Dual problems for Team Penske’s Acuras with illness and oil leak

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Trouble struck twice for Team Penske’s Acura DPIs while running under yellow in a downpour with less than 6 hours remaining in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

Penske’s No. 6, driven by Simon Pagenaud at the time and shared by Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron, pulled off the track with an apparent malfunctioning oil pump for repairs during a caution that had lasted for more than hour because of persistent rain that began nearly five hours earlier.

While running for nearly an hour behind the pace car with the lead, Ricky Taylor fell ill in Penske’s No. 7 Acura. Taylor pitted and turned the car over to Helio Castroneves.

NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. speculated that Taylor might have fallen ill because of “the pace car lights. They are extremely bright. Under these muggy conditions, they are emphasized quite a bit.

“I used to lobby NASCAR to minimize the lights at night because it was so disturbing and made you ill. Riding around in humid, muggy race car, and it’s a bad combination.”

NASCAR senior vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell confirmed the sanctioning body had made adjustments after complaints from Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson.

During his last Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona start in 2004, Earnhardt said teammate Andy Wallace also had fallen ill after riding behind the pace car for two hours and needed several hours to recover. Earnhardt and teammate Tony Stewart had to double their stints as a result.

NBCSN’s Marty Snider reported that Taylor was resting in his best after briefly visiting the care center and being checked and released.

IMSA’s Bill Auberlen joins NASCAR America to discuss this weekend’s race at Lime Rock

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Turner Motorsport GTD driver Bill Auberlen joined NBC Sports’ Marty Snyder on NASCAR America Presents the Motorsports Hour Thursday to discuss a variety of topics, including Saturday’s IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship race at Lime Rock Park.

Auberlen, alongside co-driver Robby Foley, enters Lime Rock with a great amount of momentum after finishing on the GTD podium at Watkins Glen and taking the GTD class honors in the most recent IMSA race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

There’s also an extra incentive for the duo to win this weekend as well, as Auberlen is one win away from tying Scott Pruett for the most IMSA victories all-time.

Both drivers will have to be on their A-game this weekend, however, as Auberlen stated that Lime Rock is one of the tougher circuits on the IMSA calendar and compared the 1.5-mile Connecticut road course to a short track.

“It’s what we call the bullring of our season,” Auberlen said. “It is a 54-second lap and we’re going to go around it a million times before the end of the day. It’s going to be a hot one, and I think whoever survives this is going to be on the podium.”

Luckily for the GTD and GTLM teams, with no Protoype and LMP2 entries competing at Lime Rock this weekend, the worry of having to yield to entries from the faster classes is gone.

“These Protoypes are so fast now, that interacting with them, you can’t imagine,” Auberlen said. “We have radars in our car that can alert us when they are coming.

“They get on you so fast that if you’re not always looking or something is not telling you they’re coming, you could have a problem and catch into them. That’s gone. Now it’s going to be focus-forward. You’re going to be focused on everything ahead of you. You got GLTM in there at the same time, but they’re virtually the same speed as us – just a little bit faster.

“It’s going to be nice. When you stand on that podium you might be able to go for an overall victory.”

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