Racing News (11780)
Racing News from around the World
After a run of seven different venues over seven years, Sports Car Club of America’s leadership will shift its strategy beginning in 2022 for the iconic SCCA® National Championship Runoffs®.
A thorough analysis of the entire Runoffs venue rotation program, which included member/participant feedback from National Championships and participation trends from each of SCCA’s nine divisions over the last seven seasons, has resulted in a decision to again focus on Runoffs venues east of the Mississippi following the 2021 National Championship. Additionally, Sports Car Club of America® will now also consider two-year stints at select venues in the future.
While Runoffs rotation did offer some members an opportunity to compete who otherwise would not have, analysis shows rotation also introduced inconsistency across divisions. Participation typically increased locally when the Runoffs was “coming to town.” However, in off years, involvement actually decreased below levels seen prior to the rotation. Research revealed that even some of the most dedicated national racers opted to skip a Runoffs event because of location in a single year.
SCCA leadership -- which includes the Board of Directors, Club Racing Board and national staff -- recognizes any strategic shift may disappoint some of the membership, and difficult decisions such as this are not made lightly. However, these changes are appropriate to support the goals of the organization as a whole -- to fuel a safe, fun and exciting motorsports experience for automotive enthusiasts -- as well as build healthier, more stable road racing programs across the country. The decision to adjust the Runoffs rotation comes in concert with creation of a Runoffs Appearance Fund for 2020, an initiative designed to assist top performing racers during the season with funds to attend the Runoffs, particularly those competitors who travel a great distance.
As for conducting Runoffs events for two consecutive years at some venues, that decision resulted from feedback provided by drivers, teams, workers and fans. They voiced a desire to develop greater familiarity with a track, facility and surrounding areas with visits in consecutive years. Two-year stints will also allow event organizers the opportunity to amortize new venue expenses and focus on other elements of the Road Racing program.
SCCA’s Runoffs -- the year-end, winner-take-all championship event for the Summit Racing Equipment SCCA Road Racing program -- began its rotation back in 2014 with a visit to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in California. Daytona International Speedway then hosted the Runoffs in 2015, followed by Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in 2016, Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2017, Sonoma Raceway in 2018 and VIRginia International Raceway this past year. In 2020, the event will return to Road America, which previously hosted the National Championship from 2009 to 2013, before returning in 2021 to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The National Championship Runoffs has evolved into what is now commonly agreed to be the pinnacle of American motorsports. Since 1964, SCCA has crowned Road Racing’s National Champions each year through dozens of separate races over three days. Founded in 1944, Sports Car Club of America 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 around 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.
After developing a formula that has gained incredible traction in North America, the Trans Am 2 Series (TA2®) category ruleset will expand to a new market starting in 2020.
The roar from American Muscle cars will now be heard from the United States to the Land Down Under through 2026 as the Trans Am Race Company (TARC) and the Australian Racing Group Pty Ltd. (ARG) signed a multi-year licensing agreement for the Trans Am 2 Series (TA2®) branding to be used in Australia and New Zealand.
ARG, one of the premier race promoters in Australia, will build a TA2® National Series that will elevate the status of the TA2® brand to new heights. The company has already established a strong paddock that has recently seen grids of more than 40 entries, with the familiar Ford Mustangs, Chevrolet Camaros and Dodge Challengers doing battle in the Australian TA2 Muscle Car Series.
The new agreement will see ARG secure the license for the Trans Am 2 Series (TA2®) specification as the Trans Am formula makes its first international expansion in the form of the new agreement.
“It is gratifying to have our brand recognized worldwide,” said Trans Am Race Company President John Clagett. “TA2 ® drew its international success from focusing on cost control, driver talent, strict regulations and promotion of close competition, and other countries want to implement that platform. It is fantastic that TA2® has gained an international acknowledgement as a tremendous technical package at an affordable price point.”
The international collaboration has also included a competition component, as 2019 Australian TA2 ® Muscle Car Series champion Ashley Jarvis competed in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2® finale at Daytona International Speedway in November. Jarvis finished the 100-mile race in points position behind the wheel of a Stevens-Miller Racing Chevrolet Camaro.
The deal will also allow Trans Am Series partners to expand their sales internationally. The Prefix “TA2 Choice” engine will be the approved engine for the Australian TA2 ® Series and Five Star Race Car Bodies will provide the bodywork with TA2® USA chassis builders providing chassis. ARG will allow participants to purchase pre-raced cars and chassis from USA-based teams, and also allow chassis from TARC-approved chassis builders or their appointed dealers within the Territory. Additional announcements including tire and final technical specifications will be made in the new year.
“It is an honor to have the official endorsement from the Trans Am Race Company as we look toward a big, bold future for Trans Am classes in Australia and New Zealand,” said Australian Racing Group CEO Matt Braid. “Trans Am is such an iconic racing brand and its series has been a stalwart of the American racing scene for decades, and is respected throughout the world. There are now a significant number of TA2® cars in the country, and we are working with the current competitor base and category administrators on the best way forward for all. The Trans Am 2 class is a great addition to ARG’s suite of categories and events, and with such heroic brands involved with nameplates like Mustang, Camaro and Challenger they are sure to become even more popular both on and off track.”
TA2® is based on a relevant, practical and purposeful racing platform that highlights driver talent and promotes close competition. This formula allows drivers to use their skill behind the wheel, not the money spent on the engine, to set them apart and propel them to the top of the pack.
Designed, built and tuned with only one thing in mind —performance. The TA2® formula is built on a cost-effective platform, combining the prowess of a purpose-built racing chassis and a 525-horsepower engine package that causes every head in the paddock to turn and take notice.
For more information on the Australian TA2® Muscle Car Series, visit http://ta2racingaustralia.com/
The new year is officially in full swing, and that means it’s time for the release of Lucas Oil Racing TV’s (LORTV) 2020 LIVE broadcast schedule.
Kicking off the first month of the year, LORTV is airing a special LIVE broadcast of the 34th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl on January 18th at 8:30 p.m. ET. and, two weeks later, will also have a LIVE showing of the opening round for the 2020 Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series tour on the 31st. Early February brings more Late Model Dirt Series action with LIVE races on the 1st and again from the 3rd through the 9th.
Making its return to the LIVE LORTV schedule for the start of the 2020 season is the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series (LOORRS) with a doubleheader broadcast on March 14th and 15th. April brings more Lucas Late Model Dirt Series racing on the 24th before switching to another LIVE installment of LOORRS action, this time from Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park on the 25th and 26th.
May brings LORTV subscribers LIVE racing directly from the famed Lucas Oil Speedway with broadcasts for both the United States Racing Association (USRA) and Lucas Late Model Dirt Series from the 21st to the 23rd. The Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League makes its 2020 LIVE schedule debut on June 5th and 6th, followed by additional Late Model Dirt Series coverage on June 18th, 19th and 20th. Keeping things in the same month, we have LIVE broadcasts of the Lucas American Sprint Car Series from June 25th to the 27th with LOORRS action closing out the monthly schedule on the 27th and 28th.
Post Independence Day, LORTV will have LIVE Late Model Dirt Series racing from Deer Creek Speedway on July 9th and more of the Late Model Dirt Series on the 17th and 18th. July then closes out strong with a LIVE LOORRS broadcast from Wild West Motorsports Park on the 25th. Heading into the second half of August comes more wheel-to-wheel action from the Late Model Dirt Series from the 20th to the 22nd and LOORRS on the 22nd and 23rd.
On September 11th and 12th, LORTV brings back the Pro Pulling League for more LIVE shows and then follows that up on the 18th and 19th with LIVE broadcasts for both the Lucas American Sprint Car Series and War Sprint Car Series. Also slated for September 19th is the Lucas Late Model Dirt Series, before the Pro Pulling League comes back to close out the month with LIVE races on the 25th and 26th. Finally, to finish off a year filled with LIVE racing, LORTV has broadcasts of the final rounds of LOORRS on October 3rd and 24th, Late Model Dirt Series on the 17th, and Lucas American Sprint Car Series on the 23rd and 24th.
Sure to attract a lot of attention at the Pioneer Pole Buildings Motorsports Racecar and Trade January 17-19 is the Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Cup team cars. The 36th edition of the popular show takes place at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA.
Show attendees will have the opportunity to get an up close look at a new 2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE that will debut on the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series starting in February at Daytona International Speedway.
In honor of seven time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson participating in his last full-time season of Cup competition, a 2019 No.48 Ally Chevrolet will be on display. The second Hendrick display car at the show will be a 2020 No. 24 Liberty University Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE driven by young sensation William Byron.
Hendrick Motorsports entries have won a record 12 Cup championships and tallied 256 Cup wins.
For many years Hendrick Motorsports was the home for NASCAR Hall of Famer, now TV broadcaster, Jeff Gordon.
NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Jarrett along with legendary NASCAR driver Kyle Petty will be appearing on Saturday during the show. Both Jarrett and Petty are part of the NASCAR Sports TV broadcast team. A large number of other well-known names in the sport will also be making appearances.
Middletown, New York’s Orange County Speedway 100th Anniversary display continues to grow becoming a major part of the popular show.
The display will feature an Orange County “Past, Present and Future” theme. Many Modifieds along with other divisions that have raced at Orange County over the years will be on display along with special exhibits.
Many drivers who have competed at the popular track during the last 100 years will be on hand to sign autographs on Saturday afternoon.
One of the most popular events during the three day show has been, and will again be, the Ms. Motorsports Pageant sponsored by Aqua Duck Water Transport. One contestant will walk off with a $1,500 cash prize along with a poster deal. Best in swimwear, chosen by the crowd, will also receive $500. Entry blanks for this event as well as Little Miss Motorsports are available at the event website, motorsportstradeshow.com.
Many racing facilities and sanctioning bodies will be represented, using the show to announce their 2020 racing plans and schedules. Tracks already registered include Pocono, Dover, Lincoln, New Egypt, BAPS, Bridgeport, Mahoning Valley, Georgetown and Kutztown. Organizations include DIRTcar, Short Track Super Series, USAC East, URC, MASS, ATQMRA, Xcel and Slingshots by Tobias.
Hotel rooms are available at the nearby Valley Forge Casino Resort at the special show rate of $91 per night. Call 610.354.8118 and be sure to ask for the Motorsports Show Room Block in the Valley Tower.
PPB Motorsports 2020 opens on Friday, January 17 at 2 p.m., then at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The show closes at 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 4 p.m. on Sunday.
On Sunday, all children 12 and under are admitted FREE with a parent. A Little Miss pageant will be held as well as Big Wheel races.
Tickets are available daily at the door beginning one hour before the show opens. And the Expo Center offers a large number of FREE parking spaces. To stay informed on the latest show news to obtain booth information or enter one of the competitions, check in at www.motorsportstradeshow.com or call 609-888-3618.
Concord, California racing star Damion Gardner closed the 2019 season in historic fashion when he became the first driver to win eight championships in the 74-year history of Southern California sprint car racing. Coming into the year, the dark-haired driver’s total of seven So Cal titles tied him with National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Ron Shuman.
Amazingly, in the first 16-years that the USAC/CRA Series has been in existence, Gardner has won half of the championships. What makes that more fascinating is the fact that he has only competed nine years in the series as he spent 2006 through 2012 racing in the Midwest. So, in the nine years, he has competed in USAC/CRA, he has won the championship eight times!
Gardner was once again behind the wheel of the famous Mark Alexander owned silver #4 for the seventh consecutive season in 2019. The powerful combination captured its seventh straight title. Thus, they are undefeated in championship competition since joining forces in 2013. His other title, which was his first in USAC/CRA, came in 2005 driving for legendary car owner Ron Chaffin.
In addition to his prowess in championship titles, Gardner is also infringing on some of the biggest numbers on the all-time win list for CRA, SCRA and USAC/CRA. He triumphed three times in 2019 and that gave him 96 wins since heading south to race in 2002. That is fourth-best on the all-time victory list dating back to 1946. He is a mere two wins shy of tying for third, just eight victories out of second and only 11 triumphs away from taking over the all-time lead.
Gardner’s sprint car season began in February in the USAC National Series driving for Dyson Racing in Florida. In three races in the “Sunshine State,” he had two top 10 finishes in a car he had never driven before.
The driver who is affectionately known as “The Demon” to his legion of fans, returned west for the beginning of the USAC/CRA championship chase in early March. Through the first five races of the campaign, he recorded two-top five finishes with the best being a second at Canyon Speedway Park on March 9th.
The veteran driver broke into the 2019 victory ranks for the first time at Bakersfield on May 11th. That win also propelled him into the point lead. However, that lead did not last long as he slipped back to second two races later on July 6th. The runner-up position did not sit well with the then seven-time champion and one week later at Perris Auto Speedway, he notched his second win of the season. More importantly, he took the point lead back and he never relinquished it for the remainder of the year.
After that Perris triumph, Gardner and the team only had one more race before they embarked on the grueling “California Sprint Week,” which was comprised of five races, on four different tracks in eight nights. Since the mini-series within the USAC/CRA Series was introduced in 2014, he had won three of its first five championships. He only finished out of the top 10 one time in 2019 and closed the grinding mini-series with a win at Santa Maria. That gave him his fourth “California Sprint Week” title.
After the conclusion of Sprint Week, Gardner had seven races remaining to put the wrapping paper around his eighth USAC/CRA title and that is just what he did. In those final seven outings, he had four top-fives including a third-place finish in the nation’s most prestigious non-wing race, the “24th Annual Oval Nationals” at Perris Auto Speedway on November 9th.
When the USAC/CRA season ended, Gardner was 71-points ahead of his closest pursuer in the championship standings. He led the series in fast qualifying times with 10 in 23-races. He also led the series with eight-heat race wins. And, in what was the most competitive season in series history with 14-different winners in 23-races, Gardner had more wins than any other driver with three.
While the season was a success, it did not come easy. The team lost crew chief Steve Alexander early on after he suffered serious injuries and was knocked out of action for several weeks after a pit mishap at Perris.
Tragedy struck the team during the year when “Uncle Steve” Alexander (related to, but not Steve Alexander the crew chief) suddenly passed away. “He loved racing and contributed a lot at the race shop,” Gardner said. “I appreciate all he did for the team and for me. He was, and will continue to be, missed by the entire team.”
Things are full speed ahead for Gardner and the Alexander team as they prepare for 2020. The famous driver will be headed off to the “Chili Bowl Midget Nationals” in Tulsa, Oklahoma next week to try and capture a win in the race that he previously triumphed in back in 2008. After that, it will be all sprint cars all the time as he chases another championship and sets out to break more historic records.
Gardner and the team would like to express appreciation and thanks to Tom and Kevin Malloy from Trench Shoring and Mike Grosswendt from All Coast Construction and all of the following sponsors for being part of the 2019 championship effort. Weld Racing, Berdoo Auto Body, J&D Performance, Schoenfeld Headers, Wilwood Disc Brakes, Simpson Safety, La Villa Mexican Restaurant, Larry Murakmi Contracting, Shaver Engines, Deboer Trucking, Maas Powder Coating, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, FK Rod Ends, Astro Titanium, DMI, System 1, Saldana Race Products, Advanced Racing Suspension, Frankland Rear Ends, Waterman, Hoosier, Flashburn and Dean’s Diesel.
Damion Gardner PR
NASCAR legend, Dale Earnhardt Jr., joins racing stars Brian and Hailie Deegan this week on their PodcastOne show, The Deegans. During the interview, Earnhardt details his unexpected journey to becoming one of the top NASCAR drivers, including a retelling of a crash he faced at twelve years old that almost ended his career. Plus, Earnhardt opens up about his relationship with his late father, the infamous Dale Earnhardt Sr., and expands on the current state of NASCAR and its future. He notes that NASCAR is ready for a female champion, and says the entire sport would see success if Hailie Deegan, competing in her first NASCAR race in February, is the first to be that champion. Below is an excerpt from the episode, available now on PodcastOne and Apple Podcasts.
Ready for Hailie to Win a Race
Deegan: “Do you think NASCAR is ready for a female champion? A girl to come in and win races?”
Earnhardt: “There is a large group of people in our sport that have been waiting for a long time for a very successful run by a female racecar driver. You know, we’ve had some opportunities and we’ve had some great personalities come into the sport that we’d hoped were going to be that - and I hate to put a lot of pressure on Hailie [Deegan], but the fact of the matter is that she’s an incredible personality, she’s a lot of fun, she’s a hard racer, she’s already proven she’s willing to do what it takes and get down in there and get her hands dirty. So, she’s put herself in a position where a lot of people are hoping that she gets these opportunities to move through the ranks and have success and wins. I don’t know from experience how hard that can be, but watching my sister race and understanding the challenges she went through, then working with Danica [Patrick] when she drove for us…I have to think about what that experience must be like. I would love it if we had winning females in our series – in all our series – if Hailie goes out there and wins…our sport’s going to succeed big time because of that.”
PodCast One PR