Roger Penske wins Bathurst 1000 for first time in career

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Roger Penske’s checklist is nearly complete. The most successful team owner in auto racing history checked another one off the list with a victory in Sunday’s famed Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama in New South Wales, Australia.

The 82-year-old team owner’s two-driver entry of Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat won the Bathurst 1000 on the same day Penske’s No. 6 Acura Team Penske entry won the WeatherTech SportsCar championship in the DPi category in the Motul Petit Le Mans.

Although the Bathurst 1000 was run on Sunday, because of the International Date Line, it started with two hours remaining in Saturday’s Petit Le Mans at Michelin Speedway at Road Atlanta. Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and 1999 CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron are the championship drivers for Acura Team Penske.

This year’s Indianapolis 500 winner, Simon Pagenaud, was the team’s third driver this weekend at Michelin Speedway.

Penske attended the Bathurst 1000 with his DJR Team Penske operation and saw McLaughlin and Premat win the famed endurance race in a single-lap dash. This came after Andre Haimgartner crashed his Nissan with three laps to go to bring out the eighth and final caution period.

The 26-year-old McLaughlin, who also won the Virgin Australian Supercars Championship, drove his Ford Mustang to a 0.68-second victory over Shane van Gisbergen’s Holden Commodore.

“It’s one off our bucket list now,” Penske said. “What a champion.

“He’s got the momentum within the team, and he’s lifted the whole place up. I’ve said it a lot this week, he reminds me of Rick Mears, who won the Indy 500 four times. He could always lift the team.”

Penske’s checklist is quite impressive. His cars have won the Indianapolis 500 a record 18 times, including Pagenaud’s win on May 26. Team Penske also has a record 16 IndyCar “National Championships,” won the 2012 NASCAR Cup Championship with Brad Keselowski and the 2018 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Championship with Joey Logano. Penske drivers also have two Daytona 500 wins with Ryan Newman in 2008 and Logano in 2015.

Penske’s cars and drivers have won more than 500 races counting all series the team has competed in since its inception in 1966. Those include such series as Formula One, Can-Am and Trans-Am in addition to IndyCar, NASCAR, ALMS, IMSA and Virgin Australia SuperCars.

It was McLaughlin’s first Bathurst 1000 win.

“I can’t believe I won the bloody Bathurst 1000,” McLaughlin said. “We had such a good car all week. We put so much pressure on all week.”

It’s already been an incredible year for Penske.

Pagenaud won the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26. Josef Newgarden won the 2019 NTT IndyCar Series championship with four wins and seven podiums (top three finishes) and two poles in a remarkably consistent season. His Acura Team Penske IMSA team won the DPi championship with Montoya and Cameron and all three of his NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series drivers including Keselowski, Logano and Ryan Blaney remain in contention for the 2019 NASCAR Cup title.

It was also the first Bathurst 1000 victory in 25 years for team co-owner Dick Johnson of Australia.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
IMSA
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10-3 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 7 p.m. to USA Network. Peacock will have flag-to-flag coverage.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III