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

IndyCar: Tony Kanaan’s ‘Last Lap’ begins at Texas Motor Speedway

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The streak lives for Tony Kanaan. At least for one more race.

With Kanaan running only ovals during his farewell IndyCar season in 2020 – which has been dubbed the “Last Lap” – his record streak of 317 consecutive Indy-car starts was to end with the season opener March 15 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Fate had other plans. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the postponement of St. Pete (now the season finale in October) amid the shutdown of American sports.

IndyCar has made multiple changes to its 2020 schedule since then, and as a result, Kanaan is getting an opportunity to extend his “Ironman” streak.

The 2004 NTT IndyCar Series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner is set for career start No. 318 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway – driving the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet alongside the team’s new full-season driver, Charlie Kimball, in the No. 4 Chevy.

“A lot of people ask me how I coped with the delay of the season,” Kanaan said Monday in an IndyCar Zoom news conference. “To be honest, I was mentally prepared already because my first real race was going to be the [Indy] 500. My mind was already set for May.

“I only really had to delay, what, a couple of weeks from what I was originally scheduled to do. For me, I think it wasn’t as hard as for the other guys that were already in St. Pete, ready to go.”

But while his mindset is locked in, Kanaan notes that he’s been out of a race car for eight months. In fact, as of Monday, he hadn’t sat in a car fitted with the new Aeroscreen cockpit protection system.

However, he is no stranger to the wild and woolly action at Texas. Ditto for his new-slash-old teammate, Kimball: The two competed together at Chip Ganassi Racing from 2014-17.

That experience is something A.J. Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt is grateful to have on his side.

“Going into this race, it’s huge,” Foyt said. “Especially with the one-day show, everything is accelerated, and going to a big track like Texas, having a guy like Charlie sit on the pole there [in 2017], knows his way around there, and obviously TK is very good there, as well.

“It’s a little bit of peace of mind for sure. Anything can happen, but the engineering group has been working really well together. We’re really hopeful we’re going to unload and get these guys some good cars out of the box. That’s the plan.”

Speaking of Kimball, the Californian is set to revive his full-time career in the sport after making just seven starts last season with Carlin.

He’s enjoyed his unexpected free time at home with his wife, Kathleen, and their two children, Hannah and newborn son Gordon, who arrived in March. But he’s grateful to get back in the car – and to accompany Tony on his ‘last lap.’

“We’re friends off the track,” Charlie said. “We train together. He’s gotten me addicted to riding a bicycle on a computer game, but also our wives are friends, and I think our families when we can get together and the kids can play, I think they’re going to interact really well. I’m excited for his daughter Nina to spend some time with our daughter.

“And the experience – I mean, he’s taught me things and I’ve learned a lot from him about how to restart on ovals and what you can and what you should and shouldn’t do and what he still does. That experience is invaluable to me to continue to learn and get better. I just feel really honored to be his teammate during his last lap, especially when we get back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.”

The NTT IndyCar Series season begins Saturday night from Texas Motor Speedway with the Genesys 300 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The race will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.