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Road America Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from IMSA Road Race Showcase at Road America…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

***Sunday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Road America was the fourth weather-impacted event in as many races this season, counting the opening practice sessions for both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Sebring sprint race last month.

***Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves picked up their first DPi win since Acura Team Penske’s maiden win at Mid-Ohio in 2018, and the first for the team since WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca last year.

***It marked the first time brothers Ricky and Jordan Taylor won on the same day in different cars, with the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R capitalizing on the rain to finish second in what turned into a banner day for the family. “I am ecstatic!” said Wayne Taylor post-race.

***Mazda’s gamble to keep Oliver Jarvis out on slick tires ultimately did not pay off, with the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P forced to pit for wet-weather Michelins on the race’s final restart following a 21-minute red flag period. 

***Jarvis, the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Nick Tandy, which had been leading the GT Le Mans class at the time, as well as the No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R of Tommy Milner were among the cars still on slicks as the red came out and would have all benefited had the race not been restarted.

***The race clock was stopped at the 30 minutes to go mark between 1:15 p.m. and 1:25 p.m. CT, in what was believed to have been the longest possible hold in order to show the finish of the race live on NBC, which went off-air at 2 p.m. CT.

***Joao Barbosa and Sebastien Bourdais’ run of three consecutive podiums came to an end, with the duo finishing fourth in their Mustang Sampling-sponsored JDC-Miller Motorsports Cadillac DPi.

***A bizarre accident which saw the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Simon Trummer slam into Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 6 Acura DPi while under full-course caution for the heavy rain ultimately ended in retirement for the PR1/Mathiasen crew, which again dominated the race with pole-sitter Patrick Kelly enjoying a 45-second lead over Hedman in his opening stint.

***Trummer reported that Montoya’s rain light was not working and he didn’t see the car in the mist.

***It handed the LMP2 class win to DragonSpeed, in a reversal of fortunes following Hedman and Gustavo Menezes’ penalty at Sebring that stripped them of the class win. Hedman shared top class honors on Sunday with Ben Hanley in the team’s final scheduled WeatherTech Championship race until the season-ending Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in November.

***Cameron Cassels has taken over the LMP2 points lead as a result of his and James French’s second place finish in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca in the race. Cassels holds a three-point lead over PR1/Mathiasen’s Kelly, who was classified fourth on Sunday.

***The accident for the No. 6 Acura only added salt to the wounds from an earlier incident in the race when Dane Cameron sustained a left-rear puncture and rear bodywork damage after contact with the No. 55 Mazda DPi of Harry Tincknell. Cameron was given a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility, which knocked the car out of contention.

***Both Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor claimed their first-ever wins at Road America in IMSA competition and have extended their lead in the GT Le Mans championship to ten points over the No. 912 Porsche duo of Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor, which dominated the race in the dry until a bobble by Bamber in the wet.

***Alvaro Parente was uncharacteristically caught out in the deluge as well, with the No. 57 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 Evo crashing out heavily in Turn 1 prior to the red flag. “Turn 14 was completely dry so I didn’t think we needed rain tires just yet, but as I came into Turn 1 it was completely wet and there were massive puddles and I just lost it,” he explained.

***The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 appeared set to en route to a second place finish until the rain, with Bill Auberlen having had to make an extra stop for rain tires late in the running. It relegated Auberlen and co-driver Robby Foley to seventh.

***A fuel cell leak for the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Ian James and Roman De Angelis resulted in the car not starting the race. Road America was due to be the team’s comeback race after electing to sit out the last two rounds due to Florida health concerns.

***IMSA re-introduced its grid walk on Sunday albeit to a limited audience of less than 100 VIP guests, who were social distanced during the process that did not include any crew members or drivers on the grid.

***Michelin entered the weekend with 99 new qualifying and race lap records since taking over as Official Tire of IMSA in 2019. They achieved their 100th in qualifying for the Michelin Pilot Challenge race on Saturday, when Nate Stacy broke the GS pole lap from 2019 by more than four tenths of a second in his KohR Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4.

***Stacy’s 100th record was the first of six Michelin set this weekend in qualifying and race lap conditions from five different brands (Aston Martin, McLaren, Honda, Acura and Chevrolet). Others set included new race lap records in both GS and TCR in Pilot Challenge, and then DPi, LMP2 and GT Le Mans race laps.

***This gives Michelin a total of 105 new qualifying or race lap records since 2019. At Road America, the new GS best race lap time has improved by 3.524 seconds and the new TCR best race lap time by 3.151 seconds since 2018.

***IMSA President John Doonan confirmed that the newly announced GT-only round at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval will be held on Saturday evening as a “really unique opportunity” that came up through its NASCAR connections.

“There’s obviously IMSA history there from back in the 80s, so it’s kind of neat,” he told Sportscar365. “The way they’ve laid that track out, it’s a proper infield with all of the chicanes. Hopefully it will be a really exciting race.”

***Doonan explained the Oct. 9-10 event, which replaces Lime Rock Park on the calendar, allows GTLM and GTD teams to travel directly to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for the Motul Petit Le Mans the following weekend. 

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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