Indianapolis, Ind. - For driver Toby Grahovec and his three Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW Touring Car teammates, racing at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway was always a dream. Now, this weekend (Oct. 1-3), the four racers will finally get that opportunity when the TC America road racing series hits the “Brickyard” for the SRO America season finale.
Grahovec, the veteran driver and Chicago native, has been to IMS numerous times in his youth to witness the historic Indy 500 race and qualifying. But the 2016 TC America series champion has never been in a race car on the hallowed IMS racing surface. But this weekend he seeks another TC class race win and possible championship in the popular #26 Classic BMW BMW M240iR machine at the 2.439-mile, 13-turn road circuit inside the legendary 2.5-mile oval.
“As a kid, my dad (Duane) would take me to IMS to see the Indy cars on the big oval,” said Grahovec. “It was such a great site and spectacle. Now, to come back and race at the track is a thrill for any of the SRO America driver this weekend. We are just excited to drive a race car around the road course, but also to compete for a victory there.”
The Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW operation currently ranks second in TC team points entering the season finales with 12 podiums finishes in the first 12 rounds (3 wins, 5 seconds and 4 thirds) and looks for a TC team title when the TC races begin Friday at 9:20 a.m. EDT and Saturday at 11:10 a.m. EDT.
Grahovec also sits second in TC driver points with three wins, four seconds, two thirds and two fourths in the first 12 rounds of the 14-round TC campaign. Unfortunately, Toby was battling for the lead in another event when his car was sidelined by a flat tire.
“There are many things on the line at Indy this weekend,” said Grahovec, also Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW team manager. “We are battling for team and driver championships, so qualifying (set for Thursday at 3:55 p.m. EDT) will be important as well as finishing both events. You do play a little bit of a points game in the final two races of the season. But I also want to get to the top of the podium at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Now, that would be a real thrill.”
Joining Grahovec in the Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW TC action at IMS will be veteran Phil Bloom and teenagers Bryson Lew and Ally Raphael, all in Classic BMW BMW M240iR cars.
Bloom, in his first season with Fast Track Racing, has competed in a limited TC schedule this year but still has four fourth places in his #11 Classic BMW BMW M240iR and seeks to reach the podium at Indy.
“It has to be very exciting to get to that famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway winner’s circle,” said Bloom. “Overall, it would be a great way to finish the TC season. We have been close to the podium several times this year. And I’ll also race in the 8-hour event on Sunday too (for the Classic BMW GT4 team).”
Lew, the high school student from Moraga, Calif., was very impressive in his TC debut in August at Sonoma Raceway, taking the #27 Classic BMW BMW M240iR to two third place finishes. Now, the 17-year-old former karting champion is thrilled to race at the famed IMS track.
“I’m super excited to be racing as a support race for IndyCar,” said Lew. “I’ve been putting a lot of hours on the simulator studying every turn of the track. This racetrack has so much racing history. I’m fortunate to have this opportunity! Thanks to Classic BMW/ Fast Track Racing for the support this weekend.”
Raphael, also 17, makes her TC America debut this weekend at IMS after a stellar karting career. Ally follows her father, Justin, in the Fast Track Racing/Classic BMW stable after Justin competed in the TC America and GT4 SprintX events in 2017-2019. Ally has also been impressive in recent amateur sports cars. The IMS TC America races are Raphael’s first pro competition.
“I am so excited and honored to be participating in my first professional racing event with SRO America,” said Raphael. “Special thanks to Classic BMW and BMW motorsports for making this possible. I can’t wait to take to the track at Indy.”
Both TC America events at IMS can be viewed live on www.tc-america.com. Highlights from the TC America racing at IMS will be televised on the CBS Sports Network on Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. EDT.