Action Express maintains speed in Motul 100 qualifying as Felipe Nasr captures pole

Rolex Motul qualifying results
IMSA
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DAYTONA BEACH, Florida — Felipe Nasr captured the pole position Saturday in qualifying results for the inaugural Motul 100 qualifying race that will set the starting grid for the 59th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Nasr’s No. 31 Cadillac, which will be co-driven by Pipo Derani, will lead the field to green in the 100-minute race at 2 p.m. Sunday. It’s the first qualifying race for the Rolex 24-hour season opener to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, which will take place Jan. 30-31.

Nasr turned a 1-minute, 34.311-second lap around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway, nipping Oliver Jarvis in the No. 55 Mazda. Tristan Vautier qualified third in the No. 5 Cadillac.

MOTUL 100 QUALIFYING: Full results l Results by class l Sector times l Fastest lap sequence

HOW AND WHEN TO WATCH THE ROLEX 24: Schedule, TV info, start times, entry lists, more

“Getting the pole is just a small part of the weekend,” said Nasr, who also will be teamed with NASCAR Cup champion Chase Elliott and Mike Conway. “But the speed, we have it. That’s what I’m most pleased about. It pays off the work we did in the offseason and getting the engineering side better.”

Action Express Cadillacs paced both practice sessions Friday (with Kamui Kobayashi in Session I and Mike Conway in Session II) to open the Roar Before the Roar at Daytona. Vautier turned the fastest lap in a third practice session Saturday morning, followed by Jarvis, Nasr and Renger van der Zande as Cadillacs took three of the top four speeds in the session.

THIRD PRACTICE: Speeds l Speeds by class l Speeds by driver

The No. 48 Cadillac was qualified seventh by seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who will be paired with two-time defending Rolex 24 winner Kobayashi in the qualifying race Sunday.

The pole winners in other classes were Ben Keating in LMP2, Moritz Kranz in LMP3, Marco Wittmann in GTLM and Ryan Hardwick in GTD.

Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)