Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA: Derani lap record highlights Watkins Glen qualifying

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A morning rain shower presented a chance that qualifying for Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen might be held on a wet track. However, following the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race on Saturday morning, the track was dry enough for slick tires during qualifying.

Some damp spots persisted on the 3.40-mile road course, which made for some challenging moments, especially early in qualifying, but it also saw a couple of blistering performances for some drivers.

Quick reports are below.



“The Derani Effect” was in full force in the Prototype class, as Pipo Derani set a lap record to score the Prototype and overall pole for Tequila Patron ESM, his first career pole in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

Derani’s best lap of 1:34.405 was a little over a tenth of a second ahead of second-place Olivier Pla in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Ligier LMP2, while Christian Fittipaldi took third in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi for Action Express. Ricky Taylor qualified fourth in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi.



A straightforward session in Prototype Challenge saw James French put the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports entry on pole, with a fastest lap of 1:40.049 in his Oreca FLM09. He led the Bar1 Motorsports duo of Don Yount (No. 20) and Brian Alder (No. 26), with Alder briefly spinning as time expired.


A frantic session saw the top spot change hands about every time a car crossed the start/finish line. However, it was Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Joey Hand in the No. 66 Ford GT who secured pole with a blistering lap time of 1:42.507, nearly three tenths of a second up on second-place Alex Sims in the No. 24 BMW Team RLL M6 GTLM. Teammate Martin Tomczyk put the No. 25 BMW in third.



New York native Andy Lally grabbed pole in the No. 93 Michael Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 with a best lap of 1:46.051, eclipsing Lawson Aschenbach in the No. 57 Steven Motorsports Audi R8 LMS GT3 by more than two tenths of a second. Jack Hawksworth qualified third in the No. 15 Lexus RCF GT3 for 3GT Racing.

However, the session was far from clean for the 3GT squad, as both cars spun exiting turn nine in separate incidents. Hawksworth was lucky to only brush the outside wall with the back of the car and was able to return to the pits. However, the No. 14 entry, in the hands of Sage Karam, was not as fortunate, as Karam bounced off the inside wall with the front of the car, ripping the front bodywork completely off the chassis. Karam was not hurt in the incident, but it did end the session prematurely as it occurred in the final minutes.

Also of note: NBCSN’s Townsend Bell, piloting the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3, suffered gearbox problems that limited his running. He will start 16th in class.

Qualifying results can be viewed here. The Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen begins Sunday at 10:00 a.m. ET.

Follow Kyle Lavigne.

Reviewing Danica Patrick’s highs and lows at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

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So much of Danica Patrick’s fame can be traced to Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It’s where she became a household name 13 years ago when she became the first woman to lead the Indianapolis 500 and emerged as a transcendent athlete.

It’s where everything started. This Sunday, it’s where everything will end, too.

In her last warmup before starting the final race of her career, Patrick had a bumpy final practice Friday on Carb Day. She was eighth fastest, but her Dallara-Chevrolet was in the garage most of the session because of an electrical problem in the engine. After returning during the final 10 minutes of the session, Patrick’s No. 13 seemed to be OK.

“At the end of the day, these are things you’re actually glad for, because if this had happened Sunday, we would have been done,” she said. “I’m glad to get the issues out of the way early on. Overall, today felt good. We made some changes when I went out the second time, and I’m feeling good about starting seventh on Sunday.”
Though she has had her share of success – along with a fourth in her debut, there was a third in 2009 and six top 10s in seven starts — Patrick has learned well how to handle frustration at the 2.5-mile track, too.

Fuel mileage might have kept her from winning her debut, a pit collision ruined 2008, and an unstable setup made 2010 a wild ride.

For a review of her up-and-down history at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and her legacy in racing, watch the video essay above that ran during Friday’s NASCAR America Motorsports Special on NBCSN.