2016 Rolex 24 rolling updates

Photo: IMSA
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – We’ll have updates as needed from the 54th Rolex 24 at Daytona, below.

11:49 a.m. ET (end of Hour 21):

  • Tequila Patron ESM’s hopes have been dented with a drive through penalty for speeding. Johannes van Overbeek was driving.
  • A rear axle issue has sent the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP to the garage for repairs, and the car lost five laps.
  • Kyle Larson just stuffed the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford in the West Horseshoe. The car was delayed anyway but this will officially end the repeat hopes for Larson, Jamie McMurray, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan.
  • As they have been, GTLM and GTD have been too close to follow for the majority of the race.

10:18 a.m. ET (middle of Hour 20):

  • It’s time to play crunch the numbers and it relates to maximum drive time, which if you remember, bit Wayne Taylor Racing last year when they had to make a last minute driver change and cost themselves a better result. Tequila Patron ESM’s Pipo Derani was placed in the team’s Ligier JS P2 Honda starting at 17:01 into the race, and ran til 19:18. This means that up to 23:01, he can only run a maximum of four in six hours. If you take the six hour block from 18:00, with six to go until the finish, Derani has run 78 minutes – meaning he can run 161 minutes (two hours, 41 minutes) of the remaining distance in order to bring the car home and not exceed the max drive time. How ESM plays its driver strategy will be key to determine whether they pull off the win.

9:40 a.m. ET (end of Hour 19):

  • There’s now five hours to go. I made it til 5 a.m. before passing out, and now am in need of some coffee.
  • Prototype has shaped up as a battle of the Tequila Patron ESM Ligier Honda versus an armada of Daytona Prototypes. The Ligier is faster and lighter on its tires, the Corvette DPs heavier and quicker on restarts.
  • Jordan Taylor drove after saying he wouldn’t during the Magnus Racing live web stream beyond his earlier single stint.
  • GTLM is a several horse race between Corvette, BMW, Porsche and Ferrari – still – although the No. 911 Porsche and No. 72 Ferrari have just gone to the garage.
  • GTD is also a several horse race between Porsche, Audi, BMW, Dodge and Aston Martin.
  • Also, this happened:

3:25 a.m. ET (just prior to end of Hour 13):

  • I’m still awake, the race is past the halfway mark and the Tequila Patron ESM Ligier JS P2 Honda is back in the lead, now back in the hands of Pipo Derani. Other Hour 12 class leaders, and top Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup points recipients: Alessandro Pier Guidi in the No. 68 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE (GTLM), Nicholas Boulle in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 (PC) and Alex Riberas in the No. 23 The Heart of Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R (GTD).
  • There have been 15 full-course cautions, the most recent of which was an accident for Lucas Luhr in the No. 100 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM. Luhr had an apparent parts failure that launched him across the road and into the Turn 6 wall. He got out of his car unscathed after what looked like heavy impact.

1:15 a.m. ET (middle of Hour 11):

  • I can’t believe this just happened, but it did. The two leading Lamborghini Huracán GT3s in the GT Daytona class have crashed into each other. Bryce Miller and Justin Marks collided on the run down to Turn 1, which took the Paul Miller and Change Racing Lamborghinis out of play. It’s promoted Shane van Gisbergen, in the WeatherTech Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, to the GTD class lead.
  • The retirement list grows further with the No. 88 Starworks PC car now done, with tub damage, per IMSA Radio. The No. 88 car joins the Shank, CORE, DeltaWing and No. 70 Mazda cars as official retirements.

12:40 a.m. ET (end of Hour 10):

  • Michael Shank Racing’s win hopes have ended in the tenth hour. Team principal Shank told IMSA Radio the team’s Ligier JS P2 Honda has stopped on course with either engine or gearbox problems, and have worked to diagnose the issue. It took Ozz Negri out of the lead and following Honda confirmation, the car has been retired from the race.

10:45 p.m. ET (end of Hour 8):

  • The DeltaWing is out, as is the No. 70 Mazda and No. 54 CORE autosport Oreca FLM09.
  • The No. 88 Starworks Motorsport car had an off at the Bus Stop with Mark Kvamme driving. It marked that car’s second incident, after it had also hit the wall exiting the pits when Sean Johnston behind the wheel.
  • Change Racing briefly led at the eight-hour mark with Spencer Pumpelly bringing the No. 16 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 from the rear of the field to the front. The Lamborghinis have had a distinguishable pace edge most of the race in GT Daytona.
  • The remaining Mazda, in the hands of Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires champion Spencer Pigot, had an ECU change and lost two laps when Pigot took over from Jonathan Bomarito. The team has picked up at least one of those laps via a wave around.
  • AJ Allmendinger needed a pee break. “I really had to go to the bathroom. I had to pee. I told Shank I needed to get out. I didn’t want to piss in the seat in front of Ozz. I didn’t ask to get out but when he said driver change I was happy,” he said during his media availability.

6:45 p.m. ET (end of Hour 4): 

  • The DeltaWing has suffered a major hit in a bizarre accident. The No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Oreca FLM09 of Chris Cumming was stopped and stalled in the middle of Turn 1, then hit by an oncoming Andy Meyrick, which launched the Prototype Challenge car into the air. Meyrick got out of the car and Cumming reported to his team he was OK. But it marks the first major accident of the race.

5:45 p.m. ET (end of Hour 3): 

  • Katherine Legge and Stephen Simpson have been the early stars of the race in P and PC. Legge has handed off the DeltaWing to Andy Meyrick, who incidentally, is wearing one of Sean Rayhall’s helmets. Chris Miller takes over the JDC/Miller Motorsports entry.
  • Simpson, who was leading the spec category by 54 seconds before pitting, maintained his usual humility: “I don’t know if it is the same because I have the JDC/Miller Motorsports guys tuning it and making so good. I just got in and drove the car,” he told IMSA Radio’s Shea Adam after the end of his three-hour stint.
  • Electrical issues have taken the prior GTD class leading No. 11 O’Gara Motorsport Lamborghini Huracán GT3 behind the wall. Prior to that, Townsend Bell was leading. His thoughts justprior:  “So far, so good. Got a great start and just kind of settled in. As usual, it’s fascinating on the opening stint because there’s the guys that are driving with a 20-minutes mentality and the guys driving with a 24-hour mentality. It’s a brand new team, brand new car. Everybody has experience but not much experience working together. That’s kind of fun to see where we’ve started to where we’ve come, just in the first stint. To have a little bit of success in the first stint is just a confidence builder.”
  • It’s been a tough race for Flying Lizard Motorsports, which partners with Krohn Racing this race and sees the No. 45 Audi R8 LMS ultra – the previous generation car – adorned in Krohn Green. But contact from another prototype damaged the front splitter, with the crew working to get the car repaired.
  • Dane Cameron has driven like a bulldog in the No. 31 Action Express Racing Corvette DP to get that car into the overall lead.

5:00 p.m. ET (end of Hour 2, into Hour 3):

  • The second Ford GT, the No. 66 car driven by Joey Hand, stopped on track to bring out the second full-course caution. Brake line issues were reported and upon the car’s return it stopped. After checks by the team, it continues…
  • The pair of Ligier JS P2 Hondas crashed into each other, as John Pew appeared to misjudge his braking point and contacted Johannes van Overbeek.
  • Joao Barbosa went on-and-off at the first hairpin, but resumed.
  • Bill Auberlen did yeoman’s work to bring the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM around to the pits after an apparent puncture on the right rear. The race remained green.
  • Scott Dixon brought the No. 02 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford to the lead overall, with the same cars – the No. 85 JDC/Miller Oreca FLM09, No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR, and No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 continuing to lead in PC, GTLM and GTD.

3:45 p.m. ET (end of Hour 1): We’re past the first hour of the 2016 Rolex 24.

Key notes:

  • Katherine Legge is leading overall in the DeltaWing, with a last-to-first run in the Prototype class. The team opted not to qualify, citing the terrible conditions.
  • Other class leaders were Stephen Simpson (PC, No. 85 JDC/Miller Motorsports), Nick Tandy (GTLM, No. 911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR) and Bryce Miller (GTD, No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3).
  • The No. 67 Ford GT went behind the wall for about 25 minutes and lost nearly 20 laps with gearbox issues. Ryan Briscoe started the car.
  • The No. 70 Mazda stopped on track to cause the race’s first full-course yellow. Tom Long was driving.
  • Several GTD cars got penalized following the first pit stop sequence. Meanwhile, the Lamborghinis were flying.

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
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More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”