Meyer Shank Racing Goes Back-To-Back In Rolex 24 At DAYTONA; Photo Finish Ends LMP2 Raceby Hunter Thomas January 29, 2023 1 comment
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After 24 hours, Meyer Shank Racing with Curb Agajanian went back-to-back in the Rolex 24 at DAYTONA after outrunning Wayne Taylor Racing and the two Chip Ganassi Cadillac Racing entries
Driver, Tom Blomqvist piloted the No. 60 Acura ARX-06 across the finish line, just 4.190 seconds ahead of the No. 10 car that had Filipe Albuquerque behind the wheel. In the closing hour, there were two cautions, with the last one coming with only about 24 minutes remaining. The top GTP teams were all on the lead lap each restart as well, leaving everyone on the edge of their seats as the battle to the finish intensified with each restart.
Albuquerque made some ground in the final minutes, but in the end, it was the No. 10 entry with drivers, Blomqvist, Colin Braun, Heilo Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud coming out on top and earning the team’s second consecutive victory in the prestigious endurance race.
“Unbelievable,” Blomqvist said. “I just have to say a massive well done, really to everyone who has been a part of this project.”
Blomqvist continued, and said, “I’m so grateful to be able to drive that and be trusted. You know the GTP there and take it to the finish. Amazing. I was a bit nervous because the 10 car was definitely the second fastest car when it came down to it, but we held them off and had to take it to another level to secure this victory.”
The victory marks the third in a row for IndyCar driver, Castroneves. The veteran Brazilian driver said, “Everybody did an amazing job…the entire people of this, not only from the sportscar program, but the IndyCar program. Everybody worked so hard together, and I can’t thank them enough.”
Wayne Taylor Racing with Ricky Taylor, Albuquerque, Louis Deletraz and Brendon Hartley finished second overall. While coming up short was disappointing, late in the race, the team had to overcome being a lap down to even compete for the win. With just an hour and 46 minutes remaining, the Chip Ganassi Cadillacs made a pit call that allowed the No. 10 Acura ARX-06 team to get back onto the lead lap. About 20 minutes later, Albuquerque drove past Earl Bamber for third, and then just before the hour mark, he passed Renger Van Der Zande for second.
The two Cadillac teams raced each other hard in the final laps. In fact, they raced so hard that the battle may have cost them a chance at battling for the lead; however, it was the No. 01 team with Sebastain Bourdais, Van Der Zande and Scott Dixon finishing third, followed by the No. 02 team with Bamber, Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook.
The Whelen Engineering Racing Cadillac V-LMDh No. 31 entry rounded out the top-five with driver, Pip Derani, Alexander Sims and Jack Aitken.
In LMP2, there was a photo finish between the No. 55 Proton Competition team with James Allen, Fred Poordad, Giammaria Bruni and Francesco Pizzi and the No. 04 Crowdstrike Racing by APR team with Ben Hanley, George Kurtz, Matt McMurray and Esteban Gutierrez. Coming to the checkered flag, Allen pulled alongside of Hanley in the tri-oval and barely edged him out by a mere 0.016 second for the class victory.
“It was amazing,” Allen said. “Honestly, like, we had quite a gap going into the last couple of laps, but I think Ben had some bad luck with traffic and was struggling with the rears, so I think I managed to capitalize on that really well. Going into the final lap at the start, I saw that I could get in front of him before the line, so I thought there was no point to really force the move anywhere because I could just get him on the straight, and that’s kind of what I did.”
AWA’s No. 17 entry with drivers Anthony Mantella, Wayne Boyd, Nico Varrone and Thomas Merrill won in LMP3.
The No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 entry with Copper MacNeil, Daniel Juncadella, Jules Gounon and Mario Engel won in GTD Pro.
Roman De Angelis, Marco Sorensen, Ian James and Darren Turner drove the Heart of Racing No. 27 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to victory in GTD.
Up next on the schedule for the IMSA WeatherTrch SportsCar Championship is the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring International Raceway. March 15 – 18. Live coverage will kickoff on Peacock at 10:05 a.m. on Saturday, March 18, and then coverage will transition to IMSA TV, and the finish can be watched either on IMSA TV or on USA beginning at 4:30 p.m.
Photo Credit: Brandon Zumbach Photography