Massa not giving up on runner-up spot in constructors’ championship

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Felipe Massa believes that Williams could yet catch Red Bull for second place in the 2014 Formula 1 constructors’ championship despite trailing the title holders by almost 100 points with six races remaining.

2014 has been a remarkable year for Williams. After scoring just five points in the entirety of last season, the British team has bounced back in style thanks to its new image and Mercedes power units to currently rank third in the constructors’ ahead of Ferrari.

Despite the team’s main focus appearing to be its Italian rivals, Massa believes that its aspirations should be a little loftier, and told Reuters that catching Red Bull should be the goal to have, to finish as the best of the rest behind the dominant Mercedes works team.

“We’re planning to close the gap in every race to catch even Red Bull which is a bit far, but you never know,” Massa explained. “Everything can change pretty quickly in Formula 1 in two or three races.

“The situation is different. Maybe we have the opportunity to fight for the second place.”

Massa scored his first podium finish since joining Williams at the Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago, and he is hopeful of going back-to-back in the top three this weekend in Singapore.

“I think the work and the job we are doing this year is going very well,” Massa said. “So there’s still a lot to improve in the second part of the season and also next year.

“It was fantastic to be back on the podium. I hope we can carry on being back on the podium for most of the races.

“I think it’s [Singapore] always a difficult race, a different track. Not the best track for us. I really expect we can be competitive and I hope we can fight again for the podium.”

Towards the end of his time with Ferrari, Massa appeared to have the weight of the world upon his shoulders and seemed under pressure to live up to unrealistic expectations given the car he had underneath him.

Since joining Williams though, his F1 career has enjoyed a new lease of life, and had it not been for some bad luck this season, he would most probably be ranking higher than ninth in the drivers’ standings.

You can watch this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix live across NBC Sports’ networks. For more information, click here.

Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”