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Watkins Glen Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday IMSA notebook from Watkins Glen International…

Photo: Michelin

***Qualifying track records were smashed on Saturday at Watkins Glen International, with the pole-sitting DPi, LMP2 and GT Le Mans class cars, plus numerous others, eclipsing the previous records.

***Oliver Jarvis’ overall pole-sitting time of 1:29.639 was more than 2.7 seconds faster than the 2018 pole set by Colin Braun of 1:32.350. Nine of the 13 cars in DPi/LMP2 were quicker than last year’s track record.

***The 1:40.799 lap time set by Antonio Garcia, meanwhile, was 1.2 seconds faster than last year’s class pole.

***Meyer Shank Racing scored only its second 1-2 qualifying sweep in the team’s history, the last coming in the 2008 Rolex 24 at Daytona when Ozz Negri grabbed pole ahead of A.J. Allmendinger with its pair of Riley-Ford DPs.

***The No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3 missed qualifying as it underwent a “proactive” engine change. The Townsend Bell, Frankie Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz-driven entry is currently second in the GTD championship standings.

***Another car set to start from the rear of its class is the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, which sustained a slow puncture during Laurens Vanthoor’s qualifying run. Vanthoor, who qualified 1.5 seconds adrift from the class pole-sitting No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia, will have a change of starting tires.

***No fewer than nine drivers are driving this weekend on the heels of competing in both the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Nürburgring 24 in consecutive weekends: Renger van der Zande, Romain Dumas, Jesse Krohn, Dirk Mueller, Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Jeroen Bleekemolen.

***Six full-time WeatherTech Championship drivers scored class podium finishes at Le Mans (pictured above): Pilet, Tandy, Bamber, Toni Vilander and Cooper MacNeil as well as Patrick Lindsey, who inherited GTE-Am class honors following the disqualification of the Keating Motorsports Ford GT.

***James Clay, who is scheduled to take part in Sunday’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, missed the first of his three booked commercial flights from Rochester, N.Y. to Denver, following a one-hour delay in the start of Saturday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race due to weather. The BimmerWorld team owner/driver led during his stint in the No. 82 BMW M4 GT4, which finished second in the race with closing driver Devin Jones.

“The plan is to arrive in Denver by 11:00 p.m. tonight, then drive the 1.5 hours down to Colorado Springs,” Clay said. “I’ll get a shower at the hotel and head over to Pikes Peak because the gates open at 1:30 a.m. The cars and pits are already set-up so I hope to catch 3-4 hours of sleep there before we start. Let’s hope we have as good of an event at Pikes Peak as we had through my stint at Watkins Glen.”

***The status of Moorespeed’s entry for next weekend’s race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park remains unclear. Sportscar365 understands the team has sourced a spare Audi R8 LMS GT3 chassis it could use, although its Bronze-rated driver Will Hardeman would need to be cleared to race.

***Per IMSA’s concussion protocol, Hardeman would need to be cleared by a neurologist who has at least five years of sports neurology experience, and then must undergo the industry-standard ImPACT test. 

***Hardeman was released from SUNY Upsate Medical University in Syracuse last night after being airlifted to the hospital following his heavy impact with the barriers in Friday’s opening practice.

***Tim Pappas has returned to the paddock for the first time since his accident at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in February. The Black Swan Racing team owner sustained multiple fractures in the crash, which has seen Pappas made a solid recovery in the months since.

***IMSA President Scott Atherton confirmed that the 2020 WeatherTech Championship schedule will be released during its annual “State of the Series” address at Road America in August. Atherton indicated to Sportscar365 not to expect any radical changes to the calendar.

***Atherton said he also doesn’t foresee any significant changes to IMSA as a company amid International Speedway Corporation’s merger with NASCAR. “We are already a very lean organization by design,” Atherton said. “We already participate in the shared resources as what we loosely refer to the ‘mothership’.”

***Live coverage of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen will be available on streaming platforms. U.S. viewers can stream on and the NBC Sports App, beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET, while coverage will be available on throughout Europe and in Australia.

***A three-hour highlights show of the race will air at 7 p.m. on NBCSN, as a direct lead-in from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

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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