IMSA

IMSA may be forced to restrict car field sizes at some tracks

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When it comes to numbers, IMSA is hot, red hot.

So much so that as it prepares for its 50th anniversary season, the sanctioning body may be forced to restrict the number of cars entered for some events in the upcoming 2019 IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship campaign.

IMSA issued a media release Wednesday noting that due to “a significant increase in the number of full-time teams confirmed to compete (in 2019) … the sanctioning body may need to restrict the number of cars at some events.

There are currently 37 full-time “premium” teams entered for a full season in 2019. While most race tracks have room on pit road for significantly more cars, pit lanes at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca are able to accommodate just over 40 cars in an event.

As a result, there is a real possibility that “restriction protocols may be deployed for the first time since the inaugural WeatherTech Championship season in 2014,” according to the media release.

IMSA said factors it may use to determine priority include: teams with season-long premium entries, commitments to participate in all seven WeatherTech Sprint Cup events and/or the four-race IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup.

Other determining factors include time stamp on teams filing standard, single-event entries; potentially limiting cars per class; as well as taking into account a team’s history of competing in IMSA-sanctioned events.

“While we are not yet in a situation where restrictions are needed, we believe it is important that our constituents be made aware of this situation and understand the criteria we will use if it becomes necessary,” IMSA vice resident of competition Simon Hodgson said in the media release. “This is a good problem to have – and the fact that there is a need for us to discuss these contingency plans is a testament to the attractiveness of our WeatherTech Championship platform.

“Our 50th anniversary season is now confirmed to have one of the largest and highest quality fields of full-season competitors in IMSA’s history.”

IMSA cars take to the track at the preseason Roar Before the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 4-6, followed by the Rolex 24 Hours season opener Jan. 26-27.

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Cooper Webb, Shane McElrath win Anaheim II Supercross

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Cooper Webb entered the Anaheim II weekend winless in Supercross. He left as a winner and did so in dramatic fashion. Webb was almost perfect in the Triple Crown format. He won the first two Mains and swept the podium with a third-place finish in the final.

Marvin Musquin was the only other driver in 450s to sweep the podium. He did not win any of the Mains, but with a finish of third in the first and second-place results in the last two, he was grabbed the second spot in the overall results.

Eli Tomac won the final Main after finishing fourth in the first two features, which put him third in the overall results.

Trouble continues for last year’s champion. With nine minutes remaining in Main 3, Jason Anderson got into a shoving match with Chad Reed. Knocked out of his rhythm, he finished 17th in that Main and was ninth overall.

Justin Barcia went down hard after being thrown from his bike with five minutes remaining on the clock. He got cross-rutted before being ejected. Barcia was helped from the track by the medical staff.

The 250 class featured three winners in the three Mains. Leading the points by one entering Anaheim II, Colt Nichols was determined to hang onto the red plate. He won the first Main, then finished third and fourth in his next two outings.

Dylan Ferrandis was the runner-up to Nichols in Main 1, but charged back to win Main 2. He finished third in the final Main.

The overall winner of the night, Shane McElrath just got better in every Main. He finished third in the first feature, was second in Main 2 and won the final. That elevated him to second in the points – two behind Nichols.

Nichols holds onto the red plate for the third straight week.

450s

Main 1: Cooper Webb won over Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin. … Roczen took the hole shot and steadily increased his advantage until Lap 6. Webb was in a battle of his own with Eli Tomac, but still closed the distance and overtook him on the final lap. The two riders went handlebar-to-handlebar on the final lap with Webb grabbing the lead on the run up to the finish line.

Main 2: Webb (cumulative: 2 points) won over Musquin (5) and the opening round winner Justin Barcia (10). Emboldened by his Main 1 win, Webb led checker-to-checker. Running third on Lap 8, Roczen (7) went down after his foot came off the peg. He fell back dramatically, but held onto third in the class points through two mains. Tomas finished fifth in the Main and was fourth in class points. 

Main 3: Tomac (cumulative: 9 points) won over Musquin (7) and Webb (5). Tomac led flag-to-flag, building an advantage of 6.825 seconds at the halfway point. He did not need to keep pushing that hard and allowed Musquin to shave two seconds off his lead, but still had a dominant margin of 4.787 seconds at the end.

250s

Main 1: Colt Nichols won over Dylan Ferrandis and Shane McElrath. … Adam Cianciarulo took a fall after leading three laps and dropped 10 seconds off the pace, but he held on to finish fourth. … Nichols grabbed a lead of more than three seconds and cruised to victory.

Main 2: Ferrandis (cumulative: 3 points) beat McElrath (5) and Nichols (4). … Nichols led the first seven laps of 12 until he made a mistake exiting to whoops and fell. Ferrandis leaped past to take a more than two second lead. Cianciarulo (18) went off track while running fifth with less than a minute on the clock. He dropped to 14th. RJ Hampshire (9) was fourth in class after the first two mains.

Main 3: McElrath (cumulative: 6 points) won over Cianciarulo (20) and Ferrandis (6). Nichols got the hole shot , but Cianciarulo led the first four laps. He could not hold off McElrath, however, who had the overall victory in his sights. By winning the final Main, McElrath took the overall victory. RJ Hampshire rode a steady three races with results of fifth, fourth, and fifth to take fourth overall.

Click here for overall results

Points Leaders

450s
Ken Roczen (63 points)
Eli Tomac (61)
Cooper Webb (57) (1 win)
Justin Barcia (56) (1)
Marvin Musquin (56)

250s
Colt Nichols (70 points) (1 win)
Shane McElrath (68) (1)
Dylan Ferrandis (63)
Adam Cianciarulo (62) (1)
RJ Hampshire (57)

Next race: January 19, Angel Stadium, Anaheim, Calif.

Season passes can be purchased at NBC Sports Gold.

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