Nationwide afternoon test session ends early with Chad Boat in P1

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The final day of NASCAR Nationwide Series testing at Daytona International Speedway was curtailed with roughly an hour and a half to go before the scheduled end point of 5 p.m. ET.

Chad Boat, who recently announced a part-time Nationwide program for this season, was quickest in the abbreviated afternoon session with a lap of 187.778 miles per hour in the No. 84 Billy Boat Motorsports Chevrolet.

However, that’s a couple miles per hour slower than Dylan Kwasniewski’s 190.022 mph lap he ran this morning, which will stand as the fastest lap throughout the Nationwide portion of Preseason Thunder.

The Camping World Truck Series drivers and teams are now set to have Daytona’s famous 2.5-mile oval to themselves for their Thunder test on Monday and Tuesday.

Boat was followed in the afternoon session by Kyle Larson’s lap of 187.703 mph in the No. 32 Turner Scott Motorsports Chevrolet. P3 went to Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Reed in the No. 16 Ford, which turned in a lap of 187.496 mph.

From the sanctioning body’s perspective, Nationwide Series director Wayne Auton said today that the drivers have given high marks to the changes made to the Nationwide cars for 2014, which include smaller spoilers, a new rear spring package, and new cooling systems.

Also, NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton talked further about the decision to outlaw two-car tandem drafting for restrictor-plate races in both Nationwide and Trucks.

Pemberton was posed a hypothetical situation by a reporter in which a tandem takes place on the last lap or with two laps remaining in a race. In his response, Pemberton, while noting the unofficial rule of drivers having three laps to heed a black flag, also mentioned NASCAR’s ability to just not score the lap or add a time penalty in post-race.

“That’s been there all along,” he said. “…You know, the rule that — the unwritten rule that you get three laps from getting a black flag, it really doesn’t hold water. I mean, we only give them that, and that started back in the day when people a lot of times didn’t even have radios. So that’s just kind of — it’s the unwritten rule.

“But we expect teams that get the black flag to immediately obey the order from the tower, and we do have the ability to fix the scoring when it’s over with.”

NATIONWIDE PRESEASON THUNDER – SUNDAY AFTERNOON TIMES

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.