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Continental Tire Road America Post-Race Notebook

Sportscar365’s post-race notebook from IMSA weekend at Road America…

Photo: Rick Dole/IMSA

***CORE autosport has become only the second repeat overall winner in the IMSA WetherTech SportsCar Championship this year and have closed to within 10 points of championship leaders Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran with only two Prototype rounds to go.

***With the win, Jon Bennett has taken the lead in the Jim Trueman Award standings and sits 26 points ahead of JDC-Miller Motorsports’ Mikhail Goikhberg, who recorded a runner-up finish alongside Stephen Simpson on Sunday. The title will award an automatic invite to next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans in LMP2.

***Several DPi teams post-race questioned the stint lengths for the CORE and JDC-Miller LMP2 entries, which were the only cars to have gone the final 56 minutes on a single tank of fuel.  Per IMSA’s Balance of Performance, LMP2 cars have been permitted 75-liter fuel capacities, compared to the Acura ARX-05 at 71 liters, Cadillac DPi at 68 liters and Mazda RT24-P at 78 liters.

***Fuel capacity increases were given to all four DPi manufacturers prior to this weekend’s race.

***Rear-end damage to the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac DPi-V.R during Curran’s opening stint forced Nasr to take a different driving style, although the Brazilian led a race-high 37 laps en route to a third place finish. “We knew the problem and had to face it so we could make the best out of it,” he said.

***Robert Alon became the first Silver-rated driver to claim the Prototype class since Ozz Negri in the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona, with the Brazilian at the wheel of Michael Shank Racing’s Ligier JS P2 Honda.

***The engine from the fifth-place finishing No. 6 Team Penske Acura DPi was impounded post-race, as part of a standard evaluation by IMSA, and is being taken to NASCAR’s R&D center in Concord, N.C. for further testing.

***It was a rough-and-tumble race for AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, with both Gustavo Yacaman and Sebastian Saavedra bringing out full course cautions due to accidents in the No. 52 Ligier JS P217 Gibson. Saavedra’s heavy contact with the wall in the final hour ended the team’s run.

***BMW nearly claimed a breakthrough first win for the BMW M8 GTE, with Connor De Phillippi running out of fuel heading into the final lap while in the GT Le Mans class lead. It was later determined a refueling issue did not fill the car full of fuel on its final stop.

***The sister No. 24 BMW was unable to capitalize on the manufacturer’s improved pace as it retired with a mechanical problem on lap 52 while running fifth in class.

***Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe, who claimed Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s fourth consecutive GT Le Mans class victory, have retaken the championship lead, four points ahead of Corvette Racing’s Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia, who notched their fifth straight podium finish on Sunday.

***Sunday’s breakthrough GT Daytona class victory for Wright Motorsports marked Patrick Long’s first WeatherTech Championship victory since Sebring 2014, and two-time and defending class champion Christina Nielsen’s first in a Porsche 911 GT3 R.

***It was the 22nd win for Porsche in WeatherTech Championship competition.

***Cooper MacNeil scored his second consecutive podium finish in GT Daytona, thanks to a late-race tear by new co-driver Alessandro Pier Guidi, who had two intense battles with the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Jeroen Bleekemolen. The Italian made contact with Bleekemolen, which lifted the rear Mercedes off the ground. No penalties were called for the incidents.

***Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers told Sportscar365 that “second is  like a win” at a track that historically has not yielded strong results for the team. It marked the seventh podium in eight races this season for Sellers and Madison Snow, who extended their title lead to 18 points over Meyer Shank Racing’s Katherine Legge.

***Katherine Legge and co-driver Alvaro Parente came home seventh in class after struggling for front grip and straight line speed after sustaining damage in the opening stint.

***The No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche dropped out of the race in the second hour following contact with a Mazda RT24-P. “This is the second time I’ve had an issue with the Mazda, we must be camouflaged to them or something I’m not sure what’s going on there,” Patrick Lindsey said. “Not the way to end my last IMSA race of the year.”

***Andy Lally escaped injury following a heavy final lap accident in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Audi R8 LMS while running in seventh in class.

***Dan Bink’s annual auction for Camp Anokijig, held on Saturday in the Corvette Coral, raised approximately $25,000. Additional donations are still coming in, according to a Corvette Racing spokesperson.

***Will Turner confirmed that Bill Auberlen will be back in the No. 96 BMW M6 GT3 for the next round at Virginia International Raceway, following a last-minute decision for the veteran BMW driver to sit out the race due to a home-related accident on Wednesday. “He fell off a ladder, he called me and was worried I didn’t have a Plan B,” Turner told Sportscar365. “Bill then said [on Thursday] he thinks he’s OK but Markus [Palttala] was already on his way.”

Continental Tire Challenge:

***Nate Stacy impressed in his opening stint in the No. 60 Roush Performance/KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4, having cracked the top-10 in the first 30 minutes of the race after starting from the rear of the GS class field due to a chassis swap.

***A late-race pit stop and spin due to a left-rear suspension failure for Kyle Marcelli, who ran as high as second, resulted in a 14th place finish and saw the pairing lose the championship lead to Team TGM’s Hugh Plumb and Owen Trinkler.

***Stacy and Marcelli now sit third in the GS title race, eight points behind the TGM duo, with RS1’s Spencer Pumpelly and Dillon Machavern are now second, just one point out of the class lead.

***The points battle in TCR remains tight at the top with Compass Racing’s Kuno Wittmer and Rodrigo Sales holding a two-point edge over teammates Britt Casey Jr. and Tom Long. 

***Devin Jones and Nick Galante’s ST class win on Saturday moved the BimmerWorld pairing saw their championship lead extended to 11 points over Mat Pombo and Mike LaMarra of the MINI JCW Team, who finished second in the race.

***Jeff Westphal and Tyler McQuarrie made just one pit stop en route to a fourth place finish in the Carbahn Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT4, having been the only team to employ a single-stop strategy in the two-hour race.

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

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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