Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA: Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona after 2 hours — 22 hours remain

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UPCOMING UPDATES: After Hour 6 (8:30 p.m. ET) and Hour 9 (11:30 p.m. ET).

The Rolex 24 at Daytona is just over two hours in, and while it has run caution-free, there has been no shortage of action across the Prototype, GT Le Mans, and GT Daytona classes.

Below is a quick, early-race report on all three classes in the early hours of running.

Prototype

Filipe Albuquerque leads in the No. 5 Cadillac DPi-V.R for Action Express Mustang Sampling Racing. He seized the lead from polesitter Renger Van Der Zande, in the No. 10 Cadillac DPi for Wayne Taylor Racing, following the opening round of pit stops.

The No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Cadillac sits second with Matt McMurry behind the wheel, and even led briefly in the early laps with Tristan Vautier.

The biggest early movers in Prototype come from the two Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi entries. The No. 22 machine, in the hands of Pipo Derani at the time of writing, sits third after starting 18th, while the No. 2, with Olivier Pla at the helm at the time of writing, runs seventh after starting 20th, even overcoming an unscheduled pit stop for a cut tire.

Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso has had a trouble-free run so far in the United Autosports No. 23 Ligier JS P217 Gibson, briefly taking the lead during an exchange of pit stops, and currently sits ninth with Phil Hanson now driving.

A couple of cars have run into problems, namely the two Mazda Team Joest RT24-P entries. The No. 55, with Jonathan Bomarito driving at the time, saw the left-front wheel come off after a pit stop, while the No. 77 entry, with Oliver Jarvis at the wheel, went back into the garage with a mechanical problem. They run 18th (No. 55) and 19th (No. 70, four laps and six laps off the lead respectively.

Also, both Acura Team Penske ARX-05s have had strong opening stanzas, with the No. 6 running fifth in the hands of Juan Pablo Montoya and and the No. 7 running in the top five in the early laps. However, the No. 7 did suffer a slight hiccup when the door latch wouldn’t fasten after a pitstop, forcing an extra stop for repairs and dropping the team, with Ricky Taylor at the wheel, one lap off the lead.

GT Le Mans

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing swept into the early lead, with Joey Hand seizing control in the No. 66 Ford GT, passing polesitter Jan Magnussen’s No. 3 Corvette Racing C7.R on the opening lap. The Fords even ran 1-2 early on, with Richard Westbrook moving into second and following teammate Hand for the opening stint.

Hand continues to lead, while Antonio Garcia runs second in the No. 3 Corvette. Nicky Tandy sits third in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR for Porsche GT Team.

GT Daytona

Audi currently leads the way. The No. 29 Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 leads, in the hands of Jeffrey Schmidt. The two Lexus RC F GT3 entries from 3GT Racing run second (Dominik Farnbacher, No. 15) and third (Kyle Marcelli, No. 14).

A couple of GTD teams have encountered trouble. Most notably, the Wright Motorsports No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R crashed during the pace laps before the green flag came out. The car, with Robert Renauer at the helm, suffered significant damage to the nose and immediately went to the garage for repairs and has not been on track since.

Also, the No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3, which battled for the lead early on, suffered a fire on pit road.

Live timing and scoring from IMSA can be for here.

Hour 2 Standings

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NHRA: Brittany Force cleared to race this weekend in Phoenix after bad wreck 2 weeks ago

Photo: John Force Racing
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Drag racing is a Force family tradition. So, too, is not keeping a Force family member down.

Just 12 days after the most serious wreck of her six-year drag racing career, Brittany Force and John Force Racing announced late Thursday afternoon that the defending 2017 NHRA Top Fuel champion has been medically cleared and will indeed race in this weekend’s NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix, Arizona.

“I flew into Phoenix early this (Thursday) morning and headed straight out to the race track to meet up with my team,” Force said. “I suited up and got belted back into my car that I ran all last season.

“It honestly felt good to be strapped back in and I was surprised how comfortable I was. I’m looking forward to getting back in my car tomorrow (Friday’s first two rounds of qualifying) and getting back in the swing of things with my guys.”

The 31-year-old Force, one of four daughters of 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force, suffered a concussion and bruising after the hard crash she was involved in on February 11 in the first round of eliminations of the season-opening NHRA Lucas Oil Winternationals in Pomona, California.

Shortly after leaving the starting line in a race vs. Terry Haddock, Force’s dragster crossed from the right to left lanes, impacted the retaining wall with a very hard lateral crash, bounced off, spun, went on its side and briefly caught fire after crossing the finish line wheels-up.

While she is still recovering from the bruising, Force feels strong enough to get back behind the wheel. Getting back in the race car could be the best medicine of all, since she has three runner-up finishes in Phoenix, including back-to-back second-place showings in both the 2016 and 2017 national events.

The three-day event kicks off Friday with qualifying rounds at 4 and 6:30 p.m. ET, the same times as Saturday’s qualifying. Final eliminations begin at 1 p.m. ET Sunday.