Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor win from pole at Laguna Seca; IMSA results, points

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IMSA points, results Laguna Seca: Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Acura ARX-05 of Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor won for the third time this season Sunday in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

With the victory from the pole at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Albuquerque and Taylor extended their points lead to 100 points over the No. 31 Action Express Whelen Engineering Cadillac of Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr, who finished third Sunday.

Albuquerque handed over the wheel with 90 minutes left in the two-hour, 40-minute race, and Taylor built a lead as large as 20 seconds while also avoiding a crash between two LMP2 cars on the last lap.

RESULTS: Click here for the finishing order at Laguna Seca l Results by class

The No. 10 Acura won by 14.875 seconds over the No. 01 Cadillac of Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande. The No. 55 Mazda finished third.

It was the third victory at Laguna Seca for Wayne Taylor Racing and the third consecutive at the track for Acura.

“Everybody before the weekend was saying, ‘the Jaws music is playing, they’re under pressure now,’ ” said Ricky Taylor. “We felt like we were in control. We’ve had strong cars and the team’s been executing well, but things haven’t quite been going our way. But we’re the only ones that knew it. Today, I was really proud of the team. They responded to the Jaws music and the pressure by executing perfectly. The car was dominant.

“This is one of those wins that we have to remember and strive for in the future.”

Said Albuquerque: “What a dream weekend. I love this weekend. Pole position and the win. There is nothing else we can ask for.”

OTHER CLASS WINNERS:

LMP2: Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen extended their LMP2 points lead by winning in the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA LMP2 07. It was the team’s third class victory this season and fifth at Laguna Seca.

GTLM: Tommy Milner and Nick Tandy scored their first full-points victory of the season in the No. 4 C8.R Corvette. The duo had won the Motul 100 qualifying race for the Rolex 24 and the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic exhibition in Detroit.

GTD: With its second consecutive victory and series-high third this season, the Pfaff Motorsports No. 9 Plaid Porsche 911 GT3R of Laurens Vanthoor and Zach Robichon moved to second in the standings, 27 points out of the lead. It’s the team’s fifth career triumph and first at Laguna Seca.


POINTS

With two rounds remaining in the 2021 season, the points leaders in each division are:

DPi: Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor

LMP2: Ben Keating and Mikkel Jensen

GTLM: Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor

GTD: Bill Auberlen and Robby Foley

Click here for the unofficial standings after Laguna Seca


STATS PACKAGE FOR THE HYUNDAI MONTEREY SPORTS CAR CHAMPIONSHIP AT WEATHERTECH RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA:

Fastest laps by driver

Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)

Fastest laps by driver and class after race

Fastest lap sequence

Leader sequence

Lap chart

Race analysis by lap

Stint analysis

Best sector times

Race distance and speed average

Time cards

Pit stop time cards


ROUND 1Points and results from the Rolex 24 at Daytona

ROUND 2Points and results from the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

ROUND 3Points and results from Mid-Ohio

ROUND 4Points and results from Detroit

ROUND 5Points and results from the Sahlen’s Six Hours at The Glen

ROUND 6: Points and results from Watkins Glen WeatherTech 240

ROUND 7: Points and results from Lime Rock Park

ROUND 8: Points and results from IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America

NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will head to the streets of Long Beach for a 90-minute race on Sept. 25 (5 p.m. ET, NBCSN, TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold).

New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”