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.
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Winning a championship, that is certainly no easy task in the high-stakes world of professional drag racing. Winning two? Now you are getting into something special. Winning two championships on the same day? Well, there really aren't many ways to describe such a monumental feat. Winning five championships with four different sanctioning bodies? Who is this guy?
The racer in question is none other than Holdenville, Oklahoma's very own Cary Goforth. A three-time Pro Stock World Champion entering the 2014 season, Goforth added two more championships to his resume this year including his most prized possession yet - an IHRA championship. But it was how he won those championships that made headlines.
Goforth entered the final weekend of the IHRA and PDRA racing seasons as the points leader with both organizations. Needing to at least start both races to clinch the championships, Goforth began the World Finals weekend in Richmond, Virginia on a Friday night, getting the start in one car before flying back to Memphis, Tennessee to make the start and finish the weekend at the Summit Racing Equipment World Finals at Memphis International Raceway the following day.
That overnight haul helped Goforth clinch both championships, giving him five for his career. But it was his championship with IHRA, known as home of the Mountain Motor Pro Stock division, which really made the year special.
"It has been a special year, no doubt about it. We took on an ambitious schedule, from helping Richie Stevens in NHRA for a few races, to getting my daughter a new Junior Dragster and taking on a schedule racing with two organizations, the situation just presented itself and we decided to go for it," Goforth said. "Winning two championships, of course that is a hard thing to do. And winning two on the same weekend, I am not sure many people will ever have an opportunity to do something like that again. But five championships? Wow. You are getting up there with the Rickie Smiths of the world, and that is big time.
"This is the kind of stuff, if I quit tomorrow, I can tell my grandkids about. Five championships and winning with the IHRA, something I dreamed of doing as a kid, that is really special for me."
By making the start in Memphis, Goforth formally clinched the IHRA Pro Stock World Championship, holding off the Black Diamond Motorsports duo of John DeFlorian and Kevin Bealko in the process. Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the double race weekend left Goforth in an unfamiliar car and an unfortunate first round exit in the race, putting a slight damper on an otherwise historical weekend.
"When we got to Memphis I jumped in the GXP because our Camaro was on the way, which took some adjusting. And because we made our qualifying pass in the GXP, I couldn't get out of that car," Goforth said. "We ended up losing in the first round, which I really would like to have had back, but it was still a great weekend. We actually ended up finding what was wrong with the car later in the weekend, so there were a lot of good things to take away from Memphis. Getting the car down the track, winning the championship, doing what we needed to do Friday night and getting enough points, it was quite a weekend."
While Goforth wasn't able to escape a disappointing first round exit in the finale, he was able to capture three wins on the season. Goforth had wins at the season-opening Southwestern Nationals in Tucson, Arizona, followed by wins at the Southern Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park and a win in the rain-delayed Pittsburgh Nationals, completed later at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park.
On the year Goforth accumulated 829 points, 75 points clear of second place DeFlorian. Both Goforth and DeFlorian spent the majority of the season trading the championship lead, with never more than a couple rounds difference between them.
DeFlorian and his Black Diamond Motorsports teammate Kevin Bealko, who finished third in the championship standings, had two wins and seven total finals on the year in their AMSOIL-sponsored Camaros. DeFlorian also rewrote the Pro Stock history books, setting both ends of the class record with a 6.224-second elapsed time at 226.70 mph set at San Antonio Raceway in March.
Goforth's teammate Todd Hoerner finished fourth in the standings, with former IHRA champion Pete Berner rounding out the top five. Goforth Racing patriarch Dean Goforth finished sixth.
In addition to an exciting championship battle, the season was a success in a number of ways, including the much-anticipated return of the Pro Stock class to its rightful home with the IHRA.
"Everything is starting to turn around for this class, which is pretty exciting," Goforth said. "The support we have received has been exceptional. We are really trying to show our support for this class and the IHRA in bringing Mountain Motor Pro Stock Racing back to the forefront and where it belongs with the IHRA."
Goforth attributes much of the success of this year and his previous championships to his father, Dean, who has helped keep the Goforth Racing Team atop the Pro Stock world for some time. In fact, the team fielded a three-car operation in 2014 in two different series, with all three teams finishing in the top six in IHRA points.
And it was Dean who was the driving force behind the ambitious schedule that resulted in one of the most unlikely endings in IHRA history.
"It was something we certainly didn't want to have happen, but the closer we got to the end of the year, we knew we were going to end up having to do the double," Goforth said. "It costs a lot of money to get a plane from here to there; luckily I have a dad who is as crazy as any 20-year-old trying to do this. He always thinks outside of the box and I am appreciative of that.
"Everything he has done for us has been a blessing. It was crazy. Three cars, multiple series and to end it all flying from Virginia to Memphis for two different races, what a year."
The Mazda MX-5 Miata is the best-selling roadster in history, and the most road-raced car in the world. With the recent unveiling of the fourth generation MX-5, the most frequently asked question is “Where will it race?” Mazda gave the first part of that answer at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) tradeshow in Las Vegas today, as the company announced that the new 2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata will be raced in a new Global Cup series, in North America, Europe and Asia.
Starting in 2016, there will be multiple Mazda Global MX-5 Cup series around the world, all using identically prepared cars. Full details of the Global MX-5 Cup, including which countries will be involved and when the races will take place, will be announced as they are confirmed. The Global MX-5 Cup will culminate at the end of 2016 with a Global Shootout at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., to crown the series champion. Among other prizes, the series champion will receive a one-day test in Mazda’s top-level TUDOR United States SportsCar Championship SKYACTIV prototype racecar.
“Since the first Mazda MX-5 Miata took the green flag back in 1990, the car has been the ideal platform for both veterans and rookies alike,” noted John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American operations. “Because the MX-5 is inherently such a good car to drive, it is an ideal platform to learn basic and advanced race-craft, and this has made the professional MX-5 Cup series very successful to date.”
“We’re excited to take the elements of success of the existing Mazda MX-5 Cup series, and introduce them to a new global audience,” added Masahiro Moro, Managing Executive Officer in charge of Global Sales, Marketing and Customer Service for Mazda Motor Corporation. “It has long been our goal to see Mazda fans around the world competing in identical MX-5s, and the launch of the 2016 MX-5 Miata is the perfect time to make this goal a reality.”
While Mazda did not release final specifications, equipment or technical partners for the car, it was confirmed that the Global MX-5 Cup racecar will be equipped with a 2.0 liter SKYACTIV-G four cylinder engine. Beginning this winter, Mazda Motorsports will undertake a development period to select the optimum tires, suspension and powertrain and safety modifications. The final specifications will be announced in 2015 when Mazda is ready to accept orders for the 2016 series.
In a first for Mazda, the Global MX-5 Cup racecars will be sold “ready to race” from a single supplier.
For 2015, the third generation MX-5 will be utilized for its final season of professional racing in North America. The 2015 Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires will kick off at Sebring in March, and conclude at the Petit Le Mans Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta in October. For 2016 and beyond, the existing third-generation MX-5 Cup racecars will be eligible to compete in club racing only.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is hosting a Toy Drive to benefit the Monterey Peninsula Salvation Army and as an extra incentive, all donors who bring a new, unwrapped toy for a child up to the age of 12 will receive a free ticket to the Saturday of the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, powered by Mazda on May 2, 2015.
Donors can bring their unwrapped toys to the SCRAMP administrative offices (Mon.-Fri. from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.) or the Souvenir Store (Mon.-Sat. from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.), which is located in the paddock now through December 11, 2014. Each year local businesses, clubs, organizations and community members including Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca have helped the Salvation Army give thousands of new toys and gifts to children.
“Mazda Raceway is proud to continue to support the Salvation Army’s annual toy drive,” said Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “As a not-for-profit ourselves we understand the importance of giving back to the community.”
The Monterey Peninsula Salvation Army was founded in 1895 and serves the homeless, low-income families and youth of all ages through various programs and worship services. The charitable giving of local businesses, organizations and community members enables The Salvation Army to give thousands of new toys and gifts to children each holiday season.
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was established in 1957. The world-renowned raceway has been operated since its inception by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), a not-for-profit 501c(4) corporation. Each race season, SCRAMP donates its net proceeds to the volunteer groups that help put on the races.
For more information, please visit MazdaRaceway.com or call 831-242-8201.
Automatic Racing, a veteran team in IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, will field a second Aston Martin GT4 Vantage in 2015. The team will be testing their newest acquisition during a two-day test at Sebring International Raceway, Nov. 19-20.
“Sebring is a great venue for testing, and this early date allows us to get a lot of comparable data to utilize as we prepare for 2015,” says team principal David Russell. “We’re looking forward to further improving the Vantage GT4, and we’re working hard on getting the ideal pairing of drivers for the second car.”
To help find that driver pairing for their second Aston Martin, Automatic Racing will invite interested drivers to the Sebring test for the opportunity to drive one of their Continental Tire Challenge-spec Aston Martins. One of the advantages of being based in Central Florida is that Automatic Racing has local testing and driver development options throughout the entire winter.
Automatic Racing, who in 2012 became the first U.S. team to field the Aston Martin brand, benefits from a strong relationship with Aston Martin Racing/Prodrive UK.
“The Aston Martin GT4 is a great platform to work with, and it has proven to be a competitive race car, with two championships in 2014,” says Russell. “We’re looking forward to fielding two of the Aston Martins in 2015, and to having a multi-car platform that will accelerate our progress.”
Automatic Racing will begin announcing 2015 alliances in the coming weeks. Connect with the team online at Facebook.com/Groups/AutomaticRacing.
Ken Block won the battle, but Joni Wiman won the war in Red Bull Global Rallycross Las Vegas at The Linq, the 2014 Red Bull GRC season finale. Block took the overall victory, but Wiman finished second to wrap up the series’ Supercar title in his rookie season—just one year after being crowned GRC Lites champion.
“I don’t believe it,” Wiman said. “It’s just amazing. I haven’t realized it yet. It’s like a dream come true.”
Block, who qualified second, did all he could to take the championship home for himself. He won both of his heat races, gaining two points on Wiman in the process, and beat the Finn head to head in their semifinal. But after Bucky Lasek and Scott Speed battled intensely in the final, Wiman took the joker from fourth to climb to second and clinch the title by five points, or the equivalent of one finishing position over the entire 10-race schedule.
“Every time, coming here and needing a good finish to have a good overall season result has just put the pressure on me,” Block, now a two-time Las Vegas finale winner, said. “The thing was, there was no other result for me here—I had to win everything I could. The team and I worked hard to make that happen, but unfortunately I won the battle and lost the war by one position.
“It is what it is, but it really disappointed me because it goes back to Seattle. I should have won that event, and I threw that away with a tiny mistake. I’m happy to have won, but disappointed at the same time—but that’s racing.”
“After 10 exciting races this season, the championship came down to the wire here in Las Vegas,” said Red Bull GRC CEO Colin Dyne. “It was a great way to wrap up the season. We are incredibly proud of the teams, drivers, sponsors and everyone else involved in the series, and are already gearing up for an incredible 2015.”
In GRC Lites, Mitchell DeJong capped off a dominant 2014 season with his seventh win of the year—a record for either class of Red Bull GRC competition, both in a season and all-time. DeJong, who fell to fourth with a bad start, worked his way past Tyler Benson, Austin Cindric, and international Supercar driver Andreas Bakkerud in succession to take the victory.
“This has been an amazing year,” DeJong said. “Coming out from the first race of the year at X Games and all the way to this one has been so much fun. The cars have always been so great, and I’ve always enjoyed the track. To finish the year with all these wins and the championship is a great feeling.”
Announcements about the 2015 Red Bull Global Rallycross season will be put forth in the coming weeks and months.
The nomination deadline for the Sports Car Club of America Member of Excellence award is slated for November 28. The honor will be presented to the winner at the 2015 SCCA National Convention, in Charlotte, North Carolina, in front of the winner’s fellow Club members at the SCCA Hall of Fame Banquet presented by Mazda. Aside from the recognition, the recipient will be given the opportunity to attend any motorsport event of their choosing, anywhere in the world.
Demonstrating its commitment to winning the 2015 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Scuderia Corsa is proud to announce the addition of drivers Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell to the team.
Sweedler and Bell will pilot the team's flagship no. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia in the GT Daytona class. At the wheel of a Ferrari 458 Italia during the 2014 TUDOR Championship season, Sweedler and Bell were victorious in the 2014 Rolex 24 at Daytona and handily won the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup. The duo led much of the season championship in the GT-D class, and winning the championship in 2015 remains their primary goal.
"We are really excited about competing for the GT-D championship with Scuderia Corsa," said Sweedler. "Giacomo Mattioli's dedication to building the best Ferrari racing program as well as the best Ferrari dealerships offers the ideal place to maximize our racing and commercial sponsorship goals going forward. We really enjoy racing in the TUDOR Championship and competing against the best drivers and teams in sports car racing and we hope to bring another championship to Ferrari in 2015."
"It goes without saying that we are very excited about joining Scuderia Corsa," said Bell. "On many levels, this partnership will make a lot of sense. I'm thrilled to be continuing our relationship with Ferrari and to continue driving the Ferrari 458 Italia. Scuderia Corsa won two races last year, they are a championship winning team, and as a bonus for me it is great to be joining a team that is also based in Los Angeles where I live! I am looking forward to a lot of success with this program."
In the 2014 season, Scuderia Corsa captured two victories in the GT Daytona class (Detroit and Indianapolis) after winning the 2013 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT class championship. The team also competes in the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, where Scuderia Corsa driver Chris Ruud had captured the 2014 championship in the Coppa Shell class.
"As winners of the Rolex 24 at Daytona as well as the North American Endurance Cup, Bill and Townsend were some of our most formidable competitors in the GT-Daytona class," said Mattioli. "We are very excited that they will be joining us at Scuderia Corsa. Everyone within the team is committed to winning in the TUDOR Championship and to represent the Ferrari brand in the premier racing series in North America. After competing against Bill and Townsend over the past year, we are thrilled that they will be in our Ferrari and not competing against us!"
Sweedler and Bell will compete with Scuderia Corsa for the first time at the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 22-25 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Mazda Road to Indy ladder Series – comprised of three separate programs: Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires; Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires; and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda – will end their 2015 season as support races to the Pirelli World Challenge Series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca September 11-13.
The Mazda Road to Indy is a group of developmental racing series’ with drivers from around the globe competing for the ultimate goal of a career in the Verizon IndyCar Series. Graduates have included such successful drivers as Marco Andretti, James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal and Tristan Vautier.
"There is no more fitting place to wrap up the Mazda Road to Indy season than at our home track,” said John Doonan, director of motorsports for Mazda North American operations. “It will fantastic to see the open wheel cars coming down the Corkscrew."
“The Mazda Road to Indy ladder program is an important stepping stone in helping these young drivers achieve their dreams,” added Gill Campbell, CEO/general manager of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “The program attracts drivers from around the world to the U.S. to develop their skills and hopefully become future race stars.”
The featured Series of the weekend, Pirelli World Challenge, will also finish its 2015 season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The long-running Series features classes of race cars: grand touring (GT); touring car (TC); grand touring sport (GTS); touring car B-spec (TCB), touring car A (TCA) and Porsche GT-Cup (GT-Cup) with brands including Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Cadillac, Mazda, McLaren and Porsche.
Tickets for the Pirelli World Challenge race weekend will be on sale in December by visiting www.MazdaRaceway.com or calling the ticket office at 800-327-7322.
Officials from NHRA and Harley-Davidson today announced the 2015 NHRA Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series schedule. The popular series, highlighted by the Top Fuel and Pro Fuel classes, brings high-energy motorcycle racing to fans nationwide.
The NHRA Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series will compete at tracks across the country and will hold at least one race in each of the seven NHRA divisions. The majority of the events will take place in conjunction with NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series events with competition in Top Fuel Harley being expanded to four NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series events with stops in Pomona, Las Vegas, Topeka and Bristol.
These two-wheeled rockets will race at five new tracks in the Lucas Oil Series as they visit Montgomery Motorsports Park in Montgomery, Alabama; Route 66 Raceway outside Chicago; No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, Louisiana; Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Sonoma Raceway just north of San Francisco.
Tommy Grimes and Damian Cownden are locked in a battle for the 2014 Top Fuel Harley Championship entering this weekend’s 2014 final event, while Johnny Vickers has already wrapped up the 2014 Pro Fuel Harley title with four wins on the season. Top Fuel Harley, Pro Fuel Harley, Pro Gas, Draggin’ Bagger, Street Pro, Hot Street and Screamin’ Eagle Performance will all take to the track this weekend in Las Vegas and at events in 2015.
The racers will vie for an exclusive NHRA Wally® Trophy awarded to winners in each category during winner’s circle activities. The season-ending champion in Top Fuel and Pro Fuel will receive a specially designed Wally Trophy as well as a year-end bonus. The best seven of 10 races will count for points toward the year-end championship.
"The NHRA Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series has been phenomenally successful in raising the visibility of Sportsman Harley drag racers among a large and diverse audience and showcasing the Screamin' Eagle performance products that allow them to demonstrate their speed and talent at venues around the country," said Harley-Davidson Racing Manager Kris Schoonover. “We’re happy to be involved and look forward to another great year in 2015.”
Harley-Davidson Motor Company produces custom, cruiser and touring motorcycles and offers a complete line of Harley-Davidson motorcycle parts, accessories, riding gear and apparel, and general merchandise. For more information, visit www.harley-davidson.com.
Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. NHRA presents 24 national events featuring the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. NHRA provides competition opportunities for drivers of all levels in the NHRA Summit Racing Series and the NHRA Drags: Street Legal Style presented by AAA. NHRA also offers the Summit Racing Jr. Drag Racing League for youth ages 5 to 17. In addition, NHRA owns and operates five racing facilities: Atlanta Dragway in Georgia; Auto-Plus Raceway at Gainesville in Florida; National Trail Raceway in Ohio; Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis; and Auto Club Raceway at Pomona in Southern California. For more information, log on to NHRA.com, or visit the official NHRA pages on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
2015 NHRA Harley-Davidson Drag Racing Series Schedule
Feb. 5-8 Auto Club Raceway at Pomona (Top Fuel only) Pomona, Calif.
March 20-22 No Problem Raceway Belle Rose, La.
April 10-12 The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Top Fuel only) Las Vegas
April 17-19 Montgomery Motorsports Park (Non Top Fuel event) Montgomery, Ala.
April 24-25 Virginia Motorsports Park (Non Top Fuel event) Dinwiddie, Va.
May 15-17 Summit Motorsports Park Norwalk, Ohio
May 22-24 Heartland Park Topeka (Top Fuel only) Topeka, Kan.
June 5-7 Route 66 Raceway Joliet, Ill.
June 12-14 Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park Tulsa, Okla.
June 19-21 Bristol Dragway (Top Fuel only) Bristol, Tenn.
June 19-21 Bandimere Speedway (Non Top Fuel event) Denver
July 24-26 Sonoma Raceway Sonoma, Calif.
Aug. 21-23 Pacific Raceways (Non Top Fuel event) Seattle
Nov. 5-8 The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Las Vegas
Government officials, local authorities and the Automovil Club Argentino (ACA) gathered in Buenos Aires today for a press conference to officially welcome the new all-electric FIA Formula E Championship, which will see the Argentinean capital host a race for the next three years.
“To connect sports with sustainable development, taking care of the environment, is the path that we choose in order to make Buenos Aires a healthier place to live," Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, Head of the Cabinet for Buenos Aires, said. "It is also very important to carry out these kind of activities that not only attract thousands of tourists but also hundreds of neighbours in the city who can enjoy this attractive event with their families.”
The prestigious event was attended by more than 100 distinguished guests and was held at the Yacht Club of Puerto Madero – which is only a short walk from the track located in the popular Puerto Madero district.
“I’m delighted to welcome Formula E to Buenos Aires," Carlos Garcia Remohi, President of Automovil Club Argentino, said. "Argentina is a country of great automotive tradition as well as a unique setting to host a race. I’d like to thank the FIA for its continued support for Formula E and commitment to clean mobility and sustainable technologies.”
Buenos Aires joins a list of nine cities to be announced for the inaugural season and one of two races taking place in South America. Together with the CEO of Formula E Alejandro Agag, government officials and the President of the ACA addressed invited media ahead of the city’s first electric race on January 10 2015.
“We’re very excited about racing in Argentina and want to thank the City Government, the ACA and all the local authorities for their continued support, investment and backing," Alejandro Agag, CEO of Formula E, said. "We believe this race is going to provide a fantastic spectacle for the people of Buenos Aires and for Formula E fans around the world.”
Buenos Aires will also see the debut of the first Greenpower event as a support race on the Formula E schedule, designed to promote sustainable engineering to young people. The project sees students from local schools designing and building their own small-scale electric race car, which will then compete on the full Formula E circuit.
Full details on tickets for the event will be revealed shortly. For more information on Formula E, including viewing an interactive circuit map of the Buenos Aires ePrix, visit www.fiaformulae.com.