Technical infraction gives CTSC Daytona win to No. 48 Fall-Line BMW (UPDATED)

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UPDATE (8 p.m. ET): A post-race technical infraction has given the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season opener at Daytona International Speedway to the No. 48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 of Shelby Blackstock and Ashley Freiberg.

The Turner Motorsports No. 96 M3, driven by Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana, had finished first after overcoming an early pit exit violation and an off-sequence pit strategy.

But just after 7:30 p.m. ET tonight, IMSA confirmed on Twitter that it had stripped the overall and Grand Sport class wins from the Auberlen/Dalla Lana duo:

No additional details have been given about the No. 96’s infraction that has cost Auberlen and Dalla Lana the victory.

As a result, all finishers move up one spot. Blackstock and Freiberg are atop the new podium, followed by a second Fall-Line M3, the No. 46 (John Edwards/Trent Hindman), in P2, and the other Turner M3, the No. 97 (Tom Kimber-Smith, Michael Marsal), in third.

Freiberg, who made her Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge debut today, has now become the first female driver to win overall in the history of Daytona International Speedway.

A third Fall-Line car, the No. 47 driven by Spencer Pumpelly and Steven Bertheau, had originally finished in third position but was also assessed a post-race penalty for failing to serve a pit stop infraction.

Murillo Racing took the ST class win in its BMW 328i, with drivers Eric Foss and polesitter Jeff Mosing in the No. 56 entry. Bimmerworld’s No. 81 car of Tyler Cooke and Gregory Liefooghe finished second with the No. 24 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche Cayman of Cory Friedman and David Baum in third.

Five cautions peppered the two-hour, 30-minute race, and it ended under yellow.

Hartley happy with ‘big progression’ on first day with Toro Rosso

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With 69 laps completed (28 in free practice one and 41 in free practice two) and respectable lap times in both sessions, Brendon Hartley quickly acclimated to a modern day Formula 1 chassis in his first run with Scuderia Toro Rosso in Friday practice for the United States Grand Prix.

The Porsche factory driver has been drafted into the team following a convoluted series of musical chairs that sees Daniil Kvyat back after a two-race absence, Carlos Sainz Jr. now at Renault and Pierre Gasly racing at the Super Formula season finale in Suzuka.

Over the time in the car today, Hartley experienced changeable conditions in FP1 before a more normal FP2, and discovered the new F1 cockpit after a day learning in the garage yesterday.

“A steep learning curve today! It all went pretty smoothly and I kept the car on track without making too many mistakes, so I’m quite happy,” the New Zealander reflected at day’s end.

“I didn’t really know what to expect from today because I just had so much to learn! I think I made quite a big progression throughout the day.

“The biggest difference from what I’m used to is the high-speed grip, it’s incredible here in Formula 1…it was quite an eye-opener! Another challenge are the tires, which are also quite different to what I’m used to. On the other hand, the long-run looks quite positive and I did a good job managing the tires there – the biggest thing I need to work on now is the new tire pace, and I’ll get another crack at it tomorrow morning before qualifying.

“All in all, I’d say it’s all coming together. We’ll now work hard and go through plenty of data tonight and hopefully I’ll make another step forward tomorrow.”

His best lap was 1.1 seconds up on Friday driver Sean Gelael, the Indonesian Formula 2 driver, in FP1 (1:39.267 to 1:40.406, good enough for 14th) and 1.1 seconds off the returning Kvyat in FP2 (1:37.987 to 1:36.761, good enough for 17th). Interestingly, the Gelael/Hartley combination in FP1 marked the second time in three races that Toro Rosso had a pair of drivers in its cars without a single Grand Prix start between them – Gasly’s debut at Malaysia was the other, when he and Gelael were in in FP1.

Coming into Friday’s running, Hartley said he was more ready for this opportunity now than he had been as a teenager. He admitted he’d called Red Bull’s Helmut Marko in the wake of Porsche’s LMP1 withdrawal news earlier this year to say he was game for any chance that might come.

“I’m a lot stronger than I was back then, basically. I wasn’t ready at 18 years old. I like to think I’m ready now,” he said.

“I haven’t driven a single-seater since 2012, but I like to think that Porsche LMP1 has hopefully prepared me well.”

As for the rest of his weekend, it’s been made more complicated by Hartley being assessed a 25-spot grid penalty, even though Hartley had done nothing to accrue the penalties.

The roundabout sequence of driver changes at Toro Rosso saw Gasly replace Kvyat, Kvyat replace Sainz, and now Hartley replace Gasly, as is outlined by NBCSN pit reporter Will Buxton below.