COTA weekend thoughts and observations: IMSA

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Thoughts and observations from the first half of the sports car doubleheader weekend at Circuit of the Americas, for the Lone Star Le Mans round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Additional thoughts on the FIA WEC will follow later today.


  • Solid showing for IMSA content. Both the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship races were excellent showcases of driver talent, and tremendously entertaining to boot. The light to slightly heavier rain that fell during Friday’s CTSC event produced a showcase for, ironically, Continental’s dry weather slicks – which still handled supremely well on the damp but not soaked track. Five of the six CTSC podium finishers made it home on slicks; GS winners Fall-Line Motorsports seized the moment on wets as John Edwards hunted down the fellow BMW M3 of Tom Kimber-Smith. In Saturday’s TUDOR race, the action for the overall win was intense and well balanced between the debuting Ligier JS P2 Honda of Alex Brundle and Gustavo Yacaman and the eventual race-winning Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. You can say, yes, the DP won, but the P2 car was the class of the field this weekend. It was about as fair a fight as could be had given the respective car disparities, and save for Yacaman getting spun early in the race the Ligier could well have had a debut victory.
  • Rapid response. Kudos must go to IMSA for an immediate yellow flag call and the track safety team for their quick and rapid response following a savage first lap accident in the CTSC race, when Tim Bell’s No. 28 Nissan 370Z had a reported ABS issue that left him without brakes that sent him off course at Turn 12, through the gravel trap and smacked the barriers very hard. Bell was OK, avoided hitting other cars and slid in sideways with the passenger’s side door, making the most of what could be salvaged following an impact reportedly measured at more than 140mph. Said Ryan Eversley, ST winner (with Kyle Gimple), “Before the car came to the stop, they’d already called a full-course yellow, so the workers could get there very quickly. We scanned the radio and as the car was coming to a rest, it was already full-course. That’s a huge testament to IMSA, everybody that’s in Race Control considering it could have been an emergency situation. I don’t think getting there any faster was possible.”
  • Texas Justice. New IMSA Race Director Beaux Barfield wasted no time making his impression felt on the TUDOR Championship in his first race back in sports cars after a three-year sojourn to IndyCar. Barfield handed out four drive-through penalties for contact. In each case, for penalties applied to Cars 90 (P), 910 (GTLM), 54 (PC) and 23 (GTD) (one car from each class), the penalty was issued swiftly and decisively. That’s not to say there wasn’t controversy, but it wasn’t of a Sebring or Daytona-level magnitude. The two moments that did not draw a penalty – contact at the start into Turn 1 between the No. 42 Ligier of Yacaman and Ricky Taylor’s No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette, and later contact between the No. 81 GB Autosport Porsche and No. 300 Turner BMW in GTD – were still controversial to those respective teams that felt they’d been “hard done.”
  • Clean and green. In the last 30 minutes, there were several instances of cars off course where the potential for a yellow flag existed. However, Race Control did not pull the trigger on the yellow in this instance, and let the race play out. It was refreshing to see the lead battle climax as Brundle and Joao Barbosa hunted down Pruett, albeit to no avail for either of them.
  • No luck for Team Seattle or GB Autosport in GTD. A dominant drive from Mario Farnbacher and Ian James in the No. 23 Team Seattle/AJR Porsche 911 GT America went begging in the final hour as James contacted Gunnar Jeannette’s No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports PC car at Turn 12 due to a brake issue; the impact punctured James’ radiator. Meanwhile the GB car, driven by Damien Faulkner and Ben Barker, was on pace for at least a podium before the contact with the Turner BMW, and fell to an unrepresentative ninth in GTD.

Vicki Golden and 805 Beer tell a unique story from an Inverted Perspective


Vicki Golden has earned a career worthy of a thousand stories and 805 Beer tells at least one of them, as “Inverted Perspective” premiered March 30 on the company’s website and YouTube channel.

Golden did more to break the glass ceiling in SuperMotocross than she ever thought possible. She knows this because riders have never felt the need to explain any of her accomplishments with the disclaimer, “for a girl”. 

At this point in Golden’s career, she’s been the first woman to finish top 10 in AMA Arenacross Lites, the first woman to qualify in the Fast 40 in Monster Energy AMA Supercross and the first woman to compete in freestyle Moto X competition, earning a bronze medal by doing so.

Her love for moto came from childhood while she watched her dad and brother ride. By seven she was on her bike and making waves throughout Southern California. 

Golden, 30, is still madly in love with the sport and has no plans on moving away but her career is already one to talk about. 805 Beer’s film series wanted to do exactly that.

“I’m taken aback by it all,” Golden told NBC Sports about the documentary. “It’s just crazy to see your story, it’s one thing to live your life and battle everything that comes about but it’s another to just sit there and talk about it.”

805 approached Golden about the feature by asking, “Do you even realize that what you do, and your story is special?”

Golden took the question as a blank canvas to map out the highs and lows of her career and life. 

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The title “Inverted Perspective” came from a brainstorming session with Dominick Russo and it highlights Golden’s outlook on the sport of SuperMotocross and her life in general. 

“My whole life, my whole career was thinking differently and looking at things that shouldn’t be done and aren’t there, while being able to make a place for myself, where no one thought there should be a place,” Golden said.  “It’s inspiring someone to think in different ways. It sums up my life.”

Vicki Golden is not “fast for a girl”; she’s just fast. – 805 Beer

While Golden is no stranger to the spotlight, this was the first time she’s been fully involved with the storytelling and creation of a feature about herself. 

“It’s not like a full new experience,” Golden said. “Obviously, you get your standard questions about your upbringing and accomplishments, but I’ve never really put into perspective things that happened in my past with my dad and putting that to light. Also, certain other things that maybe got overlooked in previous interviews or films. I wanted to touch on these and Dom wanted to create a story. It’s just cool to see it come to light, it’s a nearly impossible thing to tell somebody’s life story in 40 minutes.”

Golden’s father was left paralyzed after an ATV accident, robbing him the opportunity to ride again. This happened a few months before the father-daughter duo was set to compete in the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur Nationals when Vicki was 12. While she might have been unable to grasp the severity at the time, it’s something she carries with her. Golden continues to ride in his honor.

Years later, an accident in 2018 nearly sidelined the then 25-year-old Vicki when a freestyle accident almost resulted in the amputation of her lower leg. 

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Golden 805 Beer
Vicki Golden has ridden a variety of disciplines in SuperMotocross, which gives her a unique perspective. – 805 Beer

“Inverted Perspective” highlights her father’s diligence in helping Vicki continue with her career and the kindness and strength he carried while fighting his own battle. 

“My dad was the entire reason that I started riding in the first place,” Golden said. “So, to honor his memory and to honor what we went through and how hard he pushed to keep our dream alive and keep everything going – in that sense then, it was really special to be able to honor him and talk about him.”

The 40-minute feature was filmed entirely in black and white, a stark contrast from the oversaturated world of motocross where the brighter the suit the easier it is for fans to find their rider and follow him in the race. By filming in monochrome Russo and Golden had the chance to focus on the race and track from a different perspective. 

“It was cool to be able to film it differently,” Golden said. “It created a challenge in the sense of what was going to be more visually impactful for the film.

“I couldn’t be here without the companies that back me but at the same time, it’s not like the logos or colors disappeared, it’s just different lights shed on different spots. It’s just a cool way to do it and to take color away and still be impactful. When you think of black and white, you think of old school, the OG way of doing things.”