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
Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, today announced its support for the Women Riders World Relay, a world-wide motorcycle tour exclusively for women that strives to ignite a global sisterhood to inspire unity and passion across cultures worldwide. Motorcycle ownership among women has steadily increased in the United States. In 2009 only 10% of motorcycle owners were women, while a 2018 survey from the Motorcycle Industry Council (MIC) reports that number has climbed to 19% over the last 10 years.
The global relay enters the United States on September 25 through Calais, Maine. Guardians of the baton will ride a total of 18 legs spanning 18 days before passing the baton into Mexico out of Laredo, Texas on October 12. During the tour, the Women Riders World Relay will stop at historic motorcycle landmarks including the Wood Museum of Springfield History which is home to the birthplace of Indian Motorcycle and the Indian Motorcycle Collection in Springfield, Massachusetts; The AMA Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio; the Indian Motorcycle factory in Spirit Lake, Iowa; and a day of dirt riding with the Colorado GS Girls.
“No matter gender, race, or religion, riding around the world is an incredible feat, and we’re proud to be support these female riders who enjoy the escape, the freedom and the comradery you get when riding motorcycles,” said Reid Wilson, Vice President of Indian Motorcycle “When we first learned about the Women Riders World Relay, we wanted to help in any way possible, as our core values aligns with theirs. We are proud to welcome and support our women riders and hope to inspire courage, unity and pride for generations to come.”
Women Riders World Relay was founded by UK motorcycle enthusiast Hayley Bell to shine a light on a widely overlooked segment of riders. The global ride made its very first debut on February 26 and will conclude in the United Arab Emirates in February of 2020. Hayley, among other female riders, help pave the way for the growing landscape of women riders through inspiring events such as the Women Riders World Relay.
Ride leaders of the Women Riders World Relay will be riding Indian Motorcycle Chieftain and Roadmaster motorcycles, bikes that offer modern, streamlined designs, technology, multiple ride modes, and comfortable riding position appeal to female riders of all skill levels.
Another hard-fought season of Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires open-wheel competition will conclude this weekend, September 20-22, at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. The Cooper Tires Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products will comprise a pair of races for each step on the internationally acclaimed development ladder – Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship – all held in conjunction with the final round of the NTT IndyCar Series.
The world-renowned road course features a wide variety of turns within its 2.238-mile length, including the notorious “Corkscrew” turn which incorporates a sharp left-hand turn, followed immediately by a steep drop equivalent to approximately six stories in height and a sweeping, downhill right-hand corner that demands the best of both man and machine. Situated just a few miles from the Monterey Peninsula, Big Sur and the Pebble Beach golf haven on California’s scenic Central Coast, WeatherTech Raceway provides some of the best spectator viewing.
Most of the Team and Driver Championships remain undecided prior to the final weekend of the season, but an impressive total valued at more than $2.2 million will be distributed on Monday during the traditional Road to Indy Presented by Cooper Tires Championship Celebration at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in nearby Monterey, Calif.
Askew to Clinch Where his Journey Began
A pair of podium finishes in the two most recent Indy Lights races at Portland International Raceway meant that rising open-wheel star Oliver Askew, 22, from Jupiter, Fla., essentially needs only to take the green flag for Andretti Autosport in this weekend’s final two races to be assured of a scholarship which will guarantee him entry into a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series races in 2020, including the 104th Indianapolis 500.
The fact that Askew will formally clinch his third Road to Indy Scholarship at the Californian venue is entirely appropriate, since it was at the same legendary track that his auto racing career effectively began in 2016. After winning a coveted Mazda Road to Indy $200K USF2000 Scholarship Shootout, Askew went on to claim the following year’s USF2000 Championship. Now, just three years later – after recently gaining his first taste of an Indy car with Chip Ganassi Racing at Portland – he is on the verge of completing a meteoric rise from karting to the pinnacle of the sport.
“I am excited to be heading to Laguna Seca this weekend for the season finale,” said Askew. “It is pretty cool and unique to think that my Road to Indy career started and could hopefully end here. We are focused on capping off the season with a pair of race wins and we know we will bring home this championship.”
Askew’s principal rival, young Dutchman Rinus VeeKay, has mirrored Askew’s progress through the ranks. VeeKay, who recently celebrated his 19th birthday, finished second to fellow USF2000 rookie Askew in 2017, then earned his own scholarship by stylishly securing last year’s Indy Pro 2000 Championship. This year he and Juncos Racing seem set to play second fiddle but VeeKay has every intention of rounding out his equally impressive Road to Indy career with victory on the West Coast. He, too, seems set for a long career in IndyCar racing.
Askew’s Andretti Autosport teammates, Ryan Norman, from Aurora, Ohio, and Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y., have both tasted the spoils of victory this year and will be seeking more hardware this weekend.
Meanwhile, one of the hottest properties in recent events has been Toby Sowery. The 23-year-old from Cambridge, England, began his first full season of racing in North America on a wing and a prayer, but six months after earning two trips to the podium on his very first visit to the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla., Sowery recently secured a richly deserved maiden race win for the reconstituted HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey organization at Portland. Teammate and fellow rookie David Malukas, from Chicago, Ill., is the youngest driver in the field at age 17, but he, too, has made a strong impression with a pair of podium finishes.
Norman, Sowery and Megennis are entrenched in a three-way battle for third in the championship with 14 points separating the trio. Andretti Autosport has already secured its second consecutive Team Championship.
The Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products will begin with a 45-minute practice session at 9:30 a.m. PDT on Friday, September 20, followed by qualifying for Race One at 3:55 p.m. Qualifying for Race Two is set for 9:15 a.m. on Saturday. The green flag for Race One, to be held over 30 laps, will fly at 3:10 p.m. Saturday afternoon, with the 35-lap Race Two contest set for 9:10 a.m. on Sunday.
In the U.S., both races will air live and on demand on NBC Sports Gold with practice and qualifying coverage carried via live streaming on the Road to Indy TV App, RoadToIndy.TV, indylights.com and indycar.com. Internationally, all practice, qualifying and race events will be live streamed on the Road to Indy TV App, RoadToIndy.TV and at indylights.com. Additional coverage can also be found on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts which airs live on network affiliates, Sirius 216, XM 209, indycar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile App powered by NTT Data.
Kirkwood Poised to Clinch Indy Pro 2000 Crown
Kyle Kirkwood, who coincidentally hails from the same town, Jupiter, Fla., as Oliver Askew, has put himself in position to go one better than his childhood friend and karting rival. Just one year after dominating the 2018 USF2000 Championship with a record-breaking 12 wins in only 14 races, Kirkwood, 20, is on the verge of adding the Indy Pro 2000 Championship crown following a stunning run of success with Italian-owned RP Motorsport USA which has brought victory in eight of the last nine races.
Kirkwood’s remarkable strike rate of .714 – 20 wins from 28 Road to Indy starts – has seen him turn a 45-point deficit over Juncos Racing’s young Swedish rookie Rasmus Lindh into a 20-point advantage heading into this weekend’s Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products. One more win on Saturday, plus one of the three bonus points on offer for pole position, fastest race lap and leading most laps, would require Kirkwood merely to take the green flag on Sunday to put the crown beyond his rival’s reach. Alternatively, even if Lindh were to sweep the double-header finale, a second and a third-place finish would be enough for Kirkwood to become the first driver since Matthew Brabham in 2012 and 2013 to clinch consecutive USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 championships.
The battle for third in the points table is equally finely poised, with Canadian Parker Thompson (Abel Motorsports), Singapore’s Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport) and Sting Ray Robb (Juncos Racing), from Payette, Idaho, all blanketed by 20 points. Thompson and Frost already have a pair of race wins under their belts, while Robb is anxious to add his name to that roster after finishing on the podium no fewer than five times this year. Robb also snagged his first career pole last time out at Portland.
The largest field of the season, 15 cars, will ensure that the championship contenders will likely not have things all their own way.
Canadian teenager Antonio Serravalle showed impressive speed when his Pserra Racing team joined forces with RP Motorsport USA for the recent races at Portland International Raceway, while local driver Phillippe Denes, from Carmel, Calif., has joined the Exclusive Autosport team for this weekend alongside Frost and Los Angeles-based Russian Nikita Lastochkin.
Other potential contenders will include fellow Russian Artem Petrov (RP Motorsport USA), Louisville, Ky.’s Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports), Canadian Antoine Comeau (Turn 3 Motorsport), the DEForce Racing pair of Kory Enders, who earned a breakthrough first podium finish last month at St. Louis, and Mexico’s Moises de la Vara, plus Englishman Matt Round-Garrido (Jay Howard Driver Development/BN Racing).
In the Team Championship, Juncos Racing leads RP Motorsport USA by 51 points.
A single 30-minute practice session at 11:30 a.m. PDT on Friday will precede a pair of 20-minute qualifying periods at 5:15 p.m. on Friday and 11:00 a.m. on Saturday. The two 25-lap races will start at 4:10 p.m. on Saturday and 3:20 p.m. on Sunday, following the IndyCar season finale.
McElrea Holds the Upper Hand in USF2000
The stage is set for the closest Road to Indy title-chase of all, in USF2000, with California-born, Australian-raised New Zealander Hunter McElrea (Pabst Racing) having eked out a slender six-point edge over Braden Eves (Cape Motorsports), from New Albany, Ohio.
That there is even any doubt about who will win the coveted Road to Indy Scholarship, valued at over $300,000 to ensure graduation to Indy Pro 2000 in 2020, speaks volumes for the tenacity of McElrea, who with five of the season’s 15 races in the books trailed his rival by a whopping 44 points.
Eves had picked up the gauntlet laid down by 2018 champion Kirkwood by winning the first four races on the bounce for Cape Motorsports, which, impressively, has claimed the last eight USF2000 drivers’ titles in a row. But fellow rookie McElrea finished on the podium in all four of those races. He then claimed an emotional breakthrough maiden victory at Pabst Racing’s home track, Road America, in June. More recently McElrea, 19, has claimed three consecutive wins of his own, at Mid-Ohio and Portland, to elevate himself to status of hunted, rather than hunter, heading into this weekend’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products.
But Eves, 20, bounced back from a sticky mid-season to claim a pair of runner-up finishes in Oregon to keep himself firmly in contention. It promises to be an intriguing battle between two very talented youngsters.
The Team Championship is equally finely poised with Pabst Racing, which is searching for a third straight championship – and an overdue first drivers’ title – currently just three points ahead of Cape Motorsports.
Darren Keane (Cape Motorsports), from Boca Raton, Fla., and Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing) from Homer Glen, Ill., are separated by just four points in their quest for third in the standings, while Danish rookie Christian Rasmussen has closed to within a dozen points after claiming two wins and five podium finishes in his last six starts for Jay Howard Driver Development.
Jak Crawford, from Houston, Texas, is one of no fewer than three 14-year-olds among the 18-car entry list alongside Cape Motorsports teammate Reece Gold, from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and local driver Nolan Siegel, from Palo Alto, Calif., who will be making his home-track debut with Newman Wachs Racing.
Second-generation racer Eduardo Barrichello, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, showed good speed after joining DEForce Racing for the first time at Portland three weeks ago, while Mexican teammate Manuel Sulaiman is seeking to rekindle the form that brought him two podiums in the first three races of the season.
Ayrton Ori (Legacy Autosport), from Orlando, Fla., will once again join Portland podium finisher Zach Holden, from Greenfield, Ind., in the two-car Legacy Autosport team, while Wyatt Brichacek, from Johnstown, Colo., also seeks to gain experience ahead of a potential full-season program in 2020 by making his USF2000 debut with Jay Howard Driver Development.
The USF2000 schedule will mimic that of Indy Pro 2000 with 30 minutes of practice at 8:45 a.m. PDT on Friday followed by 20-minute qualifying sessions at 4:40 p.m. and 8:40 a.m. on Saturday. Their pair of 20-lap races are set to go green at 5:05 p.m. on Saturday and 10:25 a.m. on Sunday.
Both USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 will feature global live streaming of all sessions on the Road to Indy TV App, RoadToIndy.TV, usf2000.com, indypro2000.com and indycar.com.
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The SCCA® U.S. Majors Tour® Northern Conference has concluded its 2019 calendar. More than 650 racers took part in the Conference’s 12-round season that visited five different venues. Drivers who triumphed have earned a 2019 Northern Conference championship.
The Formula Atlantic Northern Conference championship was decided by five scant points as Paul Ravaris, driving a Pro Formula Mazda, edged out the Swift 016 of Larry Howard, 66 points to 61 points. The Formula Mazda Northern Conference championship was close, too, as Owen McAllister managed to claim victory by only eight points over William Snyder thanks to two wins during the Hoosier Super Tour at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Formula Vee (FV) saw a heck of a championship fight in the Northern Conference as the top three finishers were only separated by seven points. Andrew Whitston and his Protoform P2 took the top spot with 138 points. Zachary Whitston, also driving a Protoform P2, and Stuart Delaney, in a Caracal C-SB, where right behind Andrew with 131 points each. However, Zachary claims the runner-up spot in FV based upon his three victories as compared to Delaney’s two second-place finishes on the season.
Combined, the Spec Miata (SM) and Spec Racer Ford Gen3 (SRF3) classes accounted for more than 180 competitors during the 2019 Northern Conference season. In SM it was Voytek Burdzy who bested 95 other racers to claim a championship. And in SRF3, S. Sandy Satullo III was cream of the crop amongst a field of 90 drivers.
It should be noted that Scott Rettich earned his fourth U.S. Majors Tour Conference championship by claiming victory in the Northern Conference’s Formula Enterprises 2 (FE2) class. Rettich earlier claimed Northeast Conference championships in FE2 and SRF3, and also claimed FE2’s top spot in the Southeast Conference.
The Northern Conference began its racing season in early May with Round 1 and Round 2 at Blackhawk Farms Raceway in South Beloit, Illinois, followed by a competition weekend at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Michigan. Then it was off to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for a Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour event. June saw a second Hoosier Super Tour weekend, this one being the WeatherTech Chicago Region® June Sprints® at Road America. July brought about another race weekend at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, before the season came to a close in August with Round 11 and Round 12 at Grattan Raceway in Belding, Michigan.
Conference points are awarded to the top 20 finishers in each class. Winners earn 25 points, and 21 points go to second. Points are then doled out to others starting with 18 and descending to a single point for the 20th finisher. Only the best eight finishes at Northern Conference races count towards a driver’s point total. Below are Northern Conference champions with Class: Name, Hometown, SCCA Region and Car.
-American Sedan®: Bryan Long; Peoria, IL; Chicago Region; Ford Mustang
-B-Spec: William Wilke; Chelsea, MI; Detroit Region; Ford Fiesta
-E Production: Tim Schreyer; Dubuque, IA; Great River Region; BMW 325is
-F Production: Michael Froh; Elkhart Lake, WI; Milwaukee Region; Mazda Miata
-H Production: Steve Sargis; Frankfort, IL; Blackhawk Valley Region; Triumph Spitfire
-Formula 500: Aaron Ellis; Farmington, MN; Land O'Lakes Region; Ellis AE13
-Formula 1000: Mike Holland; Tulsa, OK; Northeast Oklahoma Region; Van Devin FB
-Formula Atlantic®: Paul Ravaris; Aledo, TX; Texas Region; Pro Formula Mazda
-Formula Continental®: Michael Varacins; Burlington, WI; Chicago Region; Van Diemen RF2000
-Formula Enterprises: Matthew Cutter; Sterling, IL; Blackhawk Valley Region; SCCA FE Mazda
-Formula Enterprises 2: Scott Rettich; Columbus, OH; Ohio Valley Region; SCCA FE2 Mazda
-Formula F: Brandon Lavender; Indianapolis, IN; Ohio Valley Region; Van Diemen RF85
-Formula Mazda: Owen McAllister; Mooresville, NC; Texas Region; Formula Mazda
-Formula Vee®: Andrew Whitston; Neenah, WI; Milwaukee Region; Protoform P2
-GT-1: Dave Ruehlow; Hartland, WI; Milwaukee Region; Chevrolet Corvette
-GT-2: Timothy Gray; Minneapolis, MN; Land O'Lakes Region; Ford Cope Mustang
-GT-3: Rob Warkocki; Frankfort, IL; Chicago Region; Mazda RX-7
-GT-Lite: William Meyer; Russellville, MO; St Louis Region; Mazda Miata
-Prototype 1: Gary Peck; Rockford, IL; Blackhawk Valley Region; Stohr WF1
-Prototype 2: Michael Reupert; Hubertus, WI; Milwaukee Region; Nostendo 1
-Spec Miata: Voytek Burdzy; Shiller Park, IL; Blackhawk Valley Region; Mazda Miata
-Spec Racer Ford 3: S. Sandy Satullo III; Hillsboro Beach, FL; NeOhio Region; SCCA Enterprises SRF3
-Super Touring® Lite: David Palfenier; Hinkley, IL; Chicago Region; Mazda Miata
-Super Touring® Under: Bruce Bannister; Novi, MI; Detroit Region; Mazda Miata
-Touring 1: Craig Capaldi; New Baltimore, MI; Detroit Region; Ford Boss 302 Mustang
-Touring 2: Joseph Boden; Winnetka, IL; Chicago Region; Porsche 997
-Touring 3: James Berlin; Savage, MN; Land O'Lakes Region; Nissan 350Z
-Touring 4: James Ebben; Appleton, WI; Milwaukee Region; Mazda MX-5
The U.S. Majors Tour is one pathway to the 2019 SCCA National Championship Runoffs® being held Oct. 8-13 at VIRginia International Raceway along the border of North Carolina and Virginia. U.S. Majors Tour drivers qualify for the Runoffs by participating in three U.S. Majors Tour weekends and starting at least three U.S. Majors Tour races in the same car class over the course of the season.
The Sports Car Club of America®, Inc., founded in 1944 and currently celebrating its 75th Diamond Anniversary, is a 67,500-member motorsports organization that incorporates all facets of autocross, rally and road racing at both Club and professional levels. With headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, the SCCA annually sanctions over 2,000 events through its 116 Regions and subsidiary divisions. Much of the SCCA’s activities are made possible with support from the following Official Partners: Hagerty, the Official Insurance Partner of SCCA; Hawk Performance, the Official Brake Products of SCCA; Sunoco, the Official Fuel of SCCA; and Tire Rack, the Official Tire Retailer of SCCA. To learn more, please visit www.scca.com.
Photo: Andrew Whitston claimed the Northern Conf. Formula Vee title in his Protoform P2 car.
Photo Credit: Michael Berchak
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Today, Budweiser announced the release of its limited edition, vintage-style Budweiser Racing Team apparel line inspired by the apparel P.L. Newman wore at his historic win at Watkins Glen as part of the Grand Prix Festival and Vintage Grand Prix 40 years ago.
The new line featuring shirts, jackets and caps, makes Bud Racing Team’s all-American spirit accessible to a new generation of fans by telling its rich motorsport history. The apparel references both the original Budweiser Racing Team spirit and today’s fashion and street culture and is available for purchase online at shopbudweiser.com and through Budweiser’s Instagram page (@budweiserusa).
In honor or Newman’s legacy of altruism, proceeds of the apparel will go to the International Motor Racing Research Center, an organization that preserves American motor racing history for future generations.
Earlier this month, Budweiser brought P.L. Newman’s 1979 Datsun racecar back to Watkins Glen, 40 years after his historic win there as part of the Grand Prix Festival and Vintage Grand Prix. Budweiser gave the fans the opportunity to experience the spirit and glory of 1979 by running Newman’s car in a parade lap of the world-famous track, participating in the Grand Prix Festival and recreating the legendary parties at the Seneca Lodge. You can find a video recapping the weekend’s festivities here