Taylors, Cadillac complete ’36 hours of Florida’ sweep at Sebring

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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SEBRING, Fla. – The No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R engaged in a neck-and-neck battle with another Cadillac in Saturday’s 65th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac, and for the second time in as many Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup races to kick off the 2017 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, the Wayne Taylor Racing team emerged on top.

They won the Rolex 24 at Daytona in dramatic and emotional fashion, but today’s triumph at Sebring was a bit more straightforward. It does see the two sons match their father Wayne as winning Daytona and Sebring in the same year, which he did in 1996.

Jordan and Ricky Taylor led most of the race with new third driver Alex Lynn adding to the effort on his U.S. race debut; Lynn stepped into the seat vacated by the now-retired Max Angelelli. Lynn had one or two minor moments getting through lapped traffic but otherwise matched “Max the Ax” from a pace standpoint to add to the Taylors’ charge, after qualifying an unrepresentative sixth on the grid.

Ricky Taylor brought the car home to the victory over Joao Barbosa in the No. 5 Cadillac by 13.614 seconds after 348 laps of racing around the 3.74-mile, 17-turn, Sebring International Raceway. Barbosa shared his car with Christian Fittipaldi and Filipe Albuquerque.

The second Action Express car, the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac of Dane Cameron, Eric Curran and Mike Conway, completed an all-Cadillac podium in the Prototype class. That car was delayed after an early spin between Curran and Johannes van Overbeek in the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi, which ultimately cost Curran two laps and the team spent the rest of the race playing catch-up.

In fourth after running their own flawless race, but lacking the consistent and sustained pace to match the Cadillacs, was the No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Stephen Simpson, Misha Goikhberg and Chris Miller. This gives the John Church-led team its second top-five in as many endurance races to kick off the season.

Those were the only four cars of the 11 in the marquee Prototype class category that did not encounter some sort of issue during the day. Both Mazda RT24-Ps, both Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPis, and the LMP2-spec Rebellion Racing and Visit Florida Oreca 07s and the PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 all hit some sort of misfortune on the treacherous Sebring circuit.

Prototype Challenge also saw another team repeat from Daytona, with Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based Performance Tech Motorsports adding a Sebring win with three of the same four drivers as at the Rolex 24. A clean, almost effortless run saw James French, Pato O’Ward and Kyle Masson take the No. 38 Oreca FLM09 to the team’s second win on the trot after not having won previously since 2013 on the streets of Baltimore.

Starworks Motorsport soldiered on to finish second with its own trio of young guns, Garett Grist, Max Hanratty and Sean Rayhall. Both BAR1 Motorsports cars also finished, with the No. 20 car delayed a bit behind the No. 26 car. For the maligned PC class in its final year, it was a nice surprise to see all four cars finish the race and not cause any of the six full-course cautions.

The GT classes resume alongside with the Prototype class at Long Beach next month, while Prototype Challenge is off until Circuit of The Americas in May.

Eli Tomac wins Houston Supercross: Hunter Lawrence takes early 250 East lead


With his 47th career victory and third of the 2023 season in Houston, Eli Tomac closed to within one win of tying Ricky Carmichael for third on the all-time Monster Energy Supercross list.

Tomac rebounded from last week’s crash by earning the holeshot in both his heat and the Main. At the start of the big show, he couldn’t shake Aaron Plessinger in the first four minutes and actually was in the process of losing the lead as a red flag waved for a crash involving Tomac’s teammate Dylan Ferrandis when he overjumped an obstacle and landed on Ken Roczen’s back fender as they raced for eighth.

“That was a tough race,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien, referencing his loss to Chase Sexton in the heat. “And honestly, I was just beat down after that heat race and was searching quite a bit and was basically losing speed everywhere. I just rode better, straight up in the Main. I felt better.”

In their heat, Sexton passed Tomac at the two-minute mark and then simply rode away from the field. At the end, he had an almost eight-second gap on Tomac.

“It wasn’t great by any means,” Sexton told Jason Thomas. “I feel like the strengths I had all day, I really lagged in the Main event between the whoop and the sand section. I think I could have walked through it faster. It was still a good ride; it wasn’t great. I expected after the heat race he would be fired up.”

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Anaheim 2

Jason Anderson scored his second consecutive pole, but he was not happy to finish third behind the two points’ leaders.

“We should be thankful every time we get to be up here,” Anderson said. “They’re making it tough on me, but all I can do is give my best.”

Tomac had to withstand a red flag and the distant second place finish in his heat to win the Houston Supercross race. In the post-race conference, he indicated that he did not make any changes to the bike and simply rode better.

Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb rounded out the top five.

Ferrandis was fitted with a neck brace, but still able to walk to the medical cart. He was still being evaluated by the medical staff as the night came to a close.

In 250s Hunter Lawrence entered the 250 East opener as the consensus favorite to win the championship this year with Christian Craig making the move into 450s and his brother Jett Lawrence in the West division. He answered quickly with a huge lead in Heat 1, but it almost went awry in the Main.

Lawrence got a good start, but he was passed early in the race by two-time MXGP champion (2020, 2022) Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut this week. Vialle passed Lawrence on the first lap. When Lawrence tried to pass him back, Vialle scrubbed speed off a jump and pushed Lawrence wide, over the Tuff Blox.

Championships are made out of Lawrence’s response. He kept his composure and did not overcorrect before methodically working his way to the front.

“We had a little off track excursion. I wasn’t sure how hard across Tom was coming so I thought I’ll just go left, but then saw that was the side of the track. Thankfully I didn’t hit the Tuff Blox and got back on track safely. … Good start; put myself in position.”

Click here for full 250 East Main Results

Making a move from the 450 class to 250s, Max Anstie had immediate success. He finished second in his heat behind Jordon Smith and lined up with a great gate pick. He had to overtake Vialle in the opening laps and lost ground on Lawrence, that cost enough time to keep him from pressing Lawrence. This is Anstie’s first podium in the United States

“Honestly, I’ve dreamed of this for a long time to come up on these steps and man it’s a great feeling. I’ve really enjoyed the day and being on this 250, I feel like an 18-year-old kid. Everyday I’m learning.”

Smith backed up his heat win with a podium finish.

“It feels good to be back up here again,” Smith said. “It’s been a long time; a lot of injuries.”

Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his debut in the 250 class was not unfounded. He finished fourth in his heat to advance to directly into the Main. During the early laps, he was circling the track in a podium position until a minor mistake sent him off the box. In the closing laps, he narrowly made an aggressive pass on Jeremy Martin and narrowly missed the podium with a fourth-place finish.

Martin held on to round out the top five.

Vialle was running in a podium position when went down with a 1:30 left on the clock. He ended his night seventh.

Chance Hymas was also making his 250 debut and scored a top-10 in eighth.

2023 Race Recaps

Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

Houston coverage

Houston by the numbers
Supercross unveils 16th edition of a Ricky Carmichael designed Daytona track
Power Rankings after week 3
Malcom Stewart out for “extended duration” after knee surgery
Haiden Deegan makes Supercross debut in Houston, Justin Cooper to 450s
Talon Hawkins set to relieve injured Jalek Swoll in Houston
Jalek Swoll out for an indefinite period with broken arm
Ken Roczen urgently needed a change
Chris Blose joins Pro Circuit Kawasaki in 250 East opener
Seth Hammaker to miss Houston with wrist injury
Jo Shimoda joins Seth Hammaker, Austin Forkner on injured list