Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 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.
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Honda Performance Development has been named presenting sponsor of the Formula F 45th Anniversary, part of the SCCA Summer SpeedFest, Aug. 9-10 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Memphis International Raceway (MIR) and International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) are teaming up to offer some lucky fans a V.I.P experience to the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals featuring the Nitro Jam Nationals on Friday, October 10. It's as easy as following @RaceMIR on Twitter and using #NitroVIP to participate in the 12-week long contest.
The #NitroVIP contest is scheduled to kick-off Monday, July 21. A winner will be chosen every week for a pair of V.I.P. passes via a series of questions, photo caption contests, retweets, creative answers and several other elements. You can only win one weekly contest throughout the promotion.
The lucky winners will receive an all-inclusive, behind the scenes look at the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment World Finals featuring the Nitro Jam Nationals. The V.I.P experience includes: suite accommodations alongside the starting line at the historic drag strip, parking, food and beverage (excluding alcohol) throughout the day, a private tour of the pit and garage area, and an exclusive meet and greet with the Larsen Motorsports Jet Dragster racing team.
The 2014 IHRA Memphis World Finals feature the best racers from the world of drag racing in multiple professional and sportsman categories. Each day feature's sportsman racing throughout the day and professional racing in the evening. In addition, fans enjoy an all-new Fan Fest pit area centered around the Larsen Motorsports compound. Fan Fest feature's driver autographs and interviews, an interactive display showcasing how to build, design and race a jet-powered racecar in the Jet Technology Center and the exciting Hollywood Cars of the Stars collection featuring some of the most famous cars ever driven in film and television.
It's only fitting that possibly the pivotal round of the 2014 Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin is taking place on the series' biggest stage this season.
Scott Hargrove and Chris Green will continue their compelling duel for the championship during Rounds 5 and 6 of the 10-round series July 18-20 on the Streets of Toronto as a featured part of the Verizon IndyCar Series event weekend. It's the first time the Porsche series has competed in the largest city in Canada.
Two 45-minute races for the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned series are scheduled on the 11-turn, 1.755-mile circuit at Exhibition Place near the scenic shore of Lake Ontario. Round 5 is set for 12:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday, July 19, with Round 6 at 1:20 p.m. Sunday.
On-track action starts with practice sessions at 11 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. Friday, July 18, with qualifying at 7:30 a.m. Saturday.
Hargrove leads Green, 78-74, through four rounds of the series, one of 19 Porsche single-make championships providing thrilling action worldwide. Both drivers have occupied the top two spots on the podium in all four races, with Hargrove earning three victories and Green one.
The rivalry has continued to blossom between the Canadian stars since Hargrove was a late entry for the season-opening weekend in May at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP) in Bowmanville, Ontario.
Hargrove won both of the CTMP rounds in the No. 69 OpenRoad Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, with Green finishing second twice. Green rebounded to win Round 3 in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports entry last month at Calabogie Motorsports Park in Calabogie, Ontario, with Hargrove finishing second. But Hargrove countered with a victory over second-place Green in Round 4 at Calabogie.
The title race between Hargrove and Green is a compelling study in contrasts. Hargrove, 19, is a series rookie who hails from the west coast of Canada and drives for Vancouver-based OpenRoad Racing. The original plan was for him to race only in the first two rounds of the season at CTMP and possibly a few more rounds at the end of the season, as he is a title contender and race winner this season in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires junior open-wheel series.
But OpenRoad team principal Christian Chia rewrote that blueprint after Hargrove swept the first two races of the year, and Hargrove has stayed in the No. 69 Porsche.
Montreal resident Green, 30, is in his third season in Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin. He finished as the championship runner-up by six points last season to David Ostella with Pfaff/Alegra Motorsports and entered this season as the title favorite with the newly solo Pfaff Motorsports team, based near Toronto.
Hargrove and Green have been nearly flawless through four rounds this season, and that superb driving will need to continue if their title charges are to persist. There are just four rounds remaining after this weekend, two each Aug. 9-10 at Trois-Rivières, Quebec, and Aug. 30-31 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Plus street circuits like Toronto leave far less margin for error than natural road courses like CTMP or Calabogie, as concrete barriers line the entire course just a few meters from the edge of the racing line.
Neither Hargrove nor Green has blinked this season in their staredown for the championship. But if they do, Spencer Pigot could be there to turn the title tussle into a three-man race.
Pigot, 20, from Orlando, Florida, is third in the Platinum Cup standings with 54 points in the No. 21 Alegra Motorsports Porsche. He has finished third, behind Hargrove and Green, in the last three rounds.
There's also no question Pigot would like to take the upper hand in the sports car portion of his rivalry with Hargrove. Pigot also races in the Pro Mazda Championship junior open-wheel series and leads the standings by 17 points over second-place Hargrove.
Hargrove, Green and Pigot are just the start of a quality field in the premier Platinum Cup class, which features the all-new 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car. Developed for Porsche one-make Cups worldwide, the car is based on the street version of the current Porsche 911, with a 3.8-liter power unit that produces 460 horsepower.
Marco Cirone, from Toronto, is fourth in the standings with 49 points in the No. 88 Mark Motors Racing Porsche. He also leads the Platinum Masters (drivers 45 and older) championship by 10 points over Carlos de Quesada of Odessa, Florida, who moved to the Platinum Cup this season after winning the Gold Cup (2010-2013 model cars) championship in 2013.
Etienne Borgeat, from Montreal, rounds out the top five in the Platinum Cup with 47 points in the No. 2 Porsche fielded by Quebec-based team GT Racing. Borgeat is the only driver besides Hargrove, Green or Pigot to stand on the overall podium this season, as he finished third in the opening round at CTMP.
The race for the Gold Cup championship is tight among five drivers, including three from Ontario.
Shaun McKaigue, from Gilford, Ontario, took the lead in the Gold Cup standings with 68 points in the No. 34 Fiorano Racing Porsche after he earned a victory and a runner-up finish at Calabogie. McKaigue is aiming for his second Gold Cup drivers' title, as he won the inaugural crown in 2011.
Tim Sanderson, from Pickering, Ontario, is second with 66 points in the No. 07 Alegra Motorsports/Northwest Atlantic Motorsports Porsche. He earned his first victory of the season in Round 4 last month at Calabogie.
Quebec-based drivers Jerimy Daniel and Martin Harvey are tied for third with 64 points in the No. 75 TRC and No. 08 Wingho Racing Inc. cars, respectively.
Toronto resident Ilker Starck is the fifth driver in title contention, with 58 points. Starck and his SCB Racing/Downtown Porsche team worked tirelessly to rally from an accident in Round 2 in May at CTMP that damaged his No. 48 Porsche, finishing fourth in both rounds at Calabogie.
An Alegra intra-team duel will continue for Silver Cup honors between Masters competitors Keith Bass and Chuck Harris of Tampa, Florida. Silver Cup competitors race in 2005 ½ to 2009 GT3 Cup cars.
For more information on the Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin, visit www.imsa.com and @IMSA on Twitter with the hashtag #GT3CAN. Live commentary for both races will be provided on Twitter at @IMSALive.
The 2014 IHRA Summer Nationals at Cordova Dragway Park will feature the largest field of Nitro Funny Car and Pro Stock teams seen all season, in addition to a stout lineup of Nitro Harley, Nitro Altered and Jet Dragster competitors. But in truth, there is only one thing on the minds of many heading into this historical event - the Clash at Cordova.
Among the stars making up this incredible field of nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars are five former world champions across the IHRA, NHRA and DRO nostalgia series and winners of some of the biggest races in the world. With so many championship and big race winners all in one place, the IHRA Summer Nationals is already being heralded as one of the most exciting nostalgia Nitro Funny Car races of the season.
"This is it, this is the event we want to win. Honestly, it is going to take a run in the low 5.90s, maybe even 5.80s, just to get in. That is going to lead to a lot of great runs and maybe a new record or two," said Mike McIntire Jr., driver of the "McAttack" '69 Camaro. "I am really looking forward to this race and I feel like we are up to the task. We are working hard to get more performance out of the car, trying to get a little more speed out of her, and if we can do that I think we can get in there and mix it up with the rest of them."
McIntire is one of IHRA's regulars, having claimed his first win as a rookie at the IHRA Southern Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park earlier this year. He will be joined by fellow 2014 IHRA national event winner and three-time DRO series champion John Hale in the "Mike Burkhart" tribute '69 Camaro and current points leader and four-time winner this season Jason Rupert in the "Bays and Rupert" '69 Camaro.
Rupert will lead the field heading into IHRA's only completely open Nitro Funny Car race this season, having won four of the six points-paying races held with IHRA this season. Rupert has been No. 1 qualifier in five of six races and reset the IHRA elapsed time world record at Rockingham Dragway in May with 5.684-second pass. Overall he is 14-1 in competition, with his only blemish being a disastrous weekend where he failed to qualify at Maryland International Raceway in June.
Rupert will be considered one of the favorites when the nostalgia teams take to the Cordova quarter-mile later this week.
"This is going to be a really exciting event and I can't wait. There are so many great drivers that are going to be in Cordova and really any one of them can come away with the win," Rupert said. "I have said before, racing is full of peaks and valleys and right now we are riding a real wave of success, but at any time that can change. We are just thankful to be in this position and look forward to seeing what we can do against this great group of competitors."
Joining Rupert in the ones-to-watch column is defending DRO series champion Shawn Bowen in the "Violator" '77 Pontiac Firebird. The Michigan-based AA/FC team has already won twice this season and leads the DRO series championship standings as he looks to keep the momentum going in Cordova.
The field of International Hot Rod Association drivers will also include two-time runner-up in 2014 and current championship second place driver "Mr. Explosive" Mark Sanders and his beautiful '70 Mustang, former IHRA Top Fuel world champion Bruce Litton in the "U.S. Male" '79 Vega, Tim Boychuk in the "Forever Forward" '77 Pontiac, Ronnie Young in the legendary "Blue Max" and Wayne Mellinger in the "Candies Family Racing" '70 Challenger.
With the DRO series, Bowen will be joined by current elapsed time record-holder Marc White in the "Flashback" '77 Pontiac and Paul Romine, a two-time DRO champion who made his return to drag racing earlier this year when he reacquired his Mike Spitzer-built "Man-O-War" Mustang. Australian Bazz Young and the "Down Under Thunder" '69 Camaro will wrap up the top competitors from the DRO series, having finished runner-up at the series' most recent event.
Rounding out the current lineup of nostalgia Nitro Funny Car stars are former IHRA Funny Car champion Steve Nichols in the "Mill Road Boys" '70 Camaro, Brian Stewart in the "Bear Town Shaker" '76 Mustang and local favorite Jim Young in the "Crop Duster."
With so many great drivers on the property, it is truly anyone's race when the drivers take to the track for qualifying on Friday, July 18 and eliminations on Saturday, July 19.
The IHRA Summer Nationals will be held July 18-19 at Cordova Dragway Park. For more information visit www.nitrojam.com or call the track at (309) 654-2110.
That was the start of a rough weekend for Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge driver Vance, who also competed in the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires event last weekend at the track commonly known as Mosport.
Vance was placed 12th on the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires grid after his third-place qualifying efforts were disqualified for drafting. But when the green flag dropped, his No. 40 Mazda did not go. A component failure led to Vance being stalled on the grid. All Vance could do was hope the rest of field went around him. That didn't happen - his car was struck from behind.The car was heavily damaged by the hit. Vance was unable to continue in the 45-minute sprint race. The contact and a team strategy decision also ended Vance's weekend in Mazda MX-5 Cup.
"MX-5 race was frustrating," Vance said. "After the race, the car was fixable. But as a team we decided it would be best to take my motor out of my car, as it was stronger than my teammate, who is going for a championship, and switch motors. Then he has a better shot at winning the next race."
In Round 7 of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, the Compass360 Racing team enjoyed its best qualifying effort this season, with Vance's teammate, Jon Miller, landing the No. 74 ExpoSystems Honda Civic Si in 11th on the Street Tuner starting grid. But Vance and Miller finished the race 13th after mechanical problems.
From the beginning of Vance's stint, the transmission in the No. 74 car was misbehaving.
"I had to nurse a transmission my whole stint, which meant I could not push as hard and run the pace that the car was being capable of," Vance said. "The other thing I had to be mindful of was everyone around me was driving as if it were a sprint race from the beginning of the stint. The second stint is always a bit more aggressive, but these guys were being a bit ridiculous, to be honest.
Vance has faced a string of bad luck at the track lately but has focused on the accomplishment of making it to the SportsCar Challenge level to propel him forward.
"The biggest thing for me to remember is this is my first year in this super-competitive series, and I am pretty proud of how we are doing," Vance said. "We seem to grow as a team and, no matter what, leave the track with our heads held high. This series is so tough, and the drivers are all of such a high caliber, so being able to hold my own against these more experienced guys in a front-wheel-drive car, which I only jumped into the third race of this year, is pretty cool."
Vance's next race weekend will be at the storied Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Super Weekend at the Brickyard. Practice starts at 9 a.m. (ET) Thursday, July 24 with qualifying at 3 p.m. the same day. The race will take place at 2:35 p.m. Friday, July 25.
While the FIA GT3-spec cars have excelled on the flowing road courses, the point-and-shoot nature of the street courses have tended to favor the Cadillac CTS-V.Rs in GT. GTS has generally been more wide open with Chevrolet, Kia and Ford all having won in class on street courses this season.
With three wins from four street course races this year, Johnny O'Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga., in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R enters Toronto as the driver to beat. O'Connell won this race from pole last year and also has three pole positions this season; he looks to extend his 100-plus point lead in the championship. Teammate Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., finished second a year ago in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R and looks to break through for his first win of the year. Pilgrim has four runner-up finishes thus far in 2014.
Tim Pappas, of Boston, Mass., in the No. 54 Black River Caviar Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 moved into the GT-A points lead leaving Road America on the strength of his first win in Round 7. Pappas has been consistent throughout the season and looks for a bounce back weekend in Toronto after a pre-race last year took him out of the Toronto weekend before he had a chance to compete.
Leaving Detroit, Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga., led Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, by one point in GTS. And now, leaving Road America, Wilkins' teammate Nic Jonsson, of Buford, Ga., leads the Canadian by just one point (747-746).
Friday, July 18, 4:35 P.M. EDT (GT/GT-A/GTS)
Saturday, July 19, 11:25 A.M. EDT (GT/GT-A/GTS Race 1)
Sunday, July 20, 12:15 P.M. EDT (GT/GT-A/GTS Race 2)
50 minutes (GT/GT-A/GTS)
Saturday, July 19, 10:55 A.M. EDT (GT/GT-A/GTS Race 1)
Saturday, July 20, 11:45 A.M. EDT (GT/GT-A/GTS Race 2)
Jerome Mee scored a second-place finish in Round 7 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered By Mazda championship in the Lites 2 class July 12 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Alta Velocita Racing (AVR) driver/ team owner Mee's first laps on the 10-turn, 2.459-mile permanent road course took place July 9 during the promoter test. Mee quickly learned the ins and outs of the fast, fearsome circuit before the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Development Series began official practice July 10.
"The track is tricky because there are a lot of blind turns, and as you enter the turns, the track drops off," Mee said. "So you turn in, the car lifts, and you can't see where you're going. Then it settles, and you have to turn. It's a big boy track, that's for sure. But once I got it down, it was very fun."
Mee, driving the No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing machine, fought for position in a hard, fair duel with L2 competitor Brian Alder of BAR1 Motorsports in the 30-minute sprint race Saturday.
"I knew immediately that I had pace on Brian, but I have to give him due credit," Mee said. "He did an absolutely masterful job of keeping the car in the right place, which made it difficult for me to pass.
Round 8 Sunday morning was not as smooth sailing for Mee, who completed just nine laps and encountered five spins in rainy conditions.
"On Sunday I used rain tires that I bought with the car more than two years ago, and we've run on them three or four times," Mee said. "I just had no grip, and we were using a pretty aggressive car setup on the front end, which was causing the rear end to be loose. I was nursing the car so much, and I couldn't get the car to stick."
Mee believes circumstances out of his control may have hindered his overall weekend fortune.
"Our pace was excellent, and our setup was good this weekend," Mee said. "I think we were just subject to racing circumstances in qualifying with a wreck that cut qualifying short. If I would have qualified P1 and had a cleaner lap, I think I would have kept Brian behind me in the race because I had pace on him. At the end of the day, that's racing. I just feel fortunate that I have someone out there I can compete with so tightly."
Mee will take a break before heading to Road America in Wisconsin for the next round of the series Aug. 9-10.
As the world's fastest riders descend into the second half of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, the time is now for the series' title hopefuls to make their move as five rounds and 10 motos remain. This Saturday, the championship makes its annual visit to Minnesota and the beloved Spring Creek MX Park in Millville for the La Crescent Wine & Spirit Spring Creek National on July 19. The return to the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" and the Mississippi River Valley is a critical junction for two championship contenders as both Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha's Jeremy Martin and Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey are Minnesota natives with a long history at Spring Creek, each of whom will look to take advantage of his hometown experience.
Live broadcast coverage from Spring Creek begins Saturday, July 19, at 2 p.m. ET with the first motos of the 450 and 250 Classes on MAVTV.
Final moto coverage of both classes can be seen via tape delay on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) at 6 p.m. ET.
With three wins and a 250 Class-leading six moto wins to his credit this season, Jeremy Martin has put himself in position to earn a national title in just his second season of competition. The Millville-born rider currently enjoys a 27-point lead in the championship standings and now heads to the race he's looked forward to the most during the entire 2014 season. Jeremy and his 250 Class competing brother Alex are second-generation racers, following in the footsteps of their father, John, who was a champion off-road competitor. Since 1987, John and his wife, Greta, have owned and operated Spring Creek MX Park, leaving a world class facility to the disposal of their sons as they embarked to achieve their motocross dreams.
For Jeremy, Spring Creek was the site of his breakout ride as a rookie one year ago, when he nearly took the win in the opening moto. Following his tremendous success this season, there may not be a more anticipated return to his home track than this one, which has, in turn, also put the spotlight squarely on the 250 Class this weekend. Given his performance in Millville last season and his impressive management of the championship lead since the opening round, to say that Martin is a heavy favorite on Saturday afternoon would be an understatement. He is as expected to win as perhaps any rider in history given his knowledge of the track, which is only surpassed by that of his brother. Some have joked that Martin could ride Spring Creek with his eyes closed, and even with the addition of a brand new section this season, his newfound confidence and class-leading speed is expected to result in his most dominant performance of the season thus far, which would prove to be a major step towards securing a first 250 Class title. While one might think the pressure associated with his return could get to Martin, he's actually looking forward to the opportunity.
"I'm excited. I get to sleep in my own bed and see my mom and dad, which hasn't been since the end of supercross," said Martin. "I get to go out there and get back on the track, and show it who's boss again. It's been a while since I've burnt some laps around there, but we'll get that Star [Yamaha] bike wide open through the [sand] whoops and have some fun."
Two riders looking to spoil Martin's homecoming are Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett and Martin's Yamalube/Star Racing/Yamaha teammate Cooper Webb. Baggett made the most recent statement last weekend at Budds Creek, matching Martin's overall win total with his third victory of the season. He moved into second in the championship standings and although he recognizes the difficult task that lies ahead of him on Saturday, he remains optimistic that he can turn Spring Creek in his favor.
"When he [Jeremy Martin] can drive [to the track] in a golf cart and check it out, it's pretty close [to home]," said Baggett. "It's a little bit more fire underneath you to try to [beat him]. If it happens, it happens. But he's fast, bottom line. I'm sure he's going to be really fast at his home track. He ain't giving me nothing! You've got to fight for it. Which is good."
Webb has remained in the thick of the hunt since the beginning of the season and since breaking through for his first career win at Muddy Creek several weeks ago, he's also stepped up to become a more formidable challenger. Confidence is running high for the North Carolina native and he'll be just as motivated as Baggett to try and outrun his teammate on his home track.
On the heels of his second overall victory of the season last weekend, Minnesota native Dungey is also garnering considerable attention in the 450 Class as he returns to sight of some of his most successful outings. The KTM rider faces a 26-point deficit to his teammate Roczen atop the championship standings, but given the momentum of last weekend's win and his incredible record at Spring Creek, this is the opportunity to change the complexion of the title fight at a key point in the season.
Since 2008, dating back to when he was in the 250 Class, Dungey has won in five of his last six starts in Millville. He carried an undefeated record at the track in the 450 Class up until last season, which surely has left a chip on his shoulder and will only add to his motivation to return to prominence at his hometown race.
Moreover, Roczen's bid for the 250 Class title one year ago all but came to an end at Spring Creek when he crashed out of the first moto and lost control of the points lead in the process. The German has likely not forgotten that memory and will be in search of his own redemption in Millville. With an incredible streak of podium finishes in every moto to this point in 2014, Roczen has yet to falter against his more experienced rivals and so far appears to be in full control of his own destiny. Knowing his teammate will come out swinging on Saturday, don't be surprised if Roczen displays increased patience on the track.
Lurking behind this duo will be GEICO Honda's Eli Tomac, who in the first three starts of his 450 Class career has finished on the overall podium each time. Last season Tomac proved to be the benefactor of Roczen's misfortune at Spring Creek, sweeping the day's motos and seizing control of the championship en route to his first career 250 Class title. Tomac knows how to win at Millville and would gladly like to spoil the dominance his KTM counterparts have enjoyed in 2014.
Spring Creek MX Park has hosted a round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship since 1983 and has continued to provide one of the most picturesque and competitive tracks in the sport for over three decades. With its dramatic elevation changes, great soil and collection of the most notorious obstacles in all of off-road racing, like the infamous sand whoops and "Holy Schmidt" jump, Spring Creek provides a truly ideal setting to host an event of this magnitude. Factor in a brand new uphill and downhill section, which will no doubt result in some of the best racing of the 2014 season.
Last year at Spring Creek, Team Yoshimura Suzuki's James Stewart earned his lone win of the 2013 season, putting on a thrilling battle with Team Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard following misfortune by both Dungey and eventual champion Ryan Villopoto. In the 250 Class, Tomac was dominant and took over the championship lead following a tough day by Roczen in their season-long duel.
Action for the La Crescent Wine & Spirits Spring Creek National this Saturday, July 19, begins at 9:30 a.m. ET with timed practice. Opening ceremonies get underway at 1:25 p.m. ET, with the first gate drop scheduled for 2:05 p.m. ET.
Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Hayes and his No. 4 Yamaha YZF-R1 power into the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio with four consecutive AMA Pro SuperBike victories on his side and a fourth-career premier class title in his sights. The 39-year-old AMA Pro Road Racing icon has completely righted the ship after a rocky start to his 2014 campaign. And with a 40-point advantage in his pocket, Hayes stands an outside chance of locking down the throne a round early with another stellar weekend.
The Mississippian has taken six previous Mid-Ohio SuperBike race wins - four of which came packaged as double victories. It would have been seven wins and three doubles had he not been assessed a five-second penalty for a start-line infraction last season. Hayes was credited with second place in his most recent outing at the circuit despite taking the checkered flag first by 4.878 seconds.
Should Hayes double again this weekend, his teammate, Cameron Beaubier on the No. 2 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 and Roger Hayden, pilot of the No. 95 Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000, would need to score no worse than a 2-4 weekend combination or be eliminated from title contention.
Fourth-ranked David Anthony aboard the No. 25 ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 could stay in the hunt in the case of a Hayes double with a 2-3, but no other rider is close enough to weather that sort of display of dominance by the Yamaha superstar.
Hayes has been tested in terms of outright pace at times this season - by rookie teammate Beaubier in particular. But the hugely experienced veteran has made the most of his accumulated knowledge in the form of consistent excellence. After escaping to the win this past Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, Hayes was asked why he's been so reliably strong in comparison to his challengers.
"Everybody wants to talk about how old I am," said Hayes. "Years of practice. I've seen some guys come through that are incredibly talented - with a talent level that's hard to touch that I don't have. But I've had to do my schoolwork and I've gone about learning the skills of my trade. The things that I do help me so that my bad days aren't so bad. On my bad days, I'm off a very small amount from my good days. That keeps me steady. I've worked hard at it. I spend a lot of time focused on me and my motorcycle and I go out there and do my work. I'm proud of what I've been able to accomplish."
While they could not slow the Hayes freight train, Beaubier and Hayden were both relieved to have registered strong outings in Monterey, Calif. after suffering through frustrating weekends prior to that at Barber Motorsports Park.
"I think I rode OK," Beaubier said of his pole position/second-place weekend performance. "Overall, I'm pretty happy to get out of here with second place, especially after the weekend I had at Barber, throwing a couple bikes down the road. It's good to get some confidence back heading to Mid-Ohio."
Hayden said the strong result in California bodes well for him and his team this weekend.
"I'm really happy with the podium and how my race went," said Hayden. "My speed was good, even though we struggled at the beginning of the weekend. Now we have some momentum going to Mid-Ohio, so I have to thank the Yoshimura Suzuki crew, they dug deep this weekend and got my bike working well."
While Beaubier and Hayden bounced back after rough weekends in Alabama, it was the opposite story for fifth-ranked Chris Clark on the No. 6 Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000. Clark earned his first career AMA Pro Road Racing podium at Barber but could do no better than ninth in California.
"Honestly, we struggled a bit all weekend," Clark said. "I just didn't quite have it today but I just tried to put in a solid race and maximize what we did have. Now I'm looking forward to moving on to Mid-Ohio and going forward with our overall strategy, which should suit Mid-Ohio well. I'm looking forward to starting fresh and showing up optimistic next weekend, and hopefully getting a better result."
Clark's points advantage over his Yoshimura teammate, Martin Cardenas aboard the No. 36 Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing GSX-R1000, has been reduced to just eight. The Colombian got off to a strong start in Monterey, storming to the holeshot but was eventually relegated to fourth.
"We did have a little bit of a problem after a while," said Cardenas. "And I was losing a bit of time on every lap. Even so, I tried to do the best I could, but the other guys were just a little faster than I was and I ended up fourth. Now we'll go to Mid-Ohio, where I have had some good results, and see if we can step it up a bit."
Chris Fillmore and his No. 11 KTM/HMC Racing KTM RC8R equaled his season's best result with a fifth place run last weekend. He'll be looking to do even better at Mid-Ohio, where he and the orange bike made such an impressive debut back in 2011, scoring a seventh place result in their first outing.
Cory West on the No. 13 Team AMSOIL Hero EBR 1190RS, Bernat Martinez riding the No. 76 Proto-Tech Spain Yamaha YZF-R1and Trent Gibson aboard the No. 17 Seven Sports Kawasaki ZX-10 complete the championship top ten heading into Ohio. Meanwhile, local favorite Larry Pegram and the No. 72 Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing EBR 1190RS along with former Mid-Ohio AMA Superstock race winner Chris Ulrich on the No. 18 GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing Honda CBR1000RR will be back in action after pulling World Superbike duty at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Top 10 AMA Pro SuperBike results from
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)
2. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
3. Roger Hayden (Suzuki)
4. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki)
5. Chris Fillmore (KTM)
6. David Anthony (Suzuki)
7. Cory West (EBR)
8. Bernat Martinez (Yamaha)
9. Chris Clark (Suzuki)
10. Sebastiao Ferreira (Kawasaki)
AMA Pro SuperBike Points standings
1. Josh Hayes 175
2. Cameron Beaubier 135
3. Roger Hayden 134
4. David Anthony 131
5. Chris Clark 117
6. Martin Cardenas 108
7. Chris Fillmore 85
8. Cory West 79
9. Bernat Martinez 61
10. Trent Gibson 55
FansChoice.tv is the official home for live streaming coverage of AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track events in 2014. The site also provides coverage of IMSA's development and single-make series, and NASCAR's touring and weekly series.