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 SCCA® U.S. Majors Tour® Southeast Conference has concluded its 2019 calendar. Nearly 900 racers took part in the Southeast Conference’s 12-round season that held court at six different venues. Drivers who excelled rightfully earned a 2019 Southeast Conference championship.

A handful of racers claimed their championships by the thinnest of margins. In B-Spec, David Daughtery and his Honda Fit tied with the MINI Cooper of Bradley Davis, both amassing 142 points during the Southeast Conference season. However, Daughtery claims the championship as he managed to garner four victories as compared to the two wins Davis claimed over eight races.

The GT-Lite class was decided by a single point as Paul Mevoli and his Nissan Sentra gathered up 93 points as compared to the 92 points earned by David Stephens and his Datsun 510 machine. Finishing only four points behind Stephens was Ted Phenix driving an Austin Cooper S.

The championship in two other classes was decided by only two points. In H Production, Will Perry and his Honda CRX took the top spot by accumulating 150 points with six wins over the course of six races while Michael Miller, driving an Austin Healey Sprite, harvested 148 points over eight races. Then in the Touring 3 class, Tomas Ballester and his BMW SE46 collected the championship with 149 points, which was two more points than runner-up Philip Cunningham could manage in his Ford Mustang. Only five points behind Cunningham was the BMW 330ci of Broderick Baugess. Incidentally, both Ballester and Cunningham competed in every Southeast Conference race weekend during the year.

Five points was the margin of victory in GT-1 for Michael Lewis in his Jaguar XKR as they bested Juan Vento’s Chevrolet Corvette, and Touring 2 was decided by nine points with Cooper MacNeil and his BMW M3 claiming the championship over John Logiudice piloting a Chevrolet Corvette.

The two largest classes in the Southeast Conference this year were Spec Racer Ford Gen3 (SRF3) and Spec Miata (SM). Preston Pardus ended up at the top of the chart in SM, beating out nearly 150 other competitors. And of the 113 drivers who challenged for the SRF3 championship, Brian Schofield came out on top.

The Southeast Conference again began its racing season in early January with Round One and Round Two at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Next was a stop at Sebring International Raceway in Florida, an event that also opened the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA® Super Tour season. The Conference then rested in February before a second Hoosier Super Tour event in March at Georgia’s Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, the first-ever Hoosier Super Tour conducted at that venue. The season continued in April with another Hoosier Super Tour event, and 2019 Runoffs preview, at VIRginia International Raceway. The Conference took another break in May before cranking things up in June at Charlotte Motor Speedway for Round Nine and Round Ten, followed by the season finale at Roebling Road Raceway in Bloomingdale, Georgia.

Conference points are awarded to the top 20 finishers in each class. Winners earn 25 points, and 21 points go to second. Points are then doled out to others starting with 18 and descending to a single point for the 20th finisher. Only the best eight finishes at Southeast Conference races count towards a driver’s point total. 

CrowdStrike, the Official Internet and Cloud Security Provider for SRO America and presenting sponsor for the entire race weekend, is back in racing action as the Blancpain GT World Challenge America Championship resumes Friday through Sunday at Watkins Glen International.

 

In addition to its prominent position as a leading sponsor and partner of SRO America, CrowdStrike will be active on the track with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 racer. George Kurtz and Colin Braun, who share the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS/Accel/DXDT Mercedes-AMG GT3, are firmly entrenched in the Pro-Am Drivers Championship chase after four of seven events.

 

Each Blancpain GT World Challenge America event consists of two 90-minute races each weekend. Kurtz and Braun are fifth in points with six races left in 2019, highlighted by a runner-up finish at Virginia International Raceway and a third-place podium result at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 

“Everyone at CrowdStrike is excited to return to competition in SRO America and the Blancpain GT World Challenge America series,” said Kurtz, CrowdStrike co-founder and CEO.  

 

“This is one of the great, historic race tracks in America,” he added. “Its popularity among race fans is great for our Official Partnership of SRO America. We expect very significant exposure for CrowdStrike to fans around North American and the world. Year over year, racing continues to be a tremendous activation for our brand.” 

 

Braun is a two-time winner and past pole-sitter in Prototype competition at Watkins Glen.

 

“I’m really looking forward to getting back on track at Watkins Glen with the CrowdStrike team,” Braun said. “It is a demanding track that throws many challenges at you as a driver but it’s one of my favorite tracks. I think it’s going to be a good weekend for George, myself and the entire CrowdStrike team. DXDT has been working hard to make our CrowdStrike Mercedes-AMG GT3 faster each week and the top step of the podium is within sight!”

 

CrowdStrike, AWS and DXDT are partnering with Operation Motorsport for this race weekend. The purpose of Operation Motorsport is to engage ill and injured service members and veterans affected by military service, through motorsport activities to aid in their recovery and rehabilitation. DXDT will host Sargent Major Jason Leach, a 26+ year active Army soldier, who is pursuing his interests toward an ultimate goal to either own or manage a race team.

 

The Blancpain GT World Challenge America will compete at Watkins Glen International from August 30—September 1. Race One is set for 3:10 p.m. ET on Saturday with Race Two at 3:15 p.m. ET on Sunday and airing live on CBS Sports Network. For more information, visit CrowdStrikeRacing.com.

CJ Moses and James Sofronas are set to team up again in Pirelli GT4 America SprintX racing this weekend as the series and sanctioning body SRO America, sponsored by CrowdStrike and by AWS, return to competition at Watkins Glen International.

 

The Moses/Sofronas pairing will pilot the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS Audi R8 LMS GT4 prepared by Global Motorsports Group (GMG) in two one-hour Pirelli GT4 America SprintX races Saturday and Sunday. Each SprintX race features multiple drivers in each car with a mandatory driver change. For the Watkins Glen weekend, the GT4 SprintX races are 5:50 p.m. ET on Saturday and 1 p.m. ET on Sunday.

 

The Watkins Glen round will conclude Moses’ first season of professional GT4 racing – one that began at St. Petersburg (Fla.) in March. Along the way, Moses and Sofronas competed at the famed Long Beach (Calif.) street circuit, and they teamed up to race together for the first time at Virginia International Raceway in SprintX competition.

 

That April weekend resulted in a second-place podium finish in the first of two races. AWS hosted a number of local staff and customers at the track, who were able to join Moses and Sofronas on the podium, holding up the team’s Champagne-soaked trophies.

 

Another classic American track – Watkins Glen – beckons this weekend with Moses determined to end his 2019 GT4 race season on a high note.

 

"Watkins Glen is the perfect setting to wrap up my GT4 race season," said Moses. "We started by racing the CrowdStrike/AWS Audi R8 at two coastal street courses, followed by VIR in the rolling hills of the Virginia countryside. James and I both grew up in New York so it's fitting we'll share a car there – and hopefully we'll also share another podium! James and GMG are going to prepare a great Audi to race at Watkins Glen. There's a full field of GT4 competitors waiting for us – we're ready!"

 

Sofronas, last year’s GT4 Series Champion, has been instrumental in helping Moses adapt to his first season of pro racing. The owner of GMG and GMG Racing posted a pair of sixth-place GTS finishes a year ago at Watkins Glen, leading to Sofronas claiming all three Pirelli GT4 America titles for the 2018 season with the Audi R8.

 

“Watkins Glen International is a true American classic, so taking this partnership with CJ, AWS and CrowdStrike to this track is a great fit,” said Sofronas. “CJ’s a quick learner with the Audi R8 and I think he’ll pick up the flow of The Glen with ease – I’m looking forward to our race weekend with GMG in New York!”

 

CrowdStrike, AWS and GMG are partnering with Operation Motorsport for this race weekend. The purpose of Operation Motorsport is to engage ill and injured service members and veterans affected by military service through motorsport activities to aid in their recovery and rehabilitation. GMG will host SFC David J. Meyer, who has more than 18 years of active duty service in the U.S. Army. SFC Meyer has completed six overseas deployments and is currently the Public Affairs NCOIC for the Surgeon General of the Army (OTSG) and the Army’s Medical Command (MEDCOM). His interest in racing includes a standing motorcycle record with Land Speed Racing with the East Coast Timing Association.

 

The Pirelli GT4 America SprintX Championship will compete at Watkins Glen International from August 30–September 1. Race One is set for 5:50 p.m. ET on Saturday with Race Two at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. CBS Sports Network television coverage is set for noon ET on Sunday, September 8. For more information, visit CrowdStrikeRacing.com.

 

The SCCA® U.S. Majors Tour® Western Conference has wrapped up its 2019 calendar. Nearly 400 racers took part in the Western Conference’s 14-round season that held court at seven different venues. Drivers who excelled rightfully earned a 2019 Western Conference championship.

Of the 28 different car class battles that took place this year in the Western Conference, the F Production fight was the tightest. At season’s end, Steven Hussey and his Lotus 7 were tied with the MG Midget of Joe Huffaker. Both drivers amassed 50 points, but it was Hussey who was crowned champion having earned five wins to Huffaker’s two. The GT-3 class fight was just about as close as Taz Harvey’s Mazda RX-7 edged out the Mazda RX-3 of Gary Bockman by only one point after both drivers had competed in eight races. Harvey also drove a Mazda MX-5 to the Western Conference GT-Lite championship this year.

Three points was the margin of victory in two different Western Conference car classes. Formula Vee® saw Charles Turner, in a Vortech 01, edge out the Caracal C1 of Marjorie Lundberg 169 points to 166 points, Turner having competed in each of the Conference’s 14 races. Then in B-Spec, Frank Schwartz and his MINI Cooper claimed the class championship with 142 points as compared to Cherie Storms and her Mazda 2 which accumulated 139 points.

The GT-2 class was also pretty close this year as Kristofer Olson, in an Acura NSX, claimed the championship by four points over the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 of Oli Thordarson. And five points was the championship difference in E Production with Joe Carr, in a Honda Group 2000, gathering up 143 points as compared to the 138 points of Glen McCready and his Mazda MX-5 racecar. In third, only three points behind McCready, was the Mazda RX-7 of Kale Swifts.

Rounding out close Western Conference battles this year was American Sedan® where Clark Nunes, driving a Ford Spec Mustang, claimed the championship with 150 points as compared to the 142 points of runner-up Michael Thompson in his Chevrolet Camaro.

 

It was January when the Sports Car Club of America® U.S. Majors Tour Western Conference opened its competition season with Round 1 and Round 2 at Sonoma Raceway in Northern California. Next was a stop at Auto Club Speedway just east of downtown Los Angeles in February. Then in March, the Conference held Round 5 and Round 6 at Willow Springs Raceway north of Los Angeles. April saw the Western Conference’s first Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour event of the year conducted at Buttonwillow Raceway Park, followed in May by a second Hoosier Super Tour weekend at gorgeous and green Portland International Raceway in Oregon. What followed was Round 11 and Round 12 in the state of Washington at Pacific Raceways before the schedule closed in July with a first-ever Hoosier Super Tour visit to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca located alongside beautiful Monterey, California.

Portland International Raceway this weekend, August 30-September 1, will host all three levels of the Road to Indy open-wheel racing development ladder as the first of just two events remaining in the 2019 season. Championship titles and lucrative scholarship prizes to further the champions’ careers remain to be clinched in Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires, the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and the first rung on the ladder, the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship.

The Road to Indy is unique in the global community of auto racing, offering scholarships and awards valued at over $2.5 million to assist drivers in progressing from the grassroots to the pinnacle of the sport – in this case the NTT IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500.

Portland’s 12-turn, 1.964-mile road course, situated close to the confluence of the Columbia and Willamette rivers, just a few miles from downtown, always tends to provide close racing. This weekend’s Cooper Tires Grand Prix Presented by Allied Building Products will run in conjunction with the penultimate round of the NTT IndyCar Series season.

Askew Homes in on Indy Lights Crown
After a stellar career in karting, Oliver Askew made the move to cars relatively late, but since then his progress through the ranks has been nothing short of meteoric. Askew, 22, from Jupiter, Fla., gained his first major opportunity by securing a coveted Team USA Scholarship in 2016, following in the footsteps of a long line of talented young Americans over the past 30 years, including current IndyCar team owners (and former race or championship winners) Jimmy Vasser and Bryan Herta and current IndyCar points leader Josef Newgarden.

Askew then promptly aced the lucrative Mazda Road to Indy $200K USF2000 Scholarship Shootout, which he translated into victory in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship. He was beaten to third place in last year’s Indy Pro 2000 title chase by equally talented Dutch teenager Rinus VeeKay but he has been imperious for the Andretti Autosport team this year in Indy Lights, winning seven races, including the last four in a row, to open up a commanding 52-point advantage over Juncos Racing’s VeeKay with only four races remaining.

One more win for Askew, plus an additional bonus point either for claiming the pole position in qualifying or for leading most laps in the race, would be enough to put the title beyond VeeKay’s reach (assuming he starts each of the other three remaining races). At stake is a scholarship to guarantee entry into a minimum of three IndyCar races in 2020, including the 104th Indianapolis 500.

Both Askew and VeeKay recently enjoyed their first taste of driving an Indy car during a test session at Portland International Raceway, and should have an extra spring in their step as they chase glory this weekend.

VeeKay, 18, from Hoofddorp, Netherlands, also has enjoyed a stellar career since moving up from karting. He finished second to Askew in the 2017 USF2000 championship, then leapfrogged his rival by winning last year’s Indy Pro 2000 crown. With three wins and seven additional podium finishes to his credit during an impressive rookie season of Indy Lights, VeeKay remains one of the hottest young properties in the sport.

When the IndyCar Series and the Road to Indy returned to the Pacific Northwest last year following a lengthy absence, VeeKay claimed a couple of Indy Pro 2000 pole positions but had to be content with two second-place finishes after being edged in Race One by Askew and in Race Two by fellow teenager David Malukas.

Malukas, 17, from Chicago, Ill., returns this week with momentum on his side following a strong podium finish last week at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, in Madison, Ill., with his newly renamed and reconstituted HMD Motorsports team. Toby Sowery, from Cambridge, England, also can be expected to contend for wins aboard a second HMD/Team Pelfrey Dallara-AER IL-15 after claiming two runner-up finishes from the last four events.

Other contenders will include Askew’s Andretti Autosport teammates Ryan Norman, from Aurora, Ohio, who secured his first Indy Lights pole position one year ago at Portland, and Robert Megennis, from New York., N.Y., who won earlier this year on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Grand Prix road course; Dalton Kellett, who will eclipse Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s record of the most Indy Lights starts in Race One this weekend; and Lucas Kohl, who continues his positive learning curve for Belardi Auto Racing in his rookie season.

The event will commence with a 40-minute practice session on Friday, August 30, at 9:55 a.m. PDT, followed by qualifying for Race One at 4:25 p.m. Qualifying for Race Two is set for 9:40 a.m. on Saturday. The pair of 35-lap races will start at 1:55 p.m. on Saturday and 9:40 a.m. on Sunday.

In the U.S., both races will air live and on demand on NBC Sports Gold with practice and qualifying coverage carried via live streaming on the Road to Indy TV App, RoadToIndy.TV, indylights.com and indycar.com. Internationally, all practice, qualifying and race events will be live streamed on the Road to Indy TV App, RoadToIndy.TV and at indylights.com. Additional coverage can also be found on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network broadcasts which airs live on network affiliates, Sirius 216, XM 209, indycar.com, indycarradio.com and the INDYCAR Mobile App powered by NTT Data.

Lindh, Kirkwood Continue Indy Pro 2000 Battle
The battle for the Indy Pro 2000 Championship Presented by Cooper Tires and a scholarship valued at almost $600,000 to assist in the graduation to Indy Lights for 2020 looks likely to go down to the wire. After 12 of 16 races held to date, a pair of gifted rookies, Rasmus Lindh and Kyle Kirkwood, are separated by just six points, 323-317. A total of 132 points remain up for grabs, comprising 30 for the win plus bonus points for pole, leading most laps and fastest race lap at each of the remaining four races – a pair this weekend at PIR followed by the double-header season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., in three weeks’ time.

With five races in the books this season, Lindh, from Gothenburg, Sweden, held a commanding 45-point advantage over fellow rookie Kirkwood following a strong start which included two wins and five top-four finishes for two-time defending champion team Juncos Racing. Since then Kirkwood, 20, from Jupiter, Fla., has gone on a tear for RP Motorsport USA, winning five of the last six races, including an emphatic performance on the Gateway oval last weekend where he stormed through from last on the grid. The only blemish came in Race One on the streets of Toronto, where Kirkwood was inadvertently taken out by his teammate.

Lindh is on a streak of his own, delivering six consecutive podium finishes, and is the only driver to have completed every one of this season’s 385 laps.

Coincidentally, Kirkwood and Lindh were the top two protagonists last year at Portland in USF2000. Lindh managed to lead both races, although it was Kirkwood who came away with two poles, two wins and a new track record as he put the finishing touches to a glorious and record-breaking championship-winning season.

Popular Canadian Parker Thompson, from Red Deer, Alb., lies third in the championship rankings for Abel Motorsports, 64 points adrift of Lindh, with Singapore’s Danial Frost (Exclusive Autosport) just a handful of points further adrift. Both have two race wins to their name this year.

Lindh’s teammate Sting Ray Robb, from Payette, Idaho, has earned four second-place finishes this year and has high hopes of finally making the breakthrough into Victory Lane at what he considers to be his home track, where he will have over 120 supporters in attendance.

DEForce Racing teammates Kory Enders, from Sugar Land, Texas, and Moises de la Vara, from Guadalajara, Mexico, will be looking to maintain their form from one week ago, when both led an Indy Pro 2000 race for the first time and Enders earned his first-ever podium finish. He also posted a new lap record.

Other contenders will include Los Angeles-based Russian Nikita Lastochkin (Exclusive Autosport); fellow countryman Artem Petrov, from Saint Petersburg, who made a promising debut last week with RP Motorsport USA; Jacob Abel (Abel Motorsports), from Louisville, Ky.; Englishman Matt Round-Garrido, who is stepping up from USF2000 for the first time with Jay Howard Driver Development; and Canadian teenager Antonio Serravalle (Pserra Racing/RP Motorsport USA).

Three 45-minute test sessions on Thursday, August 29, will set the stage for 25 minutes of official practice at 9:15 PDT on Friday and then the first of two 20-minute qualifying periods, which will set the grid for Race One, at 2:05 p.m. Qualifying Two will take place at 10:25 a.m. on Saturday, with the races due to start at 5:25 p.m. on Saturday and 3:10 p.m. on Sunday, September 1.

Eves, McElrea vie for USF2000 Crown
The outcome of the USF2000 championship also remains in the balance following a recent string of excellent results for Hunter McElrea and some disappointments for season-long pacesetter Braden Eves.

Following an impressive debut at Portland one year ago, Eves, 20, from New Albany, Ohio, began the year with an unprecedented (since the formation of the Road to Indy in 2010) four consecutive victories for the Cape Motorsports team. Another win at Road America in June saw Eves stretch his lead over McElrea to a whopping 41 points. But Eves has finished only once among the top five in the four most recent races, while New Zealander McElrea, 19, has recorded two wins, three additional podiums and three poles from his last six starts for Pabst Racing.

Accordingly, they are now separated by only nine points with four races to go.

Their respective teammates, Darren Keane (Cape Motorsports), from Boca Raton, Fla., and Colin Kaminsky (Pabst Racing), from Homer Glen, Ill., also have enjoyed solid campaigns and currently hold down third and fourth in the points table. Keane, who dovetails his racing with his engineering studies at the University of Florida, earned an overdue first win at Toronto in July. Kaminsky has yet to reach the top step of the podium but seems to be getting closer and closer with each passing weekend, as evidenced by his tally of two poles and four podium finishes.

The hottest driver of all in recent weeks has been Denmark’s Christian Rasmussen, who has accumulated two wins and two seconds from his last four races with the Jay Howard Driver Development team.

Two newcomers will grace the field this weekend, with Josh Green, 16, from Mount Kisco, N.Y., joining Jay Howard Driver Development and Ayrton Ori, 15, from Tampa. Fla., signing on with Legacy Autosport alongside Zach Holden, from Greenfield, Ind. Green currently lies second in the F1600 Championship Series in his first season of racing and has recently been nominated for a prestigious Team USA Scholarship.

In addition, local driver Kyle Dupell, from Salem, Ore., is set to make his return to competition with Newman Wachs Racing. Dupell capped his rookie campaign last year with a pair of top-10 finishes at Portland. And Brazilian teenager Eduardo Barrichello, son of Ferrari Formula 1 race winner Rubens Barrichello, will join DEForce Racing for the first time alongside Mexican Manuel Sulaiman.

Fellow rookie Jak Crawford (Cape Motorsports), 14, from Houston, Texas, will take some time out of his schedule to visit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland on Wednesday as part of the RE/MAX Month of Miracles, a campaign to raise awareness and funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. He will be joined by Indy Lights driver Rinus VeeKay. Crawford, who carries sponsorship from RE/MAX of Texas, will also welcome children, their families and representatives from the hospital for a special day at the track on Saturday. He will be sharing videos and photos as part of an Instagram takeover of the official @remax account.

The on-track activities for the 19-car USF2000 field will begin with three 45-minute test sessions on Thursday, then continue with official practice at 12:35 p.m. PDT on Friday and qualifying for Race One at 5:10 p.m. A second 20-minute qualifying will start at 9:05 a.m. on Saturday. The pair of 25-lap races, Rounds 12 and 13 of the season, will see the green flag at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 4:15 p.m. on Sunday.

Both USF2000 and Indy Pro 2000 will feature global live streaming of all sessions on the Road to Indy TV App, RoadToIndy.TV, usf2000.com, indypro2000.com and indycar.com.

With emotions still running raw after coming up just short of a Supercross Championship a little less than four months ago, Adam Cianciarulo, one of the most celebrated riders of the modern era, was able to wrap up his first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250 Class title in Saturday’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross STACYC Stability Cycles Ironman National in Crawfordsville, Ind. 

 
 Cianciarulo, rider of Pro Circuit Racing’s No. 92 JE-Pistons powered Kawasaki KX250, came into the 12th and final race of the Pro Motocross Championship with a 30-point lead over second-place Dylan Ferrandis in the title chase. 


 With essentially 21 points separating him from his first professional title, the Port Orange, Fla. rider left nothing to chance by finishing second to Ferrandis in the first moto, thus locking up the championship prior to the second moto of the day. 


 With only one moto left, and the championship already locked up, Cianciarulo finished fourth to close out the year and earn his 12th consecutive podium finish of the season. 


 “The road to this championship has been a journey,” explained Cianciarulo. “I grew up in the Team Green program and many people had such high expectations, but because of injuries, I’ve been unable to fulfill those expectations until now. I wouldn’t change a thing though. I have learned so much, grown as a person and appreciate this moment more than I could have imagined. I’m just so emotional thinking about this accomplishment my entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team and I have achieved. We have worked so hard for this and I really put my mind to it. I wanted this title so badly, now it’s time to celebrate!”


 JE Pistons has worked in partnership with Pro Circuit Racing at length to design, engineer and ultimately manufacture the most advanced and reliable pistons in the powersports industry. The most unique component of the relationship continues to offer end-users the opportunity to purchase the same JE/Pro Circuit-engineered pistons Mitch Payton’s team of riders depend on in the professional ranks.

 
 “We are beyond excited for Adam and the entire Pro Circuit team,” commented Sean Crawford, President of JE Pistons. “We have been working with the Pro Circuit Race Team on piston and engine development since their switch to four-strokes back in 2004. Everyone involved has a true passion for the sport and it’s incredibly rewarding to see all the hard work result in another Championship.”


 Over the course of the 24-moto summer schedule, Cianciarulo recorded seven moto wins, 16 runner-up finishes and 20 top threes. Moreover, the 22-year-old Factory Kawasaki racer never finished worse than fifth in Pro Motocross competition en-route to being awarded his first Gary Jones Cup. 
 
After making his professional debut in 2013, the highly regarded 11-time Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Motocross Champion was finally able to steer clear of injuries and secure a long awaited 250 Class title. 

 
 In 1991, Pro Circuit Racing formed its first team and since then, has amassed more than 200 American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) victories and counts Cianciarulo’s title as its 31st AMA Championship.


 The 2019 Supercross and Pro Motocross seasons also marked just the second time in his career, and the first since 2017, Cianciarulo was able to compete in every round on both schedules without being sidelined with injuries. He finished second in the 2017 Supercross Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship and was this year’s Western Regional 250SX Class championship runner up. 


 “After Vegas, after feeling that low of losing the championship, I came out the first couple of rounds of Pro Motocross with a super-go-for-it mentality, even more so than normal, and just kept the train going. I’ve always been aggressive but after throwing away the Supercross championship, I feel like I just handed that one away. It was a tough position for me because the narrative was always going to be that I choked it away because I was in a big position and what happened in the end. I just wanted to win this title. Honestly, If I would have won Supercross, I don’t know if I’d be here right now. I think it catapulted me to do something I didn’t think I could do, which is win this title.” 


 After checking the most important box on his current to-do list, Cianciarulo will move up to the premiere 450 Class in 2020 where he will be paired with defending Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Champion Eli Tomac under the Monster Energy Kawasaki team canopy. 

Two NASCAR champions – Todd Bodine and Johnny Benson – have filed entries for Sportscar Vintage Racing Association’s (SVRA) Vintage Race of Champions (VROC) Charity Pro-Am presented by Chopard Watch at Virginia International Raceway. The September 21 Charity Pro-Am is the deciding round of the VROC series. Previously announced NASCAR stars entering the race are Bobby Labonte, Mike Skinner, and Wally Dallenbach, Jr.

“Both of these two champions first raced with SVRA last year at VIR,” said SVRA CEO Tony Parella. “They also joined us in our Charity Pro-Am earlier this month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. They are terrific race car drivers and we are honored to have them racing with us.”

Benson has a career total of 18 NASCAR race victories with one in Cup, three in Xfinity, and 14 in Trucks. He earned Xfinity and Truck championships in 1995 and 2008 respectively. Benson is one of only 37 drivers to have won a race in all three of NASCAR’s major series – Cup, Xfinity, and Trucks. Just three drivers have won championships in Xfinity and Trucks – Benson, Greg Biffle and Austin Dillon. Early in his career, Benson also scored an American Speed Association (ASA) championship in 1993. As a result of his success, Benson represented the Xfinity series in the 1996 IROC invitational, finishing an impressive third in the season standings. Early in his career, he also scored an American Speed Association (ASA) championship in 1993. He was ASA rookie-of-the-year in 1990, and also won the same honor after stepping up to the Cup series in 1996. 

Todd Bodine earned a career total of 37 NASCAR wins, with 22 in Trucks and 15 more in the Xfinity series. He won the Truck series championship in 2006 and again in 2010. In a NASCAR career that extends back to a single Busch series (now Xfinity) race in 1986, Bodine has amassed, in addition to race wins, 21 top tens and five poles in Cup competition, 160 top tens and seven poles in Xfinity, and 124 top tens and seven poles in Truck racing. Currently, Bodine is a NASCAR analyst for FOX Sports. He ranks fourth in the VROC point standings and is clearly in the hunt for the A Production championship, trailing leader Willy T. Ribbs by three points.

Chopard, the Swiss artisan of luxury timepieces, and the Official Watch of SVRA, will present an SVRA-branded watch to the champions of AP and BP, both professional and amateur, at VIR. It is modeled after their prestigious Grand Prix De Monaco Historique Race Edition timepiece. Since 2002, Chopard has served as sponsor and official timekeeper at the renowned Grand Prix De Monaco Historique.

The VROC Charity Pro-Am presented by Chopard Watch is a Saturday feature event at VIR and will benefit IGNITE – the Autism Society of North Carolina’s community center for young adults with high-functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome. The cars are 1963 to 1972 vintage Corvettes, Camaros, and Mustangs of SVRA “Group 6” A and B Production.  The professionals will be paired with amateur drivers. Amateurs will start the race and be required to drive a maximum of seven laps. In addition to the Pro-Am, the Speed Tour VIR weekend is a festival of other activities, including professional Trans Am by Pirelli series races on Saturday and Sunday. The weekend also presents the Hagerty Insurance “cars & caffeine” car corral, and 300+ vintage racers ranging over 100 years of automotive history racing in SVRA Groups 1 through 12.

About SVRA – The Sportscar Vintage Racing Association is the premier vintage racing organization in the United States. Founded in 1978, SVRA has grown steadily to 2,500 active members with a database of over 14,000 race cars. The 2019 schedule consists of 14 events at some of the finest racing venues in the United States, including: the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Lime Rock Park, Sebring, Road America, Watkins Glen, Road Atlanta, Auto Club Speedway, the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Portland International Raceway and Virginia International Raceway (VIR). SVRA hosted the first U.S. Vintage Racing National Championships at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas in 2013. Further information on SVRA, a complete annual schedule, and entry lists can be found on the SVRA website. Also be sure to check our Facebook page and YouTube channel which currently boasts a library of over 300 action-packed videos of events.

The NTT IndyCar Series will prepare for the penultimate race of the season that will solidify the championship contenders with a visit to Portland International Raceway for this weekend's Grand Prix of Portland.

The Grand Prix of Portland, Round 16 of 17 on the NTT IndyCar Series season, will be critical as to whether series leader Josef Newgarden can maintain or extend his advantage over contenders Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi and Scott Dixon.

Here are "5 Things To Look For" heading into the Grand Prix of Portland:

Simon wins the 2019 Indianapolis 500

"Go Time"

 

Josef Newgarden of Team Penske has continually fended off the advances of teammate Simon Pagenaud, Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi and Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon, and has led the championship standings after every race with the exception of the Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge.

Newgarden (No. 2 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet) arrives at the penultimate race of the season, looking to make things more difficult for the trio of contenders heading into the Sept. 22 season finale at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna. The Portland race is pivotal for all involved in terms of positioning for a title run, given that the season finale awards double points for the finishing positions.

Despite a spin on the final lap of Saturday night's race at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, Newgarden secured a seventh-place finish and added three championship points to his cushion, including one for winning the pole. It was only the third time in the last 10 races that Newgarden did not finish among the top five.

"We were able to maintain the points lead in Gateway, and that was a huge deal for us," Newgarden said. "Now that Simon has moved into the second spot in championship points, we're going to work hard as a team to really continue to battle for the championship. That's great to Team Penske to have two drivers battling it out for the title." 

He owns a 38-point lead over Pagenaud (No. 22 Menards Team Penske Chevrolet), who finished fifth Saturday to move past Rossi and into second in the standings. Rossi (No. 27 NAPA AUTO PARTS Honda), who finished 13th, trails by 46. Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda) had his championship hopes dampened by a radiator issue early in the race that resulted in a 20th-place finish and 70-point deficit. He came in only trailing by 52.

"This is the part of the season that I love the most," Pagenaud said. "It is down to the wire, exciting racing and competing at our highest level. It's time to shine!" 

In last year's Grand Prix of Portland, all four championship contenders registered top-10 finishes. Dixon was fifth, Pagenaud sixth, Rossi eighth and Newgarden 10th.

"It's a technical road course, so we're really going to have to make sure we hit all of our marks to make sure we don't lose any ground," Newgarden said. "It's going to be a tough race for the whole field, especially for the championship contenders."

 

 

Will Power wins at Pocono, 2017

"Seb's Second Home"

 

Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan driver Sebastien Bourdais (No. 18 SealMaster Honda) has developed quite an affinity for Portland International Raceway.

Bourdais was introduced to the 1.964-mile permanent road course during his Champ Car rookie season in 2003 and finished a pedestrian 14th in his debut. It has been anything but since.

He won from the pole the following season and it began an annual trek to the podium. Bourdais followed up the win with a runner-up finish in 2005, a third-place effort in '06 and another win in '07, all coming during his Champ Car career.

Despite a 10-year gap from his Champ Car dominance and the return of Portland on the NTT IndyCar Series schedule last year, he did not miss a beat. Bourdais qualified fourth and returned to the podium with a third-place performance.

"My first time in Portland was actually quite funny,'' Bourdais said. "I remember I wasn't too thrilled about the experience because the race was the same weekend as the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the scenery looked very familiar to my hometown. It was very green and for good reasons. Back then, the race was in June, and I don't remember ever going there and not seeing rain at some point during the event!

"The 2003 season was my first in Indy cars, and boy we were quick, but we also had the worst luck. Portland wasn't any different, while running fourth the rear wing fell off. Over the years, we won a couple and lost some that we could have won, but that's no different from most other places we raced at with Newman/Haas Racing during that period of time."

Alexander Rossi wins the 2018 ABC Supply 500

"Return Of Ironman"

A young Tony Kanaan didn't have an inkling of the historical significance of his start at Portland International Raceway on June 24, 2001 while competing for Mo Nunn Racing in just his fourth CART season.

Kanaan had sustained a concussion, broken arm and broken ribs during the Belle Isle race weekend and was forced to miss that race in Detroit. He returned the following week at Portland and it was by no means a memorable race - he crashed out after one lap and finished 24th.

However, it began his run for the Indy car all-time record for consecutive starts. Kanaan (No. 14 ABC Supply Chevrolet), the 44-year-old veteran with A.J. Foyt Racing, holds the record with 315 consecutive starts and will be looking to extend the "Ironman" streak to 316 in Sunday's Grand Prix of Portland.

"When you come to think about it, you know, 315 races in a row, it's pretty amazing," Kanaan said. "I remember very well that day in Detroit... It was the biggest accident of my career. Broken arm, broken ribs, a concussion... I wasn't sure how to deal with it. It was my fourth year in INDYCAR and thinking someone else would be driving my race car was quite frightening to be honest. I had never experienced something like that and since then having had the career that I had.

"It's been an awesome journey! Some times I still can't believe that I made it this far and I'm still going. Portland brings me good memories. The current streak started there and as a driver you never think about this kind of things, but once you achieve them you look back and think 'Wow, that's pretty cool!.' I'm extremely humbled by it." 

Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon (No. 9 PNC Bank Honda) owns the second-longest consecutive starts streak with 256 following Saturday night's start at World Wide Technology Raceway.

 

 

Newarden Wins at Iowa

"Super Santino"

While all eyes have been on the NTT IndyCar Series championship battle, the Rookie of the Year race has really heated up.

Santino Ferrucci (No. 19 Cly-Del Manufacturing Honda) of Dale Coyne Racing continued his success on ovals and it has powered him into the lead of the Rookie-of-the-Year standings with two races remaining.

Ferrucci finished fourth Saturday night at World Wide Technology Raceway to move past Chip Ganassi Racing's Felix Rosenqvist (No. 10 NTT Data Honda) by two points, 326-324, in the rookie race. Rosenqvist finished 11th at WWT Raceway.

It was the third time this season and second week in a row that Ferrucci has finished a season-best fourth, with all those performances coming on ovals. The back-to-back, fourth-place performances - Pocono was the other - allowed him to erase a 13-point deficit and come away with the rookie lead for the first time since Texas in early June.

"The rookie race is definitely going to be close," said Ferrucci, who moved to ninth in the overall championship standings. "I kind of always thought it would come down to Felix and I. It's going to be a really tough two weekends. We are both good friends, but I'm sure when it comes down to the wire we aren't going to give an inch. I expect to be raced hard for this one." 

Rosenqvist has led the rookie standings a season-high nine times while Harding Steinbrenner Racing's Colton Herta (No. 88 Capstone Turbine Honda) and Ferrucci have led three times each. Herta, the only rookie with a win this season, currently is third in the rookie race with 282 points.

 

 

Santino Ferrucci (No. 19 Cli-Del Manufacturing Honda)

"Portland Parity"

 

Last year's inaugural Grand Prix of Portland was quite an example of the parity and depth of the NTT IndyCar Series field. Race winner Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing led a parade of seven different teams being represented among the top seven finishers.

Sato was joined on the podium by runner-up Ryan Hunter-Reay of Andretti Autosport and Sebastien Bourdais of Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser-Sullivan. The trio was followed by Spencer Pigot of Ed Carpenter Racing (fourth), Scott Dixon of Chip Ganassi Racing (fifth), Simon Pagenaud of Team Penske (sixth) and Charlie Kimball of Carlin Racing (seventh).

The six lap leaders represented four different teams with Andretti Autosport's Alexander Rossi (32 laps led) and Hunter-Reay (19); Team Penske's Will Power (11) and Josef Newgarden (8); Rahal Letterman Lanigan's Sato (25); and Carlin Racing's Max Chilton (10). 

 

 

 

 

The Grand Prix of Portland weekend opens Friday with a pair of 45-minute practices (1:50 p.m. and 5:40 p.m. ET, NBC Gold). Saturday's on-track action will feature Firestone Fast Six Qualifying at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT local) live on the NBC Sports Network.

Sunday's Grand Prix of Portland, a 105-lap, 206.22-mile race, will be televised live by NBC beginning with the pre-race show at 3 p.m. ET (Noon PT local) and green flag scheduled for 3:42 p.m. (12:42 local). The race also will be broadcast on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM 205, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970).

 

 

 
 

Up Next

 

 

The Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey, the finale of the 17-race NTT IndyCar Series season, is set for Sunday, Sept. 22, at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Television coverage will begin on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET (11:30 a.m. PT local) with the green flag scheduled for 3:15 p.m. (12:15 p.m. local).

Live radio broadcasts will be available on the Advance Auto Parts INDYCAR Radio Network and SiriusXM Satellite Radio (XM 209, Sirius 98, Internet/App 970).

 

A gutsy restart by Rette Jones Racing (RJR) driver Spencer Davis paid off this past Saturday afternoon at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway as Davis was able to pass leader Sam Mayer on a restart with two laps to go and fended off Derek Kraus to claim his second career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East victory but the first triumph for Rette Jones Racing. 
 
Davis returned to Victory Lane for the first time in nearly three and a half years, 1,181 days to be exact, while co-owner and crew chief Mark Rette saw the team’s hard work finally pay off with their breakthrough win on the heels of a stout performance a week prior at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
 
“Tried to intimidate (Mayer) a little bit coming to the line,” Spencer Davis said. “The only way you can beat him–the only way I think you can beat this car this year is to make the kid make a mistake. Being a veteran of this series, I feel like I’m exceptional at restarts […] you couldn’t have asked for a better performance right there.
 
“I’m so proud of this Rette Jones Racing team and all of our partners who have made this season a success. We felt like we were robbed of a win a couple of weeks ago at Bristol, and we were so mad about what happened so late in the race at Bristol – that nothing was going to steal our thunder and keep us out of Victory Lane at Gateway. It’s so refreshing.”
 
For Rette, a championship ARCA crew chief who paired with former driver Terry Jones at the beginning of the 2015 , the team has been close to victory in the ARCA Menards Series and multiple top-five NASCAR K&N Pro Series East finishes – but on Saturday afternoon, Davis, a NASCAR Next alumnus brought home the team’s first checkered flag.
 
“Man, this feels so good,” offered Rette. “Terry and I had this vision when we started Rette Jones Racing that we would be a successful operation. We’ve done everything that we’ve accomplished to do in racing expect win. Now, thanks to Spencer’s determination, we have our first checkered flag and trophy.
 
“We hope it’s the first of many and can’t wait to get to New Hampshire Motor Speedway in a few weeks.”
 
With the team’s back-to-back top-five finishes at Bristol at Gateway, Davis has propelled to third in the championship standings with two races remaining. While the championship may be out of reach, Davis is on-par to a career-best year in the K&N Series where he has championship finishes of eighth (2016) and ninth (2018) respectively.
 
“We just need to keep what we’re doing the next two races and see what happens when that checkered flag waves at Dover,” added Davis. “It’s great we’ve been able to move from sixth to third in points over the last couple of races and who knows maybe with some luck, we can get another position, but I also know that we have to fight for our current spot too.
 
“There’s plenty of hungry drivers who want to make a statement before the end of the year, including us – so we just need to keep our heads down and focused and hope this momentum keeps rolling.”
 
Next up for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East is a return trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS) for the running of the Apple Barrel 125 on Sat. Sep. 21, 2019.
 
Rette Jones Racing will return to action in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series on Sept. 13, 2019, for the running of the World of Westgate 200 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway.
 
In 42 career NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts, Davis has earned two victories (Dominion (Va.) Raceway 2016, Gateway 2019), two poles, achieved 19 top-five and 31 top-10 finishes. He has also 364 laps led in event competition.
 
Davis also has eight NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series (NGOTS) starts to his credit – four in 2018 driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM), two in 2019 for Rette Jones Racing and one for Niece Motorsports. He earned three top-10 finishes including a career-best of seventh in his series’ debut at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
 
For more information on Spencer Davis, please check out his Facebook page (Spencer Davis Racing) or on Instagram @spencerdavis_29.
 
Davis tweets too. Follow him @SpencerDavis_29.
 
The latest on Rette Jones Racing is available at RetteJonesRacing.com, the team’s Facebook page or Twitter @RetteJones30.

 

With a stable Trans Am presented by Pirelli rules package that delivers close racing, powerful machines that skip the driver aids and put the racing in the drivers hands, and a schedule that includes some of the most iconic race tracks on the continent, the TA2 powered by AEM class has become a popular choice for up-and-coming NASCAR talent. 

Combining the prowess of a purpose-built racing platform, relevant manufacturer power plants, and a rules package that focuses on excellent cost containment, the TA2 class represents an outstanding value platform in racing. With engines capable of lasting an entire season and cost control measures that allow drivers to fully focus on racing, not the financing of it, while showcasing their talents and skill.

Another force driving young talent to TA2 is Mike Cope Race Cars. This season Mike Cope Race Cars partnered with championship-winning NASCAR team Joe Gibbs Racing. In the last event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the Florida-based team fielded a stable of cars which included four NASCAR Xfinity Series JGR drivers behind the wheel. 

The Trans Am event at Mid-Ohio was proof positive of this, as NASCAR Xfnity drivers Ty Gibbs (No. 26 Mike Cope Race Cars), Christopher Bell (No. 34 Mike Cope Race Cars),  Riley Herbst (No. 28 Mike Cope Race Cars) and Haley (No. 99 Mike Cope Race Cars), all pulled double duty at Mid-Ohio, using Trans Am for additional preparation for the B&L Transport 170 NASCAR race.

“We have a lot of driver training and driver coaching,” said team owner Mike Cope. “We have a lot of young drivers looking for a place to hone their road racing skills as they move up the NASCAR ladder, and they’ve chosen the Trans Am Series TA2 division to do it in. We’ve aligned ourselves with Joe Gibbs Racing and we are doing some good stuff with Ty Gibbs. The cost controlled approach of the TA2 class and the competition among the field is very attractive to these drivers.”

NASCAR K&N Pro Series East points leader Sam Mayer made his Trans Am debut earlier this season at Road Atlanta under the SLR/Fields Race banner where he qualified 12th in a very competitive 28-car field. The 15-year-old Midwesterner is a key member of Team Chevy’s Driver’s Edge Development program and made select starts in the ARCA Menards and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck series this season.  

In effort to accelerate his career, NASCAR K&N Pro Series driver Derek Kraus joined the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli West Coast Championship TA2 roster at Sonoma International Raceway, winning his debut race after qualifying on pole with Shockwave Motorsports. 

Another racer who pushed his development forward with his Trans Am outings was Justin Haley, who polished his road racing skills in the TA2 powered by AEM class with outings in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019. Haley claimed his maiden Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway earlier this season.

The roster for this weekend’s Ryan Companies Road America Classic is also shaping up to have several NXS drivers join the TA2 field. Bell and Haley will return with Mike Cope Race Cars. In addition, the team added JGR NASCAR Xfinity driver Brandon Jones for the weekend. NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series driver Natalie Decker will return to the Tony Ave tent, competing in the TA class.

“We firmly believe that the TA2 powered by AEM class is not only a tremendous value for the competitors, but it is also an outstanding platform from the competition side,” said Trans Am President John Clagett. “We’ve attracted a lot of different kinds of racers to this class, and it is a testament to the structure of the class that some of the next guard of NASCAR racers are coming here as part of their development.”

For the TA2 regulars like points championship leader Marc Miller, the addition of rising NASCAR talents entering the class only adds to competition. Miller showed his unwavering talents at Mid-Ohio, topping the results to beat the four NASCARXfinity drivers entered. 

“The TA2 class is one of the most competitive and challenging in the country, said Miller. “We have a great mix of very quick young rising stars and pro drivers and at several races each season another crop of young drivers being groomed as future NASCAR champions jump into the fray. It makes the series always feel fresh and challenges us regulars to be pacesetters and not followers. I love the challenges this class brings!”

The Ryan Companies Muscle Car Challenge for the TA2 powered by AEM class – part of the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Road America – takes the green flag Saturday at 8:00 a.m. Central. 

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

NASCAR Driver Trans Am Class Year
Ty Dillon 2014
Justin Haley 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019
Scott Heckert 2015, 2018
Joey McColm 2015
Matt Tifft 2017, 2018
Sheldon Creed 2017
Josh Bilicki 2017
Chase Briscoe 2018
Tyler Reddick 2018
Christopher Bell 2018, 2019
Ty Majeski 2018
Lawless Alan 2018, 2019
Brandon Jones 2018
Sam Mayer 2019
Derek Kraus 2019 West
Ty Gibbs 2019
Riley Herbst 2019
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