Racing News
Adam Sinclair

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

Contact Adam: Email  

  

 

Grand Bend Motorplex, one of Canada’s premier racing facilities, has reached a multi-year sanctioning agreement with the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA).

Located on 407 acres in Huron County, Ontario, the Grand Bend Motorplex is a multi-purpose motorsports facility that consists of a 1/4-mile drag strip, a 1/4-mile high banked paved oval, a multi-circuit road course for cars, bikes and go-karts. The facility includes ample parking, unobstructed seating, a rough camping area, paved roads throughout the pit area, washrooms with showers, and a licensed track side food and beverage court.

The 20th annual Mopar Canadian Nationals highlights the list of special events. It is Eastern Canada’s largest drag racing event with over 350 participants. It features Top Fuel dragsters, Nostaglia Nitro Funny Cars, Nitro Harleys, Pro Mods, Outlaws, Jet Trucks, a Studebaker Wheelstander, CAN/AM Stock/Superstock and hundreds of Sportsman competitors.

(JON O’NEAL QUOTES)

Grand Bend has a tremendous record in the IHRA Summit SuperSeries program with three racers going on to capture championships at the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals in Memphis.

Steve Doornbosch won the IHRA Summit SuperSeries No Box championship in 2003, the first year it was contested, and Will Steckly was the 2007 No Box champion. Ten years later in 2017, Luke Schweimer won the IHRA Summit SuperSeries Junior Dragster World Championship.

For 2018, track champions were Ed Smith (Box), Will Steckly (No Box) and Arnold Fox (Junior Dragster). This year, the 2019 Street ET (Sportsman) champion will also qualify for the World Finals.

For more information about Grand Bend Motorplex, click here. For a list of IHRA member tracks, click here.

 

For FAST MD Racing, how quickly its TCR program in the IMSA MICHELIN Pilot Challenge came together is described right in its name – fast.
 
It was less than two weeks before the inaugural race of 2019 that the team’s No. 23 Audi RS3 LMS entry was announced with full-time co-drivers Nick Galante, a two-time Pilot Challenge champion, and James Vance, a Canadian racer with a wealth of experience across multiple racing platforms.
 
While both drivers have been in the racing industry for years, the brains behind the team’s operation necessarily haven’t.
 
A pair of Tampa, Florida-area doctors and neighbors, spine surgeon Dr. Farhan Siddiqi and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Jared Salinsky co-founded FAST MD. They’ve both had a longtime passion for sports cars, yet this is the first involvement in the IMSA paddock for Siddiqi. Salinsky previously drove a handful of races for LAP Motorsports after making his Pilot Challenge debut in 2017.
 
“We quickly realized that GT3 is absolutely not what we’re doing because there’s no need to dive in with millions of dollars right away,” Salinsky said. “(Siddiqi) was actually more interested in GT4 and I said if you’re going to get your feet wet, let’s do TCR. It’s less expensive, but you get similar notoriety. It’s a new international class, as is GT4. It’s going to be a great field, the cars are less expensive to acquire and less expensive to maintain and you know, let’s just see how it goes.”
 
Salinsky was the team’s endurance driver alongside Galante and Vance for the four-hour season opener at Daytona International Speedway two weeks ago. He also owns a ST victory from 2018 at Sebring International Raceway, which is where the team travels for the series’ next race, the Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 on March 15.
 
If the team’s debut performance at Daytona is any indication of how the rest of the season may go, the future looks promising. The No. 23 Audi survived a race that saw only three of 14 TCR cars on the lead lap at the checkered flag. In its debut, FAST MD Racing took the third and final spot on the podium, a welcome surprise to all involved.
 
“We weren't sure what to expect,” said Siddiqi. “Obviously, it’s a new team and we’re sort of rookies in professional racing. The fact that we put the team together pretty quickly, I thought that we had some really good components of the team. The drivers are super experienced and our crew chief has a lot of experience, but we as FAST MD are kind of newcomers. We were just hoping to put together a good race.”
 
It’s not just the team’s performance that should make them stand out, but also what Salinsky describes as the team’s “synergy.” With Siddiqi and Salinsky sharing a similar profession, and Galante continuing his partnership with the charity Racing to End Alzheimer’s, the team is establishing a cohesive identity based on science and medicine.
 
Siddiqi’s medical practice is, in fact, the namesake of the car – Florida Advance Spine and Sports Trauma MD – and has been open five years.
 
“Spine surgeons are super fastidious about details and need to understand everything so they can control what they need to control,” Salinsky said. “(Siddiqi) is really good because he’s like a superfan, but he understands the value of making the right decisions along the way and he understands the value of IMSA in general.”
 
In terms of Galante’s ambassadorship for Racing to End Alzheimer’s, Salinsky admires his co-driver’s role with the organization.
 
“I thought it was cool that someone not necessarily in the medical field has taken such a relationship to it and is tied so closely to it,” said Salinsky. “No one is a better ambassador for Racing to End Alzheimer’s than Nick Galante.”
 
In the meantime, FAST MD Racing has no plans to slow down anytime soon, with the team’s commitment to IMSA and the Pilot Challenge set for the long term.
 
“There’s no sense in going into a business venture if you’re going to nickel and dime it,” said Salinsky. “(Siddiqi) openly said from the beginning, ‘Fifty percent of this project is legitimate advertising and marketing for my business and 50 percent of it is my love of motorsport. I understand there might be a loss and I understand we’re going to learn from 2019 to do 2020, and we’re going to learn from 2020 to do 2021.’
 
“Dr. Siddiqi openly says this is at least a three- to five-year effort, which also puts us at ease as far as ‘Oh my gosh, if we don’t show results we’re going to be out, but if we do show results, we’re going to be in.’ No, we already know results or not, that we’re in for three years.”

Following CrowdStrike’s major announcement of its enhanced sponsorship of SRO Motorsports America’s Blancpain GT World Challenge America series, the cybersecurity company and its CEO and co-founder, George Kurtz, will partner with DXDT Racing to campaign the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/DXDT Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the 2019 season. Kurtz, the 2017 GTSA class champion of the series previously known as the Pirelli World Challenge, will step up from the GT4 class to race in the GT class, the top tier of this production-based sportscar championship, for the first time. He’ll again partner with the all-star driver Colin Braun for a series of seven races in North America.

 

Also new for the season will be the introduction of driver CJ Moses. He will race the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4 prepared by Global Motorsports Group (GMG) at select races, continuing a valuable relationship with the successful team that Kurtz raced with for the past two seasons and which helped him clinch the 2017 GTSA championship. Moses has been an ever-present partner of the CrowdStrike Racing program for the past year, an esteemed speaker at the company’s cybersecurity summits, and a sportscar racer for 14 seasons and counting.

 

The announcement of CrowdStrike’s expanded team and driver lineup comes just after the cybersecurity company and SRO Motorsports Americas increased its series-level partnership, with the leader in cloud-delivered endpoint protection continuing its status as the Official Internet and Cloud Security Provider for the series for the second year running. CrowdStrike will again host its successful CXO Summits at key race events, bringing together luminaries in the cybersecurity industry to meet and discuss the most pressing issues faced by C-level executives.

 

GT3 Debut

Kurtz and Braun raced a CrowdStrike Racing Audi R8 in the GT4 class for a full season with GMG in 2018, where the duo earned four top-five finishes at premier racetracks across the United States and Canada. For the 2019 season, the pair will switch to the powerful DXDT Racing-prepared Mercedes-AMG GT3. Kurtz and Braun join DXDT’s David Askew and Ryan Dalziel, two experienced drivers who have already honed their racecraft with the Mercedes-AMG machine.

 

The move up to GT racing is a natural progression for the serial entrepreneur and business leader Kurtz. This year he’ll embark on his third full season with this series and his seventh consecutive year of sportscar competition, which includes two class victories at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill endurance event, a GTSA class championship, and racing experience with McLaren, Aston Martin, Audi, and now, Mercedes — the marque that won the Blancpain GT Series and Blancpain GT Endurance Cup title last season.

 

“Racing is something I love, and by its very nature, it is a place where pushing yourself to the next level is part of the landscape,” said Kurtz. “Moving up to the GT class with Mercedes is a logical progression, and DXDT Racing is well-prepared to support our 2019 campaign. Having Colin as my co-driver, plus Ryan and David as our teammates, is really exciting. Our existing relationship with GMG and Audi will continue, of course, with CJ’s commitment to their very talented team. I look forward to expanding the CrowdStrike brand within these two teams and again at the series level. Many thanks to sponsors Amazon Web Services, Security Innovation Network, Accel and Ceramic Pro for their partnership.”

 

Braun, who was recently named the IMSA Prototype Driver of the Year in Sportscar365’s Double Stint podcast, will continue to dedicate part of his successful sportscar career to the CrowdStrike racing effort in addition to running a full season in IMSA’s DPi category. His skillful maneuvers on track while partnered with Kurtz last year attracted plenty of positive attention from fans and competitors alike.

 

“I am really looking forward to the season with George, CrowdStrike and DXDT Racing,” said Braun, “and I’m excited to be part of George’s continual move up the racing ladder. Getting to co-drive alongside him in all the races and continuing to help him grow will be a lot of fun. Last year, entertaining the CrowdStrike guests let me see the fascination of racing through their eyes, which was really special. I’m sure 2019 will be no different. Having Ryan as a teammate will be great. We’ve driven together in the past and have been friends for a long time. I got to see what the DXDT Racing operation was like being in the same paddock in 2018, and both George and I were impressed. They are a really professional operation that I can’t wait to be a part of — bring on COTA!”

 

The team preparing the Kurtz/Braun Mercedes-AMG GT3 machine is DXDT Racing, a rapidly-growing race group out of Utah. DXDT Racing made its endurance debut of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in last season’s California 8 Hours race, taking second place in the Pro-Am class, and also counts a Lamborghini Super Trofeo series championship among its successes. 

 

David Askew, DXDT Racing team owner and driver, is eager to support Kurtz’ foray into GT-level racing in 2019.

 

“My first priority is to field the best possible car for George and Colin,” Askew said. “I always want them to feel that DXDT Racing put them in the best possible position to win. To that end, DXDT has its work cut out for us, but I know we are up to the challenge. I feel like this is the year for DXDT to showcase what it is capable of. We have great people, some who have been at DXDT for almost four years. It’s time to get it done!

 

“It has been my dream to become both a driver and a team owner,” Askew said. “I’ve had multi-car teams in the past but have not driven much due to the demands of managing the team. The past year was spent deepening the management bench so I can return to a full-time driver role. I really just want to be told what to do! My goal has also been to become a competent AM endurance driver, meaning I can hold my own for the team. I’m so excited to drive with Ryan and work with George Kurtz and Colin Braun. My hope, and my feeling, is the two teams will complement each other.”

 

Scottish driver Dalziel has established a track record of success for himself in North American sportscar racing, having won the 2018 Pro/Am Sprint X Championship while balancing multiple top-tier racing series commitments. There’s no doubt he’ll continue to impress with DXDT Racing.

 

“It was great to see CrowdStrike as a series sponsor and even better to now have them as part of our DXDT Racing family as well,” Dalziel said. “We successfully ran as a one-car team with a second-place finish in the California 8 Hours, so stepping up to a two-car team will be a great benefit, particularly with George and Colin. We should be able to develop our Mercedes-AMG GT3s even quicker on race weekends. As a team, it’s also a cool moment to see DXDT becoming one of the premier teams for 2019.”

 

GT4 Tradition

CrowdStrike continues its involvement in GT4 with GMG, but with a new driver — and sponsor. Moses will compete in selected GT4 races in 2019. Moses brings both years of racing experience and a boost from Amazon Web Services (AWS), now the Official Cloud and Machine Learning Provider of the series and the title sponsor of the Pirelli GT4 Challenge at Long Beach, to the race paddock.

 

Since experiencing early success in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in 2005, Moses has never stopped racing. He earned the SCCA National Championship as crew chief of a Touring 2 team in both 2010 and 2011. In 2012 and 2013, Moses earned the series’ Divisional Championships and Driver of the Year Awards. In 2019, he’ll compete in four key Pirelli GT4 America events: St. Petersburg, Long Beach, VIRginia International Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

 

“I’m honored to be joining George Kurtz driving for CrowdStrike Racing with GMG,” said Moses. “We have an exciting season of CXO Summits planned for our esteemed guests and I look forward to continuing the team’s winning ways as I take the step up to the Pirelli GT4 America series.”

 

In addition to being a highly regarded speaker at CrowdStrike’s cybersecurity summits, Moses was a team guest in the GMG paddock throughout 2018 when the renowned team swept an incredible three series championships. This further increased Moses’ excitement to carry the CrowdStrike and AWS banner with driver and team owner James Sofronas this season:

 

“We’re glad to see CJ step into the driver’s seat with us this year,” said Sofronas. “He’s been a positive part of our race paddock for a while now and we’ve all learned that his passion for racing runs deep, so we’re confident he’ll be a real asset to the team. The whole crew welcomes him to the CrowdStrike/AWS/GMG Racing Audi R8 effort.”

 

High-Performance Networking

CrowdStrike, the award-winning, Silicon Valley-based cybersecurity company is the Official Internet and Cloud Security Provider of the SRO America Championships. For the second year in a row, the leader in cloud-delivered endpoint protection is defending the series’ valuable financial, health and business data from hackers and identity theft. CrowdStrike will continue to host preeminent cybersecurity thought leaders at its CXO Summits, further establishing the fast-growing company as a security leader in the business of racing and beyond. This year, a partnership with the Security Innovation Network (SINET) will introduce more of the world’s foremost innovators in the cybersecurity space to these CXO Summits, advancing the collaborative influence that has become a hallmark of CrowdStrike’s events.

 

In addition to the brand’s red falcon being placed on every racecar and driver’s suit in the championship, CrowdStrike, along with AWS, will co-sponsor the new GT Paddock Club. This new hospitality and business networking venue in the paddock will foster networking and camaraderie for other series sponsors, invited guests, GT race drivers and team owners. Series partners Pirelli and Purple Monkey Garage will also support the GT Paddock Club for the duration of the race season.

 

Finally, the second race of the season will be branded as the Pirelli GT4 America St. Petersburg 2019 presented by CrowdStrike. The Florida race will feature both GT4 racing and IndyCar’s season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg.

 

The parallels between cybersecurity and racing continue to grow. Driven by high performance, relying on defensive and offensive strategies, and harnessing the power of data at high speeds — CrowdStrike has proven itself to be a champion, both on and off the track.

 

The first race of the GT season will be at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, from March 1 to 3. The full schedule can be found at world-challenge.com.

 

Jim Beaver, accomplished off-road racer, radio host, and TV personality, will return to the seat of his famous #15 General Tire/Vision Wheel Trick Truck for this week’s BlueWater Resort & Casino Parker 425, the first Trick Truck event on the 2019 Best in the Desert calendar. After competing earlier in the month in the Parker 250 in his familiar #915 Polaris RZR in the Pro Turbo UTV class, Beaver will be one of a select group of racers to contest both events in the Arizona off-road motorsports hotbed in different classes.
 
“I’m really excited to be back in the #15 Trick Truck here at Parker,” stated Beaver. “It’s my hometown race and I’m fortunate I get to race here a few times per year at the various Best in the Desert events. I’m really excited to be back behind the wheel of the Trick Truck this season. It’s had a few upgrades since we raced it last, and it’s got a new look for 2019. It should be a fun year!”
 
Back in 2003, Beaver became one of the youngest drivers in the history of off-road racing’s premier class when he made his debut in Laughlin, Nevada. After earning wins and podiums in numerous classes as he worked up the off-road racing ladder, Beaver accomplished more of the same in Trick Truck, taking multiple overall Trick Truck podiums. In his career so far, he has racked up multiple wins, 15 podiums and 30 top-fives in more than 70 starts in some of off-road racing’s most iconic events.
 
For the past two years, Beaver has focused on competing in the growing Pro Turbo UTV class in Best in the Desert, racing alongside motorsports icons and celebrities as part of the Polaris RZR Star Car program. The program has brought such names as Travis Pastrana, Tanner Foust, Dax Shepard, Antron Brown, Steve Torrence, Jolene Van Vugt, and more to iconic off-road events like the Mint 400, UTV World Championships, and General Tire Vegas to Reno, the longest point-to-point off-road race in the United States.
 
2019 will see Beaver split time between his Polaris RZR and Trick Truck during the Best in the Desert season, with the Parker 425 the first of multiple planned events as he returns to the class. In addition, Beaver will step up his commitment to promoting desert racing with an exclusively off-road version of the Down And Dirty Show to debut in February. The new program will Beaver’s third show, joining the original Down & Dirty Radio Show Powered By Polaris RZR and Project Action on PodcastOne.
 
Jim Beaver is supported by Polaris RZR, General Tire, Subaru, Vision Wheel, DirtFish Rally School, Gibson Performance Exhaust, Impact Race Products, MotoShieldPro, Go-Parts.com, Assault Industries, and HCR Racing across his various media and racing platforms. For more information on Jim Beaver and to follow along with Jim’s racing and radio programs, visit www.downanddirtyshow.com or follow @JimBeaver15 on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 Eight manufacturers are confirmed for Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli. The global GT3 series begins the schedule of five races on five continents in Australia at this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and heads to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the California 8 Hours on March 29-30.

The recent confirmations of Ferrari and Honda following Nissan’s confirmation earlier in the week bring this year’s total number of full-season manufacturers to a record-breaking eight. They are joined on the grid by Audi, Bentley, BMW, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche.

Ferrari is fielding two 488 GT3 entries and registered to score points towards this year’s Manufacturers’ and Drivers’ championships beginning at this weekend’s opening round at Bathurst. Honda, meanwhile, has chosen to skip Bathurst in favor of beginning its 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge campaign at the California 8 Hours on March 29-30 when its new NSX GT3 Evo is homologated to compete for the first time. The same model will then contest the Total 24 Hours of Spa (Belgium), Suzuka 10 Hours (Japan) and season-closing Kyalami 9 Hour (South Africa).

Manufacturers are permitted to nominate a maximum of four cars per Intercontinental GT Challenge round, although only the two best-placed entries will score points towards the overall Manufacturers’ Championship. Drivers competing in all nominated entries will score points towards their respective overall championship while amateur drivers are also eligible for Bronze Drivers’ Championship points, subject to registration.

“The addition of seventh and eighth full-season manufacturers, and especially those of Ferrari and Honda’s standing, underlines the growing significance of the Intercontinental GT Challenge on the world stage,” said Stephane Ratel, SRO Motorsports Group Founder and CEO. “A global championship featuring five of GT3’s biggest endurance races deserves a stellar entry list, and that is exactly what Intercontinental GT Challenge has assembled ahead of its fourth season.

“I am delighted that Ferrari and Honda have committed to the 2019 championship and cannot wait to see how they compare against the likes of Audi, Bentley, BMW, Mercedes-AMG, Nissan and Porsche. Not since the days of the FIA GT1 World Championship has GT racing enjoyed such a high-profile global platform.”

Audi begins the defense of its Bathurst 12 Hour victory and Intercontinental GT Challenge Manufacturers’ title at Mount Panorama in Australia this Sunday, February 3. The event will be broadcast live on Intercontinental GT Challenge’s web site (www.intercontinentalgtchallenge.com) and Facebook page.

Audi will return to the California 8 Hours on March 29-30 having won at both previous events in 2017 and 2018. South African driving ace Kelvin van der Linde was a winning co-driver on both occasions. Eight manufacturers will field GT3 entries with additional GT4 and TCR entries on the grid.

Tickets, camping and VIP hospitality for the Intercontinental GT Challenge California 8 Hours are available by visiting www.WeatherTechRaceway.com or calling 831-242-8200. Fans can save on all eight premier events on the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca schedule with a 2019 Season Pass.

NHRA drivers took the opportunity to shake off the rust at the preseason test session at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Jan. 30 – Feb. 2. Defending Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence shows no sign of slowing down by setting the quickest pass of the session.
 
Torrence piloted his Capco Contractors/Torrence Racing dragster to a 3.689 sec. pass at 328.78 mph during Thursday’s testing. The Texas native made history last season as he went undefeated during the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Countdown to the Championship.
 
"We didn't change anything going into this test session," Torrence stated. "We just needed to brush the rust off of myself and the guys to get prepared for Pomona. There's some really good cars out there that we're going to have to contend with this season. We will take this with a grain of salt, build confidence and see what we can do."
 
2017 Top Fuel world champion Brittany Force powered her Advance Auto Parts dragster to a run of 3.700 at 321.27 on Saturday and Billy Torrence rounds out the top three with a run of 3.731 at 325.14 on Friday.
 
Two-time Funny Car world champion Robert Hight led the category with his pass of 3.863 at 326.87 in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro on Friday. Hight finished the 2018 season second overall and is seeking his third championship during the 2019 season.
 
Defending world champion J.R. Todd made the second quickest pass of the session with a 3.868 at 324.36 in his DHL Toyota Camry and 16-time world champion John Force was third with his 3.894 at 331.61 on Saturday.
 
The NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series 2019 season starts at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona for the Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com Feb. 7-10. 
 
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. All students can save 50 percent on general admission at the gate with a student ID. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more info about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.  
 
***
TOP FUEL
Steve Torrence - 3.689, 328.78
Brittany Force – 3.7, 321.27
Billy Torrence - 3.731, 325.14
Jordan Vandergriff - 3.738, 325.85
Mike Salinas - 3.747, 296.24
Antron Brown - 3.769, 293.73
Doug Kalitta - 3.78, 289.07
Richie Crampton - 3.78, 275
Clay Millican - 3.81, 296.44
Scott Palmer - 3.921, 242.50
Greg Carrillo - 5.057, 142.94
Jim Maroney - 10.972, 46.22
 
FUNNY CAR
Robert Hight - 3.863, 326.87
J.R. Todd - 3.868, 324.36
John Force – 3.894, 331.61
Shawn Langdon - 3.905, 327.35
Matt Hagan - 3.959, 319.22
Bob Tasca III - 3.972, 310.20
Jonnie Lindberg – 3.99, 309.56
Chad Green - 4.090, 252.80
Cruz Pedregon - 4.377, 200.11
Tim Wilkerson - 4.469, 184.02

On March 14, 2019 at legendary Daytona International Speedway (DIS), American Flat Track will host what will arguably be the most unique and anticipated professional flat track race in history – the third annual DAYTONA TT.

 

The hook is that the totally redesigned racetrack, constructed in the iconic Daytona International Speedway tri-oval, will utilize the legendary tri-oval start/finish asphalt straightaway as part of the actual racing surface, and form its high-speed front straight.

 

Not only will some of the world's fastest riders launch their AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines and AFT Singles racing machines out of the DIS eastern dirt corner and drift onto the asphalt, they’ll rip across the legendary start-finish stripe at over 100 mph, elbow-to-elbow and wheel-to-wheel – and mere feet from fans sitting along the Daytona International Speedway tri-oval.

 

In many ways, American Flat Track’s unique, dirt-and-asphalt DAYTONA TT season opener brings the sport of Grand National Championship motorcycle racing full-circle. Recall, of course, the legendary DAYTONA 200 beach-and-asphalt races of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, which featured motorcycles racing up the beach in a northern direction and then South again on the asphalt beach road, with untold thousands of fans watching it all unfold from the dunes and bleachers.

 

The DAYTONA 200 eventually moved to the freshly-built Daytona International Speedway facility in the early 1960s (quickly becoming the world’s biggest and most anticipated motorcycle race), but those decades of epic beach racing have lodged themselves in the collective memories of the motorsports community ever since. Full circle, indeed.

 

Since the reinvention of the series in 2017, American Flat Track has yet to present a multi-surface racetrack. The new, improved DAYTONA TT has been designed in collaboration and consultation with riders and race professionals to proactively address the design challenges inherit in the construction of an asphalt-to-dirt racing surface. Former professional flat track riders have been contracted to ride the surface and prove the design prior to the running of the race on March 14. 

 

This year’s track layout also features enlarged and faster bookend corners, which offer faster straightaway speeds and more passing opportunities – the perfect thing for fans sitting along the front straight or in the enlarged-for-2019 trackside bleachers.

 

All of these changes combine to amplify the race’s Bigger, Better, Faster moniker to unheard-of levels.

 

With new teams and riders, new sponsors and manufacturers, some fresh thinking and a tsunami-like wave of excitement and expectation, the 2019 American Flat Track season is bound to be the most exciting ever.

 

And so it’s entirely fitting that this year’s unique DAYTONA TT, which features that unique mix of dirt and asphalt, and which pays homage to the visionary promoter who brought motorcycle racing to the sands and streets of Daytona Beach 82 years ago, leads things off in March.

 

The history-making 2019 DAYTONA TT. Bigger, Better and much Faster!

 

Fans looking for an in-depth view of the most-exciting DAYTONA TT track ever can visit the link below:


YouTube Video: https://youtu.be/OiBGrzvqztw

 

American Flat Track will kick off its 2019 season with its bar-banging DAYTONA TT in appropriate fashion - during the wild Bike Week festivities in Daytona Beach. The 2019 DAYTONA TT happens Thursday, March 14 once again under the lights of the iconic Daytona International Speedway. Tickets start at just $35 and are available now at https://tickets.americanflattrack.com.

 

For more information on American Flat Track visit www.americanflattrack.com.

The new Bell helmet for Circuit Racing, the Pro Star ECE, achieves the FIM racing homologation for the sizes S, M and L. The homologation is valid only in the presence of all the available appendices (mouth, forehead, top and rear vents) and the spoiler.

This helmet comes with a standard ECE certification and moreover has successfully passed all tests of the FIM Helmet Standard FRHPhe-01, namely linear impact tests at high (8.2 m/s) and low (5.0 m/s) speed on ECE points, medium speed linear impact tests on 3 extra points randomly chosen on the helmet surface, oblique impact tests with 5 different orientations and penetration test at 2 random spots.

“We are very proud to be among the first manufacturers in the world to achieve the new FRHPe-01 certification and we look forward to continuing to see the top riders in motorcycle racing compete in our helmet. Safety is at the core of our what Bell Helmets is all about. Since Bell was founded in 1954, we have been committed to setting new standards in the head protection industry and ensuring that our helmets are the safest available for riders at all levels. For more than 60 years, we have put an emphasis on innovation and improved technologies to achieve that goal and it was through that innovation that we developed the Pro Star with our top of the line FLEX technology.” – said Chris Sackett, Vice President Bell Helmets.

FIM Communications

The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) and Half Scale Dragsters announce a multi-year partnership that will see Half Scale Dragsters become the official Junior Dragster of the IHRA.
 
As part of the partnership, Half Scale Dragsters will build a turn-key junior dragster that is awarded to the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Champion during the IHRA Summit World Finals October 17-19, Memphis International Raceway, Memphis, Tenn. 
 
Half Scale Dragsters will also participate in the IHRA contingency program and reward Junior Dragster winner and runner-up at IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular, IHRA Summit Team Finals, IHRA Summit Junior Dragster Team Finals and IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals events with product certificates.
 
Located in Phillipsburg, N.J., Half Scale Dragsters is known as “The Originator of the Junior Dragster.” Half Scale Dragsters is focused on Junior Dragster performance and employing the latest in state-of-the-art computerized machinery and manufacturing process. Half Scale Dragsters works hard to maintain their position as the premier Junior Dragster builder in the market.
If you were watching the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona, you may have seen a red and black, buffalo plaid Porsche out there mixing it up in the GT Daytona (GTD) class.
 
You may have said to yourself, “Now, that’s an interesting livery. Is it one of those historic IMSA liveries?”
 
It wasn’t, but it definitely was unique.
 
And it made total sense, especially when you consider that the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R was fielded by Toronto-based Pfaff Motorsports. And two of the four drivers in the lineup – in fact, the car’s full-time co-drivers for the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – are Canadians Scott Hargrove and Zacharie Robichon. The other two drivers were Porsche test driver Lars Kern, from Germany, and Norwegian driver Dennis Olsen, a Porsche Young Professional.
 
Heck, the car even had sponsorship from a poutine restaurant. The only thing that might have made it more Canadian would have been if it had a giant maple leaf on the side of the car (that was another GTD car – the No. 88 Audi).
 
But Hargrove, Robichon and the Pfaff team are more than just from Canada. They’re champions from Canada and they just kicked off their first full season in the WeatherTech Championship.
 
Robichon is the 2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama Platinum Cup champion. He dominated the proceedings last year, winning 11 of 12 series races en route to the title aboard the No. 98 Mark Motors Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine.
 
And just for good measure, Robichon also raced half of the 2018 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama as a stand-in for the sidelined Will Hardeman in the No. 19 Moorespeed Porsche. He won seven of eight races in that series.
 
Hargrove, meanwhile, won the 2017 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada title with Pfaff Motorsports, turning in a similarly dominant season with 10 wins in 12 races (Robichon won the other two). Last year, Pfaff and Hargrove took their talents to World Challenge, where they won the GT Sprint championship.
 
This year, they’ve moved up to the WeatherTech Championship, and Hargrove couldn’t be happier.
 
“I’m most looking forward to the fan turnout and the atmosphere around the races,” he said. “The TV package and everything that is built around the WeatherTech [Championship] is just a level up from everything I’ve done in the past. I’m really looking forward to that.”
 
Robichon is looking forward to it also. Especially considering that when the program was initially announced during the 2018 Motul Petit Le Mans weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, it was going to be for the new-for-2019 WeatherTech Sprint Cup (GTD) competition encompassing the seven sprint races of two hours, 40 minutes in length or less.
 
“It’s going to be a fantastic year, coming out of the GT3 Cup last year,” Robichon said. “Pfaff has put together a fantastic program. Originally, we were just going to run the sprint series, but a couple of things came together – as they normally do – at the last minute, and to be able to run the whole season is going to be a fantastic opportunity.”
 
And for a team and drivers accustomed to winning championships, they now have a shot at three different ones: the season-long WeatherTech Championship GTD title, the seven-race WeatherTech Sprint Cup and the four-race IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. But, as Robichon quickly pointed out, “We have our work cut out for us, to say the least.”
 
At last month’s Rolex 24, as will likely be the case everywhere else this season, the GTD field was the largest WeatherTech Championship class. There were 23 cars from eight different manufacturers in the mix.
 
The “Plaid Porsche” was right there, comfortably running inside the top 10 and even in podium position around midnight when it ran third in class. But as can happen in endurance racing, there were issues.
 
Electrical problems wreaked havoc on the car’s headlights and dash lights, bringing about an unscheduled trip to the garage for repairs. That ended the team’s hopes for victory, but they got the car back on track and were aiming for a top-10 result.
 
Sadly, rainy conditions contributed to the car’s early retirement as Robichon collected a spinning Lamborghini and the crash left the No. 9 with insurmountable suspension damage. They wound up 16th in the GTD class.
 
But the good news is, they’ve got 10 more chances to deliver on the promise they showed in the Rolex 24. With their pedigree, this team and these drivers have plenty of promise. After all, look where they came from and what they’ve already achieved.
 
“The Porsche GT3 Cup Canada platform has been really good in that the drivers – especially me and Zach – have actually had a place to go and progress after that,” Hargrove said. “I think it’s just a testament to how much IMSA has really put an emphasis on the series and really made it a premier series in Canada.
 
“With that attracts attention and you get these opportunities that stem from it. That’s been amazing, especially with the support from Porsche. Recently being announced as a Porsche-Selected Driver, I think that’s really due to what was showcased in Porsche GT3 Cup Canada.”
 
And that goes for everybody in the program.
 
“The GT3 Cup platform is a fantastic one to learn,” Robichon said. “A lot of people say it’s one of the hardest cars to drive, and because of that, the skills you learn there are transferable to anything else you’ll drive. I’m hoping that it will transfer well to the GT3 R.
 
“Scott won the championship in 2017 and then I won it last year. The progression that a lot of the people that have won in that series, they go on to be successful everywhere they race. We know that the competition is good there. If you can win there, you can really take those skills and apply them.
 
“Just look at Daniel Morad as well in 2016. [Morad won the 2016 GT3 Cup Challenge Canada title and went on to win the 2017 Rolex 24 in the GTD class. He raced the No. 29 Montaplast by Land Audi in this year’s race.] The last three champions were all racing this year at Daytona and that’s not random. That’s for a reason.”
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