IMSA: Pruett, Magnussen score Long Beach poles

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Scott Pruett (P, overall) and Jan Magnussen (GTLM) have taken the poles for Saturday’s Patron Showcase in Long Beach, the third round of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.

Pruett’s best time of 1:15.325 edged Ozz Negri in the similar Ford EcoBoost Riley; Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates held the edge on Michael Shank Racing in this session. Christian Fittipaldi was best of the Corvette DPs in third for Action Express Racing.

“Thats one of the things about Long Beach, you get faster and faster the longer you go around the track,” said Pruett, who last raced at Long Beach in the 2006 GRAND-AM Rolex race. “You get a little braver, a little braver, until you start scraping the walls. It took a time for us to get going this season, Daytona was a bit disastrous, then we went to Sebring and got the win, and now the pole.”

In GTLM, Magnussen threw down a flier to secure Corvette Racing’s first pole for its new C7.R, edging the pair of expected pace setters, the BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTEs.

“I found a good gap, but I had to back off once to find myself a better gap, and after that it was a matter of trying to work a little bit to find a corner,” he said. “At one point we were p3, at this point I was eight tenths faster than when we did the qualifying simulation, I didn’t know if there was any more to come. I pushed hard and it stuck and didn’t hit any of the walls and that was the pole position.”

The 100-minute race goes green just past 3:00 p.m. PDT/6:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday.

Simon Pagenaud has words with Gabby Chaves after Honda Indy GP of Alabama

Photos: IndyCar
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The rain didn’t stop following the conclusion of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama, and neither did the jousting between drivers.

An angry Team Penske’s Simon Pagenaud confronted Harding Racing’s Gabby Chaves after the race, complaining that Chaves would not let Pagenaud get past him in the closing laps.

Instead of ending up with a hoped-for Top 5, Pagenaud wound up with a ninth-place finish. Chaves, meanwhile, finished 17th, two laps down.

The confrontation turned into a battle of words and profanity between the two drivers, as captured on Twitter by AutoWeek’s Matt Weaver.

Afterward – and after their tempers cooled down somewhat – both Pagenaud and Chaves gave their sides of the confrontation to NBCSN.

Gabby Chaves

First, here’s Pagenaud’s take on things:

“We had a really good race going,” Pagenaud said. “I think we potentially could have been top 5. I was really frustrated with Gabby. He was two laps down and I was stuck behind him, which gave an opportunity to (Scott) Dixon as I was trying to do everything I could to make it happen.

“It’s a real shame because when it’s not your day, it’s not your day. You’ll have better days later, but you want to have everybody on your side when you have a good day. At the moment, he doesn’t have me on his side, let me tell you. It’s a real shame.”

When asked what exactly he said to Chaves, Pagenaud demurred.

“Driver’s stuff,” he said with a slight smile. “We’ve all been there. I’ve been in his position. My side, I played it smart. It is what it is.

“I can’t comment for him. You can ask him the question. I’m not going to make a deal about it, it’s just a shame it ruined my race. We’ll come back stronger. It’s Indy soon, so that’ll put a smile on my face.”

NBCSN then caught up with Chaves for his side of the story.

 

“It’s a tough situation, we had to restart (the rain-delayed race) a lap down,” Chaves said. “Our whole strategy depends on trying to get a yellow and holding our position. Some guys think that the track belongs only to them, they’re the only guys on-track.

“Everyone else who was faster at that point – we were only one lap down to the leader, so we’re still on our strategy and don’t know what’s going to happen – as soon as they got right up next to me on the lead lap, I let them go.

“Simon was the only one who couldn’t drive up to me. I understand his frustration, but he’s the one who has to save fuel to make his strategy work, that’s not our fault, right?”

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