IndyCar update: Bourdais leads off-sequence in Baltimore

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Past lap 38 of 75 in the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT (LIVE on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra), Sebastien Bourdais currently leads on an off-sequence strategy in the 16th IZOD IndyCar Series race of the season.

The race kicked off under hot and humid conditions, reported at 85 degrees ambient and 122 on track, per Firestone. Will Power took the lead on polesitter Scott Dixon at Turn 3 on the opening lap and led the first 31 laps before pitting on lap 32.

Dixon and Simon Pagenaud slotted in behind him. Josef Newgarden moved up to fourth with Graham Rahal also making a series of moves to get into the top five.

Other hard chargers were Oriol Servia and Simona de Silvestro, who each gained seven spots from their grid positions (15th to eighth and 17th to 10th, respectively) and also Dragon Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais, who advanced from 22nd to 13th.

Four different Honda drivers had mechanical issues in the opening laps. James Jakes, Takuma Sato and Luca Filippi all retired while Dario Franchitti, who needed to change engines twice this weekend, had reported brake and master cylinder issues per team owner Chip Ganassi to NBCSN’s Marty Snider. IndyCar series debutante Stefan Wilson made his first pit stop within the first five laps and had an issue with the left rear tire being attached, but resumed.

Ed Carpenter nosed into the Turn 5 wall at Lap 12 right when Filippi had an engine fire; the two combined incidents caused the first yellow flag of the race.

The race restarted on Lap 20 and Newgarden brushed the wall exiting Turn 12 a few laps later. That dropped him from fourth back to eighth, and he was the first of the leaders to pit on Lap 24.

Power banked a gap over the Hondas: Pagenaud, Dixon, Kimball and Rahal then in the top five behind the Sonoma winner in the Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet.

The leaders stopped for the first time from Laps 26 through 31. Power’s stop was costly, a 15.7 second stop after he overshot his marks. That moved Bourdais to the lead; the Dragon Racing driver was one of several who pitted off sequence on Lap 12 (also pitting then: Tristan Vautier, Justin Wilson, Sebastian Saavedra, Marco Andretti, Helio Castroneves and E.J. Viso).

Viso had an issue on Lap 36 to create a major stack-up of cars behind him.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.