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Continental Tire Mid-Ohio Post-Race Notebook

Ryan Myrehn’s Continental Tire post-race notebook from Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course…

Photo: IMSA

***Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves scored Team Penske’s first overall IMSA win in nearly ten years on Sunday, the last coming at Utah Motorsports Campus in 2008 with the No. 7 Porsche RS Spyder of Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard. Castroneves and Ryan Briscoe’s LMP2 win with the team later that year had stood as the most recent class victory.

***Sunday’s win was the 87th sports car racing victory for the team and the first IMSA win for an Acura-branded prototype since the end of the 2009 season, when Gil de Ferran and Simon Pagenaud won at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in an Acura ARX-02 LMP1 car.

***Ricky Taylor became the 50th different driver to win a race for Team Penske in the famed operation’s 52-year history.

***Leaving Mid-Ohio, Joao Barbosa and Filipe Albuquerque continue to hold the Prototype championship lead lead by 10 points over their Action Express Racing teammates Eric Curran and Felipe Nasr. Fellow Cadillac DPi-V.R runners Jordan Taylor and Renger Van Der Zande are third for Wayne Taylor Racing.

***Cadillac holds a nine-point lead over both Nissan and Acura in the manufacturer’s championship, with Mazda just a single point further back in fourth.

***Heading into the Le Mans break, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe hold a seven-point margin in the GT Le Mans standings over Sunday’s class winners Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor, who picked up his first career WeatherTech Championship victory.

***Porsche became the first manufacturer to win multiple GTLM races this season and led 90 of the class’ 118 laps on Sunday.

***Honda, via its Acura brand, had a massive presence over the weekend as the event’s title sponsor. Vice President and COO of Honda Performance Development Steve Eriksen said: “Mid-Ohio is our second home, with all of our nearby facilities and thousands of associates. It is especially gratifying to take our first win in the Acura ARX-05 here.”

***While the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P of Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez secured a podium finish for Mazda Team Joest, the Japanese marque’s bid to bring both cars home in podium contention came unraveled when Spencer Pigot was forced to pit the No. 55 Mazda DPi with just over an hour left with suspected suspension damage resulting from contact with a GT Daytona car. The No. 55 was the only car not running at the finish of the race.

***The 2 hour and 40-minute race ran without any full course yellows to the surprise of many in the paddock, including Barbosa. “It was an interesting race with no yellows, I wasn’t expecting that certainly not at Mid-Ohio since it’s a very narrow track with a lot of traffic,” he said.

***While not present on the track due to funding issues, HART was still represented at Mid-Ohio on multiple levels. Team principal Chad Gilsinger was the driver of the Acura NSX in IMSA’s Hot Lap Experience, while Andrew Salzano served as race engineer for the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura. Members of the team also took part in a meet-and-greet. 

***Cooper MacNeil had a busy weekend, also taking part in the opening race of the Ferrari Challenge North America weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, where he claimed victory, prior to returning to Mid-Ohio on Sunday for an eighth place finish in GTD in the Scuderia Corsa-run Ferrari 488 GT3.

***Corvette Racing is gearing up for its 19th consecutive trip to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a test at Road America in Le Mans aero configuration planned before the program ships out for France.

Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge:

***Kyle Marcelli called his Mid-Ohio sweep, featuring race win in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge “dream come true weekend”. The Canadian made the late race pass for the win in his KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4 on Saturday, then had to hold his breath as he watched Dominik Baumann hold off Alvaro Parente on Sunday to complete the two-for-two weekend.

***Saturday’s Continental Tire Challenge race win moved Marcelli and his co-driver Nate Stacy into third in the GS championship standings, 12 points behind leaders Spencer Pumpelly and Dillon Machavern for RS1. BimmerWorld Racing’s James Clay and Tyler Cooke are second, eight points out of the lead.

***Kuno Wittmer and Rodrigo Sales lead the TCR standings by nine points over their Compass Racing teammates Britt Casey Jr. and Tom Long on the strength of a second place finish at Daytona and back-to-back wins at Sebring and Mid-Ohio.

***The ST standings are extremely tight after three rounds with the top four separated by just three points, led by Mat Pombo and Mike LaMarra.

***A 13th place result for the No. 69 Motorsports In Action McLaren 570S GT4 of Corey Fergus and Jesse Lazare did not tell the full story of their dramatic day. The car was late to the pre-gird and therefore had to start last in class, forfeiting an eighth place grid position. The duo worked their way up into the top-ten before being given a drive-through for a pit lane infraction with just under an hour to go.

***JDC-Miller Motorsports’ bid for a triumphant return to the championship went awry following Michael Johnson’s impressive opening stint in the No. 54 Audi RS3 LMS TCR. Johnson pitted from lead, but problems changing the left front tire delayed the stop, and contact as Stephen Simpson left the pit box resulted in a further loss of time and a drive-through penalty. Simpson and Johnson finished one lap behind in fourth.

***Nate Norenberg and Derek Jones’s chances of an ST class podium finish slipped away in the closing laps as Norenberg was forced to pull off track with 31 minutes to go after losing drive in his No. 37 MINI while running second.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is a pit reporter for SRO America's TV coverage as well as for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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