Championship Chase Renews for Blackdog Speed Shop at Watkins Glen

27 August 2019 Sprint
LINCOLNSHIRE, Illinois – It’s been awhile but Blackdog Speed Shop is back on track this weekend in the Pirelli GT4 America Sprint Championship. The series returns from a nearly three-month break, as do Tony Gaples, Michael Cooper and the rest of Blackdog Speed Shop with its pair of McLaren 570S GT4s.

Three races and six rounds remain in GT4 Sprint Championship with Blackdog squarely in the thick of the Drivers, Team and Manufacturer title chases. First up in the three-race finale run is Watkins Glen International, where Blackdog Speed Shop competed last season for the first time in 10 years.

The points situation heading to the Glen has a heavy Blackdog flavor:
• Michael Cooper – Second in the GT4 Sprint Drivers Championship (three points from first)
• Tony Gaples – Third in the GT4 Sprint Am Drivers Championship (three points from second)
• Blackdog Speed Shop – Second in the GT4 Sprint Teams Championship (five points from first)
• McLaren – Tied for second in the GT4 Sprint Manufacturers Championship (two points from first)

GT4 Sprint races will take place Saturday and Sunday at the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course. Blackdog Speed Shop posted three podium finishes there in 2018 – two for Lawson Aschenbach and one for Gaples.
McLaren Automotive factory driver Cooper is on a run of seven consecutive podium finishes with two victories in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4. The three-time series champion drove a GT-class car at Watkins Glen last season and recorded a top-five finish on the 2018 finale weekend.

Gaples, driver of the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren 570S GT4, finished third in the first Sprint Am race at Watkins Glen in 2018. He’s coming off a double podium finish at Sonoma in June with second- and third-place finishes. Gaples also has the distinction of being the only driver in Sprint competition to finish in the points in each of his nine races on the season.

The Pirelli GT4 America event at Watkins Glen International is Aug. 30-Sept. 1. Race One is set for 2:05 p.m. ET on Saturday with Race Two scheduled for 9:40 a.m. ET on Sunday. CBS Sports Network’s broadcast is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, September 8. Live coverage of both races will be available at

MICHAEL COOPER, NO. 10 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP McLAREN 570S GT4: “The break in the schedule is longer than what we are used to, but it gave us a chance to test our McLaren GT4s and get some extra data heading into the stretch run. It’s been a tough and competitive championship. When you’ve been lacking outright pace and performance like we have, most weekends turn into points management. The good thing is when we’ve been in position to steal a couple of positions and wins, we’ve taken that. Watkins Glen will hopefully be good for Blackdog Speed Shop and the McLaren. It’s a great track with a lot of speed and history. Let’s see if we can write our own this weekend.”

TONY GAPLES, NO. 11 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP McLAREN 570S GT4: “Watkins Glen is another classic track that I’m really excited to race at with Michael and Blackdog Speed Shop. It has a great mix of speed and technical sections that gives us a good challenge. Hopefully we’ll see the benefits of the testing we’ve done with the McLaren. With three races left, there’s a lot left in play as far as championships go. The best way to keep our Sonoma momentum going is to keep piling up points and contending for race wins. That’s my goal and the goal for everyone at Blackdog Speed Shop.”


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!