Negri leads Rolex 24 polesitters in Ligier Honda P2 car


A year ago, Michael Shank Racing was a Daytona Prototype-loyalist team and ran a Riley-Ford chassis.

A year later, they have a next generation LMP2-spec chassis – the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda – and the pole position for the 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Ozz Negri followed up leading both practice sessions earlier Thursday with the pole position for Saturday’s 53rd edition of the January endurance classic.

The Brazilian banked a flier of 1:39.194 to score the pole position.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s pair of Riley-Fords – Shank’s former package – were second and third. The team’s NASCAR and IndyCar stars are mixed in among Scott Pruett and Joey Hand in the No. 01 and 02 cars.

Defending Rolex 24 and TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype class series champions Action Express Racing qualified fourth with its No. 5 Corvette DP and the radical looking DeltaWing qualified fifth overall.

Other class polesitters for Saturday’s race include Johnny Mowlem (No. 16 BAR1 Motorsports Oreca FLM09, Prototype Challenge), Oliver Gavin (No. 4 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R, GT Le Mans) and James Davison (No. 007 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT3).

Mowlem’s pole is his third overall in North American sports car racing, Gavin’s is Corvette’s first since May 2014 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (teammate Antonio Garcia), and the 12th different driver to score a pole in as many TUDOR Championship GTLM qualifying sessions, and Davison’s is his fifth in a row unleashed after a last lap flier.

Saturday’s race gets underway Saturday at 2:10 p.m. ET.

RESULTS: Qualifying

Alex Palou fastest as several go off course during IndyCar practice at IMS

IndyCar Harvest GP practice
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
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Alex Palou paced the opening practice Thursday for the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

The Dale Coyne Racing rookie turned a 1-minute, 10.177-second lap around the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in his No. 55 Dallara-Honda.

Jack Harvey was second, followed by Colton Herta, points leader Scott Dixon and Max Chilton.

PRACTICE CHART: Click here to see the speed rundown from Thursday’s session

FRIDAY AT IMS: Details for watching Race 1 of the Harvest GP

Qualifying for Friday’s race will be at 6:20 p.m. ET Thursday on NBC Sports Gold.

Will Power, who won the pole position for the July 4 race at the track, spun off course with just more than a minute left in the session after the left rear of his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet made slight contact with the right front of Alexander Rossi’s No. 28 Dallara-Honda.

Power was among several drivers who went off track, but there were no damaged cars during the session. Marcus Ericsson missed the final 5 minutes of the practice after being penalized for causing a red flag with a Turn 8 spin.

Arrow McLaren SP drivers Pato O’Ward and Helio Castroneves, who is driving for Oliver Askew (who is recovering from concussion-like symptoms), also veered off course as did rookie Rinus VeeKay and Santino Ferrucci.

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson was in attendance at the session before racing Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. Johnson will be driving a partial schedule of road and street courses in IndyCar next season for Chip Ganassi Racing.

“Literally, the smallest of details, I can pick up on,” Johnson told NBC Sports pit reporter Kevin Lee. “It’s been really nice today just to see how a session starts and obviously to jump on the radio and listen to how the systems work and then obviously you get into the car and the setup and such. I’m at ground zero right now, a 45-year-old rookie trying to learn my way into a new sport essentially.”

Johnson told Lee his sponsorship hunt to run a Ganassi car “has gone really well. The fact that I’m here today and ingrained so deeply in the team is a great sign of where things are going. Looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a car soon and hopefully having some announcements for the world to see soon, too.”

Fans were in attendance Thursday for the first time this season at IMS, which is allowed a limited crowd of 10,000 for its races this weekend.