Pirelli World Challenge: Mid-Ohio results

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Alex Figge was the biggest winner from the Pirelli World Challenge race weekend at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The driver of the No. 9 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 took his second and third wins of 2013 in the GT class, sweeping the weekend. Races air Sunday, August 18, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

Bad luck has stunted his championship chances in the top class of the series, so his wins didn’t play a major role on the title chase. However, accident damage to his radiator cost Johnny O’Connell, in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V.R, a fair number of points in Round 12 on Sunday. A pair of podium finishes brought James Sofronas, in the No. 14 GMG Audi R8 LMS, to within 13 points of O’Connell with just two races remaining. Sofronas has three early-season wins.

In GTS, Mark Wilkins (Saturday) and Lawson Aschenbach (Sunday) took class wins. The win was the second for Wilkins of 2013 in the No. 38 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Optima turbo while Aschenbach captured his fifth win of 2013 in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro. Jack Baldwin, the No. 73 GTSport with Goldcrest Porsche Cayman S, had fourth and third place finishes and still leads Wilkins by 87 points for the GTS lead.

The pair of Touring Car and Touring Car B-Spec races on Saturday saw Michael Cooper (TC, both races), Ernie Francis Jr. (TCB race 1) and Robbie Davis (TCB race 2) take class victories. Cooper, in the No. 1 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda 3, held off a sustained challenge from Tristan Herbert in race 1 and had an easier time of it in race 2. Francis Jr. (No. 98 Breathless Performance Mazda 2) wasn’t able to repeat his win in race 2 after being caught up in a first-lap accident, and Davis (No. 37 MINI of Charleston Racing MINI Cooper) held off Tyler Palmer for the latter win.

The full event coverage from Mid-Ohio can be found here on the Pirelli World Challenge website.

Al Unser Jr. back in IndyCar after a decade away: ‘Life is very good’

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There’s been somewhat of a hole in Al Unser Jr.’s heart ever since he retired from racing in 2007.

It was a void, something was missing.

But now, after a decade away from racing, Unser has found the right medicine to fill that hole in his heart: he’s back in the racing game again.

No, he’s not driving again (although he does participate occasionally in vintage races), but the two-time Indianapolis 500 (1992 and 1994) winner is definitely back in the IndyCar world.

And he couldn’t be happier.

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “Since I stepped out of the race car and retired from racing, there’s been something missing from my life, and it’s racing.”

Unser has hooked up with Harding Racing. The team competed in three races last season as a ramp-up for a full 17-race effort this season. While Unser’s official title with the team is “consultant,” he’s involved in so much more.

His main role is as a driving coach to 2015 IndyCar Rookie of the Year Gabby Chaves. But he’s also involved in so many other areas, including helping the team obtain sponsorships and much more.

He then added, “I’m involved in every sense of the word except actually driving the car. And I’m happy about that because I’m too old to drive the car.”

Unser, who won CART championships in 1990 and 1994, is now 55. He’s so involved with his new job that he even moved from his native New Mexico and has relocated to suburban Indianapolis.

Not only is it a new start for Unser, it also is for Chaves. After running all 16 races in 2015 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian, he competed in just seven races for Dale Coyne Racing in 2016 and only three races for Harding Racing last season.

But he definitely impressed the team, with a fifth- (Texas) and ninth-place (Indianapolis 500) finish in the first two races and 15th (Pocono) in the team’s final run of the season.

That’s why when Harding Racing decided to go fulltime in 2018, Chaves was their pick for behind the wheel. And Unser was their pick to help guide him to potential stardom in the series.

“(Team owner) Mike Harding is definitely a person that when he decides to do something, he does it right,” Unser told IndyCar.com. “The potential for this organization is through the sky. We’re all working really hard here and we see the potential.”

And as for Unser?

“Life is good, life is very good,” he told IndyCar.com. “We’re back full force, eager and better than ever.”

Click here for the full story about Unser from IndyCar.com.