MotoAmerica

MotoAmerica will hold Superbike opener at Road America without fans

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MotoAmerica, the road racing series that includes the AMA Superbike Series, will hold its opening round May 29-31 at Road America without fans in attendance.

In a release Tuesday afternoon, MotoAmerica announced the decision was because of Wisconsin’s safer-at-home order under the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The 2020 MotoAmerica Series’ five racing classes – Superbike, Supersport, Liqui Moly Junior Cup, Stock 1000 and Twins Cup – will compete in the opener at the Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, track.

“We worked hard with Road America to try to make the original date work with fans, but after Governor Evers extended the safer-at-home order to May 26, we couldn’t make it work due to the unknown restrictions on public outdoor gatherings,” MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey said in a release. “But we still intend to run the event May 29-31, without fans and air it on Fox Sports and MotoAmerica Live+.”

Here’s the release from MotoAmerica:

IRVINE, CA (May 12, 2020) – MotoAmerica, the home of the AMA Superbike Series, has announced that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the Governor of Wisconsin’s safer-at-home order being set to expire on May 26, the racing portion of the opening round of the 2020 MotoAmerica Series, May 29-31, at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, will continue, but without fans.

Although Road America and MotoAmerica worked diligently to find an alternative, the task proved impossible due to unknown restrictions that may be placed on public outdoor events. MotoAmerica, however, is planning to return to Road America, June 26-28, along with all previously scheduled activities, including Vintage MotoFest. The June 26-28 event will also feature the MotoAmerica Heritage Cup and the opening round of the Mini Cup by Motul.

All five classes of the premier National motorcycle road racing championship in the U.S. – Superbike, Supersport, Liqui Moly Junior Cup, Stock 1000 and Twins Cup – will compete in the series opener, May 29-31.

“We worked hard with Road America to try to make the original date work with fans, but after Governor Evers extended the safer-at-home order to May 26, we couldn’t make it work due to the unknown restrictions on public outdoor gatherings,” said MotoAmerica President Wayne Rainey. “But we still intend to run the event May 29-31, without fans and air it on Fox Sports and MotoAmerica Live+. This is not something we ever imagined, but then again we never thought we’d be faced with something like COVID-19. We will continue to work towards making the event special for everyone tuning into the broadcast and will keep everyone posted moving forward for the next event in June. In the meantime, we urge our fans, teams, and riders to continue to do the right things to keep them safe and healthy.”

“This event attracts competitors and fans, not only from the U.S. but around the world,” said Road America President and General Manager, Mike Kertscher. “As of today, we cannot predict when we will be at a point that our public outdoor events meet the proper criteria for mass public gatherings in the state of Wisconsin. Make no mistake, we intend to come back stronger and ready to continue with our existing June events – including the WeatherTech Chicago Region SCCA June Sprints, June 12-14, and the IndyCar REV Group Grand Prix presented by AMR, June 18-21. We also anticipate by mid-June, there will be further transparency to safely host outdoor events, which is a primary factor for why we added a weekend in June.”

Customers who have already purchased tickets, camping or other items, for the May 29-31 MotoAmerica Superbike Series weekend, are encouraged to hold onto those items for the MotoAmerica Superbikes at Road America weekend, June 26-28.

For more information on Road America tickets, etc., visit https://www.roadamerica.com/ticket-exchange. For the full 2020 MotoAmerica Series schedule, click HERE. For information on how to watch the 2020 MotoAmerica Series, click HERE

Attention NASCAR teams: IMSA drivers available for Daytona!

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NASCAR will be making its debut on the Daytona International Speedway road course next month, and there’s a big fan who’d like to join the historic weekend.

This fan actually has impressive credentials, too — a few thousand laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile layout that annually plays host to the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.

In 2014, the winning GTLM team in the sports car endurance classic included IMSA Porsche driver Nick Tandy, who rabidly has followed NASCAR for more than 30 years since growing up in England.

So why not try racing NASCAR? Especially because Tandy has the weekend of Aug. 14-16 free.

He’s not picky, either — offering up his services on Twitter (as well as those of Porsche teammate Earl Bamber) for an ARCA, Xfinity, trucks or Cup ride.

Tandy’s affinity for American stock-car racing runs deep.

His first trip to the World Center of Racing was as a fan attending the 50th running of the Daytona 500 on Feb. 17, 2008. During Rolex testing in January, Tandy, 35, said he hadn’t missed a Cup race on TV in 15 years.

Among his favorite NASCAR drivers: the Earnhardts, Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch. When IMSA ran the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course in 2014, Tandy stayed a few extra days at the Brickyard and bought Kyle Busch gear for himself and his children.

He briefly took the stage during a NASCAR weekend last October. After IMSA’s season finale at Road Atlanta, Tandy made a few demonstration laps and a burnout in his No. 911 Porsche before the Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

He also has some experience in stock cars, having raced Modified-type grass-roots series on England’s quarter-mile short tracks.

Couple that with a Daytona road course record that includes two consecutive podium class finishes (including last Saturday) and a sports car resume with 13 IMSA victories and an overall win in the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans … and maybe a NASCAR team should take a look.

And Tandy isn’t the only IMSA driver who likely would be available.

Corvette driver Jordan Taylor, who won the 2017 Rolex 24 overall title with Jeff Gordon as a teammate (and the inspiration for his Rodney Sandstrom persona), also tweeted his availability for the weekend on the high banks.

Sports car veteran Andy Lally, a GTD driver with multiple class wins in the Rolex 24 as well as 38 Cup starts (he was the 2011 rookie of the season in NASCAR’s premier series), also hung out his shingle.

There also is AIM Vasser Sullivan’s Jack Hawksworth (who just won at Daytona last Saturday), the Englishman who teamed with Kyle Busch at the Rolex 24 in January and made an Xfinity start at Mid-Ohio last year with Joe Gibbs Racing.

Many sports car drivers (such as Taylor) already live in Florida, and many are hunkering down in the Sunshine State with IMSA returning to action at Daytona last week and Sebring International Raceway next week. Because of COVID-19-related travel concerns and restrictions, several IMSA stars who live outside the country are riding out the pandemic within a few hours of Daytona with nothing to do.

Why not a weekend at the World Center of Racing?

Over the years, scads of “road-course ringers” (including some Formula One veterans) have tried their hands in stock cars at Sonoma Raceway and Watkins Glen International.

How about considering the many sports car drivers who already have reached victory lane at Daytona by making a few right-hand turns, too?