Filipe Albuquerque holds off Ricky Taylor to win BUBBA Burger Long Beach Grand Prix

0 Comments

Action Express’ Filipe Albuquerque took the checkered flag first in Saturday’s BUBBA Burger Long Beach Grand Prix, narrowly holding off Team Penske’s Ricky Taylor to win the race on the popular street course for the second straight year.

Taylor’s Acura-powered machine was within striking distance of Albuquerque’s Cadillac, but got caught up in lapped traffic on the final lap, essentially giving the win to the No. 5 Action Express team.

“Ricky was just really quick. Mustang Sampling just did a amazing job with the strategy. We had a hard start and we still came back. I Love it!” Albuquerque told NBCSN following his victory.

Albuquerque would take the lead with 41 minutes remaining in the race to after coming out of the pits ahead of both Penske DPis, and would not cease the lead for the remainder of the race. It was the first victory for Albuquerque and co-driver Joao Barbosa’ since the duo won last year’s Long Beach GP.

With Action Express taking the top spot on the podium, and the Ricky Taylor/Helio Castroneves combo finishing second, Dane Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya would finish third, putting both Penske Acuras on the podium, seemingly appropriate with tomorrow’s NTT IndyCar Series event on the track is the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

The race for the DPi victory was an incident-filled one, with the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P piloted by Jonathan Bomarito making contact with the No. 54 Nissan of Jonathan Bennett in turn 8 in lap 2, causing the Mazda to spin and make contact with the outside wall. The No. 55 would finish the race 15th overall.

The No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac was the first retirement of the afternoon after Renger van der Zande made contact with the turn 9 concrete, ending the day for the DPi co-points leaders.

The No. 50 Juncos Racing Cadillac DPi of Will Owen also made contact with a tire barrier with six minutes remaining, after a relatively successful afternoon that saw the team lead earlier in the race with Kyle Kaiser behind the wheel.

Earl Bamber in the No. 912 Porche 911 would lead Jan Magnussen’s No. 3 Corvette C7.R to the checkered flag to claim the GT Le Mans class class victory in the race. Magnussen limped across the finish line after making contact  with the No. 66 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT of Dirk Mueller on the last lap, sending Mueller into the wall.

The second Corvette of Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner would finish third in the GTLM class.

The next race of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season is the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio on Sunday, May 5. NBCSN will have live flag-to-flag coverage of the race, beginning at 1:30 p.m. E.T.

Full Race results 

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter 

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
0 Comments

On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)