IMSA Detroit results: Chip Ganassi Racing caps week with another win in Belle Isle finale

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DETROIT — Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande delivered the second big victory to Chip Ganassi Racing this week, topping the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship results in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle Raceway.

It was the second consecutive victory in Detroit for Ganassi’s No. 01 Cadillac, which won  last year with van der Zande and Kevin Magnussen. Bourdais, who started on pole position for the fourth time this season, joined his new teammate for the celebratory dip Saturday in the James Scott Memorial Fountain.

Their dominating victory bookended a week that began with Ganassi snapping a 10-year winless drought in the Indy 500, which was won by Marcus Ericsson.

RESULTS: Click here for overall finishing order l Click here for the class breakdown

POINTS: Standings after Detroit

“It was definitely not the easiest race we have ever won, but I am super proud of everyone on the 01 Cadillac team,” Bourdais, who set the track record in its final IMSA qualifying session, told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Renger brought it home. It was a hard fight, but it is that much sweeter when you win it.”

Said van der Zande: “We got it done. We’ve had some trouble this year. It is good to get it behind us so we can look forward and win some more races hopefully.”

Oliver Jarvis finished in second by 0.309 seconds in the No. 60 Acura of Meyer Shank Racing. The 100-minute race was caution-free for the first time (featuring a record 73 laps), and everyone was watching reigning series champion Pipo Derani in the closing stint.

After taking over from new teammate Olivier Pla (who replaced Tristan Nunez in Action Express Racing’s No. 31 Cadillac this week), Derani erased a deficit of nearly 30 seconds.

He also had two wheel-to-wheel battles with Earl Bamber, who finished third in Ganassi’s No. 02 Cadillac. The No. 31 finished fourth but was moved to the rear of the class after being found underweight in postrace inspection.

Jarvis and teammate Tom Blomqvist took the DPi points lead.

It was the fourth Belle Isle victory for van der Zande and first for Bourdais. The duo won from the pole for the second time this season as Cadillac remained unbeaten on street courses this season.

Next year, the Detroit Grand Prix that includes the IMSA race will relocate to a downtown circuit.


GTD

IndyCar rookie Kyle Kirkwood led an overhauled Vasser Sullivan lineup to the team’s first win this season — the first career IMSA victory for Kirkwood and teammate Ben Barnicoat.

Kirkwood won the pole for the race but raced Saturday with an injured right hand from a crash in IndyCar practice Saturday morning.

Although clearly ailing, Kirkwood started the race and ran second during his stint while saving fuel before handing off to Barnicoat shortly before halfway, making a pit stop a lap after the leader. The Vasser Sullivan crew had a quick two-tire pit stop and the No. 17 Lexus returned to the track in first. Barnicoat then led the final 43 laps.

“We won this one on pit strategy, and on that pit stop,” Kirkwood told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns. “They had a mega pit stop. We got out about 4 seconds sooner than anyone else and just led the race from there. This race is all about track position. We needed that track position, we got it, and we were able to control the race there until the end. It’s so good to come back with the Vasser Sullivan team and get their first win of the year with Ben and I.”

It was the IMSA debut at Belle Isle for both drivers. It is the 10th victory for the Lexus RC F GT3 in GTD, the eighth with Vasser Sullivan and the second Detroit victory for the RC F GT3.

Kirkwood and Barnicoat were put into the lineup this week as the team needed replacements for regular Jack Hawksworth, who was injured in a motorbike crash.

“It was an awesome day,” Barnicoat said. “I’m stoked to get my first win with Lexus and Vasser Sullivan. It was tough out there. We only took two tires, so it was pretty loose for a while until the fuel burned off. Then at the end, we had it under control. This one is for the Vasser Sullivan boys and for Jack, who’s at home recovering. I send him all the best and can’t wait to have him back in the car with me soon.”

Kirkwood is the endurance driver for the team but got his first sprint race Saturday. He declined to celebrate in the fountain over superstition about racing in Sunday’s IndyCar event.


STATS PACKAGE FOR IMSA CHEVROLET DETROIT GRAND PRIX:

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

Time cards

Pit stop time cards

Drive Time

Best sector times

NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will return to its endurance schedule with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International at 10:30 a.m. ET on June 26 with coverage on USA and Peacock. All five classes are in action.

Heather Lyne, Dennis Erb Jr. make history in the World of Outlaws Late Model Series

Lyne Erb Outlaws Late
Jacy Norgaard / World of Outlaws
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More than two decades in the making, the pairing of Heather Lyne and Dennis Erb Jr. produced a historical milestone in Dirt Late Model.

Last month, Erb and his long-time crew chief Lyne won their first World of Outlaws Late Model Championship and with this achievement, Lyne became the first female crew chief to win in a national late model series. Their journey together goes back 21 years and tells the story of hard work, persistence and belief in oneself.

After a career-best season with the World of Outlaws, Erb and Lyne secured the points championship at US 36 Raceway in Osborn, Mo. with three races remaining in the season. The consistency and success of their season came down to pinpoint focus. Lyne and Erb are a team of two living out a David vs. Goliath tale. In order to be as successful as possible this year the duo knew they had to do as much as possible with the resources they had.

“It’s always a challenge when you only have two people, both at the racetrack and at the shop,” Lyne told NBC Sports. “I also work full time, so during the day, Dennis has to do a significant amount of work so that when I get down there I can start working and maintaining. It’s planning ahead. It’s having that system in place and making sure that you’re prepared ahead of time.

“When you have a problem at the track, making sure you have all that stuff ready so it’s a quick change and not a lengthy process to make a repair. We had zero DNFs in the World of Outlaws, we had only one DNF out of 96 races [combined among all series].”

Dennis Erb clinched his 2022 championship before the World of Outlaws World Finals. Jacy Norgaard – World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Taming Time

This was not an easy feat. Between a full travel schedule and Lyne’s full-time job as an engineer, time comes at a premium. What they lack in time and resources they made up for in patience and planning.

“We buckled down, and we got all the equipment that we needed back, motors freshened, and things of that nature,” Lyne said about the mid-point of last season. “We were able to keep up with that. We just had a higher focus. I tried to reduce my hours at my day job as much as I possibly could while still maintaining what I need to get done at work. I got rid of a lot of the other distractions and got a more refined system in place at the shop.

“We did certain tasks on certain days so we had time to recover. We were on the road a little bit more, as opposed to coming home to the shop. So we had to be more prepared to stay out on those longer runs. It was just really staying on top of things a little more. It was a heightened sense.”

This was Lyne and Erb’s fourth full season with the Outlaws, but they’ve been on the road together for the last 21 seasons starting in 2001. Their partnership began with Lyne’s bravery. When one door closed, she was quick to open another. In 2001, Lyne’s dad was ready to stop racing. Her mother wanted to regain her weekends, but Lyne knew this was her life path and wasn’t prepared to lose it.

“I’ve always been a tomboy at heart,” Lyne said. “I watched racing with my dad. Growing up he watched NASCAR. In high school, I got tired of playing at the lake house, so I went to the local dirt track and fell in love with it. I just couldn’t get enough. It took a year for me to convince my dad to come to the track with me. He finally did and we sponsored a car that year, the following year he started to race limited cars. He ran hobby stocks and limited late models.”

At some point, Lyne and her father’s level of commitment drifted apart.

“He did it for about five years,” Lyne said. “And then my mom said: ‘I’m done racing. I want my weekends back. It’s just not fun anymore.’ I wasn’t ready to hang up my wenches and Dennis raced out of the same hometown so I, on a dare, went down and introduced myself; told him if you ever need any help, I’ll drill out rivets, I’ll help wash, whatever you need. Twenty-one years later here I am.”

Heather Lyne became the first female crew chief to secure a national touring late model championship in 2022. Paul Arch / World of Outlaws Late Model Series.

Breaking Through

Lyne entered a male-dominated job in a field that is also male-dominated – and where there were few examples of women creating these places for themselves. In this way, Lyne became a blueprint for other women as they strive to find a place for themselves in racing and in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) overall. She has her mother to thank for providing a strong role model, her father for sharing her passion, Erb for taking a chance on an unknow entity and most importantly herself.

“I was raised to believe that I can do anything, I want to do, as long as I put my heart and soul into it.” Lyne replied when asked about role models in the sport growing up. “My parents did not raise me to have that limitation. But from a racing role model perspective, I went in there completely green and just introduced myself to Dennis, the fact that he was brave enough to take that risk and bring a girl to the racetrack. Someone he didn’t know at all speaks volumes for him.”

Lyne and Erb have learned how to survive and succeed with each other on the road. They do this by leveraging decades of combined experience and an ability to adapt to the everchanging landscape of dirt late models. Next year the World of Outlaws visits nearly a dozen new tracks and Lyne sees it as an opportunity for continued success.

“I just want to do it again,” Lyne says going into next season, “I’m looking forward to the competition, I always do. I wouldn’t do it if I wasn’t competitively driven.

“There are some new tracks on the schedule that I’m looking forward to trying for the first time that I haven’t been to myself,” Lyne said of the 2023 season, “Dennis seems to do well on those first timers. We won out at Marion center, we finished second at Bloomsburg. We have a good solid notebook of information to tackle them over the last three years with these rocket race cars that we’re running. It’s good to have that information and leverage it to try some new things.”