IMSA: Simpson, JDC-Miller win thriller at Watkins Glen; Ford, Turner claim GT honors


“David” slayed “goliath” in Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, as Stephen Simpson made a spectacular three-wide pass on Jordan Taylor and Juan Pablo Montoya to take the lead in the final hour.

Simpson, in the the No. 99 Oreca 07 Gibson “Red Dragon,” then hung on as they battled through GT traffic to give co-driver Misha Goikhberg and Chris Miller, along with the entire JDC-Miller Racing team, their first Prototype victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The battle was set up after Andy Lally suffered a cut tire in his No. 44 Audi R8 LMS GT3 for Magnus Racing, which dropped bodywork and a tire carcas on track after the tire started coming apart.

A round of pit stops saw Jordan Taylor come out with the lead in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R – the Wayne Taylor Racing team elected to take fuel only, which gave them a much quicker stop and vaulted them into the lead.

Montoya, whose No. 6 Acura ARX-05 had dominated the race with he and co-driver Dane Cameron, came out in second, with Simpson’s No. 99 Oreca in third. CORE autosport, which entered the pits as the leader, came out in sixth with the team electing to change drivers – Colin Braun got out, with Romain Dumas finishing the race in their No. 54 Oreca. (Of note: although Braun qualified the No. 54 on the pole, the team elected start Jon Bennett to get his required drive time in, which saw them start at the back of the Prototype field).

A subsequent restart saw Montoya immediately challenge Taylor for the lead as they entered the esses, but their battle opened the door for Simpson, who took advantage and passed both on the back straightaway approaching the bus stop chicane.

Simpson stretched out the lead to nearly four seconds, but GT traffic allowed Montoya and Dumas, who quickly climbed up to third, to close in. But, their efforts were to no avail, as Simpson pulled the lead back out to nearly two seconds to take the win.

Dumas nipped Montoya at the line to finish second. Behind them, Paul Di Resta brought the No. 32 United Autosports Ligier JS P217 Gibson home fourth, while Taylor ended up fifth.

In GT Le Mans (GTLM), Dirk Mueller and Joey hand emerged from a tough race-long battle with Porsche GT Team and Corvette Racing to take the GTLM victory in their No. 66 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing.

Both entries from Gansssi, Porsche, and Corvette fought hard with each other for all six hours – Ganassi and Porsche slugged it out in the first half of the race, while Corvette emerged as a threat in the second half – Jan Magnussen was leading in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R with just over one hour left.

But, the aforementioned caution and pit stops saw Mueller emerge in the lead, and he held on during the final hour to take the GTLM win by 1.5 seconds. It’s Ganassi’s first GTLM victory since the Rolex 24 at Daytona, won by Richard Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe, and Scott Dixon.

Antonio Garcia, who took over the No. 3 Corvette from Magnussen at their final stop, came home second. Patrick Pilet and Laurens Vanthoor finished third and fourth their Nos. 911 and 912 Porsche 911 RSRs, with Tommy Milner finishing fifth in No. 4 Corvette.

In GTD, Turner Motorsport inherited the lead late in the race after the leading Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi, in the hands of Sheldon van der Linde, incurred a penalty for pitting in a closed pit – they tried diving in to take their final stop before the pits closed for the aforementioned caution for Andy Lally, but did not make it in time.

Their penalty saw Turner driver Markus Palttala move to the lead ahead of Meyer Shank Racing’s Alvaro Parente – the MSR squad bad been battling Turner, Montaplast, and Paul Miller Racing in an extremely intense GTD battle that saw all four entries engage in a six-hour slugfest.

In the end, Palttala, who co-drove with Dillon Machavern and Don Yount, hung on for the win ahead of Parente, who returned to MSR as a co-driver with Katherine Legge. Bryan Sellers brought the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 home in third for the Paul Miller squad. Jack Hawksworth, the GTD pole sitter, finished fourth in the No. 15 Lexus RCF GT3 for 3GT Racing, with Jeroen Bleekemolen finishing fifth in the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports.

Full results can be found here. IMSA heads to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park next week for the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix.


Kyle Larson wins third consecutive High Limit Sprint race at Eagle Raceway, Rico Abreu second again

Larson High Limit Eagle
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It took four attempts for Kyle Larson to win his first High Limit Sprint Car Series race in the series he co-owns with brother-in-law Brad Sweet, but once he found victory lane, he has been undefeated with his win at Eagle (Nebraska) Raceway. For the second week, Abreu led early only to fall prey to Larson.

The win was Larson’s third straight victory and the fifth consecutive top-five, giving him a perfect sweep of the season after finishing 10th in last year’s inaugural race at Lincoln Park Speedway in Putnamville, Indiana.

Larson started third behind Abreu and Brent Marks but was embroiled in a fierce battle with Anthony Macri for third during the first dozen laps. Larson slipped by Macri in traffic until a red flag waved for a flip by Lachlan McHugh.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack, Marks retook the lead from Abreu on Lap 18. Larson followed one lap later and then caution waved again. Tyler Courtney lost power and fell to 24th after starting eighth.

Marks scooted away on the restart but tragedy struck in Lap 26. Leading the race, Marks hit a pothole in Turn 1, bicycled and then flipped, handing the lead to Larson.

Abreu caught Larson again during the final laps and in a reprise of their battle at Tri-City Speedway, the two threw sliders at one another for several laps until Larson built some separation and ran away to the checkers.

“I didn’t feel like my pace in [Turns] 1 & 2 slowed down a ton,” Larson said from victory lane. “I missed it once there and then I saw his nose in 3 & 4. I didn’t know if he nailed the bottom that well behind me and I think he might have slid me in the next corner, so he was definitely on the top.

“I was nervous to move up there because my car was really pogoing up in the entry of 1. I got up just in time, made a few mistakes and he threw a couple more sliders at me but he was just a little too far back and I was able to squirt around him. Then I really had to commit to hitting my marks – back my effort down a bit to avoid mistakes.”

After leading early, Abreu fell back as far as sixth, but faith in his car kept hope alive.

“I just needed to do a few things a few laps before I did and fix some angles, then my car got a whole lot better,” Abreu said. “I’m thankful for this team; they do an amazing job. They don’t give up on me. I know my car is going to be there right at the end of these races, so it’s just the discipline of being patient.”

For Abreu, it was his third near-miss this season. He was leading at Lakeside in the 2023 opener until a tire went flat in the closing laps and he lost the lead to Larson late in the Tri-City Speedway race. Abreu has finished sixth or better in his last three High Limit races with each result being progressively better until his pair of runner-up results.

Third-place finisher Scelzi was the hard charger, advancing from 17th.

“I had a very specific plan; don’t go near [the hole in Turn 1],” Scelzi said. “It worked out. No one wanted to start on the top. I think I gained a couple of rows there on the choose cone and ran the middle, which seemed to be better than right around the bottom.”

Michael “Buddy” Kofoid in fourth and Macri rounded out the top five.

World of Outlaws star and former NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne was one of 41 entrants, but he was not among the 26 starters. He failed to advance to the Main after finishing eighth in the B Main and seventh in his heat.

Feature Results

A Feature (40 Laps): 1. 57-Kyle Larson[4]; 2. 24-Rico Abreu[1]; 3. 18-Giovanni Scelzi[17]; 4. 71-Michael Kofoid[5]; 5. 39M-Anthony Macri[3]; 6. 9-Chase Randall[9]; 7. 26-Zeb Wise[14]; 8. 1X-Jake Bubak[15]; 9. 8-Aaron Reutzel[10]; 10. 14D-Corey Day[18]; 11. 11-Cory Eliason[12]; 12. 5T-Ryan Timms[11]; 13. 88-Austin McCarl[13]; 14. 21H-Brady Bacon[22]; 15. 48-Danny Dietrich[16]; 16. 7S-Robbie Price[19]; 17. 21-Brian Brown[23]; 18. 22-Riley Goodno[26]; 19. 52-Blake Hahn[25]; 20. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr[21]; 21. 3J-Dusty Zomer[6]; 22. 14-Cole Macedo[7]; 23. 19-Brent Marks[2]; 24. 7BC-Tyler Courtney[8]; 25. 25-Lachlan McHugh[20]; 26. 53-Jack Dover[24]

2023 High Limit Sprint Car Series

Race 1: Giovanni Scelzi wins at Lakeside Speedway
Race2: Anthony Macri wins at 34 Raceway
Race 3: Kyle Larson wins at Wayne County Speedway
Race 4: Kyle Larson wins at Tri-City Speedway