Big couple days for birthdays for Dario Franchitti, Simon Pagenaud

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He may not be driving anymore, but that doesn’t mean Dario Franchitti and Tony Kanaan still can’t banter.

Franchitti turns 41 today, May 19, and to celebrate poked fun at the 39-year-old “TK” (Kanaan will turn 40 on December 31).

Franchitti will drive the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 pace car in this year’s Indianapolis 500. The three-time 500 winner and four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion was forced to retire this offseason from injuries sustained in an accident at Houston last October.

Meanwhile on Sunday, Grand Prix of Indianapolis winner Simon Pagenaud celebrated his 30th birthday. Seems hard to believe given he was just a kid when he began tearing up these shores from when he arrived in 2006. He’ll wear an Ayrton Senna tribute helmet for the Indianapolis 500.

Porsche pulls GTLM cars from Mid-Ohio because of COVID-19 positives

Porsche Mid-Ohio COVID-19
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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Porsche will skip Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race with its two GTLM cars at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after three positive COVID-19 tests were confirmed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

That resulted in Porsche choosing to pull out of the Nurburgring 24 Hour endurance race in Germany, electing to avoid sending any team members as a precautionary measure.

Porsche Motorsport announced Tuesday that its COVID-19 decision also would apply at Mid-Ohio to its No. 911 and No. 12 teams.

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Three of Porsche’s four IMSA GTLM drivers — Laurens Vanthoor, Frederic Makowiecki and Nick Tandy — also were racing in Le Mans. The trio has remained isolated in Europe and won’t be allowed to travel.

“Based on yesterday’s decision that no employee or racing driver of our Le Mans team will participate in the Nürburgring 24 Hours, we have today decided that this ruling will also apply to the upcoming IWSC race in Mid-Ohio,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president for Porsche Motorsport, said in a release. “This means that Laurens, Nick and Fred will not be traveling to the USA.

“This is very regrettable, but we would like to emphasize that in this case as well the health of all those concerned is the prime focus of the decisions we have taken.”

The decision also affects Earl Bamber, who teamed with Vanthoor to win the GTLM championship last year in the No. 912.

Porsche said its GTLM Porsche 911 RSR-19 entries will return for the Oct. 10 race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

That will reduce the GTLM class to four cars — two Corvettes and two BMWs — this weekend at Mid-Ohio, in what could be somewhat of a 2021 preview. Porsche Motorsport announced earlier this year that it will leave IMSA after the 2020 season because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.