Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA: Action Express secures third straight 1-2 finish

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ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Action Express Racing didn’t have the pace, but did have the strategic smarts to win its third straight IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race – both for the 2016 season and at Road America.

The No. 31 Whelen Engineering/Team Fox Corvette DP of Dane Cameron and Eric Curran started only fifth but leapfrogged the polesitting No. 55 Mazda Prototype (Jonathan Bomarito and Tristan Nunez) on pit strategy.

On track, Cameron turned in an impressive pass on Jordan Taylor during the race, coming out of Turn 3 on Lap 44, using Jeroen Bleekemolen’s No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R as a pick and then slingshotting under Taylor on the inside. It was the net lead on track before the final pit stop sequence.

Action Express has also secured its third straight 1-2 finish this season, with the No. 31 car ahead of the No. 5 Mustang Sampling-backed entry of Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa.

This brings the No. 31 pair within a point of the No. 5 pair in the championship, 253 to 252, with just two races remaining.

The No. 5 car won at Watkins Glen while the No. 31 car won last time out at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. That’s the same result as has happened at Road America the last two years; the No. 5 car won in 2014 and the No. 31 car won last year.

Mazda, which had an unquestioned pace advantage throughout the weekend, saw a near certain first win go away courtesy of a strategic blunder – ultimately decided when the rest of the Prototype field pitted on Lap 28 and the No. 55 car didn’t from the lead.

That left the No. 55 car to pit under green at the one hour and 11 minute mark and saw its gap go from leading by 25 seconds to trailing by 39, following the minute-plus pit stop delta, and again to pit under green with 36 minutes remaining after the leaders had already pitted for the final time.

It slotted the No. 55 car back to fifth place overall and in class, behind the two Action Express Corvettes, Taylor and brother Ricky in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP, and the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda of Ozz Negri and John Pew.

Other class winners included Tom Kimber-Smith and Robert Alon in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca FLM09 (PC), Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner in the No. 4 Corvette C7.R (GTLM) and Jeroen Bleekemolen and Ben Keating in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R (GTD).

More to come from the other classes here in a minute, following a crazy finish in the GT ranks.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.