Continental Tire Beyond the Podium looks at some of the other news, notes and nuggets to come out of this past weekend’s ninth round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season, from Circuit of The Americas.
***The title, and race, battle turned on its head Friday when Rum Bum Racing pulled off course from the lead with a broken fan belt. Most of the GS field reckoned the No. 13 Porsche 911 of Hugh and Matt Plumb had the race won, and with a new race lap record of 2:24.008 and the rest of the GS field all in the 2:25s, they weren’t wrong.
***BJ Zacharias was drained, but relieved, following a comeback drive in the No. 14 Doran Racing Nissan 370Z he shared with Brad Jaeger. On Lap 41, the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R hit and spun the No. 14 car, and Zacharias needed to rebound from there, and made it back to third place within five laps.
***The No. 9 Stevenson Camaro was issued a drive-through penalty for that contact and also suffered from brake issues during the race. Lawson Aschenbach and Matt Bell soldiered home to an eighth place result.
***Stevenson’s car wasn’t the only Camaro involved in contact during the race. The No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 also hit the No. 80 Mantella Autosport Chverolet Camaro Z/28.R as well. Mantella’s pairing of Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey finished sixth, ahead of Trent Hindman and Ashley Freiberg in the No. 46 car in seventh.
***While Automatic Racing nearly secured a surprise win at Virginia International Raceway, it missed out on a podium as Brett Sandberg’s No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage ran out of fuel in the waning stages. Automatic’s second car of Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman scored the team’s best 2015 result in fifth on Friday, in the sister No. 09 car.
***Race winners Spencer Pumpelly and Luis Rodriguez Jr. of Rennsport One will move ahead of Freedom Autosport’s Liam Dwyer and the CRG-I Do Borrow pairing of Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo to fourth in ST points, with their class-leading fourth race win of the year. Several tough weekends have prevented the pairing from having realistic title hopes.
***With third place, Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing extended their podium streak to four in a row in their No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman, dating to Lime Rock.
***Next Level European banked a double top-10 finish, with Seth Thomas and Dan Rogers a season-best fifth in their No. 38 Porsche Cayman and Sebring winners Greg Liefooghe and Eric Zimmermann seventh in the sister No. 83 car.
***In their first race as co-drivers this season, series returnee Adam Isman and first-time starter Cavan O’Keefe finished ninth in the No. 18 Rennsport One Porsche Cayman, a spot behind the returning Ryan Eversley and Chad Gilsinger, who rallied to eighth in the front-wheel drive No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si.
***Strategic Wealth Racing scored its third straight top-10 finish with Matthew Dicken and Corey Lewis in the No. 36 Porsche Cayman. On the whole, Caymans locked out six of the top 10 positions at VIR.
***Unfortunately for polesitter Justin Piscitell, he stopped on track in the No. 34 Alara Racing Mazda MX-5 with a mechanical issue on Lap 21. Despite five poles, Piscitell is yet to win in 2015.
Scott Maxwell watched as Billy Johnson gave chase to Robin Liddell in the final moments of Friday’s race, finishing just behind the race-winning Stevenson Camaro in his No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C.
Johnson made the GS win battle interesting, but the ST battle was once again a dynamic two-horse race between a Porsche Cayman and a Mazda MX-5. Stevan McAleer gave it his all to catch Spencer Pumpelly, but came up just short.