By Aaron Bearden, Open Wheel Editor
DETROIT — Felipe Nasr stayed clear of a late charge from Ricky Taylor to earn his first-career IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship victory in the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic at Belle Isle Park.
The win was Action Express Racing teammate Eric Curran’s eighth in IMSA competition. It also kept up an impressive Detroit trend.
Since their first race at Belle Isle in 2007, every IMSA-sanctioned event at Belle Isle has been won by a General Motors affiliate.
The latest win was among the least likely.
A host of vehicles contended in the 100-minute event, but it was the Acura Team Penske cars that showed the most consistent pace. Both the Nos. 6 and 7 Acura ARX-05 DPi led over the first half of the event, and for a time it appear Team Penske had played the correct strategy with each team to secure them a victory.
But when Taylor came in for his final pit stop with 35 minutes remaining, Nasr inherited the lead on a strategy play. From there the Brazilian held on, fending Taylor off by 1.016 seconds to secure his breakthrough victory.
“It took a few races to come, but I’ll take it,” Nasr said. “The way we made it this weekend, Eric, the whole Action Express team did an amazing job, especially after our free practice. I had a little mistake that put us on the back foot, the guys put the car back together, Eric put on an amazing qualifying and a mega start.
“The race itself was about getting the right calls. We took the Continental Tires to the end. They hung on amazing and I was able to drive the car pretty fast until the end.”
Taylor and the No. 7 Acura team ended the night in second after failing to chase Nasr down over the final half-hour.
“It was just a big race against time, balancing between saving fuel and chasing (Nasr) down,” Taylor told Motorsports Tribune. “I just ran out of laps there.
“I think if we would have had two more, we could have gotten him.”
Dane Cameron brought the No. 6 Acura home in third to give Penske a double-podium effort for the second-straight race. Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel came home fourth in the No. 2 Tequila Patrón ESM Nissan DPi, with Jordan Taylor and Renger van der Zande completing the top five in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R.
Katherine Legge and Mario Farnbacher finished 13th overall to give Meyer Shank Racing w/ Curb-Agajanian the victory in GTD competition.
Next up for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the July 1 Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International.