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Action Express Dominates for Indy Victory

Barbosa, Fittipaldi kiss the bricks at Indianapolis…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi scored their second TUDOR United SportsCar Championship victory of the season, following a dominant, yet controlled drive in Friday’s Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Barbosa finished than 45 seconds clear of the competition, after stretching the fuel mileage of his No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP and avoiding a late stop for a splash of fuel.

However, it didn’t matter in the end, as the Portuguese driver held control for the majority of the race, having taken over the lead with more than 1 hour and 15 minutes remaining when Sage Karam pitted his No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford from the top spot.

Co-driver Fittipaldi, meanwhile, led the early stages of the two-hour and 45-minute contest, vaulting from fourth at the start and surviving contact with Gustavo Yacaman’s OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan.

Karam, who made an overambitious move into Turn 1 at the start, recovered and led for portions in the second hour. However, co-driver Scott Pruett was unable to challenge Barbosa in the long green flag closing stint and settled for second.

The No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP of Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante completed the podium in third after a relatively quiet run, aided by small setbacks by all three of the P2 cars, which had swept the top three positions in qualifying.

Pole-sitter Ryan Dalziel spun from third position with 40 minutes to go and settled for fifth in his No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b, while the Yacaman and Ho-Pin Tung-driven OAK entry struggled with damage sustained in first turn incident.

Brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor also struggled all race with a damaged diffuser, caused by a separate incident at the start, but finished fourth in their Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP.

Ricky Taylor jumped from 8th to 4th in the final 20 minutes after also not making a late race stop. However, it wasn’t enough to maintain their points lead, as the duo now trail race winners Barbosa and Fittipaldi by 2 points.

RSR Racing broke through to claim its first Prototype Challenge win of the year, and a 1-2 finish for the Paul Gentilozzi-led squad.

A late-race move by sports car debutant Jack Hawksworth around veteran Bruno Junqueira saw the 23-year-old IndyCar rising star take the win with co-driver Chris Cumming in the No. 08 Oreca FLM09.

Hawksworth subbed for Alex Tagliani, who was on a one-race suspension by IMSA for an incident in practice at Watkins Glen.

Junqueria and co-driver Duncan Ende finished 1.422 seconds behind in second, with the pole-sitting No. 54 CORE autosport entry of Jon Bennett and Colin Braun unable to match the pace of the RSR entries and settling for third.

The No. 25 8Star Motorsports car of Luis Diaz was the dominant force in the opening hour but was lost more than two laps due to a pit lane infraction, finishing sixth.

It opened the door for the RSR squad, which ran a flawless race and proved to be the class of the field on Friday.

RESULTS: Brickyard Grand Prix

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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