Action Express Racing Gaining Momentum- Action Express Racing has finished one-two at the last two races, and don’t rule out a third-straight sweep: The team took the top two spots last year at Road America, the next stop on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule for the Prototype cars.
Not that these last two victories were easy. With only a week between last Sunday’s the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario, and the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen at Watkins Glen International in New York on July 3, it was a scramble for all the teams.
“Obviously, back-to-back races without returning to our race shop provide a bit of a challenge,” said Action Express Team Manager Gary Nelson. “Even though it was a challenge, everyone on the team worked together and we were able to have a couple really good race weekends. It’s a nice start to the second half of the season, but now we have to focus on finishing the season strong.”
At Watkins Glen, the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Chevrolet Corvette Daytona Prototype won, with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette DP second. At Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, the No. 31 won, followed by the No. 5. The team has finished first and second four times, and at the Continental Tire Road Race Showcase August 5-7 – the next time the Prototype cars are on the track – they’ll be looking for number five.
TAKING THE WEEKEND OFF: The next race on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the IMSA WeatherTech Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, which, at just 1.5 miles in length, is the shortest track on the IMSA schedule. So the Prototypes will be taking one race off, allowing the GT Le Mans, GT Daytona and Prototype Challenge competitors to get the spotlight.
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series also will be in action. Practice and qualifying will be on Friday, July 22, with racing on Saturday.
TROPHY TIME: Two days after the Ford GT took the win in the GT Le Mans class at the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, the Ford Chip Ganassi IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship team made a much-anticipated visit to Dearborn, Michigan, and the global headquarters for Ford Motor Company.
Drivers Joey Hand, Dirk Müller, Sébastien Bourdais and team owner Chip Ganassi presented the winners’ trophy from the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans to Ford Motor Company employees at Ford’s Product Development Center, while third-place finishers Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook, winners of the last three WeatherTech Championship races, joined them for a formal presentation with Ford executives, question-and-answer sessions and autograph signing.
“It’s always a great day when you can bring a celebration like our Le Mans victory back to Ford employees and be able to present this trophy to them,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “This victory for was them. So many of our employees worked very hard to help us get ready to race at Le Mans, and we couldn’t have done it without them. And all of our employees, here and globally, have been behind us from the start in this effort, and we wanted to let them know how much their support meant to us.”
HOMETOWN ADVANTAGE: Based just up the road from Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Markham, Ontario, Multimatic Motorsports was hoping for a good showing in front of its hometown crowd, and it delivered. The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge team, fielding the No. 15 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R-C, not only qualified on the pole, but led all but three laps en route to the team’s second victory of the year.
And that second victory was a long time coming: The first was at the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.
“We were coming off a couple of mediocre results and I think we both really wanted to win today. It’s really nice to do that in front of my home crowd and my home track,” said veteran driver Scott Maxwell, who shared the wheel with Billy Johnson.
Multimatic, Maxwell and Johnson also had a hand in the Ford GT’s win in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race the next day – Multimatic built the Ford GTs, and Maxwell, a former class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, handled all the initial shakedown testing on the car. And Johnson drove one of the four Ford GTs at Le Mans this year, laying down the fastest lap of the race for his class.
LIVE ON NETWORK TELEVISION: The IMSA WeatherTech Northeast Grand Prix on Saturday, July 23 will be televised live on FOX. The three-hour telecast begins at 3 p.m. ET.