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  

  

 

High-Flying Motorcycle Daredevil fun comes with a risk, and no one understands that risk better than former EMT and firefighter Cole Freeman. My Medic proudly announces support of Freeman during one of the most iconic stunts to take place in Downtown Sturgis during the city's 81st Motorcycle Rally. Freeman will inject adrenaline-fueled thrills and champion support for non-profit group RESPONDER RESCUE as the main event during the Rally's closing ceremonies on Saturday, August 14th, 2021.

The American Daredevil BlockParty will take over the corner of Main Street and Harley-Davidson Way, kicking off at 11 am for ticket holders. Freeman will attempt his next death-defying motorcycle jump LIVE- and advocate the importance of why motorcyclists should always carry a first aid kit.

"When seconds matter, it only makes sense to carry a My Medic First Aid Kit on your motorcycle; it can save lives and should be something we all carry. I had personally needed one of these kits after a head-on collision in Sturgis last year claimed two lives. Unfortunately, I was helpless in the fact I had no tools to rescue either victim. I won't ride without a first aid kit again, and neither should you." -Cole Freeman shared.

The crowd will be thrilled by Freeman's exciting motorcycle stunts and his grand finale ramp-to ramp jump. He will also be raffling off a custom-built motorcycle, with proceeds going to Responder Rescue. In addition, audience members will have a chance to score one of many My Medic First Aid Kits! 

"When we heard of Cole's determination to help first responders, we knew we wanted to support his efforts. We are proud to support Cole because of his first-hand experience; he understands the importance of always having life-saving first aid items on hand. It's great to watch Cole as he uses his daredevil skills to not only entertain but to help educate people how to be prepared with first aid." David Barlow, CEO of MyMedic™, stated.

 

 INDYCAR and NBC Sports today announced a multiyear extension of their media rights agreement.

NBC Sports will continue to be the exclusive home of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge – “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” – and will provide coverage of all NTT INDYCAR SERIES races, qualifying, practices and Indy Lights races across its linear, digital and streaming platforms, including Peacock. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The NTT INDYCAR SERIES will see a significant increase in network exposure in 2022, with 13 races broadcast on NBC. USA Network and Peacock Premium will show the remaining races. Telemundo Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage of the season-opening race, the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale.

Peacock will stream all races on NBC and USA Network and will continue as the streaming home of NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying and practices sessions, Indy Lights races and full-event replays. Peacock will stream two races exclusively, which will be announced at a later date.

“NBC Sports is proud to extend its partnership with the NTT INDYCAR SERIES and continue to serve as the exclusive home of the most competitive open-wheel racing series in the world and ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” said Jon Miller, NBC Sports. “We have demonstrated NBCUniversal’s ability to make big events bigger with our presentations of the Indianapolis 500, we have worked closely with Roger Penske, Mark Miles and the entire team to expand INDYCAR’s reach across the U.S, and we are thrilled to build upon our collaborative successes of the past few years.”

Said Mark Miles, president and CEO, Penske Entertainment Corp.: “NBC Sports has been the ideal partner for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, bringing our bold and audacious style of racing to a significantly larger domestic audience and fully leveraging the power and scale of the Indianapolis 500. This new deal represents a significant expansion of our network TV exposure and sets us up for continued growth and success alongside a committed, innovative and world-class broadcast partner.”

The media rights extension comes on the heels of viewership milestones for NBC Sports’ coverage of both the Indianapolis 500 and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES. The 105th Running of the Indianapolis 500 on NBC was the most-watched edition of the race since the 100th Running in 2016, and NBC Sports is off to its most-watched NTT INDYCAR SERIES season ever through the first nine races of 2021, with viewership up 30% vs. comparable coverage in 2020.

The partnership between NBC Sports and the NTT INDYCAR SERIES dates back to 2009, when NBCSN (originally VERSUS) became the cable home of the series and televised the majority of its races each season. NBC Sports became the exclusive home of INDYCAR in 2019, which also marked the year of NBC’s inaugural Indianapolis 500 broadcast.

The full 2022 NTT INDYCAR SERIES coverage schedule on NBC, USA Network and Peacock will be announced in the coming months.

All coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES will be available on Peacock Premium. Viewers can sign up and learn more here. Peacock is currently available across devices; more details here. Peacock Premium is included at no additional cost for Comcast’s eligible Xfinity X1 and Flex customers and Cox Contour customers.

By John Oreovicz
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
It’s fair to say that the recent confirmation of agreement between IMSA and worldwide sanctioning authorities over technical specifications for a joint top class is the biggest news in decades for fans of endurance sports car racing.
 
In development for nearly two years, the plan will allow IMSA’s new-for-2023 LMDh prototypes to compete on equal terms against FIA and ACO-sanctioned LMH “Hypercars” for overall victories in World Endurance Championship events, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans .
 
The last time a U.S.-based program scored the outright win at Le Mans came in 2010, when Audi Sport North America completed a run of four wins in five years in the classic enduro.
 
Conversely, Hypercars will be eligible to go into battle with the LMDh field at every round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, starting with the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. It’s a win-win situation, especially for fans.
 
“Now, even further than they do today, our fans will get to see the best manufacturers and drivers and teams all competing head-to-head,” IMSA President John Doonan said. “There’s a lot of anticipation for a stacked field.”
 
An enormous amount of head scratching and number crunching went into trying to balance two radically different sports car platforms, one of which is new this year (Hypercar) and another still in the design and development phase.
 
Technical leaders from ACO, WEC, IMSA and key global auto manufacturers collaborated to create a formula that will equalize the effects of different powertrain solutions, including tires, braking capability, the acceleration profile for all-wheel drive cars versus rear-wheel drive and aerodynamics.
 
The so-called convergence of worldwide sports car racing has been a long time coming, and it’s still a work in process. But all signs point to success.
 
“Without sounding too clichéd, I really believe this type of announcement is something folks across so many different audiences in the sports car community have wanted for some time,” Doonan proclaimed.
 
“Across every media platform, positive feedback and comments have come in since the announcement from every facet of our sport. Across the sport, people are thrilled that this is now official, and we have a lot to look forward to. We have a lot to execute between now and January 2023 at the 61st Rolex 24, but I think there is a big spotlight on our future.”
 
The technical agreement creates the tantalizing prospect of WEC-compliant Hypercar enhancing the already-intense competition in the top prototype class of the WeatherTech Championship. That alone makes IMSA a winner.
 
But IMSA delivers star power of its own that will add value to the WEC show. Ask any French fan who has heard Corvettes thundering down the Mulsanne Straight at the Circuit de la Sarthe…
 
The cost-effective nature of IMSA’s LMDh formula has enticed Porsche, Audi and BMW back into prototype competition. Acura will continue its successful prototype program by developing its own LMDh, and other manufacturers are expected to follow suit. A key selling point for those returning manufacturers was the removal of barriers preventing IMSA’s top prototypes from competing for the overall victory at Le Mans and other WEC events.
 
“In the end, they know now that they can use the same vehicle and its platform to compete in IMSA and WEC/ACO competition,” Doonan said. “It’s mutually positive across both sides of the ocean.”
 
The benefits trickle down. With growth at the manufacturer level comes a greater demand for quality teams. Many manufacturers contract independent racing teams to run their “factory” racing programs.
 
Porsche, for example, has already announced that Team Penske will spearhead its LMDh efforts in IMSA and WEC, and that additional customer cars will be made available. BMW’s LMDh program has been linked to current IMSA teams. And with interest building worldwide in sports car racing’s new era of convergence, opportunities exist not only to attract new sponsors, but to enhance or expand existing partnerships.
 
The manufacturer-supported racing programs are going to need quality drivers. It must surely be a great time to be a young sports car driver, with so many potential factory rides on the horizon.
 
“The ultimate goal in sports car racing for a guy in my position is to be working directly with and for a major manufacturer,” said 25-year-old Trent Hindman, the 2019 WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class co-champion who is gaining valuable prototype training this year in the IMSA Prototype Challenge development series that runs Le Mans Prototype 3 (LMP3) cars, on top of his continuing presence in the WeatherTech Championship’s GTD class. “Of course, you want to be in position to drive an LMDh car and contend for overall wins.”
 
Doonan was in a unique position as the technical convergence agreement evolved. He started the process as Director of Motorsports for Mazda and ended it as IMSA President, having been appointed to the position in late 2019.
 
He’s extraordinarily proud of the hard work that so many people put in to make the prospect of a common top formula a reality for worldwide sports car racing.
 
“From a personal standpoint, I’m just honored and thrilled to have been in the room and part of it,” Doonan said. “Work dates to the 1980s to make something like this happen in the ‘90s, and to now be part of it is one of those boyhood dream experiences.
 
“Part of the foundation of IMSA is, ‘What’s good for the sport?’” he added. “That’s the most satisfying part of seeing it come together. Everybody put a lot of work in toward a common goal.”

Fresh off a win July 3 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, TeamSLR heads to the next race on the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli schedule this Sunday at Brainerd (Minn.) International Raceway intent on securing a second straight TA2 victory.

 

It was Sam Mayer who delivered the win to TeamSLR at Road America with his teammate, Connor Mosack, right in his tire tracks for the majority of the 25-lap race around the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course. Mosack started fourth and grabbed third place on the first lap and then took second on lap eight. The 22-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, stayed there until three laps from the finish when a spin on the penultimate corner thwarted his strong drive.

 

Mosack aims to take that speed to Brainerd, where he tested last week in preparation for Sunday’s race on the 2.5-mile, 13-turn road course located 130 miles northwest of Minneapolis. It marked one of the rare instances this season where Mosack has been able to sample a track before racing there, as 2021 is his first full season of TA2 competition, meaning that Mosack is seeing most of the tracks on this year’s calendar for the first time.

 

Mosack will be joined at Brainerd by a true first-timer in 20-year-old Jack Wood, who is looking to burnish his racing resume with some road-course experience via the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli.

 

Wood is a fulltime driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series who made his debut in that division on May 22 at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. Wood described the road-course race as an “eye-opener” as his only prior road-course experience came in go-karts and in a lone NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in 2019. The Loomis, California-native’s next Truck Series race takes place on a road course – Aug. 7 at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International – making this weekend’s TA2 experience at Brainerd all the more valuable.

 

Mosack and Wood will be coached by the father-and-son duo of Scott Lagasse and Scott Lagasse, Jr. They have combined to win more than 100 races and seven championships across a variety of series and styles of racecars, from paved ovals to road courses to dirt tracks.

 

It’s all a part of TeamSLR’s comprehensive driver development program, which includes car-building capabilities. TeamSLR is the exclusive representative of M1 Racecars, an official TA2 constructor. It builds rolling chassis and complete Chevrolet Camaros, Ford Mustangs and Dodge Challengers for Trans Am competition.

 

Mosack and Wood will wheel their M1 Racecars-built Chevrolet Camaros around Brainerd in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli’s 30th visit to the storied track where the legendary Parnelli Jones scored the first win back in 1969.

 

Connor Mosack, driver No. 28 Nic Tailor Custom Fit Underwear/Interstate Foam & Supply Chevrolet Camaro:

 

“We had a really strong run at Road America and it definitely gave us confidence to see the pace we had all weekend. I really think we were the car to beat for most of the race. As a team, we continue to improve in all areas and I’m getting better every race, as well. We’re close to being ready to run up front consistently and get that first win.

 

“Our test last week at Brainerd went really well, and we’ve improved a lot from where the team was last year. The track is a lot of fun to drive, and I’m excited for the race.

 

“Turn one is just wide open through the gears, and turn two is where the handling and skill comes in as it’s a challenge to slow just enough to not over-slide the car at high speed and get set up for turn three. That section is a good opportunity to reduce the lap time. The middle section of the track features tight corners followed by short straightaways, until it takes you into the Carousel. The Carousel at Brainerd is a smaller, tighter version of the one we see at Road America. This leads to a high-speed, left-to-right section that is tough to get right, followed by a tight left- and right-hand turn that leads onto the straightaway back to turn one.          

  

“Being able to test at the track beforehand is very helpful to having a lot of speed come race weekend. We were able to test before Mid-Ohio and we had a really strong race there. Now we can head into this weekend already fully up to speed.

 

“After Road America, I went over to Anderson Speedway for the Redbud 400 (Late Model race). Unfortunately, the race did not go well for us. Two guys got together right in front of me on lap five of 400 and we had nowhere to go. We had a lot of suspension damage and were unable to continue. But, I do think staying active behind the wheel always helps to keep your skills sharp and to continue to stay comfortable behind the wheel, even if there is a slight adjustment going from car to car.” 

 

Jack Wood, driver No. 96 M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro:

 

“My road-racing experience is minimal, which is why I’ve partnered with TeamSLR this weekend at Brainerd. Now, I have raced at Sonoma in a K&N car and then earlier this year at COTA in a Truck. I’ve also raced go-karts on road courses.

 

“COTA was a tough race. It was a big eye-opener for me and my team. We realized that road racing was something that I needed to focus on and get some seat time in road-course cars.

 

“While the TA2 car is different, some of the same concepts still apply. Watkins Glen is my next Truck race and that’s a track I’ve never been to before. Seat time on any road course is important, and that’s what I’m doing this weekend so that I can be better prepared for when we get there.

 

“NASCAR for the longest time has been speedway, superspeedway and short-track racing. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a change in the schedule, which is broadening the schedule to feature more road courses. It’s pulling a lot of drivers from different backgrounds like dirt racing and road racing. You want to make yourself a jack-of-all-trades. You cannot just be one-dimensional anymore. You need to be good in a lot of areas.

 

“My expectations for this weekend are actually low in terms of finishing positioning. I want to focus on myself, and I want my last lap to be better than my first lap. My biggest thing is showing up and learning. This will not be my last time in a Trans Am car, so I’ll be able to continue to learn for the future.

“I’m excited to work with TeamSLR this weekend. It’s a great group of guys and I know that we will learn a lot this weekend.”

 

Scott Lagasse, Jr., owner of TeamSLR and driver coach:

 

“Connor did a really good job at Road America. He learned the track really quickly and was able to run up front all weekend. I believe his performance will carry over to this weekend at Brainerd.

 

“We tested last week at Brainerd and it went well. It’s always good for a driver to get seat time at a track prior to the race weekend.

 

“In regard to Jack, we’ll work with him like we do all of our drivers. We’ll study film, data and talk as a team to help get the best out of all of our drivers. This brings the best results.

 

“The Trans Am Series is a great place for drivers to hone their road-racing skills. We have seen the influx of NASCAR races at road courses over the last few years, so I think it’s really important for drivers to have the knowledge and understanding of road racing. It only makes them more valuable.”

 

About TeamSLR:      

 

TeamSLR competes fulltime in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli in a multifaceted effort that includes dedicated entries in the TA2 division, customer programs, driver coaching and car construction. Its history dates back to 1985 and covers a wide spectrum of motorsports, including NASCAR, IMSA, SCCA, ARCA and ASA. TeamSLR is a family-owned organization run by Scott Lagasse Sr., and Scott Lagasse Jr., The father-and-son duo have combined to win more than 100 races and seven championships across a variety of series and styles of racecars, from paved ovals to road courses to dirt tracks. For more information, please visit us online at www.TeamSLR.com, on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram and on LinkedIn.

Jaguar Racing’s Sam Bird makes it a fairytale of New York at the ABB New York City E-Prix Round 11, becoming the first driver in Formula E history to win three races at the same track
 
The win puts Bird top of the ABB FIA Formula E World Drivers' Championship on 81 points, with Envision Virgin Racing’s Nick Cassidy finishing second to complete good weekend for the Kiwi
 
 Jaguar denied a one-two finish with Mitch Evans, who began the race in P2, struggling in the final laps to finish 13th
 
DS TECHEETAH’s Antonio Felix da Costa climbs from seventh on the grid to finish third and secure vital points, as well as the TAG Heuer Fastest Lap, heading into the final four races of the season
 
Envision Virgin Racing now lead the ABB FIA Formula E World Teams' Championship heading into their home race in London next time out
 
Da Costa’s DS teammate Jean-Eric Vergne forced an early safety car after the Frenchman failed to even emerge from the starting blocks – the double-champion unable to build on his podium finish yesterday
 
TAG Heuer Porsche pair Pascal Wehrlein and Andre Lotterer claim fourth and fifth place, while ROKiT Venturi Racing’s Edoardo Mortara remains firmly in the title hunt despite a poor weekend
 
Saturday’s race winner Maximilian Guenther (BMW i Andretti Motorsport) began the race at the back of the grid but made headway to finish 10th
 
Racing action returns on July 24 & 25 for the London E-Prix for Rounds 12 & 13 of the 2020/21 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.
 
Follow the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship on FacebookInstagramTwitterTikTok and YouTube@FIAFormulaE #ABBFormulaE
By Jeff Olson
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
 It’s always advantageous to have fast teammates. But when those teammates are your competition, the dynamic becomes more complicated.
 
Take the situation at Corvette Racing. The team’s two entries and four drivers are again fighting for the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class championship in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and, per usual, the fight is close and intense.
 
"I'd say it's fun, but it's stressful at the same time,” said Jordan Taylor, who drives the No. 3 Corvette Racing C8.R with Antonio Garcia. “There are no team orders of who will win the race. They let us race on track, but obviously any contact will be frowned upon. We had a head-to-head battle at Daytona, and the last couple of weekends have been head-to-head. The guys in the (No.) 4 car are professionals and two of the best in GT racing.”
 
As it stands after four of the 10 WeatherTech Championship events paying season-long points for the GT classes this season, Taylor and Garcia lead Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy, who share the team’s No. 4 Corvette C8.R, by 156 points. That lead was increased by successive pole positions and wins at Watkins Glen International by the No. 3 Corvette. In both races, the No. 4 wasn’t far behind.
 
The Corvettes are being pursued by the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19, whose full-season driver Cooper MacNeil is just 39 points behind Milner and Tandy. The No. 79 Porsche won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts in March with MacNeil and co-drivers Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet but was derailed early in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen on June 27 by a fire in the car.
 
The frustrating part for Milner and Tandy is knowing they’re on pace with the No. 3 car but not achieving comparable results.
 
“We're doing everything right with the things we can control with the strategy,” Milner said after last week’s IMSA WeatherTech 240 at Watkins Glen. “Nick did an awesome job at the start to get us out front. It's just not going our way right now. It's tough, but I'm proud of the guys. I know they're bummed. We've been fast and done everything right that we can control. We haven't had the luck.”
 
He’s hoping the luck returns July 16-17 for the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Connecticut. The event will feature the GTLM and GT Daytona (GTD) classes, giving the GT classes a rare opportunity to enjoy top billing. It also amplifies the battle within Corvette Racing.
 
“(It) is difficult because they have the same car and same tools as you,” Garcia said of the No. 4. “I'm very happy for Corvette to go 1-2. We're looking forward to the next few races, and then Le Mans is coming closer (Aug. 21-22, where both Corvettes and the Porsche will compete in the famous 24-hour race). We're looking forward to that, too."
 
With anticipation comes the knowledge that their teammates are likely their primary challengers.
 
“It’s great to have that rivalry, but it's difficult when you've got such great drivers in both cars,” Taylor said. “You're competing against the best in the same equipment. We've come out on top the last two races, but just as easily those guys could have won as well."
 
Live coverage of the Northeast Grand Prix begins Saturday, June 17 at 3:10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold’s TrackPass and IMSA Radio (Sirius 216, XM 202, SiriusXM Online 992). The NBCSN telecast begins at 5:30 p.m.
George Follmer and Parnelli Jones will share the track once again.
 
Two of the most competitive drivers during the formative years of the Trans-Am series, Follmer and Jones will be reunited as co-Grand Marshals at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Aug. 12-15 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
 
The pair are scheduled to be honored guests Saturday, Aug. 14 – which includes taking part in the Picnic in the Paddock, where they will participate in a Q&A session with race fans – as well as taking a few honorary laps around the track.
 
As Ford in Trans-Am celebrates its 55th anniversary, Follmer and Jones are the perfect featured duo. They competed head-to-head and as teammates in Ford Mustang Boss 302s, fighting for the championship throughout the 1960s and '70s.
 
Some of their most heated battles occurred in Monterey. In the 1970 Laguna Seca Trans-Am Championship for Sedans race, Jones took the checkered flag, just edging Mark Donohue and Follmer. However, Follmer would go on to win the 1972 Monterey Castrol GTX Grand Prix Laguna Seca.
 
“These are two of the most legendary figures in Trans-Am racing, and it’s only fitting that they would join us for this special occasion,” said John Narigi, president and general manager of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “Both men had storied careers, including many memories at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and we’re looking forward to giving the fans a chance to acknowledge and celebrate them.”
 
Jones is closely associated with the famous No. 15 Ford Mustang Boss 302. He had numerous wins using the familiar Bud Moore orange Ford in 1970, en route to capturing the Trans-Am championship that year. Jones won the 1963 Indianapolis 500 as a driver, and then won it twice as an owner, in 1970-71, with driver Al Unser. He retired with six IndyCar wins and four wins in 34 NASCAR starts, and is inducted into more than 20 Halls of Fame.
 
Follmer was famous for driving the No. 16 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 in the 1969 SCCA Trans-Am series. In 1965, he was victorious in the SCCA United States Road Racing Championship, and won the Trans-Am championship in 1972. Follmer also raced in the USAC Championship Car series in the 1967-1971 and 1974 seasons, with 25 career starts, including the 1969-1971 Indianapolis 500 races. He gathered 11 top ten finishes, including a 1969 win at the Phoenix International Raceway.
 
Full ticket packages for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, from single day tickets to comprehensive VIP experiences, are available online at WeatherTechRaceway.com or by calling WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s guest relations associates at (831) 242-8200. For added visitor convenience, the Laguna Seca Recreation Area campground has some campsites remaining. Tickets for the event can be found here.


(Courtesy of WeatherTech raceway)

By Godwin Kelly
IMSA Wire Service
 
 
Let’s have a Ted Talk about racing, or rather let Ted Giovanis talk about his amazing IMSA racing career.
 
Giovanis is not your normal sports car driver.
 
Consider this: He got his Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) racing license when he was 46 years old and turned pro to compete in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge at the tender age of 60. A decade after that, Ted Giovanis Motorsports (TeamTGM) took home the Michelin Pilot Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class championship in 2018.
 
TeamTGM has two cars entered for Saturday’s Lime Rock Park 120, the next race on the 2021 Michelin Pilot Challenge calendar.
 
IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge: Lime Rock Park 120 Entry List
 
Giovanis made his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship debut in the 2021 Rolex 24 At Daytona just weeks after turning 75. A drivetrain issue forced him to exit the race after turning 515 laps over Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile road course.
 
Giovanis is road racing’s version of “Benjamin Button.” The older he gets, the younger he drives. The Highland, Maryland, team owner and driver doesn’t really care to talk about age, racing and such.
 
“I feel very fortunate to be able to do what I do,” he says. “I think a lot of us (drivers) feel like that. I don’t know why I can do what I do. Maybe it’s genetic. Maybe it’s desire. I don’t know, maybe something else. I have never dwelled on this kind of stuff.”
 
In addition to racing, Giovanis is a health industry advocate, author and something of a fitness guru who follows a strict diet and workout regime to maintain his skills behind the steering wheel. He gained a bit of notoriety during the Rolex 24 when NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. talked about him during the telecast.
 
“(My age) was not discussed much, that is, until the Rolex 24 this year,” Giovanis said. “After the race, I got a ton of calls from friends and they told me, ‘They were talking about you on television. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was making a big deal out of it.’ So, you have one of the most popular people in racing talking about me and everyone is listening. He was using me to poke fun at himself. He said things like, ‘Hey, this guy is still racing, that means I have some time left.’”
 
For the record, Earnhardt Jr., the two-time Daytona 500 winner, retired as a full-time NASCAR Cup Series driver in 2017 at the age of 43, then went to the NBC announcer booth.
 
Once the Rolex 24 was done, Giovanis parked the No. 64 Porsche 911 GT3R he obtained from Wright Motorsports to concentrate efforts on his two-car Michelin Pilot Challenge program, featuring the Nos. 46 and No. 64 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.Rs.
 
His driver roster includes Hugh Plumb, Owen Trinkler and Matt Plumb (Hugh’s son). Each has achieved success at Lime Rock Park. Trinkler and Hugh Plumb won there for TeamTGM in 2018 on their way to the championship and followed it with another victory from the pole position in 2019. Matt Plumb has three Michelin Pilot Challenge wins at Lime Rock (2011, ’12, ’14).
 
Coming off a season-best third-place finish July 2 at Watkins Glen International, the Plumbs are sharing the No. 46 Camaro this season and have climbed to sixth in the GS standings. Giovanis and Trinkler are 18th in GS points after the first five races in the No. 64, with a best finish of 13th in the June 26 race at Watkins Glen. But as Giovanis says, no worries.
 
“I am writing a book with the working title ‘Everything I Learned, I Learned from Racing,’” Giovanis says. “It’s a series of stories about racing, but the theme is things are going to happen to you in life but you can persevere. Don’t get disappointed. It’s just a headwind. It’s a book about keeping going.”
 
He has no timeline for racing retirement. Giovanis says his body will tell him when it’s time to leave the cockpit.
 
“I think my reflexes will be more telling than anything,” he said. “I still have pretty quick hands and I’m very active mentally.”
 
And he is in better shape physically now than when he got his SCCA license back in those middle-age years. As for making his second appearance in the Rolex 24, Giovanis was coy with his response.
 
“We haven’t decided exactly what we are going to do, but I’ll give a non-answer,” he said. “I got a car and I got all the spare parts. The car is ready and it’s still legal for 2022. I have no immediate plans to sell it.”
 
In Ted Talk that means, see you at Daytona next year.
 
Lime Rock Park 120 Notes
 
Thirty-six cars are entered this week, 22 in GS and 14 in the Touring Car (TCR) class. Following their July 2 win at Watkins Glen, Bill Auberlen and Dillon Machavern (No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW M4 GT4) have opened a 110-point GS lead over Sheena Monk and Spencer Pigot (No. 3 Motorsports In Action McLaren 570S GT4). Michael Lewis and Taylor Hagler (No. 77 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Veloster N TCR) are riding a streak of four consecutive TCR podium finishes and lead Ryan Eversley (No. 94 Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic FK7 TCR, co-driven this week with Scott Smithson) by 130 points.
 
Practice and qualifying take place Friday on the 1.478-mile, seven-turn “classic” course (without the chicane that the WeatherTech Championship cars use). The two-hour Michelin Pilot Challenge race starts at 11:05 a.m. ET Saturday and airs live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA Radio. The NBCSN race telecast begins at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 10.

Following the successful debut of the new drift arena in Englishtown, NJ for Round 3 of the 2021 Formula DRIFT PRO Championship, the teams relocated to another new track for Round 4: Borderlands, which would be hosted by Lake Erie Speedway in North East, PA. 

 

The 3/8-mile oval track is popular with local drift racers but was totally new to the majority of FD PRO drivers, who would also need to contend with rain for Friday’s inaugural Knockout Qualifying Format (KQF) to decide the positions for Saturday’s competition heats. 

 

To ensure high-speed action, Formula DRIFT created a new course layout for the teams, providing three sweeping Outside Zones that rewarded smoothness while encouraging proximity for the large crowd to enjoy during the tandem competition runs.

 

QUALIFYING

The combination of a new track, heavy rain and a sprinkling of technical problems catapulted some different names to the top of the qualifying positions. Among them was fan-favorite Adam LZ (USA) who qualified first in his LZ S15. Having joined the PRO Championship as a rookie in 2020, FD Erie represents the peak of his extraordinary career and indicated there’s plenty more to come.

 

Second place was secured by 2015 FD Champion Fredric Aasbo (Norway) driving the Rockstar Energy Drink Toyota GR Supra. Sitting third in the 2021 driver’s Championship, the Norwegian is always a threat and looked strong in the rain.

 

Third place went to 2013 FD Champion Michael Essa (USA) who proved he can still hustle the FCP Euro / Liqui Moly / GT Radial BMW M3 when the mechanical gremlins have been abated.

 

With a new name at the top of the qualification table, there was an unusual one at the bottom: 2011 FD Champion Daijiro Yoshihara (Japan) was in 29th; his lowest qualifying position since he joined FD in 2004. Unfortunately, Dai continues to have a challenging 2021 season in the Turn 14 Distribution / Falken Tire / ENEOS Oil Subaru BRZ.

 

Two places above him in 27th was three-time FD Champion Chris Forsberg (USA) in the NOS Energy / GT Radial Nissan 370Z. He was a beneficiary of the new Knockout Qualifying Format, which gave him a second run after a technical problem dictated he abort the first. 

 

Forsberg reported a repeat of his drive-by-wire throttle problems, which had caused him not only to qualify 31st at Round 3, but would lead him to concede to Matt Field (USA) in the Final. 

 

With the team continuing to work on the throttle body, trying to prevent it shutting of its own accord, they were hopefully the 370Z would be stronger for the first heat against Aurimas “Odi” Bakchis (Lithuania) who held second in the 2021 FD PRO Championship driving the Falken Tire / Feal Suspension Nissan S15.

 

Other teams facing problems included Federico Sceriffo (Italy). He advanced to the Top 16 for the very first time at FD NJ in the FFF Drifting Department Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorella. However, he didn’t travel to FD Erie after a team member was diagnosed with COVID-19.

 

Unfortunately, Ryan Litteral (USA) was again a no-show in the Powerstop Brakes Nissan S15, and Justin Pawlak (USA) blew an engine during practice in his Falken Tire Ford Mustang and was forced to withdraw.

 

With 29 drivers remaining for the Top 32 heats, the three top qualifiers would all get bye runs into the Top 16 heats.

 

COMPETITION HEATS

With his bye run promoting LZ into the Top 16, an expectant crowd saw him position the LZ S15 alongside Chelsea DeNofa (USA) in the BC Racing / Nitto Tire Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D. With more horsepower and experience, DeNofa is always a major threat and after a good lead run, LZ knew he needed to pressure DeNofa from the chase position. Unfortunately, this resulted in a meeting with the wall in Turn 1 shortly after initiating. The impact created a gap between the two drivers and was enough to send LZ back to his trailer to prepare for Round 5.

 

For DeNofa, his LZ victory was the second heat in his march to the Final – his first in the Top 32 had been against Jhonnattan Castro (Dominican Republic). His Gerdau Metaldom / Mobil1 / Nexen Tires Toyota 86 TRD span out of contention in Outside Zone 3 while trying to maintain proximity with DeNofa.

 

Moving into the Top 8, DeNofa’s next rival was Kazuya Taguchi (Japan) driving the Upgarage / ISR Performance / GT Radial / Jerry Yang Racing Toyota 86. There was little to separate the two after their tandem runs but the judges favored DeNofa’s lead run and awarded him the win.

 

DeNofa’s opponent in the Final 4 was FD PRO Championship points leader, Matt Field, who had an early scare when he damaged his car in pre-event practice. Happening shortly before the competition heats, Field chose to use his 5min Competition Time Out (CTO) to replace the steering rack. Possibly sensing weakness, DeNofa pushed Field hard on the first run, achieving incredible proximity throughout the course. With the pressure on Field to drive equally aggressively, he made a mistake and surged forward into Outside Zone 2, forcing him to correct. As he straightened and appeared to get lost in DeNofa’s smoke, Field ran off-track and his day was done.

 

The second Semi-Final was between DeNofa’s teammate, Vaughn Gittin Jr (USA) in the Monster Energy Ford Mustang RTR Spec 5-D, and Fredric Aasbo (Norway) driving the Rockstar Energy Drink Toyota GR Supra. With three FD PRO Championship titles between them, thrills are guaranteed and FD Erie didn’t disappoint.

 

On the first run, Aasbo set an incredible pace, filling the three Outside Zones with precision. Gittin was slow to initiate but caught up quickly and the pair finished together to cheers from the appreciative crowd. But then things got crazy on the second run. 

 

With the gauntlet thrown, Gittin made a blistering start and Aasbo was similarly slow to initiate. The Norwegian seemed to struggle with the transition into Outside Zone 2 and was forced to abort his drift. It happened fractionally after Gittin had over-rotated in Outside Zone 3 and was also forced to lift and straighten. The judges assessed Gittin’s run incomplete, awarding the win to Aasbo.

 

The only hitch was Aasbo’s broken rear suspension, which the team was given 7min to repair. As the clock ticked down, the team segued in its 5min Competition Time Out. However, it wasn’t sufficient for such extensive repairs and Aasbo had to concede the Final to DeNofa.

 

As the first driver to win two rounds this year, DeNofa jumped from fourth in the FD PRO Championship to second behind Field, who hangs on with a narrow 19-point lead.

 

“I’d actually been here about 13 years ago, so it was cool to see the track layout from behind the wheel of an insanely well set-up car,“ DeNofa told us after the podium ceremony. “I didn’t know what to expect but the fans were amazing, packed in, tuned-in to everything – they were pumped to have us here and we were pumped to be at the track.

 

“Unfortunately, we had some rain yesterday, so I didn’t get many practice runs. And I only had one chase before going into the heats, so we were learning as we went along – but it was a level playing field because most teams were in the same position,” he continued. 

 

“I have to admit, I deliberately qualified poorly because I prefer to chase first. That worked out and we were able to chip away in the heats. We took it all the way to the podium and while it’s unfortunate we didn’t get to run against Fredric, I did get to do a Victory Lap, which I’ve never done before. I was pumped to run at 150% without caring what happens because as soon as you run, you’ve won.

 

“I really want to continue the momentum that’s given us two wins out of four this year. Going into Seattle, I typically don’t do well there but I’m local so have recently driven it a few times and learned a few things. Now the team has a list of things we want to improve to continue evolving the car and keep progressing because anybody in the top ten still has a chance to win the title.” 

 

With Aasbo finishing second, he held onto third place in the FD PRO Championship, while Bakchis dropped to fourth. Top Rookie finisher was Josh Reynolds (USA) who put his Drift Force / Nexen Tire F22 Eurofighter BMW into 19th place.

 

Before hitting the hotel mini-bar we tracked down Formula DRIFT President, Jim Liaw: “We’re very happy to have added this amazing facility in the Great Lakes area to the 2021 Formula DRIFT schedule. The crowd came from across the mid-west and eastern seaboard, and we’re hoping to see Canadian visitors once the borders open up. We’ve built a great foundation here for years to come in terms of the close competition we can expect and engagement with the fans. I really hope they enjoyed the inaugural Formula DRIFT event at Lake Erie Speedway – it certainly looked as if they did – and we have tremendous opportunities to grow from here. So, we’ll evaluate how everything went and see how we can make the 2022 event even stronger!”

For the first time since 2015, Progressive American Flat Track is back at the famously fast DuQuoin Mile presented by Black Diamond Harley-Davidson at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Illinois, this Saturday, July 17.

 

To this day, flat track fans are still talking about the series’ most recent stop at the “Magic Mile” in ‘15, when Bryan Smith (No. 4 Crosley/Howerton Motorsports Indian FTR750), Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750), and multi-time Grand National Champion Kenny Coolbeth took the checkered flag three wide in a photo finish officially separated by an impossibly close 0.00-second margin.

 

“Mile Master” Smith was determined to be the victor that evening, and he’ll be back competing for Mission SuperTwins presented by S&S Cycle honors this weekend in hopes of adding another win in DuQuoin to his vast collection of Mile victories.

 

Though he’s coming off an uncharacteristic performance at his home race in Lima, the still-mending Jared Mees (No. 9 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) was healthy enough to win OKC Mile II a week before that. Considering his peerless form on the bigger tracks over the past few seasons, Mees is well poised to rebound in style in DuQuoin.

 

And even in retirement, Coolbeth might just get his revenge this weekend. While the series sorely misses the injured Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750), the Cooleth-Nila Racing team comes armed with a substitute rider who may be the only racer on the planet with the skills to go from the couch to the top of the podium in Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Coolbeth-Nila Racing Indian FTR750). Further fueled by the support of his home-state fans, Carver is certain to add an element of excitement on Saturday night.

 

Of course, there’s the two top-ranked riders on the tour to consider in double defending Grand National Champion Briar Bauman (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) and the streaking Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750). Throw in the likes of Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), and Brandon Price (No. 92 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750), and the potential is there for another classic.

 

AFT Singles

 

The factory-backed KTM, Yamaha, and Honda teams led by Max Whale (No. 18 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE), Dallas Daniels (No. 1 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) and Henry Wiles (No. 17 American Honda/Progressive Insurance CRF450R) have battled it out at the front throughout the 2021 AFT Singles. That’s a trend expected to continue this weekend.

 

Even after finishing as the class runner-up in 2020, Australian Whale has been something of a revelation this season, showcasing the speed and consistency to take the fight to a dominant defending champion in Daniels, who more often than not looked to be in a class of his own a year ago.

 

Meanwhile, Wiles has strung together two wins and a runner-up in his most recent three races, demonstrating the tools that made him the most successful 450cc rider in premier-class history.

 

With 14 podiums since his last (and to date, only) AFT Singles win, Morgen Mischler (No. 13 Mission Roof Systems KTM 450 SX-F) is more than due to earn another checkered flag.

 

Shayna Texter-Bauman (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-FFE) could use another win too; since opening her ‘21 campaign in sensational double-winning fashion, Texter-Bauman is yet to finish better than 10th, including 10th- and 12th-place results at the OKC Mile. She cannot be overlooked, however, considering she’s taken eight-career Mile wins -- more than twice as many as any other rider in AFT Singles history.

 

AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines

 

The story remains the same in AFT Production Twins presented by Vance & Hines where everyone is scrambling to keep pace with 2019 class king Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Yamaha Racing Yamaha MT-07). Texter has recorded four wins and six podiums in seven attempts, allowing him to stretch out an early 39-point advantage.

 

There’s a great deal of talent in the class behind him, including Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 D&D Cycles/Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson XG750R), Chad Cose (No. 49 Voodoo Ranger/Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R), Dan Bromley (No. 62 Memphis Shades/Vinson Construction Yamaha MT-07), Ben Lowe (No. 25 Mission Roof Systems Harley-Davidson XG750R) and Ryan Varnes (No. 68 RVR/Rausch Fuel Kawasaki Ninja 650). Any number of them have the potential to string together a series of top results and make this championship race a fight yet.

 

The day’s events will have a slightly different sound in DuQuoin; four-time GNC Main Event winner and Illinois native Johnny Murphree will provide color commentary in the booth alongside series announcer Scottie Deubler. Murphree is filling in for 2013 Grand National Champion Brad Baker, who is away getting married this weekend.

 

Tickets are available for purchase now at https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3377#selectTickets. General Admission tickets situated on the front stretch grandstand are $35 in advance ($65 with paddock access). Kids 12 and under are admitted for free ($20 with paddock access) with the purchase of an adult GA ticket. Prices increase on event day, so fans are encouraged to reserve all seats in advance.

 

The gates will open for fans at 3:00 p.m. local time with Opening Ceremonies set to begin at 7:20 p.m. ET/4:20 p.m. PT. Live coverage of the entire weekend’s racing activities will be available on any device for only $1.99 a month via TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.

 

The DuQuoin Mile presented by Black Diamond Harley-Davidson will air on NBCSN on Sunday, August 8, at 12:30 a.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT, featuring exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage.

 

For more information, please visit http://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.