Andres Gutierrez survived monsoon conditions to win Race 2 of IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda weekend at Watkins Glen and extend his points lead in a race that saw just five minutes of green flag running in the 45-minute race.
Gutierrez, who started third, was promoted to the lead in his No. 12 Performance Tech Motorsports Ligier JS P3 after problems struck the front row qualifiers before the race ever went green.
Outside pole-sitter Kenton Koch was forced to pit his Ligier for rain tires after it became apparent their choice of slick Continental tires was not the right one.
It cost Koch one lap and took him out of contention for a good result. He ultimately came home seventh in the LMP3 class.
Race control elected to start the race behind the safety car, due to the rain.
Even still, several cars hit trouble running at reduced speeds, most notably Jay Salmon in the No. 46 ODU Motorsports MPC-class entry who spun and made significant contact with the wall.
The green was further delayed as track workers attempted to clear Salmon’s car and other cars spun off course in the heavy rain, while fourth-place qualifier Robby Foley pitted to replace a missing rear wing.
Race control made its first attempt to start the race with just over 30 minutes remaining, but an accident by pole-sitter Colin Thompson, just as the green was displayed, saw the race go immediately back to yellow.
Thompson, who won Race 1 on Friday, spun while accelerating leading the field to the green and collected MPC entrant Don Yount, ending the day for Yount and causing significant damage to the front of Thompson’s Kelly-Moss Road and Race Norma M30.
While track workers attempted to clean up the remnants of that accident, Jon Brownson appeared to suffer a mechanical problem and pulled his Eurosport Racing Elan DP02 off track, further delaying the green flag.
After Brownson’s car was retrieved, the green finally flew with just under ten minutes remaining.
Eventual MPC class winner Kyle Masson quickly moved past Naj Husain into second overall, where he would finish.
Thompson managed to fight his way back up through the field to fifth overall, but the yellow came out once again with under seven minutes to go for Joel Janco’s MPC car, which was in the Turn 1 barriers.
Janco was able to continue, allowing the race to be restarted for one final lap with two minutes remaining, and Gutierrez held off Masson for the overall win.
James Dayson finished third overall and second in LMP3, while Thompson managed to fight his way up to the third step on the LMP3 class podium on the final lap.
Michal Chlumecky and Race 1 MPC winner Kris Wright completed the MPC podium. Chlumecky took MPC Masters honors, while the LMP3 Masters win went to Husain for Extreme Speed Motorsports.
RESULTS: Race 2