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Team Penske IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Race Report - Mid-Ohio
September 27, 2020

Track:      Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Race:       Acura Sports Car Challenge
Date:       September 27, 2020
 
No. 6 Acura ARX-05 DPi – Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya
Start: 1st
Overall Finish: 7th
Class Finish: 7th
Status: Retired
Laps Completed: 112/115
 
Recap:

  • Sunday's IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course began with a bang for Acura Team Penske as Dane Cameron sailed to the first pole position of the year for the No. 6 ARX-05 team.
  • Cameron wasted little time in showing the strength of his Acura machine as he jumped out to a six second lead prior to the first round of pit stops. A caution flag on lap 29 brought the 2019 IWSC Champion Acura down pit road for service and a driver change to Juan Pablo Montoya.
  • Solid pit work placed the No. 6 Acura out in the lead, ahead of the No. 31 Cadillac. Montoya would hold the lead until an incident in Turn 5 when he hit discarded tire debris in the outside lane and ran through the grass, dropping him to the third position.
  • After the incident, race strategist Jon Bouslog called Montoya to pit road for fuel and a cleaning of the front wing that eventually placed the No. 6 Acura team on a different pit strategy than the rest of the field.
  • Montoya found himself in the lead late in the race with teammate Ricky Taylor behind him. Taylor was able to get around on lap 79 prior to the final pit stop for the No. 6 Acura on lap 85. With fresh tires, Montoya was blazing fast around the tough Mid-Ohio circuit, setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 109.
  • Unfortunately, just one lap later, Montoya spun on the entry to Turn 1. The spin resulted in severe handling issues that forced the team to retire from the race on lap 112, three laps from the finish.

 
Quote:
"We had a great start to the day with our first pole position of the year. It was good to finally get one of those after our teammates have won the last two. I thought we were in a good position to get the first win of the year for the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 team, but Juan just caught a bad break by getting into the marbles there in Turn 5. I made the same pass earlier in the race and the track was clean, but at Mid-Ohio the marbles really start to gather as the race goes along. Great pace on the day – for the last few races, really – so I'm confident our win is coming. Congrats to Helio and Ricky. Three in a row is impressive."

 
 
No. 7 Acura ARX-05 DPi – Helio Castroneves/Ricky Taylor
Start: 2nd
Overall Finish: 1st
Class Finish: 1st
Status:  Running
Laps Completed: 115/115
 
Recap: 

  • Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves continued their hot streak by winning their third-consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round in the Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday afternoon.
  • This marks the first time Team Penske has won three-consecutive American sports car races since their dominant 2007 season in the former American Le Mans Series.
  • Castroneves helped secure a front row lockout for Acura Team Penske in the Sunday morning time trial session, narrowly missing out on the No. 7 ARX-05's fourth pole position of the year. His second place starting position gives the team an average starting position of 1.3 over the last three events.
  • After dropping to the fourth position when the race began, Castroneves settled in and eventually moved into second place when his teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya, briefly ran off track on lap 47.
  • Race strategist Tim Cindric made the decision to run two laps further than their chief competitor, the No. 31 Cadillac, on the second pit cycle of the race to allow the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 team to jump into the lead during the cycle despite making a driver change to Taylor during the pit stop.
  • From there, the No. 7 Acura team executed their strategy to perfection as Taylor beat the No. 31 to the finish line by two seconds to pick up the third win in as many seasons for Acura Team Penske at Mid-Ohio.
  • The next race for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship DPi class will be the prestigious Petit Le Mans endurance event at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on October 17.  

 
Quote:  
"I'm just so proud of everyone on the No. 7 Acura Team Penske ARX-05 crew. Helio did a great job on the start of the race. It's not easy starting on the outside, but he settled in and started to pick off positions gradually. That really set us up to jump the 31 car on pit lane. I thought we were the strongest car in the field on new tires, but the 31 was able to really put some heat on us late in the race on double-stinted tires. Hats off to everyone at Acura. Winning in their backyard is always important, always a race we circle on the schedule and I'm glad we were able to get the job done for them today."

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