Happy birthday to two of racing’s top personalities, Newgarden and Eversley

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Perhaps the mainstream public-at-large isn’t aware of Josef Newgarden and/or Ryan Eversley yet. But given these two’s outreach and social media presence, plus their popularity within their respective series’ paddocks, they should be.

Both have birthdays today. Newgarden turns 23, Eversley 30, and both seek even bigger 2014s after each made a bigger name for themselves with some of their 2013 efforts.

Newgarden completed his second season in IndyCar with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, and was one of the year’s most improved drivers. Four top-five finishes also included a career-best second place in Baltimore, his first podium finish.

Off the track, Newgarden’s quirky persona carried over when he was featured prominently in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s attempt at the “Harlem Shake” fad in February and March (yes, it’s hard to believe that was a fad, and that it was this calendar year). Additionally, Newgarden raised awareness for animal cruelty for a campaign called “Show Your Soft Side” in Baltimore, and was so struck by the cat he did a photo shoot with that he adopted it.

Newgarden made his intro to IndyCar racing – at least in the social media realm – with a series of “Incognito” videos during 2012.

Eversley, meanwhile co-drove with Kyle Gimple to finish second in the ST class of the 2013 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, in the Compass360 Racing team’s No. 75 Honda Civic Si. The pair failed to win but had several podium finishes, and was only just denied the title at the last race of the season. He also finished on the podium in the GX class at this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, co-driving a BGB Motorsports-entered Porsche Cayman.

Where Eversley’s star rose was on Vine. No driver mastered the series of six-second video loops better (Newgarden did a few of these too, but not to Eversley’s frequency) and it helped to put him on the map. One such example is below, with a Lego version of Eversley’s firesuit walking across a chopsticks-made bridge.

Eversley also had a starring role in two of the Taylor brothers’ music videos, culminating in the “you have to have seen this if you’re in racing” “Jordan Loves Stickers.” He took over the Continental Tire social media channels for the SEMA Show in Las Vegas in November, as well.

But where Eversley has really stood out has been in his raising awareness for the Children’s Tumor Foundation, an organization that seeks to find a cure for individuals (mainly children) living with neurofibromatosis (NF).  NF causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and can lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities, and excruciating and disabling pain. As a way to do so, Eversley has sought votes via Eagle Rare Life to help raise money for that.

Good dudes, good drivers, and guys who are working both to raise awareness for their sport and for good causes – fitting they share a birthday.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.