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WeatherTech Championship

Road America Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from WeatherTech Championship race at Road America…

Photo: Mke Levitt/IMSA

***With their second consecutive win of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, Action Express Racing’s Felipe Nasr and Pipo Derani have closed to within 41 points of DPi leaders Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, who lost ground on Sunday after a late-race puncture triggered by contact with the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P of Harry Tincknell.

***Tincknell and Jarvis sit just two points behind the AXR duo in the points race heading into the final three DPi races of the season.

***Three class winners from the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring each picked up their second victories of the season, with CORE autosport (LMP3), WeatherTech Racing (GTLM) and Pfaff Motorsports (GTD) coming out on top in their respective categories.

***Drivers and/or teams from four of the winning classes head off to France this week for preparations for the 24 Hours of Le Mans: Derani and Nasr (Glickenhaus/Risi Competizione), Ryan Dalziel and Dwight Merriman (IDEC Sport), Cooper MacNeil and Matt Campbell (WeatherTech Racing/Proton Competition) and Laurens Vanthoor (WeatherTech Racing).

***After losing the lead due to a late-race splash of fuel, the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05 of Dane Cameron relinquished fourth place on the final lap to Acura teammate and championship leader Albuquerque. “Our friends at Meyer Shank, Acura teammates, really helped us out at the end to give us some extra points,” said Ricky Taylor. “We come out of it still in the points lead and if we can have bad days like this, hopefully this is our worst day, we’re in good shape.”

***The No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing-entered Cadillac DPi-V.R is now known as “V Performance Academy” in a bulletin sent to media on race day morning. A Cadillac spokesperson told Sportscar365 that the naming structure is similar to that of Whelen Engineering Racing, which is run by Action Express Racing.

***The timing of the team name change comes amid another delay in Cadillac’s LMDh program announcement.

***A clever strategy call helped propel CORE autosport LMP3 class victory, with team owner/driver Jon Bennett pitting his No. 54 Ligier JS P320 Nissan just prior to the calling of the race’s second full course caution. It was the only LMP3 car able to do so, which put co-driver Colin Braun into the class lead.

“The team made a great strategy to pull me in for that second stop, Colin and I had a great exchange and Colin road into the sunset,” said Bennett. “One of the great things about CORE is all Colin and I have to do is drive the car. The strategy is always handled perfectly. It’s basically ‘Simon Says.’ You follow directions and we usually have a happy ending.”

***With the win, Braun and Bennett close to within 50 points of class championship leader Gar Robinson, who recorded a season-low third place finish alongside Felipe Fraga in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier, heading into the final LMP3 race of the season, which will be held at Motul Petit Le Mans in November.

***Corvette Racing opted for split strategies early, with neither playing out in the end due to a two-stop race for the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Cooper MacNeil and Matt Campbell.

***Antonio Garcia said post-race that a gamble on a tire call didn’t pay off in the first stint and they lost further ground after having to change strategies to make up one pit stop. The No. 4 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, which led early in the hands of Nick Tandy, lost time after being handed a drive-through penalty for wheel spin while on the air jacks during its second stop.

***Tommy Milner said: “My engineer Chuck wants to take the blame, but it’s also on me as well. In the moment and heat of it, we knew the stop was going to be finished around the time that the driver change was done. The information I got was that they were waiting on me, but obviously there was still some work being done and the car was in the air.”

***MacNeil said they had more than 300 guests from Bolingbrook, Ill.-based WeatherTech on-site over the weekend.

***While “confused” by the early-race penalty for changing lanes at the start of the race, GTD pole-sitter Aaron Telitz said the penalty “ended up not mattering much” as he managed to work his way back up to second due to a sequence of early race pit stops for several GTD contenders. Telitz and co-driver Jack Hawksworth finished fifth in class.

***Paul Miller Racing’s Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow came home seventh in GTD due to a strategy gamble not paying off. Snow pitted the No. 1 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo from fourth with 90 minutes to go under green flag conditions to change over to Sellers. The race did not see any further yellows.

“We needed to take a gamble this race and play on the strengths of the Lamborghini because we didn’t have the outright pace to fight with the guys out in front,” team manager Mitchell Simmons explained. “And, as sometimes happens when you take that risk, unfortunately for us this week, it didn’t pan out.”

***Gilbert-Korthoff Motorsports was down two crew members on race day, with the GTD squad, in only its second WeatherTech Championship race, getting a lending hand from other teams in the paddock. The Guy Cosmo and Shane Lewis-driven Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo was one of five retirements in the race.

***Cosmo told Sportscar365 that they plans to skip the two upcoming west coast races prior to returning for Virginia International Raceway and potentially the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans in November.

***The future of the EBM component in Team Hardpoint EBM is up in the air, according to Hardpoint team principal Rob Ferriol.

“It’s all to-be-determined,” Ferriol told Sportscar365. “We’ll sit down with the EBM guys and sort it out as we get closer to the end of the year. I know with Asia opening back up that’s going to start consuming some of their attention. It will be a discussions with Earl and Will and see what they want to do.”

***Earl Bamber, who now resides in Nashville, was on-site at Road America on Sunday but in street clothes, with brother Will still involved in the team’s Porsche Carrera Cup North America presented by The Cayman Islands operation in a management role.

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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