A.M. Performance Annouces Two Car Driver Lineup for Laguna

Scotts Valley, California – July 6th, 2011 – A.M. Performance announced today that it will return to the track after a three race hiatus with an impressive two-car effort at their home race as the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Championship heads to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival Powered by Mazda, round eight of the 2011 Season.

The team will enter the only two Nissans in the CTSCC field with Mike Sweeney and Thomas Merrill driving the #04 Nismo 370Z and Lawrence Loshak and Ken Dobson behind the wheel of the team’s newly built #05 Nismo 370Z.  The squad’s home base is in Scotts Valley, California only a few minutes down the road from the scenic Mazda Raceway 2.238-mile track making this the perfect event for the team to showcase their two-car lineup.

Mike Sweeney has been a part of the team since its inception and returns to Laguna for his third race of the year.  Sweeney brings with him multiple ST class wins and Rolex GT experience, and he has proven his speed in karts, vintage cars, touring cars, formula cars and sprint cars. He also works as a professional driving instructor, which gives him a unique perspective on his own driving, towards which he is dedicated to constant improvement. Joining him behind the wheel of the #04 machine will be Thomas Merrill who has had ample success in the open wheel and GRAND-AM world, scoring top fives in the Rolex Series and most recently competing at the Rolex 24 Hour in a GT machine.  Thomas has been instructing and driver coaching since 2005, both privately and through racing schools such as Skip Barber, Jim Russell, and Allen Berg.

The #05 car will make its race debut this weekend with Lawrence Loshak and Ken Dobson behind the wheel.  This will mark Loshak’s second event with the team, previously he competed at Virginia International Raceway where he helped the team score its first finish in the series.  He is the 2010 DSR SCCA National Champion and has a wide range of racing experience which includes IMSA Lites, Skip Barber Formula Dodge, Redline Time Attack, Mid-West Sprint Cars and even the Professional Ice Racing Association.  Dobson has abundant sports car racing experience including most recently competing at both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring in GT and prototype cars.  His motorsports career spans back to 1992 and throughout the years he has competed in a wide variety of sports car series with multiple wins and podium finishes.  Currently he works as Chief instructor for the Audi Sportscar Experience.

The Continental Tire Sports Car Festival Powered by Mazda will take place this Saturday July at 1:45 PM Eastern Time.  The race will be broadcast on SPEED on July 17th at 1:00 PM Eastern Time.  You can follow all the action through live timing and commentary at

For more information about the team and its exciting new NISMO 370Z racecars please visit and you can also follow us at and

Mike Sweeney
Driver, #04 A.M. Performance / Nismo 370Z
“When we said we were taking a few races off we never thought it would end up being this much hard work! But the guys have put in more18hr days that you can count.  It turns out it improved the #04 tremendously and it turned out an incredible racecar with the #05 which we are thrilled to be able to debut at our home track. I’m very excited to be driving with Thomas Merrill who is not only very good driver but also a good friend and co-worker, and we are very happy to have announced Jeff Hecox as our Managing Director.  So we’ve got tons of new and exciting stuff coming into this race. Racing at our home track, sleeping at my own bed, we just can’t wait to make this by far our best weekend ever as a team!”

Thomas Merrill
Driver, #04 A.M. Performance / Nismo 370Z
“I am beyond excited to be joining A.M. Performance for the Laguna event.  The quality and competitiveness this team has achieved in such a short period of time is phenomenal.  Mike Sweeney and I have always worked well together, and I have no doubt we will make a powerful driving team.  Not only do we know the track well, but our nimble Nissan 370Z will be well suited to the tight and twisty course layout.

I expect us to be well within the top ten just rolling off the truck.  We’ll have ample practice time to fine-tune the setup on Thursday and Friday, and since we are running two cars, we’ll be able to collaborate on data and be comfortably in the top five before for the race.  From there it’s going to be all about staying out of trouble in the race, the 2.2 mile course will be crowded with both GS and ST cars, and should make for an exciting event.”

Lawrence Loshak
Driver, #05 A.M. Performance / Nismo 370Z
“I’m real excited about getting behind the wheel of the A.M. Nismo 370Z again after such a successful weekend at VIR, where we proved the cars reliability and identified where it needs improvement.  I can’t wait to show some Mustangs, M3s and Porsches some Nissan taillights! Not to mention the opportunity to drive at a world-class facility like Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the first time and to team up with a word class drivers like Ken Dobson, Mike Sweeney and Thomas Merrill. Top that off with the awesome A.M team, I’m ecstatic to say the least!”

Ken Dobson
Driver, #05 A.M. Performance / Nismo 370Z
“I am very excited to be racing at Mazda Raceway with A.M. Performance.  Growing up in Carmel Valley and Laguna Seca being my home track, it is always fun to return to the place where I got my start.  The Nissan 370Z built by A.M. Performance should be a great match for the world famous circuit.  It is a track that demands a car to be at it’s best in braking, acceleration and cornering which is something the Nismo 370Z was designed to do.

I look forward to teaming up with A.M. Performance and Lawrence Loshak.  We have a realistic goal to achieve but given the tough competition and demanding track we will have to be razor sharp and focused, this will be fun!”

About A.M. Performance:
A.M. Performance is a race car preparation, aftermarket parts, and tuning company based in Scotts Valley, CA.  Our 9000 sq ft. facility is staffed with some of the most skilled and passionate racecar minds in the country, with all the tools required at their fingertips to build high-end racecars for the most competitive series in the country.  Our professional fabricators can handle any job, big or small, from Grand Am Rolex GT cars, to your everyday HPDE track car.

Although A.M. Performance is equipped to build a racecar from any make, we specialize in Nissan 370Z’s and Nissan GT-R’s.  Our experience racing both platforms gives us unique experience to advise our customers on the exact products they need for their street, track day, or full racecar Nissan.

Check the A.M. Performance website often for company updates.  Our first two years look to be extremely exciting with our multi-car entry into the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS class.  We will also be coming to market with multiple hard parts which will be must haves for any track or race car 370Z.  An AWD chassis dyno is also in the works to be installed and ready for customer tunes by the end of 2011.

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