer’s points standings, just eight points behind the leader. With two BMWs competing in the GTLM class at Motul Petit Le Mans, the manufacturer has the opportunity to take the lead as the series heads into the penultimate race of the season following Motul Petit Le Mans.

 

As a reminder – there will be a number of new policies and procedures that will be in effect for the safety and comfort of all fans at the 23rd Annual Motul Petit Le Mans, as outlined below. Although attendance will be limited, we have not yet reached capacity for the event and tickets are still on sale for one of the greatest fall traditions in the South!

Attendance Limitations: The 23rd Annual Motul Petit Le Mans crowd size will be limited to 50% of historical Motul Petit Le Mans attendance. This will create a possibility that tickets will not be available at the gate, but updates will be communicated frequently.

Camping Sales Closed: To ensure that campers maintain proper distance and all can be accommodated safely, camping sales have been discontinued. All previously purchased reserved and non-reserved camping will be honored. All non-reserved camping will be limited to the following areas:

  • Family Camping area inside Turn 3
  • Infield Camping A
  • Infield Camping B

Camper Staging: Campers can start staging on Sunday, October 11th at 12 noon. Non-reserved campers will begin staging in the lanes next to the ticket booths. Reserved campers and Ultimate Fans who have an early entry ticket will stage behind the FOX Factory building.

Gates open to Reserved campers and Ultimate Fans who have an early entry ticket Tuesday morning at 8am. Gates open to non-reserved campers at 8am Wednesday morning.

Free Parking: In an effort to limit guest interaction, all infield parking will be free with admission to the event, with the exception of the designated car corral locations. Spectator shuttles will not be available. Previously purchased parking passes have been refunded. To maximize parking locations, fans will be permitted to turn left at the FOX Factory drive-over bridge upon entry into the facility. The following areas will be available for day parking:

  • Turn 3 Parking
  • Turn 9 Parking
  • Spectator Hill Parking
  • Turn 10 Parking
  • Tower Paddock (Saturday only)

Fan Access: Fans will not be permitted into the Infield Paddock, which houses the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams. Fans will not be permitted into the Tower Paddock Wednesday through Friday but will be allowed to park in the Tower Paddock after teams vacate the area Friday night. Fans may not enter the facility through the industrial park gate. There will be no autograph sessions and the gridwalk will be closed to general admission spectators.

Gate Procedures and Infield Policies: All guests will be required to bring and wear face coverings when interacting with those outside of your group. Each guest will be screened prior to entering the event gates; initial screening will include questions regarding current health status and potential exposure, as well as a non-contact temperature check. Individual bottles of hand sanitizer will be provided to guests upon entry. Strict adherence to the CDC-recommended 6’ social distancing will be mandated onsite.

Podium Club: The Podium Club, which is an all-inclusive hospitality that encompasses the first floor of the Michelin Tower, will be capped at 50% capacity. There will be a number of additional social distancing and sanitation measures in place, but all the amenities will still be available. As of now, the Podium Club is nearing capacity.

After a mid-season break, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli returns to action at VIRginia International Raceway September 25-27 for the Heacock Classic Gold Cup with a unique doubleheader (VIR Preview Video)

Unlike any weekend before in Trans Am history, Trans Am will hold separate races for the TA/XGT/SGT/GT and TA2® powered by AEM classes on Saturday (September 26), and then a combined event on Sunday (September 27) for all five classes.

Sunday’s 100-mile race will feature a three-way split start with TA taking the green first, followed by TA2®, then the XGT/SGT/GT classes. The grid for the 51-car field will be based on fastest lap time by class set in Saturday's races.

The two-day race event will be live streamed on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App.  

The Tight Trans Am Points Battle
Six-time title winner Ernie Francis Jr. leads the Trans Am points championship by just 10 points ahead of Tomy Drissi (No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro). While Francis Jr. is the lone four-time winner at VIR (winning in TA3 American Muscle in 2014-15; TA4 in 2016; and Trans Am in 2017), the Florida native has struggled in his past two visits to put the No. 98 One South Florida Wealth Advisors Ford Mustang on the point, finishing 14th in 2018 and second last year behind legendary TA driver Boris Said.

Drissi is also looking for redemption of sorts after a devastating last-lap spin at Road America took him out of first-place contention. Looking to use the double-points weekend as an opportunity to close the gap on Francis Jr., Drissi and his Burton Racing team are focused on taking the checkered at VIR.

“Going into the weekend with two races to run is an exhilarating challenge,” Drissi said. “I know we all had some extra time between races since Watkins Glen was canceled but everyone on the Burtin Racing team has been putting the effort into preparing for this opportunity.”

While Ernie Francis Jr. and Drissi have padded a small gap in points ahead of the weekend, they have heavy hitters sitting in third, fourth and fifth ready to pounce on the opportunity to take either of their places on top.

Long-time Trans Am driver Simon Gregg (No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro) will be aiming for a repeat of his 2013 VIR victory, driving from a pole-position start to a dominant first-place finish. Gregg is third in the championship with 90 points earned so far.

Chris Dyson has struggled with inconsistent results this season stemmed largely from mechanical issues. But the 2019 Trans Am Vice Champion’s luck turned around at Road America as he shook Drissi on the final lap to run away with his first win of the season. Riding that wave of success, Dyson could very well turn the tables on the championship at VIR with two chances at a victory.

Amy Ruman is fifth in the TA championship, only two points behind Dyson, even after suffering a significant blow to her championship campaign at Road America where she didn’t start due to a mechanical issue that flared up on the gird.

During her long multi-championship history with Trans Am, the top step at VIR has eluded Ruman, but this is the first time in her Trans Am career that she will get two chances in the same weekend to put the No. 23 McNichols Co Chevrolet Corvette in the winners circle.

“We have really taken advantage of the break in the schedule, the crew has gone through the car, made some changes, and we were able to get some testing in,” said Ruman. “The Road America race was a huge disappointment for us, our fans, and our sponsors, it killed me not to race after a strong fourth place showing in qualifying. This weekend is going to be busy and challenging, but we are looking to have two consistent top finishes and gain some valuable points.” 

Returning VIR champion Boris Said is the dark horse as a late entry to the weekend. Always a wild card, Said, whose first win at VIR with Trans Am was in a Ford Mustang in 2002, is looking to upset the championship, driving the No. 2 WeaverRcng/Techniques/SRIPerfor Dodge Challenger. (Video of Said's 2019 Win)

“VIR is a great track,” Said commented. “My first win was also the 100th for the Ford Mustang that was cool. Last year, we had a real good time. We ran off and hid - there's nothing wrong with that.  We tested there two weeks ago, shook the new car down and everything ran good, so we're going back for the race. It's a new car. They sold the car that won last year to Adam Andretti, so he just finished a new one."

With the winner receiving 30 points, the fastest qualifier earning three points and a bonus point awarded for leading a lap and another additional point for leading the most laps, any of these five drivers could end up on top after Sunday’s double-header.

The Dynamic XGT/SGT/GT Creates on Sunday
On a few tracks this season, the new XtremeGT class has been faster than some Trans Am and TA2® cars. This will create an interesting dynamic on Sunday as the XGT cars will take the green with the SuperGT and GT classes in the third start group.

Leading the XGT championship is Ken Thwaits, who will be renewing his rivalry with Erich Joiner. It's an all German duopoly with Thwaits piloting the No. 5 Franklin Road Apparel Audi R8 LMS Ultra against the No. 10 Championship Coffees and Tool Porsche 911 GT3R of Joiner.

Another dozen cars make up the SGT and GT group. SGT frontrunner Lee Saunders returns to VIR in the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper to defend his lead against second-place Adrian Wlostowski in the No. 96 F.A.S.T. Auto Ford Mustang. Wlostowski, who is one of the newest full-time drivers in the SGT category in just his second year, is eager at the chance to score a possible pair of victories at VIR.

"Naturally, I was disappointed not to be racing at Watkins Glen this season, but I was fully behind Trans Am's decision to double up at Virginia,” said Wlostowski. “It makes perfect sense with everyone there and setup. I'm particularly excited to get behind the wheel again. VIR is a fun and fast track to drive our Mustang. It's going to be a fantastic weekend."

In GT, reigning champion and Virginia resident Steven Davison (No.22 Davinci Plastic Surgery Aston Martin Vantage) will make his first Trans Am return at VIR since Sebring. Davison won in the GT class last season at VIR, but will have to get past Billy Griffin (No. 14 GriffinAutoCare/Sheehan'sTowing Ford Mustang) and class leader Tim Horrell (No. 45 Breathless Racing Porsche GT4 Clubsport) to reclaim another class victory.

Schedule
The official Heacock Classic Gold Cup weekend for Trans Am kicks off on Friday with back-to-back group practices starting at 11:20 a.m. Eastern, followed by 15-minutes qualifying sessions in the afternoon starting at 4:40 p.m. Eastern with the TA group, followed by XGT/SGT/GT, then TA2®.  For Live Timing and Scoring, follow www.gotransam.com/livetiming

Saturday opens with the TA/XGT/SGT/GT 100-mile feature (or 75 minutes) at 11:20 a.m. Eastern. The TA2® powered by AEM class will take the green at 1:15 p.m. Eastern for its 100-mile feature (or 75 minutes).

On Sunday, all five classes will take the green in a three-way split at 11:05 p.m. Eastern.
The two-day race event will be live streamed on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App.  

Page 1 of 502