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  

  

 

Next weekend, the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will build on a proud tradition of racing at Sebring International Speedway, headlining the SVRA Sebring Vintage Classic February 28-March 1 for its 15th showing since the series first-ever race in 1966.

In 1966, a brand-new series featuring entries by Detroit’s Big Three auto manufacturers made its debut at Sebring International Raceway with the running of the Governor’s Cup, the first race for the Sports Car Club of America-sanctioned Trans American Sedan Championship.

That inaugural event included the then two-time Indianapolis 500 winner A.J. Foyt, driving a Ford Mustang, and Alfa Romeo’s Jochen Rindt, who would win the 1970 Formula One World Championship.

Foyt led the opening 13 laps before dropping back following a long pit stop. Later in the four-hour event, tire issues, brake problems and overheating hit many of the competitors on the over-two-liter class, made up of Mustangs, Chevrolet Corvairs, Plymouth Barracudas and Dodge Darts. 

Bob Tullius won the larger class in a Dart, finishing second overall. Meanwhile, Alfas dominated the under-two-liter category, led by overall winning Rindt, who recovered from a roll-over in pre-event practice. The race was held the day before the 12 Hours, attracting a 40-car field.

“That race was held at Sebring in its original form – long (5.2 miles) and bumpy,” Tullius recalled. “I was instructed by our Chrysler team manager to follow the two Barracudas, because they wanted those cars to win and I was going to be a nice guy. But they didn’t count on A.J. Foyt, who went into the lead in a Mustang. I ran around for awhile, and then decided to pick it up. I passed both of the Barracudas, and then caught Foyt and passed him for the lead. Eventually, his car bailed and I wound up winning the race.”

Trans Am returned in 1967 as the Four-Hour International, drawing a then-record 61 entries. Jerry Titus won in a Ford Mustang, lapping the second-place Camaro Z-28 of Mark Donohue. Peter Gregg and Sam Posey took honors in the Under two-liter class, driving a Porsche.

The historic 17-turn, 3.74-mile airport-based circuit also hosted Trans Am in 1968, running concurrently with the 12 Hours of Sebring.  Mark Donohue and Craig Fisher took Trans Am honors with a third-place overall finish, one position ahead of Roger Penske-entered Camaro teammates Joe Welch and Bob Johnson.

With the series moving to shorter races, the next Trans Am race at Sebring was not until 1999, with a stand-alone weekend serving as the season finale. Paul Gentilozzi capped his championship season by winning in a Ford Mustang. Trans Am ran as part of the Twelve Hours of Sebring events the following two years, as Brian Simo won the 2000 season opener in a Qvale Mangusta, while Boris Said won the following year in a Ford Mustang.

Since 2013, Trans Am has been a major component of the SVRA Sebring Vintage Classic, held two weekends prior to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours. Doug Peterson scored the 2013 and 2014 overall victories in a Corvette, while Cameron Lawrence began a three-year TA2® winning streak in a Camaro. The two drivers went on to win their respective titles in both seasons. For 2020, the two drivers will team for Peterson Racing in TA2® powered by AEM, driving a pair of 3Dimensonal Services Group-sponsored entries.

“Returning to Sebring is definitely like going back home,” said Lawrence, a native of nearby Orlando. “It gives a real good shot at starting out strong with a new car and a new team. I have a good idea of what the car needs to do to win at Sebring, and if we get the setup right we should be running up front again. I’m excited to be teamed up with Doug. I’ve had a lot of respect for him for a long time, and it’s real neat to team up with him and his resources. He had a strong run at Sebring last year (fourth), and it would be great to have both of us up on the podium together.”

Sebring’s status as a Trans Am championship-launching race is further bolstered by the record of Amy Ruman, who won the 2015 season opener on her way to becoming Trans Am’s first female champion. 

For the 2020 opener, testing begins on Friday (February 28) for the 60-car entry, with practice and qualifying on Saturday. Sunday includes the TA/XGT/SGT/GT feature race at 11:10 a.m., with the TA2® Race Powered by AEM at 1:25 p.m.

Visit http://gotransam.com for additional details.

With the expanding influence of gaming in motorsports, there is always a new and exciting way for armchair racers to become closer to the action. For fans of offroad racing, there's Overpass!

NACON and Zordix Racing have highlighted some of the unique gameplay elements in OverpassTM in a new video that focuses on the two types of track available: Obstacle Courses and Hillclimbs. While the release of Overpass on PC is scheduled for February 27, 2020 in North America, the Xbox one, PS4 and Nintendo Switch versions will be available on March 17, 2020.

With Obstacle Courses, the challenge is in knowing how to cross each natural or artificial obstacle in the best way possible. This requires careful use of the throttle, deciding where to position the wheels for the best grip, and using the differential lock wisely to avoid getting stuck. Many options are available to the player and the best one will depend on several factors: the vehicle, the terrain, damage to the vehicle and the player's driving style. For Hillclimbs, the goal is to find a path up to the hill's summit. It's usually a shorter distance but a harder challenge. Knowing how to analyze the terrain is essential for climbing the steep slopes successfully.
 
Watch the new Overpass Gameplay Spotlight trailer here:
https://youtu.be/eiAFJZgbAIo
 
In this off-road simulation, challenge yourself on extreme tracks at the controls of buggies and quads from major manufacturers. In a variety of local and online game modes, master the terrain physics, overcome obstacles and cope with damage to your vehicle to triumph in this demanding off-road challenge.

 
Overpass™ will be available on PC via the Epic Games Store on February 27, 2020 and on March 17 for the PlayStation 4™ , Xbox One and Nintendo Switch™ platforms.


To pre-order or know more about the game, visit the official website:
https://play-overpass.com/

Find us on Twitter and YouTube.

Reigning event winner Matt Hagan continued his domination of Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, capturing the provisional No. 1 qualifier spot on Friday at the 36th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, in his hunt for back-to-back wins in Phoenix.
 
Steve Torrence (Top Fuel) and Jeg Coughlin (Pro Stock) also claimed provisional No. 1 qualifier spots in their respective categories at the second of 24 events on the 2020 Mello Yello Drag Racing Series calendar.
 
Hagan took the provisional No. 1 spot during the second qualifying session with a pass of 3.859-seconds at 331.61 mph in his Mopar Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Funny Car. Hagan is looking to continue his momentum from the season opener in Pomona after seeding himself in the No. 1 spot at the Winternationals two weeks ago. Hagan is the reigning event winner and is looking to take home his 34th career win, three of which have come at the NHRA Arizona Nationals.
 
“We have a really great race car,” said Hagan. “We qualified No. 1 in Pomona and then rolling here into Phoenix, the provisional No. 1. The car is just really working. We have to make some better decisions on race day, but race day is race day. You never know what is going to happen and what you will get thrown at you and how the track will be. But all-in-all conditions are great out here right now. The car is good, the track is good and just all around a really good pass.”
 
Sixteen-time Funny Car champion John Force is close on the heels of Hagan, currently sitting in the No. 2 spot after a pass of 3.861-seconds at 331.94. Force’s teammate Robert Hight currently sits in the third spot with a 3.867-second pass at 330.55.
 
Current Top Fuel world champion Steve Torrence is looking to continue the momentum from 2019, grabbing the provisional No. 1 spot with a 3.671-second pass at 326.48 in his CAPCO Contractors Top Fuel dragster. If it holds, Torrence will claim his 25th career No. 1 qualifier.
 
The ladies of Top Fuel are looking to take the No. 1 spot from Torrence, with Brittany Force in second with a 3.680 at 331.12 and Leah Pruett close behind in third with a 3.680-second pass at 328.06.
 
Pro Stock’s Jeg Coughlin continues his successful start to the season, clinching the provisional No. 1 spot with a 6.536-second pass at 208.46. Coughlin has swept the season so far, having grabbed the No. 1 qualifying spot and the event win at the season opener in Pomona. Coughlin is on the hunt for his sixth Pro Stock world championship, hoping to end his career on top, after announcing his retirement at the conclusion of the 2020 season. Coughlin is currently embarking on his Breaking Barriers 2020 Tour.
 
Erica Enders, Coughlin’s teammate, sits in a close second with a 6.565 at 209.82, followed by Aaron Stanfield, who ran a 6.567-second pass at 207.69.
 
Qualifying continues Saturday at the 36th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at 1:00 p.m. MT.
 
It was a chance meeting at the Honda Indy in Toronto that led documentary filmmaker David Porteous to film the eccentric FatBoy Racing team in his new documentary, 'FATBOY RACING!'

He may have looked twice when he came across their team wearing their green, paisley team shirts emblazoned with the team logo - a man in a tank top enjoying a martini and smoking a big ol' cigar.

Indeed it was easy for him to spot FatBoy Racing in the NTT IndyCar support-series paddock. As it was meant to be.

"A race team hell bent on having fun," is the catch-all motto coined by team owner Brendan Puderbach.

"Everyone at FatBoy Racing is a big fan of motorsports and we love racing in the Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires," said Puderbach. "Most teams on the grid have some young hotshot driver who could be the next Dario Franchitti. At FatBoy Racing, we have a mid-50-year-old driver named Charles Finelli who doesn't plan on winning but works hard for the opportunity to compete. Our team couldn't be anymore different. And trust me, that's exactly how we like it."

According to the FatBoy Racing website, the team was "born out of a previous (unnamed!) team where the atmosphere was at best described as glum.”

"We were tired of glum and the unnecessarily stressful atmosphere so we decided to form our own team, a team who's sole purpose was to have fun," said Puderbach. "To top it off, we felt 'FatBoy Racing' was the perfect team name to share our sense of humor and our never ending mission to attempt the seemingly impossible."

Porteous' FatBoy Racing documentary also offers race fans a rare and unique opportunity to glimpse behind-the-scenes of a race team without what is usually a confidential and closed door environment.

"I've been a fan of IndyCar for over 20 years and I can say, without a doubt, the FatBoy Racing team is unlike anything I've ever seen in motorsports" said Porteous. “It's a unique balance of fun and hard work.  But trust me, as much as this team likes having fun, they are truly professionals. You cannot compete in open-wheel racing without taking the racing and, most importantly, safety seriously."

The documentary film "FATBOY RACING!" is available to watch for free at tiny.cc/fatboyracingfilm
 

Fun aside, FatBoy races in the highly competitive Indy Pro 2000 Championship presented by Cooper Tires. In 2018 they finished a respectable P6 in Toronto and even became the 2017 Pro Mazda National Class Champions with Puderbach behind the wheel.

"Seriously, how the hell did that happen!?" Puderbach said of their championship success.

In truth, FatBoy Racing has a history of never shying away from the tough challenges of racing.

Last year FatBoy Racing competed in the gruelling Baja 1000 and this year the team is looking to move up the Road to Indy ladder to race in Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires, a highly-competitive series that is only one tier shy of the renowned NTT IndyCar Series.

FatBoy Racing Crew Chief Jim Locke has a long impressive racing history ranging from supporting Formula 1 driver Rubens Barrichello in the 24 Hours of Daytona and even helped set 17 land speed world records.

"We are the smallest team in the paddock and we have the smallest budget, but to us, size doesn't matter," joked Puderbach. "We have big goals and even though racing is a tough business we believe trying is the first step to succeeding. With our racing experience and dedication to hard work I truly believe there is no goal that is out of the question for FatBoy Racing."

The team hopes the film will act as a catalyst to securing sponsorship to help them accomplish their long list of racing dreams, including racing in the Freedom 100 and the 24 hours of Le Mans. The team also hopes to fulfill driver Charles Finelli's goal of becoming the oldest driver in history attempt to qualify for the prestigious Indy 500.

"We are just a million-something dollars short but if someone is out there who believes in our team motto, has a huge pile of disposable cash to burn and wants to have fun sponsoring us, DM me with details!" said Puderbach. "Yes, I realize I am bluntly asking for money in a press release quote but we are a different kind of racing team, so why not be honest and try something different?"

Puderbach asks that all the excited sponsors reach out to the team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Watch the documentary FATBOY RACING! at tiny.cc/fatboyracingfilm


Among the eight drivers entered in this year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona for Meyer Shank Racing and its sister team Heinricher Racing, only two drivers were in the same seat as last year.
 
Mario Farnbacher and AJ Allmendinger returned in the team’s No. 86 Acura NSX GT3, with Farnbacher once again tapped as the full-season driver and Allmendinger swapping his helmet for a headset with NBC for the remainder of the season.
 
Meanwhile, Trent Hindman – who with Farnbacher was crowned the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) champion – made the transition from the No. 86 to Jackie Heinricher’s No. 57 entry for the four IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup rounds this year.
Then it gets interesting.
 
Two of the team’s full-season drivers are making their return to the Shank camp after brief hiatuses. In the No. 57, Alvaro Parente will be back behind the wheel of MSR machinery for the first time since 2018. In the No. 86, it’s 2019 WeatherTech Championship LMP2 champion Matt McMurry alongside Farnbacher.
 
“It’s great to be joining Meyer Shank Racing again,” said McMurry, who also interned with Honda Performance Development this past summer. “I raced with them back in [2015] when they were still running prototypes. It’s great to be back with them again and with some great teammates like Mario Farnbacher.”
 
McMurry admits the transition from a prototype to a GT3 car is a leap, but that he’s got some help to adjust.
 
“There’s quite a big difference from P2 to GT, especially around a place like Sebring,” said McMurry while testing at Sebring International Raceway, the next stop on the WeatherTech Championship calendar next month. “This GT3 car handles the bumps quite a bit differently, so that’ll take a little bit of getting used to. But I think we’ve got a great team and great teammates to help get me up to speed quickly.”
 
If there’s anyone that can relate to McMurry, it’s Misha Goikhberg, one of three new drivers to join the two-car Acura team this year. Alongside his full-season co-driver Parente, Goikhberg made his GT debut at the 2020 Rolex 24 following a prototype career that has spanned the past five seasons in the WeatherTech Championship.
 
“It’s a team with a lot of wins, just fresh off a championship, so it’s a car that’s already very well developed,” said Goikhberg. “I think their strength is their ability to bring new people in and to get them up to speed quickly, so both me and Matt are fortunate to be able to draw upon experience from guys like Mario and Trent, who have been here for a while.
 
“Alvaro is very experienced, one of the best GT drivers in the world. For both of us, there’s a big body of experience there we could lean upon, and that’s been very helpful, so we’ve been very fortunate in that regard.”
 
The other two drivers new to Meyer Shank and Heinricher at Daytona were Shinya Michimi and Jules Gounon. While Gounon’s role was specific only to the Rolex 24, Michimi – who has a successful background in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series – continues with the No. 86 for the remaining Michelin Endurance Cup rounds.
 
Looking ahead to the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on March 18-21, compatibility doesn’t seem to be an issue for the mix of the established team drivers and newcomers. The six drivers entered for next month’s race often were huddled up during their Sebring test days.
 
What about the relationship off the racetrack? Well, that could get interesting too.
 
“Thankfully, they haven’t gotten me into any big trouble yet,” McMurry joked about his new teammates. “They’re trying to, for sure. I’m sure they’ll get us to do something stupid at some point during the year, but I’ve been safe so far.”
 
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts is set for Saturday, March 21. The race starts at 10:40 a.m. on CNBC. It can also be streamed on the NBC App with authentication and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio will have coverage available at IMSARadio.com, RadioLeMans.com and Sirius XM.
 
Tickets are available now at SebringRaceway.com.

By Sean Brennen, Monster Energy Supercross Wire Service

 

This past weekend's Monster Energy Supercross round was especially unique due to three high profile athletes making their return to racing at the highest level; interestingly, two of them are re-joining a brother who also competes in the series.

 

Maybe the most anticipated return was 26-year-old Minnesota native Jeremy Martin. The young racer suffered an injury in 2018 and last weekend’s race marked his first start since. In a sport that can leave behind riders who take even a short break, expectations for the young racer with six previous wins in his six seasons of Supercross racing were not high. But the GEICO Honda team re-signed Martin and he rewarded them early on race day with the fastest lap in 250SX Class qualifying. But one sub-60-second fast lap and 15-minutes plus one lap of battling during a Main Event are very different things. Martin amazed his fans and silenced his detractors by grabbing a podium finish – third place – in his first race back. All sports replace a goal, once achieved, with the next higher – and now Jeremy Martin, his team, and his fans might be wondering if his return to racing might also be the season in which he grabs his first Supercross title.

 

The premiere 450SX Class also had a big name return at the Tampa round. Broc Tickle re-joined the sport after a two-year suspension. During this hiatus from racing, Tickle never stopped riding or training and less than a week before his suspension ended it was announced that he had signed with JGRMX Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing, which made his comeback possible. Tickle finished an impressive fourth in his Heat Race and was strong during the 20-minute plus one lap Main Event where he finished 12th.

 

A third top name, who'd spent past seasons racing both the 250SX and 450SX classes, Josh Hill came out of retirement to tackle the same division in which Martin is competing. Hill had done some part-time racing as a fill-in rider in recent years but hadn't competed full time since 2014. What prompted Hill's return? He told reporters he was riding well and having fun at training tracks and came back for the pure love and excitement of competition. Hill, just like Tickle, finished 12th in his division in Tampa.

 

Coincidentally, two of these returning racers have a brother who's been competing in the series all along. Josh Hill's younger brother Justin is in his 8th season of racing, second in the premiere 450SX Class, and Jeremy Martin's older brother Alex, in his 12th year, races the Western Regional 250SX Class. In further coincidence, Tickle now rides for the same team that Josh's brother rode for during the 2018 and 2019 season and that Martin's brother races for this year.   

 

Now that the returning athletes have established that they still have the speed to compete against the world's best motorcycle racers, fans will be watching how they do at this weekend's event in Arlington, Texas at AT&T Stadium. If you tune in to the NBCSN broadcast or have signed up for the NBC Sports Supercross app package, keep an eye out for race numbers 6 (Martin), 20 (Tickle), and 175 (Hill) – they each have more to prove over the remainder of the 17-round 2020 Supercross season.

 

 

450SX Class Championship Standings

1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (155)

2. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (151)

3. Cooper Webb, Clermont, Fla., KTM (144)

4. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha (135)

5. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (128)

6. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna (118)

7. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda (106)

8. Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda (103)

9. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Honda (93)

10. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM (91)

 

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings

1. Shane McElrath, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha (26)

2. Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (23)

3. Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Honda (21)

4. Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Kawasaki (19)

5. Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Kawasaki (18)

6. RJ Hampshire, Minneola, Fla., Husqvarna (17)

7. Kyle Peters, Greensboro, N.C., Honda (16)

8. Joey Crown, Metamora, Mich., Yamaha (15)

9. James Decotis, Huntersville, N.C., Suzuki (14)

10. Jo Shimoda, Irvine, Calif., Honda (13)

 

Craving the spotlight has never been part of Jason Line’s personality, but during his final season of full-time racing in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, the three-time Pro Stock world champion may experience it more than usual in 2020. That was apparent during the season opener in Pomona, and it’s a good bet there will be an outpouring of fan support for the veteran at this weekend’s 36th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
 
Line has been a constant in the Pro Stock class over the years, piloting his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro to incredible success in workmanlike fashion. Now in a final full-time season dubbed “The Finish Line Tour,” Line will look to close things in style. A fourth world championship is certainly within reach and, along the way, the longtime standout hopes to enjoy some special memories by way of victories and winner’s circle celebrations.
 
“A lot of folks in Pomona had some nice things to say, and that was pretty cool to see and nice to know that I haven’t completely worn out my welcome after this many years,” Line said. “It’s been good. We’re only one race in, but I’ve been able to enjoy that part of it. The people can be the best part of this sport, so that’s been enjoyable. I’m looking forward to the rest of it as well and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
 
Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of a race that will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including finals coverage on Sunday, Feb. 23. The duel in the desert marks the second of 18 races during a 2020 Pro Stock season that will also include the 50th anniversary celebration of the class.
 
That bit of history adds an extra layer to the season for Line, who has made 375 career starts in the class heading to Phoenix. He picked up his 50th career win in Pro Stock a year ago, further exemplifying what he’s meant to the class. In the present, though, Line wants to add to that win total, knowing there will be time down the road to feel nostalgic.
 
“It’s definitely cool to be part of the 50th anniversary celebration (of Pro Stock),” Line said. “It’s been a fun way to make a living and it’s been fantastic. From a participation standpoint, the class is the best it’s been in a few years and that’s a good thing. At some point, I’ll be nostalgic about it, but not right now. It’s been a great ride and I want to enjoy this last season. Just winning races is really the only goal. You can’t win the championship this early, so just winning races is important.”
 
Line came close at the NHRA opener in Pomona, falling in the finals to longtime rival Coughlin, who was dominant all weekend en route to the victory. Coughlin is the defending winner of the event, so Line knows he has his work cut out for him in a class that also includes longtime teammate Greg Anderson, reigning world champ Erica Enders, Bo Butner, Deric Kramer, Alex Laughlin and Matt Hartford. But Line remains as talented as he’s ever been, and just because this is a retirement tour, it doesn’t mean Line is slowing down.
 
“I’m not dead yet,” said Line, who won two races in 2019 and also has two career wins at Phoenix. “I feel like we’re going to compete for a championship as we hope to every year and, of course, my goal is to win a title. It would be nice to be on top again. It’s all about peaking at the right time. That’s my goal and it’s certainly a possibility. We’re testing and trying some new things, but our goal is to keep winning races.”
 
Doug Kalitta started quick in the ultra-competitive Top Fuel ranks, winning in Pomona to start the year on top. He’ll look to keep that momentum going in Phoenix against the likes of back-to-back world champ Steve Torrence, 2017 world champ Brittany Force, three-time world champ Antron Brown, Shawn Langdon, Austin Prock, Leah Pruett, Clay Millican and Terry McMillen.
 
In Funny Car, Hagan will look to keep his winning ways going at Phoenix while continuing the momentum from the hot finish to his 2019 campaign. His Don Schumacher Racing teammate Jack Beckman opened 2020 with a victory in Pomona and he’ll be challenged by the likes of reigning world champ Robert Hight, 2018 champ J.R. Todd, Alexis DeJoria, Ron Capps and John Force.
 
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where future stars of the sport hone their skills. After nitro qualifying, fans can watch a trio of spectacular jet cars, including a pair from the Lucas Oil Muy Caliente team, as well as Scott Arriaga’s “Wicked Sensation” jet car. Known for exciting pre-run flame shows and after burner pops, jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines.
 
NHRA fans can take part in the NHRA 101 Walking Tour to see the cars and teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Pro Stock School and Nitro School to learn how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park will also host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers as well as the Sealmaster Track Walk hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello. Another can’t-miss experience is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. NHRA fans are invited to congratulate the winners of the event as they celebrate their victories.
 
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
 
Fans will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
 
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 1:45 and 4:45 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.
 
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
A two-year hiatus didn’t seem to bother Alexis DeJoria as she opened the 2020 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season in style in Pomona. The Funny Car standout advanced to the semifinals in her first race since 2017, setting a strong tone for the season and giving the popular driver plenty of momentum heading into this weekend’s 36th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
 
DeJoria’s first career Funny Car victory came at the facility in 2014, adding to the good vibes she’s currently feeling in her 11,000-horsepower ROKit/ABK Beer Toyota. DeJoria gave all the credit to a team led by standout crew chiefs Del Worsham and Nicky Boninfante for the early excitement, also giving her an impressive level of comfort that was evident in Pomona.
 
“That first race exceeded our expectations,” said DeJoria, who has five career Funny Car wins. “Putting a new team together so quickly was no easy task, but Del and Nicky were on it. My crew chiefs and I have a long history together. We basically picked up where we left off, except now there are no extra distractions. We’re just racing and that’s when we do our best work.”
 
Billy Torrence (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of a race that will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), including finals coverage on Sunday, Feb. 23. The duel in the desert marks the second of 24 races in 2020 and DeJoria is simply thrilled to get back to doing what she loves.
 
She called the time away a planned hiatus, but in the back of her mind she always planned to return to racing. Getting back inside a 330-mph Funny Car after two years away is no easy task, but DeJoria looked impressive the entire time in Pomona. She qualified 11th with a solid run of 3.95-seconds at 321.19 mph and then knocked off the likes of defending world champ Robert Hight in eliminations before falling to eventual race winner Jack Beckman in the semifinals. It was a strong start to the year and gives the team plenty to work with heading into Phoenix.
 
“Honestly, I want us to be consistent and build off of that,” DeJoria said. “We may not be the quickest out there at first, but give us time and we’ll be running up top I’m sure of it.”
 
That confidence comes from her comfort level with Worsham, a former world champ in both Top Fuel and Funny Car, and Boninfante. It also makes DeJoria a contender to win races right off the bat, even against the heavy hitters in the standout Funny Car class. She would like nothing more than to replicate her first career win in the class this weekend, though DeJoria will have to match up with the likes of Hight, Beckman, John Force, Ron Capps, defending event winner Hagan, 2018 world champ J.R. Todd, Tim Wilkerson, Tommy Johnson Jr., Cruz Pedregon and Bob Tasca III. But that level of competition is part of the reason DeJoria returned to the sport.
 
“That win was a long time ago, but a win I’ll never forget,” DeJoria said. “The car was fast in the heat. The team hustled and gave me a good set-up on race day. I’d been racing that track since the sportsman days in Super Gas, and I’ve got great memories there. I can’t wait to go back.”
 
Doug Kalitta started quick in the ultra-competitive Top Fuel ranks, winning in Pomona to start the year on top. He’ll look to keep that momentum going in Phoenix against the likes of back-to-back world champ Steve Torrence, 2017 world champ Brittany Force, three-time world champ Antron Brown, Shawn Langdon, Austin Prock, Leah Pruett, Clay Millican and Terry McMillen.
 
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020, the Pro Stock class will head to Phoenix with plenty of fanfare. The class continues to provide plenty of thrills, led by defending event winner Coughlin, who won the opener in Pomona. He’ll match up with the likes of defending champ Erica Enders, Greg Anderson, Jason Line, Alex Laughlin, Bo Butner, Deric Kramer and Chris McGaha.
 
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where future stars of the sport hone their skills. After nitro qualifying, fans can watch a trio of spectacular jet cars, including a pair from the Lucas Oil Muy Caliente team, as well as Scott Arriaga’s “Wicked Sensation” jet car. Known for exciting pre-run flame shows and after burner pops, jet cars are thrust driven vehicles propelled by jet engines.
 
NHRA fans can take part in the NHRA 101 Walking Tour to see the cars and teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Pro Stock School and Nitro School to learn how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park will also host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers as well as the Sealmaster Track Walk hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello. Another can’t-miss experience is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. NHRA fans are invited to congratulate the winners of the event as they celebrate their victories.
 
As always, fans will have the opportunity to interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity in motorsports gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
 
Fans will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
 
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 1:45 and 4:45 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 1:30 and 4 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23.
 
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
                    
 
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams testing at Sebring International Raceway got a small taste of wet conditions early Wednesday before the skies cleared and the track dried out by late morning.
 
Six teams – JDC-Miller MotorSports, Whelen Engineering Racing, Porsche GT Team, GEAR Racing, Wright Motorsports and Meyer Shank Racing – were on hand turning laps, with plans to continue into darkness. It’s all in preparation for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts on Saturday, March 21.
 
Bourdais, Barbosa Back at Sebring with Fond Memories
 
The last time Sebastien Bourdais and Joao Barbosa raced together in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts back in 2015, they teamed with Christian Fittipaldi to dominate the race in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.
 
They’ve been reunited – now as full-time co-drivers – for the 2020 WeatherTech Championship as co-drivers of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi with the Minnesota-based JDC-Miller MotorSports team. They were busy putting the car through testing paces Wednesday at Sebring but allowed themselves a few moments to reminisce about their big win five years ago.
 
“It’s great memories here at Sebring,” said Barbosa, a two-time WeatherTech Championship Prototype champion. It’s an awesome place, a great racetrack, very challenging. It’s great to be here with JDC-Miller MotorSports and Mustang Sampling, and definitely really good to be with Sebastien Bourdais as well. We had great history together here, we won a race here in a big way, so we’re really looking forward to come back for the Sebring 12-hour race.”
 
“We’ve had a great relationship with Joao,” Bourdais said. “Obviously, 2015 was a bit of a highlight. It was really a pretty amazing race when we managed to lap the field and come out on top. I’ve got a bunch of really, really good memories with a bunch of the guys that are revolving around that program.”
 
Hardwick Using Previous Motocross Experience to Adapt to Wright Porsche
 
Ryan Hardwick made his Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring debut in 2019, co-driving the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 with Bryan Sellers and Corey Lewis.
 
That was a mid-engined race car, which Hardwick admits is quite a bit different than his 2020 steed, the rear-engined No. 16 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R that he is co-driving for the full WeatherTech Championship GT Daytona (GTD) season with American Porsche factory driver Patrick Long. But Hardwick believes his previous experience racing motocross has helped him adapt to the Porsche 911.
“Actually, I’m getting my mind wrapped around this Porsche,” Hardwick. “The style in which you have to drive it through the corner and on the brakes suits my personal style from motocross. I’m kind of driving really hard into corners and using the power to rotate it and traction out. I enjoy it.”
 
Nasr Returns for Defense of Race Win and Redemption from Daytona
 
Returning to the legendary Sebring International Raceway in his effort to defend his Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring title is Brazilian driver Felipe Nasr. He piloted the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi all by himself in the Wednesday test session and will be looking to continue the Whelen Engineering Racing team’s success, as the team has finished on the overall podium in each Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring since 2016.
 
“Sebring’s a pretty special one for us. It produces good racing,” said the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champion. “We’re trying different things here. We want to come back here come race weekend with a good package on our hands.
 
“We didn’t have the best race weekend at Daytona, so I think it’s redemption time here at Sebring.”
 
Makowiecki Gets Poetic About Sebring International Raceway
 
The Porsche GT Team will be looking to continue carrying its momentum from a double podium at the Rolex 24 At Daytona into the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.
 
Frederic Makowiecki is looking for his third consecutive GT Le Mans (GTLM) victory in the Twelve Hours, sharing the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 with season-long co-driver Nick Tandy – with whom he won Sebring the last two years – and new-for-2020 endurance co-driver, Matt Campbell.
 
While all the tracks on the WeatherTech Championship calendar are special, Makowiecki considers Sebring among his favorites.
 
“For me, Sebring is still my favorite race in the USA because it’s like a temple,” said the French driver. “Nothing’s really changed in over 50 years.
 
“I enjoy every lap. It’s so difficult to get the perfect lap. It’s so difficult to be over the limit. You need to be so connected to the track.”
 
Frey Quickly Learns to “Respect the Bumps”
 
Wednesday’s Sebring test session saw some first-time drivers on the historic, 3.74-mile racing surface. One was the newest member of the GEAR Racing team, Rahel Frey. She got her first taste of the Sebring International Raceway in wet conditions while sharing the No. 19 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 with her more experienced teammates, Katherine Legge and Christina Nielsen.
 
“It’s an amazing track,” said the Swiss rookie, who turned her first laps at Sebring a few minutes before lunch. “It’s so much fun and crazy bumpy. Christina and Katherine warned me, ‘Please be a little bit patient. Take your time with the track.’ Everybody speaks about Turn 17 and there’s so much room. You don’t really know where to place your car.
 
“We had some rain earlier on today and it was brilliant. We never know what could happen in the race. I started on rain tires and built some confidence, so ‘check’ on that.”
 
The Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts is set for Saturday, March 21. The race starts at 10:40 a.m. on CNBC. It can also be streamed on the NBC App with authentication and TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio will have coverage available at IMSARadio.com, RadioLeMans.com and Sirius XM.
 
Tickets are available now at SebringRaceway.com
History and a chance for glory at one of the most historic tracks on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series circuit is on the line at the 51st annual AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, March 12-15 at Gainesville Raceway.
 
A year after celebrating its 50th event, the Gatornationals will be just as big in 2020. With the NHRA celebrating the 50th anniversary of Pro Stock during the race, honoring legends who will be in attendance. As part of the yearlong celebration, the event will feature the Hot Rod Junction.
 
The thrilling NHRA Prime Time will take place during the second qualifying session on Friday, ensuring the iconic race will continue to hold its place as one of the most memorable stops during the NHRA season.
 
The legendary track serves as the East Coast opener and it has been a must-see event for decades. With a new racing surface installed a year ago, fans will be treated to another 11,000-horsepower thrill ride. Richie Crampton (Top Fuel), Robert Hight (Funny Car), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are defending winners of an event that will be televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), including finals coverage on Sunday, March 15 at 9:30 p.m. (ET).
                              
Doug Kalitta powered to the top spot in the Top Fuel ranks after the opening race of the 2020 season, claiming the win in Pomona to start the veteran’s year off perfectly. The longtime standout is after his first career world title, as well as his fourth victory in Gainesville, but it won’t be easy. Kalitta will try to take down the likes of back-to-back world champ Steve Torrence, who is after his first Gatornationals win, Terry McMillen, three-time world champ Antron Brown, 2017 champion Brittany Force, Leah Pruett, Shawn Langdon, Austin Prock and Clay Millican.
              
Hight used his fourth win at the legendary facility as momentum en route to his third world championship in Funny Car. He put together the most consistent year in his standout career and will try to top it in 2020 when Hight races against the top names in the loaded class. Jack Beckman won in Pomona to open 2020, while other star contenders include 16-time world champ John Force, Ron Capps, a three-time Gainesville winner, Tommy Johnson Jr., 2018 world champ J.R. Todd, Matt Hagan, Cruz Pedregon, Bob Tasca III, Alexis DeJoria and Tim Wilkerson.
 
Butner claimed his first Gatornationals win in Pro Stock a year ago, fueling a quick start to the 2019 season for KB Racing. It was rival Elite Motorsports who struck first in 2020, as Jeg Coughlin Jr., a five-time world champ, dominated in Pomona. Coughlin, who will retire from full-time racing following this season, will look to keep that going at the historic race against the likes of defending world champ Erica Enders, four-time race winners Greg Anderson and Jason Line, who is also retiring from full-time competition after the 2020 season, Alex Laughlin, Deric Kramer and Matt Hartford.
 
Pro Stock Motorcycle makes its annual debut at the AMALIE Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals, marking the first of 16 events in the highly-competitive two-wheeled class. Hines is the defending race winner, using that to roll to his sixth world title in impressive fashion. Hines, the winningest rider in class history, finished with eight wins in 2019, but he’ll face plenty of challenges this year, including from teammate Eddie Krawiec, a six-time Gators winner, former world champs Matt Smith, Jerry Savoie and Angelle Sampey, and Hector Arana Jr.
 
The event is also the season-opening race for the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series. The race is presented by FuelTech, and the defending winner is Todd Tutterow, who knocked off reigning world champ Stevie “Fast” Jackson in the final round. The races also feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where future stars of the sport hone their skills, as well as the first race of the 2020 SAMTech.edu Factory Stock Showdown Drag Racing Series season.
 
After Nitro qualifying on Friday, fans can watch the Black Pearl jet car driven by David Douthit. Jet cars are thrust driven propelled by jet engines with exciting pre-run flame shows.
 
For the first time, Tom Bailey and Rod Tschiggfrie will participate in an NHRA Street Car Showdown, making several passes throughout the weekend. Fans won’t want to miss the fastest street car versus the quickest street car showdown.
 
As always, fans can interact with their favorite drivers with an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
 
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
 
NHRA fans can take part in the NHRA 101 walking tour to see the cars and teams hard at work in the pits. Fans can also attend Pro Stock School and Nitro School to learn how the cars operate and reach their thrilling speeds. Gainesville Raceway will also host a Mello Yello autograph session and allow fans to meet their favorite drivers as well as the Sealmaster Track Walk hosted by NHRA announcer Joe Castello. Another can’t-miss experience is the winner’s circle celebration on Sunday after racing concludes. New for 2020, the winner’s circle will be moved to the track surface, allowing fans a more intimate and up-close experience to help celebrate the event winners.
 
While enjoying the Gatornationals, fans who renew their tickets on-site will receive a FREE NHRA Legend mini replica helmet, commemorating NHRA’s historic 70th anniversary in 2021.
               
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13 and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, March 14 at 12:45 and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 15.
 
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call (800) 884-NHRA (6472) or visit www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. For more information about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.
   
 
Page 1 of 452