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  

  

 

The 2020 NTT IndyCar Series schedule is highlighted by a return to Richmond Raceway and eight of the 17 races featured on NBC, INDYCAR officials announced today.

Richmond Raceway will return to the NTT IndyCar Series schedule for the first time since 2009 and will be the only new addition on the 2020 schedule. The three-quarter-mile Virginia oval will play host under the lights on Saturday, June 27, and be the 11th race on the season.

CLICK IT: 2020 NTT IndyCar Series Schedule

“We are pleased to return to the Mid-Atlantic region, one we know to be full of INDYCAR fans,” INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles said. “We’re also excited to return to historic Richmond Raceway, which was recently reimagined with a $30 million redevelopment project that modernized the infield for a better fan experience.”

The two-day race weekend will fall on the same weekend utilized for the previous nine NTT IndyCar Series races at Richmond dating back to 2001.

“Richmond Raceway’s history in motorsports dates back to 1946 when the track hosted two AAA Championship Car events,” Richmond Raceway President Dennis Bickmeier said. “After hosting INDYCAR from 2001-2009, we now look forward to the return of the NTT IndyCar Series for our fans at America’s Premier Short Track as part of a Mid-Atlantic festival of speed on June 26-27, 2020.”

The 2020 season marks the second full season with the NBC Sports Group, which will air the races live on NBC and NBCSN in addition to programming on NBC Sports Gold. The coverage will feature eight races on NBC, including a crescendo to the finish and NTT P1 Award qualifying for the Indianapolis 500. The remaining nine races will air on NBCSN.

For the 10th consecutive year, the NTT IndyCar Series season will kick off on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida, on Sunday, March 15. The opener on the scenic waterfront 1.8-mile temporary street circuit in the Gulf Coast city first hosted Indy cars in 2003 and has continuously since 2005.

The season will conclude for the second consecutive year at the historic WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca road course, where the championship-deciding race will be held Sunday, Sept. 20 – again on NBC.

Other nuances to the schedule:

  • The Circuit of The Americas race, which was the second race of this season, will move to the fourth slot and be held Sunday, April 26.
  • After running the oval race at Iowa Speedway (Saturday, July 18), the series will have a three-week break as NBC and NBCSN focus on televising the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course returns to one of its traditional weekends, moving from Sunday, July 28, this season to Sunday, Aug. 16, next year. This will begin NBC’s crescendo to the finale, with three of the final four races on network television (Mid-Ohio, Portland and Laguna Seca).
  • The break between the final two races of the season will be reduced from two weeks to one. The Grand Prix of Portland will be held Sunday, Sept. 6, while the Monterey race is set for Sunday, Sept. 20. Both will air on NBC.

The NTT IndyCar Series showcases a diversity of tracks with a schedule comprised of seven held on permanent road courses, five on temporary street circuits and five on oval tracks.

  • The centerpiece of the schedule will be the Month of May at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, featuring the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge on Sunday, May 24. The month will open with the INDYCAR Grand Prix on the speedway’s 2.439-mile road course on Saturday, May 9. Qualifying for the 500 is set for Saturday, May 16, and Sunday, May 17.
  • The street race in Long Beach (Sunday, April 19) returns in April for a 37th consecutive year, which is second only to the Indianapolis 500 for most years in succession of Indy car races on the current schedule. Toronto’s Exhibition Place, another tenured event on the schedule, returns for a 36th year with its race on Sunday, July 12.
  • After celebrating its 10th INDYCAR race earlier this year, Barber Motorsports Park will host the NTT IndyCar Series on Sunday, April 5.
  • The Raceway at Belle Isle Park will host a doubleheader for the eighth consecutive year (Saturday-Sunday, May 30-31), both of which will be televised on NBC.
  • Texas Motor Speedway continues its tradition dating to 1997 of hosting a Saturday night summer race (June 6). In addition to Richmond, the NTT IndyCar Series will race Saturday night at Iowa Speedway (July 18) and World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway (Aug. 22).
  • Road America again offers the season’s largest track at 4.048 miles, with the race set for Sunday, June 21, on NBC.

Broadcast times will be announced at a later date, but all track activity and additional exclusive content will be available on NBC Sports Gold, the direct-to-consumer product that brings subscribers closer to the NTT IndyCar Series than ever before.

Englishman Toby Sowery claimed a well-deserved maiden Road to Indy victory this morning in a thrilling Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix at Portland International Raceway. Sowery, 23, from Cambridge, England, took the lead for HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey immediately after an early restart, then held off a determined challenge from yesterday’s winner Rinus VeeKay (Juncos Racing), from Hoofddorp, Netherlands.

Oliver Askew, 22, from Jupiter, Fla., rebounded from a first-corner incident to climb from last place to third for Andretti Autosport. Askew’s eighth consecutive podium finish, and record-breaking 14th of the season, means he will need only to start the final two races of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in three weeks’ time to clinch the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship and a scholarship package which will guarantee entry into at least three NTT IndyCar Series races in 2020, including the 104th Indianapolis 500.

Today’s 16th race of the season, held under glorious blue skies, began in hectic fashion. VeeKay, who started from pole for the second day in a row, maintained his advantage under braking for the notorious Festival Curves chicane. Behind him Sowery, who started third, was able to sneak past outside front row starter Askew and move into second. Askew momentarily locked up his brakes as he entered the corner, then came into contact with Sowery’s teammate, David Malukas, as the leaders headed into the second, left-handed portion of the opening complex of corners.

Askew’s car sustained damage to the right-hand sidepod, a bent lower rear wishbone and also had its nose section torn off in the impact, but at least he was able to continue back to the pit lane for repairs. Malukas, by contrast, was out on the spot.

The field was neutralized behind the Pace Car for the first three laps while Malukas’ car was recovered, which enabled Askew to rejoin at the back of the slim seven-car field in time for the restart.

Sowery saw his opportunity when the green flags waved again at the start of Lap Four, and promptly seized it by diving to the inside of VeeKay before the Festival Curves and swooping past into the lead. A series of fast laps enabled the Englishman to extend his margin over VeeKay to as much as 2.7 seconds after 11 laps. But then VeeKay began to fight back.

The two leaders continued to trade fastest laps, with VeeKay finally securing a new lap record of 1:03.155, an average speed of 111.933mph, on Lap 24, by which time they were virtually back together again, separated by only a few car lengths. Their battle continued all the way to the checkered flag, but Sowery held firm and took the checkered flag by a margin of just 0.4244-seconds.

Askew, meanwhile, picked off Canadian Dalton Kellett (Juncos Racing) and Brazilian Lucas Kohl (Belardi Auto Racing) within four laps of the restart, then closed inexorably on Andretti Autosport teammates Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y., and Ryan Norman, from Aurora, Ohio. Askew finally fought his way past Norman, with his brakes all locked up, at Turn One on Lap 27, to reclaim third place, but by that time the leaders were long gone.

Norman held on for fourth ahead of Megennis, who earned Tilton Hard Charger Award after starting eighth.

The 2019 Springfield Mile II scheduled to run on Sunday, September 1, 2019 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds has been postponed due to overnight inclement weather and rescheduled for Monday, September 2, 2019.

 

On-track activity is currently scheduled to begin at 12:00 p.m. CT with fan gates set to open at 10:00 am CT.

 

Springfield Mile promoters and AFT officials continue to monitor developments in the weather forecast and will communicate any additional information to fans via AFT's communications channels.

 

FansChoice.tv coverage will begin with the first rounds of practice at 12:00 p.m. CT. 

Kyle Kirkwood and RP Motorsport USA continued their remarkable run of success by romping to a clear victory in this afternoon’s Cooper Tires Indy Pro 2000 Grand Prix at Portland International Raceway. After qualifying second, Kirkwood, 20, from Jupiter, Fla., took advantage of a first-corner miscue by Russian teammate Artem Petrov, who started third but left his braking too late at the entry to the Festival Curves and punted first-time polesitter Sting Ray Robb (Juncos Racing) into a spin.

Kirkwood wasn’t seriously challenged as he drove to a fifth straight victory – and seventh in eight starts – to move ahead of long-time leader Rasmus Lindh (Juncos Racing) by nine points, 349-340, with just three races remaining this season.

Singapore’s Danial Frost finished second for Exclusive Autosport, while Canadian Parker Thompson (Abel Motorsports) was gifted third after countryman Antonio Serravalle (Pserra Racing/RP Motorsport USA) was handed a 10-second penalty for an illegal track re-entry following the first-corner fracas.

Robb, who hails from Payette, Idaho, and considers PIR to be his home track, was justifiably delighted to claim his first career pole after starting second on three previous occasions this season. Unfortunately, his hope of adding an overdue maiden victory was effectively ended within a few hundred yards of the start when, with Kirkwood looking to make a move to the inside under braking for the tight Festival Curves, he was the innocent victim as Petrov plowed into the rear of his No. 2 Tatuus PM-18. Petrov was dealt a drive-through penalty for “avoidable contact” and ultimately finished a lap behind in 10th.

Kirkwood took full advantage of his good fortune by sweeping easily into the lead as others behind him took evasive action. Frost, who started fifth, emerged from the melee in second place ahead of erstwhile championship leader Lindh, from Gothenburg, Sweden, who started a lowly seventh after his efforts in qualifying were hindered by a mechanical problem.

Unfortunately, Lindh’s luck didn’t improve in the race. He ran well in the opening stages with a fresh motor installed, but then began to slip back when a bolt fell out of his front wing assembly and led to increasingly worsening handling. He ultimately slipped to fifth at the finish.

Serravalle, from Montreal, Que., whose small family team had struck up a new arrangement for technical support from RP Motorsport USA this weekend, swept past Lindh on the ninth lap and seemed to have done enough to hold off a charging Thompson at the checkered flag until the addition of his penalty dropped him to fourth.

Thompson came on strong in the closing stages, passing teammate Jacob Abel, from Louisville, Ky., and Lindh after losing a lot of ground following the first-corner incident. Abel took home the Tilton Hard Charger Award after working his way from 11th on the grid to seventh.

Kirkwood’s continued success secured yet another PFC Award for RP Motorsport USA as the winning team. He will also start from pole position for tomorrow’s 14th round of the 16-race season after setting the fastest time in qualifying this morning. Robb will start second ahead of teammate Lindh. The green flag is set for 3:10 p.m. PDT, immediately after the NTT IndyCar Series headline event.

The battle for this year’s Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship tightened to just a single point, 285-284, as Hunter McElrea claimed a comfortable victory this afternoon at Portland International Raceway. At stake is a scholarship valued at close to $300,000 to move up one step on the Road to Indy ladder to the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires in 2020.

The New Zealander qualified on pole position this morning for Pabst Racing, then edged away gradually from season-long championship leader Braden Eves (Cape Motorsports) during the 25-lap Cooper Tires USF2000 Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products. The victory was McElrea’s third of the season.

Eves narrowly held on to second place ahead of Denmark’s Christian Rasmussen (Jay Howard Driver Development), who finished on the podium for the fifth successive race.

McElrea, who had finished on the podium in all but two of the first 11 races, maintained his advantage over second-place qualifier Eves at the tight Festival Curves chicane on the opening lap. The pair remained tied together for the opening eight laps and soon began to edge away from Rasmussen in third. But then McElrea really hit his stride, turning a string of consistently fast laps to stretch his lead with every turn around the 1.964-mile road course. His eventual winning margin was 4.8713 seconds.

Instead of challenging for the win, Eves, who had won five of the first seven races this year, had to work extremely hard to fend off Rasmussen. They were separated by just a half-second at the checkered flag.

The top three quickly distanced themselves from the pack, which saw 14-year-old Jak Crawford (Cape Motorsports), from Houston Texas, exchange places several times with Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing). Kaminsky, from Homer Glen, Ill., finally took the place for good on Lap 19, following a mistake by Crawford, who also lost a position to Cape Motorsports’ Darren Keane, from Boca Raton, Fla., in the closing stages.

Crawford held on for sixth, narrowly ahead of Mexico’s Manuel Sulaiman (DEForce Racing), who beat Crawford to this year’s NACAM F4 Championship, and Brazilian Eduardo Barrichello, who enjoyed a strong debut with DEForce Racing.

Fellow Brazilian Bruno Tomaselli (Pabst Racing) also was embroiled in the tight midfield battle, finishing ninth ahead of Zach Holden (Legacy Autosport), from Greenfield, Ind.

Josh Green (Jay Howard Driver Development), 16, from Mount Kisco, N.Y., capped a strong USF2000 debut by snagging the Tilton Hard Charger Award after working his way from 15th on the grid to 11th. Green edged Florida’s Reece Gold (Cape Motorsports) after a race-long scrap.

Augie Pabst earned his third PFC Award of the season as the winning car owner. Pabst Racing also closed to within three points of Cape Motorsports in the quest for a third successive Teams Championship. Three races remain this season, including one more tomorrow which will see the green flag at 4:15 p.m. PDT.

A trio of NTT IndyCar Series championship contenders facing challenging starting positions in Sunday's Grand Prix of Portland was the only thing to possibly upstage what rookie Colton Herta did at Portland International Raceway.

Herta, the second-generation Indy car standout driving for Harding Steinbrenner Racing, put his No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda on the pole for the second time this season. Herta won the NTT P1 Award by besting pole whiz Will Power of Team Penske (No. 12 Verizon Chevrolet) with a final lap of 57.8111 seconds (122.302 mph).

Power, who said he flat-spotted his tires on the next-to-last lap of the Firestone Fast Six round, settled for a lap of 57.8303 seconds (122.261 mph) as the two drivers exchanged the top spot three times in the final seconds of qualifying.

RESULTS: Grand Prix of Portland qualifying

"We left it right until the end, so everyone was all tense, and I think that made it much sweeter," Herta said. "Before I knew we won the pole position, I went on the radio and heard everyone cheering so to find out that way was really cool."

Herta, 19, became the youngest pole winner in Indy car history when he topped qualifying June 22 at Road America. He became the youngest race winner when he took the checkered flag March 24 at Circuit of The Americas.

Meanwhile, Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda) was the only member of the four championship contenders to reach the Firestone Fast Six. He qualified third at 57.8355 seconds (122.250 mph), meaning the top three qualifiers had best laps separated by 0.0244 of a second.

The top three in the standings -- Josef Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Chevrolet) and Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Chevrolet) of Team Penske along with Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) - all struggled in qualifying. Newgarden and Pagenaud didn't advance from the first round of knockout qualifying and will start 13th and 18th, respectively, in a 23-car field. Rossi qualified seventh.

Given the narrowness of the 12-turn, 1.964-mile circuit and its imposing first corner, all three must be alert to first-lap trouble that has collected so many talented drivers in the past. Last year, a crash in Turn 3 collected five cars, including Dixon, who somehow kept his engine running and emerged from the heavy cloud of dust to stay on the lead lap. He finished fifth even with a pit road speeding penalty.

"You always have to believe - and you have to fight," Pagenaud said. "Anything can happen; we saw that last year."

Newgarden enters Sunday's 105-lap race with a 38-point lead over Pagenaud. His margin over Rossi is 46 points, and 70 ahead of Dixon.

"I knew it was going to be tough," Newgarden said of qualifying. "You just can't make a mistake, and I made a couple of them there. I got wide on the curb coming off (Turn) 7 and probably dropped a tenth (of a second) on one lap and dropped another tenth on the final corner on the next.

"It was going to be close and you just can't afford (to lose) a tenth. That's Portland. That's how it was last year; I knew it was going to be the same this year."

Rossi missed advancing to the Firestone Fast Six by 0.0277 seconds.

"It's another indication of how close the NTT IndyCar Series is," he said. "You've got to nail it every lap of every session. We missed it, but we'll have to get after it tonight and make it better."

Sunday's live race coverage on NBC begins at 3 p.m. ET (noon PT local) with the green flag at approximately 3:45 p.m. 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).

The Grand Prix of Portland is the penultimate race of the NTT IndyCar Series season. The 17th and final race will be the Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 22.

Brittany Force’s weekend at the 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals keeps getting better, as she broke the Top Fuel track record on Saturday at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis to stay in the provisional No. 1 spot. 
 
Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Bo Butner (Pro Stock) and Angelle Sampey (Pro Stock Motorcycle) are also provisional 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.
 
Force put down an impressive blast of 3.645-seconds at 332.26 mph to set the track record in her Advance Auto Parts dragster and remain in the top spot in what is already the quickest qualifying field in Top Fuel history. The 2017 world champion is chasing her first Indy win and stays in line to claim her sixth No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 16th overall.
The Torrence family is close behind, as Billy Torrence moved to second after his pass of 3.655 at a track speed record of 333.33, while his son, Steve, the defending world champ and points leader, is third after going 3.656 at 331.12.
 
“They’ve all felt fast this weekend and consistency is really what we’ve been looking for,” said Force, who has one win in 2019. “That’s the main thing we’ve been struggling with and to put a number like that on the board, that was pretty awesome. I was pumped when they told me what we ran. I knew we were going to push again, but I didn’t know conditions were going to be better. We stepped it up and got around everybody. It’s the biggest race of the season and it’s Indy, and everything is kind of falling together at the right time.”
 
Funny Car’s Beckman stayed in the No. 1 position, improving on his performance from Friday with a run of 3.861 at 330.07 in his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat. Beckman, who is after his first win of 2019, is closing in on first No. 1 qualifier this year and 25th in his career. Don Schumacher Racing teammate Matt Hagan made a huge leap in the final qualifying session, jumping from 13th to second with his run of 3.874 at 327.66. John Force is currently qualified third after going 3.876 at 332.67 on Saturday.
 
In Pro Stock, points leader Butner moved into the top spot in his Jim Butner Auto Group Camaro after going 6.559 at 210.28. He is trying for his third No. 1 qualifier this year and 11th in his career. Butner is also after his first Pro Stock win at Indy, looking to become the sixth straight first-time winner in the class at the prestigious race. Butner’s KB Racing teammate, Jason Line, improved on his top time from Friday but now sits in second after running 6.561 at 210.64. Erica Enders is a spot back thanks to her 6.575 at 208.94.
 
Pro Stock Motorcycle’s Sampey jumped into the No. 1 position with a 6.816 at 195.53 on her Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson FXDR. If it holds, it would be Sampey’s first No. 1 qualifier since 2016 and 50th in her career. The run also helped Sampey’s playoff chances, as the three-time world champion and two-time Indy winner came into the weekend ninth in points. Defending world champion Matt Smith also made a big move on Saturday into second with a 6.820 at 197.25. Points leader Andrew Hines follows in third with his 6.823 at 195.87.
 
Qualifying continues at 1:15 p.m. ET on Sunday with the final two sessions at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals. Television coverage begins at 2 p.m. ET on Sunday on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), and continues with live qualifying action on FS1 at 4 p.m. ET.

Teenaged Dutchman Rinus VeeKay had a straightforward game plan coming into this weekend’s Cooper Tires Indy Lights Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products at Portland International Raceway: He needed to score maximum points in order to keep alive his hopes of winning this year’s Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires championship crown. At stake is a scholarship to guarantee entry into a minimum of three NTT IndyCar Series events in 2020, including the 104th Indianapolis 500. VeeKay today executed that plan to perfection as he led all 35 laps from the pole for Juncos Racing to finish a comfortable 3.4990 seconds clear of series points leader Oliver Askew (Andretti Autosport), from Jupiter, Fla.

VeeKay afterward dedicated his fourth win of the season to Frenchman Anthoine Hubert, a member of the Renault Sport Academy, who tragically lost his life today in an FIA Formula 2 Championship race at Circuit Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

Askew’s teammate, Robert Megennis, from New York, N.Y, finished a distant third after a race-long battle with Toby Sowery (HMD Motorsports/Team Pelfrey).

VeeKay, 18, from Hoofddorp, Netherlands, set his plan in motion yesterday when he claimed pole position by a margin of just over one-tenth of a second ahead of Askew, who arrived in the Pacific Northwest with a commanding 52-points advantage after winning the most recent four races in succession.

VeeKay opted for a fresh set of Cooper tires for today’s race, and although he came under intense pressure over the course of the first few laps – and even picked up a warning from the race stewards for overly defensive driving – he soon began to stretch his advantage as the new rubber reached its optimal working temperatures and pressures. His lead stretched to over a second for the first time by the completion of his sixth lap, then continued to build from there.

Askew, 22, from Jupiter, Fla., had no answer to his young rival’s pace and duly settled into second, well clear of his pursuers.

Megennis, who started third, kept in touch with the two leaders through the opening laps before slipping back into the clutches of Sowery, from Cambridge, England, who made a good start from sixth on the grid but then lost all the ground he had made up when he slid wide onto the dirt at the exit of the Festival Curves. Undeterred, Sowery soon worked his way past, firstly, Brazilian Lucas Kohl (Belardi Auto Racing), then Canadian Dalton Kellett (Juncos Racing).

Despite Megennis already being more than three seconds to the good by that stage, Sowery gradually whittled away at the deficit. Sowery posted the fastest lap of the race, an average speed of 110.430 mph, on Lap 23, but Megennis kept his cool and his position.

Provisional championship points after 15 of 18 races:
1. Oliver Askew, 420
2.  Rinus VeeKay, 375
3. Ryan Norman, 309
4. Robert Megennis, 297
5. Toby Sowery, 289
6. David Malukas, 257
7. Dalton Kellett, 230
8. Lucas Kohl, 200
9. Aaron Telitz, 133
10. Zachary Claman, 124

VeeKay’s perfect day also included clinching the pole position for tomorrow’s 16th round of the 18-race championship – by the narrowest of margins, just 0.0001 second – over Askew. After that, just two races will remain on the season, in three weeks’ time at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.

– Defending AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines Champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) made it three for three in Mile competition in 2019 American Flat Track competition with a last-corner victory in Saturday’s Springfield Mile I.

 

Mees and 2018 Springfield Mile I winner Jeffrey Carver Jr. (No. 23 Roof-Systems of Dallas/Indian of Metro Milwaukee FTR750) transformed the race into a two-rider duel for the win from the start. The pair immediately broke free from the pack, and subsequently waged a 25-mile test of skill and tactics.

 

Carver seemed content to plant himself on the rear wheel of Mees over the opening half of the AFT Twins Main Event. However, the home-state hero brought the fans lining the grandstands to their feet by driving underneath the defending champ on lap 13.

 

Mees regrouped and reassumed his position at the front in short order. Carver made two more attempts to wrestle away the lead, and it appeared he finally succeeded for good when he powered by with three laps remaining. However, Mees ducked under Carver entering Turn 3 on the final lap, only to see Carver slide back up the inside as the worked through 4.

 

Mees was ready for the move, and perfectly positioned himself for the decisive sprint to the flag; he stole the advantage back on exit and held it to the flag by 0.239 seconds.

 

After the race, Mees said, “I knew going out there if I got the holeshot, I wanted to press the pace right away and create some separation. I think Jeffrey knew exactly what I was doing because he was just pacing me. I looked back a couple times, and right there was the ‘23’.

 

“He was basically just riding my tail and at one point I rolled out of it and let him go by. I wanted to know where he was stronger, and he had a really good line in 3 and 4. I saw that he tried it a couple times, and he did the exact same thing in the heat. On the last lap, when I felt him dive-bomb the bottom, I had a good counter for his move. I think he blew the corner a little bit coming off of it, and that allowed me to have a big gap out of Turn 4.”

 

While Mees made up some ground in the title fight as a result of claiming his fifth win this year, it probably wasn’t by quite as much as he may have anticipated when he took the checkered flag.

 

Championship leader Briar Bauman (No. 14 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750) was forced to use a provisional start to advance into the Main Event after suffering a mechanical issue in his Semi.

 

Despite starting from dead last, Bauman somehow carved his way into seventh by the conclusion of lap 1 and established himself as one of five riders embroiled in a race-long battle for the final spot on the podium. Indeed, Bauman ultimately won that battle, finishing in third 0.122 seconds ahead of brother/teammate Bronson Bauman (No. 37 Indian Motorcycle/Progressive Insurance FTR750).

 

Bauman now holds a 30-point advantage over Mees (260-230) with four races remaining.

 

Bryan Smith (No. 4 Crosley Brands/Howerton Motorsports Kawasaki Ninja 650) finished fifth another 0.016 seconds in arrears, with Stephen Vanderkuur (No. 21 AMSOIL/Hodder Racing Indian FTR750) and Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Kennedy Racing/Armbruster Racing Indian FTR750) fractionally behind in sixth and seventh, respectively.

 

AFT Production Twins

 

Fresh off his clutch victory in Friday night’s Springfield Short Track, Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 Black Hills Harley-Davidson XG750R Rev X) steamrolled the competition in Saturday’s AFT Production Twins Main Event at the Springfield Mile I.

 

Gauthier’s arcing high lines may have allowed his rivals to keep him relatively contained during the opening stages of the 15-lap Main Event, but once he finally stretched open enough of an advantage to prevent his opponents from blocking his preferred path, those same lines made him simply unstoppable.

 

The triumph was not just his second of the weekend, it was also his second in succession in the AFT Production Twins class; he delivered the XG750R a second win in the first possible opportunity after scoring its historic maiden win last time out in the Sacramento Mile.

 

Gauthier said, “I have to thank Jarod Vanderkooi for telling me to go there (to the high line) after the Semi, so shout out to him. After the second or third lap I went up there and I was like, ‘Yeah, it’s hooking up. So I stayed up there and tried to ride consistent laps and break away and that’s what happened.

 

“I have to thank everybody at Harley-Davidson, Black Hills Harley-Davidson, Vance & Hines and everyone else who has gotten this bike working this great. It’s been awesome, and I’m having a lot of fun.”

 

Kolby Carlile (No. 136 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07), who scored tonight's holeshot, and Lima HM winner Chad Cose (No. 49 Parkinson Bros Racing/Ritchie Reynolds Kawasaki Ninja 650) emerged from a multi-rider pack to battle for second place.

 

The two actually managed to cut into Gauthier’s lead while waging their duel, which came down to the race’s final corner. Carlile sailed past Cose to open the last lap, but Cose switched-up his opponent driving through Turns 3 and 4. However, the Estenson pilot managed a counter of his own while they streaked down the start/finish straight, nipping Cose by 0.101 seconds at the flag to finish as the race’s runner-up.

 

Second-ranked Ryan Varnes (No. 68 Varnes Racing/RoyBuilt Kawasaki Ninja 650) continued his consistent AFT Production Twins title campaign with his fifth top-five result of the year by taking fourth. Kevin Stollings (No. 999 Roof Systems/Motion Pro/Hinson Clutches Kawasaki Ninja 650) was just 0.002 seconds back of Varnes to round out the top five.

 

Championship leader Cory Texter (No. 65 G&G Racing/Holeshot Powersports Yamaha MT-07) took the checkered flag in ninth. As a result, he now leads Varnes by just 22 points (133-111) with Carlile (100) and Gauthier (96) looking increasingly threatening in third and fourth, respectively.

 

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.

A growing tradition of Labor Day weekend is now underway at Portland International Raceway (PIR). The Grand Prix of Portland is happening through Sunday and offers non-stop action on and off the race track at the historic venue in north Portland.
 
The NTT IndyCar Series returns to PIR and the Pacific Northwest for Round 16 of 17 of its season championship in the 105-lap headliner race on Sunday. Doubleheaders will be held for all three open-wheel development series comprising the Road to Indy presented by Cooper Tires.
 
Additional full-fender action will be provided by Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, and the debut of the high-flying Stadium SUPER Trucks taking on the asphalt and air of PIR for the first time. Eleven total races are on the docket for the weekend. Visit portlandgp.com for the complete schedule of racing and fan activities.
 
Some of the off track festivities include driver autograph sessions, The Week in IndyCar on The Marshall Pruett Podcast converging on the Cooper Tires Stage late Saturday afternoon, numerous festival-goer activations, displays and vendors filling the event site. Plus, with a paddock pass, fans can get up close to the stars and cars of IndyCar inside the “locker room” of motorsports.
 
The Grand Prix of Portland is also a part of the race to help save lives. For the American Red Cross, the James Hinchcliffe Blood Drive takes place on Saturday. Visit redcrossblood.org and use the sponsor code “Indy” to join the donor list.
 
“A stop at the Grand Prix of Portland is a great way to finish off the summer season,” said Jerry Jensen, general manager of the Grand Prix of Portland. “Our sponsors and partners made the inaugural event a success last year, and they are further accelerating the excitement for another great weekend for our fans and festival-goers.”
 
Balboa Winery is one of several new partners to the Grand Prix of Portland. Others include The Greenbrier Companies, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Oregon Department of Transportation with its “Park Your Phone” campaign, and Pendleton Whiskey.
 
“Balboa Winery is pleased to be teaming with the 2019 Grand Prix of Portland as the official winery for the event,” said Tom Glase, Balboa Winery Director of Winemaking and Partner. “Balboa is proud to align our premium wines to this great Northwest event.”
 
Returning as supporters of the Grand Prix of Portland are BMW, B. Young RV, Columbia Credit Union, Cooper Tires, Coors Light, Firestone, Mountain Dew, The Oregonian, Pearl Catering, and Red Lion Hotel on the River - Jantzen Beach. 
 
The Grand Prix of Portland is a tremendous family value. Tickets start at just $20. Children 12 and under receive free general admission to the event and free admission to the NTT IndyCar Series paddock throughout the weekend when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Visit portlandgp.com for ticket information.
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