IndyCar executives say 90 percent of teams will be vaccinated by 2021 season opener

IndyCar team vaccinated
Kelly Wilkinson/IndyStar
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An IndyCar executive said roughly 90 percent of personnel on teams in the NTT Series paddock will have been vaccinated for COVID-19 ahead of Sunday’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

“I think that’s going to continue to move up,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said Wednesday on a Zoom news conference. “When I say we’ve worked hard on it, we’ve provided an opportunity for everybody that was here in Indianapolis just after the (Indy 500) test concluded last Friday to be vaccinated, to get their first dose. We’re going to do that again in Texas (after the completion of a May 1-2 weekend doubleheader).

“And then there’s yet another opportunity in Indianapolis the first week in May. I expect it to be very close to 100 percent by the time we get (to the Indy 500), and we’ll see where that number is.”

ENTRY LIST: There are 24 drivers racing at Barber Motorsports Park

WEEKEND SCHEDULE: All the on-track activity for Barber

IndyCar president Jay Frye said IndyCar teams “were taking it very seriously” even before having the opportunity to get vaccinated at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after last week’s two-day Indy 500 test.

“We were running in the high 60 percent before that,” Frye said. “And now like Mark said, we’re over 90 percent as a group. It’s been, again, a great paddock-wide effort.”

Two-time Indy 500 winner Takuma Sato of Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing was among those who was  vaccinated at IMS (as the team posted on social media).

IndyCar and IMS owner Roger Penske said he offered up the track as a mass vaccination site in a goodwill gesture toward having as many fans as possible for the Indy 500 on May 30.

IndyCar has opened up paddock access to more sponsor VIPs and media after heavy restrictions last year because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Miles said the series was weighing whether it’ll begin implementing regular COVID-19 testing for access to the paddock among those who haven’t been vaccinated.

“We’ll take all the right precautions to make the paddock as buttoned up as possible,” Miles said.

A vehicle leaves the Indianapolis Motor Speedway garages after vaccinations Tuesday (Kelly Wilkinson/USA Today Sports Images).

Final 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona results, stats

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona overall results were all streaks: two consecutive victories in the endurance classic for Meyer Shank Racing and three in a row for Acura.

And Helio Castroneves became the second driver to win three consecutive Rolex 24s and the first to win in three straight years (Peter Gregg won in 1973, ’75 and ’76; the race wasn’t held in ’74 because of a global oil crisis).

Starting from the pole position, Tom Blomqvist took the checkered flag in the No. 60 ARX-06 that led a race-high 365 of 783 laps with co-drivers Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud and Colin Braun.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona l By class

Meyer Shank Racing now has two Rolex 24 victories and the 2022 championship since entering the premier prototype category of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2021.

“I think what’s so special about this team is we are a small team compared to some of our opponents, but the atmosphere, the way we work, enables people to get the best out of themselves, and I think that’s why we’re such high achievers,” Blomqvist said. “I think there’s no egos. It’s a very open book, and that just enables each and every one of us to reach our potential. I think that’s why we’ve achieved so much success in really a short time at this level of competition.”

It’s the 16th IMSA victory for MSR.

The 61st running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona marked the debut of the Grand Touring Prototype category that brought hybrid engine technology to IMSA’s top level.

In other categories:

LMP2: James Allen passed Ben Hanley on the final lap and delivered a victory in the No. 55 ORECA by 0.016 seconds. It’s the second IMSA victory for Proton Competition, which last won at Sebring in 2012. It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Allen and co-drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Fred Poordad and Francesco Pizzi.

GTD Pro: Cooper MacNeil won in the last start of his IMSA career as the No. 79 Mercedes-AMG GT3 scored the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for WeatherTech Racing and the team’s fourth career victory.

MacNeil, who co-drove with Maro Engel, Jules Gounon and Daniel Juncadella, earned his 12th career victory and first at the Rolex 24.

“Winning by last IMSA race is tremendous,” MacNeil said.

GTD: The No. 27 Heart of Racing Team delivered the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for Aston Martin, which has been competing in endurance races at Daytona International Speedway since 1964. Drivers Marco Sorensen, Roman De Angelis, Darren Turner and Ian James (also the team principal) earned the victory in the English brand’s 13th attempt.

It’s also the first Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Heart of Racing, which has seven IMSA wins.

LMP3: Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill drove the No. 17 AWA Duqueine D08 to victory by 12 laps for the team’s first class win in IMSA.


STATS PACKAGE FOR ROLEX 24 HOURS OF DAYTONA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Lap chart

Leader sequence

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Flag analysis

Weather report

NEXT: The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring March 18 with coverage across NBC, USA and Peacock.