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American Flat Track racing nears end of record season

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Most race fans are accustomed to seeing cars on race tracks. Paved or dirt – oval, road course, or off-road – in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Motorcycle racing also has a long history in America, with its origins in the early 1900s.

Due in no small part to a partnership with NBC, flat track motorcycle racing is making headway in capturing modern America’s attention with a premier division known as the American Flat Track Series.

According to the American Flat Track web site, viewership for the series this season will exceed 3 million with more than 100,000 tickets sold at event sites. That is an average of about 6,000 tickets per event – a sizeable crowd for a dirt short track.

Many of the tracks on which the series competes will be familiar: So far in 2018, races were held at Daytona International Speedway, the dirt track at Texas Motor Speedway, Calistoga Speedway in California, Illinois State Fairgrounds Speedway and the legendary Williams Grove Speedway in Pennsylvania.

The names may not yet be as familiar. Jared Mees leads the top division points on the strength of 10 wins. No one else has more than two. The singles division is tighter with Dan Bromley posting four wins and a female racer Shayna Texter becoming the first woman to win a major race in flat track history. In fact, she has two (at Allen County Fairgrounds in Lima, Ohio and Black Hills Speedway in Rapid City, South Dakota).

The broadcasting partnership with NBC that began in 2016, is responsible for nearly 2.4 million of the 3 million viewers – an increase of more than 50 percent over last year’s numbers.

“American Flat Track has reached over 3 million fans so far this year and it is testament to the thrilling action our athletes and participating manufacturers are serving up, week in and week out,” said Michael Lock, CEO of American Flat Track on the series Web site. “With two live race events and four NBCSN broadcasts still to come, AFT 2018 will end up reaching more people than in any year in the modern era. We are extremely proud and look forward to scaling new heights in 2019.”

NBCSN broadcasts are shown one week following the live event. The penultimate race was on a one-mile, modified horse track in Shakopee, MN outside of Minneapolis. That race can be seen on NBCSN October 14, a 5 pm ET.

The season wraps up today at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, NJ and can be seen October, 21 at 2 pm ET on NBCSN.

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Keating stripped of Le Mans GTE-Am win; No. 68 Ganassi entry also disqualified

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FIA stewards announced Monday that two Ford GT entries have been disqualified from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the GTE-Am class-winning No. 85 entry from privateer Keating Motorsports.

Also DQ’d was the factory No. 68 Chip Ganassi Racing entry of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, which initially finished fourth in the GTE-Pro class.

Both entries were found in violation of fuel capacity regulations, with the No. 85 entry also failing to meet the minimum refueling time during pit stops.

The refueling system on the No. 85 entry, driven by Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Felipe Fraga, measured a time of 44.4 seconds during a stop, just shy of the minimum required time of 45 seconds.

As a result, the team was initially issued a 55.2-second post-race penalty by officials, which elevated the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Joerg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey, and Egidio Perfetti to the class win.

The time penalty was calculated by the difference in the refueling time (0.6 seconds) multiplied by the amount of pit stops made by the team (23), then multiplied by four.

The No. 85 entry was set to finish second in class, but then received an outright DQ after its fuel capacity was also revealed to be 0.1 liters above the maximum permitted capacity of 96 liters.

As for Ganassi’s No. 68 entry, it was found to have a fuel capacity of 97.83 liters, which is above the maximum allowed capacity of 97 liters for the GTE-Pro Fords.

The No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, and Jonathan Bomarito subsequently moves up to fourth, and the No. 69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook moves up to fifth.

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