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 Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour will be back in 2020 with a calendar that includes 10 events for a total of 20 Hoosier Super Tour races. For the fourth year in a row, the series will commence its exciting season in January and conduct at least one race weekend each month right through July.

As has become tradition, this year’s Hoosier Super Tour will again open at Sebring International Raceway in Florida before a February visit to Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas. However, this year’s stop at COTA will only be a two-day event. Then, competitors head west to Central California’s Buttonwillow Raceway Park in February this year instead of the traditional April visit, a new twist for the 2020 season.

March sees a return to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, followed by an early April date at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit just west of Tulsa, Oklahoma. That is followed by a weekend tentatively scheduled at VIRginia International Raceway along the border of North Carolina and Virginia.

One Hoosier Super Tour event will take place in May, and that will be out west at Portland International Raceway in Oregon. Drivers then head back to the Midwest for a tentative date at Road America for the annual WeatherTech Chicago Region® June Sprints®, which would certainly serve as a “preview” for Runoffs competition since that venue is hosting the 2020 National Championship.

Next on the Hoosier Super Tour calendar is a June visit to beautiful Watkins Glen International in New York before the season concludes in July with a tentative date at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This will be the first time the series has capped off its “regular season” at Mid-Ohio, which has traditionally held its Hoosier Super Tour event in early June.

As always, the calendar is subject to change, but dates for the 2020 Hoosier SCCA Super Tour are currently as follows:

- January 10-12: Sebring International Raceway; Sebring, Florida
(Central Florida Region - Southeast Conference)

- February 8-9: Circuit of the Americas; Austin, Texas
(Lone Star Region - Southern Conference)

- February 21-23: Buttonwillow Raceway Park; Buttonwillow, California
(Cal Club Region - Western Conference)

- March 20-22: Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta; Braselton, Georgia
(Atlanta Region - Southeast Conference)

- April 4-5: Hallett Motor Racing Circuit; Jennings, Oklahoma
(Ark Valley Race Group - Mid-States & Southern Conference)

- April 10-12 (tentative): VIRginia International Raceway; Alton, Virginia
(North Carolina Region - Northeast & Southeast Conference)

- May 16-17: Portland International Raceway; Portland, Oregon
(Oregon Region - Western Conference)

- June 12-14 (tentative): Road America - WeatherTech Chicago Region® June Sprints®; Plymouth, Wis.
(Chicago Region - Northern Conference)

- June 19-21: Watkins Glen International; Watkins Glen, New York
(Glen Region - Northeast Conference)

- July 17-19 (tentative): Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course; Lexington, Ohio
(Ohio Valley Region - Northern Conference)

Hoosier Super Tour venues are selected based on various attributes. Some have decades of history with a record book featuring the biggest names in all of motorsport. Other sites are top “pro” tracks offering the best quality racing surface and amenities. And certain tracks are on the schedule because they are the best “club” courses in the country, where challenging layouts are matched with warm hospitality and a “family feel” to the paddock area.

Beyond the venues, the Hoosier Super Tour offers a heightened experience for both competitors and race fans. Weekends include segmented timing and scoring, a service simply unavailable at most amateur motorsports events. The series also boasts a dedicated “Super Tour Radio presented by Hoosier Racing Tire” team of announcers capable of providing consistent insight and entertainment heard at tracks or online at SCCA.com.

Dedicated staffing with a series race director, administrator and technical inspector working in conjunction with local event personnel is an additional feature of the Hoosier Super Tour. Up to two static cameras broadcast races live online at SCCA.com, and onsite SCCA public relations staff provide weekend race coverage and post-race winner videos. Hoosier Super Tour dates also have enhanced weekend social activities for volunteers, drivers, crew and family.

The Hoosier Super Tour serves as the Summit Racing Equipment SCCA Road Racing’s nationwide points championship. The point structure remains the same as previous years with the best six Hoosier Super Tour races, plus a Runoffs finish, going toward identifying class champions. Point totals for the Hoosier Super Tour are managed by SCCA national office staff and can be viewed at SCCA.com.

Only SCCA Full Competition and SCCA Pro Racing License holders may register to compete at Hoosier Super Tour events. The Hoosier Super Tour also serves as a path to the 57th SCCA National Championship Runoffs® taking place Oct. 5-11, 2020, at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

The Sports Car Club of America®, Inc., founded in 1944, is a 67,500-member motorsports organization that incorporates all facets of autocross, rally and road racing at both Club and professional levels. With headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, the SCCA annually sanctions over 2,000 events through its 115 Regions and subsidiary divisions. Much of the SCCA’s activities are made possible with support from the following Official Partners: Hagerty, the Official Insurance Partner of SCCA; Hawk Performance, the Official Brake Products of SCCA; Sunoco, the Official Fuel of SCCA; and Tire Rack, the Official Tire Retailer of SCCA. To learn more, please visit www.scca.com.

The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA/SGT/GT drivers delivered another spectacular finale at the Daytona International Speedway on Saturday to close out the 2019 season with a title-deciding thriller. 

Chris Dyson needed everything to go his way to overcome the points advantage of Ernie Francis, Jr. and claim the title in his No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang.

While Dyson claimed pole position in qualifying, led every lap of the 29-lap race and clocked the fastest time of the session on his way to his third win of the season, it wasn’t enough to derail Francis Jr.’s (No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang) drive to a sixth career Trans Am title. 

Dyson mathematically had a chance at the championship if Francis Jr. finished last. But with Ernie Francis Jr. taking second, the points from Dyson’s perfect weekend still weren’t enough to keep Francis Jr. from scoring a second consecutive TA championship. 

Despite coming up shy of his championship goal.  the second-year TA driver was ecstatic after the race to keep the winning Dyson name alive at the World Center of Racing. 

 “I won here a few times the first part of my racing career and I am feeling fantastic after that win,” Dyson said. “It’s so great to be back at Daytona winning here, there’s nothing quite like it. It’s been a very dramatic season for us, a lot of ups and downs. We came here and we’ve done exactly what we needed to do. We came up a bit short on the title race but it was a real joy and privilege to race out there today,”

Targeting the lead right from the drop of the green flag, Francis Jr., shadowed Dyson throughout the race. On the final lap, the 21-year-old South Floridian sliced a tire in the No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors that extended Dyson’s margin of victory as Francis Jr. nursed his wounded Ford Mustang to a second-place finish. 

“I am really looking forward to next season racing against Chris (Dyson),” said Francis. “Chris and I go to battle every race and I think we’ve made each other better drivers because of it. We had to take it home today to clinch the championship. Wish we could have ended the season with a win, but we will be back next year even stronger.”

Adam Andretti drove from the back of the pack to finish third in the No. 17 Engineered Components Co./AnchorBolt Chevrolet Camaro, prevailing in a spirited battle to end Tomy Drissi’s bid for a fourth-consecutive podium finish in the No. 8 Lucas Oil/Axalta Chevrolet Camaro. The fight for the podium also earned Andretti the Cool Shirt Cool Move of Race. 

“I felt like I was on a mission,” said Andretti. “Tomy (Drissi) and I had a blast. I couldn’t have asked for any better competitor out there to go door-to door-with and clean. I can’t thank Tomy enough because that was so fun. I hope it was the highlight of his day because it sure was mine.” 

Kerry Hitt, in the No. 19 Advanced Composite Products Inc. Cadillac CTSV, earned the Masters Cup Award in the TA class after finishing his 100th Trans Am career start in 13th place. In addition to his Masters Cup honor, Hitt was given a special commemorative trophy by Trans Am to celebrate his career accomplishment. 

“We started this journey 18 years ago,” Hitt said. “Trans Am is my family and this (trophy) is just priceless. I can’t wait to continue this journey with them.”

Having won the season-opening race at Sebring, Lee Saunders (No. 84 V10PWR Racing Dodge Viper) finished his SuperGT season with bookend wins with a Daytona victory.  2019 SGT Class champion Mark Boden finished second in the No. 46 Beverage Flavors International Porsche. Tom Herb crossed the stripe third in the No. 16 Fall-Line Motorsports / Porsche 991 GT3 Cup.

“Wow, it was a heck of a battle,” said Saunders. “The Porsches are so fast, and Mark [Boden] and Tim [Kezman] are such great drivers. We were faster in the banking, and they were much faster in the infield, so it was a balance of where I could get them, where they could get us. We got a little lucky in traffic, and that helped. They got unlucky in traffic, and that sometimes happens. It was a heck of a battle and a great time. We made the pass for the lead going into NASCAR Turn 3, and I was able to hold it. Before that, we actually changed the lead four, five or six times before we were finally able to make it stick. I was able to keep them behind me in the infield, and then pull away a little bit.”

Steven Davison continued his winning streak in the GT class, ending his championship season with his fifth victory in the No. 22 Davinci Plastic Surgery Aston Martin Vantage. 

Davison went to the point during a Lap 10 caution when pole-starter Mark Ramsey was issued a drive-through penalty after the first-time Trans Am competitor missed the wave-by in the No. 92 Big Data in Action Mercedes-AMG GT4. The mistake forced Ramsey to a third-place finish. Billy Griffins took second in the No. 14 Griffin Auto Care/Sheehan’s Towing Ford Mustang.

“Winning was fabulous,” said Davison. “It was real nice to see good GT competition out there. From my standpoint, it was a ‘stay out of trouble’ race, and I couldn’t be happier to end the season with a win. The Mercedes (Mark Ramsey) was very strong to start with, and so was the Ford (Billy Griffin). I got behind the Ford, and worried and harassed him a little bit before I got by. I thought it would be a very good head-to-head battle with the Mercedes toward the end, but maybe his tires wore down a little bit. It was great racing. I took the lead after the restart, and then held on the rest of the race.”

The showing at Daytona International Speedway closed out the 53rd Trans Am Series season. 

The thunder returns to action Feb. 29-March 1, 2020 at Sebring International Raceway. 

Fans can keep up with the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli throughout the offseason at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam.  

The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2® class season finale at Daytona International Speedway was dramatic from start to finish in the 65-minute finale on Saturday. 

After the dust settled with post-race reviews and technical inspections, Thomas Merrill, in the No. 99 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang, scored his third TA2®  powered by AEM victory of the season. His teammate Tony Buffomante (No. 34 Mike Cope Racing Ford Mustang) staged a massive comeback to score second ahead of Dillon Machavern, who claimed third in the No. 77 Liqui-Moly/Prefix Ford Mustang.

“The last few laps were pretty busy, pretty aggressive, but fair – fair both ways,” said Merril of his battle with pole sitter Mayer. “Our car was very good, and I felt his car was very good, so it was a very good race for the lead there at the end. The Big Diehl Racing/Mike Cope Race Cars crew was unbelievable. They gave me the best car in the field. It was my job to bring it home in first place.”

Sixteen-year-old NASCAR K&N champion Sam Mayer (No. 96 SLR/Fields Racing/M1 Racecars Chevrolet Camaro) started on pole, but it was Merrill that shot to the front of the pack at the start ahead of Rafa Matos and 2019 TA2® champion elect Mark Miller. Tony Buffomante slotted in to third as Mayer looked to move up from fourth. 

Under braking for turn one, Mayer and Buffomante made contact, sending the No. 34 Mustang back down the order to 24th position. Mayer was issued a drive through penalty and fell back to eighth.

Merrill built a seven-second lead before debris on the track forced the first of four caution periods and grouped the field back up. Miller and Jacob Mosler (SLR/Fields Racing/M1Racecars / Chevrolet Camaro) fell victim to the flying wreckage. Miller pitted to change two flat tires and continued the race. Mosler wasn’t as lucky. His day ended with pierced transmission.

On the restart, Merrill held off the challenging 2018 TA2® champion Rafa Matos for the lead. Again building his lead, Merril’s gap was erased once again after another full course yellow following an issue that ended Matos’ strong run. 

After a pair of back-to-back cautions, Mayer caught Merrill following a late restart and the two swapped the lead several times. Mayer made his final bid entering the NASCAR oval on the 26th lap, but a two-car incident on the front straight brought about a race-ending caution as Merrill closed out his 2019 season on a high note. Following post-race inspections, Mayer’s entry was found to be out of compliance and was disqualified from the race.

Buffomante also had a strong drive through the field following the early incident, taking third on the final green-flag lap, and later promoted to second. The run was Buffomante’s Trans Am swan song, as the five-year veteran driver will step away from competition as he prepares to pass the torch to his 11-year-old son who is continuing the family tradition and pursuing a racing career.

“He [Mayer] just drove right through us,” Buffomante explained. “At a track like Daytona, a drive-through penalty is not big enough, especially when you get a caution, those guys just drive right back up there. It’s unfortunate for us. We had a good car, and spent a bunch of time backwards after I spun out. Then I had to work back through the pack. I would have liked to have had the last couple of laps not run under the caution. I think we would have made it interesting. We were hoping for another win here, but it is great to end up here on the podium. ”

Lawless Alan (No. 52 AutoParkIT / Ford Mustang), the 19-year-old TA2 Rookie of the Year, finished fourth after an early pit due to loose wiring forced him to the pits early in the race and Misha Goikhberg (No. 10 BC Race Cars / Chevrolet Camaro) took fifth.

Miller, aftre hitting debris,  ran fifth before retiring late in the race due to a coolant leak.

“This was not the way we wanted to end the season,” said a deflated Miller. “Our car was very, very good. We had contact at the beginning of the race that put us back. Then we were able to put on a good showing. I had a good car until I found myself driving in my own antifreeze. I thought it might have been a tire, but then I saw the temperature gauge. I got hit a few times, but it was fun.”

The showing at Daytona International Speedway closed out the 53rd Trans Am Series season. 

Trans Am returns to action Feb. 29-March 1, 2020 at Sebring International Raceway. 

Fans can keep up with the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli throughout the offseason at www.gotransam.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/gotransam and on Twitter at @gotransam.  

At his home track, Funny Car’s Robert Hight raced to his third career NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world title and second in three years on Sunday by advancing to the final round of the 55th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
 
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel), Erica Enders (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also claimed world championships in their respective categories at the final race of the NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. The race winners of the final event of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season were Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) and Jianna Salinas (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
 
Hight knocked off championship hopeful and No. 1 qualifier Matt Hagan with a strong run of 3.977-seconds at 324.59 mph in his Auto Club of Southern California Chevrolet Camaro SS to reach the final, where he just needed to not lose any points. In the final, Hight performed a massive burnout to the delight of the fans before the car shut off, handing him the championship during what was the best season of his career.
 
“The most important run of my life was in the semifinals against Matt Hagan,” Hight said. “When it comes down to one run to win a championship, how will you perform? My heart was beating out of my chest, but we got it done. This has just been the steadiest year I’ve ever had and that’s a real tribute to this team. It’s amazing and I’m the luckiest guy in the world to drive this Funny Car. To win six races, lead the points with the competition level in Funny Car, I’m going to cherish this championship the most because we earned it. We did our job.”
 
Hight, who becomes just the fifth driver in class history to earn a third title, beat teammate John Force and then Shawn Langdon to set up the showdown with Hagan, advancing to his ninth final round in 2019. His season included a career-best six victories, giving him 51 in his career, while Hight was consistently impressive all year, leading in points at 23 of the 24 races.
 
After Hight’s car shut off, Beckman took advantage in the final round, going 3.920 at 323.27 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge SRT Hellcat to close his year in style. Beckman finished second in points with the win, just eight behind Hight, claiming his second win in 2019 and 30th in his career. Beckman reached the final round for the 63rd time overall thanks to round wins against John Hale, J.R. Todd and Blake Alexander.
 
“I’ve never won Funny Car at Pomona, so that was awesome,” Beckman said. “If you win at (the World Finals), the off-season is going to be fantastic. They’ve given me such a great racecar lately, and finished a solid second, ended the year with a win and we’ve got a phenomenal car. Things are awesome right now. I’m feeling on top of the world, to be honest with you.”
 
Torrence clinched his second straight NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series Top Fuel world title by advancing to the semifinals and making it down the track during that round on Sunday. In a massive second-round matchup with 2017 world champ Brittany Force, Torrence pulled away at the top end, going 3.749 at 326.48 in his CAPCO Contractors dragster. It followed a heated first-round matchup with Cameron Ferre, where Torrence, the No. 1 qualifier, won with a 3.734 at 327.82. The team rose to the occasion against Force, performing big in another clutch situation and making a clean pass in the semifinals to win back-to-back titles.
 
“It’s been really special to be part of a team that goes out and has the success we’ve had,” Torrence said. “It’s really special to win one championship, much less two and to do it back-to-back. I knew what we had to do and we were going to decide who had the best chance at it in the second round. The guys prevailed and gave me the racecar, and I did the job I needed to do when I needed to do it. Our group of guys has been together for years and that continuity is what has been a key recipe to our success.”
 
It capped off another remarkable season for the Texan, as Torrence was again in control for most of the year. He finished with nine Top Fuel wins, including a dominant stretch of eight wins in a nine-race span. Torrence, who won 11 races a year ago en route to his first title, also advanced to 14 final rounds in 2019, as he now has 36 wins and 55 finals appearances in his career. His playoff victory in Charlotte gave him the points lead for good, as Torrence’s path to the championship included three finals in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship.
 
Kalitta came up only three points short of Torrence, just missing out on his first Top Fuel world title, but the veteran did close out 2019 with a victory in his Mac Tools dragster. He went 3.716 at 332.67 to beat Kalitta Motorsports teammate Richie Crampton in the final round. Kalitta earned his third victory of 2019 and 47th in his standout career, also sweeping both races at Pomona this year. He knocked off Terry McMillen, Justin Ashley and Leah Pritchett to reach the final round.
 
“It was fun, for sure,” Kalitta said. “I was real proud of the effort we put in today. We gave it all we could and it’s definitely still on our list to win a championship. I was real proud of my guys today coming out of here with a win, and I love running here in Pomona. It’s a great team effort we got going on here, so I’ll keep digging.”
 
In Pro Stock, Enders was cool under pressure on Sunday, capping off a strong performance in the playoffs by winning her third world title in Pro Stock. It didn’t come easy, as Enders faced off with Greg Anderson in the opening round of eliminations, slipping past the veteran with a 6.570 at 210.41 in her Melling Performance/Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro. She clinched the championship a round later on a holeshot, knocking off Chris McGaha with a 6.597 at 209.69, giving Enders a third title after back-to-back championships in 2014 and 2015.
 
“This one means a lot because of the valleys we’ve been through,” Enders said. “It was a challenge for us and I’m thrilled. It’s just an awesome feeling to be back on top, and it’s the reason why you never give up. Today ended up being a great day with us locking up our third championship and my teammate, Jeg Coughlin, winning the race and solidifying the second position. For everyone at Elite Motorsports to take home the top two positions in NHRA Pro Stock, it’s a huge thrill for us. We take a lot of pride in what we do and it paid off this year. I’m just really proud.”
 
By winning a third championship, Enders ties Shirley Muldowney and Angelle Sampey for the most titles in NHRA history by a female. On the strength of two wins and three No. 1 qualifiers in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship, Enders also became the lowest seed to win a title in Pro Stock history after starting from fifth. She heads into 2020 with 25 career wins.
 
Coughlin’s year ended on a strong note, picking up the Pro Stock win over Fernando Cuadra with a 6.558 at 210.54 in his JEGS.com Chevrolet Camaro. It is Coughlin’s second win in 2019 and 63rd in his career, capping off a memorable day for Elite Motorsports as well. Coughlin, who was also the No. 1 qualifier, beat Joey Grose, Aaron Stanfield and Bo Butner to reach his 111th final round, taking plenty of momentum into the off-season.
 
“It was a tough raceday and there was a lot of emotions going on, but it was a great weekend,” Coughlin said. “It felt really good today to bring home the win, and a double win with Erica bringing home the championship and with us securing the No. 2 position. To have 2020 be the 50th year for Pro Stock, it’s going to be exciting. I think the class right now is looking extremely good.”
 
On a wild day in Pro Stock Motorcycle, Hines ended up with his sixth world championship in the class, earning the title after Jerry Savoie lost in the final round to Salinas. Hines’ day didn’t go as planned at all, losing on a red light in the opening round against Salinas when he just needed one round win for the title. But he had a big enough cushion over Savoie and Matt Smith to finish with the title for a sixth time on his Vance & Hines Screamin’ Eagle Harley-Davidson.
 
“I put my team in such a bad situation and I chalked it up that we’re done,” Hines said. “It was just absolute insanity. It was a total, utter disappointment on my behalf and a bitter pill to swallow. This was one of the craziest days ever and the final round was absolutely astonishing. But the reason why we’re here right now is what my team did all season long. It wasn’t just this race, it was what my guys did all year.”
 
Hines was dominant throughout 2019, putting together the best season in his standout career, setting the E.T. mark in the class and winning a career-best eight races. The winningest driver in class history now has 56 career victories and he also advanced to 10 final rounds this year.
 
Salinas’ day ended with her first career Pro Stock Motorcycle victory on her Scrappers Racing Suzuki, going 7.464 at 180.81 in the final round after Savoie broke. It capped off an unbelievable day for the rookie, which started with the win against Hines after he went red. She followed with wins against Steve Johnson, defending world champion Matt Smith, who broke after needing to win the race to clinch the title, to reach her first career final round.
 
“On Saturday morning, I was just fighting to qualify and I never thought I would be able to pull this off,” Salinas said. “To be here right now in this moment, it’s not something I would ever thought would happen this soon. On raceday, anything can happen. Sometimes consistency is all you need to win, and I’m just there to race my race. I felt very lucky and when it’s your day, it’s your day.”
 
The 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season will kick off with the 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtecttheHarvest.com Feb. 6-9 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. 
Bill Auberlen’s record-tying 60th IMSA victory couldn’t have been more dramatic.
 
It came right down to the last lap of last month’s 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans. After stalking the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) race-leading No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Felipe Fraga at the wheel for the final half-hour, Auberlen pounced on an opportunity on the white-flag lap just as Fraga’s car ran out of fuel.
 
“It was coming down to the wire, and on that last lap, he was running a real blocking line in (Turn) 10, and then he opened up that we could now get aggressive with each other,” Auberlen recalls. “I gave him a little bump, he ran defensive into 12, I got under him in 1, and we bumped again. Then, if he looks, before he ran out of gas, I was under him in 4.
 
“So, at that point, I said, ‘Check. Mate.’ Because he can’t turn in anymore and we would have had contact and he would have abandoned left. But at that exact moment, I think he ran out of gas exactly there.
 
“Terrific. Unbelievable race. Not only that but then you figure out, Holy cow. So many people watched this race on TV. So many fans, because it was such an exciting finish that I was returning emails and phone calls and voicemails for weeks after that.”
 
At the end of the night, Auberlen found himself tied atop the all-time IMSA race winners list with the legendary Scott Pruett. And now, the Californian’s focused forward, beginning what he has dubbed the “Race to 61.”
 
He’d like to build a documentary around his chase to become IMSA’s winningest driver. Of course, if that win were to come in the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 25-26, Auberlen jokes, ‘It might be a short film.’
 
Returning to the Turner team and the No. 96 BMW alongside co-driver Robby Foley, Auberlen knows the ingredients are in place to get that victory sooner rather than later.
 
“How it’s going to happen is we’re just going to do the same thing we did,” he said. “Which is, now we have more knowledge, we have more understanding of the M6 and how to make it go fast, the same team, the same driver lineup, I don’t want to change a thing. I want to improve on what we’ve already done, ‘cause it was already really good.”
 
Auberlen and Foley scored two victories in 2019, at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. Those victories were vital contributors to a runner-up result in the final WeatherTech Championship GTD standings.
 
He and the team are aiming for one spot better in 2020, although Auberlen realizes that championships are usually won through consistency rather than outright race wins.
 
“If you’re running for a championship, it’s a much more conservative approach,” he said. “You’re not always duking it out to get that top step of the podium at the end. But I think, with how good the BMW M6 GT3 is and how good my teammates are, a win throughout the year should come. Hopefully, on its way, it does. If it doesn’t this next year, maybe the year after or the year after. I’ve got a long way to go.”
 
Indeed, at the age of 51, Auberlen is showing no signs of slowing down.
 
“You know what? My happiness with racing has even gone up,” he said. “I’m at a new part of my career where I can still go fast, I can still win races, but I can also understand the gravity of what we’re doing within here. Right?
 
“In terms of life, we’re a blip on a radar, but in terms of what we do here, for me to be able to understand the level of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it at and the guy I’m going to war with every weekend, I can sit back and I can really enjoy it. I love it and appreciate it. That’s where I’m at now.”
 
The 2020 Rolex 24 At Daytona will take place January 25-26. Tickets are available at www.DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.
 
Each July, the Honda Indy Toronto delivers high-speed thrills, exceptional food and entertainment to festival-goers and spectators of all ages in downtown Toronto. It returns to Exhibition Place for its 34th edition, July 10-12, 2020. 
 
Public sales for all multi-day tickets began at 10 a.m. ET  at hondaindy.com or by calling 888-476-6251. As announced earlier, ticket prices remain unchanged for Honda Indy Toronto run on the 2.89-kilometer, 11-turn temporary street circuit and headlined by the NTT IndyCar Series. 
 
Pricing starts at $85 for Bronze-level 2-Day Grandstand seating, $130 for Silver, and $185 for Gold. 2-Day Weekend General Admission is $55, and children 12 and under are admitted free with a ticketed adult providing an exceptional family value. Single-day tickets will be released for sale closer to the event.
 
“The Honda Indy Toronto is an awesome summer festival that we proudly host in our world-class city,” said Honda Indy Toronto President, Jeff Atkinson. “We are so proud of how this event has grown over the last few years and filled the festival grounds and grandstands. 
 
“Also, Honda Fan Friday continues to make a positive impact on the community. Thanks to the Ontario Honda Dealers Association and our fans’ generous support, over $120,000 was raised for Make-A-Wish Canada in 2019 with Honda Canada Foundation’s matching contribution,” Atkinson explained.
 
Other items now on sale to enhance the festival-goer experience are the Champions Club, NTT IndyCar Series Paddock Pass, Pit Pass and the Honda Indy Toronto Rookie Racers Membership Kit. The Champions Club is available for a limited time for $75 offering unprecedented access. The benefits include a complimentary NTT IndyCar Series Paddock Pass which provides entrance into “the locker room of motorsports,” the pre-race grid walk, an official event access credential with lanyard, signing the start finish line, an opportunity to win a two-seater Indy car ride on the track, and other exclusive at-event experiences to be announced.
 
Honda Fan Friday returns for the 11th year offering General Admission on Friday, July 10, courtesy of the Ontario Honda Dealers Association through a voluntary donation by festival-goers. Honda Canada Foundation matches dollar for dollar the financial donations received throughout the event weekend. Over $820,000 has been raised in 10 years for Make-A-Wish® Canada.
 
The Honda Indy Toronto is an event for the whole family. The Honda Indy Toronto Rookie Racers program immerses the youngest attendees into the sport with fun experiences. Thunder Alley will be filled with numerous activities and interactive displays including the Honda SpeedZone. Diverse food options, interactive displays and activities, and new and additional festival gathering points return for 2020 creating a “must do” summer event.
 
The Honda Indy Toronto serves as Round 12 on the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series schedule. The complete weekend race and festival schedule will be released close to the event. For complete ticket pricing and festival information, visit hondaindy.com.

The live telecast of Sunday’s Formula 1 World Championship Brazilian Grand Prix on ESPN2 attracted a U.S. television audience that averaged double-digit increases over viewership for the last two editions of the race, continuing F1’s trend of season-long audience growth across ESPN networks.

 

The race had an average audience of 620,000 viewers on ESPN2, an increase of 32 percent over the race on ESPN2 last year (469,000) and up eight percent from the NBCSN audience of 571,000 in 2017. The Brazilian Grand Prix audience peaked at 757,593 as Max Verstappen drove to victory.

 

Through 20 races this season, Formula 1 is averaging 681,000 viewers on ESPN networks, an increase of 22 percent over the average of 557,000 at this point last year on ESPN networks and up 25 percent from the average of 544,000 on NBC networks in 2017.

 

Seventeen of the 20 races this season have seen year-over-year viewership increases on ESPN networks.

 

The 21-race Formula 1 season concludes on Sunday, Dec. 1, with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The race airs at 8:05 a.m. ET on ESPN2.

A premium fan hospitality lounge has been added for SuperSebring 2020 at Sebring International Raceway with the formation of a partnership between Celebrity Cruises and Sebring International Raceway.  Elements of a luxurious Celebrity cruise will be created on dry land in a chalet overlooking the famed front stretch of the Sebring circuit March 20-21. 

In addition to luxurious race-day experiences, Sebring International Raceway and Celebrity Cruises are offering fans an opportunity to sail with top drivers and racing celebrities on the Celebrity Constellation during “Sebring Raceway at Sea” Nov. 14-21, 2020.  The seven-night Western Caribbean cruise will sail from the Port of Tampa and will include stops in five ports.

Admission to the Celebrity Cruises Luxury Lounge includes two-days admission to the 5,000-square-foot air-conditioned club with premium views of the entrance to IMSA pit road and an elevated viewing platform providing long-range views of the front stretch.  Guests will indulge in daily gourmet meals inspired by the destinations visited by Celebrity, a diverse selection of unlimited classics including beer and wine selections such as Yuengling, Mike’s Hard products and Pepsi.  Guests may also purchase premium brand beverages from the cash bar.  Daily buffet-style meals, unlimited Yuengling, Mike’s Hard products, wine, Pepsi products and a cash bar with top-shelf brands will be available.  The adjacent Retreat Sundeck & Sky Observation Lounge will provide guests an exciting view and an assortment of frozen cocktails at the Slush Bar on the deck. 

Lounge tickets also will allow admission to the Sebring Raceway grounds on Wednesday and Thursday of race week.  Club-style seating, question and answer sessions with top racing personalities and a variety of entertainment activities will be provided for those looking for a break from the on-track action.  Large format televisions, scoring monitors and indoor and outdoor seating will be available for the most passionate racing fans to keep up with Friday’s FIA WEC 1000 Miles of Sebring and Saturday’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Celebrity Cruises Luxury Lounge tickets are $395 and include a four-day SuperTicket and free Ulmann lot parking. Tickets can be purchased by visiting sebringraceway.com or by calling 800-626-7223.

To kick off its new relationship with Sebring International Raceway, “Sebring Raceway at Sea” – a seven-night Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Celebrity Constellation – is being offered to fans of the racetrack and fans of relaxation.  The Nov. 14-21, 2020 cruise will include Sebring-themed activities on board and interactive opportunities with several top drivers who will compete in the 2020 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Sebring Raceway at Sea will leave Tampa at 4 p.m. on Nov. 14, and make stops in exotic locations including Costa Maya, Honduras, Belize and Cozumel before returning to Tampa at 8 a.m. on Nov. 21.

Onboard experiences only available to Sebring Raceway at Sea guests may include driver meet and greets, exclusive shore excursions, live entertainment, driver photo opportunities, a private late-night pool party, welcome gifts and a private hospitality desk.

Celebrity Cruises is including two “perks” in all Sebring Raceway at Sea packages.  Options include classic beverage packages, unlimited wi-fi, prepaid tips or a $150 per person credit to spend on board.

Sebring at Sea packages can be booked by calling Cruise & Tour Supermarket at 800-232-7447.

Ten individuals, all who have made significant contributions to the Sports Car Club of America® (SCCA®) and world of motorsports, have been named as the Club’s newest Hall of Fame class -- adding their names to a list of timeless superstars. The 2020 class, the largest group to be inducted at once into the Hall of Fame since its 2005 inception, includes three married couples and one individual who has now followed his father’s path into the Hall of Fame.

Along with the accomplishments of all previous inductees, the latest Hall of Fame members helped position the building blocks that elevated SCCA’s stature in the world of motorsports. This year’s honorees are Bill and Jane Goodale, Walt Hansgen, Scott Harvey, Joe Huffaker, Cat Kizer, Bob and Patty Tunnell, and Dave and Sherrie Weitzenhof.

As has become tradition, this year’s greats will be formally inducted during the SCCA® Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet. That event takes place Saturday, January 18 and serves as the capstone of the three-day SCCA National Convention taking place at the South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Below is additional background on those joining the prestigious ranks this year.

Bill and Jane Goodale
Within the Sports Car Club of America, Bill and Jane Goodale have been far more than accomplished drivers. They have been leaders, facilitators, officials and even mentors. It could be argued that most SCCA members have been affected by their efforts, certainly on the Solo side. But beyond that, the grace, kindness and sense of inclusion they’ve displayed has become a hallmark of SCCA’s Solo Program.

Jane was Solo Chair during the 1970s when New England Region’s Solo program was just beginning to be a presence. She traveled the ProSolo circuit and went on to lend support to the Region and fellow competitors, and was well known as host of the Region party at Solo Nationals. Meanwhile, Bill was New England Region’s first, and for decades only, Solo Novice chair.

In the early years of Solo Nationals, Chief Stewards were usually from outside the Solo community. When that changed to instead utilize those involved in autocross, Bill was one of the first to be asked to fill the role. He did for decades, working with and mentoring many others who have taken on the role as Solo Nationals grew. Bill’s record in competition was impressive, too, as he was named the 1989 Driver of Eminence, received the 2010 Solo Cup, and claimed several national championships along the way.

Walt Hansgen
A member of the Northern New Jersey Region since joining SCCA in 1951, Walt Hansgen’s influence and impact in American and European sports car racing was immense. As a competitor, Hansgen achieved much. He was a four-time SCCA “C” Modified National Champion, a three-time recipient of SCCA’s President’s Cup, and competed at world-class endurance events, NASCAR Grand National races, and a couple Grands Prix. Hansgen was also named the New York Times “Best Driver of the Year” and Sports Illustrated “U.S. Sports Car Driver of the Year.”

Hansgen’s successful racing career aside, he was a very active member of the Northern New Jersey Region where he held the Regional Executive position. On a National level, he served on the Competition Board and worked diligently to improve the Club’s road racing program, safety standards and competition rules. Additionally, Hansgen conducted racecourse safety inspections, making recommendations for circuit improvements to benefit drivers, crew and spectators alike -- standards that are still in use today.

Scott Harvey
While attending UCLA in the 1950s, engineering student Scott Harvey began rally and racing efforts in an MG-TD. By 1956, he had joined the Sports Car Club of America and was working as a Chrysler engineer in Detroit where he managed to convince superiors to loan him a 300D for motorsport activities -- the first in a long string of Chrysler products he competed in over the years. And while some know Harvey for engineering high-performance suspension parts, his real impact came through advancing the sport of performance rally.

It is Harvey’s early adoption of the European idea of high-speed rally that landed him in the SCCA Hall of Fame. He helped form a club, called The Ralligators, that worked alongside SCCA’s Detroit Region to create European rallying in the United States. Harvey was instrumental in creation of the MONY (Michigan, Ohio, New York) rally series, with most MONY events being SCCA rallies. This eventually led to creation of the SCCA PRO Rally series in 1973, which Harvey became first overall champion. Before that, he had participated in traditional Time-Speed-Distance (TSD) rallies where in 1963 and 1964 he won the SCCA National TSD championship.

In 1968, Harvey served as Chairman and Rallymaster of the Press On Regardless rally, a milestone event for the sport in America and the longest running rally event in SCCA history. Under his leadership, Harvey and the Press On Regardless were awarded the prestigious Arthur Gervais Rally of the Year in 1968 by SCCA, the first time a "performance" rally had been selected for the award. Harvey was also instrumental in bringing the World Rally Championship to the United States with his involvement in the 1972 Press On Regardless rally, an event in 1973 and 1974 with World Championship status.

Joe Huffaker
“Little” Joe Huffaker, the son of 2017 SCCA Hall of Fame inductee Joe Huffaker, has made a big mark in Sports Car Club of America road racing. At an early age, the younger Huffaker helped out around his father’s garage before “officially” joining Huffaker Engineering in the early 1970s. Over the years he gathered a lot of useful knowledge, from his father and great drivers and mechanics, before taking over the business in 1991 when his father retired.

The younger Joe, however, didn’t just continue his father’s work. He significantly expanded the operation to become a force throughout SCCA Club Racing and Pro Racing, maintaining the highest possible standards in car construction and presentation, regardless of the series. As proof, note the fact that Huffaker Engineering has produced over 35 SCCA Runoffs® National Championship cars and claimed three SCCA Trans Am titles. Their successful record has earned the Huffakers the honor of being the very first father-son duo to be inducted into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame.

Beyond his car and engine building prowess, “Little” Joe -- who actually stands 6 feet 5 inches tall -- is an equally talented racecar driver. He has too many wins to count in SCCA road racing competition. But a couple highlights, as of 2019, include his 13 poles at the Runoffs and 10 National Championships gathered up across two different classes in cars he designed, built and prepared -- a feat that stands as testament to Joe’s immense talent.

Cat Kizer
A continuous member of SCCA since 1976, Catherine “Cat” Kizer holds a special place in SCCA history. She was the first female to be crowned a Runoffs champion, and the only woman to be awarded the President’s Cup. These two accomplishments have made Kizer a role model for other female racers.

It was 1979 when Kizer made history at Road Atlanta during the National Championship Runoffs. She faced a formidable field of competitors, many of whom were previous national champions. Starting from eighth on the grid, she quickly drove her H Production Red Roof Inns MG Midget into the lead. A great battle ensued up front, but it was Kizer who was first to the checkered flag. That inspiring drive earned her the prestigious President's Cup award that year. The following year, Kizer was back at the Runoffs, placing her car on pole and finishing third in the race.

Bob and Patty Tunnell
The Solo duo of Patty and Bob Tunnell have posted an illustrious record when it comes to autocross competition. From Volkswagens in the early 1980s, through a long and storied stretch driving BMWs at many preparation levels, the married couple achieved success few have matched. They have claimed numerous Solo Nationals Championships and ProSolo Championships across many classes and categories, from Stock through Modified, in cars which were not the obvious choice for victory. Bob’s recognition awards from SCCA have included the Solo Cup and, together with Patty, Driver of Eminence.

Beyond their success between the orange cones, the Tunnells stand as an example of how to be active, involved members of both the Solo community and Club as a whole. Bob has served the Club on a variety of fronts, including time on the Solo Events Board and as a Chief Steward for Solo Nationals. Patty and Bob have also lent their valuable experience and positive attitude to the Club’s burgeoning Time Trials National Tour program. All throughout, the Tunnells never forgot how important it is to encourage experienced competitors to befriend and mentor those new to SCCA activities. Their kindness and compassion are also on display through philanthropic endeavors that create a very positive image for the Sports Car Club of America.

Dave and Sherrie Weitzenhof
Dave Weitzenhof’s record over more than 50 years of SCCA road racing demonstrates his skill as both a driver and technician. Overall, he has seven SCCA National Championships and was presented with the Road Racing Drivers’ Club Mark Donohue Award in 1972, as well as the 1977 SCCA President’s Cup trophy. But as Dave himself admits, none of that would’ve been possible without the help of his wife, Sherrie Weitzenhof, who has been by his side and an instrumental part of the “team” throughout half a century of racing. The fact that Sherrie is officially recognized as a “Friend of the Road Racing Drivers’ Club” proves that point. Furthermore, Sherrie supported the SCCA NeOhio Region by organizing many events, including the successful and long running Competition Clinic, and she chaired the NeOhio Hall of Fame committee.

To his credit, Dave earned four SCCA Runoffs wins in the highly competitive Formula Ford class, as well as a pair of Formula Continental Runoffs victories and a Formula Vee SCCA National Championship. Beyond that, he has won far too many SCCA races to count. Outside the car, Dave was an accomplished engineer with Bridgestone/Firestone and has numerous patents to his name. Throughout his involvement in SCCA racing, Dave openly shared insights on car setup and vehicle dynamics, as well as his tire expertise with fellow racers. Some of that know-how was deployed while serving as a test driver for development of the Sports Renault program, which evolved to become Spec Racer Ford -- one of SCCA’s most popular car classes in road racing.

The new class of 10 inductees join the list below of 91 previously-entered SCCA Hall of Fame members:
2005: Cameron Argetsinger, A. Tracy Bird, John Fitch, Arthur Gervais, Harry Handley, Vern Jaques, Bill Milliken, Sue Roethel, Art Trier, Rob Walker
2006: John Bornholdt, John Buffum, Mark Donohue, Denise McCluggage, Grant Reynolds
2007: Marge Binks, Marc Gerstein, Carl A. Haas, General Curtis E. LeMay, Theodore F. Robertson
2008: Roger E. Johnson, Don and Ruth Nixon, Kjell Qvale, Robert Ridges, Fred Schmucker
2009: Bill Chambres, Bill Johnson, Jim Kimberly, Paul Newman, John Timanus
2010: Nick Craw, Briggs Cunningham, R. David Jones, Burdette “Berdie” Martin, Wayne Zitkus
2011: Karen Babb, John Bishop, Jim Fitzgerald, Tracer Racing, Harro Zitza
2012: Charlie Earwood, Jim Hall, Gene Henderson, Dr. Peter Talbot, Bryan Webb
2013: Skip Barber, Bill Noble, Bobby Rahal, Carroll Shelby, Andy Porterfield
2014: Kathy Barnes, Robert “Bob” Bondurant, Dan Gurney, Dr. Robert “Bob” Hubbard and Jim Downing, Pete Hylton
2015: Roger H. Johnson, Oscar Koveleski, Ron Sharp, Dr. George Snively, Bob Tullius
2016: Hubert Brundage, Bob Henderson, Roger Penske, Randy Pobst, Alec Ulman
2017: Pete Brock, Dennis Dean, Larry and Linda Dent, Joe Huffaker Sr., Lyn St. James, Phil Hill, Jim Kaser
2018: William C. Bradshaw, Peter Cunningham, Janet Guthrie, August Pabst, Dave Stremming and Loren Pearson, Bob Sharp, Dr. Dick Thompson
2019: David Ammen, Dr. Frank Falkner, George Follmer, Patricia "Patc" Henry, John McGill, Dorsey Schroeder, Henryk Szamota

The purpose of the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame is to preserve, protect and record the history and accomplishments of the Club for current and future members by recognizing those members who have had a significant impact on the Club and the sport. This may be through service to the national organization, achievements in competition, advancement of the sport, or bringing recognition to the SCCA.

The Hall of Fame is overseen and guided by four Committees. The Steering Committee oversees the entire process. The Legacy Committee focuses on nominees from the first third of SCCA’s history. The Nomination Committee focuses on nominees from the last two-thirds of the Club’s history. The Chairs of the Legacy and Nomination Committees are encouraged to liaison with each other in cases where nominees might reasonably fall under the purview of both committees. The Selection Committee then picks each year’s inductees.

Online registration for the SCCA National Convention can be found here and includes entry to the Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet. Additional information about the upcoming SCCA National Convention can also be found at https://www.scca.com/pages/nationalconvention.

Building on the great momentum of the last two years, the NTT IndyCar Series returns to Portland International Raceway (PIR) and the Pacific Northwest over Labor Day weekend for the Grand Prix of Portland, Sept. 4-6, 2020.
 
The exclusive renewal window opens tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 21) at 10 a.m. PT for those who purchased 3-Day Grandstand seats for the 2019 event. These customers get the first opportunity to keep or upgrade their current location through Friday, Dec. 13. ending at 9 p.m. PT. General public sales will begin on Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 10 a.m. PT. 
 
Those renewing their seats are able to secure the best vantage points at PIR before tickets go on sale to the general public. These fans also have the first opportunity to enhance their event experience by purchasing parking, Pit Passes and renewing RV Club spaces. These items are limited in quantity and are expected to sell out once again. Also, Infield Parking is available for the first time to those who purchase 3-Day Grandstand Gold seats (Grandstand K near the Festival Chicane). 
 
“Our most loyal fans can renew now for the best seats and first access to new benefits. They know the best way to experience all the sights and excitement of this growing tradition is to be at PIR over Labor Day weekend,” said Kim Green, co-owner, chairman and CEO of Green Savoree Racing Promotions, organizers of the Grand Prix of Portland.
 
“The Grand Prix of Portland is a major sporting event for the Pacific Northwest. In addition to strong attendance over the past two years, national TV coverage provided by NBC of the IndyCar race delivered a 125 percent ratings increase year over year, and the Portland market ranked second nationally in viewership!” Green continued. “The NTT IndyCar Series and the PIR racetrack continue to provide fantastic moments as has been the heritage of the event, and we’ve had two terrific winners in Takuma Sato and Will Power, who both are also past Indy 500 champions."
 
New this year, during the renewal period, purchasers will have the first opportunity to enroll in one of two tiers of the Champions Club. Champions Club offers unprecedented access and exclusive benefits for just $75. Champions Club PLUS offers all the benefits of Champions Club plus a Pit Pass for only $150. Enrollments are limited in number. Champions Club members receive a personalized event credential, a complimentary NTT IndyCar Series Paddock Pass providing entrance into “the locker room of motorsports,” access to the pre-race grid walk on pit lane, a photograph with the winner’s trophy, an opportunity to win a two-seater Indy car ride on the track, at event special partner offers, and other exciting onsite experiences to be announced.
 
The Grand Prix of Portland will again be the final of four events owned and operated by Green Savoree Racing Promotions on the NTT IndyCar Series’ 17-event schedule in 2020. Offering a tremendous family value, tickets start at just $20. Children 12 and under receive free general admission to the event and complimentary access to the NTT IndyCar Series paddock throughout the weekend when accompanied by a ticketed adult.
 
During this renewal period, ticket sales are open exclusively to those who purchased 3-Day Grandstand seats for the 2019 event. Pricing starts at $85 for Bronze-level 3-Day Grandstand seating, $105 for Silver, and $165 for Gold which includes a Paddock Pass. For complete ticket pricing, grandstand seating locations and festival information, visit portlandgp.com.
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