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Porsche’s Nick Tandy wins to end BMW’s run in IMSA iRacing series

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Nick Tandy snapped BMW’s three-race winning streak in the IMSA iRacing Pro Invitational Series, capturing Round 4 at virtual Road America.

The Porsche factory driver won by 2.845 seconds in his No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR over Bruno Spengler, whose BMW M8 GTE had won the first two races in the series.

“It was just one of those races where everything fell our way,” Tandy said in an IMSA release. “We managed to bag a really good (qualifying) lap, which kept us out of trouble at the start, which was my main issue at Laguna and Ohio was just having a clean run without getting in other people’s incidents.”

‘IT FELT LIKE REAL LIFE’: IMSA drivers on their iRacing series

NEW SIM SERIES: IMSA adds iRacing Challenge

“The concentration level needed for me to drive on the sim, it’s so much greater than when I’m driving in reality. I think it’s because the driving in reality, it’s kind of in your subconscious. You can think about what goes on with stuff while it’s happening, whereas with sim racing, it’s still kind of a bit fraught. I definitely felt my wrists after the race from just grabbing and holding the steering wheel so tight trying to not make a mistake. It’s pretty painful.”

Spengler, who won at Sebring and Laguna Seca, scored his third top-two finish and reclaimed the points lead in the series after a sixth two weeks ago at virtual Mid-Ohio.

“It was a great race,” Spengler said in an IMSA release. “It started a bit more difficult than the other races. I’d say our opponents had more pace, for example the Porsche was very, very strong here, Ford as well. But we had a good setup and a good car.”

Spengler is ahead of teammate Nicky Catsburg by eight points through four of six races. Catsburg finished ninth Thursday after winning at virtual Mid-Ohio.

Philipp Eng finished third at Road America in the No. 26 Team Austria BMW, his first podium of the season.

Click here for the results at Road America in Round 4 of the IMSA Pro Invitational.

iRACING CHALLENGE: In the inaugural event at virtual Road America, of the new IMSA simulation series, Michael Cooper won in the No. 10 Flying Lizard Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport, emerging from a battle for the lead with 10 laps to go over Jeff Andrews (who spun into the wall). Ben Waddell finished second with Forty7 Motorsports, and Max Root was third with Wright Motorsports.

Click her for the results in the IMSA iRacing Challenge at Road America.

IndyCar: Tony Kanaan’s ‘Last Lap’ begins at Texas Motor Speedway

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The streak lives for Tony Kanaan. At least for one more race.

With Kanaan running only ovals during his farewell IndyCar season in 2020 – which has been dubbed the “Last Lap” – his record streak of 317 consecutive Indy-car starts was to end with the season opener March 15 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Fate had other plans. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the postponement of St. Pete (now the season finale in October) amid the shutdown of American sports.

IndyCar has made multiple changes to its 2020 schedule since then, and as a result, Kanaan is getting an opportunity to extend his “Ironman” streak.

The 2004 NTT IndyCar Series champion and 2013 Indianapolis 500 winner is set for career start No. 318 on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway – driving the No. 14 A.J. Foyt Racing Chevrolet alongside the team’s new full-season driver, Charlie Kimball, in the No. 4 Chevy.

“A lot of people ask me how I coped with the delay of the season,” Kanaan said Monday in an IndyCar Zoom news conference. “To be honest, I was mentally prepared already because my first real race was going to be the [Indy] 500. My mind was already set for May.

“I only really had to delay, what, a couple of weeks from what I was originally scheduled to do. For me, I think it wasn’t as hard as for the other guys that were already in St. Pete, ready to go.”

But while his mindset is locked in, Kanaan notes that he’s been out of a race car for eight months. In fact, as of Monday, he hadn’t sat in a car fitted with the new Aeroscreen cockpit protection system.

However, he is no stranger to the wild and woolly action at Texas. Ditto for his new-slash-old teammate, Kimball: The two competed together at Chip Ganassi Racing from 2014-17.

That experience is something A.J. Foyt Racing team president Larry Foyt is grateful to have on his side.

“Going into this race, it’s huge,” Foyt said. “Especially with the one-day show, everything is accelerated, and going to a big track like Texas, having a guy like Charlie sit on the pole there [in 2017], knows his way around there, and obviously TK is very good there, as well.

“It’s a little bit of peace of mind for sure. Anything can happen, but the engineering group has been working really well together. We’re really hopeful we’re going to unload and get these guys some good cars out of the box. That’s the plan.”

Speaking of Kimball, the Californian is set to revive his full-time career in the sport after making just seven starts last season with Carlin.

He’s enjoyed his unexpected free time at home with his wife, Kathleen, and their two children, Hannah and newborn son Gordon, who arrived in March. But he’s grateful to get back in the car – and to accompany Tony on his ‘last lap.’

“We’re friends off the track,” Charlie said. “We train together. He’s gotten me addicted to riding a bicycle on a computer game, but also our wives are friends, and I think our families when we can get together and the kids can play, I think they’re going to interact really well. I’m excited for his daughter Nina to spend some time with our daughter.

“And the experience – I mean, he’s taught me things and I’ve learned a lot from him about how to restart on ovals and what you can and what you should and shouldn’t do and what he still does. That experience is invaluable to me to continue to learn and get better. I just feel really honored to be his teammate during his last lap, especially when we get back to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indy 500.”

The NTT IndyCar Series season begins Saturday night from Texas Motor Speedway with the Genesys 300 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The race will also stream on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.