BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (8 July 2023) – After topping the charts in two of the three practice sessions and then scoring a second consecutive pole at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Meyer ShankRacing (MSR) with Curb-Agajanian scored the team’s second victory of the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season on Sunday.
But it wasn’t just speed that the defending IMSA championship team used to win its 17th IMSA race, as a fully committed strategy call helped to keep the team advantage as MSR drivers Tom Blomqvist and Colin Braun combined for a dramatic victory with the No. 60 MSR Acura ARX-06.
Blomqvist started from the pole and led every lap throughout his 53-minute stint. Braun then took over and led most of the laps before the first caution waved with one-hour, 22-minutes remaining. Braun pitted, but emerged in third when two cars behind him short-pitted. Those two rivals then got a break when another caution waved shortly with 53 minutes left, allowing them to pit to take on enough fuel to finish. Running third, Braun found the pits closed before he could join his rivals on pit road. Rather than play it safe (while losing track position) by pitting on the following lap, MSR elected to roll the dice and go for the victory.
On the restart, the team built a margin to the pursuing field, with Braun building up a 7.7-second advantage down the stretch, and any doubts were erased when a major incident with just a few minutes remaining caused the race to end under caution. Braun led the final 30 circuits, with MSR leading 80 of the 120 laps for their second-consecutive podium finish.
It was Braun’s sixth victory at the former Formula 1 circuit, including five in the WeatherTech Championship. He won the LMP3 class last year for CORE autosport – his long-time team before joining forces with MSR this season. His first CTMP victory was in ALMS in 2013.
MSR’s next IMSA outing will be the IMSA Sports Car Weekend at Road America on August 3-6, with the team set to compete in Canada once agin next weekend with the two-car IndyCar program as Toronto plays host.
Meyer Shank Racing Team Quotes:
“We put it all out there today. We looked like we were on the back foot there, but we rolled the dice and the racing gods smiled on us. Great work from the team and super thanks to Colin, I mean, he’s so good around here. He taught me a lot, actually and that was a big help for qualifying, so big thanks to him. This feels really good!”
“It was tough. The other guys were good on fuel, so for me it was just about getting a good restart and building a gap and then going into fuel save mode. I was surprised with the pace on the fuel save and then once we got through the traffic I knew I could probably pull a gap and we did. I’m just super proud of everyone here with Meyer Shank Racing, Acura, and HPD. Everyone did a great job. You know, obviously, we’ve been close. We’ve had good pace, accurate speeds both good pace all year. So great is it converted to a win and definitely had to work for it this week.”
“Well, we lost track position on that one exchange, we just had a little problem that put us in third. We could see that we were not going to pass our way to the lead. We missed the pit entry when they closed the pits and we had to stay out so we said, screw it, let’s just go. We’re either gonna win it or we’re gonna finish eighth. And I’m not here to finish eighth anymore.
“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, and my partner, Jim Meyer since January and I just want to say this win is for them. We’ll celebrate tonight. This is all due to the work from HPD Acura and the MSR team. So we thank everyone involved. I’m super proud of the team and the drivers and everyone for how they have persevered this year. Seventeen IMSA wins for the team is good and we are looking forward to going for three more to close out the year.”