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.
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As the 2019 American Flat Track paddock makes its annual pilgrimage to the Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio, for the Indian Motorcycle Lima Half-Mile Presented By Johnny K's Indian powered by Drag Specialties on Saturday, June 29, the spotlight shifts its glare back to reigning Grand National Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750).
Mees’ younger Indian Wrecking Crew teammates have stolen away some of the attention he so thoroughly demanded during back-to-back AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines title runs in 2017 and 2018. Briar Bauman (No. 14 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) currently holds a 34-point championship lead on the strength of a perfect seven-for-seven podium record in 2019, while Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) rides into the Lima Half-Mile still savoring his maiden premier-class victory.
For Mees, the Lima Half-Mile represents equal parts pressure, opportunity, and responsibility. It’s not only his home race, he’s also the event promoter. It also just happens to be exactly the sort of demanding, physical track that Mees loves to conquer as a showcase of his ability and focus.
That increased focus can play out in more than one way. In 2017, the Lima Half-Mile was the only Main Event Mees failed to qualify for -- or podium for that matter -- due to penalties he incurred for jumping the start in his semi. A year later, he got his redemption in the form of a runaway victory that was arguably the centerpiece performance of his successful 2018 title defense.
Which way things go in 2019 could very well play an important role in determining if Mees will be able to secure three consecutive Grand National Championships. Winning this weekend could be far from easy; Briar Bauman took the Main in 2017 in dominant fashion and second-ranked Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Kennedy Racing/Armbruster Racing Indian FTR750) took top honors at the venue in 2016.
Fans should also keep their eyes on last year’s race runner-up Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Roof-Systems of Dallas/Indian of Metro Milwaukee FTR750), the returning JD Beach (No. 95 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT), Harley teammates Sammy Halbert (No. 69 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R Rev X) and Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 Harley-Davidson Factory Flat Track Team XG750R Rev X), and so many others with the potential to steal the spotlight for themselves.
The showdown in the Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys class should be equally intriguing. Shayna Texter (No. 52 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing SX-F 450) comes in as the defending Lima Half-Mile winner, while AFT Singles points leader Mikey Rush (No. 15 RMR Honda/Red Riders Rewards Honda CRF450R) is riding a two-race win streak.
There’s also the likes of Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 D&D Cycles/Gobert Smash Husqvarna FC450), Dan Bromley (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F) and Ryan Wells (No. 94 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) to take into consideration.
Fans should also keep an eye on Dallas Daniels (No.163 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F), as this challenging track marks the debut event for the fresh-blooded wunderkind of the already-formidable Estenson Racing front.
As an added bonus, the AFT Production Twins championship fight resumes this weekend after sitting the Laconia Short Track out. After three races, it’s Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Holeshot Powersports Yamaha MT-07) against the field. Unless someone can stop him, Texter is in position to up his perfect season’s win streak to four this weekend.
Not surprisingly, fans of Jared Mees will notice a number of familiar backers this weekend. Along with presenting sponsor Johnny K's Indian, several of Mees’ sponsors have come aboard to help support the race, including Drag Specialties, S&S Cycle, Lucas Oil, and J&P Cycles.
There’s some extra incentive to pick up an event t-shirt, as a dollar for each event shirt sold will go to support Mees’ former Indian Wrecking Crew teammate Brad Baker.
Tickets for the Indian Motorcycle Lima Half-Mile are on sale here. Advance tickets start at just $30.
For fans watching remotely, FansChoice.tv will offer live coverage of the Lima Half-Mile when the gates open at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT. Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET/3:00 p.m PT. The AFT Production Twins Main Event will get underway at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT, followed by the Open Paddock/Rider Autograph Session at 7:40 p.m. ET/4:40 p.m. PT. The remainder of the Main Event program is slated to kick off at 8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT
Be sure to catch the feature broadcast of the Indian Motorcycle Lima Half-Mile Presented By Johnny K's Indian powered by Drag Specialties on NBCSN with flag-to-flag coverage of the Main Events, enhanced by exclusive features and cutting-edge aerial drone and onboard footage. The broadcast will debut on Saturday, July 6, at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT and will re-air on Monday, July 8, at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT.
For more information on American Flat Track visit www.americanflattrack.com.
To get the latest American Flat Track clothing and merchandise visit www.americanflattracker.com.
Launched in 2015 by Neil Enerson – father of Road to Indy graduate RC Enerson, who has made three starts to date in the NTT IndyCar Series – the Lucas Oil School of Racing offers a unique concept, visiting more than a dozen circuits throughout North America each year providing basic and advanced two-days schools. Its programs are open to karters as young as 12 years of age who are preparing to make the move from karts to cars and delivers fundamental training aboard the championship-winning Ray Formula Cars GR11 chassis with an Elite Engines 2.0-liter powerplant (140HP with a top speed of 130+ mph) and Cooper tires.
The Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series offers arrive-and-drive racing with six events generating 18 races in total and provides its champion with a $75,000 scholarship to advance to the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. Accomplished karter Reece Gold is the reigning Lucas Oil Formula Car Series champion and currently competes in USF2000 with Cape Motorsports. The 14-year-old has impressed in his series debut with a third-place qualifying effort at Lucas Oil Raceway and five top-10 finishes to date.
In addition, the Lucas Oil School of Racing Cooper Tires Scholarship Shootout offers its champion a full season in the Formula Car Race Series.
“Our partnership is a natural progression of the relationships we already have in place with Neil and his family, Gerardo Bonilla, Director of Operations and former Road to Indy series driver coach, Cooper Tires and Elite Engines,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions.
“We receive a lot of requests from drivers, particularly in karting, asking how to get started on the Road to Indy and we always direct them to the Lucas School of Racing, so to welcome them as our Official Driving School makes perfect sense. With their scholarship programs, they have a driver development program in place and are a true feeder series to the Road to Indy as witnessed by Reece joining our series this year. Our new alignment will allow us to further expand that message in marketing, live streaming, social media, websites and beyond.”
Drivers in the Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series will be provided with opportunities to attend Road to Indy events and be paired with USF2000 teams to go behind the scenes and learn more about the next step in their career development. Road to Indy representatives will also attend Formula Car Race Series events and the annual Cooper Tires Karting Shootout to promote and support the new partnership.
“A partnership between The Lucas Oil School of Racing and Andersen Promotions is a no-brainer,” said Neil Enerson, Lucas Oil School of Racing Founder and CEO. “It's an honor to be named the Official Driving School of the Road To Indy Presented by Cooper Tires and we look forward to cultivating the next crop of Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship drivers.
“As the dad to a successful graduate of the Road To Indy and team owner, I'm in a unique position to understand what it takes to move from karting to a professional race car driver at the top tier. My staff of passionate racers at the Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series have pooled years of experience to create a race series that will teach drivers what is expected of them – both on and off the track – at the next level of their racing careers."
The Lucas Oil School of Racing and the Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series will travel next to New Jersey Motorsports Park for basic and advanced classes on July 9/10 and the next championship rounds on July 16/17. The series is currently led by 16-year-old Jackson Lee of Avon, Ind.
The Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires will be back in action north of the border in Toronto, Ont., Canada on July 13/14.
Antoine Massé will fly the French flag in front of his home fans at the TitansRX season opener in Essay. Last season, the 28-year-old crowned himself French Rallycross Supercar Champion for the first time and now makes his debut on European level in the brand-new TitansRX Series. “I am super-excited to be part of TitansRX. Rallycross is what I love doing and following my success in the French Championship, this is the next step to take. It’s particularly cool to make my debut in front of my home fans, of course,” Massé said to the delight of TitansRX CEO Max J. Pucher.
The Frenchman started his motorsport career in the national Rallycross Championship in 2008. He finished on P4 overall in the Logan Rallycross Cup before switching to Rally and the Suzuki Swift Cup the same year. Massé later entered the Citroen Racing Junior Trophy, where he took three wins to come runner-up, before moving to the Opel Adam Cup (P5 in 2014). At the beginning of 2018, he decided to give Rallycross another try, piloting the same Peugeot 208 that had helped Sebastien Loeb win his first World RX event. With five wins in the last six races, Massé was able to intercept favourite Guerlain Chicherit for the French Supercar title.
Grosset-Janin subbing for Sarrazin
Another Frenchman will participate in the opening round: Jérôme Grosset-Janin will replace compatriot Stephane Sarrazin, who has unexpected time conflicts. “Although it’s unfortunate that Steph had to pull out last minute, we are very happy to have found such a valuable substitute so quickly in Jerome,” Pucher was relieved.
“I am very happy that the opportunity opened up to take part in the first race of TitansRX Europe 2019 at Essay. This is a fantastic chance for any driver to compete on such a high level of world class drivers. I can’t wait to see how far TitansRX will take us,” Grosset-Janin said.
Grosset-Janin began his career in ice racing in 2003 and competed highly successfully in the renowned Andros Trophy. Aged 22, he then switched to rallying and finished third in the 2006 French Asphalt Rally Championship, becoming the youngest driver to win a rally. From 2009 onwards, it was back to rallycross for Grosset-Janin, who crowned himself national champion in 2013. The title win earned him several starts in the World Rallycross Championship the next season, and after coming second overall in the European Rallycross Supercar Series twice, he received a fulltime drive with GC Kompetition Renault in the worlds for 2018. He took his first podium on top level in Sweden that season.
“We are so glad have two French top drivers with Antoine Massé and Jerome Grosset-Janine in the field. In general, we at TitansRX Europe are all thrilled to bring the future of Rallycross Supercars to the first iconic Rallycross track of the series, Essay-Ducs. Twelve racing superstars and Rallycross greats will battle it out with identical PanteraRX6 cars that are as fast as FIA Supercars. An updated regulation and points system which promote more action on the track should provide best in Rallycross competition”, Pucher added.
The inaugural TitansRX season will start in Essay, France, on June 29/30.
Venomous strike: The all-new 2020 Mustang Shelby GT500 will produce 760 horsepower and 625 lb.-ft. of torque, making it the most powerful street-legal Ford ever – with the most power- and torque-dense supercharged production V8 engine in the world.
Mika Häkkinen to Drive the Historic 1970 McLaren M8D Can-Am ‘Batmobile’ at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion25 Jun 2019
American racing legend Dan Gurney and British Formula One driver Peter Gethin each raced the “Batmobile” during the 1970 Can-Am season as teammates to Denny Hulme following the tragic loss of Bruce McLaren. Gurney drove it during the first three races of the season, winning twice from the pole position at Mosport and Mont-Tremblant. Gethin raced the car seven times, scoring a victory at Road America along with two other podiums. The car was used as a spare for Bruce McLaren Motor Racing drivers Peter Revson and Denny Hulme in 1971 and was in privateer hands from 1972 to 1974.
The vivid papaya-colored race car is powered by a roaring 7.6-liter Chevrolet engine. The high strut-mounted rear wing of its predecessor – the M8B – had been banned by Can-Am, so the M8D's rear wing was mounted low on fins, earning the car’s "Batmobile" nickname.
The McLaren team dominated the 1970 season with nine wins in the 10-round championship. McLaren drivers Bruce McLaren, Denny Hulme and Peter Revson had won five straight Can-Am championships from 1967 to 1971.
This will mark the third consecutive year that Häkkinen, who had not previously driven at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, will make demonstration laps at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. He drove the 1974 McLaren M23 in 2017 and the 1995 McLaren F1 GTR in 2018.
"This track is fun, really enjoyable," said Häkkinen. "The track goes up and down, and some of the corners have great camber. It looks tighter than it is from a distance, so you need a lot of guts to brake later and take the right line."
Häkkinen will make spirited exhibition laps in the M8D/3 in the noon hour during the first three days of the four-day event. (Race schedule) The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion takes place August 15-18 and will honor the 50th anniversary of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). Tickets and information are available by visiting www.WeatherTechRaceway.com or calling 831-242-8200.
The new partnership will offer the top-three finishers in the Road to Indy ladder series – the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires – a waived entry fee (NZ$5,000, approximately $3,300 USD) for the 2020 Castrol Toyota Racing Series season to hone their skills with significant track time at five circuits on New Zealand’s North and South Islands aboard the newly unveiled state-of-the-art Tatuus FT-60.
For drivers who have competed in all five rounds of the 2019 Castrol Toyota Racing Series, an opportunity to test the waters in either USF2000, Indy Pro 2000 or Indy Lights is on offer with entry fees waived for the traditional two-day Chris Griffis Memorial test this fall or the two-day Spring Training outing the beginning of next year. All drivers will also receive one set of Cooper tires for the test event they select.
In addition, joint marketing programs will be implemented to showcase the Road to Indy as an excellent career option for aspiring young drivers who want to follow the path of New Zealand racing legend Scott Dixon, five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion, Indianapolis 500 winner and former Indy Lights champion, and to highlight the benefits of off-season training in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series in preparation for full-season campaigns.
“We are very pleased to announce our new partnership with Toyota GAZOO Racing,” said Dan Andersen, Owner and CEO of Andersen Promotions. “This is a great opportunity for our drivers to compete against some of the best young competitors in the world. With their schedule of five triple-headers in a row, our drivers will have plenty of track time in equipment that is relevant, further strengthening their skills and helping to prepare them for the next step on our ladder.
“We are also excited to offer the opportunity for their drivers to come and see what the Road to Indy is all about. Both the Chris Griffis test and Spring Training provide an excellent opportunity for plenty of seat time, and drivers can decide what level on the ladder is appropriate for them. With USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 using the Tatuus chassis and Sadev six-speed sequential gearbox – which are also used by the Toyota series – drivers will be quick to adapt to our equipment packages.”
The Castrol Toyota Racing Series 2020 schedule will kick off on January 17 at Highlands Motorsport Park followed by Teretonga Park (January 24-26), Hampton Downs Motorsports Park (January 31-February 2), Pukekohe or Taupo – TBC (February 7-9) and Manfeild – Circuit Chris Amon (February 14-16).
“Scott Dixon is a shining light for many young drivers in New Zealand and indeed many who come and compete in the Castrol Toyota Racing Series,” said Nicolas Caillol, Castrol Toyota Racing Series Category Manager. “Any initiative that eases the path into the U.S. racing scene or creates potential opportunities will be a welcome one. Other IndyCar drivers like Indy 500 Rookie of the Year Santino Ferrucci and Jordan King have also benefitted from their time competing in New Zealand in January and February and we'd love to see more coming to develop their skills in our series as part of their development path. It's now a little bit easier for drivers on that development path."
Eves’ teammate Darren Keane, from Boca Raton, Fla., followed him home in second place after a protracted battle with Saturday’s race winner McElrea, from Gold Coast, Australia. McElrea, who earned his opportunity this year after winning the Mazda Road to Indy USF2000 $200K Scholarship Shootout in December, had survived a scare even before the start when his engine went into limp-mode on the pre-grid. Thankfully, Elite Engines’ Steve Knapp was on hand to rectify the problem and send McElrea on his way.
The New Zealander made a good start to maintain his advantage around the first 4.014-mile lap, but Eves took advantage of a strong draft at the end of the first lap to slingshot past into the lead at Turn One. He was never seriously challenged thereafter on the way to his fifth win of the young season and yet another PFC Award for race-winning car owners Dominic and Nicholas Cape. Eves now holds a 41-point margin over McElrea with seven of the season’s 15 races in the books.
In his wake, McElrea became embroiled in a thrilling battle for second with Denmark’s Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development), Pabst Racing teammate Colin Kaminsky, from Homer Glen, Ill., and Keane. The quartet exchanged positions on a regular basis until Lap Nine, when McElrea made an incisive move to pass his teammate Kaminsky. Immediately behind, Rasmussen spun while trying to hold on around the outside of Keane. The Dane rejoined in fifth.
Later in the lap, at the Carousel, Kaminsky ran a little wide onto the grass which enabled Keane to slip past into third. Keane and McElrea then continued to fight it out for the runner-up position. The decisive pass came at Turn Five on Lap 11 as Keane squeezed through and just held off McElrea’s attempts to regain the position over the final couple of laps.
Squabbles all the way down the 18-car field ensured an exciting 12-lap race and plenty of action for an enthusiastic crowd at America’s National Park of Speed.
Mexico’s Manuel Sulaiman (DEForce Racing) and Frenchman Alex Baron (Legacy Autosport) both picked up drive-through penalties for blocking, which enabled 14-year-old Jak Crawford (DEForce Racing), from Houston, Texas, to emerge in sixth place ahead of Eduardo Barrichello (Miller Vinatieri Motorsports). The Brazilian second-generation racer earned the Tilton Hard Charger Award after battling his way from 13th on the grid.
Matt Round-Garrido also drove impressively for BN Racing. The Englishman encountered a problem in Turn Six on the opening lap when his gearbox suddenly fell into neutral, dropping him to the tail of the field. Last year’s Northern Ireland Formula Ford 1600 champion methodically worked his way up to eighth at the checkered flag, with Australian Cameron Shields (Newman Wachs Racing) and Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports), from San Juan, Puerto Rico, completing the top 10.
Provisional championship points after seven of 15 races:
1. Braden Eves, 204
2. Hunter McElrea, 163
3. Colin Kaminsky, 131
4. Darren Keane, 121
5. Cameron Shields, 118
6. Manuel Sulaiman, 105
7. Alex Baron, 92
8. Christian Rasmussen, 84
9. Reece Gold, 84
10. Bruna Tomaselli, 79