Trent Hindman seized the opportunity on a late restart to pull away and claim victory in Saturday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
It marked back-to-back wins for former GS class champion Hindman, co-driver Cameron Cassels and the No. 12 Bodymotion Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Cassels drove an uneventful, clean first stint before handing the controls over to Hindman with 48 minutes into the race.
Hindman ran around the middle of the class for much of the day and caught the break that he needed when the caution flag flew with 43 minutes remaining.
Then-leader Billy Johnson in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C was forced to pit in order to make it to the end which elevated Pierre Kleinubing to the lead and Hindman into second place.
Hindman stayed close to Kleinubing on the restart before taking the lead for good in turn 10 a lap later.
Hindman said the key to winning the race on the final restart was to get by Kleinubing as quickly as possible.
“The big thing was to just get around the 76 car,” he said. “In order to keep the CJ Wilson guys behind us, I had to get around Pierre and I made a pretty late move in 10, we made a bit of contact but that’s just racing.”
Marc Miller crossed the line in second in the No. 33 CJ Wilson Racing Porsche after leading much of the race with co-driver and pole-sitter Danny Burkett.
A loose lug nut on the team’s final pit stop with 53 minutes remaining took them out of the lead.
Rounding out the podium was the No. 35 CJ Wilson Racing Porsche of Tyler McQuarrie and Till Bechtolsheimer.
Defending ST champions Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer claimed their first class win of the season and gave Freedom Autosport their record sixth straight victory in Monterey.
McCumbee muscled his way passed Chad Gilsinger in turn 11 with 50 minutes into the race and immediately began to pull away from the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si.
Once McAleer took controls of the No. 25 Mazda MX-5, he never put a wheel wrong the rest of the race and took the checkered flag with 4.842 seconds in the bank.
Defending race winners Andrew Carbonell and Liam Dwyer rebounded from a poor qualifying effort and muscled their way through the field to lock out another 1-2 finish for Mazda at its home track.
The closest battle on track for third place with Eric Foss in the No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman edging out Tyler Cooke in the No. 84 BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i by 0.061 seconds at the finish.
It gave Murllio its second class podium finish of the season.