NASHVILLE (Aug. 6, 2023) – Tony Gaples and Blackdog Speed Shop left the GT America Powered by AWS weekend in Nashville with positive results and – more importantly – their No. 5 Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R in the same condition in which it arrived.
The three-day event for Blackdog Speed Shop was its first at the Music City Grad Prix street circuit – a unique layout with two long runs across the Korean War Veterans Memorial Bridge that spans the Cumberland River.
Despite a lack of track time in practice and no experience around the track before Friday’s opening practice, Gaples and the Blackdog team finished better than their starting position in the pair of 40-minute races.
Saturday’s twilight race saw Gaples finish sixth in the GT4 class from his seventh-place starting position. Racing in near darkness was tough enough, but the lack of experience around the 2.17-mile, 11-turn street circuit made things that much more difficult for a driver in Gaples who typically charges toward the front at the drop of the green.
Sunday’s race took place in much better conditions with clear skies and plenty of sunshine. Gaples again started seventh but moved up a spot early in the race. He moved ahead one more spot to claim a top-five finish – his second of the season on a street course.
More familiar surroundings await in the next GT America event for Blackdog Speed Shop: it’s home track of Road America from August 18-20.
TONY GAPLES, NO. 5 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “It was a tough weekend, just like we knew it would be. First off, we didn’t have any experience here to rely on. Our Camaro is a good car, but it lacks a lot of the refinement of the newer cars. So it was tough going over the bumps and in the slow-speed sections. I think I was in first gear five or six times, and it’s always going to be a challenge to be competitive in that situation. It’ll be nice to get back to a proper road course like Road America.”