Rick Ware Racing expands a portfolio that includes NASCAR, IndyCar and IMSA teams as one of 10 owners that will compete in the inaugural season of the FIM World Supercross Championship (WSX).
Ware, along with Australian-based Craig Dack Racing, were announced as the fifth and sixth teams that have been granted licenses to compete in the international supercross series and will debut later this year.
In the combined four-wheel series, Ware has fielded cars in more than 1,000 races. He is not a stranger to two-wheel racing, having owned and managed a supercross team in the late 2000s.
Dack has fielded one of the most successful Australian teams and was manager of the Troy team of Yamahas, where Chad Reed won seven of eight races in his first season of the East Coast Championship. Dack Racing will bring sponsorship from Monster Energy.
“Aside from operating and competing at the highest levels of the sport, the addition of Dack’s Monster Energy Yamaha team expands the international relevance to our backyard where we have a storied history of popular supercross events in Australia, while also bridging across the broader realm of prominent American auto racing through Rick Ware’s history in NASCAR and IndyCar racing,” said Adam Bailey, managing director of SX Global Motorsports in a release. “It’s incredible to see the intensive demand for these exclusive licenses with teams at the highest levels of competition, and with the sophistication and commitment to support and sustain a truly global Championship.”
The WSX model includes exclusive team ownerships for teams that will field motorcycles in both the 250 and 450 classes. With a purse of $250,000 per race, appearance fees as well as financial and logistical support to travel to each venue, the series is investing heavily in the success of their early seasons.
“Our ambitions and plans have faced incredible skepticism, but for those that have doubted us, or continue to do so, we hope this lineup of credible, powerful teams and owners speaks volumes to our ability to bring this Championship to fruition at the level necessary to give fans across the world a truly top-tier global supercross offering,” said Tony Cochrane, president of SX Global. “What may be most valuable to us is the strength that each of these teams brings our series through their spirit of partnership – that shared vision and commitment to global success is extremely powerful and will drive us forward in the years to come.”
The World Supercross Championship will take place in the second half of the year and is scheduled to host four races at the end of 2022 in what they describe as a ‘pilot season’. The 2023 season aims to have up to 12 events held between June and November.
The additional four teams will be announced later in the year.
More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.
Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.
“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.
“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”
This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.
“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.
“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”
This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.
“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”
At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.
“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”
Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.
“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”
Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.
“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.
“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”