IMSA Watkins Glen Race Predictions

Four races in the 2018 Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup season may look short.

Nevertheless, team racing drivers and engineers have an extended amount of time for race preparation. As drivers exercise their minds and bodies for the hot-summer conditions of the Sahlen’s Six Hours Of The Glen, mechanics calibrate the setup of their four-wheel endurance machines before loading them in the haulers for a trip to Schuyler County, New York.

As the clock continues its tick for the waving of the green flag at Watkins Glen International, here are my IMSA Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup race predictions for the six-hour race:

Prototype: Cadillac vs. Acura vs. Nissan

Even without Ricky Taylor in the Wayne Taylor Racing No. 10 Cadillac this year, the team’s 2nd place finish in the 12 Hours of Sebring shows how much fight they have in racing for their 2nd straight IMSA WeatherTech United SportsCar Championship, and their quest for the 2018  Tequlia Patron North American Endurance Cup. To secure both championships, they have to beat the front-running Action Express Racing team, as well as the two Acura Team Penske entries.

Because anything can happen in a race, be on the lookout for the No. 22 Tequila Patrón ESM car and winner of Sebring, Pipo Derani, Johannes van Overbeek, and Nicolas Lapierre finding their way forward in the Prototype grid — and who knows, they may be a closer in the race just like at Sebring.

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GT Le Mans: Ford GT

With the No. 66 and 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing cars ranked one-two respectively in the North American Endurance Cup standings, their main challengers are expected to be defending race winners BMW Team RLL, and the Corvette Racing duo of Antonio Garcia and Jan Magnussen — in the GT Le Mans class.

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GT Daytona: Championship Consistency

Fresh out of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a 3rd place result in GTE AM (in a Ferrari 488 GTE), expect once again, Ben Keating, and Jeroen Bleekemolen, and the Mercedes-AMG Team Riley to be a top-three running car over the course of six hours, and perhaps giving Lamborghini and Acura a run for their money in the final 20 minutes around The Glen. After all, they are both the reigning champions of last year’s North American Endurance Cup, and the current points leaders.

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Mister Right To The Limit

On the verge of graduating from college, Matt Sprague had trouble finishing his late 1988 Toyota Supra 1UZFE Turbo Swap project car on time.

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#EngineerFreely #Cars #AutoCustoms #AUTOFocus

Saddle Up, Ford Mustang To NASCAR Cup Series in 2019


Aric Almirola Ford Fusion car on display at Sebring International Raceway in 2017. (Photo by Dan Fisher)

For every journey, there is an end.

As for Ford in the NASCAR Cup Series, replacing the Fusion with the Mustang in 2019 is the beginning of an era for the Blue Oval.

Ford Mustang

Though expectations are high in the Ford camp, the pre-production script for the Mustang’s full-scale assembly comes first, said on Tuesday, April 17.

According to Ford officials, the Mustang is still going through initial testing and will be formally submitted to NASCAR for approval this summer.

“NASCAR has a really good process that continues to get better every year,” Ford Performance Global Director Mark Rushbrook said during a Tuesday teleconference. “It’s a very well-defined process for timing. The submission will happen through June of this year, and then depending on how things go on that initial test, that will lay out the rest of our timeline.”

— Press Release

With the Chevrolet Camaro in its first year competing full time in the Cup Series while fielding entries to teams in the NASCAR Ixfinity Series, it would seem that Pony car competition is beginning to grow in NASCAR’s top level series.

As Ford Performance Global Director, Mark Rushbrook, said in the Press Release, NASCAR Cup teams with Ford entries look forward to the Mustang’s 2019 debut with great interest.

“We tried to leverage the skill across all of our teams,” Rushbrook said. “We’ve had active engagements from Roush Fenway Racing, Team Penske and Stewart-Haas Racing. They’ve been the main contributors to this, but (all of the teams) are anxious to get the best car on the track in 2019, so they’ve been very active with us.”

— Press Release

Once the Mustang makes its debut in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona, expect Ford teams to saddle up and rub shoulders with the Camaro and Toyota Camry.

MotorMan Dan: Action Express Mustang Sampling Prototype Car Review

Specs: * Source –>

Engine 6.2L/376 cu in, Naturally aspirated V-8

Horsepower: 600 @ 6,800 RPM (approx.)

Transmission: Transverse sequential

Weight: 2,050 lbs. (930 kg.)

Brakes: Brembo 4-wheel disc





Favorite Feature(s):


  • Track Performance

Although its exterior design is impressive, which makes the Cadillac DPi.-V.R look like the pinnacle of all Cadillac models, its track performance during the 56th Rolex 24 At Daytona proved to be a record-breaking run in terms of the number of miles it ran.

According to Racer Magazine, after winning Daytona, the Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi.V.R averaged “808 laps/2,876.48 miles on the 3.56-mile circuit, shattering both the 1992 mark for laps completed (762) and the 1982 record for miles completed (2,760.96),” thanks to the efforts of co-drivers Joao Barbosa, Filipe Albuquerque and Christian Fittipaldi. Talk about team work and long-run consistency. Not to mention: Managing the car’s engine from experience potential oil and water overheating issues.

With Daytona and Sebring already in the record books, and only 10 more races until the curtain on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season draws to a close, it would seem that Action Express Racing and its Mustang Sampling’s Cadillac will be on their feet all season long, defending their title in the North American Endurance Cup while contending for the WeatherTech Championship. For now, Long Beach will be the primary focus for all IMSA teams to show their grit on the race track.



SFC: Advantage Chevrolet Bolt Over Tesla Model S, & Among Others in California electric car sales in 2017

It would seem Tesla has some competition in the electric car market in California, according to a business article by the San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 28.

And its challenger: the Chevrolet Bolt.

David R. Baker further documents the Bolt in the following block quote:

The Chevrolet Bolt topped electric car registrations in the state last year, according to the report from the California New Car Dealers Association and Auto Outlook, Inc. A total of 13,487 Bolts were sold or leased in California, compared with 11,813 Tesla Model S sedans. The vast difference in prices — the Bolt starts at $36,620, while the most basic version of a Model S costs $74,500 — may have something to do with the ranking.      — David R. Baker, SFC Business Reporter


1st Generation Tesla Model S on display at the University Town Center mall in Sarasota, FL.

Interestingly, Baker writes in the following excerpt that illustrates California’s 2017 electric car sales. Though Tesla is not the Bolt’s only sales competitor.

California electric car sales in 2017

Chevrolet Bolt: 13,487

Tesla Model S: 11,813

Tesla Model X: 6,910

Fiat 500: 4,943

Nissan Leaf: 4,418

VW Golf: 3,202

David R. Baker


With more car companies entering the electric car market, it would seem that this particular automotive class is projected to grow over the course of time, both nationally and globally. Now the question is: What other car companies will be next on the diving board, to jump into the pool of the electric car market?

Reflection Post: Don Garlits Private Tour Video

I recorded this video of the Don Garlits Private Tour on my mobile phone, as reference for writing my feature story  about his racing career and car museum business for my school’s online news site.



Clearing the photo gallery of all pictures and videos on my phone, and having them stored on a hard drive, I came across video clips from the private tour. I even went out of my way and made an hour and a half video on Adobe Premiere Pro, storing it with my other video collections in my hard drive.

After watching the whole video, I could not help but feel that I made more than just a video, it was a story. It was a story I wanted to share with the world, illustrating not only the story of an American racing legend and pioneer of motor sports, but to share his story from my perspective on YouTube.

I did just that one year ago.

28,000 plus views later, and counting, my private tour video received mostly positive reviews — complimenting my work in sharing a piece of American history through the scope of 21 Century media technology. And it was all shot through the lenses of a mobile cellular device.

Though my biggest critique, according to some of the comments posted regarding my video, is the vertical shot I took of the entire tour. And the truth to what they said, is that watching a vertical video is a total eye sore because it limits the video’s horizontal background of the subject, as well as the subject’s environment.



As I write this post, I take these lessons to heart and build off them for future video projects. And when it comes to professional video quality, grasping the concepts of video shooting and editing techniques, is vital because audience members want to be engaged with rich insight and imagery — through the horizontal lens. It is also important for people recording videos on their phones for fun, so that their friends and family will be able to see everything in the video’s frame.

Overall, it is my belief that my video turned out well, if not perfect. My favorite is the transitions I added on Adobe Premiere Pro, which was used as a means to limit jump cuts, as Garlits casually moves onto another chapter of his storybook career while guiding his guests through his garage and automotive showroom hangar at his Ocala-based drag racing museum. What Garlits story shows is not only a reflection of his accomplishments as a professional drag racer and automotive engineer, it is knowledge of working hard in the mechanical engineering world, through encouraging the next generation of innovators to possess a creative mind. Whether people aspire to become automotive engineers, architects, or graphic arts designers, creativity and expertise are more than just qualities in a professional — they are gifts. And it is these gifts that keep on giving, and shape who they are.

Rolex 24 Hours Of Daytona Race Predictions


In only its first-year return to IMSA, Cadillac teams in the Prototype category averaged 7 race wins out of the 10 races they entered during the 2017 Weathertech SportsCar Championship season. Among their victories was in last year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, achieved by Wayne Taylor Racing’s Cadillac DPi-V.R over Action Express Racing’s No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac.

Since the American Le Mans series merged with the Rolex Sportscar Series in 2014, the No. 5 Mustang Sampling team has been a top-five finishing car in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, including a win in the 52nd annual race.  Expect the No. 5 and No. 31 AXR entries to be the front runners in terms of track performance and pit strategy, unless Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Cadillac will close down the gap in time like last year.


GT Le Mans

In GT Le Mans, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing have been fastest in five out of the seven total practice sessions, with the No. 67 Ford GT collecting P1 three times while its sibling and defending GTLM class winner, the No. 66,  paces the field twice around the 3.56-mile Florida circuit.

With the two Ford GT’s qualifying P1 and P3, the CGR entries will likely expect close competition from the Corvette Racing squad, including from Risi Competizione’s prancing horse stable and the Porsche GT Team.     


GT Daytona


Going from the Dodge Viper GT3-R to a Mercedes AMG GT3 in a three month conversion, the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports entry last year crept through the GT Daytona field from midpack, finishing the race in P3. The whole No. 33 team would then go on to win the 12 Hours of Sebring, and clinch the North American Endurance Cup at Road Atlanta.   

Qualifying 11th out of only 21 cars in GTD, the No. 33 Riley team could potentially put themselves in position to average another podium run because of their long-run pace, just like in last year’s Rolex 24 At Daytona — and perhaps a potential class win.

To get to the front, the Riley boys would have to catch the likes of Lamborghini, Audi, Porsche, Ferrari, and even Acura in race trim. Not to mention, keeping pace with Father Time for 24 hours mistake free.