Ashton Harrison and Sarah Montgomery Pursuing TCR Opportunities
The co-drivers are seeking sponsors for the IMSA Continental Tire Series
VILLA RICA, Ga.—Ashton Harrison and Sarah Montgomery have been co-drivers in several endurance races this season, and they are both ready to take their racing careers to the next level by entering the new TCR class in IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge. Their goal is to be the first full-time, all-female lineup in the series, and they are currently searching for sponsors for the 2018 season.
Harrison and Montgomery are currently working with Sick Sideways Racing to find sponsors and secure a full-season program in the TCR class for 2018. TCR is the much-anticipated new class in IMSA’s popular Continental Tire Series and will feature the “touring car” style that is popular in Europe.
The 23-year-old Harrison has most recently been competing in the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series. In 2017, she earned five top-ten finishes and ended the season 12th in points. In between races, Harrison is a full-time instructor for Porsche and the owner of Ashton Harrison Motorsports, which offers racing programs for all driver development. In her hometown of Villa Rica, Ga., she serves as a career mentor at her high school and volunteers at animal shelters.
Montgomery has been racing since she was 13 years old, when she started karting. The Lafayette, La., native ran in the 2015-2016 Global Mazda MX-5 Cup Series for two years, finishing top ten in points in her rookie season. In 2017, at 22 years old, Montgomery teamed up with Shea Racing to drive a Honda Civic in Pirelli World Challenge. She has partnered with organizations such as Lemons of Love and Lafayette Travel.
Most recently, Harrison and Montgomery teamed up with Christian Szymczak for the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, racing the Harrison Contracting Co./Tactical Flight Service/Lemons of Love/Lafayette Travel Global Mazda MX-5 Cup car prepared by Sick Sideways Racing.
For Harrison, entering the TCR class is the logical next step in her racing career, which is the basis of the 2017 documentary film “Ashton Harrison: The Road to 24.” “I’m excited to move up to such a great series, where I can not only further my career, but also be a more effective ambassador for my sponsors and partners,” said Harrison. “This is a significant step forward, and I am so fortunate to have a co-driver like Sarah to share this with. She and I have the same goals and are both dedicated to bringing a professional, positive attitude to everything we do.”
“I am truly excited to be moving on to the next level of sports car racing,” said Montgomery. “Being recognized not only on a national level, but also televised to show off my partners is something I have always dreamed of since I was a kid. Ashton and I still need help with funding, but we are pushing hard to make this program work for 2018.”
Fans can follow Harrison and Montgomery’s journey to being the first all-female TCR team online at AshtonHarrison.com and SarahRacing.com.
Drive Like A Girl
“I cannot begin to express my thanks to the people who are helping me achieve this dream of being a professional race car driver. Without the support of my family, Bill Riley, the City of Lafayette, Jill Swanson Peltier with Lemons of Love, Acadian Pawn and many others, I would never be here. But most important are 2 amazing people named Brent Mosing and Roy Johnson. They give everything and ask for nothing. To say the least , it is incredibly humbling. I hope, one day, that I will be in the position to pay this kindness forward. Thank You.”
After competing in the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Series for the past two years, Sarah spent 2015-2016 learning many different tracks and gaining the experience needed to become a talented driver. “I’m really a grass roots racer, raising money from the ground up”, says Sarah, “The hard work and support I have received from people to get this opportunity is nothing short of amazing. I am so thrilled to give my sponsors the chance to be on National Television and to help promote my brand through CBS Sports Network”.
“Not only am I excited to join the very competitive Pirelli World Challenge Series, I am thrilled to be on a race team with another female driver!”, Sarah continues. “Shea Racing has shown much success especially with their recent partnership with HPD (Honda Performance Development) and I am glad to be a part of it in 2017.”
The PWC TCA races are all double-headers and start in April at VIR with stops at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, Lime Rock, Utah Motorsports Campus, COTA and Mazda Raceway.
“We are very pleased to have Sarah join Shea Racing for the 2017 season,” says team owner, Shea Holbrook. “When testing the Civic, she showed great potential and much improvement. Having another teammate that brings such enthusiasm and determination is very enlightening!”
Based in Groveland, Florida, Shea Racing is a professional Touring Car team competing in the Pirelli World Challenge Championships. Within the seven years Shea Racing has been competing in the series they have secured several wins and podiums in the touring car classes. Focusing on a strong team foundation, top performances, and driver advancement and individualized marketing platforms, Shea Racing has become of the Pirelli World Challenge’s Top Tier Touring Car teams.
Follow Sarah’s progress, get full schedules, merchandise and more at www.sarahracing.com
Location: Monterey, California
Series: SCCA Pro Racing Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich
Track: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Climbing Mazda’s Racing Ladder
Mazda is the only manufacturer with a clearly defined path for amateur racing drivers to take on the way to the top. And it doesn’t just include the open-wheel series in the formal Mazda Road to Indy—racers who compete in MX-5 Miatas or other Mazda vehicles will also receive assistance so that they too can ascend to the next rung of the ladder.
For the first in an ongoing series, meet Sarah Montgomery from California whose family is a key driving-force behind her talents on the track…
Sarah Montgomery was ten years old when her parents took her to a Verizon IndyCar event. Something clicked immediately. “I saw Danica Patrick race. I smelled the burning rubber, the racing fuel, and I was hooked. From that point on, I started watching every single race that came on TV.”
She begged to go back to the next IndyCar race, and her parents took her. That did it. “I guess every kid has a new dream every other week—astronaut, doctor, race car driver. My parents hoped I’d get it out of my system and move on to the next dream, but it never happened. My mother hoped eventually that I might move on to ballet or something. Ain’t happening.”
So they got her a racing kart, and Sarah started on the dirt oval tracks around her home in Lafayette, Louisiana. She started winning races, then track championships, then she was invited to participate in a Skip Barber shootout that used shifter karts.
But Sarah had never driven a kart with a manual transmission. So she and her father, an Interstate battery dealer in Lafayette, set up a course in a big parking lot with pylons, and she started learning to drive a shifter kart. A guy drove up and watched, then commented to her father: “Your son’s going pretty fast out there!”
“That’s my daughter,” her dad said proudly. Thus began a relationship with Jeff Mosing, a Mazda MX-5 Cup racer, who just happened to notice a kart going fast on a parking lot. Mosing, along with former racer Roy Johnson, became Sarah’s mentors and backers, guiding her into the Mazda MX-5 Cup series.
And that’s where she is now, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the potent ALARA Racing team, which Mosing also drives for. After a solid pair of races at Mazda Raceway, out of 26 drivers in the series, she is 11th in points.
“No professional racing series is cheap, but the MX-5 Cup is probably the most affordable one out there,” says Sarah, now 21. “And as for the people at Mazda—if you are willing to put in the effort, they’ll do anything they can to help you out.”
Besides racing, Sarah Montgomery knows she has an additional responsibility: being a role model. “The first time a little girl came up to me and said, ‘I want to be just like you’—well, it’s a feeling that’s hard to describe.”