Rolex 24 winner Meyer Shank gets big penalty for manipulating tire data; will keep victory

Rolex 24 at Daytona
James Gilbert/Getty Images

Meyer Shank Racing’s winning team in the 61st Rolex 24 at Daytona has received a massive penalty for manipulation of tire pressure data during the Jan. 28-29 race but will keep its victory, trophy and winner’s watches.

MSR’s No. 60 Acura, which also won the 2022 season championship in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship premier prototype category, was penalized 200 drivers and team points Wednesday as well as all points toward the Michelin Endurance Cup.

The team also was fined $50,000 and lost all of its race prize money. Team engineer Ryan McCarthy has been suspended indefinitely by IMSA, and team owner Mike Shank was placed on probation through June 30.

An MSR spokesman said the team won’t exercise its right to appeal the penalty.

“We accept the series’ decision and have taken responsibility,” the team said in a statement. “We want to apologize to everyone at Acura, HPD, and all of our partners.  We have dealt with this issue internally and the team member that was responsible is no longer with the organization. We do not want this error to overshadow the tremendous effort that our team, drivers and all of our partners have put forth to develop this new LMDh car.  We consider this matter closed and are fully focused on resetting and coming back for the Twelve Hours of Sebring.”

In a statement Wednesday, IMSA said it became aware of the potential manipulation of its monitoring of tire pressure data after the completion of its postrace technical inspection. IMSA said the manipulation was discovered by Honda Performance Development and reported to the sanctioning body after the official results were released.

“We are extremely disappointed in the misconduct of the Meyer Shank Racing (MSR) team during the Daytona race,” David Salters, president and technical director for Honda Performance Development, said in a statement. “We became aware of a problem with data from the #60 MSR car, and after a detailed investigation following the race, we reported our findings to IMSA.  HPD does not tolerate any misconduct, delinquency, or data manipulation of any kind. We completely support the action of IMSA in this matter.  We have put a huge effort over two years with our chassis partners into the ARX-06 to make the best race car we could.  To have this put into question is unacceptable.“

Asked by NBC Sports whether the penalty would impact HPD’s relationship with Meyer Shank Racing (which also fields Hondas in the NTT IndyCar Series), Honda & Acura Motorsports manager Chuck Schifsky said HPD “will not be commenting further on this matter at this time.”

Schifsky confirmed MSR’s No. 60 Acura will be racing March 18 in the Twelve Hours of Sebring.

There will be no changes to the GTP manufacturer points standings, which include Acura, Cadillac, Porsche and BMW.

Acura also has an ARX-06 fielded by Wayne Taylor Racing, which finished second in the 2023 Rolex 24 that featured the debut of the LMDh hybrid prototype cars in the rebranded GTP category.

IMSA subsequently reviewed the tire pressure data for the other eight cars in the Grand Touring Prototype category before concluding its investigation and announcing the penalties Wednesday, nearly six weeks after the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

The No. 60 ARX-06 was driven by Tom Blomqvist, Colin Braun, Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves. It was the second consecutive Rolex 24 victory for MSR.

The No. 60 was exceptionally quick throughout January on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona. Blomqvist turned a blistering lap to snatch the pole position, and the car led multiple practice sessions.

During the race, the No. 60 led a race-high 365 of 783 laps.

IMSA has been monitoring tire pressures in the Rolex 24 since 2022, mandating specified minimums for teams after several failures in the 2021 race.

MSR was found to have violated IMSA Sporting Regulation & SSR rule ATT3.6.6.E (failure to adhere to operational requirements) and 3.6.6.D — intentional application of software offsets within the pressures being reported by the tire pressure monitoring system and associated car telemetry system is prohibited and may be subject to penalty.

Eli Tomac wins Seattle Supercross, ties Cooper Webb in championship points


In the past two weeks, Eli Tomac lost his momentum and with it the Monster Energy Supercross red plate to Cooper Webb, but a gutsy performance in Seattle gave him a sixth win of the season as he and the series heads into an off week tied. Tomac is currently tied in the points with Webb.

With this win, Tomac also ties James Stewart for second on the all-time wins list at 50 with six rounds remaining in 2023.

“I needed that bounce back,” Tomac told NBC Sports’ Will Christien. “It was almost like I was in a little bit of a slump in the past couple of weeks; just a little bit off. I’m feeling much better now. That track raced really cool. There were a lot of different lines out there.

“It was obviously very dicey early on. I got passed and then had to make those passes back.”

Tomac suffered with a stiff neck in Indianapolis two weeks ago when he lost the red plate to Webb for the first time in 2023. In that race, he scored his worst finish of the season in eighth. He lost more points in Detroit after finishing a distant third behind Chase Sexton and Webb. This is the fifth time this season that Tomac and Webb finished 1-2 in a race. Tomac has won them all, but Webb has been more consistent.

RESULTS: How they finished for the 450 Main in Seattle

Webb was disappointed to lose the ground to Tomac, but he will enter the Glendale, Arizona race with a red plate and a share of the points’ lead.

“It was overall a great night to get up front and get a second was great,” Webb said after the race. “Those few spots where I would get close to Eli and then make a mistake.

“The track was gnarly. It was no joke. It was cat and mouse as to who could ride the cleanest race and pick the line. I got off to a decent start, but Chase and Eli were ahead of me and I had some catchup to play and got into a good position.”

Early in the race, Sexton was indeed ahead of Webb and the remainder of the field. Another costly mistake sent Sexton to the ground. He battled back to finish fifth but is now 22 points out of the lead and in jeopardy of dropping out of championship contention unless Tomac and Webb have problems.

Rounding out the podium was Justin Barcia, who scored the third-place finish on his birthday

“Awesome ride,” Barcia said. “It was a lot of fun. I’m sure we kept the fans on their feet tonight. The track was gnarly. […] We’re searching; we’re so close to having that speed. We want it so badly. We’ll keep pushing hard and going for that win.”

Sexton’s mistake kept the three top points’ earners of 2023 from sharing the podium for the sixth time in 11 rounds, but the trio finished 1-2-3 in Heat 2 with Webb first, Sexton second and Tomac third.

The 250 West contenders were back in action after giving the last four rounds over to the East riders and Jett Lawrence picked up where he left off in Oakland: In Victory Lane. Lawrence scored his fourth win in five 250 West rounds. Last week his brother Hunter Lawrence tied Jett with 10 wins, but everyone knew it would not take long for Jett to regain the advantage.

Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won all but one race each in their respective divisions.

Lawrence rode a patient race in the Main. He settled in behind Stylez Robertson and concentrated on navigating the ruts mistake-free. He could not afford to be patient any longer when Cameron McAdoo caught up to the leaders. Lawrence found a second gear and gapped the battle for second.

An incident in their main made the battle between Lawrence and McAdoo more dramatic. While racing for second, the pair of riders ran out of room in the rhythm section. Both crashed but had a large enough lead over fourth to maintain their positions.

“It was a very eventful day,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’s Daniel Blair, answering a question about the earlier contact. “[…] It’s good to be back racing. It’s been a while. I feel like I’ve had another offseason. Glad to get out in one piece tonight.”

Lawrence now has a 23-point advantage over the field with four rounds remaining.

Click here for full 250 Main Results

RJ Hampshire finished second in his race and is second in the points after a seesaw affair that produced the final pass for position just before the white flag was displayed.

“I felt like I had a pretty good pace going for a little bit,” Hampshire said. “I closed the gap and then had a couple of big mistakes that almost put me on my head. I backed it off a little bit.

“Cam actually gapped me a little more than I would have wanted. I knew I could get a push there at the end. I thought that was the last lap, which is why my pass was a little more aggressive than it should have been, but I’m stoked to be able to close the gap a little bit.”

McAdoo took the final spot on the podium. This is the fourth time in 2023 these three riders have shared the box and if not for a sixth-place finish in Anaheim 2, he would be mounting a much more formidable challenge for the points’ lead.

“The track was really demanding tonight,” McAdoo said. “It did change a lot and the key thing was to get off the rhythms every time. We were swapping back and forth.”

Enzo Lopes in fourth and Max Vohland rounded out the top five.

Robertson had the early lead but when he lost the top spot to Jett he cross rutted on the next lap, crashed hard and failed to finish.

2023 Race Recaps

Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time

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