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
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.
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.
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).
Mercedes-AMG Earns First Victory of 2019 WeatherTech Championship Season at VIR with Riley Motorsports’ Bleekemolen, Keating29 Aug 2019
Porsche Goes 1-2 in Michelin GT Challenge at VIR As Tandy, Pilet Take Third Win of Season in No. 91129 Aug 2019
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.