Mazda wins Rolex 24 pole for second consecutive year at Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. –Oliver Jarvis put the No. 77 Mazda Team Joest on the pole position at Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona for the second consecutive year as Thursday’s qualifying session was cut short by a heavy crash in the top DPI division.

Ricky Taylor crashed Team Penske’s No. 7 Acura with 2 minutes remaining in the session, hitting the tire barrier after losing control in the Bus Stop. After a red flag, officials elected to end the session with 1:42 remaining. Taylor was able to walk away from the wreck. He was evaluated and released from the infield care center.

Jarvis turned a lap of 1 minute, 33.711 seconds on the 3.56-mile road course, nearly breaking the lap record he set in winning last year’s pole.

Juan Pablo Montoya qualified second (1:34.154) with the No. 6 Acura of Team Penske, followed by Jonathan Bomarito’s No. 55 Mazda in third (1:34.169).

The Cadillacs of Felipe Nasr (1:34.294) and Ryan Briscoe (1:34.442 in the No. 10 of defending overall winner Wayne Taylor Racing) rounded out the top five.

Last year, Mazda’s strong start went up in a ball of flames as both of its cars short-circuited from contention with mechanical problems just past the seven-hour mark.

Mazda worked on making its cars more durable throughout the offseason, and Jarvis believes “reliability is not such a concern” with the DPI class entering its fourth year.

“That allows drivers to push much harder right from the green flag,” Jarvis said. “I think we’ve got one of the most competitive fields I’ve ever been involved in motorsports with; some amazing driver lineups throughout the grid. So I think you’ll see some really entertaining racing from the moment the flag drops.”

In the LMP2 class, Ben Keating was fastest with a lap of 1:37.446 in the No. 52 ORECA.

In the GTLM division, Nick Tandy (who also happens to be a fan of the Daytona 500) set a track record of 1:42.207 (breaking his previous mark of 1:42.257) and also tied Scott Pruett’s record for most Rolex 24 Hour pole positions (four). Tandy also won the pole in 2013, ’16 and ’19.

Tandy edged his teammate Laurens Vanthoor. Antonio Garcia qualified third in the No. 3 Corvette.

In the GTD class, Zacharie Robichon put the No. 9 Porsche 911 of Pfaff Motorsports on the pole with a track-record lap of 1:45.237.

The No. 14 Lexus RC F GT3 of AIM Vasser Sullivan will be starting from the rear of the field after the team wasn’t able to change an engine in time for qualifying.

Two-time defending NASCAR Cup champion Kyle Busch will be making his Rolex 24 debut in the No. 14, sharing the car with Jack Hawksworth, Parker Chase and Michael De Quesada.

Click here for full qualifying results 

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.