UNSUNG HEROES

TURN 12

There are more than 300 SCCA volunteer race marshals and officials working the 41st Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Many of them have worked many of these events dating back to the F5000 and F1 days – an annual trek. They come from SCCA Regions up and down the West Coast, from across the country, and from abroad. Such is the lure of The Beach. They all pay their own way, buy their uniforms, and work long hours in a variety of specialties. Their day starts before sunrise four days in a row, and with the late night Drifting Demonstrations, some work until 10pm. All for the love of the sport.

Thank you one and all!

Bill Galey

SCCA Marshals

SCCA Pit Lane Marshals

Fire Safety Marshal

Peter West Ambulance Marshal

Pit Lane Marshals

Cal Club Tow Truck

LAST LAP HARD RACING

Ed Brown & Johannes van Overbeek

Ed Brown & Johannes van Overbeek. Photo courtesy Extreme Speed Motorsports

Polesitter JOHANNES van OVERBEEK/No.2 Extreme Speed Motorsports won a hard-fought the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in a neck and neck battle for the last fifteen minutes with runner-up JORDAN TAYLOR/No.10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP Chevrolet. The Margin of Victory was 5.833 seconds. Overbeek said “I’m trying to absorb it all, my first overall win. Thanks to Ed for putting us where we needed to be.”

Van Overbeek co-drives with Team Owner, ED BROWN, who also is CEO of Patron, and it was their first TUDOR Class win. Brown said “It was intimidating out there. I started having fun out there by the second lap.”

Jordan drives with his brother RICKY. Third was SCOTT PRUETT/No.01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley DP Ford, co-driving with MEMO ROJAS.

Fox Sports Move of the Race went to van Overbeek passing Taylor in Turn Four for the lead in the waning race laps. Taylor said he was saving fuel, the only Prototype doing so. Taylor struggled to get through debris in Turn Two. “I felt something on the tires and it kind of messed me up from turn two to three and that’s where he got me.”

Antonio Garcia & Jan Magnussen

Antonio Garcia & Jan Magnussen

It was also spirited, competitive racing with lots of drama in the GTLM class with lead changes, aggressive driving and some penalties. GTLM Pole Sitter ANTONIO GARCIA/No.3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.R Chevrolet/Michelin took the victory by 4.710 seconds ahead of BILL AUBERLEN/No.55 BMW RLL BMW Z4 GTE BMW/Michelin, who was battling NICK TANDY/No.911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR Porsche/Michelin. Auberlen dove under Tandy in Turn Eleven on the last lap to grab runner-up. Those results were announced as provisional at the time, pending Steward’s review.

Immediately after the race, Tandy said “I’m happy enough for the podium (as third) but now I know how I will be driving from now on.”

Tommy Kendall

Tommy Kendall

This year IMSA has Driver Stewards who are in Race Control with IMSA Race Officials. After an incident, these Stewards immediately review the situation, using TV monitors, landline calls, etc. Their input is provided to PAUL WALTER, IMSA Race Director, who makes the call, literally and/or figuratively. For the Laguna Seca race the Driver Stewards were ELLIOT FORBES-ROBINSON and TOMMY KENDALL. While this is Kendall’s first time in the role, EFR has been doing it all season so far. Kendall said the positions will probably be held by several drivers in some kind of rotation, a la F1. As per Kendall, other drivers in the role so far include JOHNNY UNSER.

Some time after the race, Walter came to the Media Center to advise that there were post-race official penalties for the unofficial results, apologizing for the lateness of the announcement. “We have an extensive review process, including bringing in team members from No.55 and No.911, reviewing video, etc. The No.911 was assessed a sixty-second penalty for on-track incident – which is not the same as avoidable contact, which gets a 55-second penalty. If the incident had happened earlier in the race, the penalty would have been assessed during the race. The penalty means GIANCARLO FISICHELLA and PIERRE KAFFER/No.62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F458 Italia Ferrari move up to third finishing position, and the No.911 moves down to ninth in class.”

Regarding the last lap, Walter said “We had insufficient evidence to assess responsibility.”

Penalty Box

Penalties assessed during the race: No.90 P/Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP assessed a 55-second drive through for the incident in Turn Five with ALEX BRUNDLE/No.42 P/OAK Racing Morgan Nissan. Later Brundle was assessed a 55-second drive through for the incident in the Corkscrew when he dive-bombed into No.5 Action Express Corvette DP which then hit JOEL MILLER/No.07 SpeedSource Mazda DP, causing a minor melee. Miller retired as a result.

After Walter’s visit, the top two finishing GTLM teams came to the Media Center – the Corvette and the BMW.

Garcia said – “The C7.R was perfect. It was all about saving tires after I got by the Ferrari. It was a good call on the pits just to do one stop. I knew I had to run those tires for half an hour, so I decided just to give up a little bit of pressure on them and just start saving tires as best I could. Then with 20 minutes to go I could use the tires I had saved. I’m happy to get the back to back win with the C7R in the end.”

Auberlen said “”Our strategy was to do two stops, knowing every one else would do one. We knew we’d have much fresher tires and would make up the deficit. On the last lap we (Tandy and Auberlen) were side by side going into Turn Eleven. Walter always says leave a lane for racing. I was on the outside, but he moved on me twice. Anyone who knows me and has raced against me all these years will tell you I race clean, but when I try to pass another car on the outside of 11 and they slam the door and then do it again on the next lap I am really unhappy.”

The fastest drivers in the race were Brundle in the Prototypes at a record-breaking 1:19.747. Auberlen was fastest in GTLM, at 2:23.725, also a new record.

All cars in each race cleared scrutineering and there were no issues.

KATHERINE LEGGE/No.0 DeltaWing Racing Cars DeltaWing DWC13 Elan started the race from the Pit Lane for missing the Recon Lap, and then served a drive-through penalty for the Pit Lane race start. She drove until the driver change. After handing the car off to co-driver, ANDY MEYERICK, the car developed transmission problems and retired, credited with a P20 overall finish, ninth in class.

The weather was a bit warmer for the second TUDOR Championship race, at 62F ambient and 85F track.

The action was equally or more so frenetic at the start of the race. The top two cars raced the first 11 laps, tooth and nail as though they were going for the checkered flag. It was highly intense, nose to tail, side by side, anything. MICHAEL VALIANTE/No.90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette got past the pole car, and was then joined by GUSTAVO YACAMAN/No.42 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan. It was riveting until CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI/No.5 Action Express Corvette got past Yacaman, and Valiante stretched his lead. Meanwhile Brown felt a vibration, and made an early pit stop/driver change to Overbeek.

Sunday’s TUDOR Championship P & GTLM race was caution-free, as was the morning PC & GTD race – first time this has happened since ???? No one can think back that far.

GILL CAMPBELL, President/CEO of SCRAMP (Sports Car Racing Association of Monterey Peninsula) was most pleased with the fan turnout, saying that there were higher numbers this weekend than the combined total of last year’s ALMS and Grand-Am races.

D STANDS FOR DRAMA

Paddock Crowd

RENGER van de ZANDE/NO.8 PC Starworks Motorsport ORECA FLM09 Chevrolet/Continental won the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship race Sunday morning as the first feature race in the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. His happy teammate was MARCO SCHULTIS. It was their first class win. It definitely was a sprint race, flat out the whole two hours.

Renger Van der Zande

Renger Van der Zande

Mirco Schultis

Mirco Schultis

Van de Zande said “We had a really good pit stop, taking only two right side tires and fuel – a bold move but one has to take risks. It was slippery, with the car sliding around. We were conserving on everything.” About his race, he joked “It was hard work at the office today.” Schultis said “Winning is nice.”

The drama was all with the GTD finish, with an unexpected finish in the hotly contested class, with DANE CAMERON/No.94 Turner Motorsport BMW Z4 when he took the lead coming down the hill to Turn Eleven when the then-leader, SPENCER PUMPELLY/No.45 Flying Lizards Audi ran out of fuel coming out of the Corkscrew.

Dane Cameron

Dane Cameron

Markus Paltala

Markus Paltala

Spencer Pumpelly

Spencer Pumpelly

Cameron said “I was fine on fuel, no concern. Just saving the tires. They were more now on a stint. I capitalized when it counted. They don’t tell me anything. All I knew I was racing the 48. At the Corkscrew they started yelling get it on, get it on. But whether Spencer was going to finish was out of our control. And I knew he was too far ahead that I wasn’t going to catch him on pace. So I knew I just had to maintain the position and make sure there was no way the 48 Audi was going to get around us. Fortunately I was able to keep him at bay.”

No.45 GTD

No.45 GTD

Pumpelly said he had full pickup problems and knew he was in trouble. Cameron was still racing hard with the No.48 car, and later thanked Pumpelly for not impeding their race by getting out of the way while he coasted down the track to a slow stop on the front straight, in full view but short of the checkered flag.

Fun Fact: BMW reports that BMW’s win today was the exactly 11,111 days from the first BMW DTM win.

Second overall and in the PC class was SEAN RAYHALL/No.25 8Star Motorsports with co-driver LUIS DIAZ, with third place going to BRUNO JUNQUEIRA/No.09 RSR Racing, driving with DUNCAN ENDE. All cars in this class are the same chassis, engine and tire.

Second in the GTD class and ninth overall were CHRISTOPHER HAASE/No.48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche Audi R8LMS Audi with BRYCE MILLER. JOHN POTTER/No.44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT America Porsche was third, with ANDY LALLY.

COLIN BRAUN/No.54 PC Core Autosport ORECA FLM09, who finished seventh overall and inn class, turned the fastest race lap, a new track record, at 1:21.229.

DION von MOLTKE/No.34 Flying Lizards Motorsports Audi R8 LMS was the fastest GTD driver, also setting a new track record.

The weather was a sunny and a reportedly cool 55 degreesF, with track temperature 62F. PATRICK DEMPSEY/No.27 Dempsey Racing Porsche 911 GT America brought out the first caution on Lap One. He spun into the gravel at Turn Eight. With help he got back to pits and continued on. He drove until the driver change with ANDREW DAVIS, fuel and four tires. Dempsey was disappointed – with the spin and the car not yet to liking. They finished twentieth in class, twenty-seventh overall.

HENRIQUE CISNEROS/No.30 MOMO/NGT Motorsport Porsche 911 drove the first stint, before handing off to co-driver KUBA GIERMAZIAK. They finished twelfth in class/nineteenth overall. As with most of the driver changes, four tires and fuel were taken, many occurring during cautions. Cisneros and his Motorsport Safety Foundation garbed the IMSA Pit Note Volunteers in fire protection gear for today’s race.

The Penalty Box had some visitors: JEROEN BLEEKEMOLEN/No.33 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper GT3-R Viper V 10 was penalized for avoidable contact with JAMES DAVISON/No.007 Aston Martin V12 Vantage on the first lap. DILLON MACHAVERN/No.18 GTD Muehiner Motorsports America Porsche 911 GT America Porsche-35 seconds.

The highest Turn One radar gun speed I observed was 140 mph.

Two of the thirty-two cars retired, one from each class. Four cars finished on the lead lap of the 73-lap race. In the GTD class, which ran four laps down, seven were on their lead lap. Three drivers led four times. Ende led twice, for 24 laps, Rayhall led once for 37 laps, and the winner led the last 21 laps of the 82-lap race.

The next race for this group is 21 May 2014.

FAST FRIDAY

Trent Hindman

Trent Hindman

TRENT HINDMAN of New Jersey is the overall pole sitter for Saturday’s race in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Race. He set a new qualifying track record with a lap of 1:34.948/83.970mph in his No.46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3, which is in the Grands Sports Class. His co-driver is JOHN EDWARDS of Ohio. He is hoping the third time will be the charm for him this season, after two runner-up positions. Historically, he said, Laguna has been a good track for the team. The teammates currently lead the GS points standings, and BMW leads the GS Manufacturer standings.

Elliott Skeer

Elliott Skeer

ELLIOTT SKEER of San Diego CA put the No.3 CJ Wilson Racing Mazda MX-5 on the Super Touring Class pole for Saturday’s race, with a lap of . As qualifying driver, he will start the race, in – position overall. Skeer used to race the MX-5 Cup Series, has been to Laguna Seca before, and really loves the track. He and teammate TYLER McQUARRIE of Danville CA in Northern California, were fastest in the early morning session, and fourth in class later as the track heated up.

MICHAEL LEWIS/No.98 Cmp Mot/Curb-Agajanian has the pole position for the first of two races in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Series. Young Lewis turned a 1:29.110/90.414mph. There are 33 entries, and 32 qualified. Lewis, son of STEVE LEWIS who sold the PRI Show to SEMA has been racing Formula 3 in Europe for the past three years.

Andrew Palmer No.14

Andrew Palmer No.14

ANDREW PALMER/No.14 GMG Racing has the pole position for the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo race for the first race Saturday morning. His record-breaking lap was 1:27.831/91.731mph. Palmer had been fastest in the second Friday practice and fourth in the first. There are 14 cars in the race, and Palmer is in the Pro Class, one of six. The rest are in the Amateur class.

The cars in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich series had a busy day Friday. They ran first, last and in between. After two practice sessions, they qualified and raced at the end of the day.

Pole position went to KENTON KOCH/No.12 ALARA Racing, with a lap of 1:42.096/79.814. Fastest in the Skip Barber class was DRAKE KEMPER/No.99 Royal Rugby, with a lap of 1:47.572/77.789. He qualified nineteenth overall of the 28 cars. ARA MALKHASSIAN/No.11 ALARA Racing was fastest in P1 and overall. The third ALARA Racing driver, CHRISTIAN SZYMCZAK/No.34 withdrew.

Generally the cars were faster in the 8am session than the one held at 11:30am, as the track and air warmed up. ROB FOLEY/No.93 Skip Barber Mazda MX-5 was also fastest in P1 and overall. In P2, SEBASTIA LANDY/No.41 Excitations.com/AMG was fastest, with ZACH LEE/No.60 fastest in the Skip Barber group. That group could be called MX-5-Lite. The cars have older, bigger tires, less horsepower and other differences.

John Morton

John Morton

Among the group is a special anniversary car – No.68 Mazda Motorsports/BFGoodrich Skip Barber Mazda. JOHN MORTON was one of three BFG drivers who drove the No.68 Jim Busby Racing Lola T-616 Mazda with BFGoodrich tires in the C-2 class at LeMans, and won. The other two drivers were JOHN O’STEEN and YOSHAMI KATAYAMA. Morton is driving a MX-5 garbed in the same iconic livery – car, helmet and driver’s suit. Two of the LeMans Lola’s, owned by JOHN DAVIS, are on display in the paddock.

JOHN DEAN/No.16 Sick Sideways Mazda won the race, which was marred by a six-lap full course yellow for an accident on Lap 2 in Turn 4A betweens No.27 CHARLES PAQUIN MX-5 Cup and CHRIS BEAUFAIT/No.69 Skip Barber Mazda. The drivers are OK – they walked from the tow truck back to the paddock. BEN ALBANO/No.61 Skip Barber won that class, finishing fourteenth overall.

On another note, the Reverend RICHARD ANDERSON, head of Motorsports Ministries which tends to the sports car races, passed away last week. Sunday at the track there is a special Sunday Chapel Service dedicated to him, and his Memorial Service Saturday in Santa Rosa will be streamed live for viewing at Laguna Seca, 11am PT in the Skip Barber top floor classroom in the paddock.

BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Starter Stand

It was another great weather day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the first of three days of sports car racing at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda. The moderate upper seventies temperatures with light breeze was more tolerable than Thursday’s record-breaking 90F.

The featured series, TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, will not be on track Friday, but will have much of Saturday’s track time.
Friday has all the support series sanctioned byIMSA, plus the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich.

TRENT HINDMAN and JOHN EDWARDS/No.46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 were the fastest drivers overall in the Continental Tire Championship SportsCar Challenge, and also quickest in the Grand Sports class. Their time was 1:36.181/83.767mph. In the Super Touring class, TYLER McQUARRIE and MARC MILLER/No.3 CJ Wilson Racing Mazda MX-5 were tops and twenty-sixth overall. Their time was 1:40.023/80.549mph.

Sixty of the 61 Continental Championship cars were on track

ARI MALKHASSIAN/No.11 ALARA Racing was the fastest MX-5 Car in the first practice at 1:41.730/79.197 mph, and in the subcategory for the Skip Barber MX-5 cars, ROBBY FOLEY/No.93 was the quickest at 1:44.428/77.151 mph. At one point one of the Mazdas clocked 100 mph on the radar gun at the top of the crest just past Start-Finish. This group has its first race at 5:45pm Friday and Race Two is 8am Saturday. Both races are 45-minutes long. Twenty-eight of the twenty-nine entries were on course.

JOHN FARANO/No.63 Jota Corse was the fastest overall and fastest in the Pro Class of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo cars for Practice One. His time was 1:29.961/90.566 mph. The fastest Amateur and second fastest overall was TIM BELL/No.81 Mitchum Motorsports. There are fifteen cars in the group, with five Pro drivers, and 11 Amateur drivers. One car has two Amateur drivers. All were on track.

After lunch there will be more practice, qualifying and a race.

FOX Sports is airing the TUDOR Championship races live on Sunday. In the booth will be BOB VARSHA, CALVIN FISH and DORSEY SCHROEDER. Pit Lane duties will be handled by JAMIE HOWE and BRIAN TILL. The Pre-Race Show will be hosted by JUSTIN BELL.

MX-5 cars on Pre-Grid

HOT STUFF!

Start-Finish Bridge

The temperature topped 90 degrees F Thursday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Promoter’s Test Day, leading up to the three-day Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix powered by Mazda race weekend. The temperatures are expected to moderate by ten degrees each day. Good thing as the schedule calls for long days – 8am-6 or 6:30pm each day, with little or no lunch-breaks. Despite the clouds moving in and out and the on again/off again breeze, the temperatures remained high.

Thursday afternoon, after the track was cold and the air cooler, drivers took to the track for 90 minutes of driver orientation. They walked, ran, and rode bicycles. Simultaneously the GT3 Cup Series held an autograph session. Throughout the weekend, various fan-oriented activities are scheduled.

Included in the race schedule are five race series – TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, Continental Tire Sportscar Challenge, Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama, Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Series, and Mazda MX-5Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires. The paddock is stretched to capacity.

Throughout the day Thursday prep work was on going through its various stages, with at least one huge transporter showing up late.

Corvette Tent - before

Fueling the race car

Corvette Tent - after

Lamborghini

Injured Mazda MX-5

Starworks Motorsport No.7

Friday’s schedule calls for all classes but the featured race series – TUDOR USCC – to practice, qualify and/or race. The Mazda’s M have a late Friday race, and a very early Saturday morning race – and then they’re done for the weekend. TUDOR cars have their first practice at 9:35AM with all four classes, and then dominate the afternoon with another practice. In between the USCC sessions the Lamborghini’s and CTSC each have a race.

OLD GUYS RULE

SCOTT PRUETT/No.01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Riley DP won overall and in class for Saturday’s TUDOR United Sports Car Championship Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase, as part of the 40th Annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. He and teammate MEMO ROJAS of Mexico led all but one lap, when they pitted. Their Margin of Victory was 0.759 seconds, and for the most part, they were never more than two seconds ahead of the second-place drivers. It was the sixteenth victory for team owner, CHIP GANASSI. The drivers celebrated by taking selfies on the dais.

Pruett took a lot of ribbing about his age and experience. He’s won LBGP races in three different decades, in two different centuries, and in two different milleniums.

Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor & Jan Magnussen

Jordan Taylor, Ricky Taylor & Jan Magnussen

JORDAN TAYLOR/No.10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette CP was second, with brother RICKY TAYLOR; followed by JOAO BARBOSA/No.5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP with teammate CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI.

Barbbosa led one lap during Rojas’ pit stop. Pruett got into the car, and was able to pass Barbosa. Pruett said it wasn’t easy – passing or winning. “It was just short of a qualifying lap I think the whole time. When you run 100 laps like that, and no yellows, you can throw a blanket over the top three cars. I think it says a lot for the TUDOR Championship, what we’re doing and where we’re going. There have been huge challenges with the new series packages.”

Rojas said “I just want to win races. I expect the competition to get better each race.

Kevin’s Dad, JAN MAGNUSSEN/No.3 Corvette RaciKng Chevrolet Corvette CR.7, with teammate ANTONIO GARCIA won the GTLM class, finishing eighth overall, two laps down. This was the thirty-eighth victory for Magnussen and eighth for Garcia.

Magnussen said “I tried to drive around and not make any mistakes. Top speed doesn’t play much of a part here at Long Beach compared to Sebring.” This was the first win at Long Beach for Garcia. “They told me to stay away from the walls.”

Second and third in the GTLM class were DIRK MUELLER and co-driver JOHN EDWARDS/No.56 Team BMW RLL BMW Z4 GTE; and TOMMY MILNER, teaming with OLIVER GAVIN in No.4 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette CR.7. Seven of the top nine GTLM cars were on their lead lap.

The third-place No.4 Corvette won the Green Challenge Award, for the most-efficient team.

The 100-minute sprint race ran caution-free, with local yellow flags controlling individual situations. The one-stop race wasn’t without incidents, but nothing like the season’s first two races. The weather was a beautiful 69 degrees with blue skies, and track temperature of 95 degrees.

Five of the top seven P class drivers were on the lead lap. Sixteen of 21 drivers were running at the finish.

No.70 SpeedSource Mazda

No.60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley DP
TOM LONG/No.70 SpeedSource Mazda was the first out with a blown head gasket on Lap 3. His co-driver, team owner, SYLVAIN TREMBLAY had qualified the car.

JOHN PEW/No.60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley DP learned the hard way that three into Turn One don’t go. He stuffed it into the tire wall on the first lap, but was extricated without a caution, and continued on. Then he spun in Turn Eight with MICHAEL VALIENTE/No.90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP, but both continued. Later, Pew’s co-driver, OSWALDO NEGRI, was turning fast laps, but stalled, couldn’t restart, and retired on Lap 39 of the 77-lap race.

Marsh Racing’s No.31 Corvette DP, with drivers BORIS SAID and ERIC CURRAN retired on Lap 22 of the 77-lap race, with a broken control arm. They previously had received a Pit Lane speeding ticket, netting them a stop and go penalty plus twenty seconds.

JONATHAN BOMARITO/No.93 SRT Motorsports SRT Viper GTS-R retired on Lap 56 with drive line issues. His co-drivers were MARC GOOSSENS and KUNO WITTMER.

RYAN DALZIEL/No.1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b retired on the penultimate lap, with a mechanical problem.

Ricky Taylor said it was his first race together with brother on the podium together. Jordan said “It was a great race. some bumping and banging and some unnecessary aggression at the first, but no one into the wall. There were battles in the race, which shows the professional level in the series.”

Post-race inspection was cleared with no issues.

The next race is on Sunday 4 May 2014 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

VAUNTING VENERABLE VETERANS

Scott Pruett

Scott Pruett

SCOTT PRUETT/No.01 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford Riley DP continued to prove that he just improves with age Friday afternoon in the qualifying session for the TUDOR United Sports Car Championship Sports Car Showcase. The fifty-four year-old driver sits on the pole with a lap time of 1:15.325, on his last lap. His time is a new lap record.

Second was OSWALDO NEGRI Jr/No.60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford Riley DP, with CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI/No.5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP finishing third fastest, but not for lack of trying to pip Pruett.

This session was exciting and fast-paced as the times kept getting lower and lower. A Red Flag was called with six+ minutes remaining in the P session, due to RYAN DALZIEL/No.1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b who appeared to have a braking problem, and he pulled off near the fountain. The retrieval time almost, but not quite ran out the clock. However, the final three minutes were even faster paced as the times continued to drop even further; but Pruett remained on top.

Dalziel and teammate SCOTT SHARP will start last in the P category due to losing their fast lap as the penalty assessment for causing the Red Flag.

Pruett kept lowering his times all session. This is his first pole this season, and his thirty-third sports car pole. “At Long Beach, you just get braver and braver. It’s certainly better to start at the front. I’ve raced here with an all-green race, and races with lots of crashes. It will be exciting, it will be fun. We’ve just been fine-tuning the car as it was good off the transporter. Now, we go right to racing without any more practice.” About going back out after the Red Flag, Pruett said “We felt we could pull off a faster lap after the Red Flag, so absolutely had to go back out.”

“It’s great that the two oldest drivers sitting are on the front row, and Dad here (pointing to JAN MAGNUSSEN/No.3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette Cr.7) on the GTLM pole, and with a son doing so well in F1.” Pruett is 54, Negri is almost fifty, and Magnussen is pushing 41. So much for Youth and Good Looks, with all this experience running up front. People have been teasing Magnussen all weekend that he’s gone from being a world-class driver to being Kevin’s Dad. His son is KEVIN MAGNUSSEN, who is racing for McLaren in Formula One, and had a podium finish in his first-ever race. Kevin finished third in Australia, which became a second place after the DNQ accorded to DANIEL RICCIARDO/Red Bull Racing.

Jan Magnussen

Jan Magnussen

Magnussen took the GTLM pole in his fifteen minute qualifying session, with a lap of 1:17.939, the only driver to break into the 17’s. It was also a new qualifying lap record. Second and third were BMW Team RLL teammates, BILL AUBERLEN/No.55 BMW Team RLL, who had led for awhile, and DIRK MUELLER/No.56.

It was the second LBGP pole for Magnussen, and his seventeenth sports car pole. He turned his time five minutes into the session and it held.”It stuck and I didn’t hit any walls. Reliability has been 100 percent. It’s a one-stop race. These short races can be a little bit tricky in strategy. Most of the time we play it safe, and sometimes we lose out, but usually we do well.”

The drivers must start the race on three of their their qualifying tires. The starting driver must be nominated within half an hour after qualifying, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the qualifying driver.

In the late afternoon practice preceding qualifying, the finishing order was Fittipaldi, Pruett, and JORDAN TAYLOR/No.10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP. Earlier in the day, Taylor’s team owner, WAYNE TAYLOR, announced that the No.10 car driven by his two young sons, Jordan and Ricky, would be sponsored by Konica Minolta, with a multi-year contract.

Konica Minolta CEO, RICK TAYLOR, no relation to Wayne’s family, said “There is a little bit of a branding deal going on with the hair with the young lads coming up. One a little bit more so than others, but they’re carving out their niche, and I would say it’s working, so don’t fix it. Congratulations, guys, well done.” Rick was referring to the Taylor sons, especially Jordan who is infamous for his long hair and mullet – which is one of his nicknames. Jordan has vowed to grow his hair until LeMans at which time he’ll cut it and donate it to ‘Locks for Love,’ a charity which provides hairpieces for children suffering from long-term medical issues.

In the GTLM Friday practice, Auberlen was fastest at 1:38.114, followed by ANTONIO GARCIA/No.3 Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette DP, and NICK TANDY/No.911 Porsche North America Porsche 911 RSR.

The post-qualifying technical inspection was cleared, with no problems.

The 100-minute TUDOR USCC Sports Car Showcase starts at 3:05pm local time and runs for 100 minutes.

THE HEAT IS ON

James Hinchcliffe's car

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE/No.27 Andretti Autosport Honda was the fastest Verizon IndyCar Series driver Friday morning with a time of 1:09.9262. He was the first driver to break into the .09’s, and despite HELIO CASTRONEVES/No.3 Team Penske Chevrolet hitting the 1:09’s, Hinchcliffe still went faster again and remained in the top position.

Third overall was JUSTIN WILSON/No.19 Dale Coyne Racing Honda, followed by RYAN HUNTER-REAY/No.28 Andretti Autosport Honda, and JOSEF NEWGARDEN/No.67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing Honda.

The temperatures had already risen to 70 degrees for the 10am practice, with track temps of a bit more than that.

Newgarden had been one of top fastest drivers early on, but shortly after turning his fast lap he plowed into the tire barrier in Turn 11 hairpin, bringing out the Red Flag. He was unhurt, but very dejected. The car sustained front end damage. His fast time held for awhile until eclipsed by Hinchcliffe.

Prior to Newgarden’s fast lap, SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS/No.11 KVSH Racing Chevrolet was on top. After Newgarden’s side trip, Bourdais did a spin, but no harm, no foul. His final placing was eleventh.

JACK HAWKSWORTH/No.98 BHA/BBM with Curb Agajanian Honda was the top Rookie, placing seventh overall. The other two Rookies, MIKHAIL ALESHIN/No.7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports Honda and CARLOS HUERTAS/No.18 Dale Coyne Racing Honda were at the other end of the chart.

The Sunday race should be very interesting, with its standing start. Many cameras will be focused on Turn One.

Scott Pruett

In the TUDOR United Sports Car Challenge Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase, SCOTT PRUETT/No.01 Riley DP Ford EcoBoost turned his fastest lap a minute before the checkered flag. He was fastest overall and in the P Class, running a 1:16.441. Second through sixth and overall were OSWALDO NEGRI Jr/No.60 Riley DP Ford EcoBoost, JOAO BARBOSA/No.5 Corvette DP, ORDAN TAYLOR/No.10 Corvette DP, MICHAEL VALIANTE/No.90 Corvette DP, and GUSTAVO YACAMAN/No.42 Morgan Nissan.

In the highly competitive GT-Le Mans class, OLIVER GAVIN/No.3 Chevrolet Corvette CR-7.R was fastest at 1:19.797. Second and third in class were BMW teammates, BILL AUBERLEN/No.55 BMW Z4 GTE AND dirk muller/NO.56. Sellers was fourth fastest before he stopped, and fifth was the RISI Ferrari 458 team with GIANCARLO FISICHELLA and DANE CAMERON.

The USCC practice had two Red Flags, firstly for two minutes when RICHARD WESTBROOK/No.90-P Corvette DP stopped in Turn One with an open door which got hit, and then ten minutes for NICK TANDY/No.991 GTLM Porsche 911 RSR stopping on course. The only other event was and BRYAN SELLERS/No.17-GTLM Porsche 911 RSR pulling off course in Turn Seven. No one was hurt.

IndyCars have an afternoon practice, and USCC has qualifying late in the afternoon, with all three classes running separately.