Kimball banks second straight GP of Indianapolis top-five finish

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INDIANAPOLIS – As in 2014, Charlie Kimball wasn’t really on the radar heading into the Angie’s List Grand Prix of Indianapolis, but emerged at the end of the race with his first top-five finish of the season.

Last year it was a 23rd to fifth, and this year it was a 14th to fifth run aboard the No. 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

The result today is not only his first top-five but also his first top-10 result of the year.

Kimball had to take the escape road to avoid the first corner chaos and wound up one of several drivers who pitted on Lap 2. He was back to the top-10 – in 10th – by Lap 34 and made it to the lead by Lap 62 before making his final pit stop of the race.

The gained track position over those 60 laps put him in position to not lose too much when he made his final stop. He reemerged in sixth, which became his final finishing position of fifth once James Hinchcliffe pitted for the final time on an off-sequence strategy on Lap 75.

“A lot of it came to the car just being that good,” Kimball told ABC’s Jon Beekhuis post-race. “A lot of credit goes to the Team Chevy guys. The aero kits are competitive in the corners, and had the horsepower down the straights.

“A lot of it happened in pit lane and so much has to go to the Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi guys in the pits. Good stops, good in and out laps, they gave me a fuel mileage number and car was quick and able to hit that number.”

How good would he have been if he qualified better?

“That’s always gotta be the comment right?” he added. “I’d like to keep racing like I am and qualify a lot better. That’s our goal heading into the rest of the month, and go have a good race like that one.”

It was nice for Kimball, who has been the target of various other cars this year, to have a trouble-free race and end P5.

He also ended best of the quartet of Chip Ganassi Racing cars. Teammates Tony Kanaan (seventh) and Scott Dixon (10th) at least made it three CGR cars in the top-10, while Sebastian Saavedra ended 17th in his second start of the season.

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

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

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

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning the 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.

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 third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing.

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.

With the rebranding of DPi to GTP for the new LMDh cars, 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.”