HQS Racing Team Thread

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HQS Racing Team Thread

Post by Ben Atkins on Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:03 pm

FARC Elite Series

Team Stats
Wins: 2
Series Debut: Motegi 2013
First Win: Hokkaido 2013 (Hannah Percy)
Latest Win: 2014 Smash Beer 500 (Tammy Barnton)

Tammy Barnton

Age: 20
Hometown: Carson City, Nevada
Best Finish: 1st (2014 Smash Beer 500)
2014 Points Position: 10th (as of Talladega)

Career Highlights

-Won the ARLA Tornado Alley Truck Series championship in her rookie year in 2013.
-Scored a perfect 13 top 10's in the 2013 ATATS season, with two wins.
-Won the 2014 Rookie Shootout at Texas World.
-Won the 2014 Smash Beer 500, earning HQS Racing's 2nd Elite Series win.

Caitlin Richler

Age: 18
Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska
Best Finish: 5th (2014 Talladega Sprint)
2014 Points Position: 37th

Career Highlights

-Established dirt track racer with multiple track championships.
-NRC driver for Desert Star Autosport with a best finish of __th.
-300000 followers on instagram, 500000 followers on tumblr and 750000 followers on Twitter.

Ben Atkins

Age: 27
Hometown: Chester, England
Best Finish: 5th (2012 Daytona, 2014 70/77 Sprint)
2014 Points Position: 50th

Career Highlights

-2008 Dash Cup Champion.
-14 wins in Dash Cup.
-Two top 5 finishes in TM Master Cup (2011 Decatur and 2012 Quebec).
-Drives for Scuderia Tutino in TM Master Cup.
-Team Owner of HQS Racing.

Hannah Percy

Age: 26
Hometown: Derby, England
Best Finish: 1st (2013 Hokkaido)
2014 Points Position: 144th

Career Highlights

-3rd in 2013 Dash Cup points.
-2 career Dash Cup wins (2013 Sussex, 2014 Brands Race 1).
-Won in 2nd Elite Series start at Hokkaido.
-Won the first race for HQS Racing.

I will do more with this as time goes on. After the GOMA Cup race I will write an article up.

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NR2003 Online Wins: 121 (Latest - EFR Short Track Challenge at Abbotsford Speedway [06/08/17])
NR2003 Online Poles: 80 (Latest - EFR Short Track Challenge at Abbotsford Speedway [06/08/17])
iRacing Online Offical Wins: 19 (Latest - NASCAR Trucks at Daytona [06/30/17])
NR2003 Championships: 6 (2013/2014 GOMA Trucks, Formula 5 Season 12, 2014 GOMA Trucks, Formula 5 Season 13, Formula 5 Season 14, Formula 5 Season 16)

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Re: HQS Racing Team Thread

Post by Ben Atkins on Sun Oct 12, 2014 12:08 pm

Ben Atkins Blog Post: Why I'm Leaving Another Team

(OOC: This "blog post" is in role of my namesake character, and does not reflect my actual thoughts. Just a neat little idea I came up with Razz)

As it's been announced, I'm leaving the FARC Elite Series in order to pursue another attempt at running a team in the Dash Cup series. Lots of people asked me why I'm leaving a team that has a lot of potential to do well, and a team that has done well prior. I don't want to leave the team, but FARC as a series is imploding, but they don't know it yet. The new bodykits are financially taxing on the teams, and it renders the old cars useless, after only one year as well. Not many teams will be full time in 2015 in the season, and even though I hoped to supply cars to Tammy and Caitlin again, it wasn't possible.

Tammy has, of course, jumped ship from the team after 2014. She won the Smash Beer 500 in her first go, and has proven herself to be a very capable driver. She has a future in FARC. Well... had. She's a smart girl, and realised that she might be going forward in her career if she carried on in FARC, and she made the move to NPCC. I've been very critical on NPCC in the past, but Derenberger is doing something right because that series is growing at a rate I've never seen before, and it might be the way forward for her. Of course, she left when I thought I'd still be running the team, and, at first I was shocked by her choice, but now I realise how smart she was to leave. She knew what was best for her, and her potential can carry her right to the top.

Caitlin stayed with the team, even after I planned to sell to Henry Sylvester and Desert Star. However, Sylvester has let her go, and this is a ridiculous move. Caitlin is another rising star, and just like Tammy, right off the bat she shown she was capable and talented. They are letting go of success, and another team will pick her up and I guarantee it will be a winning team who realise her potential. I can tell you right now, she's been updating me with her contract offers, and she will find success in 2015 with some of these offers.

Hannah was the inspiration for the team to run the 2014 season. I took a chance on her for the Ring of Fire tour in 2013; a risk that proved to pay off, she won at Hokkaido in her 2nd start from the pole. Hannah has multiple options open as far as motorsports goes, but she's putting family first for the year, and it will be hard for her to stick around with me if I'm in America doing races... and this was one of the main reasons why I left FARC for Dash Cup. I'm going to stick around with her instead. I've given up my TM Master Cup ride for her, as well. It's expected Hannah will be back in full time racing by 2017, but that's a long time for her to be out, but with how good she is, she'll pick up where she left off; winning wherever she goes.

Quite simply, I don't think I have the right driving style myself to keep performing in FARC. Of course, there was the Sprint this year at 70/77 I would have won if the tire didn't go flat, but it did, and I can't change that. For the most part, however, in FARC, I'm a midpack driver. I've shown myself to be a bit better in the right equipment at TMMC level, and I'm a champion in the Dash Cup series, but I'm not competitive in FARC. I wanted to prove myself wrong with going to Accelerator Motorsports, but I wasn't going to get a full time ride out of it, so I declined. And with Dash Cup growing, it wasn't hard to find my new home.

Another thing driving me away from FARC racing is the amount of controversies I've brought myself into around the series. After New York, I was critical on Gabriel Macena after his involvement in the accident that left Megan Driver severely injured. However, when he won at Lake Afton, I thought all would be done and dusting as far as that went. I was wrong. A couple of week later, in a charity race at Toledo, I turned Macena for the win. It was the stupidest thing I could have done, as I made myself look like the bad guy, and even though I tried to drop it and apologise, Macena insisted on trying to make myself look like the bad guy. It didn't help Talladega was a week later, and it was my turn to do something dumb.

All three of the HQS Racing cars made the feature for Talladega, but within two laps, all of our cars were taken out of contention. Me and Caitlin had a strategy which involved us hanging at the back then working our way through the field at about half way. This was thwarted when Rachel Rainsford turned Ashley Tucker in the middle of our pack. Both me and Caitlin got damage which hindered our cars performances. I called out Gravity Racing, Inc. which is the team Rainsford drives for, and Packer responded via Twitter. This turned into a rather messy altercation, but we realised out similarities in the way we run our teams and we shook hands and moved on; something I'm yet to do with Gabe.

This is why I'm moving my team back to Dash Cup. Everything over the last year has changed me. I thought that FARC would be the way forward when Tammy won us the Smash Beer 500, but it really isn't. Jen Walker is changing the series for the worse, and like I said on Twitter; "I'd rather go to a series that is growing rather than getting smaller." You will see me in various Dash Cup Super Touring, Oval Stock and Pickup Truck races in 2015, but I won't be full time in any series.

_________________


NR2003 Online Wins: 121 (Latest - EFR Short Track Challenge at Abbotsford Speedway [06/08/17])
NR2003 Online Poles: 80 (Latest - EFR Short Track Challenge at Abbotsford Speedway [06/08/17])
iRacing Online Offical Wins: 19 (Latest - NASCAR Trucks at Daytona [06/30/17])
NR2003 Championships: 6 (2013/2014 GOMA Trucks, Formula 5 Season 12, 2014 GOMA Trucks, Formula 5 Season 13, Formula 5 Season 14, Formula 5 Season 16)

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Re: HQS Racing Team Thread

Post by Ben Atkins on Mon Oct 20, 2014 7:01 am

Ben Atkins Blog Post: Winning

I've been rethinking my whole career after the Tears TryHard 500.

I honestly never thought I was capable of taking home a win on American soil. Sure, I won that one Dash Cup exhibition race at Decatur, but that didn't really account for anything. It also helped that everyone wrecked entering the pit lane so I was handed that one. My doubts were one of the reasons I kind of bottled up in my blog post about leaving FARC, but now I've actually done something with myself on an American track, those doubts have suddenly gone away.

Despite being at the peak of my career, I let the people who doubted my capabilities as a racecar driver get to me, but lasting 500 miles at Talladega took some doing. Pulling off the victory, even more so.

I had worries about half way through the race, my wife, Hannah, got into an accident in the race. It was by far the most vicious of any in the race, as she got speared in the door by Timmy Welsch, and she was sent for several rolls. She was airlifted to hospital, and if you remember this crash from several months ago, you'll know why I considered calling the race there and going off to hospital to make sure she was okay. However, the racer in me told me to keep going, and a few laps later, Jimmy, my crew chief for the race, told me Hannah was being checked out for a few broken bones in her hand, but other than that she was okay. It was a huge sigh of relief.

I had pulled away with a big lead with only a handful of laps to go, and it's funny how racing works, because it was the last guy in the field that I expected to work with me that did; Gabriel Macena. However, despite our differences, behind the wheel of the racecar, he was willing to work with me and he was my best friend on the track. He's one of the people in my victory lane interview I thanked the most. And I'm still grateful to him.

I think I'll still make the move to Dash Cup, but trust me America, I'll still be back.

P.S, Caitlin signed for a winning team, Gravity Racing, Inc. So what I said in the last blog post... I was right! Very Happy

_________________


NR2003 Online Wins: 121 (Latest - EFR Short Track Challenge at Abbotsford Speedway [06/08/17])
NR2003 Online Poles: 80 (Latest - EFR Short Track Challenge at Abbotsford Speedway [06/08/17])
iRacing Online Offical Wins: 19 (Latest - NASCAR Trucks at Daytona [06/30/17])
NR2003 Championships: 6 (2013/2014 GOMA Trucks, Formula 5 Season 12, 2014 GOMA Trucks, Formula 5 Season 13, Formula 5 Season 14, Formula 5 Season 16)

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Re: HQS Racing Team Thread

Post by Ben Atkins on Thu Jul 28, 2016 5:09 pm

Ben Atkins Blog Post: The PART Split

I haven't posted here in a while, but now seemed like the most appropriate time to do so.

Our 2016 PART season, as a whole, was the most successful season in HQS Racing's short history. Every full-time driver bar one won at least one race, and the one driver that went winless finished top 5 in points anyway. We were a force to be reckoned with week in week out, and we got faster and more competitive at the season went on. The 2016 season was one of the most fun racing seasons I've ever had. It was a busy year but I loved every moment of it. Well... almost every moment.

There were moments, where I admit, I got angry and frustrated at how things were going. At Texas World I went on a rant about PART's incompetent officiating during the race, but I quickly apologised realising that everybody, even the professionals, make mistakes. I got mad when I had a string of races where I was getting taken out. I said PART's driver pool wasn't competent. Again, I apologised and moved on. I say a lot of things in haste, which is relevant to my next point.

PART has something very promising going here. Despite the split, forming the new series, NAAC, the future is looking brighter than ever for the series, I would say. The teams that are deflecting to NAAC are leaving room open for new teams to give PART a shot, and there will also be openings for new teams in the NAAC series. The split could actually result in two very successful racing series forming; a result I think next to nobody but myself has considered.

Think about that for a minute. There will be a team planning to do a one car operation with little funding for the PART series full-time. They hire a driver who turns out to be brilliant. They win a race. The team gets recognition. They're the next big thing. These established teams keep cropping up in both series. Both series have a healthy future and run alongside each other as friendly rivals. This is the vision that both Paul Martin and Madeleine Fay have for their series; and it's a healthy one.

I understand why teams are deflecting. A new challenge is always tempting. That's why when NAAC approached me to do a couple of racing as a part of their tire testing team, I agreed without any second thoughts. There are other reasons teams have deflected as well, and they are understandable ones. What isn't understandable is what some of the media seem to be doing at the moment.

There was an article featured on The Bullhorn about PART, which was just a spiel about how the PART series is awful. Whoever wrote it was uninformed about the situation and what caused it, and they tried to write an article about it. It was a mess, and both sides of the split shown their displeasure. This was a prime example of what's happening in NAAC and PART right now. They don't want to be seen as "the series that fought." They want to be seen as two different entities.

There was one point in The Bullhorn article that really got to me. Whoever wrote it had the audacity to say that the racing in PART was bad. This was an insult to both sides of the party without this guy knowing it, but that's what you get when you have someone who is uninformed writing such rubbish. Besides... if racing in PART was so bad:

Why is the series getting enough funding and momentum to have an overseas tour?
Why was the 2016 season the best for TV ratings, and why was this years Tears Tryhard 500 the most watched EVER in the series history?
Why did I have fun in every single race I did this season, and why am I coming back with my team?
Why am I so passionate about the series that my win trophies are kept at the front of the HQS Racing race shop?

PART is one of the most competitve series I have ever run in, as well as one of the most fun. NAAC has an incredible future and a brilliant plan set out for it.

The people I have met in PART are incredible. I had a tradition with Mac Hanley, one of my drivers in 2016, that after every race, on the Sunday night, we'd go out for a beer at the closest bar and talk about life. I consider Mac one of my best friends, and this tradition is something I look forward to continuing as we both take on the PART series in some capacity in 2017.

Riley McKee and Caitlin Richler are two of the most remarkable people I've ever met. When the season started, the two were a couple, and they were happy and were putting in great performances. It was uncommon to see them apart. Towards the end of the season, they broke up, and both of them asked me for advice at some point. Because these were two people I cared greatly about, I helped them both, and now they remain close friends.

When Caitlin lost the championship due to a car failure at Talladega, I was tearing up in my car because of how upset I was for her. When I seen her under the break, I hugged her, before getting back in my car again early, and just sitting there with my head in my hands, simply because I felt that bad about what had happened.

When Riley won his first race at Rockingham, the first thing I did was give him a phone call telling him how proud of him I was, and how happy I was. I cheered so loudly when he won that I woke my wife, Hannah, up. She wasn't very pleased with me, but once I explained, she understood.

Lastly, there is one driver from HQS I have yet to mention. Thomas Tucker is one of the most extraordinary people I've ever met. A bout of depression caused him to make some mistakes in his life when he was younger. Rather than being in a race car, it looked like he was going to spend his early 20s in jail, but he rebounded, and my God, when he's in a race car, he is the most focused man you will ever see. It's incredible. I gave him his chance in PART on a whim, and now he's a race winner in both PART and FARC, and is set to drive one of the most iconic cars in PART's history in the NAAC series; the #9.

The moral of the last few paragraphs is... you don't meet people you care about so much in a farcical racing series. You don't care so much that you call the series the most fun you've ever wrote in. The guy who wrote the article on The Bullhorn has never watched a PART race, and it shown. He didn't see the passion, the drive and the determination shown in the PART series week in week out.

This is why the PART series will be just fine, and as long as NAAC can match the qualities that the PART series has over the last few years, which I'm sure they will, they'll be just fine too.

(OOC: If I used any facts about the series, ie, the TV Ratings, I was given them by Gabe.)

_________________


NR2003 Online Wins: 121 (Latest - EFR Short Track Challenge at Abbotsford Speedway [06/08/17])
NR2003 Online Poles: 80 (Latest - EFR Short Track Challenge at Abbotsford Speedway [06/08/17])
iRacing Online Offical Wins: 19 (Latest - NASCAR Trucks at Daytona [06/30/17])
NR2003 Championships: 6 (2013/2014 GOMA Trucks, Formula 5 Season 12, 2014 GOMA Trucks, Formula 5 Season 13, Formula 5 Season 14, Formula 5 Season 16)

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Re: HQS Racing Team Thread

Post by Ben Atkins on Sat Jul 01, 2017 4:59 pm

Ben Atkins announces retirement after Road America accident

Sunday, 24th September 2017

In the morning before the CSH Pistons 160 at Road America, Ben Atkins has announced that he will be retiring from racing with immediate effect. Although he was uninjured in the massive practice accident in Turn 4, Atkins said that the accident was a massive wake-up call, and that the time to call it quits is right.

"Being cut out of that car was one of the most frightening experiences I've ever had the misfortune of going through." said Atkins, "My radio wasn't working, and all that was going through my head was 'Hannah's going to be thinking the worst', and I kept having thoughts about if I actually did get killed driving a racecar. For the first time, the risk leaving Hannah and our future child alone without a father being there went through my head, and it's not a risk I'm willing to take anymore. The time is right for me to bow out."

"My involvement with the running of HQS Racing will probably be decreased for the time being while my responsibilities as a family man increase. It's going to be hard cutting racing out of my life, but there are other things I want to pursue going forward, and I'm positive this is the right decision for myself and my family."

Thomas Culler will be driving the 20 car for the remainder of the season.

_________________


NR2003 Online Wins: 121 (Latest - EFR Short Track Challenge at Abbotsford Speedway [06/08/17])
NR2003 Online Poles: 80 (Latest - EFR Short Track Challenge at Abbotsford Speedway [06/08/17])
iRacing Online Offical Wins: 19 (Latest - NASCAR Trucks at Daytona [06/30/17])
NR2003 Championships: 6 (2013/2014 GOMA Trucks, Formula 5 Season 12, 2014 GOMA Trucks, Formula 5 Season 13, Formula 5 Season 14, Formula 5 Season 16)

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