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
Due to an unfortunate event, The Heart of Racing team has withdrawn from the 58th running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. Following an incident close to pit entry with the #47 PPM Lamborghini Huracan at close to five hours in, the car sustained damage that although is repairable, is not repairable on site.
The Heart of Racing team returned to Daytona International Speedway this weekend to compete as a newly re-established team, with the new-to-the-team Aston Martin Vantage GT3. Practice was focused on set up and learning as much about the car as possible. Qualifying went as expected with the strategy focused on the endurance aspect.
In addition, the team came here to raise awareness and funds for the 501(c)(3) Team Seattle Guild, which funds equipment for the pediatric cardiology unit of Seattle Children’s Hospital as well as research and training of doctors and surgeons worldwide. Thanks to the team and the Guild’s efforts this weekend, a figure of over $100,000 has been raised so far.
The team will now return to their Florida base to regroup and repair, with the aim to come back fighting at the next event in Sebring in March. Back in 2016, the team enjoyed a class victory at this event and look forward to the opportunity to prove themselves once again.
"Definitely not the way we wanted to end our weekend in Daytona. The race was hard from the beginning, but the team did a great job at finding ways to improve the car during the race. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the most out of what I think is a very good car, but I feel very lucky to be part of a great family and I am sure we will return stronger at Sebring.”
"Unfortunate end to a promising debut for the team, but racing is full of ups and downs and I am proud of the way the whole team and drivers executed this weekend. I look forward to Sebring and the rest of the year with this extended family, The Heart of Racing.”
BMW Outlasts Porsche Onslaught for Back-to-Back Rolex 24 At Daytona Wins in WeatherTech Championship GTLM Class28 Jan 2020
If Ken Roczen had any naysayers left, those cynics were certainly silenced Saturday night when the rider of the Wiseco-sponsored No. 94 Honda CRF450R captured his second win of the season when Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, made its annual visit to State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Roczen was poetry in motion Saturday night, scripting three perfect sonnets to collect wins in all three premiere 450SX Class main events in the first of three Triple Crown races on the 2020 schedule.
The triple crown format features a three-race showdown where both the 450SX and 250SX Classes compete in three main events. Each triple crown race features Olympic-style scoring, where the rider with the lowest point tally at the end of the night collects the overall win.
Roczen tallied a perfect 1-1-1 score across all three 12-minute-plus-one-lap main events to stretch his championship lead to eight points over second place Eli Tomac.
Despite the grueling nature of Supercross as a whole, never mind the challenges that come along with Triple Crown rounds, Roczen made it look easy by leading 38 out of 39 total laps in the night. Despite two red flags, requiring the 22-rider field to return to the starting gate twice for restarts, Roczen never wavered, delivering three top-of-the box performances.
“I had good battles with Eli (Tomac) all night,” commented Roczen during his post-race media availability. “I’m just having a lot of fun. I’m really confident in my starts right now, so that helps. Those red flags are never fun to see, especially for the person who went down. When you line back up for a restart, there are 22 guys going down the start straight heading for the first turn so there’s some sketchiness happening there. The extra start definitely doesn’t help.”
“Overall, we just stayed out of trouble and got two holeshots. I rode really well … and we were really focused. I’m still blown away by having three main event wins. It’s great. I had an awesome time.”
Roczen’s Team Honda HRC teammate Justin Brayton turned in a respectable 7-7-9 performance to finish sixth overall and record his best effort of the season. Always a fan favorite and one of the sport’s longest tenured journeymen, Brayton notched his 155th career start Saturday night and brought home his fourth top-10 of the year.
“The night went pretty good, but I had a lot of bad starts for some reason,” explained Brayton. “I really struggled with track position at the beginning of the race and I came from the back pretty much all three races. I’m a little disappointed in that because I felt like with my lap times, a better track position could have given me a top-five finish. But to end up sixth is nothing to hang our heads for at all. It was a positive night, awesome to see Kenny get the win, and the team’s just gelling really well right now. Everyone’s doing an amazing job and I keep getting better and better every weekend. I hope to keep this momentum rolling and be in the top five next week.”
In Western Regional 250SX class action, GEICO Honda’s Christian Craig looked strong early on aboard his Wiseco-powered machine, securing a solid third-place effort in the opening main event for the junior circuit. Much to his chagrin and for the third week in a row, an incident on the track found him heading back to the pit and paddock area prior to the checkered flag.
Unfortunately, Craig left Round 4 with injuries that will keep him sidelined for the next two races, but a welcome break in the Western Regional schedule will give him plenty of time to recover before his planned return at the end of March for the Seattle Supercross.
“I was super excited to be back in Glendale,” said Craig. “That’s where I won a few years ago and I just love the dirt, stadium and fans there. The whoops were pretty good, too, and didn’t break down much which suits me well. I really felt like it was my night to at least podium if not better. The first main was pretty good. I got the holeshot then some contact with another rider shot me off the track, but I was still able to make my way up to third from probably seventh or eighth. I was pumped on my riding in that first main. Second main, bunch of us were going into a corner after the sand and I grabbed my brake a little too hard. So, it was just one thing after another. I can be a front runner, which makes me happy, but set back after set back gets frustrating. I’ll get myself all fixed up and be back in Seattle."
Monster Energy AMA Supercross returns to northern California this weekend when the series will make its annual trek to Oakland’s RingCentral Coliseum. The fifth of 17 races on the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross schedule will be televised live on NBCSN Sat., February 1 beginning at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, 5:30 p.m. Pacific.
Team owner Wayne Taylor, forced to shuffle the deck this year when it came to assembling a driver lineup for the 58th Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, came up with a full house of talent. The result: a successful defense of last year’s championship and a third victory in the last four years in North America’s premier sports car race at Daytona International Speedway.
With the exit of his son Jordan to another team and the absence of Formula 1 legend Fernando Alonso, who joined the team only for last year’s Rolex 24, Taylor landed former and current IndyCar Series stars Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon to join returnees Kamui Kobayashi and Renger van der Zande. The foursome co-drove the increasingly iconic No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi to the victory, giving Taylor his fourth Rolex 24 championship as an owner; Taylor also co-drove to victory twice, during his driving days. Dixon, a former Indianapolis 500 champion, came home a Rolex 24 champion for the third time.
Kobayashi brought the Cadillac home Sunday afternoon with a final two-and-a-half-hour stint. The team overcame a stutter-step just after 8:15 a.m., with nearly five-and-a-half hours remaining, Briscoe ran a red light at the pit road exit; the penalty was a stop-and-go the next time around, plus 60 seconds. The lead was lost to the No. 5 Cadillac DPi driven by Loic Duval. At 9:45 a.m., during a round of pit stops with Briscoe back at the wheel, the No. 10 retook the lead for good.
“Just keeping it on the track [was the key],” Briscoe said. “Kamui did a fantastic job the last two-and-a-half hours. We knew the car was fast. We were just relieved there were no yellows at the end so we could maintain the lead. Just so proud of all these guys. Wayne just puts together this program and they are always a car that can win the Rolex 24. Amazing to be a part of it. Whew! We did it.”
As expected, with a slightly smaller field (38 cars) compared to some years, the race pace was relentless and caution periods (33 laps total) were minimal. A total of 833 laps were run on the 3.56-mile road course, equating to 2,965 miles – both race records. The distance traveled by the three cars who finished on the lead lap was roughly the equivalent to a Daytona Beach-Napa Valley cross-country road trip.
Kobayashi crossed the finish line 1 minute, 05.426 seconds ahead of the pole-sitting No. 77 Mazda DPi co-driven by Oliver Jarvis, Tristan Nunez and Olivier Pla. The No. 5 Cadillac finished third, co-driven by Duval, Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais.
“As everybody knows this is a very difficult race to win,” said Taylor, a native of South Africa and a longtime Orlando area resident. “This year was probably more difficult than any other year. We had a [lower] car count, which meant there was not going to be a whole lot of yellows so pretty much everybody was running flat-out the entire time, working really hard.
“Truly, the team was really outstanding. These drivers … can’t say enough about them. They’re like superstars [but] there are no egos. This is a team event and everybody is focusing on the big picture and that’s to win for everybody.”
In addition to capturing the overall championship, Taylor’s team also topped the headlining Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class. Three other classes also competed simultaneously – Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2), GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD).
The No. 81 ORECA co-driven by Colin Braun, Henrik Hedman, Ben Hanley and Harrison Newey won the LMP2 title. GTLM was won by John Edwards, Augusto Farfus, Chaz Mostert and Jesse Krohn in the No. 24 BMW M8. And in GTD, Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers, Corey Lewis and Andrea Caldarelli drove the No. 48 Audi R8 to victory.
The Rolex 24 – the season-opening race for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season – once again attracted an “all-star” field featuring six former Indianapolis 500 champions plus the two-time and reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion, Kyle Busch. Competing in the Rolex 24 for the first time, Busch co-drove the No. 14 Lexus RC F with Jack Hawksworth, Michael De Quesada and Parker Chase.
Busch nonetheless looked like a sports car veteran at times, doing both double and triple stints to help push the No. 14 to a respectable ninth-place finish in the production-based GTD class. That was no small task. His team’s chances for a class victory took a double hit this weekend: first, when the team didn’t qualify on Thursday because of an engine change, resulting in a rear-of-the-field start; then, when a brake change caused a crippling 10-minute pit stop just before 4:30 a.m., nearly 15 hours into the twice-around-the-clock race.
“We just didn’t have the long-run pace,” Busch said. “Our tires would [wear] and overall it was a real handful there late in runs. That’s kind of where we lost ground. But getting that first 24-hour go was pretty cool so we will see what happens [in the future].”
Auto racing resumes Feb. 8-16 at Daytona International Speedway, with DAYTONA Speedweeks Presented By AdventHealth, a nine-day slate of NASCAR racing capped by the 62nd annual DAYTONA 500 – “The Great American Race” – on Sunday, Feb. 16.
Tickets for all Daytona International Speedway events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway's mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.
Kyle Kirkwood, will join the Andretti Autosport Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires team for the 2020 season26 Jan 2020
The 2019 Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires champion, Kyle Kirkwood, will join the Andretti Autosport Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires team for the 2020 season. The rookie stand-out will drive the No. 28 car for the reigning championship team.
“We are very excited about the addition of Kyle to our Indy Lights program,” said Michael Andretti, CEO and Chairman, Andretti Autosport. “We’ve followed Kyle’s career from when he started in 2018 with the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship and have been impressed with his success in every race that led to his Indy Pro 2000 Championship last year. As a championship-caliber team, Kyle displays the desire and talent that we look for in our drivers and are excited to see him hit the track for the 2020 Indy Lights season.”
A native of Jupiter, Florida, Kirkwood started his Road to Indy journey in the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship in 2018, where he claimed 12 wins in 14 races [a series record tied with J.R. Hildebrand] and stood on the podium 13 times. In dominating fashion, Kirkwood captured the championship title, earning a scholarship to compete in the Indy Pro 2000 Championship where he won nine races in 2019 in his fight for the series title.
“I am ecstatic that I can now say I am competing in Indy Lights with Andretti Autosport this season,” said Kirkwood. “They have established a winning program in Indy Lights and we plan on carrying that reputation throughout 2020. We are a fantastic match for each other and our Sebring test in December proved that.”
Without a family background in racing, Kirkwood has earned four championships in three years [F4 United States Championship/’17, USF2000 Championship/’18, F3 United States Championship/’18, and Indy Pro 2000 Championship/’19]. Since 2017, the 21-year old has racked up 47 wins and 55 podiums in 71 starts.
Kirkwood will take to the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, for the Indy Lights season opener March 13 – 15.
For more information, visit AndrettiAutosport.com.
- Based on a new chassis common to both ACO and IMSA, using elements of the Le Mans Hypercar and LMP2 chassis, and built by the four current LMP2 manufacturers: Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic and Oreca. This chassis will also be used for the new generation LMP2.
- The car will use a common hybrid KERS system, on the rear axle.
- Its silhouette and design will be modifiable, developed according to the brand or style of the manufacturer which will provide the engine power for the car
Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG Wins Second Consecutive IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Endurance Race as Season-Opener Ends Under Caution26 Jan 2020