Racing Blip: 2015 Northeast Grand Prix

By | July 24, 2015

No. 85 JDC Miller MotorSports

No. 85 JDC Miller MotorSports

With 5 stops remaining in the season, the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship rolls into picturesque Connecticut for the 2015 Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park. This stop, the only classes running are the Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Daytona (GTD) cars.

Today’s qualifying, on this short 1.474 miles track, had it’s share of excitement. In GTD class, 0.009 seconds separate the pole sitting, No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS and the 2nd place No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT piloted by Ben Keating!!

Qualifying in PC was cut a bit short due to the No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports car spinning out and smacking into the guard rails causing a red flag. At the end of the abbreviated session, less then 1.5 seconds separate the pole sitting No. 85 JDC Miller MotorSports car and the fifth place No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car.

Despite the smaller amount of cars running, Saturday’s 2 hour 40 minute race should provide some solid entertainment!

You can catch the live stream on IMSA’s iOS/Android app or their website. The race starts at 3:15pm ET this Saturday (7/25). Or catch the re-broadcast on Fox Sports 1, starting at 5pm ET on July 26h.

The every handy spotters guide.

[photo | IMSA]

Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10

Racing Blip: 2015 Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park

By | July 12, 2015

Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP

Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP

Welcome to the 7th stop of this year’s IMSA/TUDOR season. The 2015 Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix. Taking the quick jaunt from wooded beauty of Watkins Glen, to the wooded beauty of Canadian Tire Motorsport Park – formally MoSport.

At this stop, only the Prototypes, Prototype Challenge, and GTLM classes will be running.

A couple of quick items about the Prototype class this race. Mazda is only running one of its two cars for this race. Earlier this week, the No. 70 was tested at CTMP with an AER gasoline engine. Rumor has it the Mazda LMP2 cars will be swapping out the the 60% stock SkyActiv Diesel engines with AER supplied power plants. Looks like the test bed has run its course.

Ricky Taylor, in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP, became the first two-time pole sitter of the season. The last time Ricky Taylor earned pole was back in Long Beach.

Lastly, there’s 1.02 seconds separating the top 6 P-classed cars. If the DPs don’t walk away near the beginning of the race, it should prove to a be a decent battle between DPs and LMP2 cars.

And speaking of repeat pole winners, Porsche North America’s, and recent Le Mans overall winner, Nick Tandy took the top honors in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR in the GTLM class on Saturday. For those keeping track, this ends the streak at 16 unique pole winners in GTLM since the beginning of this series. And hot on Tandy’s heels is the No. 25 BMW Z4 GTE, piloted by Dirk Werner, by a scant 0.028 seconds! The whole GTLM class is separated by less then 0.8 seconds! Beating a dead horse, GTLM is still some of the best racing out there!

The race starts 12:05pm ET today (Sunday, July 12th). How to watch?

Head on over to IMSA’s website for the details and various live streams.

As always, the handy spotters guide.

And for your viewing pleasure, IMSA’s preview of the race is embedded below

[photo | mike gillilan]


Racing Blip: 2015 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen

By | June 28, 2015

No. 5 Action Express Racing

No. 5 Action Express Racing

With many teams just getting back to the USofA from Le Mans, it’s a quick turn around for the 2015 episode of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. This is also round 3 of the Tequila Patón North Endurance Cup.

Now, I should be talking about what happened at qualifying on Saturday. My take on how the “Balance of Performance” is working out and what tweaks IMSA has made. How the Daytona Prototype cars are still a bit too fast and how the P2 cars seem to be pushed to the back. How great the racing is in GTLM and in a surprise for me, how I’m starting to enjoy PC racing.

BUT, The Glen being “The GLEN”, rain..rain..and MORE rain. So much so, IMSA canceled qualifying.

So, the starting grid for today’s race will be based on team points with the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype will starting from pole. The No. 54 CORE Autosport Oreca FLM09 will lead PC filed. In GTLM, Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia in Corvette Racing’s No. 3 Corvette C7.R will lead in their class. Lastly, No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 will lead GTD class.

How to watch the race?

Easiest thing is head over to IMSA’s website for the various ways to watch the 6 hours of the race. Green flag drops at 10am ET this morning.

And of course, the ever handy spotters guide.

[photo | IMSA]

Hot Rod Power Tour: Day 7

By | June 13, 2015

The SEMA Crew

In seven days our group of SEMA Young Executives have traveled over 1,500 miles (some much farther), crossed 7 state lines, and networked with 100′s of young professionals and enthusiasts.  We’ve braved hail, flash flood warnings, and even tornados.  Most importantly, we have shown our commitment to the SEMA cause and the industry that is our passion.

Forbes magazine did a study a number of years ago on how people felt about what they do for a living.  According to their study, there are three options in earning a living.  There are those that have jobs, those with careers, and those with callings.  24% of employed people have a job… in other words they don’t look forward to going to work everyday, they hate it.  63% have a career — it’s just a means to an end, nothing special.  13% have a calling, they love their job, they feel like they are benefiting others and themselves, and what they do each day brings them joy.  I can honestly say that I fall within the 13%.  It took several years to get there but I love what I do and it doesn’t seem like work.

C7 Corvette Stingray

The automotive aftermarket is a diverse workplace.  Our team this week met with entrepreneurs, sales people, engineers, marketers, technicians, photographers, and a variety of other professionals.  All under the umbrella of the automotive industry.  At SEMA, we focus on the specialty side.  SEMA member companies specialize in developing, distributing, selling, and installing products that make vehicles look, sound, and perform better.  America has had a love affair with the automobile since its invention and the annual Hot Rod Power Tour is proof that that passion is still going strong.  An average of 3,500 cars made the long haul trip this year from Madison, WI to Baton Rouge, LA with thousands more that joined us throughout the trip.  Each car had a story and the variety of vehicles on the trip was staggering.  Resto-mods, street rods, 4×4′s, classic trucks, sport compacts, modern muscle, rat rods, you name it.

Throughout our trip we met individuals that worked in the industry but didn’t know how to break into the aftermarket.  We met young enthusiasts that didn’t know where to even start looking to get into the industry, and we met folks that didn’t think it would be a possibility.  We know there are skilled people out there and it’s our goal to connect those ambitious people with a network of young professionals who are looking to grow and ensure the success of our industries future.  We also know that there are people out there that don’t think they’d be able to get into the automotive aftermarket and don’t have a clue of where to start.  That is why we spent time at several different trade schools.  The students need to see that we’ve made it and they can too.


A fresh new group of SEMA Young Executives will be selected next year for the tour and they’ll be on a new route to spread the good gospel of how great the automotive industry is and what opportunities are available.

On our final day of the trip we headed West from Gulf Port, Mississippi en route to Baron Rouge, Louisiana.  Our group of five vehicles nearly made it the entire trip without so much as a hiccup.  After going through a heavy rain storm soon after entering Louisiana, Tim Brueggemann’s starter engaged and hung up on the flywheel.  By the time he’d gotten it powered down the teeth teeth on the starter were no more.  Thankfully the F100 is a standard and we were able to push start it the rest of the day.


As we all travel our separate ways, back to Idaho, California, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee; we’ll all head back to the office on Monday.  The difference is, this Monday we’ll have a hand full of life long friends and connections that we didn’t have before and we all have a renewed fire to help make our industry better.

Hot Rod Power Tour: Day 6

By | June 11, 2015

Tuscaloosa Tech & Career Academy

Stop 6 of the 2015 Hot Rod Power tour took us to Gulf Port, Mississippi.  First we made a quick stop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to spend some time and mentor a group of automotive students at the Tuscaloosa Technology and Career Academy.  This is a high school that allows students to specialize in specific trades, ranging from automotive to 3D animation.  My high school barely had a wood working class.

As SEMA Young Executives in the automotive aftermarket, our group recognized the rare opportunity this group of students has.  Their state-of-the-art facility is sponsored and supported by Snap-On tools and includes all of the latest equipment and tools.  Many of them have already disassembled, and reassembled small block v8′s and had them running.


I was raised in a family of automotive buffoons (no offense) and there were no programs available until college.  Even without being mentored or having the opportunities to receive training, I knew from a young age that the automotive industry was for me.  The high level of training that these students have available to them is impressive and it was out task to help them realize that.  It is easy to take opportunities for granted when you are young.

After our school visit we promptly headed south for Gulf Port, Mississippi.  Arriving a little late to the show due to our school visit, we didn’t have the chance to mingle as long as we did in Birmingham but it didn’t stop us from finding some great young enthusiasts and professionals at the show.  Keith McWilliams met a couple of guys that are celebrating their 21st birthdays by taking on the power tour in a Formula Firebird that they built last week… for $2,500.  That sounds like a Top Gear shenanigan.

Formula Firebird

I had the opportunity to visit with Ian Lehn.  Ian came on the Hot Rod Power Tour last year as one of our young executives.  Ian is the perfect role model of how the SEMA organization can help launch enthusiasts careers in the industry.  Each year, SEMA hosts an event call the SEMA Launchpad competition which pits young entrepreneurs against each other for a grant from SEMA to help get their business off the ground.  As an engineer, Ian has developed a new and unique fuel additive that boosts octane levels called Boostane.  Ian won the Launchpad last year and has seen a major impact in the growth of his business from that opportunity.

As a member of the YEN, I’m constantly on the lookout for who can benefit from our organization and how I can shed light on our great industry.  Our 7th and final stop tomorrow will be in Baton Rouge, LA.  We hope to see some of you there!

Hot Rod Power Tour: Day 5

By | June 10, 2015

Lawson State Community College We spent a sweltering day in Birmingham, Alabama for day 5 of the Hot Rod Power Tour.  Typically the power tour route avoids the interstate so that the drivers can enjoy the more scenic routes.  Today, the YEN group took a more direct route so that we could make it in time for a school visit.  Still, we ran into groups of long haulers on the interstate and it was like watching a traffic cam clip from 1970.

Our school stop today was Lawson State Community college where we shared our professional experiences and backgrounds with the students.  We emphasized the value of the technical skills that they would be learning and how they can be used as a foundation in whatever path they take in the industry… even in sales or marketing.

Young Executives NetworkFrom Lawson, we traveled the rest of the way to Birmingham and Hoover stadium for the show.  Each of us found young enthusiasts or professionals to interview.  For enthusiasts, we focused on what they wanted to do in the industry and provided feedback on how that can happen. For professionals, what can we do to create more awareness and how can they get more involved themselves?


Personally, I decided to interview a 9-year-old boy by the name of Aaron.  Aaron and his dad are from Birmingham and were enjoying the show together.  Keith McWilliams and I noticed how excited Aaron was getting around certain cars and suddenly I was 9 years old again.  For me it all started with Hot Wheels and Motor Trend and I knew from a very young age that I wanted to work with or around cars.  I wanted to be an automotive journalist.  That’s why we spoke to Aaron, I was curious to know if he wanted to work in the industry.  Turns out, he likes to take things apart and build things.  “I want to be a scientist, or have a job where I can build things” he said.  Thankfully, Keith being a product engineer for Comp Cams was able to shed some light on that aspect of the industry and Aaron ate it up.


EdelbrockI wish I would have ad the mentors in the industry when I was a young age.  I may be in the industry now but I know it could have happened a lot sooner had I had that available or known where to look.

A few of our team members also interviewed some young professionals in our industry that are under the age of 40.  Tim Brueggemann of B-Line Auto talked to Mike, who’s 38-years-old.  Mike has been a car guy his whole life and has worked in the industry for 16 years.  He works for Edelbrock.

Keith McWilliams interviewed Blain, the PR and marketing manager for Holley performance.  Blain is 28-years-old and got into the industry after a 3-month internship.  Keith loves the aftermarket and says’s that “The people of the performance aftermarket are what drive the passion behind American innovation. It’s not only an escape but also a lifestyle. The SEMA family of companies is very much a family and meeting other like minded individuals is the most effective way to promote our industry.” 

Holley Performance

Tomorrow we hit the road for Gulf Port, Mississippi in search of some much needed breeze and more future professionals!  Remember to follow us on the Hot Rod Power Tour at #YenPowerTour.