Starworks’ Dalziel and Popow take GRAND-AM Brickyard GP

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For the second straight year, Starworks Motorsport came out on top at the Brickyard Grand Prix as drivers Ryan Dalziel (pictured, right) and Alex Popow (pictured, left) drove the No. 2 BMW/Riley to victory on Friday evening at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

With nine and a half minutes left in the three-hour race around the 2.53-mile IMS road course, Dalziel took the lead for good after Formula One and IndyCar veteran Rubens Barrichello was forced to pit the No. 77 Doran Racing Ford/Dallara for a splash of fuel (he and co-driver Doug Peterson eventually settled for fifth). Dalziel went on to a 3.438-second victory over Scott Pruett in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing BMW/Riley.

The win also puts Dalziel and Popow on top of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series’ Daytona Prototype class standings. They now lead by ten points, 229-219, over the No. 99 Bob Stallings Racing duo of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, who took third place this evening.

“This is what we needed – five races to go, we had to start winning races,” Dalziel told MRN Radio after the win. “…We’ll see how the next four go, but today’s a good day.”

Pruett and Memo Rojas’ runner-up finish was enough to give themselves the North American Endurance Championship DP title, which nets them a $100,000 bonus prize. In addition to today’s race, the NAEC included the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Sahlen’s Six Hours of Watkins Glen.

The NAEC crown should be a boost to the Ganassi camp after what’s been an up-and-down year so far for their full-time regulars Pruett and Rojas, the defending DP class champions in the Rolex Series.

“For us to come back after some pretty ugly races and win the North American Endurance Championship is huge for us,” Pruett told MRN. “We’re just gonna see if we can keep on going.”

In the GT class, Jeff Segal and Indy 500 veteran Max Papis earned top honors in the No. 61 R.Ferri/AIM Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia, ahead of the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro of John Edwards and Robin Liddell. Like Pruett and Rojas in DP, the second-place showing from Edwards and Liddell was enough for them to lock up the NAEC GT crown.

Sylvain Tremblay and Tom Long brought home the GX class win in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda, but runner-up Dr. Jim Norman (No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche) clinched the NAEC GX title.

Reigning Indy 500 champ Tony Kanaan finished ninth with co-driver Joey Hand in the No. 02 Ganassi BMW/Riley, which made him tops among the three drivers in the field that have competed in the IZOD IndyCar Series this year. A.J. Allmendinger was 10th for Michael Shank Racing, and Sebastien Bourdais was 11th for 8Star Motorsports.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”