Acura Team Penske, Wayne Taylor Racing keep trading punches at Sebring

Sebring 12 Hours qualifying

The top two contenders in the premier division of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship were 1-2 in the same order for Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring qualifying Friday, setting up a fierce 12-hour battle for the DPi title at Sebring International Raceway.

Ricky Taylor captured the pole position for Acura Team Penske with a 1-minute, 46.874-second lap around the 17-turn, 3.74-mile road course, beating Renger van der Zande of Wayne Taylor Racing (1:47.125).

Penske’s No. 7 Acura, which is being driven at Sebring by Taylor, Helio Castroneves and Alexander Rossi, will enter Saturday’s season finale leading the championship by two points over the No. 10 Cadillac that is bring piloted by van der Zande, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon.

The championship contenders have spent the past two days at Sebring trading best times with van der Zande setting the quick time Thursday while Castroneves and Rossi also paced morning and afternoon practices.

QUALIFYING RESULTS: Full field rundown l Breakdown by class

SEBRING DETAILS: How to watch the 12-hour season in finale on NBCSN, NBC

With Sebring’s annual endurance classic being held in November instead of its traditional mid-March date, the race will feature more laps under darkness than ever in its 68-year history, and Taylor was relieved after pacing Thursday night practice over the Cadillacs, whose track record and pace at Sebring is formidable.

Ricky Taylor celebrates his pole position with teammate Helio Castroneves (IMSA).

“On these bumpy tracks, the Cadillacs are very strong, and having driven the 10 car before at Sebring, I know it’s always good at night,” said Taylor, who raced for his father’s No. 10 team before joining Penske in 2018. “This year, we’re going to have a lot of night time (racing), and so I just don’t think we can rest. I think we showed a lot of pace in night practice yesterday.

“I think the track changes so much, you’re just going to have to adapt on the fly, whether it’s changes inside the car, tire pressure, whether it’s nose changes or whatever the team can do, you’re just going to have to make sure you keep up with it all the way through and have that track position with a couple hours to go.

“The way the practice went, we definitely haven’t looked so great. We came to the track thinking we were pretty refined after being here already once this year (for a July 18 race). But yeah, this time of the year with the wind and all that’s going on, it’s thrown a bit of a curveball at everybody. So I think it’s forced everyone to adapt. I think difficult is good. I think difficult is going to make everybody work harder.”

In a team release, van der Zande was optimistic. “That’s a great start, being on the front row,” he said. “It’s going to be a long race. Qualifying isn’t that important for a long race, but it shows where you are in terms of the speed of the car compared to the others.”

The wildly different conditions are just one of many storylines to follow. Of the full-time drivers in the top two cars in DPi, only Castroneves has announced his 2021 plans. Briscoe and van der Zande are out of full-time rides as WTR moves next season to Acura, the manufacturer it’s trying to beat for its swan song with Cadillac. Ricky Taylor is believed to be a strong candidate to return to his father’s team in the switch next year.

Also in the mix for the title is the No. 31 Cadillac of Pipo Derani, Felipe Nasr and Gabby Chaves that is nine points out of the lead and also could claim the crown with a victory and some help. Taylor, who was involved in a memorable fight for the lead with Derani at the Petit Le Mans, said that “as dramatic as it is between the top two, you just throw the 31 in there, and it is a 12 hour at the most difficult track in the world as far as reliability. I think anything can happen.”

“It’s just such an amazing way to end a championship,” Ricky Taylor said. “If you’re a fan, you want it to come down to the last race and whoever wins the race, wins the championship, and I don’t think you could have scripted it any better, and to be racing against the 10 car of all teams, it’s really weird. But it’s fun, I wouldn’t rather be racing against anyone else.

“To start a 12 hour literally next to the championship contender is pretty intense. I think it’s going to be a case of not relaxing and not taking the pressure off and full focus for the whole race. We have to manage our race and control it as best we can.”

In qualifying for other divisions

GTD: Entering the finale seven points out of the lead, the No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3R of Wright Motorsports qualified first with driver Jan Heylen, seven spots ahead of the No. 86 Acura of Meyer Shank Racing with Cub-Agajanian that leads the championship.

GTLM: Already having clinched the championship, Antonio Garcia won the pole position for Corvette Racing’s No. 3 C8.R with a track-record 1:55.456 lap that bested the field by over a half-second.

“It was a perfect lap,” Garcia said. “We gambled on something different, and it seems to be working. … I’ve always enjoyed this race. Since we found out about the date change, I knew that finishing at Sebring would have been very tough. Fighting for a championship at such a hard event would have been difficult. I’m glad we got it out of the way.”

LMP2: Patrick Kelly put the PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07 on top with a lap of 1:51.373.

IndyCar results, points after 107th Indy 500


INDIANAPOLIS — With his first victory in the Indy 500, Josef Newgarden became the first repeat winner through six race results of the 2023 NTT IndyCar Series season and made a move in the points.

Newgarden, who celebrated with fans in the grandstands, moved from sixth to fourth in the championship standings with his 27th career victory and second this season (he also won at Texas Motor Speedway).

The Team Penske star won his 12th attempt at the Brickyard oval, tying the record for most starts before an Indy 500 victory with Tony Kanaan (2013) and Sam Hanks (1957). Newgarden, whose previous best Indy 500 finish was third with Ed Carpenter Racing in 2016, became the first Tennessee native to win the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and the first American since Alexander Rossi in 2016.

He also delivered the record 19th Indy 500 triumph to Roger Penske, whose team ended a four-year drought on the 2.5-mile oval and won for the first time since he became the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar in 2020.

Newgarden, 32, led five laps, the third-lowest total for an Indy 500 winner behind Joe Dawson (two in 1912) and Dan Wheldon (one in 2011).

The race featured 52 lead changes, the third most behind 68 in 2013 and 54 in ’16, among 14 drivers (tied with ’13 for the second highest behind 15 leaders in ’17 and ’18). Newgarden’s 0.0974-second victory over Marcus Ericsson was the fourth-closest in Indy 500 history behind 1992 (0.043 of a second for Al Unser Jr. over Scott Goodyear), 2014 (0.0600 of a second for Ryan Hunter-Reay over Helio Castroneves) and 2006 (0.0635 of a second Sam Hornish Jr. over Marco Andretti.).

It also marked only the third last-lap pass in Indy 500 history — all within the past 17 years (Hornish over Andretti in 2006; Wheldon over J.R. Hildebrand in 2011).

Ericsson’s runner-up finish was the ninth time the defending Indy 500 finished second the next year (most recently four-time winner Helio Castroneves in 2003).

Here are the IndyCar results and points standings after the 107th Indy 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway:


Click here for the official box score from the 200-lap race on a 2.5-mile oval in Indianapolis.

Lap leader summary

Full lap chart

Best section times

Full section data

Event summary

Pit stop summary

Here is the finishing order in the Indy 500 with starting position in parentheses, driver, engine, laps completed and reason out (if any):

1. (17) Josef Newgarden, Chevrolet, 200, Running
2. (10) Marcus Ericsson, Honda, 200, Running
3. (4) Santino Ferrucci, Chevrolet, 200, Running
4. (1) Alex Palou, Honda, 200, Running
5. (7) Alexander Rossi, Chevrolet, 200, Running
6. (6) Scott Dixon, Honda, 200, Running
7. (8) Takuma Sato, Honda, 200, Running
8. (16) Conor Daly, Chevrolet, 200, Running
9. (21) Colton Herta, Honda, 200, Running
10. (2) Rinus VeeKay, Chevrolet, 200, Running
11. (18) Ryan Hunter-Reay, Chevrolet, 200, Running
12. (27) Callum Ilott, Chevrolet, 200, Running
13. (25) Devlin DeFrancesco, Honda, 200, Running
14. (14) Scott McLaughlin, Chevrolet, 200, Running
15. (20) Helio Castroneves, Honda, 200, Running
16. (9) Tony Kanaan, Chevrolet, 200, Running
17. (24) Marco Andretti, Honda, 200, Running
18. (32) Jack Harvey, Honda, 199, Running
19. (30) Christian Lundgaard, Honda, 198, Running
20. (13) Ed Carpenter, Chevrolet, 197, Contact
21. (11) Benjamin Pedersen, Chevrolet, 196, Contact
22. (33) Graham Rahal, Chevrolet, 195, Running
23. (12) Will Power, Chevrolet, 195, Running
24. (5) Pato O’Ward, Chevrolet, 192, Contact
25. (22) Simon Pagenaud, Honda, 192, Contact
26. (26) Agustin Canapino, Chevrolet, 192, Contact
27. (3) Felix Rosenqvist, Chevrolet, 183, Contact
28. (15) Kyle Kirkwood, Honda, 183, Contact
29. (23) David Malukas, Honda, 160, Contact
30. (19) Romain Grosjean, Honda, 149, Contact
31. (31) Sting Ray Robb, Honda, 90, Contact
32. (28) RC Enerson, Chevrolet, 75, Mechanical
33. (29) Katherine Legge, Honda, 41, Contact

Winner’s average speed: 168.193 mph; Time of Race: 2:58:21.9611; Margin of victory: 0.0974 of a second; Cautions: 5 for 27 laps; Lead changes: 52 among 14 drivers. Lap leaders: Palou 1-2; VeeKay 3; Palou 4-9; VeeKay 10-14; Palou 15-22; VeeKay 23-27; Palou 28-29; VeeKay 30-31; Rosenqvist 32; Rossi 33-34; Palou 35-39; VeeKay 40-47; Palou 48-60; VeeKay 61-63; Rosenqvist 64-65; O’Ward 66; Power 67; Herta 68; Rosenqvist 69; O’Ward 70-78; Rosenqvist 79-81; O’Ward 82-89; Rosenqvist 90-94; Ilott 95-99; Rosenqvist 100-101; O’Ward 102; Rosenqvist 103-107; O’Ward 108-109; Rosenqvist 110-113; O’Ward 114-115; Rosenqvist 116-119; O’Ward 120-122; Rosenqvist 123-124; O’Ward 125-128; Rosenqvist 129-131; Ferrucci 132; Ericsson 133-134; Castroneves 135; Rosenqvist 136; Ericsson 137-156; Newgarden 157; Ericsson 158; Ferrucci 159-168; Ericsson 169-170; Rossi 171-172; Sato 173-174; O’Ward 175-179; Hunter-Reay 180-187;
O’Ward 188-191; Ericsson 192; Newgarden 193-195; Ericsson 196-199; Newgarden 200.


Click here for the points tally in the race.

Here are the points standings after the GMR Grand Prix:



Engine manufacturers

Pit stop performance

Top 10 in points: Palou 219, Ericsson 199, O’Ward 185, Newgarden 182, Dixon 162, McLaughlin 149, Rossi 145, Grosjean 139, Power 131, Herta 130.

Rest of the standings: Lundgaard 122, Kirkwood 113, Rosenqvist 113, Ilott 111, Ferrucci 96, VeeKay 96, Rahal 94, Malukas 84, Armstrong 77, Daly 73, Castroneves 69, Harvey 65, DeFrancesco 63, Canapino 61, Pagenaud 55, Pedersen 51, Robb 47, Sato 37, Carpenter 27, Hunter-Reay 20, Kanaan 18, Andretti 13, Enerson 5, Legge 5.

Next race: The Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix, which has moved from Belle Isle to the streets of downtown, will take place June 4 with coverage starting on Peacock at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.