Racing News

Racing News (9505)

Racing News from around the World

 FOX Sports and NHRA announced today the release of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule. Most notably, the 2019 schedule includes additional live coverage on the FOX broadcast network for the NHRA SpringNationals in Houston. The schedule is once again highlighted by live FOX broadcast network coverage of the “Western Swing” (Denver, Sonoma and Seattle) and the iconic U.S. Nationals from Indianapolis on Labor Day.
 
Joining the NHRA on FOX broadcast team as lead announcer at all 24 NHRA national events will be Brian Lohnes, a seasoned NHRA announcer who has served as a contributor over the past three seasons in various capacities. This will be Lohnes’ first year to join the team full-time.
 
“We’re excited to have Brian Lohnes in this role to help lead the broadcast team into the future,” said Ken Adelson, NHRA chief content officer and executive producer. “Brian has worked at virtually every level of drag racing and has been a valuable member of the NHRA on Fox broadcasts for our first 3 seasons. We look forward to what Brian can bring to our fans as we continue to grow the fastest, most explosive sport in the world.”
 
“This is as humbling a professional moment as I’ll ever experience in my life. I have drag racing in my heart and have since I was a little kid,” said Lohnes. “We’re going to have fun and I know the audience will have fun with us.”
 
In 2019, NHRA will experiment with new show formats including several broadcasts which will exclusively feature the Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle categories. They will also continue to work with FOX Deportes to offer NHRA drag racing in Spanish.
 
The FOX NHRA television season opens Feb. 7-10, with the 59th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals eliminations airing Sunday, Feb. 10 for three hours of live final-round coverage beginning at 5:00 PM ET from historic Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, Calif. 
 
The NHRA Sportsman Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series (16 races) and the growing E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service (12 races), headlined by historic American muscle cars reaching speeds in excess of 250 mph, both return to Thursday nights on FS2.
 
NHRA races also will appear in Canada and the Caribbean through FOX Sports Racing, as well as be available through FOX Sports GO, the critically acclaimed app that provides live streaming video of FOX Sports content at home or on the go and now is available to 94 million subscribers.
 
2018 FOX NHRA Television Broadcast Schedule (All times ET and subject to change):
 
• Feb. 10 – Lucas Oil Winternationals, Pomona, Calif. (5:00 PM, Live on FS1)
• Feb. 24 – NHRA Arizona Nationals, Phoenix (7:30 PM, FS1)
• March 17 – Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, Gainesville, Fla. (7:00 PM, FS1)
• April 7 – DENSO Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Las Vegas (5:30 PM, FS1)
• April 14 – NHRA SpringNationals, Houston (3:00 PM, Live on FOX)
• April 28 – NGK Spark Plugs NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, Charlotte (6:00 PM, FS1)
• May 5 – NHRA Southern Nationals, Atlanta (6:00 PM, FS1)
• May 19 – Virginia NHRA Nationals, Richmond, Va. (5:00 PM, FS1)
• June 2 – Route 66 NHRA Nationals, Chicago (5:30 PM, FS1)
• June 9 – Menards NHRA Heartland Nationals, Topeka, Kan. (5:30 PM, FS1)
• June 16 – NHRA Thunder Valley Nationals, Bristol, Tenn. (2:00 PM, Live on FS1)
• June 23 – Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals, Norwalk, Ohio (6:30 PM, FS1)
• July 7 – NHRA New England Nationals, Epping, NH (1:00 PM, Live on FS1)
• July 21 – Dodge Mile-High NHRA Nationals, Denver (3:00 PM, Live on FOX)
• July 28 – NHRA Sonoma Nationals, Sonoma, Calif. (5:00 PM, Live on FOX)
• Aug. 4 – NHRA Northwest Nationals, Seattle (4:00 PM, Live on FOX)
• Aug. 18 – Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals, Brainerd, Minn. (2:00 PM, Live on FS1)
• Sept. 2 – Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis (11:00 AM, Live on FS1)
• Sept. 2 – Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, Indianapolis (1:00 PM, Live on FOX)
 
NHRA Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship
 
• Sept. 15 – Dodge NHRA Nationals, Reading, Pa. (2:00 PM, Live on FS1)
• Sept. 29 – AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals, St. Louis (2:00 PM, Live on FS1)
• Oct. 13 – NHRA Carolina Nationals, Charlotte (1:00 PM, Live on FS1)
• Oct. 20 – AAA Texas NHRA Fall Nationals, Dallas (2:00 PM, Live on FS2)
• Nov. 3 – NHRA Nevada Nationals, Las Vegas (4:00 PM, Live on FS1)
• Nov. 17 – Auto Club NHRA Nationals, Pomona (4:00 PM, Live on FS1)

Following a dominant 2018 season, where the Indian FTR750 won 17 of the 18 American Flat Track (AFT) races, Indian Motorcycle Racing today announced its 2019 AFT factory race team. Along with the return of reigning Champion Jared Mees, Indian Motorcycle Racing welcomes Briar Bauman and Bronson Bauman to its 2019 Wrecking Crew. Additionally, former Wrecking Crew rider Brad “The Bullet” Baker returns to the team as technical advisor and rider coach.

After back-to-back AFT championships in 2017 and 2018, Mees returns to the 2019 Indian Wrecking Crew with Crew Chief Kenny Tolbert, Mechanic Bubba Bently and Jimmy Wood on suspension. Dick Tibbits also returns and will aid all three Wrecking Crew riders with nutrition, fitness, and mental preparation. Team operations for Briar and Bronson will be conducted by Paul Langley and S&S, while Dave Zanotti will serve as crew chief. Michelle DiSalvo has signed on as Briar’s mechanic, while Bronson’s mechanic will be named at a later date. Indian Motorcycle Racing also welcomes the return of Dean Young as Wrecking Crew team manager.

“We’re excited to bring back Jared, and his championship pedigree, as we embark on the next chapter for Indian Motorcycle Racing. We welcome Briar and Bronson and are proud to have them represent our brand on and off the track,” said Gary Gray, Vice President – Racing, Technology & Service for Indian Motorcycle. “When it comes to racing, we’ve assembled some of the most talented professionals in the sport, and we’re looking forward to the upcoming season.”

One of the key team members who will assume a leading role as a technical advisor and rider coach is Brad “The Bullet” Baker. Indian Motorcycle Racing is extremely proud to continue its relationship with the former AFT Champion and Wrecking Crew rider. Baker will closely support and mentor Briar and Bronson throughout the 2019 season by analyzing their on-track performance, help with race-day strategy and bike setup. Baker brings a championship-winning perspective and a wealth of knowledge and experience on the FTR750.

The 2019 AFT season will be challenging for the Indian Wrecking Crew due to a new rule designed to increase competition. This new rule will allow competitors using ‘production bikes’ to run 40mm throttle bodies while all FTR750 riders will be restricted to 38mm throttle bodies.

Over the last two seasons aboard the Indian FTR750, Mees has recorded back-to-back AFT championships and has tallied 20 total wins. Through nine races aboard the FTR750 as a privateer, Briar secured six top-five finishes, including a second-place finish at the Peoria TT and a win at the Williams Grove Half-Mile. Following Baker’s injury at X Games, Bronson filled in and ran his factory FTR750 in the final seven races. During that time, Bronson garnered his first top-five finish of the season and his first career Twins podium with a second-place finish at the Williams Grove Half-Mile.

The 2017 Wrecking Crew swept the season standings, finishing first, second and third. The team earned Indian Motorcycle Racing’s first Manufacturer’s Championship. In 2018, Wrecking Crew riders and FTR750 privateers swept the top nine positions in the final standings, securing another Manufacturer’s Championship for Indian Motorcycle Racing.

For more information on Indian Motorcycle Racing, the Indian Wrecking Crew and the FTR750, visit IndianMotorcycle.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. For information on purchasing a FTR750, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

As the sun rose over the Italian countryside on a recent Sunday morning, the stage was set to crown four Lamborghini Super Trofeo world champions at the 2.538-mile, 15-turn Vallelunga circuit.
 
The North American teams entered the day in position to return to the States with the lion’s share of the championship trophies after winning three of the four races on Saturday.
When the final checkered flag fell on the weekend the North American teams would stand at the top step of two of the four World Final podiums.
 
Ryan Hardwick won the Am class World Final title in the first race of the day and then JC Perez and Loris Spinelli (the No. 171 is shown above right) followed suit with a dramatic victory in the Pro-Am class.
 
Pro / Pro-AM Recap
 
JC Perez and Loris Spinelli in the No. 171 P1 Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward were the team to beat all season in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North American Pro-Am class and they turned in the same performance over the weekend as they claimed the World Final Pro-Am championship.
 
Their assault on the World Final title didn’t come without drama as contact in the middle of the pack as cars crossed the start/finish line to begin the race caused the safety car to be called onto the track immediately. Cars were forced to head into the pits and unfortunately Perez was driving one of two of the North American Huracan Evo’s were involved.
 
When the safety car left the track nearly 10 minutes later, Perez found himself in 22nd place but he maintained his pace for the remainder of his stint before turning the car over to Spinelli as the pit window opened.
 
Spinelli returned the car to the track well down the field, but as he has done all season, quickly returned the car to being one of the fastest on the track. He continued to move up the field.
 
As the race progressed to its conclusion, it was announced another car in the Pro-Am field was going to be assessed a 20 second post-race penalty for its involvement in the melee at the start. Spinelli had finished fourth in the class on the track, but that penalty moved them to third and hence gave them a one-point victory for the World Final title over Lorenzo Bontempelli and Emanuele Zonzini from Iron Lynx Racing in Euorpe.
 
“I don’t have any words for what happened today,” said Spinelli following the race. “It is a dream to win this championship and the North American championship and it came true today. I want to thank my mate, JC, and my family!”
 
“I don’t know how we were driving that car today as it was hard to drive,” said Perez. “We were just sending it in and figuring out how to get it out of the corners. I want to thank my wife and my family as I wouldn’t be here without them.”
 
The other North American entry involved in that incident at the beginning was the No. 169 Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus entry of Alex Popow and William Hubbell. Unfortunately, that left them down the field and they finished three laps behind the leaders.
 
In the Pro class, the No. 101 Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus entry came in early in the pit window as Jonathan Cecotto gave way to Trent Hindman. Hindman was able to move up the field as the final laps of the race took place and they were the top North American finisher in fourth.
Edoardo Piscopo and Taylor Proto (No. 150 Us RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills) finished 10th in class (17th overall) while the Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte entry driven by Madison Snow and Corey Lewis was next in line at 11th in class and 18th overall.
 
A pair of European teams won Sunday's races as Giacomo Altoe and David Zampieri won the Pro class race while Simon Larsson and Dennis Lind were victorious in the Pro-Am class.
 
Am/LB Cup Recap
 
The Am and LB Cup teams would take to the track first in the combined World Final event with North American Am driver Damon Ockey in the No. 109 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Calgary leading the field to the green flag.
 
Right from the start of the race the Am championship was front and center as Race 1 winner Ryan Hardwick in the No. 102 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Atlanta would battle European series champion’s Florian Scholze and Manuel Lauck all the way to the checkered flag to take home his first Super Trofeo World Final championship trophy.
 
“It was an unforgettable weekend for me. Yesterday’s race was a good race, probably the best of my life and today’s race I knew exactly what I had to do,” said Hardwick. “I knew that the Dörr car just could not win. They had an advantage on us with the pit stop with two drivers. They get a three second advantage, so they were able to overtake me through the pit window, but, man my competitor from North America, Damon Ockey he drove one hell of a race today.
 
“He led from start to finish. We had a good battle in the first segment, but then in the second segment Damon got out front, and if it wasn’t for him, I was having a hard time trying to find my way past the Dörr car. Damon drove great and yeah; third place was enough with the little bit of qualifying time I had. It was good, and I am extremely happy and honored to be world champion.”
 
Ockey would set the pace for the first half of the race keeping a hard charging Hardwick at bay, while European champion Scholze, second in World Final points, quickly drove into third and looked forward to the mandatory pit stop window, where, by virtue of a three-second driver change time advantage, would theoretically hand the car over to co-driver Manuel Lauck and exit the pits ahead of the two North American contenders.
 
As the pit window opened with 30 minutes remaining in the event, Scholze dove to pit road, completed the driver change and Lauck returned to the track quickly setting the fastest lap of the race as Hardwick and Ockey pitted on the next two laps.
 
As the cycle for the Am class completed Ockey returned to the track to find Lauck right behind him and Hardwick giving chase as the three would run nose-to-tail for over a lap before the entire field was slowed by a Safety Car period for the No. 97 of European series competitor Van Deyzen.
 
A restart came with 13 minutes to go and Ockey would quickly begin to pull away from the rest of the field. The advantage would be short lived however, as a second Safety Car period would occur for another of the two European competitors colliding.
 
The final restart would come with four minutes to go, setting the stage for the final sprint to the finish.
As the green flag waved, Ockey again pulled out to a second gap over Lauck and Hardwick who would be content to hold the final step of the podium. 
 
As the checkered flag fell it would be Damon Ockey to cross the line first and take the race victory despite a late charge from Lauck. Hardwick would cross the line in third placing him in a tie with Scholze and Lauck on World Final points but would be awarded the World Final championship by virtue of his combined qualifying times being a fraction better than that of the European contenders.
 
“It was a great race,” said Ockey following the race 2 victory. “I think we all had the same pace, I was just able to hold them off. We were faster in different sectors, I was faster in the first two sectors, they seemed to be a little quicker in the last two, but it was a fun race. Great to be here at the track. The team had the car set up perfect for today, so I am glad to win the race”
 
For all that went right for the Dream Racing Am driver Hardwick, his teammate running in the LB Cup class was not as fortunate.
 
Trouble befell the North American LB Cup World Final leader Justin Price and his No. 121 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Atlanta early in the event despite a promising third place starting position.
 
On the start, Price would fall back to forth and then a spin just before the pit window opened at the 30-minute mark would all but end his hopes of bringing the LB Cup World Final Championship back to the States.
 
Brett Meredith in the No. 166 P1 Motorsports, Lamborghini Newport Beach, who was leading Saturday’s World Final race 1 until the final minute, would again show quick pace and lead the field at the checkered flag. However, a 30 second time penalty for incorrect time spent on pit road would result in a 6th place class finish and handing the race and championship victory to European Joseph Collado. 

Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso and former Formula One and current FIA World Endurance Championship regular Kamui Kobayashi will join full-time co-drivers Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R for the upcoming Rolex 24 At Daytona, the 2019 season opener for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Jan. 26-27 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

 

It will be the second consecutive Rolex 24 appearance for the 37-year-old Alonso and his first event of any kind since embarking on a sabbatical from full-time F1 competition after the 2018 season finale last weekend in Abu Dhabi. It was his 17th F1 season, the last four of which were spent with McLaren.

 

Kobayashi, the 32-year-old from Japan, is in his third season with Toyota Gazoo Racing and currently co-drives the team’s No. 7 entry, which is second in the superseason standings after runner-up finishes at this season’s rounds at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans, followed by victories at Fuji Speedway and Shanghai International Circuit.

 

“First, I have to thank Konica Minolta for yet again supporting WTR, and that I am extremely excited to have added Fernando Alonso and Kamui Kobayashi as teammates for Jordan and Renger at Daytona,” said team owner Wayne Taylor, who in 2017 added four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon to his Rolex 24 lineup that won that year’s twice-around-the-clock endurance marathon and went on to earn the series championship. “Both Fernando and Kamui are the cream of the crop of world-class driving talent, not only in F1 but as current sportscar drivers. It’s taken a long time to put this all together and I’d like to thank everybody who made it all happen. Fernando drove at Daytona last year, and it’ll be the first time at the 24-hour for Kamui, who is a superstar driver who will figure it out quickly. We have plans to integrate both drivers into our program very efficiently and successfully. I’m absolutely ecstatic that we have been able to make this happen, and I can’t wait to get to Daytona.”

 

Alonso’s first career Rolex 24 took place this past season with the United Autosport LMP2-car effort, which resulted in a 13th-place finish due to mechanical issues. The Spanish driver, who owns 32 career F1 victories and back-to-back world championships in 2005 and 2006, has enjoyed recent success in the WEC. His No. 8 Toyota Gazoo Racing team leads the WEC 2018-19 superseason standings after back-to-back victories at Spa-Francorchamps and his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut, followed by consecutive runner-up finishes at Fuji and Shanghai earlier this month.

 

“I am very happy about joining the Konica Minolta Cadillac team and Wayne Taylor Racing to race together at the Rolex 24 At Daytona,” said Alonso, who also competed in the 2017 Indianapolis 500 for Andretti Autosport and is slated to compete in the event again in 2019 with McLaren. “This is undoubtedly one of the greatest races in American and world motorsport. Returning to the United States is always special. The atmosphere created by the fans is unique throughout an incredible weekend. I really hope to fight for the win, as well as having fun and putting a smile on the fans’ faces. I made my debut last year both in endurance races and with these sportscar prototypes, as well as on this track. I was left wanting much more after a brake issue ended our hopes of stepping on the podium. After an intense year in which I’ve competed in both Formula One and the WEC, I’m really looking forward to 2019 and attempting to conquer one of the most important races in the world. I’m brimming with hunger and desire and I can’t wait for the first race of next season and going out on track to battle with my Konica Minolta Cadillac teammates.”

 

Prior to his current success in the WEC, Kobayashi was a fixture on the F1 circuit. He made his F1 debut with Toyota at the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix and followed that with a points-paying finish of sixth at that season’s final race in Abu Dhabi. He then drove for Sauber from 2010 through 2012, highlighted by a podium finish at the Japanese Grand Prix – the first F1 podium by a Japanese driver in 22 years – followed by a season with Caterham in 2014.

 

“First of all, I would like to thank the Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team and Wayne Taylor for giving me this wonderful opportunity to race at the historic Daytona 24-hour,” Kobayashi said. “It is one of the most popular endurance races and I am so excited to have my Daytona debut with the 2017-winning team. This will also be my first race in the U.S. and I’m really looking forward to having a good race with the Konica Minolta Cadillac team.”

 

The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team has been among the most dominating at the Rolex 24 since its inception in 2007. Prior to this past season’s disappointing 15th-place result due to recurring tire issues, the team reeled off five consecutive race-day podiums in the Rolex 24, including the 2017 victory, with a total of 963 laps led from 2013 through 2017. The team is also coming off a thrilling victory at this year’s season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, where van der Zande executed a dramatic last-lap pass that kept alive its streak of 15 consecutive seasons with at least one win.

 

“It is super exciting to have Fernando and Kamui joining us for Daytona,” said Jordan Taylor, who was part of the 2017 Rolex 24-winning lineup that included Gordon, Max “The Ax” Angelelli and his older brother Ricky Taylor. “I think we are bringing in two of the top drivers not just in sportscars but in the world of motorsport. Fernando is one of the most-respected and highly rated drivers of our time, and Kamui has been one of the top sportscar drivers over the past few years and the current lap-record holder at Le Mans. It is going to be great to have them join us. They have had such long, successful careers, and I’m sure there will be a lot we can learn from having them with us. We had a very strong second half to our 2018 season and finished it off with the win at the Petit Le Mans, so I can’t wait to get back to the track in Daytona and start our 2019 championship on the right foot. Daytona is a unique event but one that our team has excelled at. It’s my favorite month of the year.”

 

“Fernando Alonso is a living legend and Kamui is a great driver and we are fortunate to be able to attract the best talent in the world to our program,” said van der Zande, who joined the team last year and promptly qualified the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R on the Rolex 24 pole in his very first race. “It shows the level of this program and it solidifies the fact I’m in the right place, which I knew already. Looking back at last year, I think we had the package to win the championship, but two DNFs prevented that. I think we’re in a very strong position to start the new season at Daytona and there will be a lot of buzz around us. At the same time, we can learn from Fernando and Kamui. They’ve been with so many different teams, so many different cars, so many different people, and to be sharing all of that with us and integrate it into our program, that is only a benefit and, to that end, I’m very excited about it. The main goal is to win the race. That’s their goal, that’s our goal, so we’ll do everything we can together to make that happen.”

 

The 57th Rolex 24 will be preceded by the annual three days of Roar Before the 24 testing Jan. 4-6. New television partner NBC will provide flag-to-flag coverage of the race on its family of networks.

SCCA RallyCross® TripleCross honors go to select competitors who, in a single season, manage to skillfully claim a Regional RallyCross win, a DirtFish SCCA RallyCross National Challenge victory and a DirtFish SCCA RallyCross National Championship -- all in the same class.
 
The 2018 RallyCross TripleCross winners are as follows:
- Chang Ho Kim; Maynard, MA; Stock Front-Wheel Drive
- Myles Goertz; West Des Moines, IA; Prepared Rear-Wheel Drive
- Brianne Corn; San Marcos, TX; Modified Rear-Wheel Drive
- Leon Drake; Gurley, AL; Constructors Two-Wheel Drive
 
Kim earned his TripleCross crown by winning a New England Regional, the Finger Lakes DirtFish National Challenge and DirtFish RallyCross National Championship. Goertz claimed his honor by winning an Iowa Region event, the Finger Lakes DirtFish National Challenge and the DirtFish RallyCross National Championship. Corn received her TripleCross award by winning an Arizona Border Region event in November, all three DirtFish National Challenge events and the DirtFish RallyCross National Championship. And Drake became a TripleCross recipient by winning a Tennessee Valley Regional, the Dixie DirtFish National Challenge and DirtFish RallyCross National Championship.
 
RallyCross TripleCross winners receive a special trophy for their achievement. Kudos to all four of this year's winners.

Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) announced today that it would present a championship points series it calls the Vintage Race of Champions (VROC) in 2019.  VROC builds on the success of the SVRA Charity Pro-Am races that began at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2014. Virginia International Raceway (VIR) hosted a second pro-am this past September. A new pro-am will be presented at the March 28-31 Road Atlanta weekend, making for a three-race series. Plans call for two championship trophies to be awarded – one for both an amateur and a professional racer.

All three races will benefit charity. The new Road Atlanta Charity Pro-Am will support Hope For The Warriors, a national nonprofit organization that provides assistance to combat-wounded service members, their families, and families of those killed in action. The organization focuses on those involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom and their families. The SVRA race weekend will run during their Month of the Military Child.

“Hope For The Warriors is proud to recognize the service and sacrifice of military children,” said Robin Kelleher, CEO. “Alongside SVRA and their VROC Charity Pro-Am Race, we will celebrate their warrior spirit and open our Drive for Hope program to benefit our youngest heroes during the Month of the Military Child.”

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Brickyard Invitational Charity Pro-Am will benefit the Morgan Adams Foundation. The Morgan Adams Foundation supports laboratory and clinical research in the area of pediatric cancer, with an emphasis on tumors on the brain, spine, and central nervous system. The Brickyard Invitational will be presented on a new date in 2019 – August 1 through 4.

“We are new to the SVRA family and very appreciative of their support,” said Morgan Adams Foundation Founder and Executive Director Joan Slaughter. “For us to partner with Tony Parella and everyone at SVRA is a wonderful opportunity to benefit children and young adults fighting cancer.” 

The VIR event will benefit IGNITE – the Autism Society of North Carolina’s community center for young adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome. IGNITE was founded by The Evernham Family Racing for a Reason Foundation – a nonprofit established by legendary NASCAR crew chief Ray Evernham and his family. Evernham, with professional co-driver Boris Said, won the VIR race in 2018. 

“All of us at the Evernham Family Racing for a Reason Foundation appreciate the hard work, generosity and professionalism of Tony and his team,” said Evernham. “The races are great fun for everyone involved and the fundraising has done much for the important work of IGNITE.”

“The pro-am races have not only been a great benefit to charity, but they have proven to be a hit with fans,” said SVRA CEO Tony Parella. “They get unprecedented access to their heroes from IndyCar, NASCAR, Trans Am, IMSA, and short track racing, many of which have become frequent competitors in our races beyond the pro-am events.”

SVRA officials have set a goal of expanding the VROC series to five races with a television package and entitlement sponsor by 2020. Many of the professionals who have competed are veterans of the old International Race of Champions (IROC) series. All have been champions at some point in their careers. Al Unser, Jr., Bill Elliott, Bobby Labonte, Ron Hornaday, Mike Skinner, Paul Tracy, Willy T. Ribbs, and Jimmy Vasser are among the legends who have participated in previous years. Once again, the cars they will race are 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs of SVRA “Group 6” A and B Production.  

13 might not be considered a lucky number by most but for Lux Performance Group, it is the number of success. The Aloha, Oregon-based motorsport operation captured its 13th-career road racing championship in 2018. With Cindi Lux (Aloha, Oregon) behind the wheel of the No. 45 Lux Performance Group Dodge Viper ACRX, the Northwest's premier sports car racing team captured the inaugural Trans Am Northern Cup Championship for TA3 cars. Combined with Dirk Leuenberger (Redmond, Washington) in the No. 35 Dodge Viper ACRX, Lux Performance earned six podium finishes including a victory in their nine combined starts.
 
championship-within-a-championship, was made-up of Trans Am races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), Pittsburgh International Race Complex (Pitt), the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Road America and Watkins Glen International. Cindi scored the team's sole victory, from the pole position, at Pitt on August 5. Leuenberger's best finish came with a second-place at Watkins Glen in September.
 
Engineered by team principal Fred Lux, the two-Viper program earned a total of one pole position (Pitt), two second-places, three third-place results and two track records (Pitt and Road America). That accounts for a 67 percent podium tally for both cars.
 
Lux Performance Group is currently evaluating 2019 customer programs. The effort has competed in the Trans Am since 2015. In condensed seasons each year, the program has still raced its Vipers tonine TA3 class victories, 17 podiums, five pole positions and five track records. A long-time Dodge entrant and factory team since 2012, Lux Performance Group is the leading Viper entrant in North America.
 
In 2018, Lux Performance continued its longstanding relationship with Black Rock Coffee Bar. The chain of coffee specialists currently has locations in Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Nevada and Idaho. Joining Black Rock on the No. 45 Viper were CoolShirt, Forgeline Wheels and MCS shocks.
 
Fred and Cindi Lux
Fred Lux, Team Principal/Engineer, Lux Performance Group, LLC. |
"We like to find a series that is the farthest away from home to compete. We have won so many titles now that our new challenge is to win them in the hardest way we can. And the one trophy missing from the case is the one for the team that travels the farthest. Coming from Portland Oregon, we are not the racing capital of the US. So we are always the 'away' team.
 
"In all sincerity, we are very proud to have won this inaugural Trans Am Northern Cup Championship. We had a lot of personal and professional obstacles we had to face head-on. There was no jumping over them. To earn this title, our first in Trans Am, we all had to step-up more than ever before. I am proud of this group. I am old school so that is all the polish I am putting on this apple."
The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) released the 2019 IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular schedule which will feature an exciting 16-race schedule over eight double--race weekends. 
 
The best value in bracket racing will get even better in 2019 as competitors will now earn local track championship points at each IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular event.
 
Box, No Box / Footbrake and Junior Dragsters will have the opportunity to compete for the prestigious IHRA Ironman at each event as well as the coveted oversized championship checks. Class runners-up will receive the limited-edition Summit Sportsman Spectacular silver medals in addition to their winnings. 
 
The weekend program includes a test & tune, racer appreciation cookout and a Scrubblade golf cart race. The double-race weekend also features first, second and third-round prizes.
 
The IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular will kick off the 2019 season Feb. 1-3 at State Capitol Raceway, Baton Rouge, La.  
 
For more information on the 2019 IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular visit ihra.com
 
2019 IHRA Summit Sportsman Spectacular Provisional Schedule
 
February 1-3, State Capitol Raceway, Baton Rouge, La.
 
March 22-24, Farmington Dragway, Farmington, N.C.
 
May 17-19, Dragway 42, West Salem, Ohio
 
May 24-26, Darlington Dragway, Hartsville, S.C.
 
June 7-9, Keystone Raceway Park, New Alexandria, Pa. 
 
July 12-14, US 131 Motorsports Park, Martin, Mich.
 
TBD
 
August 23-25, Maryland International Raceway, Mechanicsville, Md. 
His story is humbling. Ken Finch debuted in Porsche Club of America (PCA) and PCA Club Racing, after his employer offered him a reward for his hard work - an opportunity to complete the Porsche Driving Experience at Barber Motorsports Park. 
 
It was 2006 and Finch had just purchased his first Porsche, a 997. Like many, it only took one go-of-it.
 
"I went through the program and I got hooked," Finch said. "I went back through it five times, completing all the levels and I've been racing in [Porsche Club of America] PCA Club Racing for seven years now." 
 
Finch's desire to compete semi-professionally intensified after completing the program.
 
"I'm 60 and I started this hobby late in my life," Finch said. "I knew that I didn't have a lot of ability to move-up, so I started in a Cup car and most folks don't start there." 
 
In that time, Finch moved to the Fort Worth area and learned about Motorsport Ranch.
 
"After I moved, I learned about Motorsport Ranch," Finch added. "It's about 30 miles south of Fort Worth and it's a country club for race cars." 
 
Finch met Todd Opperman with TOPP Racing Performance through Motorsport Ranch. 
 
"I was talking with Todd Opperman with TOPP Racing Performance and he led me onto this 2004 Porsche GT3-Cup car. It was actually the car that David Murry drove in the 2005 Rolex-24. Anyhow, I bought that car and bought it with the goal of putting over 100 hours of track time on it in a year." 
 
Finch achieved that goal and was determined to take his racing career, even further. 
 
"I entered a few auto-crosses and time trials; but, nothing wheel-to-wheel. I surprisingly won them. The car had a racing heritage, but it was old. I drove it for another year and did okay - I got third in the PCA National Series that year." 
 
Finch sold that 997 and purchased another 997, only newer to compete at a higher level. 
 
"It had been raced before in the Porsche Challenge Series; but it wasn't stock, so I ran it in the A2 Unlimited Class. At that time, it was mostly 997-unlimited, and I won the national championship that year." 
 
From there, Finch's desire and passion for Porsche racing grew even stronger. He purchased a 997 in 2014 and was dialed in. 
 
"I purchased a newer 997 and really got into the series that year. It was head-to-head competition in the stock class, more than any other class. From New York to California we were going head-to-head every weekend and it was close to the end."
 
The competition was so close that year that Finch was willing to risk it all in the season finale. 
 
"I had an incident in my last race that year and I got a 13 and wasn't able to take the title. If you look at the points, it will show that I won."
 
After that season, Finch moved on to a 991-Cup car and won the championship that year. 
 
"I won that season, largely because there weren't that many cars in my class. After the season, I sold that car and got another 991, which I race today."  
 
Ken Finch poses with his first place trophy at Monticello Motor Club. (C/O Victor Newman)
With his purchase, Finch advanced into PCA's Trophy East Series.  You may notice that Finch doesn't compete on Saturdays. That's largely due to his career and his personal beliefs. 
 
"I work for Advent Health - which is a part of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. I am a hospital and healthcare executive and I oversee all five of the Advent hospitals in Texas," Finch said. "Actually, Advent Health is one of four primary sponsors at Daytona International Speedway - except we are under the name 'Florida Hospitals' here." 
 
Finch attends church on Saturdays, a decision that limits his ability to start Sunday's enduro-race in a competitive position. 
 
"It was about three or four years ago that I stopped racing on the Sabbath. With qualifying on Saturdays, I am forced to start at the rear of the field on Sunday races." 
 
Finch doesn't see his time away from competition as a negative, it's a positive. Noting that he gets to 'rest and re-energize.' 
 
"Before I started racing in the Trophy East Series, I was racing against 50 or 60 cars and that made it tough to advance. It made me a better driver though. I learned how to respect people and their race, watching how they compete I was able to learn from them. Racing in Trophy East helps that its more competitive and I have a chance to climb through the field." 
 
Finch doesn't let his starting position define his weekend. 
 
"This has been a great escape from the corporate world. In racing you have to be focused, you can't think about anything other than what you're doing [in the moment.] Plus, the comradery is great, everyone that's a part of this are all great people." 
 
He attributes his staggering success from his driver-coach, Erik Foss. 
 
"Erik travels with me to every race and we spend a lot of time together - analyzing data and video. It is very intense, and we make sure that I know what I am doing and that I am achieving my best times in the safest way."
 
 
Finch finished the 2018 PCA Trophy East Series, second in the TE6/M class. He will return in 2019 with the focus of earning the 2019 title. 
 Gary Jensen is competitive and his eccentric foray into 
Porsche racing has touted the same resiliency that Porsche manufactures - excellence. 
 
"I started racing motocross when I was a kid. I didn't think about car racing until my son got into go-karting in 2002," Jensen said. "I started racing in the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) in the open-wheel Formula Mazda Series."
 
By 2006, Jensen was ready for the next challenge. He was a longtime Porsche enthusiast and wanted to start racing Porsches - only one catch, he needed one to race. 
 
"I ended up buying a 996 GT3 Cup and started racing that in SCCA. I was on vacation and a friend of mine, Brian Knot [owner of Black Forest Motorsports], called me and told me about a 997 Cup that was for sale. So, I asked Ron Zitza to go preview the car and he called me and told me that it was the most complete package he had seen for sale."
 
"It basically came with everything you needed for a complete race team: radios, eight sets of wheels, fuel-rig, tools, spares - everything you needed to enter the Rolex-24 race." He later added, "It was all inventoried and cataloged. I got the car in October of 2007 and on a whim, we decided to enter it into the 2008 Rolex-24."
 
Curious about his timeline? Jensen had less than three months to assemble the remaining pieces needed to compete:  drivers, crew personnel, sponsorships etc. 
 
"It ended up being myself, my son Mark, Jordan Taylor and Ron Zitza driving the '24.' We actually finished the '24' 15th out of 48 GT cars - the largest Rolex-24 field in its history, 68." 
 
Jensen contested that the team could have finished better, had it not been for a right-rear shock failure. 
 
"We could've finished in the top-10, had we not experienced shock failure. We blew three shocks and didn't correct the problem until after the third one had blown during Jordan's stint. We later found out that a mechanic had left a bushing off of the entire right-rear set." 
 
"Long story short, I was able to get sponsorship to race in the Rolex-24. I actually was able to raise about $200,000 in the few months leading up to the race. During that time, I was able to trade my 996 Porsche for art."
 
In addition to getting the art, the Rolex-24 997-Cup car featured photos from the artist's collection.
 
Gary Jensen alongside Mark Jensen, Jordan Taylor and crew members pose next to their car. 
"The livery featured: Raquel Welch, Brigitte Bardot, Steve McQueen, Frank Sinatra and Clint Eastwood. It was the coolest car I'd ever seen. Oh, and he also wrapped the 996 in a Jimi Hendrix livery." 
 
After the Rolex-24, Jensen would compete in his 997 for a few more times, before selling the car. 
 
"At that time I started racing Miatas with my son for the next few years.  My son and I also raced the 2011 Rolex-24 in the Racers Edge No. 30 RX7 along with Jade Buford, Scott Reitect and Mike Marcel.
 
"In early 2011, that same car [the 996] that I traded for the art came available, so I bought it back." 
 
Jensen's 996 that he sold and then repurchased from the trade he made when sourcing funding for his Rolex-24 bid. 
Jensen then met up with Jim Jonsin at an SCCA and then at a PCA event. I helped him with the formation of his 'Rebel Rock Team.' 
 
Jensen along with his son and Joel Miller teamed with Jonsin at Daytona in the Continental Series after purchasing a few older Porsches, together. 
 
"It didn't quite work out the way I had pictured it too. I decided to stop racing and I sold everything that I had, racing related. That was 2012. The only way to get out of racing, is to sell everything and that's what I did, I was done." 
 
Jensen didn't compete for nearly three years. But that changed in 2016 and 2017 when he began to compete again. Jensen started racing in PCA's Club Racing. 
 
"I liked PCA; but after a while, I wanted to join the Trophy East Series; because, I liked the competition with all the same spec. cars. I like that the cars were are similar - makes for stronger competition." 
 
Jensen competed in the Trophy East Series this year. As a 'seasoned-rookie' driver, Jensen piloted his No. 11 Pierce Racing Development to a first-overall finish in the TE6/M class. He finishes his racing career with PCA and PCA's Trophy East on a high-note.
 
"I am retiring this year, this was my last season." "I enjoyed it all; but my family is growing. My kids are grown, and I've got grandkids now. This is the last chapter of this and I am okay with that." 

 Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, continues to enhance its rider experience with the announcement of an all-new Ride Command® mobile phone app and software update. Ride Command is the largest, fastest, most customizable system on two wheels, featuring an industry-leading, glove-compatible, seven-inch touchscreen. Its latest software updates allow riders to easily plan ride routes via a desktop platform, while an all-new Ride Command mobile app wirelessly transfers the directions to the bike’s navigation system and provides remote accessibility to key vehicle information.

 

Owners can update their Ride Command by visiting a local dealership or by quickly downloading the software to a USB drive at RideCommand.IndianMotorcycle.com. The website also serves as the platform for riders to plan ride routes with up to 100 waypoints. The point-by-point directions can then be wirelessly transferred to the bike using the Ride Command mobile app and a Bluetooth® connection to the infotainment system. The pairing of these new technologies allows riders to view vehicle data, including fuel level, oil life, tire pressure & battery charge remotely on their mobile device. Riders can also track rides, view service recommendations and log maintenance within the mobile app. The Ride Command mobile app can be downloaded for free in the Apple Store and Google Play.

 

“We continually focus on enhancing the rider experience,” said Reid Wilson, Senior Director for Indian Motorcycle. “Our industry-leading Ride Command infotainment system is an easy-to-use platform that enables us to continually expand features with exciting new software updates. Pre-ride route planning and remote vehicle data accessibility are features our riders have asked for, and we’re excited to deliver these technologies.” 

 

Riders can set push notifications within the Ride Command mobile app and receive alerts for important service reminders. The app also tracks rides and allows riders to conveniently share completed or planned rides with friends on Facebook. 

 

Riders can further update their Ride Command by downloading the free 2018 map updates at the Ride Command website or via a local dealer. New Chieftain and Roadmaster owners receive three years of complementary map updates.

                             

The new Ride Command updates further expand Indian Motorcycle’s ride-enhancing technologies announced earlier this year, as the 2019 Chieftain lineup and the 2019 Roadmaster are equipped with three selectable ride modes and rear cylinder deactivation for improved rider comfort when traveling at slower speeds. Pricing for the 2019 models begin at $21,999 for the Chieftain, $24,999 for the Chieftain Classic, and $25,999 for the Chieftain Dark Horse and Chieftain Limited. Roadmaster pricing starts at $28,999. 

 

To learn more, visit RideCommand.IndianMotorcycle.com for a full list of features, download instructions and instructional videos. Follow Indian Motorcycle on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.