SHEHEEN: SPEED SPORT Family Continues To Grow

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Ralph Sheheen

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — It is a very exciting time for all of us at Turn 3 Media. Our friend and racing buddy Doug Auld has entrusted us with the stewardship of the Sprint Car & Midget magazine brand — very much in the way the Econo­maki family trusted us with SPEED SPORT.

We don’t take this lightly. Just like you, we are extremely passionate about motorsports and feel strongly that both of these iconic brands are an integral part of our sport’s rich history.

We also believe that journalistic integrity when it comes to telling the great stories of our racing heroes will help our sport grow. It will also ensure that the history is recorded properly for future generations, so they can learn about racing, get excited about it and become fans of it.

Just like we have done with SPEED SPORT, the Sprint Car & Midget brand will evolve into the modern media world. That means you will be able to enjoy the great stories and coverage of this thrilling arena of motorsports in a wider variety of media platforms like digital, social media and TV. Don’t worry, we will keep printing Sprint Car & Midget magazine as well.

Turn 3 Media is dedicated to bringing the fans and the motorsports industry the best, most trusted coverage of racing you will find anywhere. Thank you for your continued support of SPEED SPORT and we hope you will also enjoy our efforts to continue the tradition of outstanding journalism with Sprint Car & Midget. Welcome to the family Doug!

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– We attended the unveiling of the new Acura ARX-05 prototype racer at The Quail Lodge and Golf Club in Carmel, Calif. Roger Penske, whose Team Penske operation will field the two-car IMSA effort, said: “We’ve had the hook in the water for two to three years looking for a partner to go sports car racing.”

Penske, who owns six Acura dealerships, believes his team and Acura can convert performance and race wins into sales. He will be shifting people from his NASCAR and IndyCar programs to staff the sports car effort.

The new sleek racer has an Oreca chassis and an Acura powerplant. “The Captain” believes this is the car that could deliver his very successful racing organization its 500th victory.

– Scott Atherton, the president and COO of IMSA, was all smiles as the covers were pulled off the new ACURA ARX-05, which will debut during the Rolex 24 At Daytona that opens the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. There are now 17 different manufacturers competing in IMSA’s various categories, with 14 in the WeatherTech Cham­pionship.

It has taken years for Atherton and his staff to reap the benefits of their hard work. “It takes up to three years to get a deal done to bring in a manufacturer. We have more in the pipeline. But we are probably two years out from announcing another,” he said. “Managing all of these partners is the toughest part of the job. They all told their board of directors, ‘We will win.’”

Atherton wasn’t as positive about the future of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Audi having already pulled out and the recent announcement that Porsche will also exit the series.

Atherton believes a P1 category made up of nothing but privateers could be a problem. He said, “Le Mans can’t survive on entry fees alone. You have to have the manufacturer support with marketing, hospitalities, etc.”

Atherton believes the reason IMSA is gaining manufacturers while Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship are losing the factory teams is simple.

“The manufacturers are telling us what they want to race, we are delivering the rulebook and they are coming,” he said.