Podcast: Laura Wontrop Klauser on the ‘hard conversations’ within the Rolex 24 paddock


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – As a high-ranking female executive in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Laura Wontrop Klauser said she hasn’t noticed any overt instances of being treated differently in a male-dominated paddock.

But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had many difficult conversations as Chevrolet’s first sports car racing program manager.

“I’m sure there were instances where I maybe had to argue or bring more fact or say something differently than had I been a man,” Klauser said on the most recent episode of the NASCAR on NBC Podcast. “But a lot of it is relationship-based in racing. My goal was to build strong relationships with everyone on the team. One of the benefits I have is I’m pretty personable and enjoy my minutes talking to each person and see how they’re doing and what’s going on in their lives.

HOW TO WATCH THE ROLEX 24Full broadcast schedule on NBC Sports

A VIEWER’S GUIDE FOR THE WEEKENDFive things to watch in the 59th Rolex 24 at Daytona

“So when we get in these moments where I have to tell a team, ‘What you’re doing is not OK We can’t keep doing it,’  there’s still tough moments and you do have to have extremely thick skin because words and emotions are exchanged. One of the best things about racing, which is also one of the worst, is that you have the most passionate people in racing. You get passion that is about working hard and being excited, and you get the bad passion, the anger and the things that come along when things aren’t going their way. You have to balance that.”

Klauser, who has overseen the Cadillac racing program (which has a four-race winning streak in the Rolex 24 at Daytona) since 2017, said there were even some tough discussions at Daytona International Speedway last weekend, which Cadillac and Chevrolet mostly dominated in Rolex 24 preparataions.

Laura Wontrop Klauser, shown working in the IMSA paddock in 2019, is helping oversee three Cadillac DPi teams in the Rolex 24 at Daytona (GM Racing).

“We had a situation where the team forgot to talk to me first before they went to IMSA,” she said. “We’re still figuring some of that stuff out. I had to put a gentle reminder. The first one is gentle. The second one is not.

“We’ve had moments where teams come up with creative solutions for things. The way our racing works with vehicles homologated, it doesn’t allow too much creativity from a parts perspective. How you set up the car and aero bits, you can be creative. But redesigning (the car), you’re not supposed to do that. I’ve had to have conversations with teams, ‘The rulebook says it needs to be this, if you go through tech, and it doesn’t match this, don’t come crying to me.’ ”

An engineer who worked on production cars at General Motors before moving into racing, Klauser said her most difficult conversations are with engineers, and it isn’t because of gender.

“Engineers always think they’re right,” she said. “It’s the way we’re wired. There are times I’ll be told, ‘You’re an idiot. You’re not doing this right.’ I’ll tell them they’re an idiot, too. Once we get through that, it works pretty well.”

During the podcast episode, Klauser also discussed:

–Cadillac’s outstanding start to the practice sessions and qualifying race leading into the 59th Rolex 24 at Daytona with NASCAR champions Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott part of the lineup this year;

Her new job taking over management of Corvette Racing, including overseeing the budget and future direction;

–How she rose into the racing ranks and the progress of women in racing.


To listen to the podcast, click on the link bove, or download at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you get podcasts.

You also can watch a video version of the podcast above or on the Motorsports on NBC YouTube page.

During the NASCAR on NBC Podcast, Laura Wontrop Klauser discusses her lifelong love of the automobile and being a Corvette owner off the track (GM Racing).

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Detroit


The focus of the Detroit Monster Energy Supercross round was on the mid-pack battle while Aaron Plessinger pulled away from the field, but when he crashed after hooking his foot in the dirt, the results once more looked like we’ve come to expect, with Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb and Eli Tomac sharing the podium for the fifth time in 10 rounds.

Supercross Results Detroit
Justin Barcia was part of an exciting, four-rider battle in the middle of Detroit’s A-Main. – Feld Motor Sports

For Sexton, Plessinger’s late-race crash was a vindication of sorts. Several times already this season, Sexton has crashed while battling for the lead and the points that has cost him keeps him sporting the red plate. He lost points in Detroit for a different reason, however.

Sexton was allowed to keep the win, but was penalized seven points for jumping in a red cross section of the course. As a result, he dropped four points to Webb and two to Tomac. Sexton is now 17 points behind Webb in the championship hunt.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Overall Results; Click here for 250 Overall Results

One week after snatching the red plate from Tomac for the first time in 2023, Webb stretched his advantage by two. With his second-place finish, Webb holds a three-point lead over Tomac, which essentially means both riders control their fate in the coming weeks. Webb continues to have a sweep of the top five this season with his sixth consecutive podium.

Coming off his worst finish of the season, Tomac rebounded to finish third. His eighth-place result last week was partially attributed to a stiff neck that hindered him in traffic and he still suffered some of those same effects in Detroit. Before Plessinger’s crash, he was destined to be the only rider in the three-man title scrum to finish off the podium in Detroit.

It is surprising what one position can do for one’s confidence.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Justin Barcia scored his fourth top-five of the season. He was part of the exciting four-man battle that dominated the middle stages of the race before Sexton and Webb gained a little separation. Finishing less than three seconds behind Tomac, he kept that rider honest for the entire race.

Coming off his first win of the season, Ken Roczen finished fifth. It was his seventh top-five of the season and it elevated him to fifth in the standings.

Plessinger’s fall took the wind from his sails. He attempted to right his bike after a hard crash, but as it smoked and pinged, he dropped to 13th in the final rundown.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

Hunter Lawrence tied his brother Jett Lawrence with 10 wins each after another dominating ride in the Detroit Supercross race and the results in the points continue to widen. With his fifth win in six rounds and a worst finish of third, Lawrence now has a 35-point advantage over Nate Thrasher with four rounds remaining. Finishes of 14th or better in the final four mains will give him his first 250 championship.

Supercross Results Detroit
Strong starts have been one of the keys to Hunter Lawrence’s success in 2023. – Feld Motor Sports

Jett will have an opportunity to retake his wins’ lead as Supercross heads west for the next two rounds in Seattle and Glendale, Arizona.

Nate Thrasher earned his third second-place finish of the season with a gap of 7.6 seconds to Lawrence. He won the overall in Arlington earlier this season, but a 15th-place finish in the opening round in Houston and 10th in Daytona hurts his championship chances.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Haiden Deegan scored his second podium and fourth top-five in six rounds of his young career. On his way to that finish, he rode aggressively against his teammate Jordon Smith in the heat race. Fans are getting a glimpse of what his on-track personality might be.

Jeremy Martin continues to be the model of consistency. He has not finished worse than sixth or better than fourth in six rounds now and that has allowed him to close to within two points of third in the 250 East championship standings.

Rounding out the top five is Chris Blose, who was pressed into service at the start of the season because of a rash of injuries at Pro Circuit Kawasaki. This is Blose’s first top-five of the season, although he’s steadily improved over the past five rounds.

Click here for 250 Overall results | 250 East Rider Points | 250 Combined Rider Points

Max Anstie entered the race weekend second in the points, but a hard crash in heavy traffic early in the main forced him to retire after two laps. Earning only one point for the round, he plummeted to fifth in the standings.

The news was worse for Smith, who was dropped out of the top nine in his heat after the altercation with Deegan and failed to advance through the LCQ. In the last chance race, he stalled his engine and had to mount a determined charge. He got only as high as seventh in that race after crashing while attempting to make a pass on fourth-place Jack Chambers.

2023 Results

Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Tomac, H Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, J Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 8: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Cooper Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s