Slim pickings in NASCAR free agent pool

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We looked at the Formula One and IndyCar free agent pools earlier this week. Meanwhile, most of the NASCAR field is set for 2014 but there’s still a handful of seats remaining, and they’re likely to be filled by a number of mostly journeymen drivers.

  • Dave Blaney (30th in 2013): Cup veteran since 2000. Replaced by Michael Annett at Tommy Baldwin Racing. Not sure if he’d prefer to keep running midpack at best in Cup or run Nationwide and/or Trucks and keep focused on son Ryan’s emerging career.
  • Travis Kvapil (31st): Unfortunately was most noteworthy in 2013 for his legal issue that arose prior to Charlotte, and didn’t do anything with BK Racing that really merits a third season. Rumors are that young Nationwide driver Alex Bowman may test for the team soon.
  • J.J. Yeley (32nd): Like Blaney, doesn’t bring sponsorship to TBR and has sprint cars to race. Whether Baldwin keeps him in the No. 36 remains to be seen.
  • David Reutimann (33rd): Lowest in points of those who drove all 36 races. A veteran hand but can’t be thrilled running 30th every week in his first season with BKR.
  • David Stremme (36th): Bounced by Swan Racing for two youngsters, doubtful if another full-time ride will present itself.
  • Timmy Hill (38th): May take over the No. 32 full-time if Frank Stoddard prefers that to the round-robin of drivers. Only four top-30 finishes in 19 starts doesn’t say much, though.
  • Scott Speed (41st): His career odyssey took him from F1 to NASCAR to Global Rallycross. So whether Speed turns up in NASCAR again after his exit from Leavine Family Racing is yet another question.
  • Justin Allgaier (NR): Phoenix Racing, now Turner Scott Motorsports, has a crew chief for its No. 51 with Steve Addington and a second car for Bobby Labonte at selected races. All it needs to do now is pick a driver for the main car, and Allgaier should be the guy who gets it.
  • A.N. Other Veteran or Rookie: Any of your Ken Schraders, Terry Labontes, or Nationwide regulars who get picked out of the blue either for one race, selected races or a full season. There’s always at least one every year.

IMSA: Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring Update – 3 hours in

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The opening hours of the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring have been action-packed, with the early hours highlighted by racing that we would not expect from an endurance race.

For example, Acura Team Penske’s No. 7 ARX-05, currently fourth with Graham Rahal at the wheel, has had a couple run-ins with traffic, both from the Prototype and GT classes, as shown below.

Reports on happenings in the first three hours from all three classes are below.


Turn 1, Lap 1 proved to be a disaster for one of the contenders in Prototype. Olivier Pla, starting on the outside of the front row in the No.2 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi, tried to pass polesitter Tristan Vautier, in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Cadillac DPi-V.R, on the outside.

Vautier held his ground when Pla tried to pinch him against the inside wall, with the two making contact and sending Pla into a slide across the outside of the corner. Although he limped around back into the pits, the team ultimately uncovered a terminal gearbox issue, cause by the contact, and retired car, ending their race before it ever had a chance to get going.

The lone caution of the opening hours also came in the Prototype class. Sebastian Saavedra, in the No. 52 Ligier JS P217 Gibson for AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports, spun exiting Turn 17. In trying to avoid, Frank Montecalvo, in the GT Daytona class No. 64 Ferrari 488 GT3 for Scuderia Corsa, drifted out wide, but made contact with the right-front of Saavedra, which launched Montecalvo airborne and into the tire barriers exiting the corner.

Montecalvo emerged unhurt from the spectacular incident, while Saavedra returned to the pits for a new front nose on the No. 52 Ligier, and continued on.

Vautier, meanwhile, continued on unscathed and led the opening stint.

Just over three hours in, Eric Curran leads in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac for Action Express. The No. 22 ESM Nissan sits second in the hands of Nicolas Lapierre, with Jordan Taylor third in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac.

GT Le Mans (GTLM)

BMW Team RLL has dominated the opening hours of the 12 Hours of Sebring, with their No. 24 BMW M8 GTLM leading the way early on. Nicky Catsburg is currently behind the wheel.

Risi Competizion currently holds down second, with Alessandro Pier Guidi currently at the helm of their No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTE. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing holds third with Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford GT, though they had a clumsy run-in with the sister No. 66 in the pits early on, with both cars bumping each other exiting the pits.

However, no damage was done and both carried on.

GT Daytona

The polesitting No. 51 Ferrari from Spirit of Race also had a messy start to their 12 Hours of Sebring, with Daniel Serra getting together with the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3, in the hands Jack Hawksworth at the time. The contact cut the right-rear tire of Serra, forcing an early pit stop. They now sit 16th in class.

Montaplast by Land Motorsport leads in the way in the No. 29 Audi R8 LMS GT3, with 17-year-old youngster Sheldon van der Linde at the helm. Running second is Corey Lewis in the Paul Miller Racing No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3, with 3GT Racing sitting third with Kyle Marcelli in the No. 14 Lexus.