Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA: Roar Before the 24 Friday results

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The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship kicked off its 2018 season on Friday with Day 1 of the annual Roar Before the 24 test. With all 50 cars entered at the Rolex 24 present, there was no shortage of cars on track in either of the Friday sessions, and every car ventured out on track in at least one of the sessions.

Below is a roundup of highlights from Day 1

ACTION EXPRESS, CADILLAC TOP THE TIME SHEETS

Action Express Racing put their Cadillac DPi-V.R atop the timesheets for the day, with Filipe Albuquerque going fastest in both the morning and afternoon sessions.

In fact, the morning session saw Cadillacs take the top four spots, a continuation of what was a dominant 2017 season for the marque.

CORE Autosport broke up the Cadillac party in the afternoon, turning the second quickest lap of the day. Wayne Taylor Racing and Spirit of Daytona Racing ended up third and fourth in the combined results, with Jackie Chan DCR JOTA putting its No. 78 Oreca 07 Gibson fifth.

Of note: Fernando Alonso turned laps in his No. 23 United Autosports Ligier LMP2 Gibson, kicking off his first official foray into sports car racing.

Also of note in the Prototype class: the Acura Team Penske ARX-05s were 12th and 15th at the end of the day, and the revamped Mazda RT24-P entries from Mazda Team Joest both made it out on track, though the No. 70 entry only did two laps late in the evening session.

PORSCHE LEAD OPENING DAY FOR GTLM

Porsche GT Team put a 911 RSR at the head of the GTLM field on Friday, with Laurens Vanthoor going fastest in the No. 912 entry. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 67 machine was second, thought it did lead the morning session, while the No. 911 Porsche ended the day third, putting both Porsches in the top three at the end of the day.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 66 entry was fourth, with the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE fifth.

Both of the Corvette C7.Rs from Corvette Racing were outside of the top five at the end of the day, sixth and seventh respectively in the GTLM class, while the new BMW M8 GTLM entries from BMW Team RLL brought up the rear of the GTLM field.

LAMBORGHINI TOP GT DAYTONA

A Lamborghini Huracan GT3 topped a deep GT Daytona at the end of Friday, with GRT Grasser Racing Team’s Rolf Ineichen leading the way in the morning and co-driver Franck Perera doing the same in the afternoon in the No. 11 entry.

The Manthey-Racing No. 59 Porsche 911 GT3 R was second, followed by the sister GRT No. 19 entry. Montaplast by Land-Motorsport ended up the day fourth in their Audi R8 LMS GT3, with Magnus Racing rounding out the top five in their first official outing on their return to IMSA competition.

All three classes saw relatively clean running, with no contact during either session and only four brief stoppages, all resulting from minor issues.

SCOTT PRUETT ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Maybe the biggest story to emerge on Friday was Scott Pruett revealing that the 2018 Rolex 24 will be the final race of his career, with the veteran of IMSA, INDYCAR, and NASCAR announcing he will retire following the 24-hour endurance race.

The 58-year old Pruett has been racing in some capacity for 50 years, and has amassed a total of 88 wins across a number of series.

But, Pruett will likely be most remembered for his sports car endeavors, as one of the most decorated American sports car racers who has ever lived. Pruett’s sports car resume includes a record 60 wins, five Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series titles, and a record-tying five overall victories at the Rolex 24. He also has a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Daytona is a magical place for me and I love it,” Pruett said regarding the timing of his announcement. “I’ve always said the Rolex 24 at Daytona is like the Super Bowl of Motorsports because you’re bringing the best of the best from all over the world and the challenge of both man and machine is fierce. What better way to say goodbye to the sport I love than at this revered place, surrounded by my respected peers and die-hard fans.”

Pruett’s final race will be contested in a Lexus RCF GT3 with 3GT Racing.

The Roar Before the 24 continues on Saturday with three test sessions, the first beginning at 10:50 a.m. EST. Results from Friday’s sessions are below.

Practice 1
Practice 2
Combined Results


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GoDaddy to sponsor Patrick in ‘Danica Double’ at Daytona, Indy — now all she needs are rides

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By The Associated Press

Danica Patrick is going back to green.

GoDaddy Green, to be exact – a fitting color for her farewell tour.

The company will sponsor Patrick in the upcoming “Danica Double” that will close out her racing career, The Associated Press has learned. Patrick has no ride yet for next month’s Daytona 500 or the Indianapolis 500 in May, but she now has the financial backing to pull it off.

This time around, the original GoDaddy Girl will symbolize the new core mission of the company that helped make her one of the world’s most recognizable athletes.

“There’s this great story: I left IndyCar with GoDaddy on my car, I started NASCAR with GoDaddy on my car, I’m most recognized as the GoDaddy green car and driver, and so to finish up my career that way feels appropriate,” Patrick told the AP from Scottsdale, Arizona.

Her final race will be the Indy 500, an appropriate choice because it was “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” that rocketed Patrick and GoDaddy into pop culture notoriety.

GoDaddy and Patrick grew up together. The company switched series with her and marketed her as a strong, sexy woman in 13 Super Bowl commercials – a record appearance for celebrities. Now, the company is most interested in Patrick the budding businesswoman who is firmly closing the door on her racing career and rebranding herself as an entrepreneur . She has a book out, an apparel line, a wine label and confirmed to AP this week that she’s dating Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

“Our goals are so well-aligned,” Barb Rechterman, the chief marketing officer of GoDaddy, told AP. “She’s passionate, tenacious and creative just like so many of our customers who are also looking to leverage the power of the internet and turn their `side hustle’ into a full-time business. Danica absolutely epitomizes the heart of our GoDaddy customers.”

Prepare to hear a lot about the “side hustle” as GoDaddy climbs aboard the so-far fledgling “Danica Double.”

Patrick announced in November she would end her driving career with the Daytona 500 and Indy 500, but didn’t have a deal completed for either race. Still doesn’t. Yet somehow, Patrick always figures a way to get what she wants. Talks ended with Chip Ganassi Racing about a possible ride, and late last month, Patrick said, she called former GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons and asked about a reunion.

GoDaddy has rebranded since it last teamed with Patrick. The company now touts itself as “the world’s largest cloud platform dedicated to small, independent ventures,” and there’s no better spokeswoman than Patrick, who is in the next chapter of her life and her brand.

GoDaddy pulled out of racing after the 2015 season, and Patrick hasn’t had the same level of funding and marketing support since. Patrick has slowly reshaped her image, first into a Instagram model and is now a full-blown lifestyle guru. She realized – at the age of 35 – she was on her own.

She and GoDaddy aligned for a splashy move into NASCAR, where she was glamorous off the track but only mediocre on it. Through all of this, she was married, divorced, spent five years dating fellow driver and competitor Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and then seemed to find herself through a tailored diet, exercise and a healthy lifestyle.

She is cutting the cord on racing after Indy, and her focus is on a sense of well-being far away from the track.

“Their business is so perfectly paired to what is going on with mine, so when we sat down and met, it was like, `Let’s talk about our business. Let’s talk about the messaging. How does this work?”‘ Patrick said. “And this is undeniably perfect for both of us. Not only is it a huge two races and the biggest two races of the year, but on top of that, you have so much `side hustle’ going on, and all the messaging and our brands, and where we are going is so perfectly paired.”w

GoDaddy can help Patrick move on to whatever it is for racing’s former “It Girl.” The company will help her streamline her online presence. Patrick, for the company, is back as a neon green-and-yellow symbol to all the wannabe entrepreneurs chasing dreams.

She’ll get those rides, too. Patrick said she knows she will because she believes she will.

“That’s just the way the universe works,” she said. “You have to ask for what you want. Things have taken a long time with this, but you just have to go with the flow on these things. The universe is not on your time schedule.”

More AP auto racing: https://racing.ap.org/