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.

Michael Schumacher’s son to make F1 practice debut at Nurburgring

F1 Mick Schumacher
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MARANELLO, Italy — Mick Schumacher, son of the legednary seven-time champion, will have an official Formula One drive during an F1 race weekend for the first time next week at the Nurburgring, Alfa Romeo and Ferrari said Tuesday.

Schumacher gets the practice drive in an Alfa Romeo on Oct. 9 on his home track in Germany as a member of Ferrari’s young driver program, taking over Antonio Giovinazzi’s car for the first session of the weekend.

“I am overjoyed to get this chance in free practice,” Schumacher said in a statement. “I’m going to prepare myself well, so that I can do the best possible job for the team and gain some valuable data for the weekend.”

The 21-year-old Schumacher leads the Formula 2 standings after winning races in Monza and Sochi. He won the European Formula 3 championship in 2018 and tested a Ferrari F1 car in Bahrain in April 2019. He also has done demonstration runs in his father’s old cars, most recently this month ahead of the Tuscan Grand Prix in a championship-winning 2004 Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher holds the F1 record with 91 victories, which Lewis Hamilton is on the verge of tying.

Ferrari said two other drivers in its academy program will also get practice drives in Formula One.

Callum Ilott, a British driver who is second to Mick Schumacher in F2, will drive an F1 Haas at the Nurburgring on the same day as Schumacher. Russian driver Robert Shwartzman will drive in practice for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Dec. 11, though Ferrari hasn’t said for which team.

The German round was added to the F1 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the season and will be officially known as the Eifel Grand Prix after a nearby mountain range. The Nurburgring last hosted F1 in 2013.