Racing News
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  

  

 

After a long six-week haul around the midwest, the Trans Am Championship presented by Pirelli summer stretch comes to a close this weekend at Watkins Glen International for a four-day celebration of American motorsport alongside SVRA for the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix. 

Watkins Glen’s 3.4-mile Grand Prix course is the final outing  on an intense late summer run of events that has included visits to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and Road America. 

The Glen weekend will feature two 100-mile rounds of Trans Am action, featuring the TA2 powered by AEM class on Saturday and the multi-class Trans Am, Super GT and GT race on Sunday. With only four rounds remaining in the 2019 season, it’s make-or-break time for numerous Trans Am Series competitors and teams vying for their chance at the 2019 title. 

Following a tumultuous race at Road America, Chris Dyson is chasing a rebound at Watkins Glen from behind the wheel of the No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang. 

Entering the Ryan Companies Road America Classic, Dyson led the TA championship by a narrow margin over Ernie Francis Jr, but an early brake failure sent Dyson’s white and red Mustang into a wall and out of the race early. Although Dyson earned points for starting on pole and finishing 10th, it wasn’t enough to keep the defending TA champ Francis Jr. in the No. 98 Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang from capitalizing on Dyson’s misfortune to take the championship lead by nine points. 

While Dyson and Francis Jr. have defended the front lines in the TA class since the Indianapolis round, the No. 8 Lucas Oil Slick Mist / Axalta Chevrolet Camaro of Tomy Drissi was missing from the action. 

Sidelined due to injury, Drissi was last seen in the Burtin Racing lineup in May at Lime Rock Park.  Drissi rejoins the field at a track where he had great success in 2018. Last season at Watkins Glen, in a race that saw four different leaders, Drissi held off his hard-charging Burtin Racing teammate Lawrence Loshak over the course of the final six laps to take the win in the TA class. 

 "I am so excited to be back - it was a long break and I sat a few events out,” said Drissi. “Watkins Glen is a track that brings out the best fans and there is going to be a ton of people there this weekend. I can't wait to see everyone and bring out the Lucas Oil Slick Mist Camaro. I am cleared by the doctor and feeling great. I am coming in with the team really warmed up and I am going to do my best to get up to speed. The Burtin Racing guys have everything ready to go and I will have all the advantages that a driver can have from a team like Burtin and I’m looking to defend our win here from last year.”

After taking second place as a substitute driver for Burtin Racing at Road America, Boris Said returns back to the seat of his No. 2 Technique/SRI/WeaverRacing Dodge Challenger. Last season at The Glen, Said captured his 10th career pole and set the qualifying track record with a flying lap of 1:46.726-seconds around the 11-turn Grand Prix course. After mechanical issues kept him from finishing the race last year, he will be looking for a return to the Trans Am podium for the second race in a row. 

Following an exciting battle at Road America, Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Co. Corvette missed the podium, but will be chasing a top-step finish at Watkins Glen where she’s won before. 

“I’m excited to head to The Glen this weekend, everyone knows it’s my favorite track and we have had successes there – a win in 2016 and a second in 2017 – so I’m counting on a top finish,” Ruman said. “The competition in the series is very stiff this year, but we are still in the hunt for the Championship and anything can happen in these final rounds. We remain third in the points, but I really need a win to help us move up, we will keep pushing!”

Racing out of nearby Williamsville, New York, Paul Fix also returns to the TA roster this weekend as he is set to pilot the No. 4 Ave Motorsports Ford Mustang in pursuit of another top-five finish. 

In the TA2 class, points leader Marc Miller in the No. 40 Prefix / Stevens-Miller Racing Dodge Challenger arrives at Watkins Glen with a sizable 57-point lead over 2018 champion and last year’s Watkins Glen race winner Rafa Matos. 

Close behind Matos in third is Stevens-Miller Racings’s (SMR) Dillon Machavern. After swapping out his Mustang for a Challenger at Road America because of drivetrain issues, Machavern returns to the seat of his signature No. 77 Liqui-Moly / Prefix Ford Mustang. 

“It is a long season and we’re doing all of the right things,” SMR owner Joe Stevens said. “My team is strong, my drivers are ready and I’d love to take the championship with Marc (Miller) and have Dillon  (Machavern) right behind. We have a lot of work to do, but not one of us are going to lift off the throttle until the final checker at Daytona.”

Driving the No. 46 Beverage Flavors International Porsche 991 GT3 Cup, Mark Boden enters the weekend with two wins and three additional podium finishes in the SGT class. With top results early in the season, Boden’s consistent finishes have been challenged since Indianapolis with the return of Tim Kezman and series newcomer Ken Thwaits. Since his reappearance at IMS, Kezman has won two of the last three rounds, once piloting the No. 44 Lemons of Love Porsche 991 GT3 Cup at IMS and again in the No. 64 Fall-Line Motorsports Lemons of Love Audi R8 at Road America. 

“The Audi was great at Road America and is a fun car to drive,” said Kezman. “I’ll probably be back in the Audi at Watkins Glen, because I think it will be a great car for The Glen.”

Another driver returning to the Watkins Glen roster is GT points leader Steven Davison in the Davinci Plastic Surgery Aston Martin Vantage. With a pair of wins and a second-place finish, Davison heads the class as its single entry. 

The Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli field will participate in promoter test days on Wednesday and Thursday before clocking official times in practice Thursday afternoon. Friday kicks off with TA/SGT/GT practice in the morning, followed by a 20-minute TA2 powered by AEM qualifying session in the evening. Saturday opens with the 100-mile TA2 feature at 10:40 a.m. ET with a split-class qualifying TA/SGT/GT starting at 5:50 p.m. ET. The weekend ends with the TA/SGT/GT 100-mile feature starting at 11:20 a.m. ET. 

For live timing and scoring, event photos and post-race recap videos visit GoTransAm.com. For live race updates follow @GoTransAm on Twitter.

 Wiseco Performance Products wrapped up the 2019 outdoor season with a pair of titles north of the border and a determined top-two championship effort at home. 

 Dylan Wright and Colton Facciotti earned championship honors in the 250 Pro and 450 Pro classes, respectively, for Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing in the eight-stop Canadian-based Rockstar Triple Crown Motocross tour.

 Ken Roczen, rider of the No. 94 Honda CRF450R for Team Honda HRC, closed out his 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross campaign second in points with a solid second-place overall finish in the final round of the year at the STACYC Stability Cycles Ironman National in Crawfordsville, Ind.  

 Wright came into the eighth and final round of 2019 with a comfortable lead in points, but left nothing to chance by locking down his first professional 250 Class title with a flawless 1-1 performance a few weekends ago at the legendary Walton Raceway in Ontario, Canada. 

 The multi-time Canadian amateur national champion wrapped up his 2019 program with four overall wins, seven top threes, and just one finish outside the top five where he finished sixth. 

 Facciotti battled teammate Mike Alessi from the first green flag of the season to the final checkered and came away from Round 8 with a 22-point advantage to notch his sixth Canadian 450 Pro Class championship before calling it a career. 

 The rider of the No. 1 Honda CRF450R highlighted his sixth title with a pair of overall wins, three runnerup finishes and a pair of top threes. 

 Meanwhile, Roczen was looking to bounce back aboard his Wiseco-supported Honda following a disappointing 2018 Pro Motocross effort that saw the 25-year-old German rider finish third in the Championship. That stark motivation pushed the two-time 450 Class titlist to better his 2018 effort by one spot to finish second in points on the strength of three overall wins, seven top threes and 10 top-five finishes. 

 Both Ken Roczen’s and teammate Cole Seely’s Honda CRF450Rs flew the Wiseco flag during both the Monster Energy AMA Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship seasons in 2019.
 Wiseco provides Team Honda HRC with proprietary piston and engine research and development services in support of its competitive efforts.
 
 “This season has been tough,” commented Roczen. “We had a lot of ups and downs, but I’ve also checked off and accomplished some goals, including finishing the whole year, battling for wins and getting back to 1-1 at Unadilla. I tried to ride my heart out this year, gave it my all each weekend and never backed down, which is important to me... I think this year will set us up good for 2020, but in the meantime, I’m looking forward to a much-needed break.”
Pro Mod veteran Mike Castellana scored his first career victory at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals, slipping past Rickie Smith on a holeshot in the final round of E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service action on Monday at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis. 
 
The series was presented by Hot Wheels in Indy and marked the ninth of 12 races in 2019. For Castellana, it was his first Indy triumph after finishing as the runner-up two previous times. He went 5.758-seconds at 248.43 mph in the finals in his blown Al-Anabi Performance Camaro, beating Smith’s 5.747 at 250.83 by a mere 17 inches thanks to a better reaction time. It is Castellana’s second win in 2019 and 10th in his E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Series career.
 
“I just go up there and do my own thing and to try to win,” Castellana said. “It was pretty close at the finish line. I knew it was tight. It feels great to win this, especially for my team. They work their butts off all weekend, so it’s great.”
 
Castellana, who qualified second with a 5.751 at 248.93, picked up round wins against Sidnei Frigo, Doug Winters and AAP teammate Brandon Snider to reach the final round. Smith, a three-time world champ and the No. 1 qualifier this weekend, advanced to his 23rd career final round thanks to round wins against Eric Latino, Khalid AlBalooshi and defending world champ Mike Janis.
 
The E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service continues at the AAA Insurance NHRA Midwest Nationals at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Sept. 27-29 in St. Louis. It is the 10th of 12 races during the 2019 season.
A month after picking up his 150th career NHRA win, 16-time Funny Car world champion John Force raced to his fifth career victory at Indy, winning the prestigious 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals on Monday at Lucas Oil Raceway Park at Indianapolis.
 
Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Alex Laughlin (Pro Stock) and Jerry Savoie (Pro Stock Motorcycle) also won in their respective categories at the final regular-season race of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. It is the 18th of 24 events in 2019.
 
Force tied Ed “Ace” McCulloch for the most Funny Car wins in Indy history, powering his PEAK Chevrolet Performance Accessories Chevrolet Camaro SS to a run of 3.919-seconds at 324.44 mph to beat Jack Beckman’s 3.940 at 325.92 in the final round. It is Force’s second win in 2019, 151st in his career and first at Indy since 2002. The legendary driver beat Jonnie Lindberg, points leader Robert Hight and Matt Hagan to reach his first Indy final in five years, capping it off with the impressive victory.
 
“Someday I’ve got to go out that door, and I said two things: It would sure be nice to win a championship and it would sure be nice to win Indy one more time,” Force said. “This race really meant a lot. I didn’t think I would ever get the chance again and I didn’t think I could be that good with the right team that supported me. Racing is what I love to do and I love it so much. Winning Indy, it’s the biggest thing on my bucket list. I never thought I would get the chance again no matter how good I was. This was a big moment for me.”
 
Beckman, the No. 1 qualifier, beat Justin Schriefer, Bob Tasca III and defending world champ J.R. Todd to reach his fourth final round in 2019 and 60th in his career. He will start the Countdown to the Championship in fourth. Force will start from the second position thanks to his memorable win in Indy, trailing only John Force Racing teammate Hight.
 
Making his 500th raceday start, the veteran Kalitta won for the first time in Indy and 46th time in his career thanks to his 4.144 at 212.43 in the final in his Mac Tools dragster to slip past Billy Torrence’s 4.220 at 206.01. It is Kalitta’s second win this season. He knocked off Clay Millican, No. 1 qualifier Brittany Force and Austin Prock to reach the finals, something he has done three previous times at Indy. In fact, he had the second-most career wins in NHRA history for a driver who had never won at Indy, but this time Kalitta pulled through, becoming the 30th different Top Fuel winner at the Big Go and also joining team owner Connie Kalitta as a U.S. Nationals winner.
 
“It’s incredible and I just can’t say enough for everyone working on my car today,” Kalitta said. “Having Connie (Kalitta) in our corner was awesome and what a day. It was kind of ugly out there in the final and I thought it was over, but the win light came on. It’s great to be able to win a race that Connie won as well, so that’s cool.” 
 
Torrence beat Wayne Newby, Shawn Reed and Antron Brown to reach his fourth final round this season. His strong day also gave him his first Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship berth, as he will start the playoffs in 10th. His son, Steve, will start from the No. 1 position as he looks to defend his championship, but Monday belonged to Kalitta, who will start the Countdown to the Championship in second as he seeks his first world title.
 
“I can’t say enough about everybody on my team and how hard we worked to win this thing,” Kalitta said. “The track conditions were incredible this weekend and the fans here are awesome. It hasn’t quite settled in that I won this thing yet, but it’s awesome. We’re looking forward to (the Countdown to the Championship) and we’re going to give it our best.”
 
In Pro Stock, Laughlin won for the first time in 2019 and at the U.S. Nationals, beating Elite Motorsports teammate Erica Enders in the final round with a 6.648 at 207.43 in his Havoline Camaro. Laughlin picked up wins against Steve Graham, Val Smeland and Deric Kramer to reach the final round, chasing down Enders to become the 25th different driver to win in Pro Stock at Indy. It’s also Laughlin’s first win in the class in more than two years.
 
“I just about choked up there, to be honest, but at the end of the day we got it done,” said Laughlin, who has three career Pro Stock wins. “It’s unbelievable. I’ve never even made the Countdown before and we’ve just made huge strides. It’s been a breakout season and I’m at a loss for words.” 
 
Enders went to her second straight final round and 49th in her career by beating Richard Freeman, Greg Anderson and Jason Line, slowing to a 6.773 at 206.80 in the final round against Laughlin. Smeland clinched the final spot in the playoffs, earning his first career berth in the Countdown to the Championship. Laughlin, who is seeking his first world title, will start from second, behind only Bo Butner, who has been the points leader for all 12 Pro Stock races thus far in 2019.
 
Savoie claimed his second career win at Indy, going 6.851 at 195.25 in the final round on his Savoie’s Alligator Farm Suzuki to beat points leader Andrew Hines. It is Savoie’s 10th career victory and first this year. The veteran and former world champ beat Ryan Oehler, Joey Gladstone and Eddie Krawiec to reach the final round, earning the victory after Hines went red. It led to an emotional celebration on the top end, as Savoie enjoyed the first win for a Suzuki in 2019.
 
Hines beat Kelly Clontz, Scotty Pollacheck and defending world champ Matt Smith to earn his eighth final round appearance in 2019 and 94th in his career. He’ll start the Countdown to the Championship as the points leader, while Savoie, who entered the weekend in 10th, jumped all the way to fifth with his winning weekend. 
 
“The Suzukis have been struggling, but we’ve been working and it paid off,” Savoie said. “I held my composure and we were able to make some good runs. When Andrew throws up a red light, you better thank God for it because that doesn’t happen very often. I didn’t know if I would ever win another one. It’s not easy. But we’re going to go for it and see what happens. It’s an honor to get this second one (at Indy).”
 
In the Mickey Thompson Tires Top Fuel Harley Series, Tii Tharpe won his second championship in the class on Monday. The title chase came down to the final day for the second straight year, and Tharpe again edged out Doug Vancil. Tharpe, who won three races in 2019, wrapped up the title by going 6.398 at 219.33 in the semifinals on his Spevco/Jay Turner Racing Harley. 
 
The Mello Yello Drag Racing Series continues Sept. 12-15 with the first of six races in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship playoffs, the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil at Maple Grove Raceway in Reading, Pa. 
 

Monday’s Springfield Mile II at the Illinois State Fairgrounds proved worth the wait, delivering what may be considered the most jaw-dropping AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines Main Event of the 2019 American Flat Track season.

 

Following an epic 25 miles that saw ten riders in contention for the victory even as they dove into the race’s final corner, multi-time defending AFT Twins Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) worked his magic yet again to win out in the last-lap dash to the checkered flag.

 

Making the achievement all the more impressive, Mees did so after starting in last position from Row 4.

 

The champ turned in his one provisional start card of the season to advance to the Main after encountering bike issues in his Semi. However, he managed to slipstream his way forward over the race’s opening third, joining the mammoth front group by lap 10. He was dueling for the lead a lap later -- a duel that wouldn’t end until the final stripe.

 

In the end, Mees outlasted title rival Briar Bauman (No. 14 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) by a scant 0.083 seconds.

 

The triumph was the 14th Mile win of Mees’ illustrious career, tying him with the legendary Jay Springsteen for sixth all-time on the big tracks. It also brought him within a single race of Bauman in the evolving 2019 AFT Twins championship race, as he’s now just 25 points back (280-255) heading into the season’s final three races.

 

Mees said, “It was good to come off the back row and put my name on the list with the guys who have done that. It’s more emotional doing it this way on the back-up bike and working my way up. The Indian Motorcycle ran so phenomenal for me. My whole crew worked so hard; when that bike broke we were switching wheels, and shocks, and offsets to try to duplicate what we were running on the main bike. We got it done, and it feels amazing.”

 

Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) came through in third to lock out the podium for the Indian Wrecking Crew for the first time in 2019.

 

While the day ultimately belonged to Mees and Indian, a huge number of riders played starring roles with the entire top ten finishing within 0.653 seconds of the win.

 

Rookie Brandon Price (No. 192 Roof Systems of Dallas TX/DPC Racing Indian FTR750) made a late-bid for the victory, and was one of five riders who slid into Turn 3 on lap 25, side-by-side, vying for the lead. He ended up an impressive fourth, fractionally ahead of Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Kennedy Racing/Armbruster Racing Indian FTR750).

 

Factory Harley-Davidson 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) factored heavily all day, with Vanderkooi winning a heat and Halbert starting from pole after winning his semi.

 

Halbert led in the late stages of the race, but was shuffled down to sixth at the flag. Vanderkooi ended up eighth with Henry Wiles (No. 17 Bandit Industries/DPC Racing/Wilco Racing Indian FTR750) sandwiched between the Harley runners.

 

Davis Fisher (No. 67 Bob Lanphere Beaverton Motorcycles/Dick Wall 60 Indian FTR750) and Saturday's runner-up Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Roof Systems of Dallas/Indian of Metro Milwaukee FTR750) rounded out the top ten.

 

AFT Production Twins

 

Kolby Carlile (No. 136 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07) materialized from the pack late to claim his first-career AFT Production Twins Main Event victory in dramatic fashion.

 

All eyes had been on Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 Black Hills Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X), who was chasing a unique dual-class triple win on the weekend.

 

Like Mees in the premier class, Gauthier had to start on the back row, being forced to use a provisional start when his bike expired in his Semi. However, his form and momentum still made him feel all but unstoppable, as he powered from dead last to first place by the time the pack dove into Turn 1 for the second time.

 

He didn’t slow from there, opening up a 1.5-second advantage by the time the race was red flagged while working lap 10 of 15. On the restart, Gauthier went right back to work, steadily building another advantage on the pack.

 

The only difference this time around was that teammate James Rispoli (No. 71 Black Hills Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X) managed to hang onto the slipstream and use it to escape along with Gauthier.

 

With a 1-2 Black Hills Harley-Davidson seeming nearly assured, Gauthier raised his hand in disappointment with 3 laps to go, signaling another mechanical issue that spoiled his bid for the triple Springfield victory.

 

Without the benefit of Gauthier’s draft, Rispoli found himself reeled back to the pack. Carlile caught him just in time to thunder by as they drove down the back straight for the final time.

 

Carlile tucked his head down and outpaced any potential counter moves, beating Rispoli to the line by 0.111 seconds.

 

Race-winner Carlile said, “I was confident the whole race; there was just so much traffic and I got sucked into it a little bit. I was letting those guys shake it out, but I knew I had the bike to win this thing. Dalton and James took off after the restart and I fell back again, but I knew my bike was strong enough to catch them. And that’s what we did.

 

“I just can’t thank my Estenson Racing crew enough... I broke my leg early in the year and I lost a round. I’m at a huge points deficit, but we’re trying to make it back. I’m finally feeling like myself again.”

 

Cody Johncox (No. 196 Sunnyside Cycle/Luczak Racin' Yamaha MT-07) was next in line in a pack of riders that saw five men take the checkered flag within 0.554 seconds of the win. He finished 0.082 seconds back of Rispoli to complete the podium.

 

Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Holeshot Powersports Yamaha MT-07) did well to limit the damage done by Carlile’s victory by finishing a strong fourth. Still, Texter’s advantage has now been reduced to 23 points (148-125) over Carlile with three races remaining.

 

Catch the feature broadcast of the Springfield weekend 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 Sunday, September 8 at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 p.m. PT and will re-air on Thursday, September 19, at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT.

 

Next Up:

The quest for all three American Flat Track championships resumes in less than a week’s time with the Williams Grove Half-Mile presented by Appalachian Harley-Davidson in Mechanicsburg, Pa., on Saturday, September 7. FansChoice.tv will live stream the entire day’s activities once the gates open at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT. Tickets are on sale now at tickets.americanflattrack.com.

 

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.

How to Watch:

NBCSN and FansChoice.tv are the official homes for coverage of American Flat Track. For the 2019 season, NBCSN’s coverage of AFT moves to highly-coveted, weekend afternoon programming slots within two weeks of each event. The complete schedule for AFT on NBCSN can be viewed at http://www.americanflattrack.com/events-nbcsn/. FansChoice.tv remains a cornerstone of AFT's digital strategy, providing live streaming coverage of every event on AFT’s live page while previous events and exclusive features are available on AFT’s VOD page.

 

Team Penske was the big winner in Sunday's Grand Prix of Portland at Portland International Raceway.

Will Power (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) drove away with the race victory - his second in as many NTT IndyCar Series races -- while teammate Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet) extended his lead in the championship standings heading to the season finale Sunday, Sept. 22 at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.

Newgarden could be on a Scott Dixon-like path to the title. Last year, Dixon avoided major contact in a first-corner incident here to finish fifth. Sunday, Newgarden did virtually the same thing, braking to avoid two cars tangling in front of him in an opening-lap melee before going on to finish fifth.

"Maybe we've got Scott's mojo," Newgarden said.

CLICK IT: Official results 

Dixon's current mojo isn't good. A week after having his car's radiator punctured in the race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Dixon's No. 9 PNC Bank Honda suffered a battery failure while leading this race on Lap 52. He had a three-second lead at the time; the pit stop dropped him three laps behind. He finished 16th.

"I just hate giving away an easy win like that," Dixon said.

Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) and Team Penske's Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Chevrolet) finished third and seventh, respectively, and were unable to help their title chances much. Newgarden, the 2017 champion, holds a 41-point lead on Rossi, a 42-point lead on Pagenaud and pushed Dixon (minus-85) closer to championship elimination heading into the season-ending, double points race.

Newgarden can secure the Astor Cup and the $1 million bonus by finishing fourth or better in the Monterey, Calif., race.

"It would be nice if (the finale) wasn't double points, but it is and we knew that from the start of the season," he said. "We will have to make the most of it. I don't think it will be easy."

Newgarden and Pagenaud started deep in the 23-car field after qualifying 13th and 18th, respectively, which put them in peril if a first-turn accident occurred. And it did happen when Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing's Graham Rahal (No. 15 One Cure Honda) bounced into the side of Andretti Autosport's Zach Veach (No. 26 Gainbridge Honda). Newgarden braked hard and kept his car unscathed, but a trailing Pagenaud spun from a hit from Carlin's Max Chilton (No. 59 Gallagher Chevrolet). Fortunately for Pagenaud, his car sustained no significant damage and he was able to continue.

Power's first victory at this 12-turn, 1.964-mile track was sweet for several reasons. In addition to being the 37th of his Indy car career - he tied Sebastien Bourdais for sixth place in the sport's history - it was the first win at the track where he made his Indy car testing debut in 2005.

"I remember thinking I wish I could get paid to do this," Power said.

Chip Ganassi Racing rookie Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 NTT DATA Honda) matched his season best with a second-place finish. Rossi finished third with NTT P1 Award winner Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda), a series rookie driving for Harding Steinbrenner Racing, finishing fourth.

INDYCAR concludes its 17-race season with the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey on Sunday, Sept. 22. Television coverage will begin on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. PT local) with the green flag scheduled for 3:15 p.m. (12:15 p.m. local). Live radio broadcasts will be available on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM 205, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970).

Team Panoz Racing achieved podiums across the board and extended Championship statuses at Watkins Glen International this weekend, with two wins and a second-place finish. Ian James in the #50 Panoz Avezzano bought home a win in the Sprint Race 1, but it was the #51 Panoz Avezzano, driven by Am pair Preston Calvert and Mathew Keegan in the Sprint-X Am category, who bought home a second-place in Sprint-X Race 1, followed by a win in Sprint-X Race 2. 

In a thrilling first race, James in the #50 Panoz Avezzano started in second, but following the first couple of laps, dropped back to fourth. Deciding to save and conserve tires, James kept pace but remained in fourth until passing the #18 McLaren to take third with 30-minutes remaining. With four minutes left, James claimed second position with an inside move, followed by a battle for the win in the final two laps using the same maneuver, before claiming victory over the #74 Camaro. Race 2 for James today was more chaotic, and despite starting third, James took the checkered in seventh.

Keegan and Calvert had a fruitful weekend in the #51 Panoz Avezzano. Starting in Calvert’s qualifying position of second yesterday in Race 1, the pair drove fantastically and maintained the starting position throughout, to cross the checkered in second. In Race 2, the pair started on Keegan’s pole qualifying position, and Keegan maintained the lead throughout his stint. With 26-minutes remaining, Calvert returned to the track in the lead. With 23-minutes remaining, a full course yellow was issued with Calvert still leading the pack. The race was called to an early end with eight minutes remaining, meaning victory for the Am pairing of Calvert and Keegan, Sprint-X Am Driver Championship leaders. 

The next race for Team Panoz Racing is at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, September 20th - 22nd, 2019, where both the #50 and #51 Panoz Avezzano GT will be racing. 

Kyle Kirkwood and RP Motorsport USA are simply untouchable just now. This afternoon at the 1.964-mile Portland International Raceway road course, Kirkwood, mirrored the picture perfect weather conditions with another exemplary performance. His weekend sweep of the Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix ensured a sixth consecutive victory and turned a nine-point deficit prior to the weekend into a healthy 20-point lead in his quest for a second consecutive Road to Indy championship crown. Kirkwood, 20, from Jupiter, Fla., also dominated last year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship by winning 12 of the 14 races.

Sting Ray Robb, from Payette, Idaho, finished a distant second but still comfortably clear of Juncos Racing teammate – and Kirkwood’s nearest title rival – Rasmus Lindh, from Gothenburg, Sweden.

After qualifying on pole yesterday, for the fifth time this season, Kirkwood leapt immediately into the lead and soon began to edge away from Robb, whose career-first pole yesterday had been nullified by a first corner incident. Robb made it cleanly through the opening complex of corners this time but had no answer to Kirkwood’s dominating speed.

The gap stretched out to two seconds inside the first five laps and continued to rise before Kirkwood crossed the finish line with an eventual margin of 7.5856 seconds.

Parker Thompson (Abel Motorsports), from Red Deer, Alb., Canada, managed to oust Lindh from third place on the opening lap but wasn’t able to prevent the Swedish teenager from redressing the balance next time around. The two cars continued to circulate in close company – and slipped farther and farther behind Robb – without Thompson ever looking likely to be able to make a pass for the final podium position.

Instead, Thompson had to keep a wary eye on his mirrors as Kirkwood’s teammate, Artem Petrov, from Saint Petersburg, Russia, edged ever closer after finding a way past Singapore’s Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport) just before the midway point in the 30-lap race. The trio was separated by just over a second at the checkered flag, with Petrov taking home the Tilton Hard Charger Award after starting in the sixth position.

As well as claiming one more PFC Award for RP Motorsport USA as the winning team, Kirkwood will now head to the season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, Calif., on September 21/22. His eyes will be set firmly on securing the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tire title and another scholarship, valued at almost $600,000, to graduate to Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the final step of the acclaimed Road to Indy, in 2020

Angelle Sampey earned her first No. 1 qualifier since 2016 and the 50th in her career, as she raced to the top spot in Pro Stock Motorcycle on Sunday at the 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
 
Brittany Force (Top Fuel) Jack Beckman (Funny Car) and Bo Butner (Pro Stock) also earned No. 1 qualifiers in their respective categories at the final regular-season race of the 2019 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season. It is the 18th of 24 events in 2019.
 
Sampey, a three-time world champion, used her 6.816-second run at 195.53 mph on her Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson FXDR from Saturday to gain the top qualifying position. A two-time Indy winner, Sampey will face off with Joey Gladstone in the first round of eliminations. Defending world champ Matt Smith will start from second after going 6.820 at 197.25, while points leader Andrew Hines finished third in qualifying with a 6.823 at 195.87.
 
“I just never imagined that I would get a No. 1 qualifier at this race, this year,” said Sampey, whose two Indy wins came from the No. 1 spot. “It’s been a rough year, and I came here just thinking I was going to do whatever I can. Getting a No. 1 qualifier and getting a confidence boost like this is what I really, really needed right now. I’m feeling much more comfortable going into tomorrow than I did coming into qualifying, and I’m just going to try to keep that momentum going.”
 
Force became the first female to qualify No. 1 in Top Fuel history at the prestigious Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals thanks to her track-record time of 3.645 at 332.26 from Saturday in her Advance Auto Parts dragster, also accomplishing it in the quickest qualifying field in NHRA history. It is her sixth top qualifier of 2019 and 16th in her career, and Force, trying for her first win at the Big Go, will face T.J. Zizzo in the opening round of eliminations.
 
“That’s pretty awesome to be able to accomplish that with the Advance Auto Parts team,” Force said. “That’s a big accomplishment, but we want to do more. We want to win tomorrow. To win Indy, it’s joining a list of legends. My dad is on there, and so are so many drivers that I’ve looked up to. Everyone wants to win Indy and our team wants to as well.”
 
Billy Torrence, who entered the weekend 12th in points, qualified second with his run of 3.655 at a track-record speed of 333.33 as he tries to make a run into the top 10 and secure his first birth in the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship. Defending world champ and points leader Steve Torrence took the third spot with a 3.656 at 331.12.
 
Funny Car’s Beckman earned his first No. 1 qualifier of 2019, as his 3.861 at 330.07 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat from Saturday held up. It is Beckman’s 25th career No. 1 qualifier in what is the quickest qualifying field in Funny Car history. He will face Justin Schriefer in the first round, as Beckman seeks his first win of 2019 and second at Indy.
 
“I think we’ve been as close to perfect as a Funny Car has been lately,” Beckman said. “Everyone on our team is revved up and I think it’s so important to set the tone that you know you can be the best. I feel like I’m doing the best I can, and tomorrow is raceday and you’ve got to be flawless. Tomorrow is not about E.T. slips, it’s about win lights. You don’t even have to be good, you just have to be better than the car in the other lane.”
 
Beckman’s Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan qualified second thanks to his run of 3.874 at 327.66 from Saturday, while John Force is a spot behind with a 3.876 at 332.67. Back-to-back Indy winner J.R. Todd starts from the fifth position, while points leader Robert Hight qualified sixth. In all, 15 of the 16 qualified cars made 3-second runs.
 
In Pro Stock, points leader Butner picked up his third No. 1 qualifier this year and 11th in his career after his run of 6.559 at 210.28 in his Jim Butner Auto Group Camaro held up. Butner will aim to be the sixth straight first-time Pro Stock winner at Indy and will face Kenny Delco in the opening round of eliminations. His KB Racing teammate, Jason Line, will start from second with his 6.561 at 210.64 and will also try to win at Indy for the first time. Erica Enders begins raceday from the third position after going 6.575 at 208.94.
 
“We have a very good car that can turn win lights on, and we’re happy with that,” Butner said. “We tried a lot of stuff throughout the year, but now it’s serious time. I really want to win Indy to top off my career and that’s my goal. It’s our home track and it’s still the biggest race ever.”
 
In the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, three-time world champ Rickie Smith qualified No. 1 with a run of 5.717 at 251.34 in his nitrous-powered Camaro. He’ll face off with Eric Latino in the first round of eliminations.
 
Eliminations at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals begin at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday. Television coverage starts at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), and continues on the FOX national broadcast network at 1 p.m. ET.
 

Hunter McElrea and Pabst Racing enjoyed a stellar weekend at Portland International Raceway by sweeping both 25-lap races which comprised the Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products for Pabst Racing. The California-born Australian-raised New Zealander’s third race win in succession vaulted him from a nine-point deficit into a six-point advantage over Braden Eves in the battle for this year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. Also at stake is a scholarship valued at over $300,000 to move up one step on the Road to Indy to the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2020.

Eves, from New Albany, Ohio, minimized the damage for Cape Motorsports this afternoon by once again finishing second to McElrea, while Zach Holden, from Greenfield, Ind., completed the podium for Legacy Autosport.

This afternoon’s race saw McElrea make full use of his fourth straight pole position by moving immediately into the lead. Impressively, all 18 cars made it through the tight Festival Curves complex of corners relatively cleanly, although a minor brush between Eves and Christian Rasmussen, who had qualified third for Jay Howard Driver Development, unfortunately resulted in a flat tire for the Danish challenger. Rasmussen rejoined after a pit stop to change the damaged wheel and proceeded to turn the fastest laps of the race but could manage no better than an unrepresentative 17th at the finish.

Eves had no answer to McElrea’s pace, and indeed had his work cut out to fend off a late charge from Holden, who had fought his way past Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing) on the fourth lap and then chased for all he was worth for the remainder of the race.

Darren Keane, from Boca Raton, Fla., and Jak Crawford, from Houston, Texas, completed the top six for Cape Motorsports, which, for the first time since early in the 2014 season, has now endured a streak of five races without a victory.

DEForce teammates Manuel Sulaiman, from Puebla, Mexico, and Eduardo Barrichello, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, finished seventh and eighth, with Sulaiman also claiming the Tilton Hard Charger Award after fighting his way from 12th on the starting grid.

Bruna Tomaselli, from Caibi, Brazil, was next at the finish, earning her ninth top-10 finish of the season, while 16-year-old F1600 Championship Series contender Josh Green (Jay Howard Driver Development), from Mount Kisco, N.J., completed a promising first weekend in a proper downforce car by fighting past Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports) in the late stages.

A spectacular weekend for McElrea’s car owner, Augie Pabst, brought not only his fourth PFC Award of the season but also the lead in the coveted Team Championship. Pabst Racing has now leapfrogged Cape Motorsports and will take a three-point advantage, 320-317, to the final two races of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, Calif., on the weekend of September 21/22. Pabst will be looking to secure his third consecutive Team Championship as well as his first ever driver championship.

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