Action Express Racing Wins Thriller At Watkins Glen International

Start of Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen. [Joe Jennings Photo]

Start of Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. [Joe Jennings Photo]

By Joe Jennings

WATKINS GLEN – As the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen wound down, Joao Barbosa seemed to have victory locked up until a caution flag bunched the field. On the restart, Stephen Simpson, driving the JDC-Miller Motorsports LMP2, pushed his way into the lead. With only 20 minutes to go, the race was on.

Barbosa caught the fleet Simpson in traffic and staved off repeated challenges to score his Mustang Sampling Racing’s Cadillac DPi first win of the season. Also, the victory continued Cadillac’s winning ways but ended the series domination of Wayne Taylor Racing.

“It was pretty exciting from inside the car!” said Barbosa. “The Mustang Sampling Cadillac did a great job. We’ve been doing a lot of work to see where we’re lacking in some of the pace with the other cars. We still weren’t the fastest car out there, but Action Express performed perfectly as a team so we were able to overcome the pace. I knew everything would be lost if we had a yellow, and it did coming at the end of the race.

“Simpson was able to over-take me on the restart and it took a bit for my tires to come up to temperature there at the end. But I knew if traffic could play a role in the race, I could take advantage of it. Coming into the last corner he had to check-up on a GT car so I got to pull a little bit of a move into turn 1. He gave me just enough room.”

Barbosa’s co-drivers are Christian Fittipaldi and Felipe Albuquerque.

The Taylor team ended up in eighth place after a first lap tangle and other issues that ended them 3 laps back.

Simpson and his team took second place with the Mazda Motorsports DPi of Tristan Nunez, Jonathan Bomarito and Spencer Pigot in third.

The Prototype Challenge victory went to James French, Kyle Masson and Patricio O’Ward.

In the highly competitive GTLM class, accomplished veteran Bill Auberlen and newcomer Alexander Sims romped in their BMW Team RLL BMW M6.

This duo finished 4.4 seconds ahead of the Ford GT of Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe.

Third place went to the factory Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen and Antonio Garcia.

In the GTD class, Andy Lally and Katherine Legge raced to victory for the second week in a row. They drove an Acura NSX GT3 fielded by Michael Shank Racing and they finished a scant .592 seconds ahead of the Scuderia Corse Ferrari 488 of Alessandro Balzan, Christina Nielsen and Matteo Cressoni.

Said Legge, “I think if it was 50 minutes to go when it started spitting out there. If I had been driving I think I would have been a bit more nervous than he (Andy) was. He said it was no big deal. I was feeling a bit of pressure, we won the last race, he got pole, and it was ours to lose. It was even more nerve wracking, I want to be the finishing driver as it’s so much easier when you’re in the car. This win shows that we are no flash in the pan.”

Lally stated, “Being my home state, other than the Rolex24, this is one race I want to win as this is my favorite track. When I retire, I hope to have my name in one of those bricks downtown. I really enjoy flying around this track.”

Next on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship schedule is The Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Sunday, July 9th. The race will be televised live on FS1 beginning at 12 p.m. ET.

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