MRTI: Rayhall’s Saturday win caps off Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000 seven-race weekend at IMS

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We’ll have further breakouts to come later this week on MotorSportsTalk digesting the weekend’s Mazda Road to Indy races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but here are quick recaps from all seven events:

Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires (RESULTS)

Sean Rayhall emerged as a first-time winner in the second of two Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires races on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, in what was a popular triumph for both the young American and Enzo Potolicchio’s 8Star Motorsports team.

Rayhall got the lead at the start and emerged ahead of a first corner mess that sent Carlin’s Ed Jones into a spin after contact with fellow championship contender Jack Harvey.

Jones eventually rebounded to fourth after falling to last place and ended ahead of Harvey, whose car went into “limp mode” on the final lap while running second. Harvey fell to fifth. Spencer Pigot, the third member of the championship battle, endured a nightmare weekend and was first out Saturday after contact with another driver left him with a broken left suspension, beached in a gravel trap.

Behind Rayhall, RC Enerson finished second, posting a career-best, while Max Chilton added another podium finish in third.

The Indy Lights races, with Friday’s Round 6 won by Jack Harvey shown in highlights and the full Round 7 the featured race, will air this Thursday, May 14, at 1 a.m. ET on NBCSN. Kevin Lee and Anders Krohn will host, with Katie Hargitt in pit lane.

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Urrutia celebrates. Photo: IMS Photography, LLC

Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires (RESULTS)

Andretti Autosport’s Weiron Tan (Thursday), Juncos Racing’s Timothe Buret (Friday) and Team Pelfrey’s Santiago Urrutia (Saturday) won the three races of Pro Mazda’s lone scheduled triple header this year. Tan and Urrutia took their second wins of the season while Buret was a first-time winner in-between.

Tan won the postponed race from NOLA Motorsports Park in April, which gridded based on NOLA’s qualifying order. Buret led home Florian Latorre in Friday’s race; Latorre rebounded after a scary, but slow-ish, rollover accident in Thursday’s race that meant his Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing crew needed to work through the night to get the car prepared.

Urrutia seized momentum on Saturday and rounded out the trio of wins; the Uruguayan driver leads the points standings.

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Jamin up front. Photo: IMS Photography, LLC

Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda (RESULTS)

Cape Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing driver Nico Jamin took an authoritative step in the USF2000 championship battle with a double race win at IMS, albeit in two contrasting ways.

In Friday’s Round 7, Jamin started first, briefly fell back to fifth, then recovered to the lead courtesy of a last-lap pass on fellow title rival Jake Eidson. Jamin’s teammate Aaron Telitz led most of the race but was caught out by a mid-race restart, where he was one of several drivers to go in too deep into Turn 1 and lost several positions; alas, he rebounded to third at the finish.

Saturday’s Round 8 saw Eidson in trouble early, needing a front wing change after contact in the Turns 1/2 complex. Telitz felt a car hit him up the back, only realizing post-race it was Eidson. Jamin led a more straightforward Cape 1-2 up front, with Australia’s Anthony Martin coming home P3. Eidson finished 12th, which was three or four spots better than it looked like he would after some last lap drama for three other cars. Keep that in mind if it comes down to a three or four-point margin around title time in September.

NEXT UP

Indy Lights races its biggest race of the year, the Freedom 100, on Friday, May 22 (coverage will be on NBCSN as part of Carb Day coverage). Meanwhile both Pro Mazda and USF2000 will be racing at Lucas Oil Raceway outside Indianapolis on Saturday, May 23.

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, points

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

POINTS: Standings after Rolex 24 at Daytona l Michelin Endurance Cup standings l Daytona endurance points

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.