TCGR scores twin Top-10s for first time in 2013

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Another sign of how parity has taken hold of the IZOD IndyCar Series this season: Today’s first race of the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit marked the first time this year that both Target Chip Ganassi Racing drivers have collected Top-10 results in the same race.

Scott Dixon had to overcome an early incident with A.J. Allmendinger in order to grab a fourth-place finish, while Dario Franchitti was steady in a sixth-place effort.

Dixon, who led wire-to-wire in last year’s shortened race on Belle Isle, found trouble on the opening lap when Allmendinger climbed over the side of his No. 9 Honda en route to hitting the Turn 4 tire barriers. Dixon was forced to come to pit road for a new rear wing, and he returned to the pits again just two laps later for a fuel-only stop.

It helped make for a long day for Dixon, but he was still able to come away with his third Top-5 of the season after hounding third-place finisher Justin Wilson for the last spot on the podium all the way to the finish.

“I got to the back of the field there twice and had to drive through it,” said Dixon, who goes off ninth in tomorrow’s second Dual race. “…The pace of the race was very high. It felt like it was qualifying all over again almost every lap.

“Earlier on, it was a bit funky in the middle there with people trying to set a pace, but the front runners were definitely going. I’ll definitely be getting plenty of rest tonight.”

Franchitti had a good first stint, jumping three positions on the first lap of the race and moving up to fourth by the time he made his first stop on Lap 25. But on a restart at Lap 39, Franchitti fell from third to sixth in one lap and was unable to move any farther for the rest of the afternoon.

“Helio [Castroneves] got down the inside of us and locked up his tires and I had to go wide to avoid him,” Franchitti said about that particular restart. “From there, it was just a case of coming back through the field. The team did a bit of strategy and I was trying to make some passes there.

“I have to say the car was very fast. It was just a matter of getting some clear track to make things happen. It was a good team effort today. We need to make a few changes for tomorrow to see if we can improve things.”

Franchitti’s sixth-place effort is his best since finishing fourth in April at Long Beach.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III