IMSA CTMP results: Shank dedicates win to critics: ‘A lot of people said a lot of nasty things’
Meyer Shank Racing capitalized on a risky pit strategy call to earn a redemptive victory in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Colin Bruan and Tom Blomqvist combined to lead 96 of 120 laps for the No. 60 Acura ARX-06’s first victory since the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona. MSR became the first team with multiple victories in the Grand Touring Prototype category.
A month after winning the season opener in the debut of the new premier prototype class, MSR was slapped with a massive penalty for manipulating tire pressure data.
In the four races since Daytona, the No. 60 posted only one podium finish (a third in the June 25 race at Watkins Glen International that the team inherited after a penalty to the No. 6 Porsche). MSR also drew the ire of some rivals (including Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport , which runs the No. 10 Acura as a Honda Performance Development teammate).
Meyer Shank Racing had declined to comment publicly since the penalty, but team co-owner Mike Shank briefly addressed the controversy in a Peacock interview shortly before taking the checkered flag at CTMP.
The race finished under yellow because of a big shunt involving the No. 01 Cadillac being driven by Renger van der Zande (who was OK after the crash), allowing Braun to stretch his hybrid prototype’s power unit to the finish. The No. 60 made only two pit stops in the race, electing to keep Braun on track for the final 78 minutes.
“We lost some track position on that one pit exchange, had a problem that, put us in third, and we could see we weren’t going to pass our way up to the lead,” Shank told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch. “So we were like well, we missed this pit entry, closed the pits, had to stay out. We just said screw it. We’re going to win it or finish eight, I’m not here to finish eighth anymore.
“So I just want to say one thing: There’s a lot of people that said a lot of nasty things about my team, my family, my partner Jim Meyer since January. I just want to say this is for them. This is all due to the work from HPD and Acura. This is an incredible machine. Really purpose-built for a track like this. We thank everyone involved.”
The No. 60 won from the pole position , which also was the first time since Daytona that the team had qualified first.
“Obviously, we had a challenging period after the first round,” Blomqvist told Welch. “We put it all out there today. We’ve been really quick all week. Today was just about converting. We look like we might have been on the back foot at one point, rolled the dice staying out and obviously the racing gods were looking down at us giving the yellow to get us to the end.”
Blomqvist led the first 46 laps before turning the wheel over to Braun, who drove the final one hour and 45 minutes in the two-hour, 40-minute race.
Braun, whose six victories at CTMP are most among active drivers, managed the lead over the No. 10 WTRAndretti Acura ARX-06 while conserving fuel in traffic.
“It was tough,” Braun told Welch. “It was all about trying to get the car a good restart, build a gap and go into fuel-saving mode. I was surprised by the pace on fuel save, I knew we’d be strong in traffic. I knew if I could get to the traffic, I could pull the gap. We’ve been close and had good pace. It’s great to convert it to a win.”
The No. 10 finished second, the second podium of the season for co-drivers Ricky Taylor and Filipe Albuquerque (who also finished second in the Rolex 24 at Daytona). The No. 25 BMW M Team RLL BMW M Hybrid V8 of Connor De Phillippi and Nick Yelloly took third, its fourth podium in the last five races.
Other class winners:
LMP3: Felipe Fraga made a pass for the lead with four laps remaining, earning the third consecutive victory for the No. 74 Riley JS P320 with co-driver Gar Robinson.
GTD Pro: The No. 3 Corvette Racing C8.R of Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia led the final 45 laps for its first victory this season.
GTD: The No. 1 Paul Miller Racing BMW M4 GT3 of Bryan Sellers and Madison Snow scored its series-high third victory of 2023.
STATS PACKAGE FOR THE CHEVROLET GRAND PRIX AT CTMP
Fastest laps by driver
Fastest laps by driver after race (over the weekend)
Fastest laps by driver and class after race
Fastest lap sequence
Race analysis by lap
Pit stop time cards
Best sector times
Race distance and speed average
NEXT: The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will resume with the GT classes July 22 with the Northeast Grand Prix at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.