Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA: Taylor crash upends Detroit qualifying

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DETROIT – Polesitters for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic were determined conventionally in two of the three classes, but not in the primary Prototype class.

Quick reports are below.


The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team faces an uphill battle tonight that the Wayne Taylor Racing team was not expecting.

Ricky Taylor set what was the fastest time of the session at a 1:24.530, but lost control of the car through Turn 4, smashing into the concrete barrier on the outside.

It leaves Taylor and brother Jordan Taylor now stuck starting 12th and last among the combined prototype cars (Prototype and Prototype Challenge cars), because they caused a red flag.

The situation was made a bit more complicated because the Taylors, on the heels of four straight wins to open 2017, lead the points. With the grid determined “by other means” as the Taylor crash brought out a red flag because it didn’t complete the minimum 10 minutes of required green flag time, the field would be set by points. But because the Taylors brought out the red, that meant they lost their fastest lap.

It leaves the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac on pole for Saturday’s race, for the car driven by Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi.

The No. 90 VISIT FLORIDA Racing Riley Mk. 30 Gibson was unlucky by the red flag timing. Renger van der Zande had what would have been the leftover top time of 1:24.693. He shares that car with Marc Goossens.


Lawson Aschenbach has extended the streak of different drivers, teams and manufacturers to win a pole in GT Daytona this year.

After Ferrari, Mercedes-AMG, Lamborghini and Porsche had scored poles in the first four races this year, the Audi R8 LMS now has its first pole of the year courtesy of “Awesome Lawson,” in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Audi.

Aschenbach’s best lap was a 1:30.200, with a big gap of 0.341 to Katherine Legge, who did well to shoot up into the best starting position yet in IMSA for the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3.

Aschenbach shares his car with Andrew Davis and Legge will share her’s with Andy Lally on Saturday.

Two Lamborghini Huracán GT3s from Paul Miller Racing and Change Racing were next, with Lexus getting into the top five on home soil for the 3GT Racing team, not far from the team’s Lansing headquarters.

With the top Porsche in sixth, Ferrari in seventh and Mercedes-AMG in ninth, there were seven different manufacturers in the top nine.


James French has scored his third pole of the season as Performance Tech Motorsports looks for its fourth win in as many races to kick off the season.

With young full pro-in-waiting French qualifying against the two gentlemen drivers for BAR1 Motorsports in Tomy Drissi and Don Yount, it was never really going to be a fair fight.

French’s best time of 1:28.494 in the No. 38 Oreca FLM09 was clear of the other two by 4.672 and 6.474 seconds, respectively.

‘Game-changing’ multi-year agreement will take INDYCAR, NBC Sports ‘to the next level’

Photo: Chris Estrada, NBC Sports
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NEW YORK – As the fourth Nor’easter in three weeks bore down on the Big Apple, it was tough to spot people that were clearly in a good mood.

But Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, was clearly in a good mood.

On Wednesday morning at 10 am ET, we all found out why: NBC will become the exclusive home of the IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500, starting in 2019.

The new three-year deal not only makes “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” part of the network’s “Championship Season” – its collection of high-profile championship events from May to July – but also reaffirms NBC’s status as the home of motorsports television in the United States.

That status is something Miller doesn’t take for granted.

“It’s important people know that storytelling is in our DNA, and motorsports lends itself very well to storytelling,” Miller said as he, INDYCAR CEO Mark Miles and driver James Hinchcliffe made a snowy trek to the New York Stock Exchange to promote the deal on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.”

“We’ve had great success with the second half of the entire NASCAR season, and then we’ve had half of the IndyCar package [since 2009] … But we never had the real meat of the series and that didn’t set anybody up for success.

“Having the entire package of IndyCar now – all 17 races, qualifying, practice, you name it – really sets IndyCar on a strong path and solidifies NBC’s position as the home of motorsports. I think it becomes a property much like the Premier League, the NHL, and even the Olympics and the Triple Crown. We have 100 percent of the media opportunity and we can put all those great assets behind it.”

With the storm no doubt keeping some traders home, the floor of the NYSE was relatively subdued. But that made it no less important to be at the heart of Wall Street. Miles and his team are pursuing a new title sponsor for the IndyCar Series to replace Verizon, which will fully focus its efforts in the series with the powerhouse Team Penske going forward in 2019.

The new deal – which includes 8 races per year on the NBC network (with the remaining races going to NBCSN), live streaming of all races, and a direct-to-consumer package with NBC Sports Gold – gave Miles plenty to push for any potential backers. As for Hinchcliffe, he held his own nicely in an interview that also explored IndyCar’s global ambitions, the impact of technology on the sport, and of course, his spin around the ballroom on “Dancing with the Stars.”

On the ride back to 30 Rock, Miles was confident that NBC can play a big role in attracting a sponsor that can help the series keep growing.

“With respect to our work in finding the best title sponsor, it’s really important – and this has not been talked about much – but we expect to work with hand in glove with NBC’s sales,” he explained. “We have the opportunity to create packages which are both broadcast sponsorship and series sponsorship, I think, in a way that doesn’t come along very often.

“Usually, the media deal and the sponsorship deal doesn’t align like this, so we’re really excited about the offering we’ll have and the approach to the market we can take.”

Should the partnership with NBC bear fruit on that front and others, it will only add to the upswing that the IndyCar Series has had in recent years.

Hinchcliffe has been a witness to that. He entered the series in 2011, when it was trying to find its footing after the sport’s reunification three years earlier. After 13 years of CART vs. the Indy Racing League, getting everything back under one roof was not a smooth process.

But fast-forward seven years, and things have changed for the better. TV ratings and digital viewers have gone up. Race scheduling has become more stable and enhanced with the return of traditional open-wheel markets. And this year’s debut of the universal aero kit aims to pump up the action on the track, while also giving the cars a cleaner, meaner look.

Now, with NBC all in, Hinchcliffe is bullish on his sport’s future.

“This is a game-changing thing for us,” he declared. “If you look at the last four or five years, we’ve seen a steady growth in pretty much every measureable metric that there is – in a time where, globally, motorsports is in a bit of a downturn.

“The fact that IndyCar was able to rally against a global dip in motorsports interest, attendance, sponsorship – it speaks volumes to what we have been doing and this is just gonna take us to that next level.”