Kurt Busch excited by Gene Haas’ F1 project

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Kurt Busch has said that Gene Haas is determined to get his Formula 1 team on the grid in 2015, and although he feels that he is too old to race, he would certainly be up for a test drive.

The FIA confirmed on Friday that Haas had been given the green light to put together a team for 2015, setting the wheels in motion for an American outfit to join the grid. A technical partnership with Ferrari is thought to be on the table, and the likes of Alexander Rossi and Conor Daly have already been linked with a seat.

Busch – who drives the #41 for Stewart-Haas Racing in NASCAR – was really enthusiastic about the possibility of an American team joining the grid.

“It will be an incredible challenge. He knows that,” Busch told the Associated Press. “He’s serious. You just don’t drop $40 million on a wind tunnel and not think that you’re serious about racing.

“It’s a matter of the fans getting behind it, supporting Gene and trying to give F1 another chance,” he said. “We’ve had Michael Andretti, before him was his dad. We had Scott Speed as a driver. Now we have an owner. It will be interesting to see how the driver line-up shapes up.”

At 35, Busch feels that he is too old to race for the team, but he would not say no to a test outing.

“My time has passed to be a competitive driver in F1,” he said. “But a test session? I’d jump on that every time. They’re going to have hard time keeping me out of the shop, from hanging out.”

Following the announcement, there has been a mix of delight and skepticism from the Formula 1 world. However, with a racing team and automotive company behind the American bid this time around, Haas’ project appears to have far more going for it than USF1 did back in 2009.

Predictably, a number of other NASCAR and IndyCar drivers will be linked to the seats with Haas in Formula 1, but should he be looking for American drivers that are already on the sport’s ladder, both Rossi and Daly would be good picks. However, they might need to be complemented by a more experienced Formula 1 driver given that neither has started a grand prix yet.

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 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


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