Double duty for Rahal, Walker, Bell in Long Beach

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It’s a different kind of double duty for three different individuals in the IndyCar paddock this weekend in Long Beach.

As was the case last year, Bobby Rahal, Derrick Walker and Townsend Bell will spent their weekends bouncing between IndyCar duties and commitments in the supporting American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón.

With a combined five cars, Rahal will be busiest. The Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing IndyCar team expands to three cars with Mike Conway joining Graham Rahal (right, with Ed Carpenter at St. Petersburg) and James Jakes. Meanwhile Rahal’s BMW ALMS team has its two new BMW Z4s in action in the GT class.

Walker is team manager at both Ed Carpenter Racing (IndyCar) and Team Falken Tire (ALMS). The Falken Porsche 911 GT3 RSR finished third in GT in the season-opening Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring fueled by “Fresh from Florida” with drivers Wolf Henzler, Bryan Sellers and Nick Tandy.

Bell is the only one of the three racing this weekend, as he’ll be in action in a West/Alex Job Racing/Boardwalk Ferrari F458 Italia in GT co-driving with Bill Sweedler, and providing his insights and analysis from the booth for NBC Sports Network’s IndyCar coverage.

If you see either of these three in a free moment this weekend, you’ll have caught them at a rare time.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”