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“Bittersweet” Podium for JDC-Miller Cadillac Crew

Privateer Cadillac DPi squad narrowly misses out on upset Rolex 24 at Daytona win…

Photo: Chris duMond/IMSA

Tristan Vautier described JDC-Miller Motorsports’ podium finish in Sunday’s Rolex 24 at Daytona as “bittersweet” after the privateer Cadillac DPi-V.R entry led more than 100 laps in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener.

Vautier and co-drivers Richard Westbrook, Loic Duval and Ben Keating were forced to settle for a third place finish following a series of late-race yellows that derailed their controlling run at the time.

Westbrook stretched out into a comfortable lead in the final two hours after Duval powered around the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac of Pipo Derani with three-and-a-half hours to go.

A fairytale finish for the Minnesota-based team, however, became unraveled with two full-course cautions that put them on the back foot due the timing of their final pit stops.

“We had a 20-second lead and it was all comfortable,” said Westbrook. “We know with IMSA racing that you can never sit on your laurels. There’s always going to be a yellow.

“It was just bad luck. [IMSA] didn’t give us the opportunity to pit and the two Acuras did [just before a yellow flag] and it changed the nature of the race.

“Up to that point, it looked like we had it covered.”

Duval, who took the final restart with 30 minutes to go in fourth, managed to get around Derani for third in the closing moments and was catching the pair of Acura ARX-05s from Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing.

The Peugeot factory driver said he felt like he “had it” until getting pushed off the track by the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac on the restart.

He finished just 4.420 seconds behind the winning No. 60 MSR Acura DPi of Helio Castroneves.

“I think we were the only Cadillac able to win the race,” Duval said.

“I was able to catch up but I was way too far away. Frustration because I think we had something. The whole team tried everything we could.”

Vautier added: “It makes it bittersweet, but what a great job by the team overall.

“We were in contention the whole way and probably the fastest car all the way to the end, so that’s what makes it feel bittersweet because we thought we could have gotten it.

“But, overall, my first podium in the Rolex 24. Big thanks to the team for the hard work over the winter to make us so competitive. We didn’t get a Rolex but we can still celebrate.”

Keating Had “Most Fun” Ever in Race Car

Bronze-rated Keating, who was pulling double duty between the Mustang Sampling-sponsored Cadillac DPi and the LMP2 class No. 52 PR1/Mathisen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson, said he had the “most fun” ever in a race car. 

Keating came short of claiming a double podium finish on Sunday after the PR1/Mathiasen entry finished fourth in the LMP2 category.

The 50-year-old Texan recorded his fastest lap, a 1:35.147, which was quicker than seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson’s best in the race.

“What an incredible race that was run by the team,” Keating said. “We were there at the end because of how consistent we were.

“If we wouldn’t have had any of those yellow flags at the end, we would have won it. We had a 20-second lead because we were consistent without any mistakes.

“The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac was incredible to drive and I’m excited to be on the podium in the Rolex 24.

“My time behind the wheel was the most fun I’ve ever had in a race car.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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