The first bit of on-track action for 2014 occurs later this week at Daytona, the Roar Before the 24 test for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. There’s still many seats to be filled before the race but here’s a few of the notable or surprise names listed on the updated entry list, issued Monday:
Wayne Taylor, No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP (P)
AJ Allmendinger/Justin Wilson, No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford EcoBoost Riley (P)
Graham Rahal, No. 56 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTLM (GTLM)
Shane van Gisbergen, No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America (GTD)
Alex Riberas, No. 23 AJR/Team Seattle Porsche 911 GT America (GTD)
Connor De Phillippi, No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America (GTD)
Dane Cameron, No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 GTD (GTD)
Those are notable for a few reasons. Taylor hasn’t raced in half a decade and instead has left his sons, Ricky and Jordan, to carry on the family name in prototypes. Allmendinger and Wilson have teamed up for years at MSR and seem poised to do likewise this year. Rahal would have a go in his father Bobby’s BMW; some of his prior sports car starts have come in Porsches, but he was part of the BMW-Riley DP that Chip Ganassi Racing won overall with in 2011. Van Gisbergen is an Australian V8 Supercars star. Riberas and De Phillippi are Porsche Juniors, and Cameron is one of the most valuable free agents on the market with the news his Team Sahlen operation isn’t running its DPs next year.
Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.
Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.
The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.
In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.
Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.
Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.
Last Five Seattle Winners
450s 2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto