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Watkins Glen Post-Race Notebook

Sportscar365’s post-race notebook from WeatherTech 240 at Watkins Glen Internatonal…

Photo: IMSA

***Action Express Racing scored its first IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race win in 349 days with Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr maximizing a strategy call to come out on top in Friday’s WeatherTech 240 at The Glen

***The duo benefited from a 45 minute and 42-second red flag period for lightning in the area that halted action while under the race’s first full-course caution for the No. 19 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, which stopped on track.

***Derani and Nasr have closed to 114 points of DPi championship leaders Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque, who scored their fifth podium in six races and extended their margin over Mazda’s Harry Tincknell and Oliver Jarvis to 81 points.

***Opening lap contact between the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Kevin Magnussen and Olivier Pla’s No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-05 ended up with the Frenchman going for a spin and sustaining floor damage to his car. No action was called on the incident by race control.

***While the MSR crew changed the front and rear deck bodywork during a yellow — in a strategic call to add more downforce while on a damp track — the damage from the Turn 1 incident still affected the car’s outright pace according to Cameron, who took the car to a sixth place finish in challenging damp conditions. 

“The car just got hurt in a really sensitive part, so that cost us performance,” he said. “It was pretty tricky out there, some of the prototypes nearly lost it even behind the pace car. I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like on the restarts but it turned out to not be too bad.”

***Results from the race remain provisional as IMSA impounded “some DPi components” post-race to take back to the NASCAR R&D Center in Concord, N.C. for further inspection.

***Felipe Fraga maintained his undefeated streak of wins in prototype machinery, having teamed with Gar Robinson for their third consecutive LMP3 class victory in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 Nissan.

***The LMP3 class pole-sitting No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier of Mateo Llarena was given a drive-through penalty early for an improper start. Llarena had started the race from the wrong side of the grid.

***The No. 84 Dawson Racing Ligier elected to undergo a post-qualifying engine change, which then led to engine-related issues during the race for the Theodor Olsen and Dominic Cicero-driven D3+ Transformers entry that was one of three retirements.

***The Ian Dawson-led team elected to park the car with eight laps remaining after continued engine gremlins despite going behind the wall to replace faulty fuel injectors earlier in the race.

***Paul Miller Racing’s Lamborghini was another late-race retirement due to a fuel pump failure for the Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow-driven car. Snow had claimed class pole on Friday in mixed conditions.

***Friday’s race did not count towards season-long GTD points, which also benefitted the championship-leading No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, which went to the garage early with a power steering belt failure but later rejoined.

***The Heart of Racing’s Ross Gunn and Roman De Angelis continue to lead the Sprint Cup standings but with their lead slightly reduced to 25 points over Vasser Sullivan Racing’s Frankie Montecalvo, who recorded a runner-up finish on Friday.

***The No. 14 Vasser Sullivan pairing of Jack Hawksworth and Aaron Telitz, who claimed top class honors, have moved to third in the standings, 151 points behind the Aston Martin pairing.

***The debuting Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Guy Cosmo and Shane Lewis finished seventh in class, with no major issues reported for the LMP3 team which was stepping up to WeatherTech Championship competition for the first time on rather short notice.

“The guys did an incredible job,” said Cosmo. “They nailed it on our first pit stop – the tires were done before the fuel was. We got the driver change done, and no infractions. We were competitive. It’s such a crazy range of emotions. We know we have a lot of work to do, but it’s so encouraging to know that we’re in the hunt and there’s so much potential here.”

***Friday’s triple-header at Watkins Glen did not mark the first time that the WeatherTech Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge all held races in the same day, with at least one previous occurrence at Lime Rock Park in July 2017.

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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