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Taylor confirmed; Rahal, Pagenaud added to Acura Penske lineup

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Ricky Taylor has been confirmed as the fourth driver for Team Penske’s new Acura DPi program in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for 2018, completing its full-season line-up.

In an announcement made on Wednesday, Penske confirmed that recently-crowned DPi champion Taylor will make the switch from Wayne Taylor Racing to pick up a ride in the Acura ARX-05 DPi for 2018.

Taylor joins Helio Castroneves, Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya in the full-season roster, while Penske also confirmed that IndyCar drivers Graham Rahal and Simon Pagenaud will feature in the endurance events at Daytona and Sebring.

“Adding a champion sports car driver in Ricky will help our team grow and develop,” Roger Penske said.

“Ricky had a phenomenal season in 2017. He brings a great deal of sports car experience and his knowledge of the cars, the race tracks and the series overall will be a big benefit to our team.

“Having that experience, along with the winning pedigree of Helio, Juan and Dane, provides a great platform as we launch the Acura Team Penske program next season.

“When you add Simon and Graham for the endurances races, I feel like we have a strong lineup for Daytona and Sebring.”

“It was a great experience getting a chance to test an Indy car with Team Penske, but to get a call from Roger Penske offering the opportunity to drive one of his race cars full time – well, that’s a life-changing opportunity,” said Taylor.

“We have had a lot of success in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship the last few seasons with my dad’s team, including winning both the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Championship this year.

“I’m definitely ready for the next challenge in my career and I couldn’t be more excited to join Team Penske and work with Helio, Juan and Dane to launch the new factory Acura effort and start winning with the ARX-05 in 2018.”

Steve Torrence takes NHRA points lead with Gatornationals victory

NHRA Gainesville Steve Torrence
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Two-time defending NHRA Top Fuel champion Steve Torrence took the points lead Sunday in the AMALIE Motor Oil Gatornationals, beating his father, Billy, in the final round at Gainesville Raceway.

Torrence had a 3.809-second run at 322.11 mph to win for the third time this year and 39th overall. He is now on track for another championship despite missing the season opener.

“We’ve got some good momentum and to be in the points lead, it’s a testament to how hard these guys work,” Steve Torrence said after the NHRA Gainesville victory. “We’ve just got to stay focused and concentrate on what the task at hand is, and that’s trying to win a championship. These guys give me an unbelievable race car and you just try not to screw it up.”

Ron Capps won in Funny Car, Alex Laughlin in Pro Stock and Matt Smith in Pro Stock Motorcycle.

Capps raced to his second win this year and 66th overall, beating Tim Wilkerson with a 3.937 at 323.12 in a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat.

Laughlin topped Aaron Stanfield with a 7.068 at 204.76 in a Chevrolet Camaro for his first win this season and fourth in his career. Smith rode to his first victory in 2020 and 25th overall, topping Andrew Hines with a 6.843 at 196.99 on an EBR.