IMSA

Mazda’s John Doonan named as IMSA’s new president

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IMSA has named John Doonan as president to replace the retiring Scott Atherton.

Doonan had been the director of motorsports for Mazda North American Operations since 2011, managing the manufacturer’s North American racing efforts. He will begin his new role Oct. 21.

“John is a fantastic choice to become our next president, to build upon the momentum of our just completed 50th anniversary season and take our sport to the next level,” IMSA chief executive officer Ed Bennett said in a release. “He is respected, well known in our paddock, and brings a strong passion for motorsport that will greatly benefit everyone involved.”

Here’s the release from IMSA:

John Doonan named IMSA President Seasoned Automotive Executive Joins Premier Sports Car Racing Organization

Daytona Beach, Fla. (October 15, 2019) – The International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced today that John Doonan has been named the next president of the sanctioning body effective Jan. 1, 2020 with his first day on the job scheduled for Monday, Oct. 21.

Doonan was previously the director of motorsports for Mazda North America Operations where he developed the overall strategy and managed Mazda’s motorsports programs in North America.

“John is a fantastic choice to become our next president, to build upon the momentum of our just completed 50th anniversary season and take our sport to the next level,” said Ed Bennett, IMSA chief executive officer. “He is respected, well known in our paddock, and brings a strong passion for motorsport that will greatly benefit everyone involved.”

Doonan, who joined Mazda in 2003 as the regional advertising manager in the Midwest region and was promoted to the director of motorsports position in 2011, succeeds Scott Atherton, who last month announced his retirement as IMSA president at the end of the year.

While at Mazda, the program Doonan led was headed by Mazda Team Joest, which competes in the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. This IMSA program represents the pinnacle of the Mazda Road to 24, a program that provides drivers a clear ladder system from grassroots racing to the top level of sports car racing in North America.

The Road to 24 program features Global Mazda MX-5 Cup, a professional single make series which utilizes the latest generation Mazda MX-5 Miata. In recent weeks, Mazda also announced a new Mazda3 TCR car which will allow customer teams and drivers to compete in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge among TCR’s many other global championships.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime and dream opportunity after attending IMSA races since I was young boy,” Doonan said. “I am very humbled and truly honored to have the opportunity to join the IMSA team and I’m really looking forward to making a positive impact for our sport, our partners and our industry.”

Doonan earned a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Business Administration from Augustana College and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Western Illinois University. IMSA will kick off its 51st season with the 2020 Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on Jan. 3-5. The 58th running of the season-opening Rolex 24 will take place Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 26-27.

John Doonan of Mazda (left) will replace retiring Scott Atherton as IMSA president.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.