GT class penalties alter results of GRAND-AM Laguna Seca

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A pair of penalties have changed the official results of last weekend’s GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in California.

Title contender Alessandro Balzan and co-driver Leh Keen, both of whom wheeled the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia (pictured, from March) last Sunday, have been elevated to a third-place finish after originally being scored fifth.

That’s because the original third-place car, the No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette of Eric Curran and Boris Said, has been demoted to eighth in class. Additionally, the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche of Patrick Long and Patrick Lindsey has been demoted from fourth to ninth in class.

“Every team deserves a fair chance to compete and the process that maintains this was appropriately implemented by officials,” said Scuderia Corsa principal Giacomo Mattioli in a team release.

“We ran a fantastic race on Sunday and are now focused on getting ready to go for the championship at our last race of the season at Lime Rock.”

Balzan sustained damage to his car’s rear diffuser and exhaust system in separate incidents during the closing moments of the Continental Tire Sports Car Festival.

The revised results also have an impact on the hotly-contested GT championship race. With the podium finish, Balzan has now moved within four points, 313-309, of the class-leading No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche of John Potter and Andy Lally, who won their first race of 2013 at Laguna Seca.

Lally touched on the subject, as well as Jeff Gordon’s inclusion in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, on Twitter. One could argue he was a bit surprised at both:

Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list; Musquin remains out

Shimoda injured
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media
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Bad news continues to come out of the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team as they announced Jo Shimoda injured his shoulder in a practice session and will not mount up when the Monster Energy Supercross 250 East division opens in Houston, Texas on February 4. A timetable has not been given for Shimoda’s return, but a press release from the team references multiple weeks.

“I’m doing my best to focus forward on my return to racing,” said Shimoda in the release. “Our goal was to compete for the 250 Supercross Eastern Regional Championship and I know we had been doing the right work to make that happen. Unfortunately, this crash will cause me to miss the start of the season, but I still aim to be back on the track racing for wins before the end of Supercross.”

Shimoda is joined on the sidelines by teammates Seth Hammaker and Austin Forkner, who also suffered injuries in recent weeks.

The news of Hammaker’s sidelining came just two days ago. His wrist injury is sufficient to require surgery, so he too will miss multiple weeks. Hammaker was scheduled to compete in the 250 East division alongside Shimoda.

Forkner was involved in a Lap 1 crash in the 250 West season opener at Anaheim. Multiple injuries, including an ACL tear, will sideline him for the remainder of the season. He described the injury and its aftermath on Instagram.

Forkner will be relieved by Carson Mumford, but not before that rider’s wrist has healed sufficiently. He is scheduled to debut with Kawasaki in Oakland for the rescheduled Round 2 Supercross race on February 18.

Shimoda finished fourth in the 2022 Supercross 250 West division and was second in 2021 points in 250 East. In 2021, Shimoda won his first Supercross race at Salt Lake City. Last year, he scored one podium and six top-fives in nine starts.

Shimoda finished second in last year’s outdoor Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, where he added two more SuperMotocross wins including the Unadilla Nationals that kicked off a four-race streak of first- or second-place results.

Kawasaki is not the only team facing injury. Red Bull KTM initially reported Marvin Musquin would be out for the San Diego round with a wrist injury and “maybe more”. This week it was announced he will miss this week’s Triple Crown race in Anaheim and “at least the next several rounds.”