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  

  

 
Brittany Force powered her way to the provisional No. 1 spot in Top Fuel on Friday during the 65th annual Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis.
 
Jack Beckman (Funny Car), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Andrew Hines (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, who is seeking her first Indy win, ran 3.670-seconds at 327.27 mph in her Advance Auto Parts dragster to take the top spot. If the run, which was just off the track record at Indy, holds, it would give Force her sixth No. 1 qualifier of 2019 and 16th in her career. Defending world champion and points leader Steve Torrence was the only other driver to reach the 3.60s, going 3.688 at 323.81 to sit second. His father, Billy, is third after a run of 3.715 at 325.61 as he tries to break into the top 10 this weekend.
 
“It definitely felt fast,” Force said. “We went right down the track and put an awesome number on the board. It was a pretty awesome run, but the next two days are going to be the important ones setting us up for Monday. We’re really looking for consistency because that’s where we’ve been struggling, so this is a good start to the weekend and we’re very happy with that. I want to win here. I’ve been coming here since I was a baby and it’s on my bucket list.”
 
Funny Car’s Beckman, who is after his first win of 2019, drove his Infinite Hero Foundation Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat to an impressive 3.875 at 328.46. It would give Beckman, the 2015 Indy winner, his first No. 1 qualifier this year and 25th in his career if it holds. 
 
His Don Schumacher Racing teammate Ron Capps, who won the most recent race in Brainerd, is second after his blast of 3.882 at 327.66, while J.R. Todd, the defending and back-to-back Indy winner, sits third thanks to his 3.883 at a class-best 331.20. Before Friday’s run, Todd and his team also unveiled the special Mello Yello wrap they will be sporting this weekend on his Camry.
 
In Pro Stock, Line went 6.570 at 209.62 to take the No. 1 spot in his Summit Racing Equipment Chevrolet Camaro. Line, who won the most recent event in Brainerd, is aiming for his second straight and third overall top qualifier of 2019, and 56th in his career. Erica Enders, the runner-up at Brainerd, is second after Friday thanks to her 6.590 at 207.24, while points leader Bo Butner is third after going 6.592 at 209.95. On Friday, the NHRA also revealed the official logo for the 50th anniversary of Pro Stock, which will be celebrated during the 2020 season. 
 
Pro Stock Motorcycle points leader Hines raced to the top spot on his Screamin’ Eagle Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson, going 6.864 at 194.63. It would give Hines, a seven-time winner this year, his third No. 1 qualifier of the season and 45th in his career. Defending world champion Matt Smith is currently second after his run of 6.874 at 197.02 and Jerry Savoie is a spot back thanks to his pass of 6.898 at 193.85.
 
In the E3 Spark Plugs NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by J&A Service, three-time world champ Rickie Smith took the top spot on Friday with a run of 5.746 at 251.95 in his Camaro.
 
Qualifying continues Saturday at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with two rounds at 1:15 and 4:15 p.m. ET.

Championship hopeful Dalton Gauthier (No. 122 D&D Cycles/Gobert Smash Husqvarna FC450) scored a critical victory in Friday night’s Springfield Short Track to claim sole possession of the Roof Systems AFT Singles presented by Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys points lead.

 

The action at the Illinois State Fairgrounds was every bit as tense and frenetic as one would expect an Roof Systems AFT Singles Short Track showdown to be. In the midst of a tight title fight with just three additional races remaining on the 2019 American Flat Track calendar, and serving as a microcosm of the season to date, while a handful of riders enjoyed their moments in the spotlight. Ultimately it all came down to Gauthier and reigning class champion Dan Bromley (No. 1 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 450 SX-F).

 

Former AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines standout Chad Cose (No. 49 Ritchie Reynolds/American Suzuki RM-Z450) stormed to the holeshot and threatened to break free of the chaos before anyone else had an opportunity to react. However, Gauthier rolled forward on the momentum he had built up all day long when he ran quickest in both qualifying sessions and ripped to heat and semi victories.

 

Gauthier first slashed ahead of Spanish dirt track hero Ferran Cardús (No. 377 Bullet Strong Racing/Vanilla Cycles Honda CRF450R) to move into third and then ran up the inside of Bromley to take over second on lap 7. By lap 10, he was hounding Cose inside and outside, applying heavy pressure wherever possible in hopes of prompting a mistake.

 

That mistake came on lap 13. Gauthier squared up Cose and the two very nearly came together on the short straight as Gauthier slid ahead into first. Once clear, the new leader was able to call on his superior pace to pull open just enough of a gap to negate the possibility of a potential last-lap Hail Mary.

 

Title rival Bromley was going in the opposite direction, dropping down to fourth after he was also overhauled by Peoria TT winner Dallas Daniels (No. 163 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F).

 

16-year-old prodigy Daniels had earned the pole but was shuffled back to seventh early. Undeterred, he clawed his way through the fray, not only edging ahead of Bromley but lining up Cose for the runner-up position.

 

Desperate to minimize the championship damage done by another Gauthier victory, Bromley turned in a clutch sequence of his own. With time running out, the defending champ dove up the inside of Daniels and Cose in two consecutive corners to leap up from fourth to second in one short lap. From there he held on to the checkered flag to remain within five points of Gauthier for the Roof Systems AFT Singles championship lead (241-236).

 

The victory was Gauthier’s third of the season. After the race, he said, “It's huge. Coming into these last few races, it’s anyone’s game. I'm trying to get in front of Dan as much as I can, but he's running strong. We're having fun.

 

“Chad rode a really great race. It took me a few laps to catch him, but he was riding defensively. I just waited. I knew I had a few laps to go so I just waited for the mistake. He made one, and we got pretty close, but it was clean racing.”

 

Of his two-in-one-lap maneuver, runner-up Bromley said, “I just used my size to my advantage. It was a heck of a race. Chad got out front, and whether he's behind you or you're behind him, you never know what he's going to do. He ran a good race. He, Dalton, and Dallas were out front for most of the race.

 

“It’s a little bittersweet to be in second, but I'm happy to be back up here on the podium.”

 

Daniels secured his second consecutive podium, in third, in what was just his sixth-career AFT outing, while Cose ended up one spot off the box after leading the majority of the laps.

 

Meanwhile, Mikey Rush (No. 15 RMR Honda/Red Riders Rewards Honda CRF450R) kept his championship aspirations alive in fifth. While the bulk of the focus is understandably on Gauthier and Bromley, Rush remains very much in contention. He’s within striking distance -- just 25 points back of the lead (216) -- with a Half-Mile and two Miles left to decide the 2019 crown.

 

Catch the extended feature broadcast of the Springfield weekend on NBCSN with a special 90-minute telecast. As usual, there will be 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:

American Flat Track continues its Springfield Labor Day weekend tripleheader on Saturday as the AFT Twins presented by Vance & Hines and AFT Production Twins competitors move into the spotlight for the Springfield Mile Double-Header. Live coverage will be available on FansChoice.tv on both Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1 when the practice sessions kick off at 11:00 a.m. ET/8:00 a.m. PT. Tickets are on sale now at www.springfieldmile.org.

 

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.

 

The 2019 Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli championship took a dramatic turn in the series’ 47th visit to Road America in Saturday’s Ryan Companies 100.

Ernie Francis Jr. scored his third victory of the season and captured the TA class championship lead in the No. 98 Breathless Racing Frameless Shower Doors Ford Mustang. Boris Said came home second, while Cliff Ebben completed the podium, with the Wisconsin driver of the No. 36 Stumpf Ford/Machavern Group/Lamers Racing Ford Mustang prevailing in a spirited late-race battle with Amy Ruman in the No. 23 McNichols Co. Chevrolet Corvette.

Francis run to victory followed a torrid early battle with pole sitter Chris Dyson in the No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang.

The two cars were running within a half-second of each other before Dyson spun in his race-leading Mustang on the 10th lap in Turn 5 of the 4-mile circuit. The spin gave the lead to Francis, who was closely followed by popular veteran Boris Said in the No. 3 Elavon/Burtin Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Francis gradually built his advantage, winning over Said by 35.842 seconds.

“It was a real good race between Chris and I,” said Francis, who made it two-in-a-row after winning at Mid-Ohio. “We were going back and forth with the fastest lap. Then lapped traffic began to play a factor, and I was able to close in a little bit and put on the pressure. Then, coming into the brake zone for Turn 5, he got a little too much wheel hop into it, and I was able to go around.

“After that, I was able to pull out a gap and maintain a decent pace to take it home for the finish,” continued Francis. “I was keeping an eye on Boris. It was really great for points this weekend, and I couldn’t be prouder of the guys at Breathless Racing preparing the Frameless Shower Doors Mustang. The car was awesome all weekend. These are the kind of results we need at the end of the season, trying to pull out a championship.”

Dyson entered Round 7 with a five-point lead over Francis in the standings. However, the New Yorker began experiencing problems early in the race.

“Unfortunately, we had a brake problem that was developing early on,” Dyson explained. “It’s a shame, but around this place you’ve got to have your brakes working right. We had speed today. We were quick, even with the brakes not quite right. I’m frustrated with myself, and I’m frustrated for the team, but you can’t drive this place if the car’s not stopping right.”

Dyson picked up a puncture on the early 10 spin and pitted. He worked his way back to eighth but spun again in Turn 5 on Lap 18, sustaining terminal right-front damage.

“We put a new left-rear on and went back out,” Dyson said. “The brakes seemed to have come back, but then they rapidly, rapidly faded, and I was braking earlier and earlier. Then I got down to Turn 5, hit the brakes, and I had nothing. Rather than take out Cindi Lux in the car in front of us, I just ditched and grazed the wall, trying to minimize the damage.”

Said was only three seconds behind the leaders when Dyson had his initial spin, but he also had mechanical problems down the stretch.

“I thought I had something for Ernie, but then we had a gearbox issue,” Said explained. “In the end, I only had fifth gear and was nursing it to the finish.”

Denny Lamers was the TA Masters winner, finishing eighth in the No. 66 Stumpf Ford/Machavern Group/Lamers Racing Ford Mustang.

Tim Kezman made a winning SGT debut in the No. 64 Fall-Line Motorsports Lemons of Love Audi R8 LMS.

“We jumped out front and had a pretty good run,” Kezman said. “I had some pressure early on, but I stayed the course. The car was great. My first time in this car was in practice on Friday, and the Audi is a fun car to drive. Fall-Line does an amazing job preparing the car. We had some issues with traffic, but we managed to keep it clean and bring it home in one piece.”

Kezeman won at Indianapolis in a Fall-Line Porsche, and finished third in that car at Mid-Ohio.

“I’ll be at the next race at Watkins Glen,” Kezman said. “I’ll probably be back in the Audi, because I think it will be a great car for The Glen.”

Ken Twaits finished second in the No. 5 Wilwood Brakes/Franklin Road Apparel Audi R8 LMS, and also earned the CoolMove Shirts Cool Move of the Race. Jason Daskalos completed the podium in the No. 27 Vintage 423 Dodge Viper, followed by SGT points leader Mark Boden in the No. 46 Fall-Line Racing Beverage Flavors International Porsche 991 GT3.

Jeff Courtney, the lone entrant in the GT class, finished 22nd overall to score his second victory of the season in the 99 Matrix/RecStuff.com/Kendra Maserati GT4.

The next event for Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli will be at historic Watkins Glen International on Sept. 5-7. For full results, event photos and post-race videos, visit GoTransAm.com.

Even Stevan McAleer didn’t think he could do it.
 
When he spun out of the lead in slippery conditions behind the safety car with 32 minutes remaining in the one-hour, 45-minute IMSA Prototype Challenge race at VIRginia International Raceway, McAleer didn’t think there was any way he’d be standing atop the victory podium spraying champagne. But his No. 43 Robillard Racing Norma M30 was fast.
 
That was proven earlier Saturday when the Scot put the car on the pole position. And while he surrendered the lead to Mike Skeen on the first green-flag lap in the race, McAleer remained in contention.
 
The spin handed the lead to Kyle Masson in the No. 19 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P3, but McAleer managed to get going again, losing only two spots. When the green flag came back out with under 13 minutes remaining, McAleer quickly got past Nikko Reger in the No. 55 Forty7 Motorsports Norma M30 and into second place, and then out-dragged Masson down the back straight to retake the lead.
 
A final full-course caution period bunched up the field behind McAleer, but he pulled away at the drop of the green flag to win by 1.439 seconds over Skeen. It was McAleer’s second IMSA Prototype Challenge victory of the season and his first since Sebring International Raceway in March.
 
“I knew we were fast,” McAleer said. “There was a couple of cars in front, but that was the quickest 360 I’ve ever done in my life. I was trying everything not to go around again because that would have been it. I came on the radio and said, ‘Just tell me Mike and Austin (McCusker) are not in front of me,’ and they said, ‘They’re behind.’ I said, ‘OK. Let’s put a little bit of a crazy last 10 minutes in and see what we can do.’”
 
Skeen led most of the race in the No. 23 Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports Norma M30. He was the last one to make his pit stop, which came with 42 minutes remaining, but he rejoined the race well behind the leaders. He benefited from late full-course cautions to get close, but came home second in what was just his second IMSA Prototype Challenge race of 2019.
 
While the top two finishers ran the entire race solo, Masson shared the No. 19 entry with Canadian driver Dean Baker. They ended up sharing the final spot on the podium with a third-place showing.
 
No. 47 Forty7 Motorsports Norma M30 co-drivers McCusker and Rodrigo Pflucker came into the race with a healthy lead in the overall LMP3 championship standings, and while their eighth-place finish was not spectacular, they maintained a healthy lead with just one race remaining.
 
McCusker and Pflucker now lead No. 4 ANSA Motorsports Ligier JS P3 co-drivers Leo Lamelas and Neil Alberico, who fell out of the race early and finished 22nd, by 27 points, 150-123. McAleer moved from fifth to third in the standings and is 29 points behind heading to the season-ending race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Friday, Oct. 11.
 
In the Bronze Cup class, Kris Wilson – making his first IMSA Prototype Challenge start – came away with the victory in the No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P3.
 
“This is my maiden voyage in this car and with this team,” Wilson said. “It was great, interesting conditions. Dry on the front, wet on the back, lots of people going off, even on the pace lap.
 
“I’ve been in GT cars for almost 20 years now. The last time I was in a prototype was in the ‘90s, so it was a lot different than nowadays. It’s a different driving style. It’s about trying to twist my brain around and figure out how to drive this kind of car again, but I don’t know if the old prototypes were anything like these. These are just awesome. There’s so much aero and everything else.”
 
The IMSA Prototype Challenge race from VIR will be televised on NBCSN on Monday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. ET.

NTT IndyCar Series driver Takuma Sato hasn't had many weeks as wild as this past one.

Sato qualified fifth for Saturday's Bommarito Automotive Group 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway, dropped to last place after opening-lap contact with other cars in Turn 1 and battled back to win in the closest finish in this track's 10-year history - 0.0399 seconds over Ed Carpenter.

The victory came six days after being the center of attention for his role in the first-lap, multi-car accident at Pocono Raceway that left his car upside down. But the Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing driver stood his ground and focused forward, and that approach led him to his second win of the season, the fifth of his career and first on a short oval track.

Next to the 2017 Indianapolis 500 victory, Sato called this the most gratifying win of his career.

"Yes, I'm sure," he said. "Winning (from) pole at Barber was very significant - just the domination of the weekend is always great credit for the team and satisfaction. But this win is so special - beside Indy 500, obviously nothing like (that). This is just so emotional. Gave me unbelievable boost.

"(It's) a great story."

Sato (No. 30 Mi-Jack/Panasonic Honda) might not have held off Carpenter (No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet) had the race gone another corner much less another lap. Carpenter made a valiant charge in the final two laps to overtake Tony Kanaan (No. 14 ABC Supply AJ Foyt Chevrolet) and close in on Sato. The margin was the closest of the NTT IndyCar Series season.

"It could have been (different winner) if we had a little longer straightaway or another lap," Carpenter said.

After Sato held off Carpenter at the finish line, all eyes turned to NTT P1 Award winner and championship leader Josef Newgarden (No. 2 PPG Team Penske Chevrolet), who had been swapping fourth place with rookie Santino Ferrucci of Dale Coyne Racing (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda). Ferrucci had drifted high a few laps earlier, allowing Newgarden to get past. But Ferrucci passed Newgarden back - apparently in tight form - and Newgarden spun in Turn 4.

"I was happy I wasn't in the (wall), to be honest with you," Newgarden said. "The engine was still going, I wasn't in the wall. (I thought), thank goodness I'm kind of straight, I can't believe we're still going here."

Newgarden's misfortune caused him to drop to seventh place, which cost him six points, but he will head to Portland International Raceway for next weekend's penultimate race with a lead that has grown each of the past two weeks.

Newgarden leads teammate Simon Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet) by 38 points, Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda) by 46 points and Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Chip Ganassi Racing Honda) by 70 points after they finished fifth, 13th and 20th, respectively.

Carpenter and Kanaan scored their first top-three finishes of the season. Carpenter last finished second in last year's Indianapolis 500; Kanaan's most-recent podium was at Texas Motor Speedway in 2017.

Ferrucci, who led a race-high 97 of 248 laps, scored his second consecutive fourth-place finish and the third of his rookie season, and it allowed him to move two points ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing's Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 Monster Energy Honda) for the lead in the Rookie-of-the-Year battle.

Conor Daly (No. 59 Gallagher Carlin Chevrolet) gave his team its best finish of the season in sixth place.

The NTT IndyCar Series heads to Portland, Ore., for next Sunday's Grand Prix of Portland. 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 209, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970).

After scoring his first career Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama victory Saturday, Max Root completed his first weekend sweep Sunday morning at VIRginia International Raceway.
 
The 20-year-old from San Diego led every lap of the 45-minute race in the No. 7 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine after taking the lead from polesitter Roman De Angelis going into Turn 1 following the drop of the green flag. He was never seriously challenged throughout the remainder of the race and beat Victor Gomez IV to the line by 4.140 seconds to get the victory.
 
“It was just tire management and consistency,” Root said. “We came out with a strong platform both days. There were mixed conditions yesterday and a perfect track today. I was smiling ear-to-ear the whole time. It was a great time.”
 
Gomez – the 2018 GT3 Cup Challenge USA Gold Cup class champion for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars built between 2014 and 2016 – picked up his best result since returning to the Platinum Cup class for cars built since 2017 with the runner-up finish in the No. 25 NGT Motorsport entry. Gomez claimed the runner-up spot from De Angelis, who had a last-lap off-track excursion and lost several positions.
 
Third place went to 17-year-old Riley Dickinson in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche. It was Dickinson’s fourth podium result of the season and his first since a third-place run at Montreal in June.
 
De Angelis wound up fourth in the No. 79 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche. It was the first time the 18-year-old Canadian missed the podium all season, but he still holds a comfortable, 58-point lead, 407-349, over Root with four races now remaining on the schedule.
 
If the Platinum Cup race was fairly straightforward, the race in the Platinum Masters class for drivers 45 years of age and over was not. Jeff Mosing built a relatively comfortable early lead in the No. 68 Topp Racing Porsche before sliding off course and into the tire barrier in the Oak Tree Turn with 28 minutes to go.
 
That gave the lead to Platinum Masters points leader Alan Metni in the No. 99 AM Motorsports/Kelly-Moss Porsche and he too had a nice lead before being bitten by the Oak Tree as well. He spun with 10 minutes remaining, handing the Masters lead to Saturday’s winner, Fred Poordad in the No. 20 Wright Motorsports Porsche.
 
After Juan Manuel Fayen got into the Turn 3 tire barrier in the No. 19 FMS Motorsport Porsche and brought out a full-course caution with under eight minutes to go, the race went back to green with just over three minutes left. That’s when the Platinum Masters lead changed for the final time, as Metni and Poordad tangled in Turn 1, forcing Poordad to spin and drawing Metni a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility.
 
That gave the lead and the win back to Mosing. It was his third win this year after sweeping both races in June at Watkins Glen International.
 
“It just goes to show, if you’re not under any pressure, you might have a little brain fart and I did,” Mosing said. “Metni seemed to be gaining on me about a couple of tenths per lap, so I was trying to figure out where I could pick it back up. I thought I might be able to go 10 feet deeper into Oak Tree and I couldn’t, so I just kind of lost it.
 
“Eric Foss, my coach, he’s the one that keeps my spirits up. I keep the attitude that he does, ‘Put your head down, you’ve got plenty of time left, this isn’t over.’ Sure enough, things just happened, as GT3 Cup does. I got lucky. I want to thank Charlie Luck; he raced me clean down the back straightaway, he raced me clean the whole race. Everybody did. It was a fun race.
 
“Thanks to Yokohama for putting out a great tire. The tires never gave up, even though the toe got knocked out of the rear. Thanks to Porsche Motorsport for putting on a great series and thank you to VIR. This is officially my favorite track on the planet.”
 
Luck picked up his best Platinum Masters result of the season with a second-place run in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports Porsche. It was his fourth class podium this year. Vernon McClure scored his first Platinum Masters podium with a third-place finish in the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche.
 
Metni, who wound up seventh in Masters following the penalty, still leads the class point standings by 19, 372-353, over Poordad, who was fifth on Sunday.
 
In Gold Cup, points leader Sebastian Carazo earned his eighth class victory of the season in the No. 27 NGT Motorsport Porsche. Not unlike Root in the Platinum Cup class, Carazo also got a nice lead at the start and stayed upfront throughout to take the victory. He now leads Rob Ferriol by 41 points, 406-365, in the Gold Cup standings.
 
“It was a great race,” Carazo said. “It was a fun race up to that last-lap restart. It was amazing. A lot of action on track everywhere, you could see it. It’s great to be here. Big thanks to the team, my sponsors, my fans, everybody who supports me. I was hospitalized last Sunday for an appendix surgery, so it was getting a quick recovery in, drink a lot of water, rest the most I could during the week and get ready for this weekend.”
 
After winning on Saturday, Ferriol came home second on Sunday in the No. 5 Moorespeed Porsche for his ninth podium of the season. Curt Swearingen was third in Gold Cup aboard the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche, matching his best result of the season. Swearingen previously finished third at Watkins Glen.
 
Randal Bryant claimed the Yokohama Hard Charger Award in the No. 15 TPC Racing Porsche as the Gold Cup driver who improved the most overall positions from start to finish in Race 2 at VIR. Bryant finished 19th overall after starting 22nd.
 
NBCSN will televise the GT3 Cup Challenge USA action from VIR on Friday, Sept. 6 at 12 noon ET.
 
Next up for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama is a doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the IndyCar event weekend on Sept. 21-22.
Sunny skies and a dry racetrack were a welcome sight for the 16-car Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America field Sunday.
 
After yesterday's race in wet conditions, the Huracan Evos roared to the green flag at iconic VIRginia International Raceway for Round 8 of the season.
 
Polesitter Corey Lewis in the No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte entry led the field to green. He was able to extend his lead as Sandy Mitchell in the No. 1 Prestige Performance / Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus went off the track in Turn 2 of the first lap and Paolo Ruberti (No. 27 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Dallas) was hit with a drive-through penalty for jumping the start.
 
That left Lewis to race ahead of Brandon Gdovic in the No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsport, Lamborghini Palm Beach entry for the first part of the race. Mitchell got back into the race before going wide at the Oak Tree Turn before the pit window opened and was right behind Gdovic.
 
The opening of the pit window was delayed for three minutes after the No. 63 of McKay Snow suffered a flat left rear tire, and a full course yellow came out for debris on the track. Lewis was the first Pro Class entry to pit and turned the car over to teammate Richy Antinucci.
 
As the pit cycle closed with 17 minutes remaining in the race, the No. 46 seized the lead with Shinya Michimi taking over for Gdovic. Round 7's winner – the No. 27 quickly moved up to second with Cedric Sbirrazzouli behind the wheel as the No. 29 fell off the pace and had to stop in the pits a second time.
 
Michimi then enjoyed a five- to seven-second lead over the final minutes of the race as the No. 46 won for the second time in 2019 and for the first time since Round 1 over the No. 27.
 
Lewis and Antinucci remain in the class lead in points with 102 marks, followed by Adrea Amici and Sandy Mitchell with 90.
 
Jacob Eidson and Damon Ockey in the No. 9 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Vancouver continued to close in on the ProAm class championship with their seventh win in eight races. Eidson started the race and quickly moved to the front of the class before handing the car over to Ockey during the mandatory pit window.
 
Ockey brought the car to the finish line with a little drama on the last lap, as he spun in the Oak Tree but was still able to finish third overall and enjoyed a 40-second win over Patrick Liddy in the No. 24 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini La Jolla entry.
 
The duo has now accumulated 122 points on the season with William Hubbell in the No. 69 Prestige Performance / Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus entry in second with 78.
 
McKay Snow (No. 63 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte) and Steven Aghakhani (No. 6 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills) once again battled it out in the Am Class as they were separated by less than half a second for a majority of the first 20 minutes of the race. With 33 minutes remaining Snow's car suffered a flat left rear tire which brought out the aforementioned caution.
 
That allowed Aghakhani to take the lead. He was able to go to victory over Sheena Monk in the No. 7 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Palmyra entry to earn his third victory of the year.
 
Snow remains in first place in class with 105 points while Cameron Cassels is second with 85 and Aghakhani is third with 82.
 
LB Cup Class leader Mel Johnson had the first stint in the No. 08 GMG Racing, Lamborghini Newport Beach entry, but was overtaken by the No. 43 Prestige Performance / Wayne Taylor Racing after contact in Turn 1 of the first lap.
 
The No. 43 Prestige Performance / Wayne Taylor Racing, Lamborghini Paramus entry driven by Stephanie Cemo took the lead at that point until it changed 10 minutes into the race as Justin Price in the No. 22 Dream Racing, Lamborghini Atlanta entry moved to the front looking to make it a sweep on the weekend.
 
A slower pit stop by the No. 22 allowed the No. 08 with Thomas Lovelady behind the wheel to reclaim the lead following the pit window being closed. He was able to make it the fifth win of the season for the No. 08 as they held off a strong challenge from the No. 43 and Ashton Harrison.
 
Johnson, on his own, still leads the class with 90 points while Harrison and Cemo are second with 82.
 
Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America continues next at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for Rounds 9 and 10 with a pair of practice sessions and the qualifying for both of the 50-minute races on Friday, Sept. 13 with Race 1 on Saturday at 11:20 a.m. PDT. Round 10 is scheduled to start at and 9:25 a.m. PDT on Sunday.
 
Those races will be streamed on IMSA.tv or squadracorse.lamborghini.com/live-streaming with IMSA Radio commentary. NBCSN will be broadcasting this round from WRLS on Wednesday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. EDT.
 
It was finally Mercedes-AMG’s turn atop the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship podium in 2019 and on Sunday at VIRginia International Raceway.
 
The No. 33 Riley Motorsports – Team AMG Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating scored their first victory – and podium – of the season in the GT Daytona (GTD) at the 3.27-mile circuit in Alton, Virginia.
 
In fact, it was the first podium of the season for the manufacturer in GTD and the first win for Bleekemolen and Keating since winning at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park last July.
 
“Golly, this has been a long time coming,” said Keating. “We’ve have had a great, car, a great team, and everything would have gone so well from a performance standpoint all season, and then we’d have the worst of luck. Today was almost the complete opposite.”
 
The win came as a result of a slightly different pit strategy than the rest of the GTD competitors. The team chose to pit two laps earlier than the leaders to save time on pit lane and save fuel on track.
 
Bleekemolen was third following the midrace handoff from Keating and with two laps on the tires, passed the leading No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 of Mario Farnbacher and the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Scott Hargrove, fresh off pit lane on cold tires.
 
“Mario did an unbelievable job on the first lap,” said Keating. “But coming out of (the) Oak Tree (Turn), he went wide and it’s a pretty rough ride on the outside of there, and that allowed Jeroen to get a bit of a run all the way going down the back straight. From that point in time, once you have the position of being in the lead, it’s a little bit easier to save fuel. And this is one of those tracks where you can save fuel if you’re not really fighting hard for position.”
 
The win also capped off a special weekend for Bleekemolen, who competed in a late model race at the South Boston Speedway on Saturday night. Ironically, the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class winners on Sunday – Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet in the No. 911 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR – also were in attendance as spectators.
 
Farnbacher and co-driver Trent Hindman held on for second place by .566 seconds to expand their championship lead to 37 points over Zacharie Robichon, Hargrove’s No. 9 Porsche co-driver. Robichon currently leads the duo by one point in the WeatherTech Sprint Cup, which reaches its conclusion following the upcoming race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
 
Rounding out the GTD podium was the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa WeatherTech Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Cooper MacNeil and Toni Vilander, who made a last lap pass on Hargrove for the third position and the team’s third podium of the year.
 
Next up for the WeatherTech Championship is the penultimate round of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 15. The two-hour, 40-minute race with all four classes will be televised live on the NBC network beginning at 3 p.m. ET.
 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio. Tickets are available now at WeatherTechRaceway.com
Something happened in Sunday’s two-hour, 40-minute Michelin GT Challenge at VIRginia International Raceway that has never happened before in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship history dating back to 2014.
 
The GT Le Mans (GTLM) class finishing order had teammates finishing together from top to bottom, led by the Porsche GT Team which scored a 1-2 sweep on the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit. No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR driver Nick Tandy led his teammates, Earl Bamber in the No. 912 Porsche across the line by 0.737 seconds to score the third victory of the season for himself and his co-driver, Patrick Pilet.
 
It was the sixth victory of the season for the Porsche GT Team and was the second VIR victory for Tandy and Pilet, who won here in 2015. The two Porsches dominated most of the race, combining to lead 86 of the 88 laps completed in the race.
 
The No. 911 led a race-high 48 laps, including the last 20 after Tandy claimed the lead when Richard Westbrook surrendered it to make his final pit stop of the race in the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT. After that, it came down to teammates Tandy and Bamber to settle it between themselves.
 
A final full-course caution came out with 21 minutes to go when Katherine Legge crashed in Turn 9 in the No. 57 Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Acura NSX GT3. That set the stage for one last duel, and while Tandy had concerns coming into the restart with just under nine minutes left, he managed to keep Bamber at bay to win for the first time since June’s race at Watkins Glen International.
 
“This weekend was really suited to the tires we were using, and it was really quick,” Tandy said. “It hasn’t always been like that. Road America, we were really struggling as a matter of fact, but we still managed to pull a result out of the bag and get a third-place finish with the No. 912 car.
 
“I think it’s this sort of thing that’s made our season. Things like, we won Sebring due to a great team performance, it’s not about having a great car, and that’s what I’m most proud of. It’s not about having a pole and then just driving around. When you battle and you work as a unit, I think it’s really shown this year we have two sides of the garage working together.”
 
The victory all but sealed the 2019 WeatherTech Championship GTLM manufacturer’s title for Porsche, which only needs to earn the minimum points for starting the final two races of the season to win it.
 
“It’s a perfect day,” Pilet said. “We had a tough qualy for Nick. He was really (upset) he went off, but I told him never give up. We have a great car. The guys make an excellent job. All the Michelin tires were working perfectly on our car this weekend.
 
“Yeah, the manufacturer’s championship was the first step, so this is done now, we can fight until the end with our sister car, which made a great job today. It was a great fight with them. We will try to make their life a bit more difficult for the driver’s championship. Even if it’s not easy, we will never give up until the end. It’s a great day for Porsche.”
 
With the victory, Tandy and Pilet closed the gap in the driver and team standings to 11 points, 280-269, behind Bamber and his co-driver Laurens Vanthoor. The No. 912 duo known as “Bamthor” earned their seventh podium result of the season.
 
Finishing third were No. 3 Corvette Racing co-drivers Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, who now have finished on the podium in four consecutive races at VIR dating back to their first of two consecutive wins starting in 2016. Fourth place went to the other Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, the No. 4 co-driven by Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin.
 
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing occupied the next two positions. Westbrook and co-driver Ryan Briscoe saw their winning streak snapped at two straight races with a fifth-place ride in the No. 67, ahead of teammates Dirk Mueller and Joey Hand, who took sixth in the No. 66 Ford GT.
 
BMW Team RLL completed the GTLM field. Defending winner Connor De Phillippi teamed with Tom Blomqvist to finish seventh in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE ahead of John Edwards and Jesse Krohn in the No. 24 entry.
 
Next up for the WeatherTech Championship is the penultimate round of the season at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on Sunday, Sept. 15. The two-hour, 40-minute race with all four classes will be televised live on the NBC network beginning at 3 p.m. ET.
 
IMSA Radio also will have live coverage on IMSA.com, RadioLeMans.com and SiriusXM Radio. Tickets are available now at WeatherTechRaceway.com.

In a pair of intense races, it was only appropriate that deuces went to victory lane in both halves of the Thrifty Tire Center / Puryear Tank Lines Mid-Atlantic Classic on Saturday night at Orange County Speedway. Bobby McCarty piloted his No. 22 to his second win of the season, while Trevor Noles did the same with his No. 22 after a second chance following a flat tire during a caution late in the event.


LATE MODEL STOCK RECAP
Craig Moore led the field to green after pacing the competition in qualifying, capturing the Hedgecock Pole Award in his second visit to Orange County with the tour in 2019. Josh Berry gained the advantage on Moore during the first lap and began to set the pace for the event.

Leading the field into turn three on the third lap, Berry's car erupted in white smoke, and over a half-dozen cars behind him slid into each other or the retaining wall, creating a massive melee in the oil left behind by Berry's machine when the flywheel failed and punctured the oil filter. Moore, Mini Tyrrell, Brandon Pierce, Layne Riggs, Trevor Ward, Brody Pope, Ronald Hill, and Deac McCaskill were among those who received damage in the incident.

Jonathan Findley led the field to the restart in a career-best showing, but Justin Carroll took the point from him after the lap three restart and showed the way until Bobby McCarty, from his deep starting spot, reeled in the No. 57 and bypassed him for command of the race on lap 22.

McCarty and the No. 22 Toyota dominated the rest of the event despite challenges from his teammate, Sammy Smith, in the closing laps. The defending series champion pulled away to a 1.621-second margin of victory over Smith, Findley, Carroll and Deac McCaskill.

"It started raining in qualifying and I couldn't get the car to grip up, so we started eleventh or twelfth or whatever it was," McCarty said before elaborating on the accident he avoided early in the race. "I seen smoke, and I seen the left side of the 2 car in the fence. As soon as I seen the 2 car and the smoke, I just went low. At the end of the day, our cars haven't been the best before this. We really need to get back to where we were last year when we were the car you had to show up to beat. We just have to focus on that and get back to winning races and I really feel like we were stepping in the right direction this weekend."

Due to Berry's misfortune early, the 11 point margin he enjoyed in the standings now flips to McCarty's advantage. The defending titlist enters the race at South Boston with an unofficial nine point cushion.

"We're going there to win. We can't get caught up in the points, we have to just get our cars better," McCarty stated emphatically. "We're going to win, and I couldn't care less where everyone else finishes. At the end of the day, they all have to beat this 22 car. We're going to go to work, we still have some work to do. You gotta count your blessings, and we'll move on to South Boston."


SUPER LATE MODEL RECAP
Matt Craig laid down the gauntlet in Mahle Pistons Pole Qualifying, grabbing the pole and starting where he finished three weeks prior at Hickory. Once the green flag dropped, the field patiently clicked off the laps behind Craig and second place Brandon Setzer until the field approached halfway.

As the lap count grew higher into the triple digits, Giovanni Bromante worked his way from deep into the top ten up to third and began to reel in the top two racers. Simultaneously, former third place driver Trevor Noles began to noticeably fall off the pace with an apparent mechanical issue.

A caution with thirty laps to go, moments before Noles would have gone a lap down, allowed the No. 22 team to change what turned out to be a flat right rear tire.

On the initial restart, Brandon Setzer lost control in turn three, sliding up into Matt Craig and causing his car to contact the outside wall, while everyone scattered behind the spinning car of Setzer and its smokescreen. Aside from Setzer and Craig, all drivers narrowly made it through unscathed.

The second attempt at the restart allowed Giovanni Bromante to restart beside Craig, and the pair of young drivers duked it out for the race lead over the final 20 laps, making contact multiple times as they fought for the $10,000 payday. While they raced, Noles was quickly charging through the field with a fresher right rear tire, and caught the pair inside of ten laps to go.

Bromante took the lead briefly on lap 140, but after Craig drove back around him on lap 141, Noles moved into second and found a way around the No. 54 car on lap 146.

A restart following an incident involving Steve Wallace, Tate Fogleman and Kodie Conner was the closest competition Noles had after taking the lead. He pulled away over the final two lap sprint to a .602-second advantage en route to his first CARS Tour win and the biggest of his career. Craig, Bromante, Corey Heim and Stephen Nasse rounded out the top five.

"I didn't know what happened, I heard something pop and I thought it was in the front end, but evidently it wasn't," Noles said of the flat tire which ultimately helped him to win the race. "That was a gift from God right there. I think we had a really good car, a good enough car to win it. I just can't thank everyone who's helped me on this car [enough]. This is, by far, one of the biggest wins of my career, and I couldn't be happier than to do it with the CARS Tour.

"I knew we had a good car, and had a good right rear on it," he continued in Edelbrock Victory Lane with pleasant disbelief on his face. "It was pretty hectic coming through the field, cars were going everywhere. It was a long race, but I'm glad we're standing here in victory lane."

The next event for the CARS Racing Tour will take place November 2 at South Boston Speedway. Both series championships will be decided in a pair of 125-lap contests at the south-central Virginia facility.

For more information on the CARS Tour, visit their website at CARSRacingTour.com, or follow them on Facebook (@CARSTour), Twitter (@CARSTour), Instagram (@cars_tour), and Snapchat (@carstour). The series also has its own YouTube channel, Roku channel (available through its TV website), and a new publicly available Amazon FireTV app.

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