Adam Sinclair

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway almost 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

Contact Adam: Email  

  

 
Progressive American Flat Track and Sideburn Magazine are proud to announce that the publication will again be the Official Magazine of Progressive American Flat Track in 2021.
 
The UK-based publication has continued to grow and evolve since first launching back in 2008 with a fanzine approach. While its ambition has continually expanded and its release frequency increased, it has maintained the original grass-roots attitude, depth of knowledge, and arresting style that instantly separated Sideburn from mainstream motorcycle media.
 
“Sideburn magazine offers a unique take on the rich culture of flat track," said Michael Lock, CEO of Progressive AFT. "From vintage features and bike builds to covering the Progressive American Flat Track series, Sideburn’s love of the sport is enjoyed all around the world and we are happy to help spread the word across the USA.”
 
Sideburn will continue to deliver the goods in the form of stunning photography and comprehensive coverage of Progressive AFT in ‘21 in both its print and social media channels. And for fans at the track, the latest issue will be available for purchase at the Official Progressive AFT Merchandise tent at all the stops this upcoming season.
 
"In a year when nothing seemed to go right, it was a huge relief to be able to watch American Flat Track racers continue to go fast and turn left, weekend after weekend," said Gary Inman, Editor of Sideburn. "Sideburn is proud to continue our association with the series and can't wait to report on how the 2021 season unfolds."
 
For more information on Sideburn Magazine visit www.sideburnmagazine.com.  
 
The 2021 Progressive AFT season kicks off with a Volusia Half-Mile doubleheader event at Volusia Speedway Park on Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13, 2021. Tickets for this season-opening extravaganza are on sale now at https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3321/#raceSchedule.
 
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.
 
To score the latest gear for the Progressive American Flat Track fan, visit our official merchandise store at https://store.americanflattrack.com.
By Holly Cain
IMSA Wire Service
 
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kevin Magnussen is still smiling weeks after his first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship endurance race, the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver acknowledged this week that the 24-hour event was a high-speed eye opener, but he proved competitive in his series debut. The team contended for the win and finished fifth overall.
 
And he carries a lot of optimism into the next race, the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on March 20. It’s safe to say, the former Formula One driver is definitely digging the sports car scene.
 
Magnussen, 28, is currently with his young family – daughter Laura was born Jan. 11 – in his native Denmark but ready to return to the States for his next sports car challenge next month having learned a lot about the team’s No. 01 Cadillac DPi-V.R, the style of IMSA racing and the competitors he’s racing against. It’s invaluable information for Sebring, where the venerable track offers its own set of challenges.
 
“I learned just a huge amount all around,’’ Magnussen said. “Daytona was my first 24-hour race, my first endurance race and it’s one of the biggest endurance races in the world so a big jump straight into.
 
“It went well, and it makes it a lot of easier the fact I went into that first race with Chip Ganassi Racing and all the expertise and experience they have.’’
 
The Ganassi team won the Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2014 with drivers Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Marino Franchitti, who drove the final stint to earn an exciting 4.682-second win in what was then the closest margin of victory in the race’s long history.  
 
Next month’s race week will mark only the second time Magnussen has been to the track in rural Central Florida; the first coming this winter, a one-day test in preparation for the Rolex 24. Then, Magnussen ran the modified Sebring test circuit which does not use the first turn, nor the long backstretch and frontstretch.
 
He is quite familiar with the whole track, however, having watched his father, sports car great Jan Magnussen, win the Twelve Hours of Sebring four times in class driving a Corvette.
 
“It’s pretty old school,’’ the younger Magnussen said. “I’ve watched my dad on television for so many years on that track, so even though I haven’t driven there, I know the track and I know it’s going to be a challenge when in traffic. And the last few hours of the race when it’s dark, it’s going to be fun.
 
“I’m looking forward to it.’’
 
Mike Hull, CGR’s managing director, has nothing but optimism about Magnussen’s future with the team and in sports car racing in general. A flat tire in the final hour of the Rolex 24, when co-driver Renger van der Zande was at the wheel, was the difference in fighting for a new Rolex watch and instead bringing the car smartly and safely home in fifth place.
 
Even without a trophy, it was a well-received debut for Magnussen, who was notably quick on speed and adept in dealing with the traffic.
 
“The drive style you need with the present DPi car suits a single-seat open-wheel driver more so than maybe in the past,’’ Hull said, adding, “And Kevin proved that by just stepping in the car and getting with it right away.’’
 
In an interesting complete coincidence of careers, Phil Binks is the crew chief on the No. 01 Cadillac that Magnussen shares full time with van der Zande. Phil’s father Dan Binks was at one point Jan Magnussen’s crew chief in the great Chevrolet Corvette GT program.
 
Other similarities between the Magnussen family are understandably welcomed as well. Jan has certainly set a high standard and, judging by Kevin’s WeatherTech Championship debut, the family’s sports car lineage is in good hands.
 
Kevin concedes there is generally a lighter air in the IMSA paddock than what he became accustomed to in Formula One over the last six years. Knowing so many people because of his father’s longtime involvement in IMSA has helped the transition as well.
 
“It’s a great time and you can feel the people are there having fun and enjoying themselves a lot more,’’ Magnussen says of the IMSA paddock compared to his time in F1.
 
“People are smiling and you can sense a different kind of atmosphere. Just a much happier place. Formula One is very, very competitive and IMSA is super competitive as well, it’s just different.’’
 
No matter the vibe in the paddock, Magnussen’s focus has not changed. He wants to win. His best F1 showing was a podium in the 2014 Australian Grand Prix. He’d like nothing more than to celebrate with a WeatherTech Championship win.
 
He expects many of the same challenges at Sebring that he encountered at Daytona – primarily navigating slower traffic. In Formula One, the entire race lasted about two hours. Magnussen did that in a single stint in his IMSA debut.
 
“In the races I’m used to, which are two hours max, you never have to think 20 hours ahead,’’ Magnussen said. “Sometimes in Daytona in the race, I think I felt more stressed than I needed to be. You just need to be consistent.
 
“Of course, you need to be fast, but you don’t need to be stressed about a lot of things in the first hours of the race.
 
“And,’’ he added, “The way you think of the race as a whole in your mind, that’s probably something I need to adapt to a little bit. It’s no harm if I’m stressing, that just means I’m going fast and hurrying up.’’
 
Magnussen fully concedes he has one of the biggest advantages in the field: driving a car for championship team owner Chip Ganassi.
 
“It’s great to be racing on a team owned by a racing driver,’’ Magnussen said. “Chip is a race driver and he understands. He has a different understanding than most team owners and I think that’s the real strength of the team.
 
“The team exists to go racing and win races. That’s the core business. They are in the business of winning races and that’s pretty cool – and that’s something I can relate to.’’
 
The 69th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts is the climactic conclusion for Sebring SportsCar Week. It begins with six races on Sunday, March 13, including the second race of the IMSA Prototype Challenge season. Other IMSA series in action from March 17-20 include the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Porsche Carrera Cup North America and Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich Tires. Tickets are available at SebringRaceway.com.
 
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. ET Saturday, March 20. Complete live coverage is available on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, with the final hours also airing on NBCSN beginning at 7 p.m. IMSA Radio’s flag-to-flag coverage is available on IMSA.com and SiriusXM Radio.
Professional off-road racer and Red Bull athlete Mia Chapman returns to action in Arizona this weekend, kicking off her second season in the desert with a trip to the 2021 Parker 250. She’ll take the new-look #1937 Polaris RZR to the line second in the UTV Production class, looking to stay out front of a stacked field with well over 30 cars on the entry list.
 
“I can’t wait to get back to racing this weekend in Parker,” said Chapman. “Last year, it’s where we made my switch to desert racing official, and we came out of it with a good finish and plenty of confidence. I’ve learned so much over the past year, and now it’s time to put it all back into action.”
 
Just over a year ago, Parker was also the site of Chapman’s first event as a desert racer, as she made the switch from short course racing into the more endurance-oriented form of off-road racing. On a grueling course that knocked out dozens of top UTV competitors, Chapman didn’t just keep all four tires on the trails, she scored a lead lap, 20th place finish in the process—an impressive result for a first-timer at one of the toughest races on the Best in the Desert schedule.
 
“Making my debut in Parker was an incredible experience,” said Chapman. “We learned a lot, and even though I lost all-wheel drive on the final lap, it was a good example of what it takes to finish these races in spite of the challenges that come up. You have to be patient with a race like this, and I know that there’s a good finish in store for us if we can do that again this year!”
 
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 FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Thomas Nepveu's busy season continued this weekend with the second round of the ROK Cup USA Florida Winter Tour (ROK - in the Senior ROK class) championship series presented at the Ocala Gran Prix track. After improving his times throughout the weekend, Thomas Nepveu started in tenth position for the 20-lap Final race on Sunday. Moving up to fifth place on the first lap and fourth on the second lap, the kart performed well in the first half of the race. An unfortunate drop in efficiency occurred late in the race and dropped the young driver from Oka to a well-managed sixth-place finish.

 

Weekend Summary According to Thomas Nepveu (extracts)

 

Thomas Nepveu continued to display his highly effective racing skills throughout the weekend, now back in the Senior ROK class to replace another driver from the PSL Karting team unable to attend. This return to a traditional kart with a 2-stroke engine and fixed final drive brings him back to a class of machines he knows intimately.

 

Friday (February 19)"It rained all day, harder during the afternoon qualifying session for tomorrow's Pre-Final. The kart was working better and better during the morning practice laps on a mixed wet and dry track. I was pushing hard in qualifying and ended up second quickest, a half-second behind the pole sitter. That put me second place on the grid for Heat 1. Everything was going well in that 12-lap race and I was third at the beginning of the last lap. I tried to move up to 2nd but a slight mistake left me in 6th in the end. The kart is getting better and better, but it will be dry tomorrow, and I'm starting 2nd for Heat 2. Everything is good!" concluded a driver who wants more out of the rest of the weekend.

 

Aggressiveness is essential to successful racing drivers. Legendary team owner Roger Penske once said of a young Paul Tracy, who broke so much equipment at the beginning of his career, that he preferred "A driver I have to calm down rather than one I have to light up!" In today's qualifying session, Thomas Nepveu went from first to sixth, to third and then back to first. He responded to the best efforts of the others without ever giving up. 

 

Saturday (February 20)"The warm-up got the day off to a good start and I was able to take the lead in Heat 2 and keep that advantage until the end of the race. For the second qualifying race of the day (Heat 3), I started well and led the race until a hit at the rear forced me onto the dirty part of the track and I ended up in 4th place at the finish. In the qualifying session, the kart was working well enough to allow me to set the 3rd fastest time and helped me secure a better spot on the grid for this afternoon's Pre-Final race. I started 3rd for the Pre-Final and managed to finish 6th on the track, despite a slight lack of speed. We will work on the kart tonight to do better tomorrow,” added the driver ready to go all-out on Sunday.

After three days of varying effectiveness from the kart, Thomas Nepveu demonstrated the extent of his talent during Sunday's race: his pure speed, his ability to anticipate the events around him, along with his smart management of his pace and of his tires in order to protect his position and maximize his final result. His consistently full-tilt attitude in the face of the kart's small but frustrating lack of speed, which significantly reduces his chances of winning, is a testament to his tenacity and to his total commitment to achieving his career goals.

 

Karting Championships

Participating in three championships over the summer adds up to 23 professional events over the season (13 in karts and 10 in USF2000 cars). Each weekend is composed of multiple practice/qualifying sessions, Pre-final and Final races depending on each series’ rules. The considerable amount of racing time, plus the hours spent on simulators, will certainly accelerate Thomas Nepveu’s learning process given the high level of competition in every series.

 

Driving Instructor

Thomas Nepveu's personality and technical knowledge also make him an ideal driving instructor, capable of transmitting his knowledge while making the student and the family comfortable during these important and often emotionally charged moments. Thomas Nepveu began working with novices in the spring of 2019, when he was only 14 years old, and continues to do so for the BCR (Ben Cooper Racing) race team. Last winter, with he even helped some PSL Karting drivers at a track in addition to taking care of his own machine (track walks, debrief meetings after each track session).

 

 

2021 Thomas Nepveu Karting Schedule

Date

Track

Location

Series

Event

Final 1

Final 2

Jan. 8 to 10

AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex

Homestead, FL

SKUSA

Winter Series Rounds 1&2

14

24

Jan. 16 to 17

Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park

Pompano Beach, FL

ROK

Florida Winter Tour

28

-

Feb. 9 to 14

AMR Homestead-Miami Motorplex

Homestead, FL

SKUSA

Winter Series Rounds 3&4

15

7

Feb. 18 to 21

Ocala Gran Prix

Ocala, Fl.

ROK

Florida Winter Tour

6

-

Mar. 17 to 21

Ocala Gran Prix

Ocala, FL

ROK

Florida Winter Tour

 

 

Mar. 24 to 28

Nola Motorsport Park

New Orleans, LA

SKUSA

Winter Nationals

 

 

Apr. 29 to May i

New Castle Motorsports Park

New Castle, IN

USPKS

The Hoosier State Grand Prix

 

 

May 22 to 23

Utah Motorsports Campus

Utah

SKUSA

Spring Nationals

 

 

Aug. 11 to 15

New Castle Motorsports Park

New Castle, IN

SKUSA

Summer Nationals

 

 

Oct. 16 to 17

GoPro Motorplex

Mooresville, NC

USPKS

The Carolina Grand Prix

 

 

Nov. 6 to 7

Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NE

ROK

ROK the Rio

 

 

Nov. 20 to 21

Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NE

SKUSA

Super Nationals

 

 

 

 

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship

Thomas Nepveu's plans for the 2021 season call for him to participate for the first time in the eight (8) weekends of the USF2000 series (for a total of 18 races), the first of the four steps on the Road to Indy Program on the way to a career in IndyCar, the fastest and most prestigious single-seater series in North America.

The USF2000 professional-level series uses technically advanced cars that are all identical, and feature a reinforced carbon fibre central tub, adjustable front and rear spoilers, a sealed 175 hp engine and a six-speed gearbox with paddle shifters on the steering wheel, driver-adjustable front-rear braking distribution, and adjustable suspensions. The complexity of the car's settings and the analysis of driving and track performance data allow young drivers to learn how to refine their driving skills and gain a deeper understanding of the technical aspects of such sophisticated machines.

 

One year after suffering a last-lap heartbreak, Thomas Merrill raced to redemption with a last-lap pass to win Sunday’s 2021 Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli TA2® season-opening race at Sebring International Raceway. The win capped a last-to-first charge by Merrill as he took the lead on the final lap in the final corner. 2019 TA2® champion Rafa Matos finished second, with 2020 TA2® champion Mike Skeen taking third.  Merrill led only the final few moments to win in the No. 81 HP Tuners/Mike Cope Race Cars Ford Mustang. 
 
Starting on the pole, Merrill went spinning off course in Turn 3 as a fierce fight for the lead saw several cars going side by side in the opening moments of the race. The off course trip saw Merrill fall to 23rd in the 25-car field. He recovered and methodically worked his way up to second, but was running out of laps when a red flag set up a green-white-checker finish. 
 
The calculated last-lap push to the win earned Merrill the Chill Out Moment of the Race as well as a lot of satisfaction after having spun out of the lead in Turn 3 in the 2020 Sebring race. 
 
"It was a lot of fun going side by side with some of the best racers in the country," said Merrill of his late race battles with Matos and Skeen. "That's what you need in a series. If you're going to race that fast and that close with that little grip, you need someone you can trust and someone professional beside you. It was just a lot of fun today. I was pretty fired up after my early spin but this car is so easy to drive it made me look good all the way up through the field. Halfway through I stopped being angry and just started enjoying Trans Am racing!"
 
Matos dominated the race in his return to the No. 88 3-Dimensional Services Ford Mustang. He took the lead on the third lap and led up until the final lap, finishing 0.612-seconds behind. However, he lost power steering with 10 laps remaining, and was at a disadvantage on the last restart.
 
“It wasn’t our day,” Matos said. “I’m completely tired and my arms are very sore. Now, we’ll have to wait until Road Atlanta. We came here this weekend thinking about the points, we have to finish every race in order to win the championship, so it was a points weekend for us. I thought I had it covered. I had a great run, but had an unfortunate problem with the power steering which took away our chance for victory today. Congrats to Thomas. I am sure that I will be on the podium with these two guys (Thomas Merrill and Mike Skeen) throughout the season."
 
Skeen began his TA2® title defense by completing the podium in his new No. 1 Liqui-Moly/Turn 14 Distribution Chevrolet Camaro, running in the top three for the entire event. He was only 0.692-seconds behind at the checkered flag.
 
"It's been a tough weekend here with our new car," said Skeen. "The Liqui-Moly Stevens Miller Racing guys were doing a lot of work to get us up to speed. We missed it a little bit in qualifying and started a little bit back, but we are happy to be here on the podium. These two guys had cars we just couldn't touch. I tried to give them a run for their money on the restart and make it a little bit interesting. Congratulations to Thomas (Merrill) for such a great comeback, especially after last year."
 
Mike Self took fourth in the No. 7 Sinclair Oil Corporation Camaro, followed by Franklin Futrelle in the No. 58 Innoviv/BH/IGOR/SecurTech Mustang and Masters winner Doug Peterson in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Mustang.
 
The late drama came about after Connor Mosack had an off-course excursion in Bishop’s Bend on board the No. 28 Nic Taylor/FS M1-SLR Camaro on the 24th of 27 laps, setting up the green-white-checker finish. 
 
Misha Goikhberg got off to a great start in the No. 10 BC Race Cars Chevrolet Camaro, going from third-place starting position to take the lead as the top four drivers jostled for position. Goikhberg led two laps before Matos took the lead and began to pull away.
 
A full-course caution waved on the third lap when Jim Gallaugher spun in Turn 7 and could not continue in the No. 16 Madison Development Group/MCR Ford Mustang. During the caution, Scott Lagasse Jr. pitted from fourth place and parked the No. 92 SLR Chevrolet Camaro with mechanical issues. The owner/driver hopped atop his pit box and began coaching teammate Mosack, who was running seventh in the No. 28 Nic Taylor/FS M1-SLR Camaro and worked his way up to third before his incident at Bishop’s Bend.
 
Goikhberg’s strong day ended when he parked the No. 10 Camaro with mechanical issues after nine laps as four laps later, Edward Savadjian’s day ended when he pulled off in the No. 8 Big Machine Vodka Camaro. He had been running fifth, challenging Merrill for fourth.
 
Other drivers to suffer late-race misfortune included Tyler Kicera, who lost fuel pressure while running sixth in the No. 5 Silver Hare Racing Mustang on lap 17, and TA2® debutante Adrian Wlostowski, who cut a tire in the No. 3 Hawk Performance F.A.S.T. Auto Camaro while battling for a top-10 finish after 20 laps.
 
Next up for the TA2® competitors will be the Atlanta Speed Tour, March 26-28 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
 
The race will be exclusively live streamed on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App. (Click to Download and Subscribe)

Chris Dyson passed Ernie Francis Jr. in Turn 1 on the final lap to complete a last-to-first victory in Sunday’s Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli 2021 season opener at Sebring International Raceway.
 
Electing to change Pirelli tires before the start, Dyson gave up his second-row grid position and started at the back of the 22-car grid. Undeterred, he charged through the field in the No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang for his seventh-career TA victory in the caution-free event.
 
"Coming down and fighting with Ernie (Francis Jr.) is why we come here to race, he and I both come here and use each other as a benchmark.," Dyson said. "The good Lord was looking down on us today, I am so blessed to be here. I've been down here for a week trying to prepare. I miss my family and I’m just happy to bring a win home.
 
"We didn't have much of a choice after yesterday's qualifying other than to change the tires and start from the back," explained Dyson. “I was hoping for a yellow, but it never came, so I just had to drive my head off.”
 
Francis Jr. led nearly all the way in the No. 98 Future Star/Breathless Racing Ford Mustang to begin his quest for an eighth-consecutive Trans Am title. Francis Jr. held off relentless pressure from both Tomy Drissi and later Dyson before finishing second, 0.659-seconds back.
 
"It was a really hard-fought battle with Chris Dyson out there," said Francis Jr. "It's always disappointing coming in second after leading most of the race. I have to thank my Breathless Racing team. They gave me a great car all weekend and we barely had to do anything to the car between sessions, it was there and it was on point all weekend. A little mistake by me in the race allowed Chris to get by, and I just burned up the equipment during the race. I will have to work on that for the next one."
 
Adam Andretti finished third in the No. 43 ECC/Anchor Bolt & Screw Dodge Challenger, in the thick of the battle throughout the race before falling back with ignition box problems.
 
"We had a good starting spot, got right up behind Ernie (Francis Jr.) at the beginning, but made a few mistakes early on," said Andretti. "Through it all we ended up with an ignition box failure the entire race. The dashboard was going crazy the whole time with the lights, so we were really just nursing it home at that point.
 
"I had a great time coming out here and being with my Trans Am family," Andretti said on the podium. "Racing with these competitors, there's nothing like it. They are true professionals, true champions, it's really a blessing. We are always out there racing for my dad and my brother. I love those guys and really miss them.”
 
Francis pulled away at the start, but Drissi began trimming the lead in the No. 8 Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro. Drissi managed to briefly pull ahead at the start/finish line with 10 laps remaining, but Francis retook the lead in Turn 1. Two laps later, Drissi spun in Turn 5 – costing him two positions and 30 seconds.
 
“Sorry guys,” Drissi said on his radio. “Big picture. Big picture.”
 
Dyson had taken third from Andretti moments before the Drissi spin and was 4.275-seconds behind Francis Jr. He nosed ahead with three laps remaining but spun, putting Francis Jr. back out front. Dyson didn’t lose much ground and continued the charge, regaining the lead on the final lap.
 
Justin Marks took fifth in the No. 99 Ave Motorsports, followed by Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Co./Cornertech/CNC Solutions Corvette.
 
In SGT, Justin Oakes took his second victory in three races driving the No. 11 Droneworks Corvette.
 
"I had a blast out there," said Oakes. "The whole team came together to give me a beast of a car. We made a lot of changes to it going into this race. We didn't get any testing done because of the conditions in Texas (COTA), but we showed up and everything worked great. I want to thank my competitors. I came to this series basically to race with guys like Lee (Saunders) and Mike (Phillips) and everyone else, and had so much fun doing it."
 
Defending series champion Lee Saunders led the opening four laps in the No. 84 Landsearch LLC Dodge Viper. Oakes needed five laps to take the lead, going on to win by 20 seconds.
 
"It was awesome running with Justin (Oakes) today," Saunders said. "We had some really close battles and he raced me super clean, so I really have to thank him for that. It's going to be a really fun season." 
 
Phillips took third in his Trans Am debut, driving the No. 97 F.A.S.T. Auto Racing Corvette. Aaron Pierce was in position for a podium finish before losing oil pressure with nine laps remaining.
 
Fourth-place finisher Lou Gigliotti was the Masters winner in SGT. He blew the head gasket in his No. 28 LG Motorsports Corvette during qualifying. His participation was doubtful when his team could not find a spare part. Fortunately, a late-night search ended at a local junkyard where a Corvette was found and the needed part was procured.
 
Philip Di Pippo topped the podium for the GT class in the No. 94 Sasco Sports Ford Mustang.
 
Round 2 for the Trans Am competitors will be the Atlanta Speed Tour, March 26-28 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. The race will be exclusively live streamed on the Trans Am by Pirelli Racing App. (Click to Download and Subscribe)

 Irish race car driver James Roe has signed with Turn 3 Motorsport for the 2021 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires, securing the first seat in the program for the upcoming season. Roe, the winner of the 2019 Motorsport Ireland Young Driver of the Year Award, will join the Road to Indy ladder after making his mark in the Formula Regional Americas series over the past two years achieving a win, several top five finishes, and two team championships.
 
In 2018, Roe won the F2000 Vice Championship and Rookie of the Year honors after a season of fantastic results including three wins and seven podiums at six different tracks. He also competed with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship series at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway finishing fifth in Race 2 of the Indianapolis Grand Prix, the highest finishing rookie of the race. Before coming to the U.S.A., Roe enjoyed an excellent single seater career as a consistent frontrunner achieving lap records, wins, and podium finishes in the Ginetta Junior and Formula Ford 1600 series in Europe.
 
“I am extremely excited to be joining Turn 3 Motorsport for the 2021 Indy Pro 2000 season,” said Roe. “To be making my move into the Road to Indy and supporting the NTT INDYCAR SERIES with an Irish-owned team here in the U.S.A. is really special. After testing with the team over the winter and spending quite a lot of time at their shop in Chicago, it became very clear to me that the right personnel, knowledge, and level of experience is in place within the team to give myself and my partners the best opportunity to succeed.”
 
“Joining the team was a very easy decision for me to make,” continued Roe. “There is no doubt that this year is going to be extremely competitive as the level of competition is always very high on the Road to Indy. Competing on ovals and street courses will be a new experience for me as well, and I’m excited for that challenge. I have every bit of confidence in our package and believe we as a team have what it takes to be at the right end of the grid.”
 
Partnering with Roe for the 2021 season is returning sponsor Topcon Positioning Group, an industry leading designer, manufacturer and distributor of precision measurement and workflow solutions for the global construction, geospatial, and agriculture markets. Topcon paving technologies were recently used to resurface the world renowned Silverstone Circuit in the United Kingdom, the Singapore Grand Prix track, and Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Las Vegas.
 
“It is an honor to be making the next step in my career with Topcon on board once again,” continued Roe. “To be moving onto the INDYCAR scene with Topcon is something we are all very proud of, and I am sure we will see the benefits of Topcon technology within the team throughout the year.”

James Roe's #3 Topcon / Turn 3 Motorsport Indy Pro 2000 Race Car

Rendering of James Roe's #3 Topcon Indy Pro 2000 Car

With Roe heading Turn 3 Motorsport’s Indy Pro 2000 program and Josh Green and Dylan Christie representing its USF2000 program, the sophomore team – which finished third overall in the championship with Singaporean driver Danial Frost last year – is setting itself up with a talented pack of championship contenders in 2021.
 
“It is great to have James join our Indy Pro 2000 team for the 2021 season,” said Team Owner Peter Dempsey. “James gave us the opportunity to conduct a two-day test at Sebring International Raceway back in December, and it went very well. He adjusted to the car quickly after driving the FR Americas car for the past two years. His experience racing in the USA over the past three years will really pay off going into Indy Pro 2000 and allow him to showcase his true talent with Turn 3 Motorsport in the 2021 season.”
 
“It is also very cool to have James be the first Irish driver to join our team,” continued Dempsey. “As an Irishman myself, I’m hopeful that over the next few years we will be in a position to have more young Irish talent join Turn 3 Motorsport as well. As a team, we learned a lot during our 2020 season and have made improvements in many areas, so we are all excited and ready to kick off the 2021 season in April.”
 
The 2021 Road to Indy season is now set to open at Barber Motorsports Park April 15-18 followed by the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg April 23-25.
 
Remaining partnerships for Roe’s 2021 season will be announced in the coming weeks.

To stay up to date on the latest news, follow us on social media at @turn3motorsport.

Two dramatic virtual races on the ultra-fast, high-banked Iowa Speedway oval provided a very different storyline for the TireRack.com Road to Indy iRacing eSeries Presented by Cooper Tires as NTT INDYCAR SERIES veteran James Davison, from Melbourne, Australia, and USF2000 aspirant Bryson Morris, from Mount Juliet, Tenn., each claimed a hard-earned victory.
 
Teenagers Max Kaeser and Keawn Tandon finished second and third in the opening 20-minute race following a thrilling race-long battle, while Los Angeles-based Russian Nikita Lastochkin and Michael Myers, from Lizton, Ind., completed the podium in the second encounter.
 
Veteran virtual racer Andre Castro, from New York, N.Y. seemed set to be the man to beat after posting the fastest lap in qualifying to secure his first SimMetric Driver Performance Labs Pole Award of the season.
 
The evening did not start well for the unfortunate Danial Frost, from Singapore, whose fine effort in qualifying, which saw him line up on the outside of the front row of the 29-car grid, came to naught when he was involved in a huge crash on the opening lap. Fellow top-10 qualifiers Josh Green, from Mount Kisco, N.Y., Morris, Yuven Sundaramoorthy, from Oconomowoc, Wis., and local favorite Jarret Schwarz, from Davenport, Iowa, who earned his position in the field by winning the most recent round of the World Karting Association Maxx Racing eSports Series, also were caught up in the melee which necessitated a full-course caution.
 
More incidents at the restart also took several other contenders out of contention, including Castro and Simon Sikes, from Augusta, Ga., who had been battling for the lead.
 
Davison, who started eighth, took full advantage, albeit chased by a snarling pack of four rivals comprising Kaeser, Mac Clark, the winner of last year’s Canadian F1600 Championship, WKA standout Carmine Caruso, from New Hyde Park, N.Y., who had started 19th, and Tandon.
 
The quartet remained virtually tied together for the remainder of the race, with Davison using all of his experience to cling tenaciously to the inside groove and never allowing Kaeser any opportunity to make a pass. He eventually took the checkered flag a scant 0.165 of a second ahead of Kaeser. Tandon mirrored his third-place finish from one week ago on the streets of The Raceway at Belle Isle Park in Detroit, Mich., followed by Clark and Caruso, who ran as high as third before losing a couple of positions just three laps from the finish. Caruso also gained some satisfaction – and a bonus championship point – for posting the fastest lap of the race.
 
As usual, the starting positions for the nightcap were set by the reverse order of the top-10 finishers. So Davison duly lined up in 10th, with points leader Max Esterson, from Water Mill, N.Y., starting from the pole position alongside Hayden Bradley, from St. Petersburg, Fla.
 
Esterson initially was able to maintain his advantage, but once again there was carnage in his wake which brought out the caution flags. Esterson’s luck ran out at the restart when he spun and was collected by several other contenders.
 
This time it was Hunter Yeany, from Virginia Beach, Va., who profited the most, vaulting from 13th on the grid to the lead by the completion of Lap Six. Last year’s runaway winner of the F4 United States Championship powered by Honda remained in control for most of the 20-minute race, chased by Castro and Nate Aranda, from Albuquerque, N.M., who had lined up 15th and 16th, respectively.
 
Aranda spun out of the picture after 13 laps, leaving Yeany, Castro, Morris and Lastochkin to fight it out for the win. And fight they most certainly did. Castro and Yeany traded places several times with around 15 laps remaining, only to eventually tangle together on Lap 42. Both were out.
 
Morris, who had been a model of consistency over the course of the opening five races of the eSeries season – and one of only two drivers (alongside Clark) to finish in the top 10 on every occasion – took over in the lead and narrowly held off a valiant effort from Lastochkin to claim an excellent victory.
 
Myers, who started 24th, one position behind Dylan Christie, from Princeton, N.J., reversed that order in the opening stages and maintained his position to the end. In addition to finishing third, Myers also claimed the Sabelt Hard Charger Award – and a pair of Sabelt Hero racing gloves.
 
The 10-race simulated series will switch back to a natural terrain road course next Wednesday evening, February 24, with a pair of 20-minute races slated for the iconic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Despite a disappointing evening on the oval, Esterson has managed to maintain his points lead over Morris, whose stellar evening allowed him to vault from sixth to second. The pair will continue their scrap for a top prize of $2,000 plus one hour of simulator time with SimMetric Driver Performance Labs at each race on this year’s Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tire season.
 
Provisional championship points after six of 10 races:
1. Max Esterson, 121
2. Bryson Morris, 101
3. Braden Eves, 98
4. Mac Clark, 87
5. Max Kaeser, 78
6. Josh Green, 78
7. Benjamin Pedersen, 75
8. Keawn Tandon, 73
9. Michael Myers, 69
10. Nikita Lastochkin, 60
 
Bryson Morris (#38 Stilo-Performance Analytics Tatuus PM-18): “I had some technical issues and I started a few laps down, so the first race was not good. [Race Two] was definitely a fun and exciting race. The top six were super close and it just phased out towards the end and it was really good racing. In the middle of the race, I would have made a move if it were safe to do so but I just saw how they were racing and I knew something was going to happen so I decided to wait it out. Luckily, for me at least, it did happen in the end.
 
“I could see Nikita in my virtual mirror but I saw what one and two were doing in the first half of the race when I was in third and I saw that it was working pretty well, so I really just copied it and it worked out pretty well.”
 
James Davison (#18 SealMaster-BYRD Racing Tatuus PM-18): “Obviously, it was a bit of drive to survive in managing the race once I got out front. I was a little cautious at the beginning not to go loose or drive the car into too much understeer. We saw how both ends of the car could catch people out in the beginning, especially when the whole field was together. I managed to have a good run through the traffic and then just had to manage the race. It was an exciting race. I was looking forward to Race Two, but there was a spin there on the second lap and a bunch of us got taken out.
 
“[On the Road to Indy] I did Indy Pro 2000 when it was Star Mazda and I did that with Dane Cameron, who of course has gone on to be very successful in sports cars. He and I were rivals in 2007. As a result of having a good year, I remember getting an email from Sam Schmidt, who ran the top Indy Lights team at the time, inviting me to do a shootout in his Indy Lights cars at Sebring and not needing to bring budget to do it, which was a big step in my career. Obviously, that middle step of the Road to Indy helped me to the next one. The test went well and I did a season of Indy Lights and ended up driving my second season for Tony George’s team, Vision Racing. I have good memories there.
 
“Of course, the 500 is what we all work on doing. I just never gave up. I did Formula BMW before Star Mazda with Robert Wickens. I remember these years and all of these young drivers going through being a teenager and having to make mistakes and just learning and growing. They are great years. You have your whole dream ahead of you. It is stressful but they are very exciting years of your life.”
 
 In an exciting move that will bring fans of cycling and motorsports together, NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Bobby Labonte will be hosting the 2021 Labonte Roubaix at Bowman Gray Stadium this year, for the first time. The charity bike ride is scheduled for August 21, 2021, and it’s set to become the only cycling event in the South where riders finish by taking a lap on a racetrack.
 
The annual Bobby Labonte Foundation charity bike ride began in 2011, with the goal of supporting children and families in the Triad area by supplying grants to local charities. After a hiatus due to COVID-19 in 2020, the ride is moving from High Point, N.C. to Winston-Salem’s storied racetrack, where participants will be able to start and finish their ride on the famed Bowman Gray Stadium racetrack.
 
“Hosting my foundation’s annual charity bike ride at Bowman Gray Stadium is a natural fit for us, and such an exciting one, too,” said Labonte. “I drove in my first modified race there in 2019 and couldn’t wait to return. Now, we get to welcome a new community to our effort, and we know both casual and serious cyclists will really enjoy the Roubaix-style finishing lap we have planned.”
 
“We are proud to work with Bobby on this charity event to help raise money for children and families in our area,” said Gray Garrison, Bowman Gray Stadium promoter. “He is a legend and a true champion. Bringing the cyclists here to Bowman Gray will be fun for our drivers and race fans, and we are working on plans to make sure the cyclists have a great experience, too.”
 
Sponsorships are available now at varying levels and the grant application period will open this week. To be eligible, non-profit organizations must be based in Davidson, Randolph, Guilford or Forsyth counties and be seeking grant funding for programs or other efforts designed to empower parents and families to build strong foundations for children’s future success.
 
In 2019, High Point LEAP, Millis Regional Health Education Center, and Ready for School, Ready for Life, shared more than $50,000 in grant money. Special awards were also presented to the High Point Boys & Girls Club and the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club.
 
A silent auction, with a thrilling, big-ticket item to be announced at a later date, will also be held to help fund this year’s charitable grants.
 
 
 
 
Progressive American Flat Track and E3 Spark Plugs are pleased to announce a renewal of their long-standing agreement that will see the brand continue as the series’ Official Spark Plug in 2021.
 
E3’s patented, race-proven DiamondFIRE technology makes it a natural partner for the world’s most prestigious and challenging dirt track motorcycle racing series. Its edge-to-edge electrode design gets the flame to the piston as quickly and efficiently as possible, delivering the spark directly toward the air-fuel mixture inside the engine’s combustion chamber. The result is a maximized burn, increased performance, and reduced emissions.
 
“We are delighted to continue the partnership between Progressive AFT and E3 Spark Plugs,” said Michael Lock, CEO of Progressive American Flat Track. “E3 joined our community of partners in 2017 and are have become one of the longest-serving supporters of America’s Original Extreme Sport.”
 
An industry leader, E3 Spark Plugs offers a complete line of products for numerous applications, including motorcycles, automobiles, racing, powersports, lawn and garden, and natural gas. As Official Spark Plug of Progressive AFT, E3 will again feature prominently during this season’s NBCSN broadcasts.
 
“We are excited to continue our relationship with the Progressive American Flat Track series as the official spark plug,” said Steve Joiner, VP of Sales & Marketing for E3 Spark Plugs. “AFT reaches a great market for our power sports and other spark plug categories with our propriety DiamondFIRE Technology that provides more power and better fuel efficiency. We look forward to a great season in the original extreme sport” 
 
The 2021 Progressive AFT season kicks off with a Volusia Half-Mile doubleheader event at Volusia Speedway Park on Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13, 2021. Tickets for this season-opening extravaganza are on sale now at https://store.americanflattrack.com/ebooking/ticket/view/id/3321/#raceSchedule.
 
For more information about E3 spark plugs, including performance and emissions test results, or where-to-buy, visit www.e3sparkplugs.com.
 
For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.
 
To score the latest gear for the Progressive American Flat Track fan, visit our official merchandise store at https://store.americanflattrack.com.
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