IMSA: Team Penske wins Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio

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Acura Team Penske fittingly took the overall victory in Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio, with Juan Pablo Montoya leading Tristan Nunez and Mazda Team Joest to the checkered flag.

The victory was the second for Team Penske in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with the team’s first victory also coming at Mid-Ohio last year with Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor behind the wheel of the No. 7 machine.

This time, the other Penske Acura DPi was victorious, with co-driver Dane Cameron starting the race and keeping the No. 6 entry up front before handing the wheel over to Montoya to race to the finish.

“Dane did an an amazing job in qualifying and at the beginning of the race,” Montoya told NBCSN. “We had a great strategy, saved a bit of fuel, and had good stop[s] and good in and out laps.”

Jonathan Bomarito and NTT IndyCar Series regular Ryan-Hunter-Reay finished third in the No. 55 Mazda DPi, behind teammates Nunez and Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77. Mazda is still looking for its first Prototype win in the current WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and hasn’t earned a major Prototype class win since 2010 at Mid-Ohio in the old American Le Mans Series.

Vanthoor, Bamber win for Porsche in GTLM

Porsche took their third consecutive victory in the GT Le Mans class, with Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber putting the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR in Victory Lane for the second consecutive race, having won the previous round at Long Beach. The No. 3 Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia finished second and Sebring winners Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy finished third in the No. 911 Porsche after serving a drive-through penalty for Pilet jumping the race start.

Hawksworth gives Vasser Sullivan the win in exciting GTD finish

In GT Daytona, Jack Hawksworth gave AIM Vasser Sullivan their first class victory after passing Meyer Shank Racing’s Mario Farnbacher on the restart with less than half an hour to go. Hawksworth, driving the No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3, held on through the checkered flag despite constant pressure from Farnbacher, including a bold attempt to reclaim the lead on the final lap. Paul Miller Racing’s No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, driven by Ryan Hardwick and Bryan Sellers, rounded out the GTD podium.

McMurry, Lux easily take LMP2 win

The No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports entry of Matt McMurry and Eric Lux claimed the win in LMP2. Their only other competitors from Performance Tech Motorsports were involved in a Lap 1 crash with a GTD competitor, and ended up finishing 34 laps behind the LMP2 winners.

Click here for full race results 

The next race of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season is the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic on Saturday, June 1. The 1 hour, 40 minute event on the streets of Detroit’s Belle Isle Park will feature both Daytona Prototype and GT Daytona entries. NBCSN will have live flag-to-flag coverage of the race, beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.

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Jack Miller wins the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix as Fabio Quartararo stops his downward points’ slide

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Jack Miller ran away with the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi as Fabio Quartararo stopped his downward slide in the championship when a last-lap accident from his closest rival in the standings caused Francesco Bagnaia to score zero points.

Starting seventh, Miller quickly made his way forward. He was second at the end of two laps. One lap later, he grabbed the lead from Jorge Martin. Once in the lead, Miller posted three consecutive fastest laps and was never seriously challenged. It was Australian native Miller’s first race win of the season and his sixth podium finish.

The proximity to his home turf was not lost.

“I can ride a motorcycle sometimes,” Miller said in NBC Sports’ post-race coverage. “I felt amazing all weekend since I rolled out on the first practice. It feels so awesome to be racing on this side of the world.

“What an amazing day. It’s awesome; we have the home Grand Prix coming up shortly. Wedding coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m over the moon; can’t thank everyone enough.”

Miller beat Brad Binder to the line by 3.4 seconds with third-place Jorge Martin finishing about one second behind.

But the center of the storm was located just inside the top 10 as both Quartararo and Bagnaia started deep in the field.

Quartararo was on the outside of row three in ninth with Bagnaia one row behind in 12th. Neither rider moved up significantly, but the championship continued to be of primary importance as Bagnaia put in a patented late-race charge to settle onto Quartararo’s back tire, which would have allowed the championship leader to gain only a single point.

On the final lap, Bagnaia charged just a little too hard and crashed under heavy braking, throwing away the seven points he would have earned for a ninth-place finish.

The day was even more dramatic for the rider who entered the MotoGP Japanese Grand Prix third in the standings. On the sighting lap, Aleix Espargaro had an alarm sound, so he peeled off into the pits, dropped his primary bike and jumped aboard the backup. Starting from pit lane, he trailed the field and was never able to climb into the points. An undisclosed electronic problem was the culprit.

For Quartararo, gaining eight points on the competition was more than a moral victory. This was a track on which he expected to run moderately, and he did, but the problems for his rivals gives him renewed focus with four rounds remaining.

Next week, the series heads to Thailand and then Miller’s home track of Phillip Island in Australia. They will close out the Pacific Rim portion of the schedule before heading to Spain for the finale in early November.

It would appear team orders are not in play among the Ducati riders. Last week’s winner Enea Bastianini made an aggressive early move on Bagnaia for position before the championship contender wrestled the spot back.

In his second race back following arm surgery, Marc Marquez won the pole. His last pole was more than 1,000 days ago on this same track in 2019, the last time the series competed at Motegi. Marquez slipped to fifth in the middle stages of the race, before regaining a position to finish just off the podium.

In Moto2 competition, Ai Ogura beat Augusto Fernandez to close the gap in that championship to two points. Fernandez holds the scant lead. Alonso Lopez rounded out the podium.

Both American riders, Cameron Beaubier and Joe Roberts finished just outside the top 10 in 11th and 12th respectively.