Lawson Aschenbach snatched the GS and overall victory off the final corner on the final lap in Saturday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Round 9 at Road America.
The two-hour, 30-minute race had a final one-lap sprint to the finish after Matt Plumb was parked off course just prior at the entry to the Carousel with just over 5 minutes remaining. The race restarted for a final sprint to the finish.
Pierre Kleinubing led in the No. 76 Compass360 Racing Subaru WRX-STi and appeared poised to take the win, but he slowed exiting Turn 14. Kleinubing reported a potential drivetrain or differential issue exiting the final corner, which halted his charge.
Aschenbach, in the No. 01 CKS Autosport Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, powered past to secure the win. It’s the first this season for he and Eric Curran, and comes after they started ninth.
Robin Liddell made the pass on Kleinubing coming up the hill, just before the checkered flag, to take second in the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R by just 0.016 of a second.
Liddell had performed a comeback following a penalty issued for a pit lane speed violation, where he’d fallen outside the top 10 but made it back to second. He co-drove with Andrew Davis.
Kleinubing’s co-driver Ray Mason ran a clean, untroubled first stint from 14th on the grid and actually made it into the lead by the end of the first pit cycle. He pitted later and Kleinubing, who had the car in a top-five position, was able to charge in the second half of the race.
In ST, the Burton Racing entry of defending class champions Terry Borcheller and Mike LaMarra secured their first win of the season in the No. 23 BMW 128i, despite starting only 13th.
Borcheller had made the ultimate winning move on Charles Espenlaub’s No. 95 Hyundai Genesis coupe just prior to the third full-course caution of the race, caused for a heavy accident for Owen Trinkler’s No. 98 Honda Civic exiting Turn 5.
Wayne and Will Nonnamaker finished second in the No. 42 Team Sahlen Porsche Cayman; this will likely move Wayne Nonnamaker into the ST class points lead.
The No. 50 Berg Racing Porsche Cayman of Cody Ellsworth and Corey Lewis finished third.
Espenlaub and Cameron Lawrence, in the Hyundai, finished an unrepresentative 15th in class with a late issue dropping them back.
Lawrence and polesitter Remo Ruscitti, in the No. 04 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche Cayman, had engaged in a titanic scrap for the lead during the middle portion of the race, often exchanging the lead. But once Ruscitti handed over to Adam Isman, the car suffered an issue that took them out and dropped them to an eventual 23rd place finish.
The race was also blighted by a six-car ST accident that occurred on the opening lap, triggered after third through fifth were engaged in a three-wide run down the hill into Turn 5.
That took the points-leading No. 56 Porsche Cayman, driven by Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss, out of contention along with the pair of Nissan Altima coupes, the No. 75 Compass360 and No. 92 Honda Civics and the No. 87 Rebel Rock Racing Porsche Cayman.
RESULTS: Unofficial Round 9