TUSC: Ryan Dalziel feeling “robbed” after Sebring runner-up

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Going into the final hour of yesterday’s Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, Extreme Speed Motorsports and its No. 1 HPD ARX-03b, driven at the time by Ryan Dalziel, was ahead of the pack.

But with 51 minutes remaining, a full-course yellow came out for a car stopped on the track – just after the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley/Ford Ecoboost Daytona Prototype of Marino Franchitti had pitted under green.

While Dalziel and the rest of the leaders pitted under yellow for fuel, the Ganassi No. 01 stayed out to take the lead. Dalziel wound up second for the restart with 21 minutes left, and Franchitti promptly pulled away from him en route to the eventual win.

That caused the Scotsman to tweet out his frustration over the finish, going as far to say that he felt “robbed” by the outcome.

Dalziel also told MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno afterwards: “I never saw the car off. But I’ve never known GRAND-AM or [the American Le Mans Series] to throw competition cautions before.”

Still, he noted the mix of Prototypes in the Top 4 finishing positions: Ganassi’s DP, his team’s P2 car, the third-place No. 5 Action Express DP, and the fourth-place P2 from OAK Racing.

“I don’t know how anybody could’ve complained about that,” he said. “It just would’ve been nice if it was a P2, [then a DP in second], but it wasn’t.”

Dalziel also felt that his time behind the wheel of the No. 1 ESM machine (which he shared with ex-IndyCar man Scott Sharp and David Brabham) was solid.

He additionally sounded off on the multiple first-half wrecks that marred the event, which included two major crashes in the Prototype Challenge category.

One of those PC incidents saw Alex Tagliani slam into Gaston Kearby after the latter lost control of his car and then attempted to spin himself back in the right direction.

Unfortunately, Kearby spun into the racing line and “Tag” was unable to keep from hitting him. Both drivers came out of it OK, but it was still a lowlight of the afternoon.

“The first part of the race was – it’s always the same with these big races, it’s no different at Daytona – when you get to the halfway point, all the crap cars and idiots make mistakes for themselves and take themselves out of the race,” Dalziel explained.

“Much like the couple of big incidents we had today – they were people where it was just waiting to happen…You’re thankful no one is hurt but on the other hand, you almost are relieved the cars are out of the race.

“Unfortunately, they took a couple of competitive cars with them, but I think [with the bigger car count], we’re gonna face that all year and we’re gonna have to deal with it.”

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III