Photo: Porsche

FIA WEC: Porsche sweep front row at COTA

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Porsche LMP Team swept the front row for Saturday’s Six Hours of COTA at the Circuit of the Americas, with the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Nick Tandy, André Lotterer, and Neel Jani grabbing pole from the sister No. 2 entry for Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard, and Brendon Hartley.

However, the result did not come without drama. Tandy’s initial time in the No. 1 machine was disallowed after he exceeded track limits on his run. As a result, Tandy went for broke on his last run, and his time of 1:44.827 was ultimately good enough to pip Bamber in the sister No. 2 entry.

Kaz Nakajima, in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid for Toyota Gazoo Racing, qualified a somewhat disappointing third after he and teammates Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin led Free Practice 3 earlier in the day. Of note: Saarazin is filling in for the regular driver Anthony Davidson, who is missing this weekend’s race due to personal reasons.

In LMP2, pole went to the No. 36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470 Gibson, in the hands of Nico Lapierre, Andre Negrao, and Gustavo Menezes. This is also the second consecutive pole for the No. 36 team.

Second went to the No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson of Mathias Beche, David Heinemeier Hansson, and Nelson Piquet Jr. The No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca will start third in the hands of Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis, and Thomas Laurent.

In GTE-Pro, the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE will lead the field to green, with Sam Bird sharing duties with Davide Rigon.

Second was the No. 67 Ford GT from Ford Chip Ganassi Racing entry, with Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx driving, with third going to the N0. 95 Aston Martin Racing pair of Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim.

And in GTE-Am, pole went the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage, with Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, and Mathias Lauda at the helm for Aston Martin Racing. Second went to the No. 54 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE, in the hands of Thomas Flor, Miguel Molina, and Francesco Castellacci, while third went to the Clearwater Racing No. 61 Ferrari 488 GTE of Matt Griffin, Keita Sawa, Weng Sun Mok.

Saturday’s six-hour race begins at 1:00 p.m. ET.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Overall, LMP1/LMP2, GTE-Pro/GTE-Am

Female racer makes history with record finishes in dirt national midget events

Photo courtesy Toyota Racing
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Holly Shelton is riding high after setting a milestone for a female driver in a national midget series feature event on dirt this past weekend.

The Sacramento, California-area resident recorded the highest finish ever for a female dirt national midget series driver with a runner-up finish last Friday at the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League double-header weekend at Valley Speedway in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Shelton broke her own national record for top finish by a woman in a national dirt event – she finished third in a USAC race at Lawrenceburg, Indiana, last year.

One night after setting her new national record, Shelton and her Keith Kunz Motorsports Toyota roared back Saturday to finish third (started on the outside pole) in the second half of the weekend double-header, making her the first female dirt driver ever on the national midget circuit to earn back-to-back podium finishes.

“It’s cool making history as a female, but my number one thing is I just want to win,” said Shelton, who will be graduating from Cal-State Sacramento with a B.A. in Criminal Justice this fall. “Truthfully, on the track I don’t even remember that I’m a girl. I’m just racing all the guys with the same goal they have – to win.”

Only one other woman has finished second in either a USAC or POWRi midget feature – Sarah McCune at Winchester (Ind.) Speedway in 1999 – but that was on pavement, not dirt.

The record-setting weekend was great consolation for Shelton, who missed three races earlier this season due to surgery and then sat out three other races last month after suffering a race-related concussion.

“It felt good,” she said of her back-to-back podium finishes. “It builds up my confidence. The car is fast and we keep getting better and we want to build on it.”

Shelton was one of four women that competed in midget competition this weekend. The others were 19-year-old Maria Cofer and 16-year-olds Holley Hollan and Presley Truedson.

“It’s awesome seeing all the little girls come up to me excited to see me at the track,” Shelton said. “Hopefully, it encourages them to pursue their dreams as well and, as the years go on, more girls will get into it.”

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