Starting lineup grid for IMSA at CTMP: Acuras sweep front row as Blomqvist breaks record

IMSA CTMP starting lineup
IMSA
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Acura swept the front row of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starting lineup for the second consecutive race as Tom Blomqvist set the fastest lap in series history at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP).

With the pole position in the No. 60 ARX-05, Blomqvist and Meyer Shank Racing teammate Oliver Jarvis cut into the championship lead of No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Acura teammates Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor, who qualified second.

By earning his second consecutive pole, Blomqvist turned a track-record lap of 1 minute, 4.394 seconds at an average speed of 137.427 mph — breaking the mark (136.792 mph) previously set by Javis in a Mazda for the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona.

CTMP STARTING GRID: Click here for the Chevrolet Grand Prix starting lineup l Lineup by car number

IMSA AT CANADIAN TIRE MOTORSPORT PARK: How to watch Sunday

“Wow, I gave it absolutely everything I had out there,” Blomqvist said. “I wasn’t sure I was going to survive the session, and there were definitely a few hairy moments out there. I had to just close my eyes and be very, very brave.

“Our Acura has been really fast, especially in the last sector. The entire team has given us a really fast package and it’s showing with our results. We’ve made such great improvements from the start of the season, so we’re really getting into a nice groove. We’ll have to make a few adjustments for the race tomorrow, but I know we have a fast race car.”

Blomqvist and Jarvis have notched four consecutive runner-up finishes and reduced their points deficit by three points to 14 behind Taylor and Albuquerque.

The WTR duo has won three of the past four races, including last Sunday at Watkins Glen International.

It’s the third time this season that Acuras took the top two starting positions (including at Watkins Glen). Taylor qualified second with the second-fastest lap (137.327) in IMSA history.

“We had a very good car in qualifying,” Taylor said. “Unfortunately, we were just short of pole, but it’s good to have our teammates up there on the front row with us. I think we’ve shown this year we favor the races and often times they favor the outright lap time. We’re going to have a big fight I’m sure. A clean fight between the teammates.

“Hopefully we can get the Acuras to the top of the podium. Traffic is going to be the big factor (Sunday). The closing speeds are very, very high here so it’s going to be difficult. I forgot how fast this place was. It takes a little bit to recalibrate your brain. It’s such a fast, fun track to drive on. It’s all commitment and you have to have a lot of confidence in the car. I love those styles of tracks.”

With IMSA holding its first race weekend at CTMP in three years, all six DPi entries broke the track record on the road course in Bowmanville, Ontario.

JDC-MIller Motorsports’ No. 5 Cadillac will start a season-best third ahead of the No. 02 Cadillac of Chip Ganass Racing.

Qualifying in other divisions:


LMP3: Gar Robinson, co-drivin with Scott Andrews, was awarded the pole position in the No. 74 Riley Motorsports Ligier JS P320 with a lap of 1:13.174 after Jarrett Andretti’s No. 36 was disqualified for a non-compliant suspension component, per the IMSA Wire Service. The Andretti Autosport entry will start at the rear of the six-car LMP3 field.

GTD Pro: Mathieu Jaminet, who is co-driving with Matt Campbell, took the pole with a 1:15.468 lap in the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R.

GTD: Frankie Montecalvo, who co-drives with Aaron Telitz, qualified first with a 1:15.633 lap in the No. 12 Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.

Sunday’s broadcast of the Chevrolet Grand Prix will begin at 3 p.m. ET on NBC.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II

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.”