Porsche leads first Le Mans qualifying; Duval ruled out (UPDATED)

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Porsche has the provisional pole for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. But it came on a day with way less track time than the six hours that were planned due to a litany of accidents.

Ex-Mercedes test driver Brendon Hartley, now a Porsche factory ace, clocked in at 3:23.157 in the No. 20 Porsche 919 Hybrid. He’ll co-drive with Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard this week, as he does for the rest of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Other provisional class polesitters are G-Drive Racing, AF Corse and SMP Racing in LMP2, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am.

Here’s results thus far. Two more qualifying sessions occur on Thursday, form 7 to 9 and 10 to midnight local time.

The No. 1 Audi wrecked earlier Wednesday and requires a change in chassis. The team confirmed just “two grazes” was all that affected Loic Duval, who had the accident at the Porsche Curves.

That said, despite the minimal nature of his injuries, Duval was ruled out by doctors late Wednesday night, confirmed by the team. Marc Gene will fill in for him at Audi; Oliver Turvey now fills in for Gene at Jota Sport in LMP2.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.