IMSA: Ricky Taylor, WTR crush record to lead COTA polesitters

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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The dream start for Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R has rolled on in qualifying for Saturday’s Advance Auto Parts SportsCar Showdown for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Circuit of The Americas in Austin. Ricky Taylor’s pole headlines the polesitters for the two-hour, 40-minute race.

PROTOTYPE

Ricky Taylor crushed the Circuit of The Americas circuit for a staggering 1:54.809 lap, more than 1.5 seconds clear of the rest of the Prototype field, for his second and the Cadillac DPi-V.R’s third pole in four races this season.

The effort by the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team was made all the more impressive after missing most of the morning practice session, producing limited laps. But with fixes made, the Taylor boys were back up front.

“Oh man. This feels so nice,” Ricky Taylor told IMSA Radio’s Shea Adam. “We’ve gone to new tracks, every style so far with the new car. So we have to completely reset. We knew the Corvette DP was good here. But 1.5 seconds isn’t the driver – that’s car. I’m very excited. It was on edge as qualifying always is. It’ll be interested to see how the tires wear.”

Ricky and Jordan share the No. 10 car and seek their fourth win in as many races to open the year.

Johannes van Overbeek, who didn’t get to race the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan Onroak DPi at Long Beach as Ed Brown got collected on the first lap, qualified second with a best time of 1:56.401 to break up the Cadillac dominance at the top of the timesheets.

“It’s a testament to the Patron ESM team. We’ve been chasing setup all weekend. Our guys have kept making the car better and I wish I had even another shot at qualifying,” “JVO” told IMSA Radio’s Jim Roller.

Eric Curran took a separate No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac chassis into third, the primary car he shared with Dane Cameron having required significant repairs after Long Beach when Cameron made a rare mistake and crashed at Turn 8 there.

The No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing and No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier JS P217 Gibson cars completed the top five, the latter of which sees Marco Bonanomi and Jose Gutierrez now in the car after Tom Kimber-Smith and Will Owen were in at Long Beach.

GT LE MANS

John Edwards broke his own and BMW Team RLL’s own pole position dry spell in his No. 24 BMW M6 GTLM during GT Le Mans qualifying, topping a session where the top seven cars among all five manufacturers were covered by just 0.252 of a second. Edwards’ last pole was at Road America, 2014, while BMW’s most recent pole was with Bill Auberlen at Long Beach in 2016.

The young American posted a 2:02.833 lap, which edged Giancarlo Fisichella’s No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE at 2:02.865.

Edwards and Martin Tomczyk – or teammates Auberlen and Alexander Sims in the No. 25 BMW that qualified third – will look to deliver the M6 GTLM’s first win. In fact it’s been since 2015 at COTA when BMW last won in GTLM, with the previous generation Z4 GTE.

“We struggled a bit with the balance this morning but we’ve been more comfortable at COTA,” Edwards told Roller. “I was unsure what to expect. I saw the time and was pleased. No one went quicker. I just looked… top seven was quarter of a second. It’s starting to feel like DTM and the good old days of GTLM.”

Fisichella and Toni Vilander, meanwhile, will look for Risi to win a standard length IMSA race on the team’s home soil. The Houston-based team is within the same state, albeit not quite the same city.

The pair of Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs were next followed by Jan Magnussen in the first of the Corvette C7.Rs and Patrick Pilet in the first of the Porsche 911 RSRs, again all covered by just 0.252 of a second.

GT DAYTONA

New team, new car, new series, no problem. French driver Mathieu Jaminet, a Porsche Young Professional, stepped into the No. 28 Alegra Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R for the first time this weekend and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the first time overall, and promptly stuck the car on the pole.

Jaminet does have track experience though, having won the pair of Porsche Supercup races here on the U.S. Grand Prix weekend last fall. His best time today was 2:06.523 in the car he’ll share with Daniel Morad.

“The lap was really good. We improved a lot compared to the first few practices,” Jaminet told Adam. “I’m really happy for my debut. It was pretty easy. This is a family team. I feel directly at home. It’s easy to come here.”

The usually tight GTD class wasn’t so on this day. Jack Hawksworth qualified second for the second straight race in the No. 15 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 at a best time of 2:06.623, and was the only driver within a second. A pair of Lamborghinis from Paul Miller Racing and Change Racing, the latter team in search of its elusive first podium after a pair of heartbreak endings the last two races, and Dallas-based Park Place Motorsports with its Porsche 911 GT3 R completed the top five.

Mercedes-AMG opted to qualify its am drivers in search of its third straight win, after victories at Sebring and Long Beach. The best of those four GT3 cars was Ben Keating, who along with Jeroen Bleekemolen have won at COTA several times, in eighth in the No. 33 Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes AMG-GT3.

PROTOTYPE CHALLENGE

Performance Tech Motorsports, which has won the opening two races in PC this year, is back on pole after just missing out at the class’ most recent race in Sebring. James French reasserted his authority with a best time of 2:00.066 in the No. 38 Oreca FLM09, which he’ll share with Mexican teenager and San Antonio native Pato O’Ward.

“It’s the best quality track time to get. Three cars and a time to show what we have for pace,” French told Adam. “The car was handling really well. It was a blast. With both (of us) Silvers, it’s an open book on strategy.”

French came up just short of an elusive victory closing in this race last year, co-driving with Nick Boulle, who was deputizing for Kyle Marcelli on another assignment at Sonoma.

Interestingly Boulle, who co-drove with French, O’Ward and Kyle Masson to victory at the Rolex 24 at Daytona is back in action this weekend sharing the No. 26 BAR1 Motorsports entry with Stefan Wilson. Wilson has tested PC cars before but this marks his actual series race debut; he qualified the car second in class. Gustavo Yacaman took the No. 26 BAR1 car to pole at Sebring.

World of Outlaws release 2023 Sprint Car Series schedule

2023 Outlaws Sprint schedule
World of Outlaws
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The 2023 World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series schedule features 87 races, almost identical to the last year’s number, to be contested at 36 venues across 19 states. With cancelations for mostly weather, they closed out this year’s calendar on November 5 with 69 events in the books. Carson Macedo won a series high 11 races.

In 2022, David Gravel chased Brad Sweet into the three-race finale on the Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway in one of the most hotly contested championships in Outlaws history. Sweet emerged victorious for the fourth straight year.

For the 19th consecutive season, the Outlaws Sprints will begin their season at Volusia Speedway Park for the DIRTcar Nationals from Feb. 9-11 and will return March 5-6 for another two-day show before hitting the road with a three-track swing into Pennsylvania to take on the Posse.

MORE: 2023 World of Outlaws Late Model Schedule

“Every year we continue to build the best schedule we can for drivers and fans across the country,” said World of Outlaws CEO Brian Carter is a series release. “I’m excited for the journey we’ve put together, which includes the biggest races in Sprint Car racing, our new Spring Swing through Pennsylvania, the thrill of combining the World of Outlaws and ‘Bike Week’ and so much more.”

Some tracks returning from hiatus and one brand new course include 81 Speedway in Park City, Kans. in April and again in October, Tri-City Speedway in Pontoon City, Ill. in April, Ogilvie (Minn.) Raceway in June and BAPS Motor Speedway in York Haven, Penn.

BAPS hosts its first race in more than 30 years when the track was known as Susquehanna Speedway. This midweek show will give the local Pennsylvania Posse 14 attempts to beat the traveling Outlaws.

Ogilvie Speedway is completely new to the series and makes it the 224th different venue they will have challenged.

MORE: Brad Sweet protects his place in history

Notably missing from the calendar are Vado (N.M.) Speedway Park, Cotton Bowl Speedway in Paige, Texas, Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway and the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Track.

In addition to the new spring Pennsylvania Swing, the second date at Volusia Speedway will coincide with Daytona Beach’s Bike Week and bring new eyes to the sport.

Knoxville Raceway adds another multi-night show to the calendar in April, giving this track eight sanctioned events in 2023.

And of course, there are plenty of mainstays and high dollar events, such as the Memorial Day Spectacular at Lawrenceburg (Ind.) Speedway, the 35th running of the Brad Doty Classic in July and the Labor Day Spectacular at Gray’s Harbor in Elma, Wash.

Several big paydays are on the line in 2023 including the 40th annual Kings Royal at Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio paying $175,000 to the winner, the Huset’s High Bank Nationals’ $250,000-to-win finale and the grandaddy of them all, the 62nd Knoxville Nationals with a total purse exceeding $1 million.

2023 Outlaws Sprint Schedule

Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 9-11 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)

Sunday-Monday, March 5-6 – Volusia Speedway Park (Barberville, FL)
Friday-Saturday, March 10-11 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, March 17 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday, March 18 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday, March 24 – Talladega Short Track (Eastaboga, AL)
Saturday, March 25 – Magnolia Motor Speedway (Columbus, MS)
Friday, March 31-Saturday, April 1 – Devil’s Bowl Speedway (Mesquite, TX)

Friday, April 7 – US-36 Raceway (Osborn, MO)
Saturday, April 8 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, April 14-15 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Friday-Saturday, April 21-22 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday, April 28 – Tri-City Speedway (Granite City, IL)
Saturday, April 29 – Tri-State Speedway (Haubstadt, IN)

Friday-Saturday, May 5-6 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, May 10 – Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown, PA)
Friday-Saturday, May 12-13 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Friday, May 19 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Saturday, May 20 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, May 26-27 – Atomic Speedway (Chillicothe, OH)
Monday, May 29 – Lawrenceburg Speedway (Lawrenceburg, IN)

Friday, June 2 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, June 3 – Ogilvie Raceway (Ogilvie, MN)
Friday-Saturday, June 9-10 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Friday-Saturday, June 16-17 – Beaver Dam Raceway (Beaver Dam, WI)
Wednesday-Saturday, June 21-24 – Huset’s Speedway (Brandon, SD)
Friday, June 30-Saturday, July 1 – Cedar Lake Speedway (New Richmond, WI)

Friday, July 7 – 34 Raceway (West Burlington, IA)
Saturday, July 8 – Wilmot Raceway (Wilmot, WI)
Tuesday, July 11 – Attica Raceway Park (Attica, OH)
Friday-Saturday, July 14-15 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Wednesday, July 19 – BAPS Motor Speedway (York Haven, PA)
Friday-Saturday, July 21-22 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)
Saturday-Sunday, July 29-30 – Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY)

Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5 – Federated Auto Parts Raceway at I-55 (Pevely, MO)
Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 9-12 – Knoxville Raceway (Knoxville, IA)
Thursday-Saturday, Aug. 17-19 – Jackson Motorplex (Jackson, MN)
Friday, Aug. 25 – River Cities Speedway (Grand Forks, ND)
Saturday, Aug. 26 – Red River Valley Speedway (West Fargo, ND)
Thursday, Aug. 31-Saturday, September 2 – Skagit Speedway (Alger, WA)

Monday, Sept. 4 – Grays Harbor Raceway (Elma, WA)
Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 7-9 – Silver Dollar Speedway (Chico, CA)
Friday, Sept. 15 – Keller Auto Speedway (Hanford, CA)
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Placerville Speedway (Placerville, CA)
Friday, Sept. 22 – Eldora Speedway (Rossburg, OH)
Saturday, Sept. 23 – Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Friday-Saturday, Sept. 29-30 – Williams Grove Speedway (Mechanicsburg, PA)

Friday-Saturday, Oct. 6-7 – Port Royal Speedway (Port Royal, PA)
Friday, Oct. 13 – 81 Speedway (Park City, KS)
Saturday, Oct. 14 – Lakeside Speedway (Kansas City, KS)
Friday-Saturday, Oct. 20-21 – TBA

Wednesday-Saturday, Nov. 1-4 – The Dirt Track at Charlotte (Concord, NC)