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:
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.
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?"
Watch the documentary FATBOY RACING! at tiny.cc/fatboyracingfilm
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)