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Professional off-road racer Jim Beaver will be back behind the wheel of his #915 General Tire/Vision Wheel Polaris RZR once again in this weekend’s Parker 250 presented by Polaris RZR, the first race of the 2020 Best in the Desert season and the first race of the year in Beaver’s hometown of Parker, Arizona. The desert racing veteran and host of the General Tire Down & Dirty Show Powered By Polaris RZR earned his first finish of last season at this event, and will be looking to improve on last year’s result after a strong pre-race test.
 
“The 2020 season is here and I’m pumped to be back in the driver’s seat this weekend in Parker,” said Jim Beaver. “It’s always fun to be able to race in your own backyard, but we’ve made some exciting upgrades to the car that have me looking for a strong finish in front of family and friends. We had a test session over the weekend that proved their worth, so I’m looking forward to seeing how we stack up!”
 
Beaver will look to build off the momentum of a highly successful 2019 season that included strong pace at the biggest desert races in America, as well as appearances at most of action motorsports’ premier events and the establishment of a top-flight esports team, Jim Beaver eSports. For 2020, Beaver welcomes General Tire as the new title partner of the Down & Dirty Show, expanding on a relationship that started nearly a decade ago. He’ll be joined in the cockpit this weekend by Trent Beaver, Bryant Shontz, and Mia Chapman.
 
In addition to this week’s racing efforts, stay tuned for new episodes of the General Tire Down & Dirty Show Powered By Polaris RZR, Project Action, and more, as well as full coverage of the Parker 250 presented by Polaris RZR and all of this week’s action motorsports events on DownAndDirtyShow.com.
 
Jim Beaver Motorsports is supported by General Tire, Vision Wheel, Polaris RZR, Rigid Industries, GSP XTV Axles, DirtFish, Gibson Exhaust, Optimas Starters, Impact Safety, Acronis, Hyperco, HCR Racing, zMAX Race Products, SuperATV, Pro Armor, Assault, Rugged Radios, and Action Sports Canopies. For more information on Jim Beaver and the General Tire Down & Dirty Show Powered By Polaris RZR, visit www.downanddirtyshow.com, follow @JimBeaver15 on social media, and follow @DownAndDirtyShow on Instagram.

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 historic race takes place at the birthplace of NHRA drag racing and the Winternationals has provided one incredible moment after another for six decades. Fans can expect another must-see event in 2020, one that will also include the kickoff to the 50th anniversary celebration of Pro Stock. With new cars and new teams set to make their 2020 debuts as the 11,000-horsepower nitro machines roar back to life, Auto Club Raceway at Pomona provides the ideal backdrop for drivers to leave their mark in the Winternationals history books.
   
The biggest stars in Top Fuel, Funny Car and Pro Stock will also try to start their 2020 season strong with a Wally at one of drag racing’s most revered events. Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car) and Bo Butner (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of a race that will be televised on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including finals coverage beginning at 5 p.m. EST on Sunday, Feb. 9.
 
In Top Fuel, Doug Kalitta has put on a show at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona over the years and the veteran was particularly impressive in 2019, sweeping both races at the facility. Kalitta, who finished just three points out of first place last year, will try to make it three straight Pomona wins and three consecutive Winternationals victories as well. He knocked off Steve Torrence in the final round of the season-opener a year ago, but Torrence had the ultimate triumph by clinching his second straight world title. His road to a third straight championship begins in Pomona in 2020 against the likes of Leah Pritchett, Clay Millican, three-time champ Antron Brown, Shawn Langdon, who will move back to the class, Brittany Force, Terry McMillen, Austin Prock and Mike Salinas.
Defending Funny Car world champ Robert Hight has enjoyed tremendous success at his home track, as the Southern California native won for the fifth time at Pomona at the season-opener a year ago. His year ended with a third world title – his second in three years – and Hight will look to open 2020 with a second straight Winternationals victory. Trying to stop him will be a host of star drivers, including 16-time world champ John Force, two-time world champ Matt Hagan, Jack Beckman, who won the season finale in Pomona in November, Ron Capps, 2018 world champ J.R. Todd, Tommy Johnson Jr., Alexis DeJoria, who is set to return to the class, Cruz Pedregon, Tim Wilkerson and Bob Tasca III.
 
The 60th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com marks the kickoff of the 50th anniversary celebration of Pro Stock, and class legends will be on hand for the marquee event. Butner has back-to-back wins at the opener and will try to make it three straight, and the 2017 world champion has a knack for starting strong, winning four of the first five races last year. Erica Enders is the reigning world champ going into the special Pro Stock season, and she will be gunning for her fourth title in 2020, as well as her first win at the Winternationals. Other top names to watch in the class loaded with talent includes Jeg Coughlin Jr., who won the finale in Pomona, four-time world champ Greg Anderson, Jason Line, Deric Kramer and Matt Hartford. Fans at the Winternationals will get to launch the yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of Pro Stock, highlighting Pro Stock milestones and seeing special nostalgia Pro Stock cars hit the track.
 
To celebrate the 60th annual Winternationals event, NHRA Heritage Series Top Fuel and Funny Car machines will be on site and making exhibition runs throughout the weekend. Additionally, the Little Red Fire Truck Wheelstander will be performing with special passes during the event.
   
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where future stars of the sport hone their skills.
 
NHRA fans can take part in the Mello Yello Walking Tour to see the cars and teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Pro Stock School and Nitro School to learn how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Auto Club Raceway at Pomona will also host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers as well as the Sealmaster Track Walk hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello. Another can’t-miss experience is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. NHRA fans are invited to congratulate the winners of the event as they celebrate their victories.
 
As always, fans can interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
 
Fans will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
 
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 12:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 9.
 
To purchase general admission or reserved seats, call 800-884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.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. 

 

In addition to this LIVE broadcasts, motorsport fans can choose from more than 5,400 shows across 90 different categories, all available 24/7 on-demand on the Lucas Oil Racing TV platform. 

Both returning and new subscribers can log directly onto LucasOilRacing.TV and watch the action from the convenience of their browser. Additionally, Lucas Oil Racing TV is available on all the most popular streaming devices like ROKU, Apple iOS, Android devices, Amazon Fire TV, Google Chromecast, Google Play, Xbox One, and more. A full list of supported devices can found HERE. 

Lucas Oil Racing TV Schedule

2020 LIVE Broadcast Schedule

Jan. 18

Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Nationals Presented by General Tires

River Spirit Expo Center

8:30 pm. ET

Jan. 31

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Golden Isles Speedway

TBA

Feb. 1

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Golden Isles Speedway

TBA

Feb. 3

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

East Bay Raceway Park

TBA

Feb. 4

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

East Bay Raceway Park

TBA

Feb. 5

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

East Bay Raceway Park

TBA

Feb. 6

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

East Bay Raceway Park

TBA

Feb. 7

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

East Bay Raceway Park

TBA

Feb. 8

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

East Bay Raceway Park

TBA

Feb. 9

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

All-Tech Raceway

TBA

Mar. 14

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Glen Helen Raceway

TBA

Mar. 15

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Glen Helen Raceway

TBA

Apr. 24

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Tri-City Speedway

TBA

Apr. 25

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Wild Horse Motorsports Park

TBA

Apr. 26

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Wild Horse Motorsports Park

TBA

May 21

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

May 21

United States Racing Association

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

May 22

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

May 22

United States Racing Association

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

May 23

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

May 23

United States Racing Association

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

Jun. 5

Lucas Pro Pulling League

Ambassador Park

TBA

Jun. 6

Lucas Pro Pulling League

Ambassador Park

TBA

Jun. 18

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Magnolia Motor Speedway

TBA

Jun. 19

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Magnolia Motor Speedway

TBA

Jun. 20

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Magnolia Motor Speedway

TBA

Jun. 25

Lucas American Sprint Car Series

Skagit Speedway

TBA

Jun. 26

Lucas American Sprint Car Series

Skagit Speedway

TBA

Jun. 27

Lucas American Sprint Car Series

Skagit Speedway

TBA

Jun. 27

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Utah Motorsports Campus

TBA

Jun. 28

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Utah Motorsports Campus

TBA

July 9

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Deer Creek Speedway

TBA

July 17

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Tri-City Speedway

TBA

July 18

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

July 25

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Wild West Motorsports Park

TBA

Aug. 20

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Batesville Motor Speedway

TBA

Aug. 21

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Batesville Motor Speedway

TBA

Aug. 22

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Batesville Motor Speedway

TBA

Aug. 22

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

Aug. 23

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

Sep. 11

Lucas Pro Pulling League

Pierce County Fair

TBA

Sep. 12

Lucas Pro Pulling League

Pierce County Fair

TBA

Sep. 17

Lucas American Sprint Car Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

Sep. 17

Lucas War Sprint Car Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

Sep. 18

Lucas American Sprint Car Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

Sep. 18

Lucas War Sprint Car Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

Sep. 19

Lucas American Sprint Car Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

Sep. 19

Lucas War Sprint Car Series

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

Sep. 19

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Knoxville Raceway

TBA

Sep. 25

Lucas Pro Pulling League

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

Sep. 26

Lucas Pro Pulling League

Lucas Oil Speedway

TBA

Oct. 3

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Glen Helen Raceway

TBA

Oct. 17

Lucas Late Model Dirt Series

Portsmouth Raceway Park

TBA

Oct. 23

Lucas American Sprint Car Series

Texas Motor Speedway

TBA

Oct. 24

Lucas American Sprint Car Series

Texas Motor Speedway

TBA

Oct. 24

Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series

Wild West Motorsports Park

TBA

*BOLD events are available for yearly subscriptions only.

The full live event broadcast schedule is available at https://lucasoilracing.tv/schedule 

 

Six cars participated in the LMP2 class in last weekend’s Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona. That’s huge for a class that had four entries in the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona, and just two entries for the full season last year.
 
And it’s even more encouraging when you consider that the Rolex 24 will not even count toward IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship points, one of a few significant changes to the class for 2020.
 
“I think it’s great,” said performance Tech Motorsports owner Brent O’Neill, whose team fielded the No. 38 ORECA in the full 2019 season and will return in 2020 with full-season co-drivers Cameron Cassels and Kyle Masson. “That’s what we look for. That’s why we race, to have some competition. At the end of the day, I think some of the moves that IMSA has made to grow the class has worked, will work.”
 
Collaborating with existing LMP2 teams and those who expressed interest in competing, IMSA announced a budget-friendly, six-race schedule WeatherTech Championship schedule for the class in 2020. The Rolex 24 At Daytona is a “standalone” event for LMP2, although it does count toward the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup standings, and there are no back-to-back event weekends for the class in 2020.
 
“I think that’s magical, absolutely magical,” said 2019 WeatherTech Championship LMP2 championship-winning team co-owner Bobby Oergel with PR1-Mathiasen Motorsports, which is opening the year at Daytona with co-drivers Ben Keating, Simon Trummer, Nick Boulle and Gabriel Aubry in the No. 52 ORECA. “That was, to me, a slam dunk, to be able to limit the mileage we do at tracks that aren’t that important to most of the amateur racers.
 
“The bottom line is, bringing the budget down by limiting the amount of events – we still do twice as many hours as the ELMS (European Le Mans Series) does, for basically the same money. To me, that was a slam-dunk, out-of-the-park type of decision. In the end, I think it’s just beautiful. I really think it’s the thing that brings it back in this country. I mean, I couldn’t say more. I think it was the absolute right move.”
 
Another decision that has drawn praise from at least some LMP2 competitors was the requirement that every car have at least one Bronze-rated driver and the prohibition of Platinum-rated drivers in the class for every race except for the Rolex 24. Bronze drivers will be required to qualify and start every LMP2 race.
 
“With the bronze rating, I’m sure there are exceptions, but it’s fairly well matched for bronze drivers,” said Starworks Motorsport owner Peter Baron, whose team moved from the GT Daytona (GTD) class in 2019 and is fielding the No. 8 Tower Motorsport by Starworks ORECA for John Farano, Ryan Dalziel, David Heinemeier Hansson and Nicolas Lapierre in the 2020 Rolex 24. “A bronze driver can go out and race against other people that are his peers. They can be competitive.”
 
“I think the whole bronze thing was awesome because, really, IMSA had nothing to lose,” added O’Neill. “I mean, we were big on pushing to get the bronze driver in and I think it works. Immediately, John Farano signed up because he’s a bronze and he can come over here and run.”
 
Ironically, Baron was initially against the Bronze-driver requirement. He’s since changed his opinion.
 
“I was against it because I didn’t know any bronzes at the time,” he said. “Oddly enough, I was the only one that voted against it. Then, the rule announcement came out on a Friday and then my phone rang on Saturday from John about, ‘Hey, this bronze only makes a lot of sense for a person like him.’”
 
In addition to Baron’s team, DragonSpeed USA – which won the 2019 Rolex 24 At Daytona in its lone WeatherTech Championship appearance last year – has committed to running the full season with co-drivers Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley in its No. 81 ORECA.
 
Era Motorsport, which has a wealth of historic racing experience, is entering the WeatherTech Championship full-time in 2020 with team owner and driver Kyle Tilley and Dwight Merriman as season-long co-drivers of its No. 18 ORECA. And Rick Ware Racing also is targeting a full 2020 WeatherTech Championship campaign with its No. 2 Multimatic/Riley LMP2.
 
“Everybody likes the prototypes, right?” says O’Neill of the interest in LMP2 from drivers. “Cameron’s a perfect example. He ran the Lamborghinis last year, he started in a Porsche and if you talk to him today, he’ll tell you that he doesn’t want to race sedans anymore. The prototypes are a cool car.”
 
And Baron believes even more will feel that way as time goes on.
 
“If you’re really a true gentleman out there and want to go professional racing, it seems like the LMP2 class is going to become the home of it,” he said. “Since we’ve been down this path and even since our announcement came out, it’s like my phone’s been ringing like crazy.
 
“Our announcement said we’re full. We have our four people, this is our program, and it’s still ringing. If I had another car, we could get another car out there. That’s good news about the growth of the series.
 
“I think now people see the talk of maybe five or six cars coming, and we’re going to surpass that for 2020. That’s just going to act as catalyst for ’21. I think 10, 11 cars on the grid for ’21 is a completely realistic number at this point based on the phone calls I’ve been having.”
 
On-track activity for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona begins Thursday, Jan. 23 with practice and qualifying. NBC will have live network coverage of the start of the race beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 25, and also will televise the race finish beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday, Jan. 26 as part of NBC Sports’ complete coverage of the event that includes windows on NBCSN and the NBC Sports App and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.
 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage throughout race weekend on IMSA.com and RadioLeMans.com, with complete race coverage also airing on SiriusXM Radio.
 
Tickets for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona are available on DaytonaInternationalSpeedway.com.
 
Professional off-road racer and Red Bull athlete Mia Chapman will make the switch from short course off-road racing to the desert as she makes her Best in the Desert debut at this weekend’s Parker 250 presented by Polaris RZR. Chapman will take the wheel of the #1837 Polaris RZR in the UTV Naturally Aspirated class in the first race of her brand new desert campaign.
 
“I’m really excited to make the switch to full-time desert racing for the 2020 season,” said Chapman. “After many successful years of short course racing, conquering another discipline, in a new vehicle, is a challenge I just couldn’t pass up. I’m looking forward to making my debut at the Parker 250, where UTVs serve as the premier competing class, and I can’t wait to get off the line this weekend!”
 
Chapman heads to the desert coming off of a busy, but successful, short course season in 2019. In Production 1000 UTV competition, she scored five podiums in 10 starts in Lucas Oil Off-Road Regional Racing Series events in California and Arizona, made seven starts in Lucas Oil Off-Road national events, and finished 16th against a massive field in the 50th anniversary of the Crandon Off-Road World Championship. It was a worthy successor to her strong 2018, where she scored two wins and 10 podiums in Mod Kart action, and became the first female Red Bull athlete on four wheels in the United States.
 
But a new season means new challenges, and a fresh look to go with them. Chapman trades in last year’s red scheme for a predominantly black and blue look on her new ride, and welcomes a host of new partners as well. Yokohama joins the fray as her new official tire partner, while Vision Wheel has added Chapman to a dramatically expanded driver roster that includes some of the most legendary names in off-road racing.
 
“I’m really grateful for all of my partners as we take the next adventure, from the ones that have stuck by me for years to the new ones that have come on board in the offseason,” added Chapman. “Thanks to Yokohama, we’ve got the right tires for the job in conquering the desert terrain. I’m also honored to be a part of the Vision Wheel driver family and looking to kick things off on a high note in Parker!”
 
Mia Chapman is supported by Red Bull, R-N-R Steel, Yokohama, Kicker Performance Audio, Walker Evans Racing, Vision Wheel, Rigid Industries, Jim Beaver’s Down & Dirty Show Powered By Polaris RZR, Action Sports Canopies, Muzzys, Sparco, DynoJet, AiM Sports, Xtreme Racing Fabrication, and Rugged Radios. For more information on Mia Chapman and her off-road racing career, visit www.miachapman.com or follow Mia on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
“Hitting The Apex” is a new IMSA.com editorial column by Nate Siebens, a longtime motorsports publicist and journalist. Siebens has more than 20 years of industry experience – including the past seven as part of the IMSA Communications staff – who will offer his own observations and insights throughout the 2020 season.
 
The first time I went to Indianapolis Motor Speedway was Saturday, May 9, 1987.
 
I was 14 years old and I went with my sister and brother-in-law for Indianapolis 500 Time Trials. The crowd in attendance at the Speedway that day was measured in the hundreds of thousands, and we all were there to see – and more specifically to hear – one thing.
 
We all wanted to hear legendary IMS public address announcer Tom Carnegie utter his most famous phrase, “…and it’s a new track record!” as the bravest of brave drivers posted their qualifying times for the race. And based on the speeds we’d seen in the week of practice leading up to Pole Day, it seemed like a good possibility.
 
But it was an unseasonably hot early spring day that Saturday in Indianapolis, making track conditions less than optimal. At the end of the day, Mario Andretti turned in an impressive four-lap average at 215.390 mph to take the pole, but shy of Rick Mears’ four-lap record average of 216.828 mph from the year before.
 
It wasn’t until the next year’s pole day – Saturday, May 14, 1988 – that I finally got to hear those most anticipated words for the first time.
 
Danny Sullivan – my favorite driver – triggered them first with a one-lap record at 217.749 mph. A while later, Sullivan’s Penske Racing teammate, Mears, one of the greatest ever at Indianapolis, became the first to officially break the 220-mph barrier with his first lap at 220.453 mph. Three laps later, he had the pole position with a record 219.198 mph average.
 
And when it happened, it was pandemonium. The huge crowd roared in response to Carnegie’s signature “new track record” bellow that day. They did it again the next year, when Mears set more one- and four-lap records and again the following year when Emerson Fittipaldi broke the 225-mph barrier.
 
One of my most vivid memories as a race fan came on Pole Day at Indy in 1992, when I watched Roberto Guerrero break the 230-mph barrier with a four-lap average of 232.482 mph. As I watched his run from the penthouse seats high above Turn 1, I’d never seen a race car as “stuck” to the turns as that green No. 36 Buick-powered Lola was on that late Saturday afternoon. He. Was. Flying.
 
I was lucky enough to be at California Speedway for the first CART race in 1997 to see Mauricio Gugelmin set the closed-course speed record of 240.942 mph, and I was there again three years later when Gil de Ferran broke that record with a lap of 241.428 mph in a Penske Honda-Reynard.
 
Talk about flying. Those cars looked like they were stuck on fast-forward.
 
I wasn’t at Daytona in 1993 when PJ Jones set the all-time IMSA speed record with a lap of 136.521 mph in the No. 98 Toyota Eagle MKIII for Dan Gurney’s All American Racers team. But I was there during qualifying last year, when Oliver Jarvis went 136.792 mph in the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest RT24-P DPi to topple Jones’ longstanding record.
 
Jarvis’ official record run for the 2019 Motul Pole Award at Daytona came after he had unofficially broken Jones’ record a few weeks earlier at the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona in qualifying for garage and pit stall selections. On that day, he and teammate Harry Tincknell in the No. 55 Mazda DPi both eclipsed the Toyota Eagle’s speed, but only Jarvis managed to do it officially on race week.
 
It’d been a while since I’d seen a track record like that go down, and it instantly brought back all these memories. That’s why I’m even more excited for Thursday, Jan. 23, when qualifying for the 58th Rolex 24 At Daytona will take place.
 
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of other reasons to get excited about this year’s Rolex 24. But in last weekend’s qualifying session at the Roar, where two cars were under the record in 2019, this time there were no less than five drivers who eclipsed Jarvis’ record.
 
Jarvis’ own teammate, Olivier Pla – in that very same No. 77 Mazda DPi – led the way at 137.321 mph. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor and check out the in-car footage Mazda shared of Pla’s record lap. If I didn’t know better, I’d think it was somehow stuck on fast-forward.
 
Conditions were pretty much perfect last Sunday. Here’s hoping they are again two weeks from today when it counts.
 
Because – while Tom Carnegie is no longer with us – I know John Hindhaugh will more than make him proud with his call when another Daytona speed record goes down. And I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to say it again.
 
“I was there.”
 
 

 

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.

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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.”

 

To listen to the full episode, visit: http://bit.ly/39QHOSu & https://apple.co/2QWr3gi

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