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  

  

 
The three-day Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires “Spring Training” test wrapped up in perfect weather conditions at Barber Motorsports Park with Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires making its official return to the track for a final one-day test prior to the start of the new season. The newly combined efforts of veteran Road to Indy team HMD Motorsports and Global Racing Group, which is switching its attention from the Formula Regional Americas Championship powered by Honda, already has laid down a marker as David Malukas, from Chicago, Ill., narrowly bested runaway 2020 Formula Regional champion Linus Lundqvist, from Stockholm, Sweden.
 
 
Indy Lights, the top rung of the globally acclaimed Road to Indy ladder, took a one-year hiatus in 2020 due to the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic, but is now back with eight different nationalities represented among the 13-car field. The equipment package remains very similar to what was last seen in 2019, when Oliver Askew narrowly pipped Rinus VeeKay to the coveted championship, albeit with one significant safety enhancement – the addition of a cockpit frontal protection device, which has been universally well received by the teams and drivers.
 
Malukas, who placed sixth in the 2019 Indy Lights title-chase, was out of the blocks quickly this morning, almost immediately circulating the 2.3-mile road course faster than the existing race lap record of 1:13.8312 set by Sean Rayhall way back in 2015. But by the end of the two-hour morning session, it was teammate Lundqvist at the top of the charts with a best of 1:12.3855 – fractionally quicker than Spencer Pigot’s qualifying lap record of 1:12.3865, also set in 2015.
 
The only drama this morning came when Andretti Autosport rookie Kyle Kirkwood, from Jupiter, Fla., brought the session to a slightly premature conclusion after collecting the guardrail at the exit of Turn Three. Fortunately, damage was relatively light and Kirkwood was able to return to action later in the afternoon.
 
Global Racing Group with HMD Motorsports continued to set the pace after the lunch break with Malukas turning the best lap of the day midway through the afternoon at 1:12.3418, an average speed of 114.457 mph.
 
“It’s going to be an easy social media post – right where we left off last year,” exclaimed Malukas, who finished second to Lundqvist in the 2020 Formula Regional campaign. “We’ve tested here so we’ve already worked on setups and learned a great deal going into today. We were ready, and right off the bat we got into our checklist, working through even the smallest things. We were quick right away and everything seems good. This is the best team I’ve ever been on and no matter where I end up, I’m so happy to be on this team.”
 
Lundqvist, who also won the 2018 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, was second fastest in the afternoon at 1:12.4492, while teammate Benjamin Pedersen completed a sweep of the top three positions with his morning time of 1:12.5748.
 
“It’s been a great test for me, but even more so for the whole team,” said Lundqvist. “We’ve put in a lot of hard work this winter and this is only testing so you can’t tell too much, but I feel as though we’re heading in the right direction. We’ve had an idea of where we wanted to go with the car, setups we wanted to try, and that’s what we did today, back-checking that everything works. We did race runs and quali runs and we’re in a good position. The team has done a good job getting the cars ready and we’re hungry to get the first win at Barber.”
 
Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y., emerged as “best of the rest” for Andretti Autosport with the fourth fastest time of the day, 1:12.6437, set late in the afternoon, just over a tenth faster than teammate Kirkwood.
 
“We knew we’d have good cars here, based on the team’s history at Barber, so we had plenty of good data and a good baseline,” said Megennis, an Indy Lights race winner at Indianapolis in 2019. “We had a good race run that was really encouraging – I was very quick and very consistent, and I think that’s down to all the endurance racing I’ve done. All four of us found some good things today so we’ll combine that data and show up ready to take a win.”
 
Australian rookie Alex Peroni, who has competed in a variety of European open-wheel series in recent years, posted a promising sixth best time for the Carlin team which is making a welcome return to Indy Lights for the first time since 2017.
 
The top 10 was completed by Indy Lights veteran Danial Frost (Andretti Autosport), from Singapore, and a pair of rookies, Sting Ray Robb (Juncos Racing), from Payette, Idaho, and Canadian Devlin DeFrancesco (Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport), who are stepping up after finishing first and second in the 2020 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires.
 
A total of 1,139 laps were completed during the course of the day. The top 12 were separated by just 1.1502 seconds.
 
With testing in the books, it’s now time to go racing. More than $3.1 million in scholarships and awards will be up for grabs during the Road to Indy season, which will kick off next week, April 16-18, also at Barber Motorsports Park. Double-header events for Indy Lights as well as the other two development series, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, all will run in support of the opening round of the 2021 NTT INDY CAR SERIES.
 
 
Two of America’s most iconic motorcycle racing series – Progressive American Flat Track and MotoAmerica – have joined forces to offer the ultimate two-wheeled fan experience. The American Super Ticket will offer fans access to the opening round of the MotoAmerica series at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta and the third round of Progressive American Flat Track – the Yamaha Atlanta Super TT – at Atlanta Motor Speedway for a discounted rate.
 
For a discounted rate of only $99, American Super Ticket passholders receive:
 
  • Progressive American Flat Track Premier General Admission Ticket
  • Premier Parking with Progressive American Flat Track at Atlanta Motor Speedway
  • Two-Day General Admission for MotoAmerica at Michelin Road Atlanta (Saturday-Sunday)
  • Premier Parking with MotoAmerica at Michelin Road Atlanta
 
“We are very excited to have Atlanta star as the destination for pro motorcycle racing during the first weekend of May,” said Michael Lock, CEO of Progressive AFT. “The spectacle of seeing Superbikes on Saturday, catching the debut of the Yamaha Atlanta Super TT at Atlanta Motor Speedway that evening, and then Superbikes again on Sunday – all on one ticket – is a rare opportunity for race fans to savor. It’s great to be able to partner with MotoAmerica for this promotion.” 
 
“Since I started my career racing flat track, I always watch and follow the series closely,” said Wayne Rainey, President of MotoAmerica. “With our series opener at Road Atlanta taking place on the same weekend as the AFT event at Atlanta Motor Speedway, it seems only natural that we should make both available to our fans at a special rate. Watching MotoAmerica Superbikes on Saturday and Sunday with an American Flat Track TT on Saturday night sounds like a pretty good racing weekend to me.”
 
The all-new American Super Ticket is available now at https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3327/#raceSchedule
 
Tickets for the Saturday, May 1, 2021 premiere Yamaha Atlanta Super TT event are available now at https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3327/#raceSchedule. For fans viewing from home, live coverage will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.  
 
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.
 
To score the latest gear for the Progressive American Flat Track fan, visit our official merchandise store at https://store.americanflattrack.com.
 IMSA will have an extended stay in New York’s Finger Lakes region this summer with today’s announcement that three of its series – led by the flagship IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – will race on the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International circuit on Friday, July 2.
 
The headline WeatherTech 240 At The Glen event will take the green flag shortly after 6 p.m. ET that Friday evening with television coverage airing on NBCSN on Saturday, July 3 at 8 p.m. ET.
 
The two-hour, 40-minute race will feature all five WeatherTech Championship classes (DPi, LMP2, LMP3, GTLM and GTD). The GTD race will count only toward the eight-race WeatherTech Sprint Cup point standings. It caps a busy day of racing action that also includes a two-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race and a one-hour, 45-minute IMSA Prototype Challenge event.
 
The events replace previously scheduled events for that weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, which have again been canceled for 2021 due to quarantine requirements for travelers into Canada. IMSA looks forward to returning to the historic Canadian circuit in 2022.
 
“We are grateful to Watkins Glen International President Michael Printup and his team for helping us arrive at a solution when it became apparent that we would be unable to make our planned trip to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park this year,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “Likewise, we are thankful that our partners at the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA)’s Glen Region are willing to share their previously scheduled event weekend at The Glen with us as well. We sorely missed the opportunity to race at Watkins Glen last year, but we’re delighted to bring those loyal fans two IMSA event schedules in little more than a week in 2021.”
 
The WeatherTech 240 At The Glen will come five days after the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday, June 27. The two-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race – scheduled to start at 2:35 p.m. ET on Friday, July 2 – comes six days after four hours of racing at WGI the Saturday prior.
 
Whereas the WeatherTech Championship and Michelin Pilot Challenge teams will retain their paddock locations for both Watkins Glen events, the IMSA Prototype Challenge moves in on the evening of Wednesday, June 30. All three series will practice and qualify on Thursday, July 1 and racing action kicks off with IMSA Prototype Challenge at 11:45 a.m. ET on Friday, July 2.
 
The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen weekend also includes doubleheader races from Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and Porsche Carrera Cup North America. In total, five of the seven IMSA-sanctioned series will be in action at Watkins Glen in the span of one week.
 
“We are always excited to add another event to The Glen’s calendar,” stated Michael Printup, President, Watkins Glen International. “We look forward to celebrating with fans and enjoying the incredible road course action of IMSA.”
Tickets for both the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen and the WeatherTech 240 at The Glen event weekends may be purchased at TheGlen.com.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES unveiled its brand campaign – “Defy Everything” – for the 2021 season that highlights the daring, unapologetic and all-around badass mindset of its elite athletes.

“Defy Everything” was created in partnership with Chicago-based agency Schafer Condon Carter (SCC) and appeals to both diehard race fans, who live to see these athletes put it all on the line every week, and casual sports fans, who will find the sweat and sacrifice from NTT INDYCAR SERIES athletes every time they enter the cockpit captivating.

Highlighting this launch is the release of the anchor video showing the odds-defying, risk-taking, all-or-nothing moments that are commonplace in the NTT INDYCAR SERIES each season. From daring passes by Rinus VeeKay to breathtaking moments involving Colton Herta and near-misses by Graham Rahal, this video encapsulates what makes North America’s premier open-wheel series must-see action. Click here to view.

“This campaign reflects the risks our athletes take at incredible speeds in order to compete at such a high level, offering fans a look at the defiant personality it takes to be an NTT INDYCAR SERIES driver,” said SJ Luedtke, INDYCAR vice president of marketing. “Showcasing their bold athleticism and sheer skill will resonate with sports fans across the globe, but we hope their defiant nature and unapologetic personalities will inspire anyone looking to beat the odds and turn the tables on the status quo.”

Fans can experience this digital-first campaign throughout the season on NTT INDYCAR SERIES and driver/team social media channels through stories of defiance, driver highlight packages, video content features and graphics.

Extensions of the campaign include customized video content, narrated by the drivers themselves, that showcases their audacious personality and thrilling on-track moments. From the insatiable desire to take 5G’s to the neck just for fun to the ambitious mentality it takes to train to react down the millisecond and the fearlessness it takes to push 240 mph just 2 inches from the ground, this content will show how these drivers were born fearing nothing and are willing to “Defy Everything.”

“Defy Everything” video content is told through the lens of “Do Bad Well,” an original song from DJ/producer KSHMR, who has been named one of the Top 100 DJs in the world by DJ Mag each of the last five years and was 12th on the rankings in 2020.

Race fans can see these drivers’ audacious athleticism in action when the NTT INDYCAR SERIES season opens Sunday, April 18 with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama presented by AmFirst (3 p.m. ET, LIVE on NBC, INDYCAR Radio Network) at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama.

Formula E today announced the all-electric racing series’ support for UNICEF’s Safe and Healthy Environment Fund, which aims to create a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment for children.
 
The three-year partnership builds on the success of the 2020 collaboration between Formula E and UNICEF focused on protecting vulnerable children and families affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Formula E will now be supporting UNICEF’s Safe and Healthy Environment Fund, created to deliver environmental programmes and policy actions for children and young people around the world.
 
Formula E, like UNICEF, wants to accelerate positive change around the world, with its #ChangeAccelerated campaign to ensure children and young people grow up on a cleaner, safer planet. The funding from Formula E will contribute to programmes and policy actions to improve the wellbeing of over three million children. Projects supported by the Fund include initiatives to provide schools with sustainable energy solutions and reduce child exposure to air pollution through increased monitoring and advocacy.
 
According to UNICEF, children are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change. Nearly 160 million live in areas of high or extremely high drought severity, over half a billion in high or extremely high flood occurrence zones and an estimated two billion in areas where air pollution levels exceed standards set by the World Health Organisation. A sport designed for fans of the future and aligned to the FIA’s PurposeDriven movement, Formula E feels a responsibility to protect this next generation and will use its global platform to raise awareness of and amplify UNICEF’s work.
 
 
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF FORMULA E
JAMIE REIGLE
"We are delighted to initiate a long-term partnership with UNICEF’s Safe and Healthy Environment Fund. This collaboration is true to our founding promise to use our sport to counteract climate change. Together, we aim to improve the lives of millions of children and young people worldwide by offering new educational opportunities and reducing their exposure to air pollution. We are committed to tackling the effects of climate change and enable better futures for generations to come and are proud to partner with UNICEF on this journey."
 
INTERIM EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE UK COMMITTEE FOR UNICEF (UNICEF UK)
STEVEN WAUGH
"Children are already suffering from the negative impacts of climate change, and even under the most optimistic forecasts of emissions reduction, these impacts of climate change will increase in the near term. This is why, at UNICEF, we think that it is critical to increase our efforts on adapting to new weather patterns and climate extremes, increasing resilience and tackling emissions and pollution. It is fantastic to see Formula E making this incredible support to UNICEF’s Safe and Healthy Environment Fund, to help protect and empower children and their futures."
 
UNICEF UK AMBASSADOR
EWAN MCGREGOR
"I’ve been fortunate enough to experience first-hand UNICEF’s life-saving work for children around the world - helping to build a better world for every child. Children are worst affected, but the least responsible for climate change, and as adults we have a duty to provide them with a world worth living in. It is fantastic to see Formula E making this incredible commitment to support UNICEF’s Safe and Healthy Environment Fund, to help protect and empower children and their futures."
 
Audiences can plug in and follow the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship on FacebookInstagramTwitterTikTok and YouTube@FIAFormulaE #ABBFormulaE

The need for speed abruptly began when the second automobile was built. To help celebrate these early beginnings of motorsports, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion will celebrate the early days of racing with a lively interactive exhibit of pre-1920 racers that helped cement motorsports’ place in history. The annual historic race will be held August 12-15 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, as one of the central events of Monterey Car Week.

The Ragtime Racers will not be a static display of antique race cars. Owners and riding mechanics will don the racing gear of the day, fire up their cars’ engines and run daily race exhibitions to show fans these old cars are not for show, but can still come alive to tackle the hills of Laguna Seca.
 
Affectionately known as the Ragtime Racers, group organizer Brian Blain explains it is about educating guests about the rich motorsports history of the time period. “We encourage entrants to spend time sharing the history of their cars, allow photos behind the wheel and display tools and equipment from the period as well,” Blain said. “We want it to be a time warp for spectators to see and enjoy.”
 
When not on track, the cars will still be revving in their pit, crews will be conducting pit stop demonstrations, engine rebuilds and providing guests tours each day. “Our reward is engaging with fans and in knowing that we shared a piece of history with someone new,” Blain added.
 
The range of the cars in the display will be a treasure trove of history. Among the invited cars are:
 
1908 Chalmers-Detroit – This is in rare original condition, as found five years ago, and has been mechanically restored for racing but retains its original 112-year-old paint and rust. It is the only surviving Chalmers-Detroit race car in existence and has not been seen in public for 100 years. It was driven by L. B. Lorimer in the Savannah Races in 1908 and later competed in the Cobe Trophy Races in Crown Point, Indiana.
 
1909 Locomobile - This car is one of only two Model “I” racers built by the Locomobile factory. It finished 3rd in the Cobe Trophy race driven by George Robertson. It is powered by a 4-cylinder engine cast out of bronze, and power is transferred to the rear wheels by large roller chains and sprockets.
 
1911 National - This car was a participant in the first Indy 500 in 1911 where it finished 7th driven by Charlie Merz. It is one of three factory-built racers entered in that race and is powered by a huge 4-cylinder engine displacing 450 cubic inches. It has been clocked at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 100 mph. 
 
1913 Bugatti T-22 - Possibly the oldest Bugatti race car running in the United States, this Bugatti is one of only 10 ever built and capable of 4000 rpm and 75 mph. It is powered by a revolutionary (at the time) 4-cylinder motor with overhead cam and 4 valves per cylinder. It had not run since 1920 until recently undergoing a 1,900-hour restoration.



“The Ragtime Racers exhibition is one of several new features added to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion weekend,” commented Barry Toepke, director of heritage events and public relations. “Our entire team is determined to wow everyone who enters WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Safely enhancing the guest experience is our top priority.”
 
For those looking to enjoy more of Laguna Seca Recreation Area, premier campsites are still available. For complete advance pricing and availability for ticket packages, VIP hospitality, and preferred parking, please visit WeatherTechRaceway.com or call the Tickets and Accommodations Office at 831-242-8200. 

 Ever wonder how grassroots racing legends would fare against drivers who made their careers earning national championships and winning the most prestigious races in North America? Wonder no more as the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) will pit an amateur driver against its star-studded lineup in the first five of its six-race inaugural season, which debuts this summer on Saturday nights in primetime on CBS.

 

Six-time NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Doug Coby will race in the SRX opener June 12 at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway. Then, when SRX leaves pavement in its rearview mirror and switches to dirt for its June 19 race at Knoxville (Iowa) Speedway, four-time Knoxville track champion Brian Brown will compete. SRX continues on dirt June 26 at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, and that’s where five-time USAC Silver Crown champion Kody Swanson joins the SRX field. A return to pavement comes July 3 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Indiana, where prolific USAC and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour winner Bobby Santos III joins SRX at the track where he has been a victory lane mainstay. Finally, if winning the July 6 Slinger Nationals – one of the most prestigious short-track races in the country – wasn’t incentive enough, an invite to compete in the July 10 SRX race at Slinger (Wis.) Speedway comes with the Larry Detjens trophy.

 

“We wanted to add to the drama and excitement SRX will bring fans by adding a Rocky Balboa or Cinderella story to each week’s race,” said Ray Evernham, co-founder of SRX. “Our amateur all-stars will have the opportunity to prove they’re more than just the hero at their home track – that they, in fact, have what it takes to get up on the wheel against the best in the world.”

 

Coby, the 41-year-old from Milford, Connecticut, has scored 29 career feature wins at Stafford – 12 on the Whelen Modified Tour, eight in Pro Stock, five in SK Modifieds, and four in Late Models. He is the only driver ever to win four consecutive Modified Tour championships (2014-2017), with his other two series titles coming in 2012 and 2019. He has amassed 29 career victories and 32 pole positions on the Modified Tour.

 

Brown, a 42-year-old from Grain Valley, Missouri, is the driver-owner for the team that bears his name. He has 180 career feature victories, including five in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series. He is the four-time and reigning 410 Sprint Car champion at Knoxville (2007, 2010, 2019 and 2020), where his 52 wins place him fifth on the all-time list at the historic track. He also has 17 wins in 360 Sprint Car competition at Knoxville, sixth-best all-time. Brown was the 360 Sprint Car class champion in 2002 and won the 360 Knoxville Nationals in 2014. Additionally, he had a streak of three consecutive runner-up finishes in the 410 Knoxville Nationals from 2012 through 2014. He also holds the distinction of being named Owner of the Year at Knoxville after the 2009 and 2019 seasons.  

 

Swanson is a 33-year-old native of Kingsburg, California, who resides in Indianapolis. His five USAC Silver Crown championships (2014, 2015 2017, 2018 and 2019) are the most in series history, as are his 30 career Silver Crown wins and 31 Silver Crown poles. Swanson holds the Silver Crown record for most consecutive wins (five) and he is the all-time series leader in podium finishes and laps led. He is a three-time winner of the Little 500 at Anderson (Ind.) Speedway and owns four consecutive Hoosier Hundred victories at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis and five straight Joe James/Pat O’Connor Memorial wins at Salem (Ind.) Speedway. In four of his last five Silver Crown starts at Eldora, Swanson has finished in the top-five. He is still searching for that elusive first win at Eldora, with second place in the 2015 4-Crown Nationals his best finish at the half-mile, dirt oval.

 

Santos, a 35-year-old from Franklin, Massachusetts, who bears the nickname “Bobby New England,” is best known for his success on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour. He has 149 career starts with 19 victories, 54 top-five finishes and 18 pole positions to go along with his 2010 series championship. He also won the 2016 Whelen All-Star Shootout exhibition race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Additionally, Santos has excelled in USAC, scoring 10 career Silver Crown wins, including four at Lucas Oil Raceway. Two of his seven career National Sprint Car victories have come at Lucas Oil Raceway, as well as one of his 11 career victories in the Champion Midget category. The versatile Santos is a four-time winner of the A.J. Foyt Championship (2006, 2011, 2017 and 2020), which is awarded to the driver with the season-best points tally at Lucas Oil Raceway in USAC’s top-three series – Silver Crown, Sprint Car and Midget. Santos’ Midget victories also include the prestigious Turkey Night Grand Prix at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway in 2008 and the Copper World Classic at Phoenix Raceway in 2009.

 

The Slinger Nationals is a short-track staple, a proving ground for the best of the best among Super Late Model drivers for the last 41 years. Past winners include NASCAR Hall of Famers Alan Kulwicki (1981) and Mark Martin (1984) and NASCAR Cup Series champions Matt Kenseth (1994, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2016 and 2019) and Kyle Busch (2011). The 42nd Slinger Nationals is the Tuesday night prior to SRX’s race on Saturday night at the .25-mile oval.

 

Tony Stewart, Tony Kanaan, Paul Tracy, Bobby Labonte, Willy T. Ribbs, Bill Elliott, Ernie Francis Jr., Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves and Michael Waltrip are the 10 fulltime drivers comprising SRX. After the events at Stafford, Knoxville, Eldora, Lucas Oil Raceway and Slinger, SRX concludes its inaugural season July 17 at the Nashville (Tenn.) Fairgrounds Speedway. Inclusion of additional drivers for the Nashville finale will be announced at a later date.

By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
When IMSA added the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires to the portfolio of series that it sanctions and officiates, the sanctioning body was well aware of Mazda MX-5 Cup’s reputation for putting on thrilling, bumper-to-bumper races with nail-biting finishes.
 
In the thoughts of those working in IMSA’s Race Control and Timing and Scoring departments, it was “Bring it on, we’re ready.”
 
Mazda MX-5 Cup has already delivered a pair of ultra-close finishes in the first four races of 2021, but with years of officiating experience and modern technology at its disposal, IMSA has made quick, complete and – most importantly – accurate calls on those results. It’s the same process used for all of its series, which this year also includes the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, IMSA Prototype Challenge, Ferrari Challenge North America, Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America and Porsche Carrera Cup North America.
 
In the very first Mazda MX-5 Cup race under IMSA sanction at Daytona International Speedway in January, the top seven finishers whizzed across the finish line less than four-tenths of a second apart. The difference between second and third places was one-thousandth of a second.
 
That same margin, 0.001 seconds, was the miniscule distinction of victory in the first race of the series’ doubleheader at Sebring International Raceway in March. Third place was just 0.013 seconds behind the winner as the three challengers crossed the finish line side-by-side-by-side.
No sweat, said Mark Raffauf, IMSA Senior Director of Race Operations.
 
“This is the kind of competition that we knew Mazda MX-5 Cup brings, and IMSA is prepared for that competition,” Raffauf said. “We have these technologies and tools to handle it. It’s kind of routine for us; this is what we do.”
 
IMSA’s process in tight-finish situations is the same for all its series. The primary tool for deciding the result comes from the electronic timing and scoring system. All competing cars carry a transponder, and every track has a series of timing loop wires embedded into the surface at various locations around the circuit – including the start/finish line. Each time a car crosses a timing loop, it’s recorded into IMSA’s electronic data history for the event.
 
Secondary to the process are high-speed cameras focused on the start/finish line and visual references from those watching the finish in Race Control.
 
“We start with the primary, and 99.9 percent of the time, the primary is what we use,” Raffauf said, referring to electronic timing. “Even when we have such close finishes, we still defer to the primary under these circumstances.
 
“If there’s a question, we do a review. The Race Director comes in to check the timing and scoring, looks at everything and says, ‘Yeah, that’s the way it is.’”
 
The Race Director in this case is Randy Buck, who joined IMSA this year to oversee Mazda MX-5 Cup and Porsche Carrera Cup North America races after a long career as a driver instructor and coach, as well as being a race director in regional series. It was baptism under fire for Buck at Daytona, with the seven-car train crossing the finish line nearly in tandem in his maiden race at the helm. He walked through the confirmation process, and it held up accurately as expected.
 
“The system is really good and the whole system and its procedures has been run through twice now – two out of the four races – and it worked perfectly,” Buck said. “The result that was initially presented was exactly the right one.”
 
A couple questions were raised about the results by teams, but Buck has used those opportunities to educate the paddock to IMSA’s thorough review process that leaves little to error. Sometimes a question is raised only because someone’s view of the finish is skewed by the angle from which they see it – be it from pit lane or in a grandstand.
 
Raffauf also pointed out that the embedded finish line timing loop is not always in the same location on the finish line painted on the track. The timing loop may rest within the first inches of the painted finish line, or it could be toward the last inches. It depends on where track personnel – not IMSA officials – opt to place the painted finish line, which can be several feet in width.
 
“In some way or another, the painted finish line straddles that timing loop,” Raffauf said. “So, it’s back to the education thing of understanding that the actual finish point could be at the front or the back of the finish line painted on the track.
 
“At Sebring,” Raffauf added, “the three cars got to the beginning of the paint in one order, and they came out the other side in another order. It was that close where, in a matter of feet, the positions changed.”
 
As Race Director for Mazda MX-5 Cup, Buck expects more of the same excitement throughout the season. “The MX-5 cars are so equal, the drivers are so competitive, that we’re likely to have these finishes on a fairly regular basis,” he said.
 
And whether it’s in Mazda MX-5 Cup or any other sanctioned series, IMSA is ready for any close finishes. As Raffauf summed up, “The computer and the transponder don’t lie.”
 
Mazda MX-5 Cup returns to action with another doubleheader weekend, April 23-25 at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Florida.
As Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course opens its gates for its 60th season with activities for the very first time this weekend, it will do so with the continued support from Summit Racing Equipment. The Ohio-based company dubbed as “The World's Speed Shop®” has renewed its commitment as the official high performance source of the legendary road course in Lexington, Ohio, and also for The Mid-Ohio School. 
 
Started in Stow, Ohio, Summit Racing Equipment was founded as a part-time business in 1968. The automotive parts company now sells product lines from over 1,500 manufacturers available in stock at its four retail locations in Georgia, Nevada, Ohio, and Texas or the online store at summitracing.com
 
“We are very fortunate to have the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in our backyard. The facility draws racers and spectators from around the world, and it’s truly a bucket list track,” said Jim Greenleaf, Summit Racing Equipment’s Motorsports and Events Manager. “We are also proud to support Mid-Ohio’s driving school classes including the popular Teen Defensive Driving course, and of course the first-class driving instructors. We’re looking forward to a great 2021.”
 
Summit Racing Equipment enjoys a strong brand presence at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course through this partnership with signage placements on and off the race track. It also provides branded uniforms and equipment used during each of the The Mid-Ohio School courses encompassing over 120 days annually.   
 
“It is always special and a point of pride for us to have companies from our home state supporting Mid-Ohio,” said Craig Rust, president of Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School. “Summit Racing Equipment has been a tremendous partner with a rich heritage in helping and guiding the racing community, and we are thrilled to continue our relationship.  We look forward to working with the entire team at Summit for many years to come.” 
 
The Mid-Ohio School holds its very first driving courses of the season this weekend with two sold out Teen Defensive Driving Programs followed by High Performance Courses early next week. Performance Track Riding days for sportbike owners will begin later this spring. All of The Mid-Ohio School’s 2021 course dates and online enrollment information can be found at midohioschool.com
 
Event tickets to the five major spectator weekends at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course are also available now at advance prices through Monday, April 26th. Mid-Ohio Season Race Passes are still being sold through that same date at midohio.com
 
The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course schedule for its 60th season follows:
 
May 14-16 - The Acura Sports Car Challenge Presented by the TLX Type S (IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event)
June 4-5 - B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio (NASCAR Xfinity Series / ARCA Menards Series)
June 25-27 - Vintage Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio (Sportscar Vintage Racing Association / Trans Am)
July 2-4 - The Honda Indy 200 Presented by the HPD Ridgeline (NTT INDYCAR SERIES event)
July 23-25 - AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days (AMA’s annual motorcycling celebration)
 
Additionally, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is currently seeking hardworking, dedicated candidates ages 16 and older to fill seasonal positions. Candidates can apply now for roles in the call center, ticketing and credentials, food service and catering, security, safety services, track corner workers, operations and maintenance. To submit an employment application for Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, visit midohio.com/jobs or call 419-884-4000 for more information. 
 
All race events and The Mid-Ohio School courses will continue to be held based on the ongoing guidance of the CDC and mandates of national, state and local authorities regarding public gatherings surrounding COVID-19. The necessary protocols for race fans and participants to attend can be found at midohio.com/covid19.
 
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course offers one of the best family values in all of live sports and entertainment. Children 12 and under always receive free general admission when accompanied by a ticketed adult. All the ticket options and pricing are posted online at midohio.com.
By Mark Robinson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
 Scott Andrews respected the bumps of Sebring International Raceway – even the virtual ones – and it led to the Australian winning the opening round of the 2021 IMSA iRacing Pro Series Presented by SimCraft on Thursday night. Meanwhile, Philipp Eng benefited from the fuel misfortune of Robby Foley to capture first place in GT Le Mans (GTLM), in the first multiclass IMSA iRacing professional race.
 
Andrews, driving the No. 74 Dallara P217 for Riley Motorsports/R8G eSports, claimed the overall and Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) victory by 10.867 seconds over Daniel Morad in the No. 70 Alegra Motorsports/Moradness eSport Dallara. Richard Heistand finished third in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing/GazX Racing Team entry.
 
IMSA iRacing Pro Series Presented by SimCraft: Sebring Race Results / Point Standings
 
In GTLM, Eng battled back after falling to fifth place early in the one-hour race to win in the No. 89 BMW Team RLL/BMW Team USA BMW. He inherited the lead on the final lap when Foley (No. 96 Turner Motorsport/BS+ TURNER BMW) ran out of fuel.
 
Eng crossed the finish line four seconds ahead of teammate and defending iRacing Pro Series champion Bruno Spengler in the No. 7 BMW. Nick Tandy brought the No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette home in third.
 
It’s the second straight IMSA iRacing win for Andrews, who took honors in the Pro Series Preseason Invitational in January that featured only LMP2 entries. Despite the sizable margin of his victory Thursday, Andrews said, “It’s never easy.” He credited developing a virtual setup with an engineer he worked with in the real-life 2020 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts for Thursday’s success. It was in November when Andrews made his first Daytona Prototype international (DPi) start with JDC-Miller MotorSports.
 
“Everything just fell into place,” said Andrews, who started on pole and wasn’t seriously challenged. “I actually worked on the setup before I got here with one of my old engineers from JDC, who worked on the DPi last year when I debuted in that last year at Sebring. We came up with something pretty good and it was reasonably easy to drive, and it turned out to be quick enough.
 
“We were just working on the compliance over the bumps. We found a fair bit that we would work on with the shocks to get over the bumps pretty good and not lose too much platform.”
Eng started third in GTLM but dropped to fifth on the first lap. He’d driven his way back to second place and appeared destined for the runner-up finish until Foley’s car faltered as the white flag waved.
 
“I’m really sorry for Robby, he drove a fantastic race,” said Eng. “I just kept it cool in the beginning; I tried to save some fuel, save my tires. We had a great team in the background. Elias, my ghost engineer, was spot on with the strategy. Very happy to be winning the opening race and thanks to IMSA and to (iRacing) for hosting this cool event.”
 
Eng, who also won over a world-class field in the 2013 iRacing Pro Race of Champions, said the competition in virtual racing mirrors that of the real world.
 
“Everybody’s racing, everybody’s pushing a lot, but on the other hand everybody’s very fair,” he said. “That’s what racing should all be about.”
 
He’s also eager to continue in the upcoming rounds of the iRacing Pro Series. The next race is April 22 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with the final on May 6 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Both events will stream live on iRacing’s YouTube and Facebook channels.
 
“I’m so keen on being back,” Eng said. “I put in a lot of practice before this event and I’m sure the practice will only become more and more. It’s all about practice in sim racing and getting those little tricks here and there.”
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