From The Eyes of a Professional Journalist

By: Kobe Lambeth

When I first launched Daily NASCAR Scoop and More, I thought my website would be just something that I would do for like a couple of weeks and stop after I grow bored when nobody reads my articles. However, writing articles has become my number one hobby as I have built connections with a few people in the racing community. It does not matter if I receive “zero views” on an article because my hard work is satisfying enough. I love motorsports and my goal is to share that “love” with race fans worldwide.

Sportscar365 was one of the leading factors in my decision to start my website. Lead journalist, John Dagys has done an amazing job by making Sportscar365 one of the best motorsports websites in the world. Going to many races and reporting news to the public appears to be a possible career choice for me, but I am currently weighing all of my options. I had the honor of interviewing a role model for young adults who want to pursue a career in journalism. John Dagys was kind enough to share how he made it to the top of the ladder.

“My passion for journalism and motorsports are closely linked with each other. In fact, it was motorsports that turned me on to journalism. I started a sports car racing Web site, The-Paddock.net, during my senior year of High School with a friend from Germany. I don’t know the exact reason we did it. At the time, it looked like something different and a bit of fun.”

“But I quickly realized that I enjoyed reporting and that I could potentially make a career out of it. We ran the site for 2.5 years, going to races out of our own pockets and not really having any advertising. At the same time, I started taking journalism classes in college and began to learn the ropes of the industry.”

“I decided to stop operating the site in order to pursue higher-profile opportunities, such as working for Motorsport.com, and then by my senior year of college, I was picked up by SPEED Channel to be their sports car racing reporter for SPEED.com. That’s something that lasted a fabulous and memorable 5.5 years before the network’s transformation to FOX Sports 1.”

Dagys came a long way from a high school senior flirting with the idea of becoming a journalist to a well-known figure in the sportscar racing community. For anyone out there considering making motorsports journalism your career, I bet you all are wondering “What does it take to be a well-respected professional journalist?”

Dagys explained, “It takes an extreme amount of dedication and a lot of personal sacrifices. I can’t count the number of holidays or family events I’ve missed over the years in order to be covering races around the world. For me, I put my job as one of my top priorities and that obviously has positives and negatives. But I think one of the keys is being available at all hours and always digging for news.”

“It’s also about building respect and trust with your contacts. Half of the key of being a successful journalist is having a diverse and wide-ranging set of sources that you become close to. Once you build that trust, they can sometimes help you with off-record information, and when you’re able to collaborate that info from other, separate sources, you’re often able to uncover some big stories.”

“That’s how I was fortunate enough to have helped break the ALMS-GRAND-AM merger news in 2012, prior to the official announcement. It was about building up trust with specific industry contacts and knowing you will never give up your sources. Trust is a two-way street and I think is absolutely pivotal in this industry.”

I had no idea that you had to make many sacrifices as a journalist. However, if it is something that you love to do, then follow your dreams and go for it! According to Dagys, there are unfortunately some ups and downs to journalism.

“While I was fortunate to have had a big break in joining SPEED.com at the height of network and website, once that all went away, I was forced to re-invent myself. It was a real tough time for me, but looking back, it was a major turning point as well. While I had offers from other publications, none of them fit the criteria I was chasing. So I decided to go on my own.”

“I started Sportscar365.com less than one month after the network changeover in 2013, as a shot-in-the-dark. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t have any investors or advertisers lined up before the launch. I was out there willing to take a risk and see if there was a market for a dedicated sports car racing website.”

“I quickly found out there was and within two weeks of the launch, had a verbal commitment from our first major partner. At that point, I knew there was some serious potential. Sitting here, two-and-a-half years later, Sportscar365 has surpassed my wildest expectations.”

For every risk, there is a reward. Dagys was truly rewarded with the fantastic, well-known Sportscar 365 website, which is popular among the sportscar racing community. With a successful website, comes tons of fun even with the serious nature of running a business.

Dagys stated, “My favorite part of the job is digging up scoops in the industry — items that are not yet officially announced by teams, drivers, series, etc. It’s a huge rush when you can be the first to break news, whether it be a driver moving to a new team, or a change in the regulations.”

“Believe it or not, I very much enjoy the industry-related news over actual reporting of the races, because following and writing about a race is something almost everyone can do. To be among the first to discover a groundbreaking new car, team or series in the works, is something unique and requires much more of your reporting skills.”

It takes talent and skill to be able to do some of the things that John Dagys is able to accomplish. Working hard behind the scenes to bring the latest breaking stories to the public is definitely a talent that makes John Dagys very successful. Being a journalist might be fun and games to the naked eye, but there are a few difficulties, according to Dagys.

“Things such as advertising proposals, contracts, website maintenance, booking travel, taxes, managing staff on multiple continents, etc, can take so much time out of your day and actually detract from the time you could be reporting.”

Also, one problem that I have experienced with my opinionated articles is “lack of views.” Sometimes, it is disappointing when you spend days on an article and nobody pays attention to it. Dagys could relate to this problem.

“There’s been so many articles I’ve written — that I’ve spent a lot of time on — that weren’t hugely popular. But that’s just how it goes sometimes.”

“Strangely, it’s often a lot of the stories that you don’t think would be popular that end up being hits. That’s why it’s important to have a nice mix and balance in reporting.”

As we all know that John Dagys is a great journalist. I began to wonder if the well-respected writer receives some criticism often.

“Sure, I think especially in the Internet age, everyone does. The most public level of criticism is always in the comments section. Not everyone agrees with things, especially when you share your own opinion in articles, which at Sportscar365, we are extremely selective of doing. The goal of the Web site is to provide news and analysis and not tell people what we think is good or bad.”

“But sometimes it doesn’t matter. The biggest thing I’ve learned is not to take it personal. As long as you have the confidence in yourself in your reporting, it will shine through in the long-run and you will become more respected in the industry for stating the facts, or in select cases your opinion, and not change it based on popular belief.”

Professional journalism definitely appears more difficult than it seems but looks like an interesting career choice if you earn the respect that you deserve.

As we end this piece, I want you to see what life is like “From The Eyes of a Professional Journalist,” thanks to Sportscar365’s John Dagys.

“It’s a lot of work. I’m usually up by 5 or 6 a.m., or sometimes earlier, everyday to catch some of the news from the morning in Europe and I often work through 5 or 6 p.m. on weekdays, usually at the computer or in very close reach during that entire time. You never know when news breaks. I also end up having to spend a lot of that time on the business side of things, things I mentioned above.”

“Travel can get pretty intense. I’m usually at tracks between 30-35 weekends a year, totaling more than 200 days on the road annually. It ends up being a lot, but one thing I’ve learned is that in order do the best at your job, you need to be on-site, talking to people and building those relationships. Covering the sport from afar, or watching it on TV doesn’t give you the same results, and I think my dedication to at-track reporting has really helped my career.”

 

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Kobe’s Daily Scoop: Interview with Colin Braun

Photo: http://www.imsa.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

As the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona nears, CORE Autosport driver, Colin Braun, is ready for the season to begin.

“Our goal is the same as always; we’ve got to win the championship and continue to get better. We know everyone’s been chasing us the last five years, so we have to keep on outworking everybody.”

It appears that Braun is ready for the season to begin as soon as possible with him returning as a co-driver to the team owner, Jon Bennett. Braun’s dad, Jeff, will be an engineer for the Number 54 CORE Autosport LMPC machine. It will be great to see father and son work together for a full season of IMSA competition. Colin had nothing but kind words to say about working with his dad full-time.

“It’s great! We get along really well. Obviously, we’ve known each other since I first opened my eyes. It’s great having him on board. He brings a lot of engineering expertise, but also a lot of experience in team building and chemistry, so he can pull all of our resources together very well.”

Jeff Braun also helped Colin find his way into the wonderful world of motorsports.

Colin explained, “He was a racecar engineer and I was always interested in what he was doing. We got a quarter midget when I was five years old and was hooked from that point forward. He never forced me into it—I just really enjoyed it. I’m fortunate to be able to make a living doing what I love to do.”

As the entire CORE Autosport team prepares for the upcoming season, there are lots of question marks surrounding the future of the Prototype Challenge class. Will the Oreca chassis evolve? Will we see a spec LMP2 chassis? Could IMSA look into the LMP3 category? Colin Braun had his take on the uncertain future of LMPC machinery.

“It’s hard for me to speak to that. I’ve driven the Ginetta quite a bit with a Nissan in it when I did a program for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Certainly, that car isn’t quite in the league of being a PC replacement car. It would need a lot of updates and changes, which would drive the price of that car quite high. I don’t get to make those calls. If we’re racing Toro lawnmowers, then that’s what I’m racing!”

Ginetta has a very interesting new entry level prototype in development, which is powered by a Chevrolet motor. Could this possibly replace LMPC in 2018? Is there a chance that CORE Autosport moves up to Daytona Prototype International (DPi) next year with the uncertain future of the Prototype Challenge class? Colin Braun gave a simple answer.

“I have no idea what the plan is going forward from the series side or the CORE side. I’m not sure how the classes will shake out, I’m just here to race and win.”

I love Braun’s desire to drive anything to have the chance to win races. Some of you might remember that Colin used to be a NASCAR driver. Although it has been awhile since he has raced in stock cars, he is open to opportunities to run some road course races.

“Yes, I’d love to do a NASCAR road course race. I feel like those are really fun, interesting, exciting races. I had some success on the road course races and was always fast, I just couldn’t seem to get a good finish. I came close to winning the Mexico City Xfinity race in my first year. I would love to, but the schedule hasn’t worked out too well with what we’ve got going on in IMSA. If it ever worked out and I could get a top-line gig, I’d be all over it.”

Calling all NASCAR teams, if you need a “road course ringer,” Colin Braun is the right guy for the job! He is an excellent race car driver who will give you a great opportunity to go to victory lane!

*Special thanks to Erin Cechal for making this interview possible. I wish Colin Braun and the entire CORE Autosport team a successful season in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.*

Conway replaces Villeneuve at Venturi

Photo: http://www.autosport.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

The Venturi Formula-E Team has confirmed that their relationship with Jacques Villeneuve has ended after a difficult start to the 2015-16 FIA Formula-E Championship season. Toyota factory driver and FIA World Endurance Championship regular, Mike Conway, will join the team starting in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The open wheel veteran Conway said, “Venturi is a top team in Formula-E so it’s great to be able to join. The series is innovative and quite unique. It is quickly growing momentum and it’s attractive to a lot of manufacturers to showcase their technologies, so it’s exciting to be a part of the series.”

I am excited to hear that Mike Conway is returning to an open wheel racing series. He has many years of IndyCar experience, so he should fit in well with the Venturi Formula-E Team. It would be cool to see Conway return to the Verizon IndyCar Series for a few races (not conflicting with full-time FIA World Endurance Championship duties with Toyota), but Formula-E is the next best thing!

Honestly, I am not surprised that Villeneuve was let go, after a very challenging debut season for him in Formula-E. It was time for driver and team to move onto a brighter future. Where could we see Jacques Villeneuve race next: rallying, NASCAR road courses, the Indy 500? The possibilities are endless!

For more information on this topic, go to: http://www.en.venturi.fr

NASCAR Media Day: Roundup

Photo: http://www.jayski.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

*One of the biggest announcements today was the introduction of a chase format to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series format will feature eight drivers and three rounds that consist of seven races. Round one tracks will be Loudon, Las Vegas, and Talladega, while Round two tracks will be Martinsville, Texas, and Phoenix. Homestead will be the finale of course and the only race in Round three where four drivers will battle for the championship. We will go from eight drivers to six, down to the Final Four. Also, 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers will be ineligible to run the finale at Homestead. Honestly, I do not know what to think of this format. There are pros and cons to this “experiment.” How cool would it be to see a guy like Norm Benning win at Daytona and become eligible for The Chase? It would be great to see drivers who do not have equipment like Kyle Busch Motorsports or ThorSport Racing compete for a championship. Also, I am a bit disappointed that we will no longer see young drivers learn the value of maintaining a points lead over the course of a season. Oh well, maybe it is a time for a change! “Win and you’re in” is definitely something special. Finally, I want to commend NASCAR for banning Sprint Cup stars from entering the season finale. The finale is all about the season regulars and it will be fantastic to see them battle for the championship among themselves.*

*The NASCAR Xfinity Series chase format will feature twelve drivers and three rounds that consist of seven races. Round one tracks will be Kentucky, Dover, and Charlotte, while Round two tracks will be Kansas, Texas, and Phoenix, with Homestead as the season finale in Round three. Two Dash 4 Cash wins will also lead to a chase berth other than simply winning races. Also, 2015 Chase for the Sprint Cup drivers will be ineligible to run the finale at Homestead. It will definitely be an interesting year in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as we see if this format will work for years to come. My first impression is not too cheery, but I will give this new idea a chance before making any more negative comments.*

*The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will use the new “Caution Clock” concept this upcoming season. When the green flag drops, there will be twenty minutes of green flag racing, then a mandatory competition caution. If a caution waves before the twenty minutes expire, then the clock will be reset. This new “experiment” will be used at all races except for Eldora, Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, and Pocono Raceway. To be honest, I think that this is a foolish concept, but it has the potential to make restrictor plate racing more exciting than it already is. Hard twenty minutes of pack racing is definitely going to be a sight to see! Other than that, I do not see how it will be beneficial to the sport. I do not know who came up with that rule, but they probably had plenty to drink!*

*The Dash 4 Cash in the NASCAR Xfinity Series will have a new look this year. Bristol Motor Speedway, Richmond International Raceway, Dover International Speedway, and Indianapolis Motor Speedway will host the four events that make up the Dash 4 Cash. Drivers must be Xfinity regulars to be eligible. Qualifying for these events will set the forty car grid and also lineups for two heat races (something exciting). The odd-numbered qualifiers will race in the first heat while the even-numbered qualifiers will race in the second heat. I love this idea as it has the feel of a Saturday night dirt track!*

*Martin Truex Jr. will see a familiar sponsor return (Bass Pro Shops) for nine Sprint Cup races this season. Furniture Row will also be supported by Joe Gibbs Racing. Could we possibly see Erik Jones run a few races as a teammate to the Number 78 team?*

*Richard Petty Motorsports released Brian Scott’s Number 44 Ford Fusion to the public. I am so happy to see this number return to the track.*

*The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will use “crate engines” as a way to help underfunded teams reduce the costs of an engine. They will lease an engine from NASCAR, which will save them tons of money. I applaud this move as it will definitely help underfunded teams and it could potentially bring more teams to the sport.*

*Blake Koch will join forces with new Xfinity Series team, Kaulig Racing, which has formed a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing. Koch will pilot the Number 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection Chevrolet Camaro. I am interested to see how Koch will fare with equipment from Richard Childress Racing. He could be this season’s “David Ragan.”*

*Front Row Motorsports has confirmed that Landon Cassill will drive the Number 38 Ford Fusion as a teammate to rookie Chris Buescher. I am so happy that Cassill is going to a team on the rise. Could this possibly be the “big break” Cassill needed to prove that he belongs with the heavyweights of NASCAR?*

*Did you really think that Matt Kenseth could avoid questions about his feud with Joey Logano? It appears that Kenseth is ready to move on from the incident, but he will never forget it if Logano fails to give him enough space on the track.*

*Tommy Baldwin Racing has announced that Alex Bowman will not return to the team, and Regan Smith will replace him in the Number 7 Chevrolet SS. First, I am happy that Smith was able to find a full-time ride, but I really feel awful for Alex Bowman. A couple of days ago, he was excited for the beginning of the season, but it does not look like that he will be a part of the Sprint Cup field. However, he will run a few races for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. This could possibly be a chance to show that he belongs in a top notch ride, so he can have something put together for 2017. On Friday morning, rumors came out that Bowman found out that he was fired via twitter and did not have a face to face discussion with team owner, Tommy Baldwin. If this is true, I would be so shocked and surprised by the mishandling of this situation. What do you think NASCAR fans?*

*Leavine Family Racing has formed an alliance with Circle Sport Racing to form “Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. After spending the last few seasons with Ford, Leavine switches to Chevrolet horsepower. They will be supported by Richard Childress Racing, which is a great move for these two merging teams. Ty Dillon will also drive for the team in the Daytona 500 and a few more races. Michael McDowell will continue his partnership from Leavine Family Racing and drive for the team in a second Chevrolet SS. Great to see two teams merge and form an alliance with Richard Childress Racing. Hopefully, their performance on the track will start to improve.*

*Tommy Joe Martins will race full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with his newly formed team, Martins Motorsports. He will drive the Number 44 Chevrolet Silverado. Diamond Gusset Jeans will sponsor Martins for the first four races of the season. I remember watching Martins in a Xfinity race at Talladega a few years ago. He was very impressive as he was able to have a nice run in the draft. I wish him a successful first season as an owner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.*

*As NASCAR Media Day comes to a close, there are a few things to get excited for and a few head scratchers. From a chase format in the Trucks and Xfinity Series to the “Caution Clock” concept, there are many things to think about for the upcoming NASCAR season. What do you think of the announcements NASCAR fans? Is the sport headed in the right direction or will they lose even more fans than last season?*

For more details on NASCAR Media Day, go to: http://www.nascar.com

Karam announces Indy 500 Deal

Photo: http://www.motorsport.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

After an offseason of uncertainty, Sage Karam will drive for Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing in the one-hundredth running of the Indianapolis 500. He will drive the Number 24 Dallara DW12 chassis powered by a Chevrolet engine. Gas Monkey Garage will sponsor the car. In 2014, Karam made his IndyCar debut with Dreyer & Reinbold-Kingdom Racing in the Indianapolis 500.

Karam told USA TODAY Sports, “We’re getting the band back together from my rookie season at Indy. It was really good working with those guys. I had no experience in Indy cars before the 500. Now I’ve got two years under my belt, and I know what it takes to win a 500-mile race.”

I am so happy to hear that Sage Karam will run the Indianapolis 500 in May. He deserves to be there and it is great that he will race. However, I wish that it was a full-time deal, but one race is better than none. Plus, we might see Karam in a Lexus GT3 with the legend, Scott Pruett in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship in select rounds.

For more information on this topic, go to: http://www.sports.usatoday.com.

Rolex 24 at Daytona Entry List

Photo: http://www.waynetaylorracing.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

The entry list for the season opener (Rolex 24 at Daytona) of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship has been released. This event will take place from January 27-31st.

Prototype (13 cars)

01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford DP- Brendon Hartley/Alex Wurz/Andy Priaulx/Lance Stroll

02 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford DP- Scott Dixon/Tony Kanaan/Jamie McMurray/Kyle Larson

0 Panoz Deltawing Racing DWC13- Katherine Legge/Sean Rayhall/Andy Meyrick/Andreas Wirth

2 Tequila Patrón ESM Ligier JS P2-HPD- Scott Sharp/Johannes van Overbeek/Ed Brown/Pipo Derani

5 Mustang Sampling Action Express Racing Corvette DP- Joao Barbosa/Christian Fittipaldi/Filipe Albuquerque/Scott Pruett

10 Konica Minolta Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP- Jordan Taylor/Ricky Taylor/Max Angelelli

31 Whelen Engineering Action Express Racing Corvette DP- Dane Cameron/Eric Curran/Simon Pagenaud/Jonny Adam

37 SMP Racing BR01-Nissan- Mikhail Aleshin/Nic Minassian/Maurizio Mediani/Kirill Ladygin

50 Highway to Help BMW DP- Byron DeFoor/David Hinton/Jim Pace/Dorsey Schroeder/Thomas Gruber

55 Mazda Motorsports P2- Jonathan Bomarito/Tristan Nunez/Spencer Pigot

60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2-HPD- Ozz Negri Jr./John Pew/AJ Allmendinger/Olivier Pla

70 Mazda Motorsports P2- Tom Long/Joel Miller/Ben Devlin

90 VisitFlorida.com Racing Corvette DP- Marc Goossens/Ryan Dalziel/Ryan Hunter-Reay

Prototype Challenge (8 cars)

8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09- Renger van der Zande/Alex Popow/Jack Hawksworth/Chris Cumming

20 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09- Johnny Mowlem/Tomy Drissi/Marc Drumwright/TBA/TBA

26 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09- Adam Merzon/Don Yount/John Falb/Ryan Eversley/Ryan Lewis

38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca FLM09- James French/Jim Norman/Josh Norman/Brandon Gdovic

52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09- Tom Kimber-Smith/Robert Alon/José Gutierrez/Nicholas Boulle

54 CORE Autosport Oreca FLM09- Colin Braun/Jon Bennett/Mark Wilkins/Martin Plowman

85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca FLM09- Chris Miller/Stephen Simpson/Mikhail Goikhberg/Kenton Koch

88 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09- Mark Kvamme/Maro Engel/Sean Johnston/Felix Rosenqvist

GT Le Mans (11 cars)

3 Corvette Racing Corvette C7R- Jan Magnussen/Antonio Garcia/Mike Rockenfeller

4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7R- Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner/Marcel Fassler

25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM- Bill Auberlen/Dirk Werner/Augusto Farfus/Bruno Spengler

62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE- Giancarlo Fisichella/Toni Vilander/Davide Rigon/Olivier Beretta

66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT- Joey Hand/Dirk Muller/Sebastien Bourdais

67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT- Richard Westbrook/Ryan Briscoe/Stefan Mucke

68 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE- Alessandro Pier Guidi/Alexandre Premat/Daniel Serra/Memo Rojas

72 SMP Racing Ferrari 488 GTE- Gianmaria Bruni/James Calado/Andrea Bertolini/Victor Shaytar

100 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM- Lucas Luhr/John Edwards/Kuno Wittmer/Graham Rahal

911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR- Nick Tandy/Patrick Pilet/Kevin Estre

912 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR- Frederic Makowiecki/Earl Bamber/Michael Christensen

GT Daytona (22 cars)

6 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3- Robin Liddell/Lawson Aschenbach/Andrew Davis/Matt Bell

9 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3- Kenny Habul/Dion von Moltke/Boris Said/Tristan Vautier

11 O’Gara Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3- Townsend Bell/Bill Sweedler/Richard Antinucci/Edoardo Piscopo

16 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3- Spencer Pumpelly/Corey Lewis/Justin Marks/Kaz Grala

21 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3- Emanuele Busnelli/Jim Michaelian/TBA/TBA

22 WeatherTech Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3- Leh Keen/Cooper MacNeil/Shane van Gisbergen/Gunnar Jeannette/David MacNeil

23 Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3- Mario Farnbacher/Ian James/Alex Riberas/Wolf Henzler

28 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3- Franz Konrad/Rolf Ineichen/Marc Basseng/Lance Willsey/Fabio Babini

30 Frikadelli Racing Porsche 911 GT3- Klaus Abbelen/Frank Stippler/Sven Muller/Patrick Huisman/Sabine Schmitz

33 ViperExchange.com Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3- Ben Keating/Jeroen Bleekemolen/Dominik Farnbacher/Marc Miller

44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3- John Potter/Andy Lally/Marco Seefried/René Rast

45 Krohn/Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 GT3- Tracey Krohn/Nic Jonsson/Christopher Haase/Pierre Kaffer

48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3- Bryan Sellers/Madison Snow/Bryce Miller/Mirko Bortolotti

51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 GT3- Peter Mann/Matteo Cressoni/Raffaele Gianmaria/Marco Cioci

63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 GT3- Alessandro Balzan/Christina Nielson/Jeff Segal/Robert Renauer

73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3- Patrick Lindsey/Jorg Bergmeister/Matt McMurry/Norbert Siedler

93 ViperExchange.com Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3- Ben Keating/Damien Faulkner/Gar Robinson/Jeff Mosing/Eric Foss

96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3- Bret Curtis/Jens Klingmann/Ashley Freiberg/Marco Wittman

97 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3- Michael Marsal/Markus Palttala/Maxime Martin/Jesse Krohn

98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3- Paul Dalla Lana/Pedro Lamy/Mathias Lauda/Richie Stanaway

007 TRG-AMR Vantage GT3- Sergio Pérez/Antonio Pérez/Santiago Creel/Richardo Pérez de Larra/Lars Viljoen

540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3- Tim Pappas/Nick Catsburg/Patrick Long/Andy Pilgrim

News & Notes

*There are no changes from the Roar in the Prototype class, but there are still a few seats available in Prototype Challenge. It will be interesting to see who will fill those open slots.*

*Risi Competizione’s new Ferrari 488 GTE chassis has been built and went through a shakedown, so they will be ready for race week.*

*Memo Rojas will make his GTLM debut with Scuderia Corsa in the brand new Ferrari 488 GTE.*

*Interesting move to see that Stevenson Motorsports has placed their four full-time drivers in one car. At least, the move will allow Habul, von Moltke, Said, and Vautier to race for the class victory.*

*Two seats are available in the Number 21 Konrad Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3.*

*Sabine Schmitz replaces Connor de Phillippi in the Number 30 Frikadelli Racing Porsche 911 GT3.*

*Once again, Sergio Pérez is listed to drive but rumors are that he will only attend to support the team. However, anything is possible in sportscar racing, so do not be surprised if we see the Mexican Formula One star make his debut in sportscar racing next week.*

For more details, go to: http://www.imsa.com

3 Hours of Malaysia Entry List

Photo: http://www.24h-lemans.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

The Asian Le Mans Series has released the entry list for the season finale in Malaysia. This event will take place from January 23-24th.

LMP2 (4 cars)

8 Race Performance Oreca 03R-Judd- Nicolas Leutwiler/Oliver Webb

9 Jagony Ayam with Eurasia Oreca 03R-Nissan- Sean Galael/Antonio Giovinazzi

25 Algarve Pro Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan- Michael Munemann/Dean Koutsoumidis/Jamie Winslow

99 Eurasia Motorsport Oreca 03R-Nissan- William Lok/Tack Sung Kim/Richard Bradley

LMP3 (2 cars)

1 DC Racing Ligier JS P3-Nissan- David Cheng/Ho-Pin Tung/Thomas Laurent

89 Team AAI ADESS 03-Nissan- Masataka Yanagida/Sakaguchi Ryohei/Tanart Sathienthirakul

CN (2 cars)

21 Avelon Formula Wolf GB08- Denis Lian/Giorgio Maggi

69 Atlantic Racing Team Wolf GB08- Shinyo Sano/Zen Lowe

GT (10 cars)

3 Clearwater Racing McLaren GT3- Weng Sun Mok/Rob Bell/Keita Sawa

5 Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3- Jeffrey Lee/Alessio Picariello/Christopher Mies

6 Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3- Adderly Fong/Andrew Palmer

7 ARC Bratislava Audi R8 GT3- Miro Konopka/Fairuz Fauzy

TBA  Bentley Team Absolute Bentley Continental GT3- TBA/TBA

27 Nexus Infinity Ferrari 458 GT3- Joshua Hunt/Dominic Ang

38 Spirit of Race Ferrari 458 GT3- Nasrat Muzayyin/Aaron Scott

TBA Team AAI McLaren GT3- TBA/TBA

91 Team AAI BMW Z4 GT3- Junsan Chen/Ollie Millroy/Nobuteru Tanaguchi

92 Team AAI BMW Z4 GT3- Han Chen Chen/Shinya Hosokawa/Hiroki Yoshimoto

GT Am (2 cars)

51 KCMG Porsche GT3 Cup- Paul Ip/Akash Nandy/Yuan Bo

77 Team Starspeed Racing Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo- Yoon Sanghwi Rick/Wong Chong Yau

News & Notes

*Team AAI has one less entry in LMP3, but they have added a car (McLaren GT3) in the GT class. We will see a healthy ten car GT battle. I wish more teams ran cars in multiple classes.*

*Bentley Team Absolute will field two Bentley Continental GT3’s. Adderly Fong and Andrew Palmer will share one car and the drivers for the second entry should be named soon. It was previously announced that Fong and Palmer would run a full season in Pirelli World Challenge. Running an Asian Le Mans Series race is a good “tune-up” before their championship season begins.*

*Team Starspeed Racing brings a Lamborghini to the GT Am class. Great to see that the KCMG Porsche will actually have some competition this weekend.*

*It is great to see a twenty car entry list for the 3 Hours of Malaysia. The ACO’s takeover of the Asian Le Mans Series is proving to be the greatest idea for the future of this series. I really hope that we will see at least 25 entries next series. Wouldn’t it be a great idea if some IMSA GT Daytona teams ran an Asian Le Mans Series event during their offseason? Just a thought that I am putting out there!*

For more details, go to: http://www.asianlemansseries.com

Kumpen to make Daytona Debut

Photo: http://www.bostonglobe.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

Dreams do come true! 2014 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series champ, Anthony Kumpen, will make his restrictor plate racing debut on the high banks of Daytona next month in the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener.

He will drive the Number 46 LeasePlan Chevrolet Camaro for Precision Performance Motorsports. Kumpen’s dream came true thanks to the Nexteer Road to Daytona, which is designed to bring European drivers across the pond to NASCAR in the United States. I love that there is a program in place for foreign drivers who wish to pursue a career in America. In the future, I hope we see more drivers from foreign nations make the move to NASCAR. It appears that Kumpen cannot wait to race at the historic Daytona International Speedway.

“We worked all year to get the approval to do Daytona and it is fantastic to finally be able to race there. To race at Daytona is a dream for every NASCAR driver. It is a very special track, and for a European NASCAR driver, it is even more special. I’m proud and happy that we can be there. It all started thanks to the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series and I am grateful for this. I want to thank everybody involved from sponsors to NASCAR. I am the first NASCAR Whelen Euro Series driver to go to Daytona and I hope this will be an inspiration for young drivers to join the NWES.”

I wish Anthony Kumpen the best of luck as the Belgian race car driver will have the opportunity to race at one of the most historic race tracks in the world. Also, Kumpen confirmed that there are not plans in place to run the ARCA race at Daytona. However, it could be beneficial to get some more experience in the draft. Well, anything is possible in NASCAR!

For more information on this topic, go to: http://www.ppm646.com

Where does Tony Stewart go from here?

Photo: http://www.snopes.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

http://m.youtube.com/results?q=tony%20stewart%20chili%20bowl&sm=1

Last night, NASCAR driver, Tony Stewart found himself making the headlines, but for the wrong reasons. In the video above, you can see “Smoke” getting into an altercation with a man who is apparently a Sheriff’s deputy in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I admit, when I saw the video I was thrilled to see Stewart living up to his nickname “Smoke.” It never gets boring for you Tony Stewart fans. However, this is not good for Stewart’s reputation going forward.

In the past few years, Tony Stewart’s name has been dragged into the dirt as many controversies surrounded him. First, he suffered a broken leg during an event at a dirt track event and this caused lots of uproar about Stewart’s personal life. Should he race at dirt tracks considering his NASCAR commitments? Yes, we all remember the criticism he received after this awful injury. However, the worst was yet to come.

On the eve of a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Watkins Glen International, tragedy struck at an Upstate New York dirt track. Young dirt racer, Kevin Ward Jr. was killed after he was hit by Stewart’s car. After this news was made public, I saw many headlines such as “Tony Stewart: Cold-Blooded Killer.” Deep down, I know that Smoke is not a killer. You can disagree with me, but I #StandWithSmoke.

After breaking his leg, the Kevin Ward Jr. tragedy, and now this, it is very sad to see Stewart’s reputation falling apart. Last night’s incident could have been avoidable. Someone needs to teach Stewart that you should not care what others say about you. He should have let the man talk his trash and laugh at him for being so ignorant. By confronting this “sheriff’s deputy,” it is feeding into the “trolls” who want to see Stewart fail. It is sad that we have those kinds of people in the world, but it is what it is.

I wish that Tony Stewart could have simply ignored this man’s words who obviously made him mad enough to confront him. This upcoming season is Smoke’s final year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. I do not want Tony Stewart to be remembered for his off the track troubles, but for his amazing career. From an IndyCar driver to multiple NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championships, it is safe to say that Stewart has had a successful career as a race car driver. I admit that is has been fun watching Smoke when he is mad, but he deserves to be remembered as a man who brought great things to NASCAR. We can only hope that Tony Stewart’s final season as a Sprint Cup driver will be special, instead of drama filled for all the wrong reasons.

Where does Tony Stewart go from here NASCAR fans?

Kobe’s Daily Scoop: Interview with Tristan Nunez

Photo: http://www.examiner.com

By: Kobe Lambeth

2016 is going to be a BIG year for Mazda Motorsports, as they say, goodbye to their diesel package and hello to a new turbo powered engine designed to give them a better chance at winning races in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. I had the pleasure of asking one of their drivers a few questions about Mazda’s chances in this upcoming season.

Mazda factory driver, Tristan Nunez said, “We are all very excited for the 2016 season. The amount of work that everyone has put in during the offseason and the end of last season surely will pay off in the long run.”

The entire team might be in for a special season after spending the past two years with the diesel-powered prototype. Mazda has the potential to turn some heads in 2016 but that is not the only thing to consider. With the new LMP2 rules in 2017 and the allowance of IMSA engines to Le Mans under a Balance of Performance process, could we possibly see Mazda Motorsports bring a car to the 24 Hours of Le Mans?

Nunez said, “At the moment, we are focusing on what’s right in front of us. Starting with the 24, but I it has been a dream of mine to go to Le Mans ever since I started racing and it would be an honor to do it with Mazda. They’ve made dreams come true before and who’s to say they can’t do it again!”

Hopefully, Nunez and Mazda Motorsports will make the trip across the pond to France within the next few years. Two different powerplants for Mazda in past years made me question the similarities and differences between the engines. Luckily, Nunez has driven both diesel and gasoline-powered prototypes and gave a simple description.

“You really can’t compare it. They are two completely different power plants. Each has its own unique characteristic. It’s been a blast to get the chance to drive both.”

As the season is about to begin, I am wondering if Mazda’s new engine will make them competitive against the dominant Daytona Prototypes.

Nunez said, “It’s hard to say. You can’t really know until the race, but we have a completely different mindset this year. Our goal is to go out there and win races.”

Based on lap times set at the Roar, it appears that Mazda will give Michael Shank Racing, Deltawing, and the Daytona Prototypes great battles! However, the main question is “how reliable can the car be?” That question will be answered on January 30th when the green flag flies! Mazda has been working to ensure that 2016 will be a memorable season.

Nunez said, “The guys at the shop have been working their tails off practicing pit stops, as well as going over every piece of the car to make sure it’s perfect. The drive that those guys have is inspiring, which pushed me to better myself as a driver too.”

Trust me, hard work will pay off and we should see Mazda competing for overall victories this season. As the team is preparing for the season opener, Tristan Nunez told me how he prepares for every race.

“Taking some time to myself to pray about an hour before I get in the car, then when I’m in the car waiting for the command to start the engines, I like to get a beat in my head and play the air drums. It’s been something that always calms my nerves.”

An awesome way to prepare for intense sportscar races! Nunez has a few inspiring individuals in his life that help him continue to strive for the best. I hope Tristan continues to follow his dreams as life is good being a young factory driver for a popular manufacturer.

“Without the support I had from my parents to pursue my dreams, I would never be where I am today. Also, having Derek Bell as a personal friend and mentor is truly something special.”

*Special thanks to Klint Briney for making this interview possible. Good luck to Tristian Nunez and the entire Mazda Motorsports team as they go on a brand new adventure in 2016!*