Remembering Justin Wilson (VIDEO)

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On Tuesday’s NASCAR America, several of Justin Wilson’s colleagues and members of the racing community paid tribute to the 37-year-old Englishman, who died on Monday after sustaining a severe head injury Sunday at Pocono Raceway.

Leigh Diffey, NBC Sports Group lead F1 and IndyCar lap-by-lap announcer, remembers Wilson with a look back at the driver’s successes on the track and off as a highly respected competitor, advocate for dyslexia and family man.

Diffey expanded in a chat with Dave Briggs that he feels for Wilson’s wife, children and family, and also empathizes with his whole family of engineers, mechanics and owners that are grieving after the loss of such a genuine driver.

AJ Allmendinger was Wilson’s longtime teammate in Champ Car with the RuSPORT team. The two played off each other nicely with Allmendinger the diminutive Californian and Wilson the lanky Englishman. They were also part of the winning lineup with Ozz Negri and John Pew, driving with Michael Shank Racing, at the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Allmendinger, now a NASCAR driver, called Wilson a teammate, but more importantly he called him a friend and a driver that was the “best I’ve been around” and “one of the best people I’ve had the pleasure to meet.”

Team Penske driver Helio Castroneves remembers Wilson as “completely genuine” and talks about what it’s like to be a father first and driver second, as Wilson is survived by two daughters.

Serving alongside Wilson on the IndyCar council, Tony Kanaan remembers the 37-year old as “the nicest guy” and sees it as his responsibility to help keep Wilson’s legacy alive.

NBC IndyCar analyst Jon Beekhuis remembers Wilson and is still in disbelief of his passing because he thought Wilson would overcome, just as he had done in the face of life’s many other obstacles.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III