IMSA

IMSA: Ford breaks Porsche’s win streak at Lime Rock

1 Comment

Ford Vs. Ferrari may not release in theaters until this November, but race fans at Lime Rock Park got to watch a live performance of Ford Vs. Porsche.

With the No. 912 Porsche 911 RSR of Earl Bamber fading late in the race due to worn tires, Richard Westbrook in the No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, on a three-stop strategy, was able to catch up to and challenge Bamber for the lead in the closing laps and eventually took over the lead with seven minutes remaining in the race.

The No. 67 would take the checkered flag, and finally break Porsche’s five-race GTLM win streak to claim their first class victory of the season.

“Just a great strategy by the team,” Westbrook told NBC Sports following the race. “Ryan [Briscoe’s] opening stint just put us in a really good position on this three-stop strategy. I had better tires than the Porsche, and that’s the only way we can beat them. We got to roll the dice and do a gamble, but we stuck to the plan. That was our plan before the race and it just worked to treat, but to do that, you need the best team.

“When you got all of that behind you, then sometimes these plans work out, and today was one of those special days.”

Co-Driver Briscoe watched as Westbrook took the checkered flag. For him, the win couldn’t have come at a better time.

“What a great drive by Rich at the end. I’m just so stoked,” Briscoe said “It’s been a tough year, and to turn things around here – my home race – with this win, it’s just phenomenal. The whole team just did such a great job. Gave us a really good car to drive, and I think I think it was just really fun to do the three-stop strategy and just do it on pace out there.”

Bamber was able to still hold on and finish second overall in the race, with the No. 66 Ford GT of Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller finishing in the third position.

GTD: Olsen gives Pfaff maiden victory with late-race pass

In GTD, Dennis Olsen gave Pfaff Motorsports their maiden IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory by passing Mario Farnbacher for the class lead with less than three minutes remaining.

However, Farnbacher fought back, challenging Olsen and almost retook the lead from the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R, coming just short at the finish by only 0.010 seconds.

“I saw the opening, and I just had to do it,” Olsen said of his late-race pass. “We had some quite aggressive moves throughout the whole stint and towards the end as well. It was pretty hard to keep him behind on the last lap, but we made it.”

The victory was also the first for co-driver Zacharie Robichon.

“He did an incredible job,” Robichon said. “He took the opportunity when presented without being overly aggressive, and at the end, I’m not too sure what was going on, but he held his position and it was pretty stressful as a team, I’d say.”

The No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley completed the GTD podium.

The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship now heads to Road America for the IMSA Road Race Showcase on August 4. Live coverage begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. 

Follow Michael Eubanks on Twitter 

Kyle Busch happy with first stint: ‘Put me in the car, there’s excitement!’

AP Photo/Terry Renna
Leave a comment

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Rolex 24 at Daytona debut of the “KB Show” was cut short by a strategy maneuver but still delivered drama and a positive result.

Kyle Busch got the No. 14 RCF GT3 Lexus back on the lead lap and back in contention for a GTD victory at Daytona International Speedway.

“It was good,” Kyle Busch said with a broad smile after a 42-minute stint. “Just, uh, shit, put me in the car, and there’s excitement around! Drove all my way back to the lead lap and everything.

“Overall, we’ve had a good experience and hell I only got one stint in, so I’m ready for more. Sign me up, coach!”

The two-time Cup champion was expected to drive for at least 90 minutes, but the first full-course caution of the race (with 19 hours and 16 minutes remaining) caused AIM Vasser Sullivan to change up its drive plan. Busch was called to the pits in favor of Parker Chase.

“With all the strategy and the way the wave-bys work here, it’s quite different than what we’re accustomed to (in NASCAR),” said Busch, who likely will drive longer now later in the race. “That wasn’t bad. To get ourselves back on the lead lap and back to a position where we can start scrapping again hopefully is what we needed.

“So I got one stint in, but I’m trying to save myself and (teammate) Jack (Hawksworth) for a little later.”

Busch climbed into the car shortly after 6 p.m. as the last of the No. 14’s four drivers. He complained a few times on his radio about traffic, which he said was his biggest challenge.

“There were a couple of instances we ran down a smaller car, and (it was) just mirror driving in front of us,” he said. “That was pretty bad. We lost probably 2 seconds on that. Overall, I guess that’s road racing.

The yellow flag was exactly what Busch’s team needed after being forced to start from the rear of the field when it missed qualifying because of an engine change. Hawksworth, who started the race, said the car was “quick in the wrong places and slow in the right places” after struggling with handling and speed in the first stint.

“I don’t feel we’re out of it,” Hawksworth said. “It’s a very long race. Still early days. We need to work on having speed for the end of the race. The position right now doesn’t really make any difference. We’ll need to find some performance at the end of the race to fight for the win.”