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Long Beach Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from Bubba Burger Sports Car Grand Prix at Long Beach…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

***Having entered the weekend as co-points leaders with Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande, Whelen Engineering Racing’s Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr have taken over the sole points lead, with a two-point margin over new second place runners Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor.

***Van der Zande admitted he made a “driver mistake” that ended Wayne Taylor Racing’s day after locking up the front brakes and slamming into the Turn 9 wall during his stint. “Once in a while it happens that you make a mistake. That’s just not me, which is what makes it so difficult,” he said.

***The No. 10 Cadillac DPi-V.R ran as high as fourth early on prior to a drive-through penalty for Taylor, who was deemed to have passed under a local yellow.

***Taylor completed a 42-minute stint in the Konica Minolta-sponsored car, just five days after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. While putting in competitive laps in the race, the 27-year-old said he felt very sore while exiting the car from his stint.

***A call by race strategist Toni Calderon put the No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi of Kyle Kaiser out front for 14 laps, in a one-stop strategy that nearly paid off for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship newcomers, in only its third race. Despite a late-race incident, Kaiser and co-driver Will Owen finished seventh.

***Both Castroneves and Dirk Mueller accidentally hit the pit speed limiters while in the hairpin, which saw the two drivers lose their leading positions at the time.

***Ricky Taylor was slammed from behind by the No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Tommy Milner with 20 minutes to go, resulting in debris lodged in the back of the No. 7 Acura ARX-05. “We’ve got a dive plane stuck in the back. We got hit by the Corvette really hard. It’s a strong car,” Taylor told Sportscar365.

***Jan Magnussen said it was “pretty crazy” on the final lap when the No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Dirk Mueller ran out of fuel, with no room to spare. “I thought I was going to get stuck behind him, so I had to get on the throttle full to push him out of the way to get that last half-lap back to the checkered flag,” he said.

***Despite Magnussen’s damaged No. 3 Corvette, teammate Milner held position behind the Dane to give the Pratt & Miller squad a double podium finish in GTLM.

***GTLM race winners Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor have taken over the points lead, with a five-point gap over of Porsche teammates Nick Tandy and Patrick Pilet, who are tied on 87 points apiece with Corvette Racing’s Magnussen and Antonio Garcia.

***Dirk Mueller, now separated from Joey Hand on points, sits in fourth, one point ahead of BMW Team RLL’s Connor de Phillippi, who is also solo due to his full-season driver Tom Blomqvist missing the Rolex 24 at Daytona due to visa issues.

***As was the case in qualifying, ten of the 11 DPi cars beat the race lap record, with many of the Michelin-shod entries going well below the previous mark, including Whelen Engineering Racing’s Pipo Derani, whose 1:11.932 lap time that was an impressive 1.560 seconds quicker than last year’s best time.

***Saturday’s race brought out a number of LA-based celebrities, including comedian Bill Burr, actor Alfonso Ribeiro, Rajon Rondo of the LA Lakers and tennis player Tommy Haas.

***All four Porsche factory drivers signed a one-off Porsche GT3 Touring owned by Porsche fan Tom Park, who had just completed a four-month road trip from Seattle to the Mexican border with his car earlier in the week.

***Having participated in races at the Nürburgring, Atlanta-based Park gave up his day job to fulfill his dream of an epic road trip with his special Porsche he took delivery of at the factory in Stuttgart last year. He drove it at the Nürburgring and Spa before having it shipped to Seattle.

***Christina Nielsen and Bia Figueiredo are expected to split driving duties in the No. 57 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo for the remainder of the GT Daytona season alongside full-season driver Katherine Legge.

***Both Nielsen and Figueiredo already have full-season driving commitments elsewhere, with the Dane in Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli and Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia, and Figueiredo in Brazilian Stock Cars, which have combined to cause a few date clashes.

***Next month’s Mid-Ohio round will mark the debut of the new-for-2019 WeatherTech Sprint Cup, which is expected to see the addition of several new GTD efforts, including the previously announced Compass Racing McLaren 720S GT3 for Paul Holton and Matt Plumb.

Rene de Boer contributed to this report

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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