‘Most Dangerous Race in the World’ claims 146th motorcycle rider, Dan Kneen

Photo courtesy DanKneen.com
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The event known as “the most dangerous race in the world” has claimed yet another victim, and this time, it’s a hometown lad.

The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy motorcycle racing event, has now claimed its 146th life, 30-year-old Isle of Man native Dan Kneen, who crashed and was killed while taking his first practice lap for the event on Wednesday.

The Isle of Man is a small island between Ireland and Great Britain. It has hosted what locals call the “TT” since 1907. The event attracts hundreds of riders and about 40,000 spectators to the tiny island.

All practices and actual racing take place on municipal streets and roads that are blocked off for only the racers to traverse on, often at speeds reaching 200 mph. There are 400 turns and corners on the 37-plus mile track layout, organizers say.

In addition to Kneen becoming the 146th participant to perish in a wreck, another 100-plus spectators and officials have also been killed over the years when struck by motorcycles or service vehicles.

Former TT competitor Dave Roper told Sports Illustrated 15 years ago, “As thrilling as the racing is, at times I’ve thought it shouldn’t be legal. Looking back, I can’t believe I even survived.”

Added former TT champion Richard Quayle, who told the New York Times in 2017, “If (tennis star) Roger Federer misses a shot, he loses a point. If I miss an apex, I lose my life.”

Ironically, the Isle of Man is a unique entity in that even in daily driving or riding on the island by its residents, there are no speed limits.

Kneen, born in raised in Onchan, a village on the east side of the Isle, becomes the 17th rider to be killed in the TT since just 2010 alone. Four riders died in 2016 and three in 2017. Kneen is the first to perish in this year’s TT, which runs through June.

His fatal wreck occurred near the village of Churchtown, according to race organizers. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a statement by his father, Richard Kneen, on Facebook.

“Dan lived for his racing and wild horses wouldn’t have torn him away from it,” Richard Kneen wrote. “I was happy for him; he was in his element and loving it.”

“Best wishes for all the other TT competitors. The TT show will go on.”

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Meyer Shank Racing wins Petit Le Mans to take final DPi championship in dramatic finale

Petit Le Mans championship
IMSA
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Meyer Shank Racing outdueled Wayne Taylor Racing to win the Petit Le Mans and clinch the championship in a thrilling final race for the DPi division.

Tom Blomqvist, who started from the pole position, drove the No. 60 Acura ARX-05 to a 4.369-second victory over Pipo Derani in the No. 31 Action Express Cadillac.

“That was incredible,” Blomqvist told NBC Sports’ Matt Yocum. “I’ve never dug so deep in my life. The adrenaline. I did that for the guys. I was so motivated to win this thing this weekend. But I’ve got to thank everyone on the whole team.”

With co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Helio Castroneves, Blomqvist helped MSR bookend its season-opening victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona by winning Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season finale at Michelin Road Atlanta.

In between those two victories, the No. 60 earned five runner-up finishes to stay in the thick of the championship hunt and trail WTR’s No. 10 Acura by 14 points entering Saturday’s race.

WTR’s Filipe Albuquerque had a lead of more than 10 seconds over Blomqvist with less than 50 minutes remaining in the 10-hour race.

But a Turn 1 crash between the Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillacs brought out a yellow that sent both Acuras into the pits from the top two positions.

Though he entered in second, Blomqvist barely beat Albuquerque out of the pits, and he held the lead for the final 45 minutes.

Blomqvist said he gained the lead because of a shorter fuel fill after he had worked on being efficient in the second-to-last stint.

“The team asked a big job of me with the fuel; I had a big fuel number to hit,” Blomqvist said. “We knew that was probably our only chance. The yellow came at the right time and obviously we had a bit less fuel to fill up, so I was able to jump him and then it was just a matter of going gung-ho and not leaving anything on the line. And obviously, the opposition had to try too hard to make it work. I’m so thankful.”

Albuquerque closed within a few car lengths of Blomqvist with 14 minutes remaining, but he damaged his suspension because of contact with a GT car in Turn 1.

It’s the first prototype championship for Meyer Shank Racing, which also won the 2021 Indy 500 with Castroneves.

“We’ve had in the last four years, three championships for Acura, the Indy 500 win and the Rolex 24, it doesn’t get any better,” team co-owner Mike Shank told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee.

It’s the third consecutive runner-up finish in the points standings for Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the first Daytona Prototype international championship in 2017. The premier category will be rebranded as the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class with the LMDh cars that will establish a bridge to racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kamui Kobayashi finished third in the No. 48 Cadillac of Action Express that also includes Jimmie Johnson and Mike Rockenfeller.

The podium showing marked Johnson’s last scheduled race in IMSA’s top prototype division. The seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion has raced in the No. 48 Ally Cadillac lineup as the Action Express entry has run the Endurance Cup races.

Johnson said a lack of inventory will preclude him having a 2023 ride in the top category. But he still is hopeful of racing the Garage 56 Next Gen Camaro in next year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans and possibly running in a lower class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“I’d love to be at Le Mans next year,” Johnson told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch after his final stint Saturday. “I’d love to be at the Rolex 24. The series is going through a shake-up with the reconfiguration of the rules and classes, so I don’t have anything locked down yet, but I’m so thankful for this experience with Action. The support Ally has given us, Mr. Hendrick, Chad Knaus, all of Hendrick Motorsports. It’s been a fun two years, and I certainly hope I’m on the grid again next year.”