Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA: WeatherTech AJR, Black Swan Porsche lineups change

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There’s a couple key lineup adjustments heading into this weekend’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase, the next round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, and both involve Porsche teams in the GT Daytona class.

The biggest change comes with the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R, which sees Leh Keen released from the team and Sven Mueller replacing him for this weekend at Road America.

The move comes as quite a surprise – Keen and longtime co-driver Cooper MacNeil have been together since the start of the IMSA merged series in 2014, although they have not won a race together. Their best finish this year is fifth on two occasions.

“We decided to make a driver change for the rest of the season in the WeatherTech Porsche,” team owner, Alex Job said. “Leh Keen has won races with us, but off the track circumstances led to a change. We wish Leh all the best going forward. Sven is a fast young driver that is currently leading both the Supercup and Carrera Cup series in Europe. We are looking forward to having a successful weekend of racing at Road America. We will reassess where we are with the 22 Porsche after this weekend.”

The No. 22 WeatherTech-backed car change follows the addition of a third Porsche, another WeatherTech entry, the No. 77 for David MacNeil and Gunnar Jeannette, for this weekend.

Mueller, a Porsche Junior driver, became available for this weekend only after his planned appearance in the No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R went by the wayside.

Tim Pappas, team principal and co-driver of the Black Swan Racing Porsche, withdrew the team in a late notice before this weekend’s race – owing to tragic circumstances. Pappas’ father died on Monday and the decision was made to suspend racing activities until further notice.

“We lost an amazing person on Monday,” Pappas said. “Unfortunately, losing my dad happened suddenly, without any warning.  I am devastated as he’s been an amazing father, grandfather, mentor and my best friend.  All of my attention is now focused on my family.  Until after we celebrate my father’s life, I cannot begin to think about anything else.”

Mueller was only drafted in anyway after Andy Pilgrim stepped into the car at Lime Rock and Nicky Catsburg had been behind the wheel earlier this season.

This leaves the field at 41 cars for this weekend, with the No. 68 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GTE (GTLM) and No. 11 Change Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (GTD) also withdrawn.

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.