TUSC: Rolex 24 Race Updates Hours 13-On

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UPDATE (12:42 p.m. ET): With 90 minutes to go in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Jordan Taylor is the meat in an Action Express Racing sandwich.

Taylor and the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP is in hot pursuit of IndyCar’s Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP and trying to also stave off third-place John Martin in AXR’s sister car, the No. 9.

The GTLM battle has taken an important turn, as the No. 4 Chevy Corvette was forced to go to the garage for gearbox repairs, abandoning second in class. The No. 911 Porsche North America machine of Nick Tandy remains out front, but BMW Team RLL’s No. 55 Z4 GTE, with driver Joey Hand, is your new class runner-up.

GTD remains very close, with the No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia still on top after Townsend Bell battled for the lead with Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8.

Pumpelly had to go to pit road shortly afterwards for fuel, however, and currently sits third behind the No. 555 (now driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi) and the No. 58 Snow Racing Porsche 911 GT America of Jan Heylen.

The PC category remains led by the No. 54 CORE Autosport ORECA FLM09, now in the hands of Colin Braun.

A note: GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing owner Bob Stallings, along with drivers Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty and Darren Law, have issued their own statements on yesterday’s crash that involved team member Memo Gidely.

UPDATE (11:11 a.m. ET): Three Corvette DPs still run in the top three positions, and overall leader Jordan Taylor in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing entry avoided a major calamity when he took to the Turn 1 grass to evade a spinning GT car. Action Express’ pair will chase him down for the final three hours as, past the 21-hour mark, the race is under full course caution.

Other class leaders include the No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR (GTLM), No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 (PC) and No. 555 Level 5 Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 (GTD).

Less than three hours remain in this year’s running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Of note, Indy Lights champion Sage Karam made an appearance in the media center to describe his first Rolex 24.

“It’s the first time I’d ever been in for more than an hour at the time,” said the driver who’s nicknamed “SK$.” “It’s the first time I’ve ever had to share a car. But I love the sports car experience. You’re passing like 10 cars per lap; it’s definitely not boring.”

UPDATE (8:51 a.m. ET): We’ve also just received a medical update from IMSA regarding GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing’s Memo Gidley and Risi Competizione’s Matteo Malucelli.

IMSA confirmed an earlier report from the GAINSCO team that Gidley had undergone surgery overnight on his left arm and left leg at nearby Halifax Health Medical Center. But now we also know that Gidley has an “unstable fracture” in his back that will require additional surgery before he can be released from the hospital.

As for Malucelli, a further update regarding his condition will be provided later today but IMSA reports that he “continues to rest comfortably” at Halifax, where he was kept overnight for evaluations.

UPDATE (8:44 a.m. ET): As the sun rises over Daytona International Speedway and reveals an array of battered race cars still soldiering on through the 3.56-mile road course, you can’t help but think that these cars were all once spotless yesterday afternoon. It’s a reminder of how grueling the Rolex 24 (and endurance racing altogether) is.

We’re now within six hours of the finish in Daytona, and in the Prototype category, the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP has become the closest challenger to Action Express Racing, which has their No. 9 Corvette DP on top.

AXR’s No. 5 Corvette DP, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates’ No. 02, and the No. 6 Muscle Milk Oreca/Nissan P2 car are one lap down to the leader, but they’re still very much in striking distance.

The No. 5, with Joao Barbosa at the controls, got tagged with a stop-and-hold penalty for avoidable contact around 7:30 a.m. ET this morning. Shortly after that, Scott Dixon in the No. 02 was forced to pit for a flat right rear tire.

In GTLM, the two-car Porsche North America and Corvette Racing squads that have been battling for the class lead remain on top but each team has suffered as well. Porsche’s No. 912 has been forced to go behind the wall, while the No. 3 Corvette retired overnight with overheating issues.

CORE Autosport’s No. 54 and 8Star’s No. 25 continue to duel for the PC lead, and in GTD, the Level 5 Motorsports No. 555 continues to set the pace.

4:30 a.m. ET: The prototype (P) class battle is shaping up as a seven-car fight, six of which are Daytona Prototypes and the lone interloper the Muscle Milk Pickett Racing ORECA 03 Nissan, a P2 car.

The lead had shifted between the Wayne Taylor, Action Express and Spirit of Daytona Corvette DPs, along with the Ford EcoBoost Rileys from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (No. 02) and Michael Shank Racing.

Corvette and Porsche exchanged the lead in GTLM after SRT Viper had issues and BMW has struggled with its straight line speed.

8Star and CORE have battled for the PC lead in the all-spec ORECA FLM09 class. Ferrari has held the lead in GTD for most of the race with either Level 5 or Scuderia Corsa, in the 458 Italia GT3s.

See the Hours 1-12 recap for the rest of the news.

Or, if you want another stream, check out the Magnus Racing webcast for off-the-wall coverage.

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

More SuperMotocross coverage

Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list
Injury sidelines Austin Forkner for remainder of 2023 SX
Chase Sexton wins Anaheim 2 in 450s; Levi Kitchen takes 250s
Results and points from Anaheim 2