Another Strong Run for Gaples, Cooper in GTS SprintX Finale

Seventh place from 24th for No. 11 Chevy Camaro GT4.R

ERDA, Utah – Blackdog Speed Shop’s Tony Gaples and Michael Cooper ended the Pirelli World Challenge GTS SprintX season with another stirring drive through the field at Utah Motorsports Campus on Sunday.

The duo, sharing the No. 11 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, finished seventh for back-to-back top-10 results. Over the course of two races, the pairing picked up an astounding 38 positions from their original starting positions.

Lawson Aschenbach and Andy Pilgrim appeared on their way to challenging for another top-five finish in the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. After a strong start by Aschenbach, who gained six spots on the first lap and 13 positions in his stint, Pilgrim was involved in a heavy crash with 15 minutes to go that ended his and Aschenbach’s day early.

Pilgrim ran ninth when he came upon a stopped car facing the wrong direction on the track. He couldn’t avoid making contact as another car was on his outside and clipped the stationary car with the front-left of the Camaro. The impact sent Pilgrim airborne and slightly sideways, but the Camaro came down right-side up but off-track in the Utah desert.

Just as Gaples did Saturday, Cooper took little time in moving through the field. He gained 13 spots on the first lap to earn the race’s Best Start award. Even with a full-course caution on the opening lap, Cooper moved inside the top-10 after the fifth lap.

Cooper handed over to Gaples at the 25-minute mark from fifth place as a handful of cars in front pitted earlier. After the race’s second caution period with 20 minutes left, Gaples raced his way from 12th to seventh by the checkered flag.

Blackdog Speed Shop wraps up its Pirelli World Challenge season at Watkins Glen International for a GTS Sprint weekend Aug. 31-Sept. 2.


LAWSON ASCHENBACH, NO. 1 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R:“First off, I’m glad Andy was able to walk away from that crash. It shows what a strong Camaro GT4.R that Chevrolet and Pratt & Miller have built. Today was pretty much the story of our season. Andy and I fought and clawed to get ourselves in good position but could never really challenge for a win. We did a great job to get up into the top-10 from our starting spot but again ran into trouble. Despite that, it’s been good teaming with Andy again, this time sharing a car. We’ve got one more chance to put an exclamation point on the season at Watkins Glen. We will go in their full speed looking for two more wins.”

ANDY PILGRIM, NO. 1 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R:“That was a big moment and there was nothing I could do to avoid impact. I feel bad for everyone at Blackdog Speed Shop, who did a great job this season giving Lawson and I such a great Camaro GT4.R each race. Thankfully, it’s also a very safe car that can take a significant impact. So it isn’t the way we want to end the year. Lawson and I were going along pretty well and hopeful for another strong finish. Regardless of that, it’s been a pleasure being with the team and back in World Challenge. I hope this isn’t the last time I get to drive this car with this team.”

TONY GAPLES, NO. 11 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R:“That may be a record for the most positions anyone has gained in two days! That was a great start by Michael to pass more than a dozen cars. It shows just how much talent he has, and it’s been great having him back with Blackdog Speed Shop. My stint was obviously pretty eventful with a couple of caution periods and some short runs. I’m glad Andy is OK after that big hit. As a team, we can go away happy with that and the way both cars were able to get through the field.”

MICHAEL COOPER, NO. 11 BLACKDOG SPEED SHOP CHEVROLET CAMARO GT4.R:“That was a fun way to close the SprintX season. I didn’t know exactly how many cars I got around on the first lap but I knew it was a good number. Thanks to Blackdog Speed Shop for such a good Camaro GT4.R, just like we had yesterday. It shows on the lap chart with the number of cars Tony and I passed the last couple days. Tony did a good job of keeping the car clean with a lot going on around him. It’s a good way for us to the season with another strong run for 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!

About Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R
Built to global GT4 regulations, the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R is based on the road-going Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. It features a 6.2-liter, Chevrolet small block V8 that was developed and validated by Chevrolet Racing. Power is delivered to a six-speed Xtrac sequential transmission with paddle-shifting and adjustable traction control. Additional mechanical features include an Xtrac racing limited-slip differential, a two-way adjustable Ohlins Racing dampers and adjustable ABS along with Brembo brakes.

Blackdog Speed Shop at a Glance
• Pirelli World Challenge GTS Driver Championships – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017
• Pirelli World Challenge GTS Team Championships – 2013, 2017
• Pirelli World Challenge GTS Manufacturer Championships – 2013, 2017
• Pirelli World Challenge GTS Victories: 25 – Most in class history

Chevrolet in Pirelli World Challenge
• Chevrolet Camaro second all-time in PWC victories by model (51).
• Chevrolet first all-time in PWC victories by brand (127)
• General Motors first all-time in PWC victories by manufacturer (190)
• Chevrolet five Manufacturer Championships (1990-91, 1994, 2013, 2017)