Photo: Tequila Patron ESM

Engine issues hamper Patron ESM’s quest for U.S. three-peat

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Tequila Patron ESM returned to the U.S. shores with a vengeance and a winning streak on the line in the Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, but unfortunately an old gremlin returned.

Engine issues took the No. 2 Ligier JS P2 Honda – the same chassis that won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring with ESM and then finished 14th overall, ninth in the LMP2 class at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Michael Shank Racing – out of contention in Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen.

It was a shame after the team overcame both power steering and seat belt issues earlier in the race. Johannes van Overbeek also delivered the overall pole at 1:35.207, a new track record at Watkins Glen International.

Honda still banked a key podium though with the trio of Ozz Negri, John Pew and Olivier Pla third overall in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda – and with a clear pace advantage on the Corvette DPs which ultimately ended up first and second.

Alas, with necessary points banked for the Patron Endurance Cup at the halfway point of the six-hour race, ESM remains in contention for that title before Petit Le Mans in October, both the full IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and Patron Endurance Cup season finale.

“What a great team effort after the issue we had with our power steering,” Derani said in the team’s release. “We were so lucky to be able to fix it during the full course yellow. We were back in the fight, and unfortunately something happened with our engine. We don’t know exactly what yet. When I jumped out, there was a lot of oil. It’s just a shame. The car was really good and we had a real shot of victory at this one. But we’ll bounce back.”

The team has several FIA World Endurance Championship races in the interim at the Nürburgring (July 24), then Mexico City and Circuit of The Americas (Sept. 3 and 17), before their next IMSA appearance later this year.

IndyCar at IMS Friday: How to watch, start times, live streaming info

IndyCar Indianapolis start times
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With three races remaining in the NTT IndyCar Series season, Scott Dixon has a commanding lead and history on his side entering Friday’s opener of the Harvest GP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The five-time series champion leads defending champ Josef Newgarden by 72 points.

Since 2014, the points leader with three races left has won the championship in five of the past six years, including Dixon in ’18.

The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has led the championship standings following every round after opening 2020 with three consecutive victories. Dixon also led the points by 78 points with three races remaining when he won the title in 2008.

Dixon, Newgarden, Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta, Will Power, Graham Rahal and Takuma Sato are championship eligible.

Anyone outside 108 points of the lead after Indy will be eliminated heading into the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

Here is the IndyCar Harvest GP at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course schedule for Friday (all times are ET), including details and start times:


Indianapolis Motor Speedway TV schedule for Friday

IndyCar Harvest GP Race 1: 3:30 p.m., USA Network, NBC Sports Gold and streaming on the NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com); Leigh Diffey is the lead announcer for IndyCar on NBCSN this weekend with analysts Townsend Bell and Paul Tracy.


IndyCar Harvest GP, Race 1 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway start times, information

COMMAND TO START ENGINES: 3:53 p.m.

GREEN FLAG: 4 p.m.

DISTANCE: The race is 85 laps (207.35 miles) around Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s a 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in Indianapolis.

TIRE ALLOTMENT: Nine sets primary, five sets alternate (A 10th set of primary tires is available to any car fielding a rookie.) Teams must use one set of primary and one set of alternate tires in the race.

PUSH TO PASS: 200 seconds of total time with a maximum time of 20 seconds per activation.

FORECAST: According to Wunderground.com, it’s expected to be 57 degrees with a 0% chance of rain at the green flag.

QUALIFYING: 6:20 p.m. Thursday (NBC Sports Gold)

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the 25 drivers racing this weekend at Indianapolis