Blackdog Speed Shop Takes Momentum West
Gaples back at scene of first career win, this time with No. 5 Camaro in GT America
LINCOLNSHIRE, Illinois (March 28, 2023) – With its return to GT4 racing now in the rear-view mirror, Blackdog Speed Shop has turned its focus to its first road-course event of 2023 as it heads back to Sonoma Raceway for rounds three and four of GT America Powered by AWS.
Tony Gaples will pilot the No. 5 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R at Sonoma, where the full complement of SRO America series will be in action for the first time this year.
It’s the first time since 2020 that Blackdog Speed Shop – the leader in all-time victories in SRO America GT4/GTS competition – will test itself at the 12-turn, 2.51-mile circuit that winds its way through California’s Wine Country.
Six of the team’s 41 wins in SRO America/World Challenge competition came at Sonoma, including Gaples’ first career win there in 2017 behind the wheel of a Camaro GT4.R. So it’s with that history that the series’ veteran driver and team return after a successful return to SRO racing at St. Petersburg.
Gaples posted a third-place finish in the GT4 category of the multi-class GT America field in the second of two races on the streets of St. Petersburg a month ago. Even after two years away, Gaples and Blackdog Speed Shop proved they can be championship contenders right away with the Camaro solidly in the top-five in the first race of the St. Petersburg weekend.
In addition to his GT4 Am win at Sonoma in 2017, Gaples has eight additional top-five finishes there including an overall runner-up GT finish in 2005. As a team, Blackdog Speed Shop swept the GT4 weekend in 2020 when it last raced at Sonoma.
Blackdog Speed Shop and the No. 5 Camaro will race in the first of two GT America races at Sonoma at 1 p.m. PT on Saturday, followed by Sunday’s second race at 8:55 a.m. Live coverage of both races plus timing & scoring will be available at gtamerica.us and SRO’s GT World YouTube channel.
TONY GAPLES, NO. 5 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “It will be good to get in the Camaro back at Sonoma. This is where I picked up my first win in GT4 racing, so we know the Camaro can and should be fast there. It’s been great to be welcomed back into the paddock by fans and competitors. This should give us our first real look at where we stack up against the newer GT4 cars. Sonoma is a track that I really enjoy. One of the keys is carrying momentum through the lap with so many corners and braking zones. That’s one of my strong suits and it’s a strength of the Camaro, as well. With our experience in this car and others around Sonoma, we should be in the fight for wins and podiums this weekend.”
RAY SORENSON, TEAM MANAGER, BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP: “Sonoma should be a better track for us than St. Petersburg. Typically the Camaro has worked better at places like this where strong brakes, mechanical grip and a good-handling car are key. We’re digging out our notes from our many years at Sonoma to see what we can apply on this car with this tire. We should learn a lot about our performance compared to the rest of the GT4 cars during practices and qualifying. We’ve won a lot of races and run well here, so let’s use that to our advantage.”
About Blackdog Speed Shop
Blackdog Speed Shop Blackdog Speed Shop is a high-performance, custom car builder in the northern suburbs of Chicago specializing in ground-up car builds, high-performance upgrades for engines, transmissions, suspension and exhaust including computer and dyno tuning. Whether you have a modern muscle car, vintage muscle, 1930s hot rod or a foreign exotic, you will enjoy the Blackdog experience.
Ever dreamed of piloting a real World Challenge race car? Blackdog offers rental and “arrive and drive” racing in addition to purpose-built cars. Call Blackdog today at (855) 4-BLACKDOG to schedule an appointment or discuss the best way to put you in the driver’s seat!