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Thad Moffitt will have additional support to his growing race program. Today, the Richard Petty Motorsports development driver announced that Apple Spice will serve as an associate sponsor of his No. 46 Chevrolet in ARCA and NASCAR Late Model competition this season. Apple Spice will debut with Moffitt at the Daytona International Speedway in the ARCA Racing Series.

Apple Spice is a box lunch delivery and catering company specializing in business and corporate lunches. The company, founded in 1988, has grown to nearly 50 stores across the nation. The company prides itself on quality food and service. They are proud to support Moffitt, as he too, continues to climb the racing ladder.
 
"Thad and his Petty family roots match with our company family beginnings," said Stephen Graves, Apple Spice. "And we're proud to support Thad and his racing career as he reaches new milestones. We know that Thad will be a winner and we're happy to now join him on his journey."
 
Moffitt, the 18-year-old grandson of "The King" Richard Petty, has eight ARCA Racing Series starts and this season will compete on superspeedways and intermediate tracks. Moffitt and his No. 46 Chevrolet Empire Racing team had immediate success in ARCA competition on the short tracks. He's finished in the Top 15 in three of his eight starts, including a Top 10 finish.
 
"It's great to have Apple Spice join our race team," said Moffitt. "Their partnership will allow us to get better as we take a step forward this season racing on bigger tracks. I want to thank Apple Spice for joining us and I hope everyone will support them. They have great food and I know they'll be helping us out as we travel this year."
 
A native of Trinity, N.C., Moffitt is the son of Brian and Rebecca Petty-Moffitt. He started racing a go-kart and a quarter midget before moving to a Limited Late Model and now the ARCA Racing Series. Moffitt grew up going to the track with his grandfather Richard Petty and watching his Uncle Kyle race.
 
RPM PR
The 2019 Sports Car Club of America® National Convention is well underway at South Point Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, as the SCCA® officially opens the yearlong celebration of its 75th Diamond Anniversary. And while the Club eagerly looks forward to the future, it is at the annual convention that awards are given out in recognition of wonderful work conducted during the past year. Below is a rundown of awards presented so far at the 2019 National Convention.
 
Member of Excellence: Lori Vitagliano, Florida Region
Selected by SCCA's Board of Directors, this award is presented to the volunteer who shows the greatest commitment to SCCA activities. The recipient can be involved in Solo, Rally and/or Road Racing. This person personifies the SCCA volunteer who gives of his/her time and effort to helping organize, work in a specialty or any volunteer role necessary to a motorsports event.
 
John McGill Award: Jim Wheeler, Kansas City Region
Presented for significant contribution to the Road Racing Program. The winner is chosen by the Club Racing Board and the Vice President of Road Racing.
 
Driver of the Year: Jonathan Lugod, Cal Club
Presented to the Solo® driver who has demonstrated exceptional skill or has overcome major obstacles to produce an outstanding performance at the Solo National Championship. The winner is selected by the Solo Events Board from nominations submitted by the membership at large.
 
Rookie of the Year: Ryan Field, New England Region
Presented for an outstanding performance at a first Solo National Championship by a driver with limited competition experience.
 
Divisional RallyCross Achievement: Midwest Division
This award is presented in recognition of a Division's activities in RallyCross for a new or on-going program. This may include events, promotions, attendance, innovation in public relations, etc. Nominations clearly indicating the qualifying details may be made by any Rally participant, with the recipient being selected by the RallyCross Board.
 
Regional RallyCross Achievement : St. Louis Region
This award is presented in recognition of a Region's activities in RallyCross for a new or on-going program. This may include events, promotions, attendance, innovation in public relations, event participation, etc. Nominations clearly indicating the qualifying details may be made by any RallyCross participant, with the recipient being selected by the RallyCross Board.
 
Robert V. Ridges Memorial Award: John Emmons and Lois Van Vleet, Land O'Lakes Region
Bob Ridges was Secretary of the RoadRally Board from the inception of the National program in 1957 until his death in 1965. This award is presented to the SCCA member who exemplifies the highest degree of dedication and sportsmanship in the sport and who has made an outstanding contribution to the success of an event. This award is not intended for sitting RRB members, Official Observers, Rallymasters, or Officials unless they have clearly demonstrated extraordinary dedication, achievement, and/or sportsmanship above and beyond the duties and responsibilities of their office. The recipient is selected by the RRB based on recommendations of any Rally participant or Board member. This is the highest honor within the SCCA Rally Program and may not be presented each year.
 
Arthur J. Gervais Award: Roads Scholar; Jim Crittenden, Milwaukee Region
Arthur Gervais was a longtime Rallymaster of the Historic New York National RoadRally. The award is presented annually to year's outstanding National Course Rally. The winner is chosen via a vote of the top 20 competitors in each class who have competed in at least four events. Prior to 1989, this award encompassed all National Rallies each year.
 
W. David Teter Tour Rally of the Year: Laurel Run; Richard Beattie/Jeff Hutzelman, Steel Cities Region
W. David Teter was the editor of the modernized and comprehensive RoadRally Rule Book, Rallymaster of seventeen consecutive March Lamb Regional rallies, and an outstanding competitor on the NTR circuit. This award is presented annually in recognition of the outstanding NTR. Selection is made by vote of the top 20 competitors in each class who have competed in at least three events in that class.
 
Divisional RoadRally Achievement: Northeast Division
This award is presented in recognition of a Division's activities in RoadRally for a new or on-going program. This may include events, promotions, attendance, innovation in public relations, etc. Nominations clearly indicating the qualifying details may be made by any Rally participant, with the recipient being selected by the RoadRally Board.
 
Regional RoadRally Achievement: St. Louis Region
Presented in recognition of a Region's activities in RoadRally for a new or on-going program. This may include events, promotions, attendance, innovation in public relations, event participation, etc. Nominations clearly indicating the qualifying details may be made by any Rally participant, with the recipient being selected by the Road Rally Board.
 
The Tom Burke Awards
The Tom Burke Awards are presented to Regions for exemplary efforts to activate and grow the SCCA. Formerly named the Chairman's Award prior to 1987, one award is given to the RE of a Region in each of the Region Size categories from the preceding year. The awards are given in honor of SCCA member Tom Burke. His love of SCCA and passion for what we do not only ignited in others a desire to become SCCA members, but also served as a call to engage in SCCA activities. Mr. Burke's ambassadorial approach to prospective and current members served as a model for the spirit of the SCCA.
- Small Regions (under 200 members): Yellowstone Region; Bill Blaquiere, Regional Executive
- Medium Regions (201-400 members): Eastern Tennessee Region; Mark Pilson, Regional Executive
- Large Regions (401-800 members): Susquehanna Region; Kristen Poole, Regional Executive
- Jumbo Regions (over 800 members): Central Carolinas Region; Brian Gause, Regional Executive
 
Region of the Year Awards
The Region of the Year Award gauges Region's management team performance relating to the SCCA's Goals and Business Strategies. Winners are as follows.
- Small Regions (under 200 members): Big Island of Hawaii Region; Tim Minick, Regional Executive
- Medium Regions (201-400 members): Tennessee Region; Brian Sowders, Regional Executive
- Large Regions (401-800 members): Philadelphia Region; Jeff Jacobs, Regional Executive
- Jumbo Regions (over 800 members): Oregon Region; Tim Ferrick, Regional Executive
 
The Sports Car Club of America®, Inc., founded in 1944, is a 67,500-member motorsports organization that incorporates all facets of autocross, rally and road racing at both Club and professional levels. With headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, the SCCA annually sanctions over 2,000 events through its 116 Regions and subsidiary divisions. Much of the SCCA's activities are made possible with support from the following Official Partners: Hagerty, the Official Insurance Partner of SCCA; Hawk Performance, the Official Brake Products of SCCA; Sunoco, the Official Fuel of SCCA; and Tire Rack, the Official Tire Retailer of SCCA. To learn more, please visit www.scca.com.
 
Robin Pemberton has joined Andretti Autosport to oversee the team’s newest racing initiative in the Pirelli GT4 America Series. With over 10 years served as NASCAR’s Vice President of Competition, and four decades of racing involvement, Pemberton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the pedigree team. 

“The new Andretti Autosport GT4 program is an incredible opportunity for the team and McLaren to come together,” said Pemberton. “I’m excited to be involved and we are all working together to get the program off the ground. After spending time with Jarett at sprint car races last season, I’m impressed by his determination. He is a good talent with a bright future. I look forward to working with him and the entire Andretti Autosport team in this new challenge.” 

“We’re really pleased to welcome Robin to the Andretti family to oversee our new GT4 effort,” said Andretti Autosport CEO Michael Andretti. “A lot of effort goes into building a new program from ground up, and we think Robin’s experience and expertise will be a great asset as we get up to speed. We’re looking forward to a successful first year in the Pirelli GT4 America Series.” 

Pemberton’s motorsport career started in 1979 with Petty Enterprises, where he worked his way to the role of crew chief for both Richard and Kyle Petty. The New York state-native went on to crew chief with teams such as Roush Fenway Racing and Penske Racing. His record as a crew chief shows 28 victories and 39 pole positions. Before moving to NASCAR in 2004, Pemberton spent nearly two years as Field Manager for Ford Motorsport’s NASCAR programs, leading development of the Ford Taurus program. 

With pre-season testing in full swing, Andretti Autosport will make its GT4 America Series debut March 1-3 at Circuit of the Americas with Jarett Andretti behind the wheel of the new McLaren 570S GT4. 
 
 
 
 

SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks concluded the extended 2018 SST World Championship season this past weekend in conjunction with the Race of Champions event at Foto Sol in Mexico City, Mexico.

Race of Champions is an annual event featuring champion drivers from all over the world competing head to head on a unique technical track to test their skills in various unique race vehicles.

Operating in direct conjunction with the Race of Champions; 10 Stadium SUPER Truck drivers would have the opportunity to compete head to head for two knock out elimination races on the same exact Race of Champions track, but with the addition of two SST signature 36-inch tall aluminum ramps.

After the completion of an hour-long practice and qualifying session Friday evening, Orange, California driver; Robby Gordon would claim the number one seed for Saturday’s race as the quickest qualifier with his familiar bright orange SPEED Energy/ Toyo Tires/ KMC Wheels entry.

Round one on Saturday would feature five elimination races immediately cutting the field in half.

The number one seed of Robby Gordon would line up his Toyo Tires against the tenth seed of Baja 100 Off-Road Champion Apdaly Lopez of Tecate, Mexico for three laps with the fastest time of the two competitors advancing. Lopez would immediately hit a cone inquiring a five second penalty to his overall time easily allowing Gordon to advance to the second round.

The second race would put Yucca Valley, California driver Blade Hildebrand alongside Alpine, California racer Jerett Brooks driving the vibrant blue United Fiber and Data machine. Hildebrand would complete the three laps the fastest eliminating Brooks early from the competition.

Jeff Hoffman of Phoenix, Arizona in the LIVE/Think Loud entry would line up against United Fiber and Data driver Casey Mears of Scottsdale, Arizona in the third race. However, Mears would hit a cone applying a five second penalty to his overall time handing the victory over to Hoffman.

The fourth match up to hit the track would feature the SST Championship Points Leader of Matt Brabham from Gold Coast, Australia against Scottsdale, Arizona native Cole Potts. Brabham would race smart and consistent avoiding any cones to easily beat Potts to advance to the next round.

Gavin Harlien in the United Fiber & Data truck would match up again the VP Racing Lubricants and Oil driver of Davey Hamilton Jr. Harlien would lay down one of the fastest laps of the day beating Hamilton Jr. to move on.  

Round two of head to head knock out racing would see Gordon claim victory over Hoffman, Brabham defeat Hildebrand, and Harlien easily working his way past Potts the Round 1 lucky loser. All three drivers would move on to round three.

The third round would see Gordon defeat Harlien to move on to the finals against Brabham whom would easily claim victory over the fastest loser Potts in the second semi-final.

Race of Champion Saturday Finals would see Brabham go head to head with Robby Gordon for the victory. In the closest race of the day Gordon would inch past Brabham by mere seconds to capture the win.

Saturday Results

January 19, 2019

Round 1

Robby Gordon Def Apdaly Lopez

Blade Hildebrand Def Jerett Brooks

Jeff Hoffman Def Casey Mears

Matt Brabham Def Cole Potts

Gavin Harlien Def Davey Hamilton Jr.

Fast Loser: Cole Potts

Round 2

Robby Gordon Def Jeff Hoffman

Matt Brabham Def Blade Hildebrand

Gavin Harlien Def Cole Potts

Fast Loser: Cole Potts

Round 3

Robby Gordon Def Gavin Harlien

Matt Brabham Def Cole Potts

Final

Robby Gordon Def Matt Brabham

Final Results

  1. Robby Gordon
  2. Matt Brabham
  3. Cole Potts
  4. Gavin Harlien
  5. Jeff Hoffman
  6. Blade Hildebrand
  7. Jerett Brooks
  8. Casey Mears
  9. Davey Hamilton Jr.
  10. Apdaly Lopez

For the Sunday afternoon SST Race of Champions Final drivers were re-seeded based on their results from Saturday’s event.

Round one would feature five elimination races replicating the exact format that was done on Saturday.

The first race Sunday would feature the Devilbiss/BulletLiner driver of Matt Brabham lining up against Davey Hamilton Jr. of Indianapolis, Indiana for three laps. In a very close race Brabham was able to defeat Hamilton to move on to the second round.

In a rematch of Saturday’s Round 1 Jeff Hoffman would line up against United Fiber & Data driver Casey Mears. Mears looking for revenge on Hoffman would keep a consistent pace and win the event, but would be penalized for hitting a cone handing the win back over to Hoffman.  

Also in a rematch of Saturday’s Round 1 Blade Hildebrand in the Empire Destructive Racing truck would face fellow Southern California Off-Road racer Jerett Brooks. Hildebrand would complete the fastest laps eliminating Brooks from competition for the second day in a row.

Saturday’s Race of Champions SST winner Robby Gordon would match up against Cole Potts with a battle of the SPEED Energy back entries. Gordon would advance to the next round with the fastest time.

The fifth and final race of Round 1 would feature Gavin Harlien of Mesa, Arizona in the United Fiber & Data truck go against Tecate, Mexico Baja Champion Apdaly Lopez. Harlien would easily capture the victory over Lopez to move on to the second round.

Round two of elimination racing would see Hoffman claim victory over Hildebrand, Brabham nipping Harlien by the closest of margins to advance, and Gordon easily working his way past Potts the Round 1 lucky loser.

Round three would feature a rematch of Saturday’s Final round seeing Brabham defeat Gordon to move on to the finals to compete against Hoffman whom claimed victory over the fastest loser Potts in the second semi-final.

As Brabahm and Hoffman would go head to head inside the Foto Sol for three laps looking to drive as cautious and smooth as possible. Hoffman would go on to win the final round in dominating fashion, but a :05 penalty was issued by USAC’s Jason Smith after completion for hitting a marker cone handing the SST Race of Champions Sunday victory to Brabham.

After placing second in Saturday’s event, and claiming victory in Sunday’s finale Brabham would be crowned the overall Race of Champions winner.

Saturday’s race winner Robby Gordon, after being knocked out in the Semi Finals in a rematch of Saturday’s Final would place in second overall with Cole Potts claiming the third overall position.

With claiming victory in the overall weekend, and knocking runner-up Gavin Harlien out in Round two was enough for Brabham to secure the 2018 Stadium SUPER Trucks World Championship title.

“The weekend was a great event and I could not be happier to cap off the title by winning the final event of the season.” Explained an enthusiastic Brabham.

After dominating the season, finishing every event on the podium. It was a tremendous reward for Brabham to end the season on top after loosing the 2017 Championship by a single point to fellow Australian Paul Morris.

Brabham’s excellent season featured 13 podiums, including six wins and five fast qualifier awards.


Sunday Results

January 20, 2019

Round 1

Matt Brabham Def Davey Hamilton Jr.

Jeff Hoffman Def Casey Mears

Blade Hildebrand Def Jerett Brooks

Robby Gordon Def Cole Potts

Gavin Harlien Def Apdaly Lopez 

Fast Loser: Cole Potts

Round 2

Jeff Hoffman Def Blade Hildebrand

Matt Brabham Def Gavin Harlien

Robby Gordon Def Cole Potts

Fast Loser: Cole Potts 

Round 3

Matt Brabham Def Robby Gordon

Jeff Hoffman Def Cole Potts

Final

Matt Brabham Def Jeff Hoffman

Final Results

  1. Matt Brabham
  2. Jeff Hoffman
  3. Cole Potts
  4. Robby Gordon
  5. Gavin Harlien
  6. Blade Hildebrand
  7. Jerett Brooks
  8. Davey Hamilton Jr.
  9. Casey Mears
  10. Apdaly Lopez
 
 
2018 SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks World Championship Winners 

Round No.      Race Location                 Race Date                   Winner 
1               Lake Elsinore, California    January 27, 2018         Bill Hynes 
                                                                                 Overall: Jeff Hoffman 
2               Adelaide, SA, Australia     March 2, 2018             Cole Potts 
3               Adelaide, SA, Australia     March 3, 2018             Robby Gordon
4               Adelaide, SA, Australia     March 4, 2018             Matt Brabham 
                                                                                 Overall: Matt Brabham 
5               Long Beach, California      April 14, 2018             Gavin Harlien 
6               Long Beach, California      April 15, 2018             Matt Brabham 
                                                                                 Overall: Matt Brabham 
7               Perth, WA, Australia         May 5, 2018               Arie Luyenkdyk Jr. 
8               Perth, WA, Australia         May 6, 2018               Jeff Hoffman 
                                                                                 Overall: Matt Brabham 
9               Detroit, Michigan              June 2, 2018              Gavin Harlien 
10             Detroit, Michigan              June 3, 2018              Arie Luyendyk Jr. 
                                                                            Overall: Arie Luyendyk Jr.
11             No Limits, Texas               June 10, 2018              Gavin Harlien
12             No Limits, Texas               June 10, 2018            Matt Brabham
                                                                                 Overall:Gavin Harlien
13             Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin     August 23, 2018         Robby Gordon      
14             Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin     August 24, 2018         Matt Brabham
                                                                                 Overall: Matt Brabham
15             Sydney, NSW, Australia     October 27, 2018        Matt Brabham 
16             Sydney, NSW, Australia     October 28, 2018        Gavin Harlien 
                                                                                  Overall: Gavin Harlien
17             San Bernardino, California  December 1, 2018      Jeff Hoffman
18             San Bernardino, California  December 2, 2018      Gavin Harlien
                                                                              Overall: Matt Brabham
19             Mexico City, Mexico            January 19, 2019       Robby Gordon
20             Mexico City, Mexico            January 20, 2019       Matt Brabham 
                                                                              Overall: Matt Brabham
 
2018 Stadium SUPER Trucks World Championship Schedule 

Round 1: January 27, 2018; Lake Elsinore, California 
Round 2: March 2, 2018; Adelaide, South Australia, Australia 
Round 3: March 3, 2018; Adelaide, South Australia, Australia 
Round 4: March 4, 2018; Adelaide, South Australia, Australia 
Round 5: April 14, 2018; Long Beach, California 
Round 6: April 15, 2018; Long Beach, California 
Round 7: May 5, 2018; Perth, Western Australia, Australia 
Round 8: May 6, 2018; Perth, Western Australia, Australia 
Round 9: June 2, 2018; Detroit, Michigan 
Round 10: June 3, 2018; Detroit, Michigan 
Round 11: June 9, 2018; Fort Worth, Texas 
Round 12: June 9, 2018; Fort Worth, Texas 
Round 13: August 24, 2018; Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin 
Round 14: August 25, 2018; Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin 
Round 15: October 27, 2018; Sydney, NSW, Australia 
Round 16: October 28, 2018; Sydney, NSW, Australia 
Round 17: December 1, 2018; San Bernardino, California 
Round 18: December 2, 2018; San Bernardino, California
Round 19: January 19, 2019; Mexico City, Mexico
Round 20: January 20, 2019; Mexico City, Mexico
The 2018 NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series season was not one Antron Brown has been accustomed to during his standout career, and the Top Fuel driver has made all the necessary steps to ensure the 2019 season is decidedly different. The three-time world champ is in better shape after a workout-filled offseason, his mind is right, a strong team is in place and Brown believes the upcoming season has all the makings of a great one.
 
The talented star won just one race in 2018 in his 10,000-horsepower Matco Tools dragster, but Brown has put those struggles behind him and is now only focused on starting 2019 strong at NHRA’s annual iconic opener, the tradition-rich 59th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals presented by ProtectTheHarvest.com, Feb. 7-10 at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona.
 
“Last year we went through our bumps and bruises, but we grew as a team from it,” said Brown, who finished sixth in Top Fuel points in 2018. “We changed a lot, learned and grew, and now we’re a lot more seasoned in our spots. We’re coming in ready to go and we’re motivated. Whenever I go to race I’m coming to win, and I’m coming into the season in the best shape I’ve been in a while. I’m ready for battle and my full focus is only on racing and that’s it. I’m excited.”
 
Doug Kalitta (Top Fuel), Matt Hagan (Funny Car) and Bo Butner (Pro Stock) were last year’s winners of a race that will feature over five hours of live coverage on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) over the course of the weekend, including finals coverage beginning at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10. It is the first of 24 events during the 2019 NHRA season and an ideal start would mean Brown’s first career victory at the Winternationals.
 
That would immediately put the team on the right path and match the win total from the entire 2018 season. Last season’s victory was a big one, as Brown became just the fourth driver in NHRA history to reach 50 Top Fuel wins, but for a guy who averaged nearly six wins each of the previous seven years, one win wasn’t enough. It motivated Brown, who has 66 career wins, and his team to put in ample work over the winter and he plans to put it to good use in Pomona.
 
“We’ve all been putting in the work and we’re ready for Pomona,” Brown said. “We want to start strong because we know that builds confidence. When you establish confidence in the team early in the season, you’re able to get through the rough stuff when it comes along. Getting off to a good start gives you the lead on everybody and we’re going to come out aggressive every race. That’s our mindset and we’re going to get back in that groove of what we do.”
 
An aggressive Brown could put him back in prime contention for a fourth world championship, but his sole focus in Pomona is picking up his first Winternationals victory. To do so, he will have to get past close friend Steve Torrence, the defending world champion who won all six playoff races a year ago, as well as class standouts Brittany Force, Clay Millican, Doug Kalitta and Terry McMillen, and Don Schumacher Racing teammates Leah Pritchett and Tony Schumacher.
 
“This year, we’re going to make it tough on everybody,” Brown said. “That’s our plan. Pomona is always a really good track and it’s a place where you can set records. You have to bring it and that’s why I like starting the year there. What makes it so special is it’s the track that starts the year and ends the year. It’s a place to make history. Championships are started and finished there.”
 
J.R. Todd clinched his first career Funny Car world championship last November at Pomona, and will look to start 2019 on a strong note going against a talented field that includes 2017 world champ Robert Hight, John Force, defending event winner Hagan and 2016 champ Ron Capps.
 
Bo Butner is after a repeat Winternationals win, but it won’t be easy for the 2017 world champion. He’ll face off with the likes of Jeg Coughlin Jr., who finished second in points last year, Jason Line, who has five event wins, Greg Anderson and Erica Enders. 
   
The event also will feature thrilling competition in the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series, where future stars of the sport hone their skills and the Mickey Thompson Tires NHRA Top Fuel Harley Drag Racing Series.
 
An exciting added bonus to the event will be the Kall Out Kings who will take grudge racing to new level at event. Builds, beards and bravado are all on the line when Hoonigan’s Jon Chase and Roadkill’s Mike Finnegan meet head on at legendary Pomona in Hoonigan’s new build show, “Kall Out Kings”. What’s at stake? Winner is crowned builder of the baddest Tri-5 gasser on the net. And the loser? Shaving their facial fur in front of thousands of NHRA fans. 
 
As always, fans can interact with their favorite drivers as they’re granted an exclusive pit pass to the most powerful and sensory-filled motorsports attraction on the planet. This unique opportunity gives fans direct access to the teams, allowing them to see firsthand the highly-skilled mechanics service their hot rods between rounds, and get autographs from their favorite NHRA drivers.
 
Fans also will want to visit NHRA’s popular Nitro Alley and Manufacturers Midway, where sponsors and race vendors create a carnival atmosphere, with interactive displays, simulated competitions, merchandise, food and fun for the entire family.
 
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series qualifying will feature two rounds at 12:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, and the final two rounds of qualifying on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 12:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Final eliminations are scheduled for 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 10.
 
To purchase general-admission or reserved seats, call 800-884-NHRA (6472). Tickets also are available online at www.NHRA.com/tickets. Kids 12 and under are free in general admission areas with a paid adult. All students can save 50 percent on general admission at the gate with a student ID. To honor the Salute to First Responders, military and first responders can save 20 percent on general admission tickets at the gate. For more info about the NHRA visit www.NHRA.com.  
British racer Sam Bird stayed cool during today’s sweltering Formula E race in Santiago, Chile, to take victory and move him and his Envision Virgin Racing team into first place in both the drivers’ and teams’ championship. With air and track temperatures pushing 37°C and 44°C respectively – officially the championship’s hottest ever race – Bird, 32, drove superbly from fourth on the grid to take his eighth career victory and the first win of the new Gen2 era for the team and its Audi e-tron FE05. The result also means he, and his team, continue their impressive record of recording victories in every Formula E season to date.
 
 
Meanwhile, team-mate Robin Frijns, 27, drove an equally superb race making up 10 places to finish fifth and secure yet more valuable points for the team, with the Dutchman now lying in fifth place in the championship standings.  
 
The all-electric event in the Chilean capital marked the second consecutive race there, albeit on a new 2.348km circuit located in Parque O'Higgins. With the team’s expectations high after a double podium last time out, the day began well with both Bird and Frijns showing strong pace in both the morning practice sessions.
 
Come qualifying, Frijns was placed in the first group and, like those around him, struggled to get a good lap as the track continued to improve throughout the session meaning he would eventually start P15. Bird, on the other hand, made the most of his qualifying group to make it through to Superpole and despite ending sixth, two infringements for other drivers meant he would begin the 45-minute (plus one lap) race from fourth.

As the race got underway, managing battery and tyre temperatures would prove to be key. On the opening lap, both Bird and Frijns made up ground and, by the halfway stage, Bird was lying second with his team-mate already up to seventh.
 
In the second half, Bird was all over the back of leader Sebastien Buemi forcing the Swiss driver to go defensive. Then with 10-minutes left on the clock, he made a mistake at the chicane, clipping the wall on the exit and allowing Bird to take the lead. Bird still had a lot of hard work to do in keeping Pascal Wehrlein at bay, but his experience showed through to take the chequered flag. Just a few places further back, Frijns was also being made to work in the mid-pack with some very close and frantic racing, but he held his nerve to secure another strong result and points haul.

Bird, who has now competed in all 48 Formula E races for the team, said: “That was a great, but challenging race! No-one really knew going into this race how the battery and tyres would react in these extreme temperatures. The whole race we were going into the unknown. But to get the result we did is fantastic, and my thanks goes to everyone at Envision Virgin Racing for once again putting in the hours to give us this win. It’s been a steep learning curve for the team, with the limited testing we’ve had, so to find ourselves in a situation where we’re winning races – to go with pole positions and podiums from previous races – is an incredible achievement.”
 
Frijns said: “Starting towards the back of the field was always going to make things tougher but we fought hard from the off and managed to gain some good ground early on. Towards the end I was really in the thick of it, but we came away with another strong result for me and the team.”
 
Sylvain Filippi, Managing Director at Envision Virgin Racing, said: “After the success of our double podium at the last race, it’s an amazing feeling to come here to Chile and go even better. The whole team, as always, put in a huge effort to prepare for this race and that hard work clearly shows in the results today. I’d also like to thank the whole Audi Sport team for their contribution to this result.” He added: “The high temperatures were always going to make the conditions tough, but Sam and Robin drove superbly, and we now head to the next race in Mexico full of confidence.”
 
Envision Group’s Franz Jung and Chairman of the Board added: “It’s great to get our first victory of the season. To keep improving and finding the pace race-by-race is a credit to the team and I’m super proud of Sam and Robin.”
 
The next Formula E round takes place in Mexico City on February 16. For more information on Envision Virgin Racing, including access to the team’s media site, visit www.envisionvirginracing.com
 
FIA Formula E Championship
Race results: Santiago E-Prix – Rd 3:
 
1. Sam Bird, Envision Virgin Racing, 36 laps
2. 
Pascal Wehrlein, Mahindra Racing, +6.489s
3. Daniel Abt, Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, +14.529s (FL)
4. Eduardo Mortara, Venturi Formula E, +17.056s
5. Robin Frijns, Envision Virgin Racing, +20.276s
6. 
Mitch Evans, Panasonic Jaguar Racing, +23.755s
7. Alexander Sims, BMW i Andretti Formula E, +27.590s
8. Oliver Turvey, NIO Formula E, +45.059s
9. Jose Maria Lopez, Geox Dragon, +45.376s
10. Jerome D'Ambrosio, Mahindra Racing, +46.984s
[Pole position = Sebastien Buemi]
 
Driver standings (after Rd 3):
1. Sam Bird, 43pts
2. 
Jerome D'Ambrosio, 41pts
3. Antonio Felix da Costa, 28pts
4. Jean-Eric Vergne, 28pts
5. Robin Frijns, 28pts
 
Team standings (after Rd 3):
1. Envision Virgin Racing, 71pts  
2. Mahindra Racing, 59pts
3. DS Techeetah, 47pts
4. BMW i Andretti Formula E, 46pts
5. Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, 30pts
After extensive rainfall that fell throughout the morning and afternoon in the Daytona Beach area, the 57th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona has been deemed official after 23 hours and 50 minutes of racing - much of it under some of the most extreme weather conditions ever seen at Daytona International Speedway.
 
For the first time in history, the race was red flagged twice due to wet conditions, first for an hour, 45 minutes on Sunday morning and a second and final time at 12:39 p.m.
 
The overall champion of the race was Wayne Taylor Racing’s No. 10 Konica Minolta DPi Cadillac driven by Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande, Kamui Kobayashi and Fernando Alonso. With his victory, Alonso becomes the third Formula 1 champion to also win the Rolex 24.
 
Other class winners include in the LMP2 class the No. 18 DragonSpeed Oreca with drivers Roberto Gonzalez, Pastor Maldonado, Sebastian Saavedra and Ryan Cullen, in the GTLM class the No. 25 BMW M8 GTE from BMW Team RLL driven by Augsto Farfus, Connor De Phillippi, Phillipp Eng and Colton Herta and finally in the GTD class the No. 11 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan with Rolf Ineichen, Mirko Bortolotti, Christan Englehart and Rik Breukers behind the wheel, winning for the second consecutive year.  
After more than 22 hours of tight competition, the weather forced an unprecedented early ending to the Rolex 24 At Daytona, but the racing and star players kept things dramatic and interesting for the whole span of the twice-round-the-clock event.
 
A second red flag flew at Daytona International Speedway Sunday afternoon because of heavy rain showers with an hour and 45 minutes remaining in the scheduled race – the first time in history the race has had two red flags. And after much discussion, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series executives decided to call the 24-hour race official - 10 minutes early – because of the bad weather.
 
Two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso, who drove the final stint for the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac, earned the overall victory for the team – the organization’s third total and Alonso’s first. He joins elite company with fellow F1 champions Mario Andretti and Phil Hill - to have also won a sportscar race at Daytona. 
 
Brazilian Augusto Farfus was the driver of record for the winning GT Le Mans (GTLM) class driving the No. 24 BMW Team RLL BMW M8 GTE team – having flown in as a substitute for the team’s regular driver Tom Blomqvist, who had travel issues. Americans Connor De Phillippi and Colton Herta, along with Austrian Philipp Eng, co-drove the Bobby Rahal-owned car with Farfus. Rahal, the 1986 Indy 500 winner, also won the Rolex 24 overall title as a driver in 1981.
 
“I don’t think any of the cars in our class had more than 20-30 seconds lead throughout the whole race,’’ Farfus said. “The GTLM [class] is always professional, extremely talented drivers.
 
“We have seen through the years this race is getting more like a sprint than an endurance from the start to the end. ... Even in this weather we were all fighting.’’
 
The winning BMW team’s sister car, the No. 24, was co-driven by one of the historic event’s best feel-good stories of triumph. Former IndyCar champion Alex Zanardi, who lost both legs in a racing accident in 2001, drove that No. 24 BMW for more than six hours in his first competitive laps in the United States since his injury.
 
Zanardi did three driving stints total for six hours and 17 minutes, even as the team dealt with some mechanical problems in the car. Ultimately, Zanardi’s team finished ninth in class. Zanardi, however, absolutely finished first in many hearts the world over as he made his inspired return to competition stateside.
 
After a slow driver change in his initial driving stint Saturday evening – having to use a back-up version of Zanardi’s specially designed steering wheel - there were no more major issues for the popular champion. He said after the race, that in all the driver change practices with the team and in all the meticulous design work to develop the innovative steering control, there had never been a hiccup like that.
 
His work at Daytona, however, will be best remembered for overcoming obstacles and doing so with a positive spirit and bright smile.
 
“I should say bittersweet, but in reality more sweet than bitter,’’ Zanardi says of his race.
 
He spoke about the heart-touching enthusiasm and encouragement he received every day at the track from fans and teams too. And if there is anything he hopes his Daytona story can do, it’s to bring optimism and hope to others facing big challenges in their life.
 
“If someone can receive some type of inspiration from what I do, it fills my heart with pride,’’ Zanardi said. “But all I can do is tip my hat and continue my journey.”
 
As for the race, the final red flag played a crucial role in the GTLM class finish. Richard Westbrook had been leading the tightly contested class in the No. 67 Ford GT for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing only minutes before cars were stopped on pit road for heavy rain. He made an emergency pit stop for fuel in the Ford GT as the red flag came out, not only relinquishing the lead, but ultimately suffering a penalty for pitting while the pits were closed.
 
Once the race was declared official, a 60-second penalty was assessed to the No. 67, relegating them to fourth in class, as the No. 912 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR driven by Patrick Pilet, Nick Tandy and Frederic Makowiecki moved up to third.
 
“I’ve driven in many conditions in my life, in the fog, in the rain, but nothing like that.’’ said Westbrook, a former Rolex 24 winner.
 
“Obviously we’re looking at the radar and knew the weather was going to get worse and worse but you can’t ever bank on them throwing a red and then them calling the race. But that is in the back of your mind.
 
“The best place to be in the lead and at that point we were controlling the race and pulling away. Obviously we had to pit and everyone was going to have to pit a few laps later, but we were the unlucky ones today in that they threw the red flag just after we pitted.”
 
The victory was especially important for BMW as the manufacturer's longtime race executive Charly Lamm passed away this week and its winning drivers dedicated Sunday’s win to him.
GRT Grasser Racing Team Goes Back-to-Back with Lamborghini in GTD in Rolex 24 At Daytona
Christian Engelhart says that, to be perfectly honest, he had no idea he was leading his ultra-competitive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GT Daytona (GTD) class in the Rolex 24 At Daytona until his team gave him the good news just as a red flag flew with under two hours left in the race.
 
Because of steady rain showers, IMSA ultimately called the race official 10 minutes short of its intended 24-hour length. And Engelhart conceded, with a smile, his work maneuvering through the field under rainy, uncertain conditions on the Daytona International Speedway road course had resulted in one of his greatest triumphs.
 
“We were actually one lap down when I started the stint,’’ Engelhart said. “So, I managed to overtake the leader so that, when the yellow came out, we got a wave by and rejoined the pack, but we were very, very far behind. At this point, I asked what position we are, and I think we were P8 or P9, something like this, he said on the radio.
 
“And after that, I never got any more information. I was just pushing. When the red flag came out, I didn't know I was first. I was told then that we were first. I thought we were still fighting, and I was giving everything to come to the front, and I didn't expect that we were already. 
 
“So quite a surprise, a positive one, of course.” 
 
Engelhart took the lead, officially, two laps before the red flag, helping his co-drivers on the GRT Grasser Racing Team - Rolf Ineichen, Mirko Bortolotti and Rik Breukers – to their second consecutive GTD class victory.
 
Former Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso drove the No. 10 Cadillac Prototype to the overall victory for Wayne Taylor Racing.
 
It’s the second consecutive class win at the Rolex for this Lamborghini team however, especially impressive in such a highly competitive class – which also features the most cars – 23 – in its class. The winning Lamborghini led 23 laps. The seventh-place No. 33 Mercedes actually led the most laps (141) in that class.
 
The only all-woman team in the race competed in the GTD division, as well, and had four of racing’s most accomplished female drivers in Katherine Legge, Simona De Silvestro, Bia Figueredo and Christina Nielsen. They finished 13th in class. Legge had a brief off-course excursion in the team’s No. 57 Acura NSX GT3, but the team rallied back from it.
 
“It's disappointing to have a situation like this so close to the end of the race, but it's super tricky conditions out there and it could happen to anyone,’’ Nielsen said of the incident. “We didn't see what happened, but these conditions are difficult to manage. We were just saying, if you're playing tennis and you drop a ball, you just get a new one and try again. Here, if you make one mistake, there are high consequences.
 
“It looked like the car had a wipe from the tire wall on it and had some front-end damage so there was contact with the wall. Props to the Heinricher Racing and Meyer Shank Racing guys for getting the car back out on track. But all we can focus on now is collecting points because we're out of contention - but one or two points can matter in the end, I've been there before.”
 
The team’s other car, co-driven in part by NASCAR race winners Justin Marks and A.J. Allmendinger, finished fifth in class. Allmendinger – the 2012 Rolex 24 overall champion – spent the Rolex weekend pulling double duty in his new gig commentating for NBC Sports and also driving the No. 86 Acura NSX.
 
“It was nasty out there, on the border of ridiculous, but I get it – it’s the Rolex 24, not the Rolex 19,'' said Allmendinger, who spent much of his driving time in the rainy conditions.

There have been plenty of wild finishes in the 57 editions of the iconic Rolex 24 At Daytona. But arguably none have been wetter than Sunday’s rain-shortened conclusion of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season opener, in which the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R team, with its all-star driver lineup of Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande, Kamui Kobayashi and Fernando Alonso, weathered treacherous conditions to score its second victory in the last three events at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

 

One of those wild Rolex 24 finishes came just two years ago, when Taylor’s older brother and then co-driver Ricky Taylor won a furious battle in the closing minutes to earn the Taylor brothers their first career Rolex 24 victory alongside third and fourth drivers Max “The Ax” Angelelli and four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon.

 

This year, the younger Taylor brother was joined by 2018 full-time co-driver van der Zande alongside former Formula One and current World Endurance Championship regular Kobayashi, and two-time Formula One world champion Alonso. And the fearsome foursome turned a highly anticipated Rolex 24 victory into reality with their driving consistency and ability to stay out of trouble through all hours of the day and night, in conditions that ranged from fast and dry to chilly and extremely wet.

 

Together, they led a race-high 249 of 593 laps around the 12-turn, 3.56-mile superspeedway road circuit from the sixth qualifying position earned Thursday by Taylor, who equaled the two career Rolex 24 victories earned by his three-time sportscar-racing-champion father and team owner Wayne Taylor, and helped his teammates each earn his first career Rolex 24 win. Alonso, in fact, became just the third Formula One world champion to win a Rolex 24, joining Phil Hill and Mario Andretti. The Spaniard also scored a first career victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last June.

 

“I’m disappointed because, now, Jordan’s won as many Rolex 24s as I have, and I never wanted that day to happen (joking),” Wayne Taylor said. “But I can’t even put into words how great this win is for us. I want to thank Rick Taylor, Michael Mathe, everyone at Konica Minolta, Mark Reuss at GM, Steve Carlisle at Cadillac, all our commercial partners for believing in us and making all of this possible. Everything has to come together to win one of these, on and off the track. And to do it with this particular group of guys, it’s going to be a racing memory I will never forget.”

 

After struggling to crack the top-five all through practice and qualifying in lead-up to Saturday and Sunday’s twice-around-the-clock endurance marathon, it took little time for the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R to find its way to the lead. Taylor’s ultra conservative opening stint yielded just one lap led during a round of green-flag pit stops. But once Alonso got behind the wheel for his first race stint just shy of the two-hour mark, the sleek, black racecar found itself in and out of the lead for the remainder of the event. Alonso promptly raced his way into the lead, and logged 44 laps led before turning the car over to van der Zande just past the four-hour, 30-minute mark.

 

The 32-year-old Dutchman, who most recently brought home a thrilling win for the team on the last turn of the last lap of last year’s season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, played it relatively conservatively during his opening stint and led 18 laps before handing the car back to Taylor in the wee hours of Sunday morning. The racecar remained strong through Taylor’s second stint, in which he led 45 laps before turning things over to Alonso just short of the 15th hour of the race.

 

But, shortly after Alonso took over, expected rain showers finally arrived, and varying degrees of precipitation would remain through the rest of the day. He led 49 laps in all during the mostly wet stint, which included an almost two-hour red-flag period for extreme wet conditions through the track at the 16-hour, 43-minute mark.

 

Alonso continued for a short time after the race resumed at the 18-hour, 31-minute mark, leading several more laps before handing the car back to Taylor just short of the 19-hour mark. Taylor’s final stint of the weekend netted 17 of 43 laps led through very wet conditions. It featured a powerful pass of the No. 31 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R of Pipo Derani at the 19-hour, 20-minute mark, then a remarkable maneuver to avoid a spinning GT-class car ahead of him under heavy braking into turn one.

 

Then came the final stint for Alonso, who resumed in third place and carefully bided his time before positioning himself to take advantage when Derani’s teammate Felipe Nasr ventured off course in turn one and giving the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R the lead for good at the 21-hour, 54-minute mark.

 

The race was red-flagged three laps later as Alonso and most of the rest of the field reported near zero visibility under heavy rains just short of the 22-hour mark.

 

Officials waited for a chance to restart the race until the 23-hour, 49-minute mark before waving the checkered flag, and celebration ensued in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R camp.

 

“I think it was an interesting race with the conditions changing, very tough, but I think, like everyone else says, everyone did their job,” said Taylor, who scored his 21st career victory. “All four drivers led in their own right and drove to the lead, different parts of the race, and it was all about survival. You saw a lot of guys taking a lot of risk early in the race, but we waited with the game plan of running our own race and not getting caught up in anyone else’s battles. I think it was the right game plan. We stayed out of trouble, no car damage, no one went off the track. That’s the way you win these 24‑hour races, and we kind of came into the grid thinking almost every single car can win the race, and you see guys making little mistakes here and there, and this team has now done six out of seven years finishing on the podium without issues. I think it’s a huge testament to Wayne Taylor Racing.”

 

“I’m super happy,” said van der Zande, who scored his 12th career victory. “Fantastic. I think I said before the weekend, I think to the team, Wayne and Max (Angelelli, team owner), fantastic that they put such little pieces together. It’s a big puzzle and it comes together in this victory here right now. Thanks a lot to my teammates, the whole team, and I’m very happy to bring home a (Rolex) watch and a lot of victory feelings. What more to say?”

 

“I’m so happy to be here, and obviously I think. like the 24‑hour race, it’s never easy even when you have a good car or whatever because you have so many issues, problems,” Kobayashi said. “I think today we had really extremely difficult conditions. I think all the team guys, the drivers, did a great job. I think the team did a really, really good job, and obviously the car was really good.”

 

“I’m very, very proud of the job that we achieved today, but it was not a one‑day job, it was a one‑month job,” Alonso said. “For me, in December we started preparing for the race and receiving all the documents, how the Cadillac works and how Wayne Taylor Racing works, some procedures that maybe are different compared with other teams. We tried to have a quick integration, Kamui and myself, trying to learn as much as we could from the team in the Roar (Before the 24 test days) and then, on the race itself, it was very, very difficult. Conditions were changing all the time.”

 

Round two of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the 67th Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring on Saturday, March 16, at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway, where newly announced third driver Matthieu Vaxiviere of France will join Taylor and van der Zande behind the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R. Live television coverage begins on CNBC at 10:30 a.m. EST and concludes on NBCSN 3:30 to 11 p.m.

 A wet and wild Sunday led to the first rain-shortened Rolex 24 At Daytona in the 57-event history of the prestigious enduro on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway.
 
As one would have expected in the days of practice and qualifying preceding the drop of the green flag on Saturday afternoon, the outcome would be unpredictable. The conditions magnified that fact, but in the end, the four class winners were clearly deserving.
 
Here are our five takeaways from a Rolex 24 that will not soon be forgotten:
 
1. No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R Team Is Deserving Champions
While Fernando Alonso didn’t take the lead for the final time until 10 minutes before what turned out to be a race-ending red flag came out, the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R he shared with Jordan Taylor, Renger van der Zande and Kamui Kobayashi was unquestionably one of the strongest cars in the field throughout.
 
All four of the car’s drivers posted top-12 lap times, led by Kobayashi, whose one minute, 34.598 second (135.472 mph) Lap 12 speed was only 0.094 seconds slower than Felipe Nasr’s race-best lap of 1:34.504 (135.607 mph) set on Lap 77 in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi.
 
Taylor posted the third-quickest lap in the race, while van der Zande had the 10th fastest lap and Alonso the 12th fastest. Alonso pulled out to a healthy lead in his late-afternoon/early-evening stint on Saturday, and the quartet combined to lead a race-high 259 laps of what would be a 593-lap race, or 43.6 percent of the total laps completed.
 
“Everyone did their job,” said Taylor. “All four drivers led in their own right and drove to the lead, different parts of the race, and it was all about survival. You saw a lot of guys taking a lot of risk early in the race, but we waited with the game plan of running our own race and not getting caught up in anyone else's battles. I think it was the right game plan. 
 
“We stayed out of trouble, no car damage, no one went off the track. That's the way you win these 24‑hour races. We kind of came into the grid thinking almost every single car can win the race, and you see guys making little mistakes here and there, and this team has now done six out of seven years finishing on the podium without issues. I think it's a huge testament to Wayne Taylor Racing.”
 
2. Mazda’s Time is Coming – And Soon
After teasing us with an “unofficial” track record during the Roar Before the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mazda Team Joest and driver Oliver Jarvis delivered officially during qualifying when the Englishman scored the Motul Pole Award in the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P DPi with a lap of 1:33.685 (136.792 mph) besting PJ Jones’ 26-year-old record of 1:33.875.
 
Both Mazda DPis – the No. 77 shared by Jarvis, Tristan Nunez, Timo Bernhard and Rene Rast and the No. 55 co-driven by Jonathan Bomarito, Harry Tincknell and Olivier Pla – were quick at the Roar, quick in qualifying (Bomarito qualified fourth) and quick in the early stages of the Rolex 24. Sadly, however, neither was around for daybreak Sunday morning.
 
After leading at different times throughout the first six hours, the No. 77 was forced to retire with a mechanical problem. The No. 55 lost three laps in the first quarter of the race before battling back, only to have an incident take them out in the 14th hour.
 
Despite the disappointment, it was clear that both Mazda Team Joest entries now have plenty of speed. Add to that a strong performance for the team in the 2018 Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about their chances for a breakthrough victory to come soon.
 
“While it is disappointing that we didn’t see the checkered flag, our Mazda Team Joest crew and drivers can leave with their heads held high that they had put together an effort that ran at the front and was a contender for the victory at Daytona,” said Mazda Motorsports Director John Doonan. “Our Mazda employees, partners, owners and fans deserve to enjoy success, and our approach was to race from the front and push ourselves and the competition as hard as we could. We’ll learn everything we can, put a plan into place to address the issues we had here and go for it again at Sebring. Racers are optimistic, and we are already looking ahead to Sebring to show what we can do.”
 
3. BMW Races with Higher Purpose – And Wins
BMW Team RLL and its No. 25 BMW M8 GTE co-drivers Augusto Farfus, Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng and Colton Herta didn’t mind the raindrops falling in victory lane Sunday afternoon as they celebrated the first Rolex 24 victory for a BMW GT car since 1998 (BMW-powered Daytona Prototypes claimed overall victories in 2011 and 2013).
 
The team was thrilled to bring home the victory as a tribute to longtime BMW stalwart Charly Lamm, who was the team principal for Schnitzer BMW. Lamm passed away suddenly last Thursday at the age of 63.
 
“This win is magical and of special significance to me,” Farfus said. “A few days ago, I lost a very important person in my life. I am sure that Charly was with me on the way to this success, so the win is for him. Now it is time to celebrate.” 
 
It capped off quite a month for BMW Team RLL, which attracted mainstream attention for having two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi as part of its driver lineup in its No. 24 M8 GTE. That team finished ninth in GTLM due in part to a damaged steering column on the first pit stop as Zanardi – who lost his legs in a Champ Car crash in Germany in 2001 – was attempting to install his specially modified steering wheel with hand controls at the same time the car was dropped from its air jacks. 
 
The team lost several laps repairing the steering column. Nevertheless, Zanardi still had a positive first experience in the Rolex 24.
 
“I feel incredibly sorry for everyone who worked so hard on this project, both in Munich and here in the USA,” Zanardi said. “We really tested countless possible scenarios in the run-up to the race, and then something happens in the first pit stop which has never happened before. But that is motorsport for you. We just have to accept it.
 
“That aside, my appearance here at Daytona, with all the fantastic reactions from the fans, colleagues and opponents has been like a fairy tale. I would like to say a big thank you to BMW Motorsport and BMW Team RLL for one of the best experiences of my life.”
 
4. Bad Luck Thwarts Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Chances of GTLM Three-Peat
Had it not been for some bad luck, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing very well could have taken home its third consecutive GTLM victory in the Rolex 24.
 
The team’s No. 67 Ford GT, which won the 2018 edition with the same three co-drivers in Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon, fell five laps down to the GTLM leaders early in the race after Briscoe hit the pit wall and then incurred a stop-and-hold for an improper wave-by. However, they battled all the way back to lead 15 laps before a late-race stop for fuel in a closed pit with what would be two laps remaining relegated them to fourth in the final race standings.
 
The No. 66 trio of Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and Sebastien Bourdais, meanwhile, were top contenders throughout much of the race, leading for a total of 34 laps before an incident with the No. 911 Porsche GT Team RSR while leading the race on a late restart removed the No. 66 from contention for the win.
 
"It's disappointing not to win here today, because we certainly had two cars capable of winning,” said Mark Rushbrook, global director, Ford Performance Motorsports. “The weather conditions were treacherous for everyone, and it certainly played into how the race turned out.
 
“But we had both Ford GTs get back to the front after issues on the track, and that's a tribute to the Ford and Ganassi crews and their never give up attitude, who worked so hard to make repairs under very tough conditions for them. We didn't win today, but these efforts go a long way to helping win championships."
 
5. Parity Reigns Again in GTD
There were five GT Daytona (GTD) cars on the lead lap at the end of the 57th Rolex 24 At Daytona. There were another five GTD cars that finished one lap down and one more that was two laps behind at the end of the race.
 
One of them, the No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 shared by Rolf Ineichen, Mirko Bortolotti, Christian Engelhart and Rik Breukers, won the race for the second consecutive year. Any of the other 10 could have with a lucky break here or there.
 
The five cars on the GTD lead lap represented four different manufacturers: Lamborghini (first), Audi (second and fourth), Lexus (third) and Acura (fifth). Another Lexus was the first car a lap down in sixth, followed by a Mercedes-AMG, a Porsche, a Ferrari and a BMW.
 
In other words, one car from each of the eight manufacturers competing in GTD finished the race inside the top 10. That’s parity.

Indianapolis 500 veteran Conor Daly will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May piloting the No. 25 U.S. Air Force Honda with five-time Indy 500 champions Andretti Autosport. Daly completes a five-ship, All-American Indy 500 lineup, joining teammates Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Zach Veach. 

“I couldn’t be prouder to represent the Air Force for a second consecutive year at the Indianapolis 500,” said Daly. “I would not be here without the effort from everyone at Andretti Autosport to make sure this program is structured for success. It means a lot to see the commitment that Air Force has shown in me, and the chance to have a shot at winning the biggest race in the world.”  

Making his sixth Indianapolis 500 qualifying attempt in 2019, Daly holds five previous starts at the famed 2.5-mile oval with a best starting position of 22nd. The second-generation racer holds wins in both Indy Lights and the Pro Mazda (now Indy Pro 2000) series and claimed the 2010 Pro Mazda championship. Daly holds 43 career IndyCar Series starts with 10 top-10 finishes. 

“To be teamed with some of my best friends at undoubtedly one of the best teams on the grid is going to be a lot of fun! I’ve never had the chance to be on a team with multiple 500 winners so I am beyond excited to learn from them and ready to get to work,” Daly added. 

Additionally, the Air Force will become a full-season associate partner of Andretti Autosport with branding across the four full-season entries of Rossi, Hunter-Reay, Andretti and Veach, solidifying the team-work effect. Capitalizing on teamwork is how the U.S. Air Force accomplishes its mission.   

“This partnership closely correlates with how we fly, fight and win,” said Maj. Ross McKnight, Chief, Air Force National Events Branch at Air Force Recruiting Service. “We don’t send one aircraft to accomplish a mission, we build a strike package with multiple aircraft. The ability to sponsor Andretti Autosport’s five cars at the Indy 500 ties in greatly with how we accomplish our mission.” 

“We’re really happy to welcome the Air Force to the Andretti family for the Indy 500 with Conor, and full season across all our cars,” said Michael Andretti, CEO, Andretti Autosport. “Having five American drivers represent the team at America’s biggest race is very special and we’re proud to have the opportunity to pay tribute to the brave men and women of the U.S. Air Force.” 

“The Air Force is excited to partner with Andretti Autosport for the Greatest Spectacle in Racing and the IndyCar Series,” said Brig. Gen. Jeannie Leavitt, Air Force Recruiting Service Commander. “These types of events are amazing venues for engaging with future Airmen. Like Andretti Autosport, the Air Force is committed to leading edge technology, teamwork and excellence in all we do.”  

The 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race goes green Sunday, May 26, with live broadcast on NBC. Daly and the team’s qualifying effort can be viewed Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19 via NBC platforms. 

For more information please visit AndrettiAutosport.com.

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