Racing News (11467)
Racing News from around the World
Thunder Mountain Speedway has officially joined the elite ranks of DIRTcar-sanctioned racetracks in the Northeast for 2020. The Southern New York speedway will sanction the highly competitive DIRTcar 358 Modified division as well as DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds.
DIRTcar Northeast Director Dean Reynolds visited Thunder Mountain officials last Sunday for their rules meeting at the Town of Lisle Fire Department conference center. Reynolds and track owners came to the agreement, which will include support from Hoosier Racing Tire, VP Racing Fuels and increased promotional outreach for their weekly racing provided by DIRTcar.
“The Spoonhower family has put their love and sweat into their track for many years and has become the staple of the New York Southern Tier,” Reynolds said. “While they were looking at the Hoosier tire route for the past several years, they felt this was the right time to make the move. After the meeting this past Sunday with their teams, DIRTcar sanctioning was welcomed. We all will work hard to make sure it’s a smooth and successful transition.”
Thunder Mountain Speedway will now be a part of the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Championship for both the 358 and Sportsman Modifieds. Hoosier puts up $11,250 for weekly 358 Modified drivers and another $4,550 for their Sportsman Modified counterparts every year.
Track owner and promoter Karl Spoonhower is looking forward to the 2020 season to see how things shake out.
“The move to DIRTcar sanctioning, I think, will be a good one,” he said. “I know change is sometimes tough, but we always have our drivers’ best interest in mind. The response to these changes, moving to Hoosier and DIRTcar, has been really good so far. We have loyal racers and fans who I hope will stick with us, they are like family. They understand that the sport of racing is changing and if we don’t look toward the future we’ll be left behind.”
All DIRTcar members at DIRTcar-sanctioned tracks have their top 16 finishes calculated for the standings. Drivers, teams, officials and fans are encouraged to sign up for the Hoosier Racing Tire Weekly Newsletter at DIRTcar.com for updates on all of the DIRTcar Racing competition across the Northeast.
DIRTcar Northeast and Thunder Mountain management are currently looking at dates for Series races.
Thunder Mountain Speedway sits atop a veritable mountain with picturesque views of the valleys in Center Isle, NY. Built in 1992 by Spoonhower, the track is a three-eighths-mile banked clay oval that hosts weekly stock car racing on Saturday nights from April through September. Thunder Mountain is dubbed The Fast Track for its racy surface and three- and four-wide racing.
DIRTcar 358 Modifieds will share top billing with the Big Block/Small-Block Modified division. The racing card in 2020 will also include DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds, Rookie/Budget Sportsman, 600cc Modifieds, Street Stock and Factory Stocks.
DIRTcar Series PR
Indoor Auto Racing Series Fueled By VP Race Fuels promoter Len Sammons has issued a Racers Challenge to the drivers and car owners who will compete in the four 2020 events: “Help us sell out the house and we’ll pay the feature winners in all classes double the purse!” Sammons, who along with sons Danny and Davey organize the events, expanded the challenge to increasing all other feature finishing positions 20% if the “Sold Out” sign is posted at the box office prior to the start of the feature events. “It can be done,” said Len Sammons. “We’ve done it once in our history and have come close several other times.
There is nothing better than the atmosphere inside a packed arena! The fans and racers feed off each other creating a buzz unlike anything else in racing. “We are 100% focused on growing the Indoor Series and making each event a spectator driven, can’t miss event,” said Sammons. “My staff has always encouraged the racers to interact with the fans and put on a show both in the car and outside of it. Racing comes first, but fan interaction and increasing fan involvement is also a high priority.
This incentive is the next step in that process. “The Concrete Series opens at the PPL Center in Allentown, Pa. on January 3rd and 4th. These events, sponsored by Ironton Telephone, include features for the TQ Midgets each night. Instead of $2,000 to win each, these events would pay $4,000 if every ticket is sold, something accomplished when the first event was held in the building four years ago.
Racing then moves to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall on Friday and Saturday January 31st and February 1st for the NAPA Know How Classic. Andy Jankowiak of Buffalo, N.Y. won $5,000 when he took the 2019 Gambler’s Classic. If he did it again and the place was sold out, he would earn $10,000. In the event’s 17 year history, tickets were nearly sold out on three occasions.
Next up is the third annual East Coast Indoor Dirt Nationals which will return to CURE Insurance Arena in Trenton, N.J. with a new date. This event, held the last two years in December, has been moved to Friday and Saturday nights February 21st and 22nd to avoid a conflict with Christmas. Rated a ‘must see’ event by those who attended the first two years, it’s great racing and new date could make it a sell out with the extra push of the race teams. If so, the 600 Sprint winner would receive $10,000 rather than $5,000 received by Whitey Kidd, III and Erick Rudolph the last two years.
The “Concrete Series” season finale follows on Friday and Saturday March 13th and 14th in a second year return to the brand new Expo Center located on the grounds of the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse. N.Y. With features for the TQ Midgets each night, these features which traditionally pay $2,000 would jump to $4,000 with a sellout. At the first ever event held in Syracuse last year, Saturday’s attendance was 75% of the occupancy limit so again it’s very possible. The sell-out bonus plan will also be paid to the Slingshot and Champ Kart divisions that run as part of the Concrete Series.
The Indoor Auto Racing Series staff can provide its racers promotional materials to help promote the events in an attempt to sell tickets. This will include social media aids for Facebook and Twitter campaigns, event posters and handbills along with invitations to set up driver media interviews. “The idea is to work together so that we can build up the series interest to an all-time high. Every driver, car owner and crewman has friends who go to the races and other friends who used to go,” said Sammons.
For the past three seasons, rising talents Oliver Askew and Rinus VeeKay have been rivals in the Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires.
The pair dominated INDYCAR's three-tier, developmental ladder series during that period, combining to win three driver's titles, nearly two-thirds of the races they entered and never finishing worse than third in the championship standings.
Askew won the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship - the first rung of the series - and followed with the 2019 crown in Indy Lights, the top rung of the system. VeeKay won the 2018 Indy Pro 2000 Championship while finishing runner-up to Askew in the other two series.
In 2020, they will resume their rivalry and be competing for another notable title - the NTT IndyCar Series Rookie of the Year.
VeeKay was announced Wednesday as the full-time driver for Ed Carpenter Racing in the No. 21 Chevrolet. He became the third Road to Indy graduate in the past three weeks during a busy off-season to earn a full-time seat in the NTT IndyCar Series.
VeeKay's confirmation followed the late October announcement of Askew and Patricio O'Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champion, being named as the full-time drivers of the Chevrolet-powered Arrow McLaren SP organization.
It is part of the series' recent youth movement which, including Askew and VeeKay, will see 14 Road to Indy drivers graduate to the top level of the sport since 2015.
VeeKay, who hails from Hoofddorp, Netherlands, is the youngest of the trio at 19 years old. O'Ward, of Monterrey, Mexico, is 20 and Askew, of Jupiter, Fla., is 22.
"It's a dream come true and something we have worked extremely hard for over the last couple of years," VeeKay said. "To step up from USF2000 to the NTT IndyCar Series in three years is really special. ... The number of available seats in the NTT IndyCar Series is very limited, so it's a great honor that (Ed Carpenter Racing) has chosen me to join their team."
Both VeeKay and Askew got their introduction to an NTT IndyCar Series car in August when they were chosen for a test at Portland International Raceway. VeeKay tested with Ed Carpenter Racing that day while Askew took part in the session with Chip Ganassi Racing. VeeKay eventually had a second test with ECR in October and obviously impressed the team. Askew also was a name continually being bantered about for consideration of any potential full-time NTT IndyCar Series seats in 2020.
"(The NTT IndyCar Series) is what I've been working for for my entire career since I started racing when I was seven years old in go-karts," Askew said. "So it's a surreal feeling to finally be here. I can't wait to get to work.
"A couple years ago (the NTT) IndyCar (Series) looked so far away, let alone Indy Lights. So it's been a whirlwind couple of years. It's a testament to the people around me for sure I mean starting with Cape Motorsports and USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 and then Andretti Autosport this year in Indy Lights. I've been surrounded by a lot of great people and have been given tremendous opportunities. And I've just based my success off of a lot of preparation beforehand, before the season, before the races, and I've dedicated my life to racing and I've sacrificed a lot to get to this point."
O'Ward is the Indy car veteran of the group with eight career NTT IndyCar Series starts, including his stunning 2018 debut at Sonoma Raceway. He qualified in the Firestone Fast Six and finished eighth just a few weeks after winning the Indy Lights crown. Last season, O'Ward competed in seven races for Carlin before being signed by the Red Bull Junior Team with a future eye on Formula One. He was with the team was roughly six months before they severed ties and opened the opportunity for a return to the NTT IndyCar Series.
"I think it's very big, not just for me but for Oliver as well," O'Ward said. "We're just starting our journey into the professional side of this sport and it's something we have been working towards our whole lives, so I'm very much looking forward to the opportunity.
"I think we're going to make a really good team. We're both hungry for all the success. I think at this point both the team and we are growing, we're starting a new chapter in our careers and I think the sky's the limit."
Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt is a believer of the path produced by the Road to Indy and the talent it attracts.
"What we're seeing recently with the Road to Indy is nothing short of amazing. If you win, you advance. If you win, you advance," said Schmidt, whose teams won seven Indy Lights titles before focusing solely on the NTT IndyCar Series. "These kids aren't coming in with three and four and five years of experience. We're talking 13, 14 years of racing experience and so they're coming in a lot more advanced than the rookies of days of old.
"So we saw, it's no shocker, I mean what Colton Herta did this year (two wins and two poles as a rookie) was nothing short of amazing and these guys come from exactly the same background. So a lot of people have said that it's really risky, it's a gamble, but we really don't think it is."
VeeKay, Askew and O'Ward will make their initial 2020 on-track appearances with their new teams at the INDYCAR open test Feb. 11-12 at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. The trio will make their official debuts at the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg set for March 13-15 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. The race will be televised live on the NBCSN.
Perhaps a future NASCAR Xfinity Series or maybe even a future Monster Energy NASCAR Cup champion will be crowned Saturday night in Charlotte as the industry celebrates 115 champion drivers from its thriving regional, local and international series at the Charlotte Convention Center.
Competitors from the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to both of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series – East and West – to NASCAR’s Pinty Series and the hugely popular NASCAR Whelen Euro Series will be duly celebrated alongside the best in short track local racing that compete in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series from all around the country.
“They are a vital piece in the fabric of our sport," NASCAR President Steve Phelps wrote in the awards’ program. And certainly these drivers represent the sport in important ways.
The list of honorees includes 57 track champions from Mike Looney, who won 12 of 16 races at Virginia’s Motor Mile Speedway to Tyler Tanner who earned championship honors from Evergreen Speedway in Washington state. It will also include Jacob Goede, who won his sixth straight Late Model championship at Elko Speedway and his sixth straight Minnesota championship en route to earning his first NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I national championship.
National champions from all of NASCAR’s Whelen All-American Series divisions will be celebrated, led by eighteen-year-old Bryan Narducci, who won his second straight Division III national title racing in the SK Light divisions in Connecticut. He’ll share the spotlight with B Modified driver Clint Johnson from Missouri (Division II champion), Narducci, 4-Cylinder driver Corey Holtzlander from Michigan (Division IV), Sportsman Compact driver Dustin Grout from Iowa (Division V) and Sportsman Compact driver Tyler Hoover from Iowa (UNOH Youth Achievement Award)
Eighteen-year old Nick Sanchez, of Homestead, Florida, will receive the prestigious Wendall Scott Trailblazer Award. A thriving participant of REV Racing and the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Driver Development Program, Sanchez earned his first Late Model win this year at South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach Speedway. He earned an amazing 19 top-10 finishes in 20 starts in his first fulltime Late Model season. And he made his NASCAR K&N Series East debut this season with a pair of top-10 finishes in three starts.
The highly competitive NASCAR K&N Series West will celebrate its champion, 18-year-old Wisconsin native Derek Kraus, who won a series best five races and earned 13 top-10 finishes in 14 starts. Seventeen-year old Jagger Jones will be honored as that series’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year. Jones comes from one of the country’s most successful racing bloodlines – his grandfather Parnelli Jones won the 1963 Indianapolis 500 and his father P.J. was an IMSA GTP talent who also has nearly 100 starts in NASCAR’s three national divisions.
Jagger won his first NASCAR K&N Series race in October and earned a pole position and eight top-five finishes. He finished three points ahead of another young driver many are watching, 18-year-old Hailee Deegan. Deegan won her second and third K&N Pro Series West races, edging Jones at Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s dirt track for her second series victory and then taking her third win later at Colorado National Speedway.
Sam Mayer, also from Wisconsin, won both the K&N Pro Series East championship and the series’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors with four wins and 11 top-five finishes in 12 races. He became the youngest NASCAR regional or national champion at just 16 years, three months and eight days. NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity participant Chase Cabre finishes second in the championship with a pair of victories and seven top-five finishes.
Not only will the sport have a chance to celebrate and reflect on all the accomplishments of the 2019 season, the work of these drivers indicates good things for the future as well.
With the NASCAR season coming to an end, it is time to celebrate for the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series. A large delegation representing the official European NASCAR series will fly to Charlotte to attend the traditional NASCAR Awards ceremony at the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Saturday, November 23.
Representing NWES will be 2019 EuroNASCAR PRO Champion Loris Hezemans, EuroNASCAR 2 Champion Lasse Soerensen, Challenger Trophy winner Henri Tuomaala and Legend Trophy winner Ian Eric Waden, alongside EuroNASCAR 2 title contenders Giorgio Maggi, Vittorio Ghirelli, Nicholas Risitano, Myatt Snider, and EuroNASCAR Club Challenge winner Alain Mosqueron. Champion team manager Roy Hendriks from Hendriks Motorsport and DF1-Racing team owner Norbert Walchhofer will also join the group, which will be accompanied by NWES President / CEO Jerome Galpin and NWES Vice President Anne Galpin.
The spotlight will be on Hezemans after the Dutchman became the youngest ever NASCAR Whelen Euro Series Champion in October. The 22-year-old Amsterdam native will put his name in the Whelen Hall Of Champions inside the NASCAR Hall Of Fame on Thursday, November 21 in special event. The Champions week will then culminate with the NASCAR Awards on Saturday November 23. During the grand gala, Hezemans receive the Champion Ring and the NWES trophy. Hezemans’ #50 Hendriks Motorsport Mustang will also be showcased in the NASCAR Hall Of Fame alongside some of the most important cars in NASCAR’s history.
“Winning the title finally sunk in the last few weeks and it’s an incredible feeling. You don’t really get it immediately because you’re so focused on doing everything to win. So when you actually win the championship, you’re kind of surprised,” said Hezemans. “It’s when you start being congratulated by everybody that you realize what you’ve done. The NASCAR Awards are the culmination of the season and I can’t wait to be there. It’s going to be a great experience and I want to thank NASCAR, the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, Hendriks Motorsport and all the people supporting me for this amazing season.”
The NWES delegation will enjoy a full immersion in NASCAR’s home in Charlotte, North Carolina beginning on Friday, November 22. The group will visit the Hendrick Motorsports headquarters and the Charlotte Motor Speedway before heading back the NASCAR Hall Of Fame for the evening’s Season Celebration in which all Euro NASCAR drivers will be rewarded for their 2019 success. The party will continue the next evening, once again at the Charlotte Convention Center in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, with the NASCAR Awards to celebrate Hezemans and four other NASCAR champions in front of the entire NASCAR family and mark the official end of another unforgettable season.
Kyle Larson took the lead on lap 35 of 100 and proceeded to run away from the field on the way to winning the inaugural USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series’ Hangtown 100 at Placerville Speedway, Wednesday night. In addition to taking home $20,000 for winning the A Main feature, Larson also captured the $12,000 prize as the high point scorer over two the two nights of racing featuring the richest purse in USAC Midget history.
Christopher Bell finished second, while Tanner Carrick placed third as Toyota-powered cars captured the top three finishing positions on the night.
Four different drivers led during the race, with Brady Bacon taking the lead at the green flag, followed by Aaron Reutzel, Dillon Welch, Carrick, Jason McDougal, Larson and Logan Seavey. Bacon would maintain the lead briefly before Reutzel took over the top spot on lap three. Bacon fell back to second with Carrick in third and Seavey having climbed all the way up to fourth from his 12th starting position in just three laps, while Larson ran fifth.
Carrick would go inside Bacon for second on lap 12, with Seavey also getting past Bacon on lap 14. Three laps later, he would overtake Carrick for second and begin chasing down Reutzel.
Mastering the high line, Seavey went around Reutzel for the top spot on lap 18. As the reigning series champion settled into the lead, a hard-charging Larson claimed the second position on lap 29 and quickly set his sights on the leader. Closing in through lapped traffic, Larson would eventually use a slider through turns three and four to claim the lead on lap 35. Seavey fell to second, one spot ahead of Carrick. Shortly afterward, Seavey would get caught in traffic, making contact with a lapped car and fell back to fifth.
As the race neared the halfway point, Larson began pulling away from the field opening up a four-second lead over Carrick before a red flag brought the field to a stop on lap 50. After the restart, Larson quickly pulled back away from the field and it was clear that the only thing that could slow him down would be caution flags.
Behind Larson, Bell had climbed up to third and started a battle with Carrick that would last the remainder of the race. The two would trade second place five times from laps 82 to 92 before Bell finally claimed the runner-up spot for good with eight to go.
By lap 100, Larson had stretched out more than an eight-second lead and had lapped all but the top eight cars when he took the checkered flag. Bell finished second, Carrick was third, Ryan Bernal was fourth, followed by Jerry Coons Jr., Dillon Welch and Tuesday’s winner Gio Scelzi in seventh.
Toyota-powered entries have now won 43 national midget car features this season, with 15 different drivers from nine different teams claiming victories.
The USAC NOS Energy Drink National Midget Series heads to Bakersfield Speedway this Saturday, November 24, before closing out the 2019 campaign with the 79th annual Turkey Night Grand Prix at Ventura Raceway on Thanksgiving night.
American Flat Track has announced its 18-event schedule for the 2020 season, which once again features coast-to-coast action and launches anew at legendary Daytona International Speedway on March 14 with a Saturday of Speed: an epic season opener DAYTONA 200 & DAYTONA TT Doubleheader. It all finishes next fall with the Meadowlands Mile* finale at the most spectacular venue of the season: Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment in East Rutherford, N.J.
There are two fan favorite events returning to the schedule and one event revamped for a thrilling new experience. The returning venues is the Half-Mile at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C. and the famed OKC Mile.
Additionally, the fastest Mile in the world - the Springfield Mile - will run back-to-back as a doubleheader, making for a Labor Day weekend event unlike any other.
"AFT is coming off the back of a record-breaking season and we have planned the 2020 schedule to push things to the next level and return to the best tracks in the country,” said Michael Lock, CEO of American Flat Track. ”We are delighted to be restoring the series to OKC and Charlotte and to amplify the thrilling action of Springfield Mile with a fall doubleheader."
Tickets for the first-ever doubleheader - DAYTONA 200 and DAYTONA TT - at the legendary Daytona International Speedway are on sale now. Watch both historic motorcycle racing events during Bike Week at DAYTONA for just $35 when you purchase an advance General Admission ticket online. Get yours at tickets.americanflattrack.com.
Final 2020 American Flat Track Schedule:
1. March 14: DAYTONA 200 & DAYTONA TT - Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, FL
2. March 28: Atlanta Short Track - Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA
3. April 4: Charlotte Half-Mile - Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord, NC
4. May 2: Texas Half-Mile - Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX
5. May 9: So-Cal Half-Mile - Perris Auto Speedway, Perris, CA
6. May 16: Sacramento Mile - Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA
7. May 30: Red Mile - Red Mile, Lexington, KY
8. June 13: Laconia Short Track – New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Loudon, NH
9. June 20: OKC Mile - Remington Park, Oklahoma City, OK
10. June 27: Lima Half-Mile - Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH
11. July 4: New York Short Track - Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport, NY
12. August 9: Buffalo Chip TT - Buffalo Chip, Sturgis, SD
13. August 11: Black Hills Half-Mile - Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD
14. August 22: Peoria TT - Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, IL
15. September 5: Springfield Mile I - Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL
16. September 6: Springfield Mile II - Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL
17. September 12: Williams Grove Half-Mile - Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA
18. September 26: Meadowlands Mile* - Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ
*Subject to final confirmation
The Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour will be back in 2020 with a calendar that includes 10 events for a total of 20 Hoosier Super Tour races. For the fourth year in a row, the series will commence its exciting season in January and conduct at least one race weekend each month right through July.
As has become tradition, this year’s Hoosier Super Tour will again open at Sebring International Raceway in Florida before a February visit to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. However, this year’s stop at COTA will only be a two-day event. Then, competitors head west to Central California’s Buttonwillow Raceway Park in February this year instead of the traditional April visit, a new twist for the 2020 season.
March sees a return to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, followed by an early April date at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit just west of Tulsa, Oklahoma. That is followed by a weekend tentatively scheduled at VIRginia International Raceway along the border of North Carolina and Virginia.
One Hoosier Super Tour event will take place in May, and that will be out west at Portland International Raceway in Oregon. Drivers then head back to the Midwest for a tentative date at Road America for the annual WeatherTech Chicago Region® June Sprints®, which would certainly serve as a “preview” for Runoffs competition since that venue is hosting the 2020 National Championship.
Next on the Hoosier Super Tour calendar is a June visit to beautiful Watkins Glen International in New York before the season concludes in July with a tentative date at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This will be the first time the series has capped off its “regular season” at Mid-Ohio, which has traditionally held its Hoosier Super Tour event in early June.
As always, the calendar is subject to change, but dates for the 2020 Hoosier SCCA Super Tour are currently as follows:
- January 10-12: Sebring International Raceway; Sebring, Florida
(Central Florida Region - Southeast Conference)
- February 8-9: Circuit of the Americas; Austin, Texas
(Lone Star Region - Southern Conference)
- February 21-23: Buttonwillow Raceway Park; Buttonwillow, California
(Cal Club Region - Western Conference)
- March 20-22: Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta; Braselton, Georgia
(Atlanta Region - Southeast Conference)
- April 4-5: Hallett Motor Racing Circuit; Jennings, Oklahoma
(Ark Valley Race Group - Mid-States & Southern Conference)
- April 10-12 (tentative): VIRginia International Raceway; Alton, Virginia
(North Carolina Region - Northeast & Southeast Conference)
- May 16-17: Portland International Raceway; Portland, Oregon
(Oregon Region - Western Conference)
- June 12-14 (tentative): Road America - WeatherTech Chicago Region® June Sprints®; Plymouth, Wis.
(Chicago Region - Northern Conference)
- June 19-21: Watkins Glen International; Watkins Glen, New York
(Glen Region - Northeast Conference)
- July 17-19 (tentative): Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; Lexington, Ohio
(Ohio Valley Region - Northern Conference)
Hoosier Super Tour venues are selected based on various attributes. Some have decades of history with a record book featuring the biggest names in all of motorsport. Other sites are top “pro” tracks offering the best quality racing surface and amenities. And certain tracks are on the schedule because they are the best “club” courses in the country, where challenging layouts are matched with warm hospitality and a “family feel” to the paddock area.
Beyond the venues, the Hoosier Super Tour offers a heightened experience for both competitors and race fans. Weekends include segmented timing and scoring, a service simply unavailable at most amateur motorsports events. The series also boasts a dedicated “Super Tour Radio presented by Hoosier Racing Tire” team of announcers capable of providing consistent insight and entertainment heard at tracks or online at SCCA.com.
Dedicated staffing with a series race director, administrator and technical inspector working in conjunction with local event personnel is an additional feature of the Hoosier Super Tour. Up to two static cameras broadcast races live online at SCCA.com, and onsite SCCA public relations staff provide weekend race coverage and post-race winner videos. Hoosier Super Tour dates also have enhanced weekend social activities for volunteers, drivers, crew and family.
The Hoosier Super Tour serves as the Summit Racing Equipment SCCA Road Racing’s nationwide points championship. The point structure remains the same as previous years with the best six Hoosier Super Tour races, plus a Runoffs finish, going toward identifying class champions. Point totals for the Hoosier Super Tour are managed by SCCA national office staff and can be viewed at SCCA.com.
Only SCCA Full Competition and SCCA Pro Racing License holders may register to compete at Hoosier Super Tour events. The Hoosier Super Tour also serves as a path to the 57th SCCA National Championship Runoffs® taking place Oct. 5-11, 2020, at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
The Sports Car Club of America®, Inc., founded in 1944, is a 67,500-member motorsports organization that incorporates all facets of autocross, rally and road racing at both Club and professional levels. With headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, the SCCA annually sanctions over 2,000 events through its 115 Regions and subsidiary divisions. Much of the SCCA’s activities are made possible with support from the following Official Partners: Hagerty, the Official Insurance Partner of SCCA; Hawk Performance, the Official Brake Products of SCCA; Sunoco, the Official Fuel of SCCA; and Tire Rack, the Official Tire Retailer of SCCA. To learn more, please visit www.scca.com.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA/SGT/GT drivers delivered another spectacular finale at the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday to close out the 2019 season with a title-deciding thriller.
Chris Dyson needed everything to go his way to overcome the points advantage of Ernie Francis, Jr. and claim the title in his No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang.
While Dyson claimed pole position in qualifying, led every lap of the 29-lap race and clocked the fastest time of the session on his way to his third win of the season, it wasn’t enough to derail Francis Jr.’s (No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang) drive to a sixth career Trans Am title.
Dyson mathematically had a chance at the championship if Francis Jr. finished last. But with Ernie Francis Jr. taking second, the points from Dyson’s perfect weekend still weren’t enough to keep Francis Jr. from scoring a second consecutive TA championship.
“I won here a few times the first part of my racing career and I am feeling fantastic after that win,” Dyson said. “It’s so great to be back at Daytona winning here, there’s nothing quite like it. It’s been a very dramatic season for us, a lot of ups and downs. We came here and we’ve done exactly what we needed to do. We came up a bit short on the title race but it was a real joy and privilege to race out there today,”
Targeting the lead right from the drop of the green flag, Francis Jr., shadowed Dyson throughout the race. On the final lap, the 21-year-old South Floridian sliced a tire in the No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors that extended Dyson’s margin of victory as Francis Jr. nursed his wounded Ford Mustang to a second-place finish.
“I am really looking forward to next season racing against Chris (Dyson),” said Francis. “Chris and I go to battle every race and I think we’ve made each other better drivers because of it. We had to take it home today to clinch the championship. Wish we could have ended the season with a win, but we will be back next year even stronger.”
Adam Andretti drove from the back of the pack to finish third in the No. 17 Engineered Components Co./AnchorBolt Chevrolet Camaro, prevailing in a spirited battle to end Tomy Drissi’s bid for a fourth-consecutive podium finish in the No. 8 Lucas Oil/Axalta Chevrolet Camaro. The fight for the podium also earned Andretti the Cool Shirt Cool Move of Race.
“I felt like I was on a mission,” said Andretti. “Tomy (Drissi) and I had a blast. I couldn’t have asked for any better competitor out there to go door-to door-with and clean. I can’t thank Tomy enough because that was so fun. I hope it was the highlight of his day because it sure was mine.”
Kerry Hitt, in the No. 19 Advanced Composite Products Inc. Cadillac CTSV, earned the Masters Cup Award in the TA class after finishing his 100th Trans Am career start in 13th place. In addition to his Masters Cup honor, Hitt was given a special commemorative trophy by Trans Am to celebrate his career accomplishment.
“We started this journey 18 years ago,” Hitt said. “Trans Am is my family and this (trophy) is just priceless. I can’t wait to continue this journey with them.”
“Wow, it was a heck of a battle,” said Saunders. “The Porsches are so fast, and Mark [Boden] and Tim [Kezman] are such great drivers. We were faster in the banking, and they were much faster in the infield, so it was a balance of where I could get them, where they could get us. We got a little lucky in traffic, and that helped. They got unlucky in traffic, and that sometimes happens. It was a heck of a battle and a great time. We made the pass for the lead going into NASCAR Turn 3, and I was able to hold it. Before that, we actually changed the lead four, five or six times before we were finally able to make it stick. I was able to keep them behind me in the infield, and then pull away a little bit.”
Steven Davison continued his winning streak in the GT class, ending his championship season with his fifth victory in the No. 22 Davinci Plastic Surgery Aston Martin Vantage.
“Winning was fabulous,” said Davison. “It was real nice to see good GT competition out there. From my standpoint, it was a ‘stay out of trouble’ race, and I couldn’t be happier to end the season with a win. The Mercedes (Mark Ramsey) was very strong to start with, and so was the Ford (Billy Griffin). I got behind the Ford, and worried and harassed him a little bit before I got by. I thought it would be a very good head-to-head battle with the Mercedes toward the end, but maybe his tires wore down a little bit. It was great racing. I took the lead after the restart, and then held on the rest of the race.”
The showing at Daytona International Speedway closed out the 53rd Trans Am Series season.
The thunder returns to action Feb. 29-March 1, 2020 at Sebring International Raceway.
The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2® class season finale at Daytona International Speedway was dramatic from start to finish in the 65-minute finale on Saturday.
After the dust settled with post-race reviews and technical inspections, Thomas Merrill, in the No. 99 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang, scored his third TA2® powered by AEM victory of the season. His teammate Tony Buffomante (No. 34 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang) staged a massive comeback to score second ahead of Dillon Machavern, who claimed third in the No. 77 Liqui-Moly/Prefix Ford Mustang.
“The last few laps were pretty busy, pretty aggressive, but fair – fair both ways,” said Merril of his battle with pole sitter Mayer. “Our car was very good, and I felt his car was very good, so it was a very good race for the lead there at the end. The Big Diehl Racing/Mike Cope Race Cars crew was unbelievable. They gave me the best car in the field. It was my job to bring it home in first place.”
Sixteen-year-old NASCAR K&N champion Sam Mayer (No. 96 SLR/Fields Racing/M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro) started on pole, but it was Merrill that shot to the front of the pack at the start ahead of Rafa Matos and 2019 TA2® champion elect Mark Miller. Tony Buffomante slotted in to third as Mayer looked to move up from fourth.
Merrill built a seven-second lead before debris on the track forced the first of four caution periods and grouped the field back up. Miller and Jacob Mosler (SLR/Fields Racing/M1Racecars / Chevrolet Camaro) fell victim to the flying wreckage. Miller pitted to change two flat tires and continued the race. Mosler wasn’t as lucky. His day ended with pierced transmission.
On the restart, Merrill held off the challenging 2018 TA2® champion Rafa Matos for the lead. Again building his lead, Merril’s gap was erased once again after another full course yellow following an issue that ended Matos’ strong run.
After a pair of back-to-back cautions, Mayer caught Merrill following a late restart and the two swapped the lead several times. Mayer made his final bid entering the NASCAR oval on the 26th lap, but a two-car incident on the front straight brought about a race-ending caution as Merrill closed out his 2019 season on a high note. Following post-race inspections, Mayer’s entry was found to be out of compliance and was disqualified from the race.
Buffomante also had a strong drive through the field following the early incident, taking third on the final green-flag lap, and later promoted to second. The run was Buffomante’s Trans Am swan song, as the five-year veteran driver will step away from competition as he prepares to pass the torch to his 11-year-old son who is continuing the family tradition and pursuing a racing career.
“He [Mayer] just drove right through us,” Buffomante explained. “At a track like Daytona, a drive-through penalty is not big enough, especially when you get a caution, those guys just drive right back up there. It’s unfortunate for us. We had a good car, and spent a bunch of time backwards after I spun out. Then I had to work back through the pack. I would have liked to have had the last couple of laps not run under the caution. I think we would have made it interesting. We were hoping for another win here, but it is great to end up here on the podium. ”
Lawless Alan (No. 52 AutoParkIT / Ford Mustang), the 19-year-old TA2 Rookie of the Year, finished fourth after an early pit due to loose wiring forced him to the pits early in the race and Misha Goikhberg (No. 10 BC Race Cars / Chevrolet Camaro) took fifth.
Miller, aftre hitting debris, ran fifth before retiring late in the race due to a coolant leak.
“This was not the way we wanted to end the season,” said a deflated Miller. “Our car was very, very good. We had contact at the beginning of the race that put us back. Then we were able to put on a good showing. I had a good car until I found myself driving in my own antifreeze. I thought it might have been a tire, but then I saw the temperature gauge. I got hit a few times, but it was fun.”
The showing at Daytona International Speedway closed out the 53rd Trans Am Series season.
Trans Am returns to action Feb. 29-March 1, 2020 at Sebring International Raceway.