DeltaWing’s improvements coming at right time into Long Beach

Photo: Rick Dole/Panoz DeltaWing Racing
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LONG BEACH, Calif. – Ahead of today’s third round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, the Panoz DeltaWing Racing team’s continuous effort and hard work is starting to pay dividends.

It hasn’t come yet in terms of outright results, but is in terms of increased competitiveness.

Katherine Legge led overall in the DeltaWing DWC13 coupe at Daytona, and the car she shared with Andy Meyrick and Sean Rayhall was poised for a lead lap finish at Sebring before heartbreak inside the final 20 minutes. The car retired with an issue in the steering rack.

“It’s been an encouraging start,” DeltaWing team manager Tim Keene told NBC Sports. “It was a shame to DNF with 17 minutes to go, but we were still on the lead lap. Potentially, we could have ended up sixth.

“We got what we got due to a crack in the steering box. One of the teeth broke off the rack. It’s just something we can’t do a lot about; given the way the car is designed and built, it’s like racing on railroad tracks for 12 hours.”

Also encouraging was the car’s improved pace in the morning two-hour practice session. Last year, the car was 2.078 seconds off the pace (1:16.063 to a 1:18.141); this year it’s just 1.313 off seconds (1:15.917 to 1:17.230). The time improved to a 1:16.578 by Meyrick in the afternoon, just 1.104 off the pace.

“I certainly don’t expect to be at the top of the field, I don’t think. But we are a lot closer than we have been,” Keene explained.

“We have to keep making gains. We didn’t make many significant changes. Made some shock adjustments and one spring change. Mainly it’s been to the drivers to get them to be more confident into the corners.”

Legge and Meyrick share the car this week, with Meyrick making his track debut and really enjoying the atmosphere of the Southern California street circuit. Legge, of course, won her first race in North America in the 2005 Formula Atlantic season – a race that put her on the map in the country.

Meyrick qualified a very solid sixth at a best time of 1:16.006. He’ll start the race before handing off to Legge at a pit stop sequence. This year the car was only 1.044 off pole; last year, it was 2.615 seconds.

“Qualifying went very well,” Meyrick said. “P6 is fantastic and the whole team should be congratulated on the job they’ve done today but also on the improvements to the car from 12 months ago.

“The team has progressed so far from where they were here only a year ago. Last year, the car was nearly three seconds off the leader’s time, whereas this year, we are barely over a second. We know we have a good race car and that’s the most important thing going into the race tomorrow.”

The team is also sending best wishes to senior race engineer Catherine Crawford, who continues to recover following emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor. The below signs are up on the team’s transporter this weekend.

Supercross reveals 2023 Daytona track designed by Ricky Carmichael for 16th time

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For the 16th consecutive year, Ricky Carmichael has designed a signature course for the Daytona Supercross race, which will be March 4, 2023.

Eli Tomac took advantage of a last lap mistake by Cooper Webb last year to win a record setting sixth Daytona race – and with that win, he broke out of a tie Carmichael.

Construction on the course will begin two days after the completion of the 65th running of NASCAR’s Daytona 500 when haulers start to unload 7,200 tons of dirt onto the grassy infield in order to create a course 3,300 feet long.

“Ricky has designed yet another incredible course for this year’s Daytona Supercross,” said Daytona International Speedway President Frank Kelleher in a press release. “We’re thrilled to unveil it to the fans, and we can’t wait for them to come out to the track and see it in person.”

MORE: Designs for SuperMotocross finals at zMax Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway

Carmichael’s Daytona course will take center stage for Round 8 of the 17-race Supercross season and the 31-race SuperMotocross season.

The Supercross race coincides with Daytona’s Bike Week, which runs from March 3-12 and includes races from the American Flat Track series and the legendary Daytona 200 speedway race that is contested on the infield road course.

Last year’s course was reported to have 57 obstacles including the return of an over-under bridge. For 2023 the number of obstacles listed in 42, but that will not keep this from being one of the toughest tracks on which the Monster Energy Supercross series will race.

Many of the same elements from last year will be present including sharp turns, vaulted jumps, sand sections and a finish line that aligns with the oval tracks’ start/finish line.

“This year’s Daytona Supercross design is one of the best,” Carmichael said. “It races great for the riders – it’s safe yet challenging and it’s very similar to last year with the split lanes. Daytona is the toughest, gnarliest race on the Supercross circuit, but it’s the most special to win.

“This track is going to produce great racing and I think the riders are going to put on a fantastic display for all our fans.”

While Tomac has dominated this race during his career, Daytona has also been the site of some other dramatic victories. In 2021 Aaron Plessinger scored his first career Supercross podium in 35 starts with a win there and reversed a three-year streak of bad luck on the track.

The Daytona Supercross race is the first of two the series will contest on speedway infield courses. A little more than one month later, Atlanta Motor Speedway will enter their third season as a supercross venue. These two courses will serve as an early test for the SuperMotocross three-race finale that begins September 9, 2023 at zMax Dragway in Charlotte, North Carolina. The three playoff races will each be held on courses that contain elements of Supercross and Motocross, much like Daytona and Atlanta.