Blackdog Speed Shop On The Road To Improvement
First trip to NOLA Motorsports Park on tap for Gaples, Camaro GT4.R
LINCOLNSHIRE, Illinois (April 25, 2023) – For a program that has been racing for more than 20 years, a new venue is very much a rarity. Nevertheless, that’s what Blackdog Speed Shop faces this weekend as the GT America Powered by AWS series heads to NOLA Motorsports Park for the fifth and sixth rounds of this year’s championship.
Tony Gaples will continue his comeback tour in SRO Motorsports America competition with the No. 5 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. This is the first season since 2018 that the Blackdog team has fielded the Camaro, and it is continuing to take steps toward the front of a highly competitive and deep field of GT4 cars in the series.
Getting up to speed is the goal for Thursday and Friday’s testing and practice sessions. Not only is the 2.75-mile, 16-turn road course across the Mississippi River south of New Orleans new to Blackdog Speed Shop, so is this year’s Pirelli tire compared to the 2017 and 2018 seasons in which the team fielded the Camaro and won back-to-back GT4 Team titles.
Gaples already has a podium to his credit this year, finishing third in class at the St. Petersburg (Florida) street circuit. A lack of track time early in the week at Sonoma hurt the team’s chances for a repeat in California, but the hope is that further study and analysis will help Gaples and the Camaro be ready to go from the drop of the green Thursday.
Blackdog Speed Shop and the No. 5 Camaro will race in the first of two GT America races from NOLA Motorsports Park at 12:55 p.m. CT on Saturday, followed by Sunday’s second race at 9:30 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: “I feel like we are making progress so far this season. It’s just that it never comes quickly enough, no matter the situation. We are staying focused on making the car better in each session so that we can start moving up the grid in qualifying and the races. We will get there. This weekend will be tough as we have never raced at NOLA while some of our competitors have in the past. If we can string some good laps together in practice and gain some positive momentum, that should help us by the time we get to racing on the weekend.”
RAY SORENSON, TEAM MANAGER, BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP: “We have room for improvement. This is something everyone on the team recognizes. The team has done a lot of work since we got back from Sonoma to make sure everything is sorted so we can get Tony and the car as much track time as possible in testing and practice. If we can do that, get some good feedback and put in some good changes as the sessions go on, that will go a long way in getting us competitive and back where we need to be.”