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

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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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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Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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