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Steps Forward for Blackdog, Gaples in NOLA Twinbill

AVONDALE, La. (April 30, 2023) – Tony Gaples and Blackdog Speed Shop continued moving forward in their return to racing in SRO Motorsports America competition during its first run at NOLA Motorsports Park.
While the results may not look impressive on paper – a pair of sixth-place finishes in the GT4 category of the GT America Powered by AWS championship – there is a lot to take back from the Louisiana bayou back to the race shop near Chicago for later this season.
The No. 5 Blackdog Speed Shop Camaro is in its first season back in SRO America racing since the end of 2018. The single-driver sprint format is where the Blackdog program established its name in the World Challenge era, so coming back to this type of racing and the Camaro platform is a homecoming of sorts for Gaples and Blackdog.
The progress throughout the weekend was noticeable with Gaples’ pace consistently getting closer to the front of a hugely competitive GT4 field of much newer cars.
Gaples began Saturday’s 40-minute race sixth and had a consistent and trouble-free run to finish where he started. Sunday’s race saw Gaples begin seventh but ran much closer to the front of the GT4 field with some chassis and tire adjustments.
Gaples muscled the Camaro up to fifth on the third lap and found himself in a five-car battle for the lead just shy of the halfway point as traffic compressed the front of the field. A long green-flag run spread out the field somewhat as tire life came to the forefront – an area where the Blackdog team is lacking the same experience as teams that have been in GT America the last two years.
Blackdog Speed Shop returns to the track May 19-21 from Circuit of The Americas near Austin, Texas.
TONY GAPLES, NO. 5 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R: “I’m happy with my driving and the progress we made this weekend, but we still aren’t where we want and expect to be. The team worked really hard to help bring us forward with some chassis and car adjustments to try and help us on the tires. They helped us get closer to the window of the other GT4 cars. I don’t think we’re quite maxed out with what we can do but there are a couple of items where we can look to make the car better. I’m already looking forward to COTA and getting more into the fight.”

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