Race Weekend Review - July 2, 2017

Written by George Webster on .

imsa Weathertech WGI 29195063

IMSA WeatherTech Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International
Action Express Cadillac holds off a strong challenge from JDC-Miller ORECA to take the win

Sunday, July 2, 2017: After the formerly all-conquering Taylor brothers’ Cadillac was eliminated from contention on the very first lap, the Glen six-hour race was dominated by another Cadillac, the No. 5 Action Express car driven by Joao Barbosa/Christian Fittipaldi/Filipe Albuquerque, which led most of the laps and held off a late-race challenge from the No. 85 ORECA LMP2 car of Chris Miller/Misha Goikhberg/Stephen Simpson to preserve the win streak for Cadillac.

The up-to-now dominant No. 10 Ricky Taylor/Jordan Taylor qualified fourth – and this second-row start was the making of their downfall. On the opening lap, Ricky Taylor got together in a seemingly slight bump with Olivier Pla going into the esses. Unfortunately this bump broke a steering arm and he struggled around to the pits where repairs were made, but by the time this was finished he was six laps down on the leaders and it was far too big a margin to make up. In the end, the Taylors worked their way up to sixth place, three laps down.

In qualifying, the No. 2 Nissan of Luis Felipe Derani/Scott Sharp/Ryan Dalziel won the pole with the No. 52 Ligier LMP2 car of Olivier Pla/Jose Gutierrez alongside – and ahead of the No. 5 and No 10 Cadillacs on the second row.

Through the first 63 laps of what turned out to be a 200-lap race at the end of the six-hour timed duration of the race, the No. 2 Nissan set the pace, with the No. 52 Ligier taking a turn in the lead. The Nissan suffered body damage in an on-track altercation and after a penalty for speeding in the subsequent pit stop, the car was out of contention. As for the no. 52 car, a fuelling problem and a few on-track encounters saw them losing touch with the lead. They were to finish in fourth place, the last car to finish on the lead lap behind the third place finisher, the No. 55 Mazda DPi of Tristan Nunez/Jonathan Bomarito/Spencer Pigot.

In the hotly contested GTLM class, the win went to the No. 25 BMW M6 of Bill Auberlen/Alexander Sims who finished in eight place overall. The No. 67 Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe/Richard Westbrook was second in class finishing on the same lap, four seconds back at the end of the six hours. The No. 4 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin/Tommy Milner was third, also finishing on the same lap. In all, five GTLM cars finished on the same lap, just eight laps behind the winning DPi Cadillac.

In GT-Daytona the team of Andy Lally/Katherine Legge scored another class win for the No. 93 car, the new Acura NSX GT3 car. Canadian Daniel Morad, teamed with Michael de Quesada and Michael Christensen in the No. 28 Porsche 911 GT3 finished seventh in the GTD class.

The next IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Series race is July 9 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

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IMSA Continental Challenge Continental Tire 120 at the Glen at Watkins Glen International
KohR Motorsports Mustang wins after the dominant McLaren flubs in the closing laps

Saturday, July 1, 2017: When the C360R No. 76 Paul Holton/Matt Plumb McLaren won the pole for the Continental series race with the KohR No. 59 Mustang of Dean Martin/Jack Roush Jr. alongside it set up the battle that was to play out in the race. The No. 76 McLaren led most of the laps in the two-hour race until Plumb made a mistake and went off in the bus-stop chicane ceding the lead with only about ten minutes to go in the two-hour race.

Al Carter, in the No. 99 Aston Martin took the lead on this resulting final restart with Martin in the Mustang right behind. With two laps remaining, Martin got alongside Carter exiting the ‘90', and as they worked uphill through the Esses, the two made contact sending Carter into a spin. Martin motored past and went on to win by six seconds over the No. 77 Mathew Keegan/Nico Rondet McLaren while the No. 76 McLaren was third. Carter had to settle for a sixth-place finish.

In the ST class, it was Matt Pombo/Derek Jones winning in a Mini JCW, one lap down on the race leader. Pombo’s brother, teamed with Jared Salinsky, was second in class, making it a one-two win for the little Minis.

The next IMSA Continental Tire Series race is on July 8 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

DIS MENCS Sticker 070117

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway
Another superspeedway win for Stenhouse

Saturday, July 1, 2017: After the Daytona race went into an overtime finish, Ricky Stenhouse, who had taken the green from the second row, charged ahead to take the lead as they crossed the overtime line half way around the lap – and he held off the challengers the rest of the final lap-and-a-half to take the checker. This was his second restrictor-plate win in a row after winning at Talladega earlier this season.

Clint Bowyer finished second, 0.213 seconds back. Paul Menard was third, Michael McDowell fourth and Ryan Newman was fifth. This front group of five finisher does not follow standard roster. This was because many of the favourites either were knocked out of the race in one or other of the 12 ‘incidents’ or they lost out on track position when different crew chiefs made alternate decisions on pit stop strategy during the many cautions. There were six crashes during the final 60 laps of the scheduled 160 – including two ‘big one’ crashes in the final six laps.

On lap 153, Kyle Larson slid up into the wall right in front of Stenhouse. Stenhouse came past unscathed but Larson was collected by Blaney and his car flew up into the air. By the time the dust settled, seven cars had been knocked out of contention. The race was red-flagged to allow track crews to clean up this mess.

David Ragan took the lead ahead of Ty Dillon on this restart but almost immediately there was another yellow when Erik Jones got together with Denny Hamlin and they both spun at the front of the field bringing out the final caution.

The final restart came on lap 162 – already two laps into overtime – and Stenhouse powered into the lead and he held on to the notch the win.

Prior to the race, there had been a lot of interest in the fact that this was Dale Earnhardt Jr’s final start at Daytona – a track where he had had a lot of success over the years. Unfortunately a pair of incidents saw him first dropped back out of the lead lap and then the second forced him to retire after having completed only 106 laps.

Canadian Driver D.J. Kennington, making his second attempt at a Cup race this year, started at the back of the field and unfortunately he left the race after 14 lap when his engine gave up.

The next MENCS race is at Kentucky Speedway on July 8.

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NASCAR Xfinity Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway
Rising Star Byron takes his second Xfinity win in as many weeks

Saturday, July 1, 2017: After losing the Xfinity race at Michigan by a hair to Denny Hamlin two weeks ago, young William Byron has been on a tear. Last week he won at Iowa and, this week, he won the rain-delayed race at Daytona Beach. This was another NASCAR race that finished under caution. A big wreck had brought out the yellow during the second overtime restart but Byron had reached the overtime lime by then. The first overtime restart had been flagged off when a big wreck, involving 11 cars occurred, bring out the race’s third red flag.

On Friday night, Byron, who had qualified third fastest, had to start the race from the rear of the field because his crew had made some post-qualifying adjustments to the suspension. By lap three, second-row starter Blake Koch had wrested the lead from the duo of Brennan Poole and Ben Kennedy who had started from the front row. But this did not last long because the race was flagged yellow on lap nine as the rain returned – and then to red as the rain continued. Eventually, NASCAR gave in to the weather and rescheduled the rest of the race to Saturday mid-day.

Despite this time of year being a rainy season in northern Florida, NASCAR continues to schedule this big weekend in defiance of the climate. After a number of lead changes in the early laps on Saturday, Poole had the lead when the yellow flew on lap 37 when the rain – and a threat of lightning returned. The track when red for about two-and-a-half hours before the racing finally got underway again.

By now, Byron was able to show that he had the speed to return to the front and by lap 60 of the scheduled 100-lap race, he was up to second place. Another two laps and he had the lead – and, save for 14 laps - -he was able to lead the rest of the way through the carnage of four more wrecks to win the race in double overtime.

Elliott Sadler finished second, Dakota Armstrong third, Jeb Burton fourth and David Starr fifth. As was to be the case in the Cup race later the same day, except for racer winner Byron, the other top finishers were less familiar names - the more usual strong finishers having been set back by the numerous late-race wrecks.

The next Xfinity race is on July 7 at Kentucky Speedway.

Photo Credits

IMSA Weathertech: Jake Galstad/LAT Images/IMSA
IMSA Continental: Richard Dole/LAT/IMSA
MENCS: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images/NASCAR                                                                                
NXS: Sarah Crabill/Getty Images/NASCAR

Box Score Results                                                                                                                           

Results of IMSA WeatherTech at Watkins Glen
Results of IMSA Continental at Watkins Glen
Results of MENCS at Daytona
Results on NXS at Daytona

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