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.