Photo courtesy of IMSA

IMSA Laguna Seca winners: Derani, Van Overbeek (DPi); BMW Team RLL (GTLM), Meyer Shank (GTD)

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A wild day at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca saw Johannes van Overbeek and Pipo Derani survive a host of on-track carnage to take the win, their second of the year, on Sunday’s America’s Tire 250 in their No. 22 Nissan Onroak DPi for Tequila Patron ESM.

Van Overbeek, who started the race, needed to evade a pileup that collected Joao Barbosa (No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPi-V.R), Dirk Mueller (No. 66 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing), and Nick Tandy (No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR for Porsche GT Team) just as the green flag waved. A stackup saw Barbosa spin after contact with Misha Goikhberg (No. 99 Oreca 07 Gibson for JDC-Miller Motorsports), and both Mueller and Tandy collided with him in the aftermath.

Van Overbeek, however, managed to avoid the chaos and continue on.

Later, Derani, now piloting the No. 22 Nissan, charged through the Prototype field after a spin of his own on Lap 23 – he made contact with the aforementioned Goikhberg entering Turn 1 – to run second behind Harry Tincknell in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P, which dominated the second half of the race for Mazda Team Joest.

Derani then emerged in the lead when Ticknell spun after contact with Gustavo Yacaman (No. 52 Oreca for AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports) when he tried to put a lap on him. Tincknell fell as low as sixth at the time, while Derani was clear of the field and free to take the win, taking the checkered flag over 10 seconds ahead of second-place Colin Braun.

Braun, and co-driver Jon Bennett, slashed the points deficit to Felipe Nasr and Eric Curran (No. 5 Whelen Engineering Cadillac for Action Express) to four points. Bennett started the race in the No. 54 Oreca for CORE autosport, but the team elected to pit him under the second caution – a GT Daytona traffic jam on a restart saw Bill Auberlen spin and stall and Justin Marks suffer damage to the front of his Meyer Shank Racing No. 93 Acura NSX GT3.

The stop allowed CORE to put Braun in the car – Bennett had met his minimum drive time by that point – and Braun bulldozed through the field in the final 30 minutes to go from fourth to second, passing the Acura Team Penske duo of Juan Montoya (No. 6 Acura ARX-05) and Ricky Taylor (No. 7)).

Braun cleared Taylor to take second for good after Taylor had contact with GT traffic in the final minutes, damaging the right-rear suspension on his No. 7 Acura.

Behind them, Montoya hung on for third, while Tincknell got around Nasr to take fourth, relegating Nasr to fifth.

As a result, Braun and Bennett now trail Nasr and Eric Curran by only four points entering the Motul Petit Le Mans.

In GT Le Mans (GTLM), BMW Team RLL used fuel strategy to help Alexander Sims and Connor De Phillippi take their second straight win of the 2018 season.

BMW Team RLL tried to stretch the fuel with both entries, and saw Jon Edwards (No. 25 BMW M8 GTE) lead De Phillippi (No. 25) in the final minutes, but Edwards needed to pit for a splash of fuel with seven minutes remaining.

That stop left De Phillippi in the lead, and he was able to stretch his fuel to the end, a total of 53 laps, to edge the No. 912 Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor.

Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia finished third in the No. 3 Corvette C7.R for Corvette Racing, with Edwards ending up fourth.

The GTLM championship also saw a dramatic shakeup of its own when both Ford Chip Ganassi Racing cars had trouble. The aforementioned Mueller, with co-driver Joey Hand, were collected in the opening lap pileup, while the sister No. 67 Ford suffered damage to the right-front after Richard Westbrook made contact with Oliver Gavin’s No. 4 Corvette early on.

This means that Garcia and Magnussen increased their lead in the championship, despite not having a win to their name in 2018.

In GT Daytona (GTD), Katherine Legge and Alvaro Parente took the win (Legge’s second of 2018, while it was Parente’s first) after Parente made a string of late-race passes to go from fourth to first in the final minutes.

Parente was able to pass Bryan Sellers (No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3), Jeroen Bleekemolen (No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Mercedes-AMG Team Riley Motorsports), and Joerg Bergmeister (No. 73 Porsche 911 GT3 for Park Place Motorsports) in the final minutes to claim the victory for him and Legge.

What’s more, with Sellers, and co-driver Madison Snow, finishing fourth, the win moves Legge to within six points of them in the standings.

Full results can be viewed here. The season finale for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship comes next month with the Motul Petit Le Mans on October 13.

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Dean Wilson’s life as a privateer reconnects the rider to his roots

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One of the added benefits of subscribing to NBC Sports Gold is the in-depth interviews from each Saturday’s action. Last week between the first and second rounds of qualification for the Glendale Supercross race, a relaxed and confident Dean Wilson joined Race Day Live’s Daniel Blair and Jim Holley to review his fourth-place finish in the season opener and his mindset moving forward.

Losing factory support from Rockstar / Husqvarna at the end of 2018 was not exactly what Wilson had in mind, but after getting off to a great start in the first two races this season, it may well have been a blessing in disguise.

The life of a privateer is not exactly relaxed, but it affords a rider the opportunity to call his own shots. For Wilson, it is also a way to reconnect with the grassroots feel that attracted him to Supercross in the first place.

“I think that’s what I like,” Wilson said on Race Day Live. “I think that’s the environment and atmosphere I like – it’s just more low key. At Anaheim I, you would think I was local racing at Glen Helen. I had a Sprinter and I had another trailer just to chill in, do my spins. It was so cold I had a little propane heater to warm me up. But I like that. That’s what works for me.”

MORE: Dean Wilson’s Cinderella story at Anaheim 

The program Wilson was able to put together during the offseason produced back-to back top 10s – a much better start to the 2019 season than he experienced last year.

In 2018, Wilson did not score a top 10 until his fourth feature at San Diego. His first top five would not come until late March in Indianapolis.

This year Wilson got the hole shot and led 14 laps at Anaheim in the opener before finishing fourth. Last week in Glendale, he finished eighth.

“What was going through my head was ‘it’s about time; it’s about five years too late to lead some laps here,’ ” Wilson described his emotion as he led at Anaheim. “It was nice because I did a lot of work in the off-season and my starts were really good. The thing is I haven’t over-analyzed my starts and practice.”

At Anaheim I, Wilson struggled with visibility as his goggles began to get fouled by mud. A once comfortable lead was eroded by Justin Barcia. With pressure from behind, Wilson made a minor mistake that was then compounded by lapped traffic.

“I was leading my laps; I was just trying to hit my marks. I was doing really well until I made a couple of mistakes. I couldn’t hit that middle double, double … the rut was getting real chewed out, but I was already on the right side where you couldn’t double the middle part so you had to go roll, roll, roll – and Barcia was already on me.”

Wilson’s pair of top 10s was enough to keep him fifth in the standings, three points behind Glendale’s winner Blake Baggett.

For more, watch the video above.

Next Race: Anaheim II Jan. 19, 11 p.m., NBCSN

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