Al Carter and Steven Phillips overcame a pit lane miscue to score the first IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge win of the season for Automatic Racing in the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 240.
The team appeared to have fallen out of contention with just over an hour to go, when Carter’s attempt to leave his pit stall in the squad’s No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage was impeded by the presence of the No. 27 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 in the pit stall ahead of him.
Forced initially to reverse to get around the Mazda, the Aston Martin was then assessed a drive-through penalty for too many men working over the wall.
Carter put in a remarkable drive to recover the lost time and capitalized on several caution periods in the final hour to get back in the mix, ultimately taking the lead for the final time with 30 minutes remaining.
“Steven and I have been talking about how the race was going to unfold and it pretty much happened exactly how we thought it was,” Carter said.
“I was getting a little tired out there. Laguna is a tough place, but we kept digging and this the first win for our car, the first win in a long time for Automatic Racing and the first win for Steve.
“We’re feeling pretty good right now. This is unforgettable. Winning a Continental Tire Challenge is not easy, the competition in this series is so tough.”
Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels took second for Bodymotion Racing in the No. 12 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Hindman was running fourth with three minutes to go when third-place runner Guy Cosmo and second-place Chris Green made contact, causing Green to spin.
According to IMSA Radio, Cosmo was penalized for the contact after the race and is unofficially credited with a ninth-place finish in the No. 4 Team TGM Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR that he shared with Hugh Plumb.
Green and co-driver Jesse Lazare went on to finish seventh in the No. 69 Motorsport In Action McLaren 570S GT4.
The penalty unofficially promoted Hindman to second, and opened the door for the trio of Scott Maxwell, Jack Roush Jr., and Nate Stacy to take the final spot on the GS podium in the No. 59 KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4.
C360R picked up the win in ST courtesy of Pierre Kleinubing’s bold pass of Owen Trinkler with 13 minutes to go.
It was the first class win of the season for the Brazilian and his co-driver Roy Block in their Audi S3 and the first series win in Block’s career.
The No. 26 Freedom Autosport Mazda of Andrew Carbonell and Liam Dwyer held off VIR class winners Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo, who finished third in their No. 44 Nissan Altima for CRG-I Do Borrow.
RESULTS: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca 240