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.
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
Porsche Cars North America (PCNA) and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca announced today that the next Porsche Rennsport Reunion will again take place at the famed California racetrack the weekend of October 9-11, 2015.
Hosted by PCNA, Rennsport Reunion V will, once again, bring together an extraordinary gathering of significant Porsche vintage and current racecars, as well those who have designed, engineered, and driven them to victory in the world’s most famous sports car races. The three-day program of on-track competition will be complemented by a Concours d’Elegance, which is open to invited race participants, and special activities celebrating each of the six decades of legendary Porsche racecars.
This incomparable event has been held about every three years. After staging the first three rounds in the East, with the inaugural at Lime Rock Park in 2001, Rennsport Reunion IV moved west in 2011, tapping into a vast array of west coast car aficionados and Porsche enthusiasts. “While the Rennsport name from the beginning has become a staple fixture for international collectors and racers, choosing the Monterey Peninsula opened up this one-of-a-kind gathering to the many Porsche fans in California and beyond who were previously unable to attend,” said Detlev von Platen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Porsche Cars North America. “Approximately 40,000 spectators for the weekend, and a record number of race cars and participants, proved that our decision to come here was correct.”
“After that truly rare gathering of significant Porsche race cars on the West Coast in 2011, we can expect an even larger number of fans of the Stuttgart sports car icon to attend next year,” predicted Gill Campbell, CEO and general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “We are proud that Porsche will come back to our track where it has a long racing tradition, and my team and I look forward to help making this the best Rennsport Reunion ever.”
Porsche Rennsport Reunion V will assemble a wide variety of Porsche’s most historic racing models from the nimble mid-engine 550 Spyder of the mid-Fifties, through the mighty 917 and 956/962 of the Seventies and Eighties, to the highly successful 911 GT3 RSR and RS Spyder of the last decade. Special tribute will be paid to the car that embodies Porsche’s return to the top of sports car racing. The 919 LMP1 Prototype is the guarantee that Porsche motorsports - and Rennsport Reunion - have a successful future.
During Porsche Rennsport Reunion IV, approximately 1,300 Porsche Club of America (PCA) member-owned Porsche models from the past 66 years helped fill the show fields, race classes, and parking lots of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. For the upcoming fifth rendition, the PCA, celebrating its 60th year in 2015, will once again play an integral role, capping their year-long celebration.
ESPN’s prime time newsmagazine program E:60 will air a NASCAR-related story in the episode airing Tuesday, Oct. 7, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. On the surface, it was a race like any other. She would have been easy to miss. A blur on the screen. A flash in the frame. But on that Saturday, if you looked closely at the swarm of cars covered in ads making perpetual lefts, you may have noticed her face, her smile, the hope that she brought to a family.
Her name was Melissa Lech, and she had been home on summer break from the University of Illinois when she was struck and killed while walking on the side of the road. The driver never stopped and after three years the case went cold. Then came September 17, 2011. As E:60’s Chris Connelly reports, on that day, in a NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the Chicagoland Speedway, former NASCAR driver Kevin Conway breathed new life into Melissa’s story by racing with her photo on his car. The gesture, an act of kindness to a family he had never met, would set in motion an unpredictable series of events that would include a startling confession, an innocent man spending two years in prison, and a family still in search of answers.
When the world had forgotten Melissa Lech, racecar driver Kevin Conway reminded them, and in the process forever changed the lives of two families. Click HERE for a preview clip of “Left Turn.”
NASCAR Sprint Cup racing will be featured in prime time on ABC as Charlotte Motor Speedway hosts the Bank of America 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 11. Coverage of Race No. 5 in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s 10-race version of the playoffs, begins with NASCAR Countdown presented by 5-Hour Energy at 7 p.m. ET with the race’s green flag at 7:46 p.m. The race will air in Spanish on ESPN Deportes on Oct. 13 at 4 a.m.
ESPN2 will air NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at Charlotte on Thursday, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m. as well as practice sessions on Friday, Oct. 10, at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
The track also will hold a 300-mile NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Friday night, Oct. 10, and the race will air live on ESPN2 at 7 p.m., with the green flag at 7:46 p.m. ESPN Deportes will air the race at 4 a.m. on Oct. 11.
ESPN2 will air NASCAR Nationwide Series practice on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. All NASCAR programming on ESPN2 is available on computers, smartphones, tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One via WatchESPN, accessible to fans who receive ESPN’s linear networks as part of their video subscription from an affiliate provider.
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series has the weekend off but fans can still get their fill of drag racing action when ESPN2 airs highlights from the recent event for the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series in Reading, Pa., on Sunday, Oct. 12, at 6 p.m.
RacingLive! on ESPN.com is a live blog where fans can engage in debate and discussion with ESPN.com writers and editors during the NASCAR Sprint Cup races. On Saturday night, Oct. 11, RacingLive! Charlotte will coincide with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Fans can join ESPN.com’s NASCAR experts in dissecting every aspect of the race live at http://espn.go.com/racing/nascar/.
Christina Nielsen put an exclamation point on her first competitive race season in the United States with a podium finish in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama finale and an impressive showing in the 17th Annual Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda Oct. 4 at Road Atlanta.
Nielsen alternated her time on the track between her No. 25 NGT Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and the No. 007 Aston Martin for TRG AMR in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
"I was definitely working hard to adjust going back and forth between the Porsche and Aston Martin," Nielsen said. "But that is part of being a pro driver, which is where I hope to be. I think a professional driver needs to be able to master both sprint and endurance race disciplines."
That's exactly what Nielsen tried to do throughout the four-day event at the 12-turn, 2.54-mile course. She alternated TUDOR practice sessions with her two Porsche GT3 races.
In her first race, Round 15 of the Porsche single-make series, Nielsen ran a steady race, overcoming some traffic and minor car issues to finish in a solid sixth-place Thursday, Oct. 2.
"In general, I was really quite happy with the race," Nielsen said. "I had very steady lap times and even adjusting from the Aston Martin I think I found my rhythm quickly."
After a couple more TUDOR practices sprinkled in her schedule, Nielsen took the track in her Porsche for a rainy finale Friday. Nielsen, starting sixth, capitalized on a race-opening incident involving four cars in front of her. Nielsen escaped the mayhem to grab two positions, moving up to fourth.
Nielsen, from Aarhus, Denmark, ran a clean race the rest of the way and drove her way to third place for her second podium finish of the season. The result also secured her a sixth-place finish in the Platinum Cup Drivers' Championship.
"It was a nice to show by the end of the season that we could be up there," Nielsen said. "We ran a smart race. I was a little bit careful in the start, and as you can see, it paid off. Knowing the podium was in reach, I wanted to go for it, but I also wanted to keep it safe and smart.
"But as my dad used to always say, 'You're never better than your last race.' I'm pretty happy with it. I have to thank my team and Porsche; it was a really good way to end it."
With her full season of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama complete, Nielsen turned her full attention to the 10-hour endurance race. Her TRG team started on the GT Daytona class pole after an impressive qualifying effort by teammate James Davison.
Nielsen took her first stint in the No. 007 Aston Martin a little less than three hours into the race. After going out in 14th, Nielsen made her way through the field, climbing as high as third place during what turned into a long stint.
Nielsen took one more behind the wheel, but an electrical problem forced the car to lose power down the straight. The team ended up taking the checkered flag in 10th-place.
"Overall I'm really happy with my own performance and the overall performance of the team," Nielsen said. "You have to have a little bit of luck in races like this. No one could have predicted we were going to have that problem with the car. There was nothing indicating we were going to have any problems leading up to Saturday, but that's just how racing is.
"There are a lot of external elements that you can't do anything about. So thinking about the things we could influence, I'm really happy with how it turned out. Both of my co-drivers and the entire crew did an amazing job. This is my favorite event of the year and my favorite track. And hopefully it won't be my last time here. I'll definitely be trying to go for a podium at some point."
Finishing up a strong season in the TUDOR United Sportscar Championship, the no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia took the checkered flag at Saturday's Petit Le Mans in ninth position in the GT-Daytona class.
The top-ten finish capped what was a challenging season for the team, who secured two wins during the TUDOR Championship - one at Detroit, on the temporary circuit on Belle Isle Park, and the second at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At Petit Le Mans, held at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, the Ferrari was driven by Alessandro Balzan, Brandon Davis, Kyle Marcelli and Jeff Westphal.
The no. 63 Ferrari 458 Italia was an early mover in the race with Balzan - who started the car - moving up steadily through the field in the opening hour. However, four separate incidents of contact would slow the car. A strong stint by Davis was derailed when a Prototype Challenge car forced him into the grass and he had to pit to allow the Scuderia Corsa crew to clean the radiators. Marcelli was hit twice, once by another Prototype Challenge car and once by a GT-LM car, which forced a second unscheduled stop. A fourth incident spun the Ferrari with Balzan at the wheel. In all, the team was able to regain one of its lost laps but would finish a lap down to the GT-D leader, in ninth position.
Scuderia Corsa's regular drivers, Alessandro Balzan and Jeff Westphal discussed not only the challenges of Petit Le Mans, but shared their thoughts on their season with the team.
"I think our top-10 was a positive result considering the up-and-down nature of the race," said Westphal, who drove with Balzan to Scuderia Corsa's two victories this season. "Considering our BoP and how heavy the car is, we made the best of what we had. The Ferrari was a pleasure to drive at Road Atlanta and the team worked really hard to make the most out of what was a long race that had a lot of yellow flags. I think we have much to be proud of from this season, and I'm really thankful to have taken part in the first TUDOR Championship with Scuderia Corsa."
"We got everything that we could out of the Ferrari this weekend," said Balzan, the 2013 Rolex Sports Car Series GT champion. "We had a problem, the contact from the Prototype, that put is in a really tough position because we went down a lap. The team put in the best effort possible in a really, really challenging race with so many yellows and traffic, but I think we made the best result we could. Just as I was last year when we won the Rolex Series championship, I am very proud to be driving for Scuderia Corsa."
Team owner Giacomo Mattioli also expressed his thoughts on the race as well as the season his team has battled through.
"This was a season where we saw our team really rise to battle against many challenges," said Giacomo Mattioli, team owner of Scuderia Corsa. "We definitely faced our share of adversity this season, and a lot of it was out of our control, but that's racing. Our guys never quit and never gave up. If we had a bad race, we seemed to come back better and stronger. We had a real problem with the BoP, but our engineers and our drivers got the maximum out of our Ferrari. I am happy that Ferrari secured the manufacturer's championship for the North American Endurance Cup, with our no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia helping to secure the title. This makes all of us very proud, and I want to congratulate our fellow Ferrari competitors, Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell, on their North American Endurance Cup championship.
"Our Petit Le Mans race started reasonably well, and we did have the pace to run with the leaders and be in the running in the final hour. But given the circumstances, I am happy with our top-10 and we are already looking ahead to Daytona. It has been a special year, with the celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Ferrari North America, and I am proud that Scuderia Corsa was able to deliver two victories for Ferrari this year."
The no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia will be displayed during the Ferrari 60th Anniversary celebration on October 11-12 in Beverly Hills, California, near Scuderia Corsa's base and near Ferrari of Beverly Hills.
Scuderia Corsa's Ferrari Challenge program will compete next on September 19-21 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. That race will be held as part of the Formula 1 World Championship weekend.
For the second-consecutive year, Braselton, Georgia's-own Bryan Sellers hoisted the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victory trophy for the Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta. With the track less than five minutes from his home, it is easy to understand why the driver of the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR knows the way to the classic sports car racing venue so well, but his uncanny knack for finding the top-step of the victory roster impresses even the most jaded follower of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
"The win was amazing! It is particularly special because I was able to share it with all my friends and family here in Braselton," added an elated Sellers. "There is something special about winning the race but something even more special about being able to share it."
Just as it was in 2013, the win in the most competitive GT racing class in world came at the last race of the season for Sellers and teammate Wolf Henzler (Germany) - who were joined by Marco Holzer (Germany) this weekend. The season-long fight to take a victory for the only privately entered Porsche 911 RSR in North America was spurred by several inspired drives by Sellers during the 10-hour race.
After qualifying third on Friday, Sellers wasted little time asserting himself when the green flag waved on Saturday morning. He quickly moved the Porsche up to second and began to push the pole position-winning factory 911 RSR. Even after a brief moment falling back to third, the six-year veteran of the Falken program made a decisive move on a restart on the downhill final turn at Road Atlanta to lay claim as a serious challenger for the 17th Annual Petit Le Mans GTLM trophy.
"It was completely necessary for us to put in a really strong opening stint," Sellers continued. "The factory Porsche 911 RSRs are our benchmark. We needed to set the tone for us that we could hang with them. It was difficult with the traffic to stay close to Tandy, although he was able to open a little bit of a gap with the PC traffic early in the stint, but we were able to match pace shortly after."
Sellers handed over the driving duties of the pristine teal and blue Porsche to Henzler who held position near the front of the field before himself relinquishing the ride to Holzer. When the car came back to Sellers near the race's midpoint, he proved his mettle by turning a lap time good enough to hold the GTLM fastest race lap honors for most of the day. It wasn't until late in the event when Henzler narrowly nipped his longtime teammate for fastest race lap.
"The team was giving me grief that Wolf was coming after my fastest lap and he did get it by .004-seconds," added Sellers. "My answer to the team was I am happy if he beats my lap because we were very fast during my stint and if he could go faster that the win would be ours."
As Sellers, Henzler and Holzer rotated the No. 17 for ten-hours, they remained steadfast at the front. The trio ran a faultless race and the Team Falken Tire crew mimicked that in pit lane. Sellers held the lead entering the race's final hour and gave the car to Henzler with less than an hour to go. Henzler fought off several attempts by fellow Porsche factory driver Michael Christensen (Denmark) in the closing minutes while the Dane defended against the Dodge Viper SRT behind him. It all became more interesting when a caution flew with 20-minutes to go, packing the field. Only last year's stunning final moments equaled the six-minute race to the checkered flag when it went green again. Ultimately, the No. 17 crossed the finish line just ahead of the No. 912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR entered by the factory and the factory-entered Viper.
"We were starting to think that our consecutive season win-streak was going to come to an end," stated Sellers. "We did know that the Team Falken Tire Porsche would be strong at Road Atlanta and that we would have an opportunity to compete for the win. I think everyone was motivated above and beyond even our normal amount because it is such an important race to all of us. After tasting victory last year no one wanted to leave with out a win.
We have had a great run over the past few years, and all the victories have been done as a team. That means Falken Tire, Walker Racing, Porsche and the drivers. Everyone plays their part! It means a lot to me to be in a program like Falken, and in a program that is so supported by Porsche."
In addition to securing Sellers his fifth major sports car victory, all with Team Falken Tire, the win also helped propel Porsche to the GTLM Manufacturer title. Also, by leading at the race's eight-hour mark, the points awarded for that allowed Porsche to clinch manufacturer honors in the Tequila Patrón North American Endurance Championship.
"The Falken tire was great all day," Sellers concluded. "It was fast. It was reliable and it was durable. It was exactly what the Falken engineers designed the tire to be. My hat's off to everyone in Japan and here in the States who worked on getting us such a great tire for Road Atlanta. The testing we did here was crucial. We have spent a lot of time at Road Atlanta and built a great tire for the track. Without the testing I am certain the victory would have been much more difficult."
For more on Bryan Sellers, please visit him on the web at www.BryanSellersRacing.com. Follow Bryan on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/BryanSellers) and LIKE him on Facebook at:www.facebook.com/BryanSellersRacing. Tune-in to Bryan's YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/BryanSellersRacing.
Gus Dean made things very interesting in the closing laps Saturday night at Lonesome Pine Raceway, but it was Caleb Holman who took advantage of a bobble by the youngster in the final three laps to win the Morgan McClure Ford-Chevrolet 200. The win was Holman’s fifth of the season, and all but sealed up the 2014 X-1R Pro Cup Series championship for the veteran driver.
“That was a pretty fun battle for the win with Gus (Dean) there at the end. He was doing all he could to put the pressure on me because we both had some pretty good race cars. Luckily for me I had just a little more grip than he did at the end,” explained Holman in Edelbrock Victory Lane. “It’s pretty cool for me to win here tonight. I’m from up this way so I have a lot of friends, family, and people from my church here so it’s nice to be able to share this win with them. Of course a big thanks goes to this entire Henderson race team, Food Country USA, and all of our other supporters this season. It’s been a good year but we’ve got one more to go and it would be nice to end the year the same way we started out; with a win.”
The healthy crowd in attendance thought they may see youngster Gus Dean pick up his second career win. Dean stayed in Holman’s tracks for the first 100 laps before taking advantage of the halfway break restart on lap 101. From there Dean held the top position until the yellow flag flew on lap 144 for the #5 Lance Gatlin breaking down the front stretch setting up a deciding restart on lap 150.
“I thought we had a good chance at winning our second race this season. That yellow flag probably hurt me a little there. I was doing all I could to get to Caleb there at the end. I just couldn’t make it happen. Hats off to my Dean Racing team though, they have me another good piece we just came up a little short tonight,” noted Dean after the race.
That restart proved to be what Holman needed to seal up the win at his home track just as he did last time the series visited the Southwest Virginia track in 2011. Veteran JP Morgan rounded out the podium with series newcomer Brad Ball finishing an impressive fourth. Former NASCAR Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, Danny O’Quinn, driving a late model stock car came home fifth in the series’ effort to research a combined racing package amongst Pro Cup and Late Model Stock cars in the future.
Next up for the X-1R Pro Cup Series is the Bojangles 250 at Hickory Motor Speedway in Hickory, North Carolina on Saturday October 18th. The season finale event will feature a limited amount of free tickets at Hickory area Bojangles beginning Monday October 13th. For more information on this event and the entire X-1R Pro Cup Series visit www.carsprocup.com or contact the series directly at 704-662-9212.
Qualifying action today from Silverstone got underway under rainy conditions. After an impressive showing in free practice Jake Gagne was enthusiastic about his prospects for grabbing a solid starting position. Tomas Puerta was confident that his crew had solved the problems that were plaguing during the free practice sessions. The rain wasn't too much of an issue for the riders as Jake has won races and claimed the 2014 AMA Daytona Sportbike Championship in the rain and Tomas is known for his wet weather skills.
Qualifying proceeded in wet conditions and Jake Gagne had been circulating up in P2 as the session was red flagged and halted. Tomas Puerta was fighting rear grip issues but was able to progress through the pack.
Upon the restart of qualifying Jake had a moment on his second lap out. Unfortunately he re-injured his shoulder. The initial injury occurred during his final race in the AMA season at New Jersey Motorsports Park. After completing the sighting and warm-up laps, the injury was too severe and Jake had to sit out the race and he will his reevaluate his shoulder in the morning.
Tomas Puerta gridded up for the sprint race and was able to ride strong all race long. His apparent struggles behind him, he was able to turn faster and faster laps as the race progressed, eventually crossing the line in P20.
|Tomas Puerta during the afternoon Sprint Race|
Performance Tech Motorsport's season ended early despite the team's resilient efforts at Road Atlanta for the 17th Annual Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda.
The season ended when driver Jerome Mee was pushing hard to pass a GTLM car coming into Turn 12. The No. 38 Dash Neighborhood/ Phillips 66 Prototype Challenge car went wide and hit the wall. Mee was able to continue and brought the car into the pits.
Once in the pits, Team Principal Brent O'Neill and his crew decided they would try to repair the car. This would be the third repair of the race. But once back at the paddock, it was determined that the damage was greater than expected, and the team was forced to retire shortly after the five-hour mark of the 10-hour TUDOR United SportsCar Championship endurance classic.
"On the restart, Jerry just made a little mistake," O'Neill said. "He got wide in 12 and got in the dirt, then bounced it off the wall to the inside. Atlanta hasn't been kind to us the last two years. We'll go home and lick our wounds and get ready for next year."
Performance Tech put up quite the fight throughout the race. Driver David Ostella took the car from ninth to fifth at the start of the race. He climbed to fourth before the car's wire to the compressor broke, making it impossible for Ostella to shift. The car slowed suddenly and was struck from behind by a passing car. The team brought the Prototype Challenge car to the paddock and found and repaired the problem in 15 minutes. The team re-entered the race 19 laps down from the PC field leader.
"The team hustled all weekend," Ostella said. "They got the car fixed quickly and back out there to give us a fighting chance. I have to thank them for that. It's sad that it had to end this way, but things happen you can't plan for, and we will all move on."
James French's stint went on without drama as he made progress around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile course. The car's mechanical woes were behind it, and French turned consistent laps.
"It went excellent out there for me," French said. "It went as good as it could. The guys had done a great job fixing the car right before my stint. They did a great job of fixing it quickly while we completed the driver change. The car ran well for the entire stint. I just tried to keep my nose clean and go as quickly as I could and stay out of harm's way. Definitely thanks to everyone who made this happen, everyone on the team and my dad and mom."
Mee was behind the wheel of the PC for two stints, both of which featured many of the 11 yellow flags Performance Tech encountered before it retired. Mee showedconsistent speed and a talent for restarts.
His second stint ended early due to the Turn 12 incident.
"I felt comfortable in the car," Mee said. "The race environment was chaotic, but once I got my pace going and got around a lot of GTD cars, I acclimated. JJ (driver coach Jonatan Jorge) did a great job letting me know where all the cars were coming from. I felt good. It's just unfortunate on the second stint I passed a GTLM car coming over the bridge and went wide. That just killed me, a rough way to end."
Performance Tech Motorsports soon will focus on 2015. The team's test schedule and driver development program begins in early November.
The Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta wrapped up the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship on Saturday night. While the headliner was the 10-Hour TUDOR race, the weekend also featured the season finale for the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, and season ending double-headers for both the Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires and the Cooper Tires IMSA Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda. These four series are among a wide variety of roadracing series featuring Mazda cars and teams. The Mazda Road to Indy seasons wrapped up in late August, while there are still a few more weekends of major club racing events between now and year end.
John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American Operations noted: “In a traditional ‘racing sense’ the highlight of the season was the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park race where we scored our best finish of the season. But the true highlight of the season is the ‘miracle’ that was achieved in this Mazda program...and the progress that was made each step of the way. What we did by putting a production diesel engine in an endurance racing prototype has never been done before and we believe it is the best way to showcase SKYACTIV Technology and Mazda’s overall brand strength. In the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge we enjoyed three great wins. Both our MX-5 Cup and the IMSA Prototype Lites saw large grids and amazing racing. Congratulations to our latest Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy champions.”
TUDOR United SportsCar Championship – Using the smallest engine, one that is 51 percent stock, meant that the Mazda SKYACTIV team had a huge engineering task in front of them. The team worked tirelessly all year long and their efforts were applauded by competitors and fans alike. The SpeedSource teams finished the season ranked ninth and eleventh in points.
Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge – Thanks to three race wins and a dozen podium finishes from Freedom Autosport and CJ Wilson Racing, Mazda finished third in the ST Manufacturers Championship, just one point behind second place. Andrew Carbonell and Randy Pobst scored two of the wins while Tom Long teamed up with U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer for their memorable Memorial Day weekend win.
Mazda would like to congratulate three successful alums who claimed championships this weekend. 2008 MX-5 Cup Champion Eric Foss won the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge ST Drivers Championship, 2010 Mazda/Skip Barber Karting Shootout winner Trent Hindman won the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS Drivers Championship, and 2007 Star Mazda Champion Dane Cameron won the TUDOR GT Daytona Drivers Championship.
Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires – Sebastian Landy was the star of the weekend scoring his first two race wins. Kenton Koch finished fourth and second, which added to his six previous wins, earning him the championship. Drake Kemper won the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge class championship. Lucas Catania was the Rookie-of-the-Year, while his father, Joseph Catania, was awarded the Masters Championship. ALARA Racing was awarded Team-of-the-Year, while Ken Murillo won the Spirit of Mazda award.
Cooper Tires IMSA Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda – Mikhail Goikhberg ended the season the same way he started it – with a win. Goikhberg won nine of the 14 races to easily take the championship. Matt McMurry won the other Lites race at Road Atlanta.
While the Petit weekend closes out the professional road racing season, the action is not completely done for the year. October 10-12 will see the 51st Annual SCCA National Championship Runoffs take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. This is the largest club road racing event in the country and more than 500 cars have entered. Among the entries are 132 Mazda and Mazda-powered racers.