INDIANAPOLIS (October 8, 2023) – Blackdog Speed Shop and driver Tony Gaples closed their comeback season of racing with a final top-five finish in a highly competitive GT4 field of the GT America Powered by AWS championship.
Gaples not only placed fifth in Sunday’s final 40-minute race but also fifth in the GT4 Drivers Championship after 18 races. The No. 5 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R finished the season with a victory at Sebring – Gaples’ first since 2017 – and two additional podium finishes as the team returned to GT4 racing for the first time since the 2021 season.
Gaples spent the entire week – including Sunday’s race – getting to know again the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Thursday’s test session and opening practice marked Gaples’ first laps at IMS since 2001, but an afternoon washout limited his chances of relearning more about the track and the performance of the Camaro GT4.R and tires on the
2.44-mile, 14-turn circuit.
Gaples began Friday’s first 40-minute race from sixth in class but fell back after being spun early in the race. The veteran driver fought back and made up the spots he lost by the finish and gathered more performance data ahead of Sunday’s finale.
The learning continued for Gaples and the Blackdog team in a chilly Sunday morning race. After losing a spot on the start in a chaotic run into the first corner, Gaples battled back and ran as high as fourth before wrapping the season in fifth for the race and the championship.
Blackdog Speed Shop and Gaples will confirm their 2024 racing plans at a later date.
TONY GAPLES, NO. 5 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “A little disappointing this weekend but we were always going to be behind the curve compared to the guys who have raced here before in these cars. Having said that, it was great getting back into the paddock and racing with everyone at Blackdog Speed Shop again. We had some high points – the win at Sebring is one none of us will forget – and some challenges. But I really enjoyed being back in the car and am already looking forward to doing more racing next year with this group.”
RAY SORENSON, TEAM MANAGER, BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP: “Looking back on the season, there are a lot of positives we can take away. Winning at Sebring was a big deal, but bringing everybody back together along with some key additions brought us forward competitively. We learned a lot being back in this series after some time away. It took awhile to get the car straightened out at the start of the year, and we didn’t get much help on car performance. We’re much better and more knowledgeable than when we rolled off at St. Petersburg. Thanks to Tony, thanks to the team and thanks to fans and series for welcoming us back. Hope to see everyone again in 2024.”
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!