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

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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 

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Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

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Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”