Ve helio Castroneves partner

After Helio Castroneves planted a surprise kiss on Julianne Hough during their Dancing With the Stars winning quickstep on Season 5, rumors started flying that the dance partners' chemistry ... Helio Castroneves (right) shares a laugh with Team Penske’s Tim Cindric. (IMSA Photo) “I still think Rick Mears is the Penske guy, to be honest, and I’m just trying to follow his steps,” Castroneves said. “Hopefully, I get to join him next year, winning four times at the Indy 500. In case you were wondering, Helio Castroneves still enjoys winning. Castroneves recorded a lap of 1 minute, 8.674 seconds (133.150 mph) around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta circuit Friday evening to claim the Motul Pole Award for Saturday’s Grand Prix. “Roger Penske has been an incredible human being and part of my life — not career, but life we’ve been together,” Castroneves says. Given the power to write the script on where he’ll drive in 2021 and beyond, it’s not a surprise to hear the three-time Indianapolis 500 winner has a strong desire to pursue the one significant item ... The network has been a strong partner for tiny IndyCar, and it helped turn Hinchcliffe and Castroneves into crossover stars. And no one expected trouble for Pippa Mann, a perennial presence in the ... Acura Team Penske’s Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor find themselves in unfamiliar territory as IMSA heads to its third race of the season. The drivers of the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 have been a lightning rod for misfortune so far in 2020’s abbreviated WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The overt personality that made Castroneves, 42, one of the most recognizable and magnetic personas in the series, enabled his participation on “Dancing with the Stars” in 2007, when he won with pro partner Julianne Hough, also made him a valuable Team Penske component. “We are always going to feel his energy loss,” Newgarden said. More:Helio Castroneves preparing for last Indy 500 run with Team Penske “I’d say the door isn’t closed at all. He’s a partner of ours in some automotive dealerships, and our relationship ... On the last season of 'Dancing With The Stars,' rumors swirled around the winning couple, race car driver Helio Castroneves and his professional partner, Julianne Hough. Indianapolis 500 Champion Helio Castroneves and his professional partner Julianne Hough were crowned champions on the fifth season of 'Dancing with the Stars,' during the exciting two-part finale ...

[Slight OT] The AOWR Rolex 24 contingency megathread - Year Four!

2020.01.11 22:17 Yoshiman400 [Slight OT] The AOWR Rolex 24 contingency megathread - Year Four!

First of all, a brief word to the community: It was cool to see some of you get a bit antsy about why a driver list for the Rolex 24 hadn't been posted yet. I promise that this will make up for the level of content we've had over the past week or so, I just didn't want to jump the gun! Besides, I made my post for last year about two weeks prior to the race so I felt like that would be a good benchmark so it wouldn't sit around and get stale. I've never been told to post on a certain day. On with our regularly scheduled content!
So it seems like everyone here already knows what time it is. It's less than a month away from the kickoff of the North American racing season, and it's time to shine up the Rolexes. We've got twenty four hours of sports car action coming up at Daytona, and as always, plenty of past and present open wheel stars are ready to take to the challenge. This is the fourth year I have compiled a list of assorted IndyCar, CART, and ChampCar drivers that will be running in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, and there are plenty of names in all four participating classes who will have a chance to score a victory and bragging rights for the open wheel fans.
To recap the open wheel names that won last year, former F1 champion and 2020 Indy 500 hopeful Fernando Alonso was among the Daytona Prototype International (DPi) winners for Wayne Taylor Racing, although it appears he will abstain from this year's running after focusing on the Dakar Rally. The Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class featured a brief CART entrant in Rodolfo Gonzalez winning with DragonSpeed, who returns at the very least with their 2019 Indy 500 Bump Day darling Ben Hanley. A GT Le Mans (GTLM) class victory for Colton Herta was the first of three combined IMSA and IndyCar wins in the young star's breakout year, and he'll be back to defend with one of Bobby Rahal's BMWs. And while GT Daytona (GTD) was the only empty-handed class last year, the class contains plenty of Rolex stalwarts with some of the fiercest top-to-bottom competition that will ensure a close fight all the way to the checkers.
As always, the maximum entry list for teams is dictated by the cars entered for the Roar Before the 24 test sessions at the beginning of the month. However, driver entries often change around in the weeks between the Roar and the race weekend itself. I will do my best to continually read up on entry changes that may necessitate this post to be edited, and to handle those edits as necessary. When all else is in doubt, consult the changelog at the bottom. If you're looking for a "final" version ready for race day, you may check out my post from 2019 here as a reference.
Let's get started with our driver list. Within any given class, cars will be ordered based on the lowest car number within each team.

DPi class:

JDC-Miller Motorsports:
5 - Sebastien Bourdais (this particular car may also be referred to as JDC-Mustang Sampling Racing)
85 - Matheus Leist / Tristan Vautier
While Sebastien Bourdais' falling out of a full-time Indy ride in 2020 is one of the biggest heartbreaks of the offseason, the multi-time Rolex class champion (winning in both prototype and GT cars, his most recent being in GTLM with Chip Ganassi in 2018) couldn't have found a better outside alternative, picking up a full time ride with some old friends on the Mustang Sampling team. The 5 car always contends at Daytona, and Bourdais will have a fire lit under his seat to ensure his migration will not be in vain. The JDC Banana Boat also picks up a second Indy name in Matheus Leist who may too be seeing the Rolex as a chance to shine when his Indy efforts cannot. This is his first big opportunity to show off in a sports car, and he's surrounded by a fine team to help him out, including Vautier contributing to a fifth place finish in last year's running.
Acura Team Penske:
6 - Juan Pablo Montoya/Simon Pagenaud
7 - Helio Castroneves/Alexander Rossi
The champs are here! Montoya and Pagenaud are fresh off of big trophies in their 2019 full-time efforts, with an IMSA DPi title for JPM and the Indy 500 for Pagenaud--and let's not forget those other four Baby Borgs amassed by the 7 team either. Both cars retain their Rolex trios from 2019, and for Montoya and company, that means three wins and seven straight podiums en route to their title. While Castroneves was part of a winless campaign, his car still picked up a quintet of podiums including bookending thirds at Daytona and Road Atlanta. Now that Penske has shown he has championship-winning material in his sports car team, this is the time to double down and prove they're in it for the long haul.
Wayne Taylor Racing:
10 - Scott Dixon/Ryan Briscoe
Uh oh. Chip Ganassi has folded his IMSA GTLM team due to Ford's withdrawal from GT factory racing. But uh oh. The best friends from down under have found a new ride together for one of the baddest prototype teams on the block. A waterlogged Rolex victory was surprisingly the only win of the season for the Taylor crew, and having picked up Briscoe as a full-time driver and Dixon as an enduro ringer, you know they're ready to make up for that. While their Ganassi GTLM car only combined for an average finish of fourth in Dixon's three 2019 starts, the last of those was a runner-up at Petit Le Mans. Briscoe himself was no slouch in the two-man races, contributing to a pair of wins at Lime Rock Park and Road America. Surely any challenger ready to take over the DPi throne at Daytona will need to contend with the 10 car along the way.
BONUS CONTENT! Might I add that not only has Dixon become a new father, but he's also going for the Daytona/Bathurst double? Usually when people talk about a 36 hour sports car sweep, it's in reference to the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, as the two events often go hand in hand given their temporal and physical proximity to each other. But the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour has become of the biggest GT events of the year and given the fact it usually takes place one week after the Rolex 24, a lot of Daytona drivers have been stepping up to run at Mount Panorama, and vice versa, for a chance to win two equally demanding races in radically different environments in rapid succession.
It's understandably uncommon for drivers with prototype rides to attempt the double due to the GT-only status at Bathurst, but having Dixon's name on the Bathurst entry list opens up the potential to not just claim victory in both events, but claim overall victory in them. Tristan Vautier was the last IndyCar driver to run the double, having run both races in 2018 including second overall at Bathurst with a pro-am class victory, but Dixon is a true motorsports super-heavyweight whose ANZ affiliation is well known, and he stands an excellent chance to arrive in Australia with a win in the first leg under his belt. Dixon will be running for the Aston Martin R-Motorsport team who just also happened to finish second overall in 2019, only losing the lead in the last fifteen minutes. A great run on the mountain could influence many more prototype-oriented drivers to do the same in the future. Given that drivers are often told to beware the new father on the racetrack, these scenarios can only seem to give Dixon even more motivation behind the wheel. A lot of fans surely ought to be looking forward to the potential of an unprecedented overall sweep. END BONUS CONTENT
Whelen Engineering Racing:
31 - Mike Conway
2019 was a missed opportunity for Conway who was originally scheduled to run with the now JDC-Mustang Sampling car before passport issues prevented him from making it to Daytona, with his two eventual enduro starts resulting in a disappointing sixth and seventh. Nonetheless his relationship with Mustang's ex-team car remains strong for the new decade, having ran with them before in 2017 and 2018, and the team comes in with plenty of momentum having claimed second in the 2019 DPi standings with a big win at Petit Le Mans and the North American Endurance Cup to boot (including top twos at Daytona and Sebring). Perfect grounds for a bounceback.
Mazda Team Joest:
55 - Ryan Hunter-Reay
Daytona welcomes back RHR after having taken 2019 off from sports car competition, save for a non-enduro one-off at Mid-Ohio with Mazda. It was a solid third place effort though, and helped lead Mazda into a streak of three combined wins between their two car team. Even though Joest will be departing their partnership with the team mid-season, the results are finally there and it's time for the team to step up into being regular contenders at the endurance events after a 1-2 at Watkins Glen. Could 2020 be the year the meme team becomes the dream team?

LMP2 class: (Note - this is currently excluding James Davison who has been withdrawn from the driver lineup for the Rick Ware Racing 2 car. I will make sure to reincorporate him if he gets a new seat somewhere.)

Tower Motorsports by Starworks:
8 - Ryan Dalziel
Starworks continues to live the nomad's lifestyle in sports cars, transitioning back into a prototype role after running 2019 as a GT Daytona team. While the team abandoned a full-season campaign after five rounds last year (only scoring a best finish of sixth at Belle and failing to crack the top ten in their two NAEC starts), a resurgent LMP2 class can be the land of opportunity for anyone this season. And let's also reiterate a fact I pointed out last year that Dalziel and Starworks have won at Sebring with an LMP2 ride, so they're certainly comfortable in their new old environment.
Era Motorsports:
18 - Nicolas Minassian
With Minassian, another oddball CART/CCWS name from the 2000s shows up in the LMP2 entry list, in yet another full-time team joining the class. He comes into this season having spent 2019 mostly in an executive position for IDEC, a European Le Mans Series LMP2 team whose championship winning car included Ganassi sports car legend Memo Rojas on their roster, but he did get in a start as a substitute driver at Barcelona, helping bring the car home a respectable fifth in a deep class. As for this new team, Era's original plan was to co-op with DragonSpeed before declaring their intent to go solo. Speaking of...
81 - Ben Hanley
DragonSpeed continues their North American ventures in 2020 with repeated efforts in the IndyCar and IMSA ranks to pad their European resume. It was yet another solid season for the team out in Europe, with Hanley chipping in to a win at the season opener at Paul Ricard while also helping the team's LMP1 efforts in WEC. In DragonSpeed's LMP2 WEC efforts (without Hanley), the team opened up 2019 with podiums at Sebring and Spa-Francorchamps before a disappointing retirement at Le Mans. The team has chosen to shelve their WEC team for the 2019-2020 season, allowing them to focus all their sports car efforts into their LMP2 machinery.

GTLM class:

Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing:
25 - Colton Herta
Fear it. Run from it. In North America, the Big Boi M8 still arrives. Rahal Letterman Lanigan didn't have a flashy season in 2019, but Colton Herta still contributed to the 25 team's two lone podiums. The win at Daytona is by far the better known of the two, but there was also a third place finish at Petit Le Mans worth mentioning. Let's also not forget that the win at Daytona was influenced very much due to the heavy rains that impacted the second half of the race, and it's not unreasonable to think that rain could play a role in this year's running as well. Herta's talent was no fluke last year, and his stunning domination at Laguna Seca sealed the deal. Having retained two of his three co-drivers from last year's efforts, Herta has reason to believe he can help RLLR defend their crown.

GTD class:

GRT Grasser Racing Team:
11 - Franck Perera
19 - Katherine Legge / Ana Beatriz (AKA Bia Figueiredo) (this particular car may also be referred to as GRT GEAR Racing Team)
Is it possible to be a two time defending class winner and still be looked at as a tentative favorite at best? Considering the depth of the GTD class and the fact that Grasser's winning car was a part-time entry in both of those seasons (including Perera's win in 2018), yes it can be. The 11 car, without Perera in 2019, went one and one and done, peacing out of IMSA after wins at Daytona and Sebring to put their focus back into their overseas campaigns, as they will again in 2020. A crash in the Roar Before the 24 sessions has also put a bit of a hurdle into their efforts, but they've been a pleasant surprise before and have reason to come back strong.
Meanwhile, the 19 car is one of two full-time IMSA efforts Grasser will contribute to in co-owned ventures. Legge and Beatriz had planned to team up again in an all-ladies' car after partnering in a similarly oriented ride at Daytona in 2019 for Michael Shank and company, which also included Indy veteran Simona de Silvestro. (Beatrix has since been replaced in this car.) The recent dominance of Lamborghini at both Daytona and its namesake class cannot be understated, with Grasser's aforementioned victories eventually contributing to a class manufacturer's title, and Legge will be running full-time with GTD fan favorite and former champion Christina Nielsen to boot. While the two could only muster season best finishes of fourth at Watkins Glen and sixth at Mosport and Laguna Seca, their prior successes on other teams, developing chemistry, and manufacturer change gives them plenty of opportunity to improve on their stat line for this season.
AIM Vasser Sullivan:
12 - Townsend Bell
14 - Jack Hawksworth
AVS comes into the Rolex 24 with the potential to just pop into the picture as they often do. Bell resumed a full-time GTD driving career in 2019 picking up four top fives in his first six starts (a second place at Daytona being one of three podiums) before trailing off at the end of the year, while Hawksworth got two early wins at Mid-Ohio and Belle Isle en route to sixth in the GTD standings. However, it's their co-drivers that might make the most noise in favor of their efforts at the Rolex: Bell has the assistance of Supercars star Shane van Gisbergen, who always shines in endurance events at home and abroad, and Hawksworth will get reigning NASCAR Cup Series champion Kyle Busch...who is still considering an Indy 500 ride in his future. As someone who has counted Alonso's name before for one example, let me say that Busch could be a legitimate addition to this list by the time race day comes around, if not next year's...
Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing:
57 - AJ Allmendinger
Death, taxes, and AJ Allmendinger running the Rolex 24 at Daytona with Michael Shank. After a fourth place finish at the Rolex and Shank winning the GTD drivers' championship last year, there is no surprise the streak continues into 2020. Although a win at Watkins Glen was the only podium finish in a NAEC event for the then-86 team, they struck hard in the shorter races including a set of four second place finishes (Mid-Ohio, Mosport, Lime Rock, Virginia International). Back over in the NASCAR world, Allmendinger continued to maximize his strengths, winning on the Charlotte roval in the Xfinity Series in his most recent start, a fine way to keep one's muscles flexed for this event. He also had a third place finish on the traditional Daytona oval last summer, but that car didn't pass post-race inspection; despite the disqualification Allmendinger himself made great moves all night and showed many just how strong he still is in a high throttle discipline. With Lambo pipping Acura in the manufacturers' standings, Shank's team only has more motivation to sweep the GTD championships for 2020.
Suggested links for additional reading, listening, and viewing pleasure:
/USCR and /WEC
/WEC Discord
Endurance Chat - The official podcast of /WEC and company, with their fifth season about to kick off. Here's this year's Daytona episode!
Andy Blackmore's Spotter Guides - 2019 guide for reference. Always a useful tool to help check out the cars on track!
2020 guide - Official site for IMSA and all its series.
IMSA Official - The official YouTube channel for IMSA. Race footage typically contains raw video feeds combined with Radio Le Mans commentary track. and Wytham Live Timing Aggregator - T&S alternatives to the IMSA feed. Choose LiveScoring if you like minimalism and efficiency, or Wytham if you like detail and interaction, including the ability to delay your scoring feed to sync with your viewing experience.
EDIT: 1/22/20, 12:03 AM EST - Rick Ware Racing officially scratched from entry list; James Davison will not appear in the running. Links for Endurance Chat and Blackmore spotter guide added.
EDIT: 1/23/20, 10:03 AM EST - Ana Beatriz replaced in GEAR GRT car.
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2019.01.12 22:51 Yoshiman400 [Slight OT] IndyCar and Friends at the Rolex 24 at Daytona: the 2019 edition!

As the calendar circles one more time, we once again await the clock to circle two more times at Daytona, just two weeks away from the time of this post. As always, a large contingency of drivers who have left their footprints in the North American open wheel scene will be vying for their watches at the end of the month.
As usual, my criteria for highlighting drivers in this post are those who have made at least one start in a CART, IRL, ChampCar, or unified IndyCar Series race. There is also one special case posted in DragonSpeed's Ben Hanley who will be debuting in a part-time Indy campaign in 2019. All three classes represented in the 2018 running had at least one qualifying driver among their winning contingency, with CART and F1 veteran Christian Fittipaldi in the Prototype class, past and present Ganassi teammates Scott Dixon and Ryan Briscoe in GT Le Mans, and 2008 open wheel journeyman Franck Perera helping Grasser's Lamborghini team to a surprise victory in GT Daytona. With the prototypes split into DPi and LMP2 classes this season, a second straight sweep will be harder but there are plenty of familiar faces capable of making it possible.
Although the Roar Before the 24 sessions will confirm the maximum entry list for cars at this moment, driver entries are often in flux and may not be finalized until the days leading up to the running. If any qualifying drivers are added or removed at the last minute I will do my best to edit this post accordingly. My post for the drivers from last year's race can be found here.
If anyone wants a condensed version of this list like the Google Doc I posted last year, let me know and I'll see what I can put together over the next few days.

Daytona Prototype International (DPi) Class:

Action Express Racing:
5 - Christian Fittipaldi (team also referred to as Mustang Sampling Racing) Mike Conway has been scratched from the lineup without replacement due to international travel issues.
Action Express put together a sensational team effort in 2018 which began with the #5 Cadillac's overall victory at Daytona and ended with the Whelen Automotive Racing #31 (Conway's Daytona ride in 2017 and 2018) ekeing out the class championship at Petit Le Mans with Conway contributing to podiums at Daytona and Sebring. Fittipaldi will now have one more chance at victory as he will offically mark his retirement from driving after the checkers. With Cadillac looming large as ever in class, can we see lightning strike on the high banks for Fittipaldi's final time?
Acura Team Penske:
6 - Juan Pablo Montoya/Simon Pagenaud
7 - Helio Castroneves/Alexander Rossi
Roger Penske's return to prototype racing was surprisingly tame in 2018. Montoya scored several podiums but never quite managed a win, Castroneves only took a single victory at Mid-Ohio, and only one podium came at a North American Endurance Cup (NAEC) event (3rd for Montoya at Watkins Glen). The Captain and Acura now have a full season of consistent experience under their belts, and the only significant change for 2019 is Rossi taking over Graham Rahal's seat in the 7 car. Rossi has been entered in the Rolex before as a member of the DeltaWing team in 2014 alongside Katherine Legge (you'll see her name later), but that effort ended prematurely due to a crash and it also occurred long before his talents became mainstream in the F1 and IndyCar ranks. It won't be a surprise to see this team step it up and contend this year.
Wayne Taylor Racing:
10 - Fernando Alonso
The wild tale of Fernando's quest for the Triple Crown carries on in 2019. It was no surprise to see him announce his second attempt at the Indy 500 this season, especially after his win at Le Mans, but news on his second attempt at the Rolex 24 were more tentative until the bombshell of his announcement to run with Wayne Taylor dropped. And Taylor's team has momentum with their open wheeled friends, having scored a last-second victory at Petit Le Mans with Ryan Hunter-Reay as a part of the #10 team. If there's any chance for WTR to show the world that 2018 was merely an off year until those last few turns at Road Atlanta, exchanging RHR for Alonso is a power move.
Juncos Racing:
50 - Kyle KaiseRene Binder
Juncos is a team stepping into the WeatherTech Championship ranks for the first time in 2019 and Indy representatives Kaiser and Binder will assist in their initiation at Daytona. While both team and drivers will diving into the deep end to start their season, there is always the chance of an upset in the making when the rigors of a 24 hour race are factored in.
JDC-Miller Motorsports:
85 - Rubens Barrichello/Tristan Vautier
The last DPi representatives on this list are a curious mix of an F1 legend who withdrew from IndyCar ambitions arguably too soon and a still young journeyman who saw mixed results in sports car racing in 2018. With a steady rate of stock car victories in Brazil over the past several seasons and a 2nd place finish at Daytona with Wayne Taylor Racing in 2016, Barrichello is in line for another warm welcome back to the United States. While Vautier struggled with the Spirit of Daytona team in the 2018 IMSA prototype class, he also contributed to an impressive overall 2nd place run at the Bathurst 12 Hour (no longer the best kept secret in GT endurance racing) and hitched a ride with Action Express at Petit Le Mans to finish 4th. With JDC-Miller's tendencies to pull off upset finishes in recent seasons (even giving Bob Stallings' Red Dragon one last rousing victory at Watkins Glen last year in a co-owned effort), keep an eye on this car.

Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) Class:

18 - Roberto Gonzalez/Sebastian Saavedra
81 - Ben Hanley
Hanley and DragonSpeed will be among the freshest faces on the list, as they will be making their IndyCar Series debuts later this season for both driver and team, campaigning multiple road and street course events as well as a run at the Indy 500. The team's primary series as of late have been the World Endurance Championship in LMP1 and LMP2, where Hanley contributed to an LMP1-best 6th at Shanghai, and the European Le Mans Series in LMP2 where they finished 5th in 2018 class points with four top five finishes in the six race season, including 2nds at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps. And while ChampCar alum Gonzalez also hasn't had major breakthrough finishes in the WEC LMP1 car this season, he can say his team has finished clean in each race so far; for a driver like Saavedra who has often had to deal with a sketchy teammate in IMSA runs this could be a chance at relief for him. With what is likely a small LMP2 field at Daytona, don't be surprised to see DragonSpeed make a statement.

GT Le Mans (GTLM) Class:

Corvette Racing:
3 - Jan Magnussen
After being reminded of his status as a CART alumnus last year, I made sure to not leave him off this year and thank Detroit I didn't. The #3 Corvette team showed their GTLM peers a master class in imperfection in 2018, as they rumbled their way to a class championship despite claiming no race wins and having to scrap out an eighth place finish at Petit Le Mans to keep Ganassi at bay. The aforementioned eighth, plus an equal finish at Sebring, were Magnussen's only finishes outside the top four all season (with only one fourth place finish at that, at Long Beach). Magnussen's third in class finish at Daytona last season marked the best of the rest as Ganassi's horses ran away, and if GTLM is better balanced this time around, Magnussen may finally get his chance to avenge that photo finish loss from 2016...
Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing:
24 - Alex Zanardi
25 - Colton Herta
What else can be said about the tenacity of Alex Zanardi's career and the places he is willing to take it...and who knew he'd be chumming with a Herta along the way? While the twice CART champion never got his chance to run the Indy 500, 2019 marks his chance to check one of the other great American events off his list with a chance to earn some very fashionable metal to complement his Paralympic gold. BMW and RLLR were the manufacturer and team arguably most improved from the beginning of 2018 to the end as balance of performance fell in their favor, scoring consecutive wins at Virginia and Laguna Seca for the #25 team that Colton Herta will be partnering with in his Rolex debut. Even if they're not among the favorites on speed, they will be in heart.
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing:
66 - Sebastien Bourdais
67 - Ryan Briscoe/Scott Dixon
Why mess with near perfection? Ganassi came out swinging in 2018 with an exceptionally dominant 1-2 showing at Daytona where his cars rarely left the top two. As implied in the intro, the 67 car led the 66 at the checkers, and both cars picked up two additional class wins for the team later in the season including a NAEC victory for Briscoe at Watkins Glen. The Rolex victory marked Dixon's third in class to complement two overall victories in prototypes (2006 and 2015) and Briscoe's second in GTLM (also 2015). Bourdais is also a former Rolex overall winner with Action Express in 2014 and GTLM winner with Ganassi in 2017. Combined with his Indy wins at St. Petersburg his adopted home state has treated him very well in recent years.

GT Daytona (GTD) Class:

Starworks Motorsport:
8 - Ryan Dalziel
Starworks is a team that highlighted various prototype classes in the 2000s and 2010s before the shutdown of the Prototype Challenge class put them on hiatus in IMSA, now resurfacing to test the waters of GTD. With Extreme Speed Motorsports dissolving due to sponsorship parting ways, Dalziel has found his way back to Starworks raring for a big start to his reunion. And they've had a share of success together too; an LMP2 victory at Sebring is one of multiple wins they can claim. In a class that has welcomed plenty of pleasant surprises in recent memory, a great finish is definitely possible for the well-traveled Scotsman.
AIM Vasser Sullivan:
12 - Townsend Bell
14 - Jack Hawksworth
So much for Townsend Bell just focusing on endurance races in 2019, as he is ready to put down his first full season GTD campaign in several years, jumping over to Vasser and Sullivan's latest ownership project. After a slow first season in 2017, Acura put together two wins in the car number Hawksworth will be taking over this year. And while Hawksworth didn't make it onto the podium, his top five efforts in multiple starts also provided signs of improvement on his half of the team, with Bell also finishing fifth in his Scuderia Corsa rides at Daytona and Road Atlanta. A fresh ride and fresh set of faces could be just what these two need to challenge for the podium this season.
Meyer Shank Racing:
57 - Katherine Legge/Simona de Silvestro/Ana Beatriz (Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing--named after Legge's full-time co-driver who will be sitting out Daytona)
86 - AJ Allmendinger (Meyer-Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian)
Michael Shank and friends have a battle of the sexes ready to go for 2019, as the 57 will be an all-female effort led by 2018 GTD championship runner-up Legge, and the 86 will feature her ex-co-driver Allmendinger in a supporting role for the all-male car. Kat's winning ways improbably continued in 2018, not knowing if she'd have the funding to go on past Daytona, but a stunning run of three 2nds (including Daytona) and a win (Detroit) in the first five races helped push the campaign all the way to Road Atlanta, including a second victory at Laguna Seca. Simona de Silvestro returns to the States with several runs in the Bathurst 1000 under her belt for endurance experience, and Beatriz is a welcome surprise as well who showed formidable pace among the silver and bronze rated drivers at the Roar. While Allmendinger will be picking up work for NBC in their IMSA commentary team this season, he keeps his streak of Rolex runs with Shank intact...and will probably trash talk with Townsend Bell along the way about who the better drivecommentator is.
Suggested links for additional reading, listening, and viewing pleasure:
/USCR and /WEC
/WEC Discord
Endurance Chat - The official podcast of /WEC and all their sports car friends, soon to engage their fourth season.
Andy Blackmore's Spotter Guides - while we await the 2019 edition, here's the 2018 Rolex guide as a reference point. Get your markers ready if you print one out. - Official site for IMSA and all its series.
IMSA Official - The official YouTube channel for IMSA. Race footage typically contains raw video feeds combined with Radio Le Mans commentary track, 2019 plans TBD. and Wytham Live Timing Aggregator - T&S alternatives to the IMSA feed. Choose LiveScoring if you like minimalism and efficiency, or Wytham if you like detail and interaction, including the ability to delay your scoring feed to sync with your viewing experience.
Event Schedule - also available on the second page of the Blackmore spotter guide; fireworks are at 9 PM EST on Saturday!
EDIT 1 OF PROBABLY MANY (1/13, 2:16 PM EST): Franck Perera/GRT Grasser removed from GTD list.
EDIT 2 (1/19, 12:07 PM EST): Meyer Shank's individual cars have different ownership entry names, similar to Action Express.
EDIT 3 (1/20, 6:44 PM EST): Endurance Chat for the 2019 Rolex 24 has dropped! You can discuss it with Flood and the gang here.
EDIT 4 (1/21, 10:16 PM): Blackmore guide is up!
EDIT 5 (1/25, 10:34 AM): Unfortunate news in DPi, Mike Conway will be unable to race at Daytona due to travel problems. The 5 team will continue on with Christian Fittipaldi among its lineup.
EDIT 6 (1/25, 9:19 PM): Weekend schedule courtesy of IMSA posted at the bottom of the links.
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Castroneves, Taylor look to fight back at Sebring RACER