News & Multimedia

Dream Cars, Reality Racers Featured In Brickyard Sports Car Challenge July 26 At IMS

The first race of the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard will be the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge, round seven of the 2013 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship.

The 2.5-hour race starts at 2 p.m. Friday, July 26, so you just might need to leave work a little early.

With a huge field of cars that everyone can relate to, a deep field of talent, and some of the best racing on the continent, it will be well worth it.

What exactly IS the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge?

The first thing you need to know is that it is like the Rolex Sports Car Series in that there are two different classes racing their own race at the same time on the same track, the 13-turn, 2.534-mile Grand Prix road course at IMS. And with more than 30 cars in each class fighting for their own race win, it can get very busy.

Picture staging two football games, one NFL and one college match-up, on the same field, at the same time. That is pretty much what GRAND-AM racing is like, with everyone fighting for a little bit of their own space as things can get really crowded, really fast.

What kind of cars race in this series? In a way, the series embodies what NASCAR was so many years ago – stock cars that have been race-prepared.

Most of the cars look exactly like what you might find in the parking lot at Kroger. There are two classes. GRAND-AM calls them “ST” and “GS,” but it might be easier to remember them as the “reality” class and the “dream” class.

The “dream” cars in the GS class include the championship-leading Porsche 911, the BMW M3 that won the most recent race at Watkins Glen, and a fleet of gleaming new Aston Martin Vantages.

There is also a strong bit of muscle in the GS class mix, as Stevenson Automotive campaigns the Chevrolet Camaro, and none other than Roush Performance has two Ford Mustangs set to go this weekend. One of the Mustangs will be driven by Reba McEntire’s son Shelby Blackstock, for you music fans.

The “reality” cars in the ST class are indeed, straight out of the grocery store parking lot. Honda Civics, Mazda’s MX-5 and Mazdaspeed 3, as well as the Volkswagen Jetta and a Nissan Altima or two all will do battle for ST class honors.

While they look like grocery getters, don’t be fooled: These cars have been very specially prepared, up to the tune of a quarter-million dollars. The teams trim every last ounce of weight they can find out of the car, making room for the complex cages they build inside each one to create a safety zone inside the car.

“What makes our series unique, interesting and exciting for the fans is that the cars we race start their lives as the very cars that they drive to work, to school or to get groceries in,” said Compass 360 Racing team owner Karl Thomson, who has seen his team take multiple GRAND-AM championships in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition. “In fact, some of our race cars are purchased as theft-recovery cars, that through the magic of our crew, we turn into championship-winning race cars.

“NASCAR started out as real ‘stock car’ racing and has since moved to purpose-built cars, and so our series really embodies the spirit of that series in its fledgling days. When people start watching our races, they see how exciting they are. And racing at the Brickyard is a very big deal. It's the place where each and every one of our drivers wants to have the chance to kiss the bricks.”

While the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge will take place before the Brickyard Grand Prix for the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, don’t start thinking of it as a warm-up band. With nearly 20 different makes and models fighting for a trophy, the racing is outstanding. Evenly matched cars, the normal traffic hazards of multi-class racing, some long-running driver grudges and a deep pool of driver talent means there is a lot to see.

“I think it is one of the best series in the country,” said team owner Keith Burton, who fields two BMWs in the ST class and bases his team in nearby Brownsburg, Ind. “I got my start in open-wheel, so it is a very special thing to come to the Speedway and compete as an owner. It is great to race at home, but of course it is very busy--one of our cars is on display on the showroom floor at Dreyer and Reinbold (Indianapolis car dealership), so we ’ll pick it up and take it to the track to race it.”

And just like the Super Weekend, where Sprint Cup stars like Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski jump down into the Nationwide Series, the same thing happens in Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge with drivers like Bill Auberlen, John Edwards, Michael Marsal and Paul Dalla Lana scheduled to run in both GRAND-AM races Friday, making for a very busy day.

So now, you’ve got a few days to come up with that excuse to leave work a little bit early next Friday...

Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Dream Cars, Reality Racers Featured In Brickyard Sports Car Challenge July 26 At IMS
 
Dream Cars, Reality Racers Featured In Brickyard Sports Car Challenge July 26 At IMS
The first race of the Kroger Super Weekend at the Brickyard will be the Brickyard Sports Car Challenge, round seven of the 2013 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge championship.
Read More
Related Media
Ed Jones
 
Jones Eager To Build on Outstanding Rookie Race This May at Indy
Ed Jones was the top rookie finisher, in third – just .5278 of a second behind winner Takuma Sato. Alonso still received the Sunoco Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Award, but Jones’ sterling drive secured his status as a rising star in the Verizon IndyCar Series and a potential future new face on the Borg-Warner Trophy.
Read More
Dreyer
 
Indiana Racing Memorial Association Honors Motorsport Legend Dreyer
Legendary early motorcycle racer, race car builder and pioneering auto and motorcycle dealership owner Floyd “Pop” Dreyer was honored Saturday, April 21 with an Indiana Racing Memorial Association (IRMA) historic marker.
Read More
Josef Newgarden
 
INDYCAR GP, Indy 500 Could Be Next Stops on Newgarden's Magical Victory Tour
Newgarden, from Hendersonville, Tennessee, enters the Month of May with powerful momentum. He took the Verizon IndyCar Series points lead with a victory April 23 in the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and also won the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix on April 7. Newgarden is the only driver to win more than once this season, and his wins came on the varied terrain of a natural road course at Barber and a short oval at Phoenix.
Read More
Brickyard Crossing Golf Course
 
Brickyard Crossing Included on New-Look Pete Dye Golf Trail
Brickyard Crossing Golf Course, located on the grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is one of seven elite golf courses on the Pete Dye Golf Trail that was relaunced Friday, April 20. All seven courses were designed by Indiana resident Pete Dye, arguably the most influential golf course architect in the world over the last five decades.
Read More
Michael Goulian
 
American Pilot Goulian Leads Standings as Red Bull Air Race Flies into French Riviera
Countless American stars have flocked to Cannes, France, every year to receive awards and be honored at the famed film festival in the resort city on the French Riviera.
Read More
Items 1 - 5 of 2,952