IMSA: Action Express, Corvette Racing take victories in Long Beach

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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A pair of early cautions in the BUBBA Burger Sports Car Grand Prix created split strategies for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams, and a late yellow with less than 30 minutes remaining set up a full sprint to the checkered flag.

Most of the teams elected to pit following a Lap 21 caution for Robert Alon, whose No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson stopped in the Turn 8 runoff with gearbox problems. However, a couple of teams elected to stay out.

All told, it set up a wild finish that saw the early leaders, most notably in Prototype, fall back in the pack, as those who stopped early found themselves battling for the lead in the second half of the race. And it all resulted in a General Motors sweep of the Prototype and GT Le Mans classes.

Reports Prototype and GTLM are below.

Prototype: Albuquerque, Barbosa Take Second Victory of 2018

Action Express took advantage of the aforementioned Lap 21 yellow to pit Joao Barbosa early, and Filipe Albuquerque used the strategy to his advantage and seize the lead in the second half of the race, going unchallenged in the final stages to take the win in the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R.

The race saw a caution fall on Lap 1 for contact between Kyle Masson, in the No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson for Performance Tech Motorsports, and the No. 52 JS P217 Gibson for AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports.

Action Express split their strategies under the aforementioned Lap 21 caution, pitting Barbosa while leaving Felipe Nasr, in the sister No. 31 Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac, out on track. Acura Team Penske did the same, leaving polesitter and early leader Juan Montoya, in the No. 6 ARX-05, out and pitting the sister No. 7, in the hands of Helio Castroneves.

Nasr and Montoya pitted around the halfway point – Nasr on Lap 36 and Montoya on Lap 39. As pit stops cycled through past the halfway point – which included fuel-only stops for everyone who pitted under the Lap 21 caution – Albuquerque ended up in the lead, which he held until the end.

Ryan Dalziel, with Scott Sharp, used the same strategy to finish second for Tequila Patron ESM. The battle for third was a fight between the Taylor brothers, with Jordan getting the better of Ricky, who was struggling with rear tire grip in his No. 7 Acura, to put him and teammate Renger Van Der Zande on the final spot of the podium for Wayne Taylor Racing.

GTLM: Milner, Gavin Survive Long Beach Street Fight for GTLM Victory

While pit strategy impacted the Prototype field, the GTLM field was a straight-up fight between all eight entries.

Hard racing was featured throughout the 100-minute race, and even saw the No. 25 BMW Team RLL M8 GTE lead momentarily after the Lap 21 caution, but driver Alexander Sims was quickly swamped by the field and ultimately dropped out after wall contact with 42 minutes left.

In the end, it was Corvette Racing emerging on top with Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 C7.R.

Milner, who finished the race in the No. 4 entry, moved into the lead when then leader Earl Bamber, in the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR for the Porsche GT Team, suffered right-front suspension failure following a Lap 51 restart.

Milner was able to gap the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs of Ryan Briscoe and Dirk Mueller, in second and third, to take the victory by more just over two seconds. Briscoe and Mueller rounded out the GTLM podium.

Click here for full race results

 

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Travis Pastrana leads flag-to-flag in Nitro Rallycross as the series returns to America

Pastrana Nitro Rallycross
Barry Chin / Getty Images
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Travis Pastrana waited until the final trip around ERX Motor Park to take his Joker Lap – a longer way around the course that all drivers must do at least once in a race – and came out cleanly to win his first Nitro Rallycross race of 2022. With this win, Pastrana is the third driver to visit Victory Lane in the first three rounds of the 2022-23 season.

“This is the closest to a motocross track,” Pastrana told Katie Osborne on Peacock. “Thank you so much for a beautiful facility. It’s been a rough start to the season and I’m so thankful to be back out here. We had a good run in the side-by-side and now for this. This is much needed.”

Another thing needed was the sense of improvement. And Pastrana earned that affirmation each time he completed a lap around the course.

“I get my lap times read out and they said ‘fastest time of the week,’ ‘fastest time of the week’ (each time around) ” Pastrana said. “This is really special. We’re a long way behind in the championship, but welcome to America.”

In a pre-race press conference, Pastrana said that as Nitro Rallycross heads back to America, it was time for an American to win and he made good on his promise. Pastrana took the early lead over Robin Larsson and let the back of his Subaru hang out, taking risks he might not otherwise take if not for his need to win.

How to Watch Nitro Rallycross

Larsson’s second-place finish completed a perfect sweep of the podium in three rounds. In fact, he has not yet finished worse than second after winning the opening round at Lydden Hill in the United Kingdom and finishing second at Strangnas in Sweeden.

Fraser McConnel rounded out the podium for his best result of the season. He finished fourth in each of the first two rounds.

Last year, Pastrana finished second in this race to Scott Speed before narrowly edging his teammate for the championship.

Andreas Bakkerud crashed in prelims, but rebounded to finish just off the block in fourth. Bakkerud won the second round ahead of his teammate Larsson.

Oliver Bennett completed the top five.

Minneapolis is the first of three rounds scheduled in the United States. Next on the schedule is Glen Helen, Calif. on Octo 30 and then Phoenix at Wild Horse Pass on November 12th. Nitro Rallycross will then head to Saudi Arabia in December to continue their 2022-23 season.