Super Sebring weekend begins on Friday with 1000-mile race

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Two months after racing twice around the clock in Daytona, the IMSA Weathertech Series heads to Sebring, Fla. for a single trip around the dial. Apparently, that just isn’t enough for some drivers or fans.

On Friday, the World Endurance Championship hosts the 1,000 Miles of Sebring as a prelude to the 12-Hour race. The World Endurance Championship schedule this year includes the 24-Hour of LeMans and 6-hour races at Spa-Francorchamps, Silverstone, Fuji and Shanghai.

One of the winners of the 24 Hours of Daytona likely has an opportunity to win his second consecutive race. Fernando Alonso, Kamui Kobayashi and Renger van der Zande are all entered in three different cars.

In the No. 8 Gazoo Racing entry, Alonso claimed the pole for Friday’s race with the fastest ever lap around this track of 1 minute, 40.124 second. Kobayashi, along with Mike Conway will sit on the outside of the front row. Van der Zande’s team, the No. 10 DragonSpeed entry, qualified seventh in the 34-car lineup.

Matthieu Vaxiviere, who joins van der Zande and Jordan Taylor this week in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Cadillac in the 12-Hour race, and the Corvette Racing duo of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia will also be doing double duty.

Along with the stars of the 24-hour race, IndyCar is represented in the 1,000-mile race with Ben Hanley joining van der Zande in that event.

Jordan King, who is entered in this year’s Indy 500, will compete for Jackie Chan DC Racing (yes, that Jackie Chan) in their No. 37 entry. They qualified ninth on the grid, one position behind their teammates in the No. 38 who earned the pole in the LMP2 division with Stephane Richelmi.

Chan is not the only Hollywood star to field an entry in this race. Patrick Dempsey rolls out two cars in the LMGTE Amateur division.

While the 1,000 Miles of Sebring has a couple of IndyCar drivers in the mix, they will be in full force on Saturday in the IMSA race. Simon Pagenaud (No. 6 Team Penske Acura DPI), Alexander Rossi (No. 7 Team Penske Acura DPI), Colton Herta (No. 25 BMW Team RLL that won the Rolex 24 GTLM in January), Sebastien Bourdais (No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT) and Scott Dixon (No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT) are entered.

And of course, Townsend Bell will be doing double duty as week like he did in the 24 – racing and providing color commentary for NBC’s coverage of the 12-Hours of Sebring. After finishing second in the Rolex 24 to a team that will not run the full IMSA season, Bell looks to protect the points lead for the No, 12 AIM Vasser-Sullivan team in the GT Daytona class.

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Indy Lights: Askew clinches 2019 title while VeeKay wins Laguna Seca race 1

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MONTEREY, Calif – Rinus VeeKay may have won the first race of the weekend’s Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca Saturday afternoon, but all all eyes post-race were all on the driver who finished the race in the fourth position.

That driver was Oliver Askew, who by simply starting the 30-lap event at the famed road course won the 2019 series title, along with the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series scholarship that guarantees a minimum of three races next season.

“It’s all sinking in,” Askew told NBC Sports following the race. “I’m really happy to be part of this team. They’re back to back champions now in Indy Lights, and I feel very fortunate to be driving in this car this year.

“This is what we worked for all year. I’m very happy to be in this position and I can’t wait to celebrate with my team.”

With the championship in Askew’s possession from the get-go, the best VeeKay could do for in race 1 was to win in dominant fashion. He went on to do just so.

After starting the race from the pole position, VeeKay led every lap from start to finish en route to his fifth victory of the season.

“We managed the car well and kept the car consistent throughout the whole race,” VeeKay said. “I got a great car from the team so I want to give a big shout out to them for giving me a winning car.”

Behind VeeKay, Portland race 2 winner Toby Sowery finished the race in the second position, while Robert Megennis finished third.

Live streaming coverage of race two of the Indy Lights doubleheader at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca begins tomorrow afternoon at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold.

Click here for full race results

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