Continental Tire Beyond the Podium looks at some of the other news, notes and nuggets to come out of this past weekend’s third round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season, from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
***The appearance of the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang Boss 302R and No. 14 Doran Racing Nissan 370Z broke up the streak of only the pair of Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.Rs and No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911 on the GS podium. The Nos. 6, 9 and 13 cars had locked out the podium at both Daytona and Sebring.
***Jim Click Racing parlayed an off-sequence strategy into a top-five finish, with Click and Mike McGovern sharing the No. 2 Ford Mustang Boss 302R.
***Mantella Autosport’s pair of Camaro Z/28.Rs had an unfortunate start to the race, when they collided with each other heading up the hill into the Corkscrew. The No. 8 car of Anthony Mantella and Mark Wilkins rebounded to ninth despite a damaged front end.
***The announcement that Compass360 Racing would add a TUODR Championship GT Daytona program with an Audi R8 LMS meant Saturday’s Continental Tire Challenge race was, in effect, a swan song for the Subaru WRX-STi in GS. Despite some early race respectable laps, the car driven by Ray Mason and Pierre Kleinbuing retired with another engine issue.
***Freedom Autosport’s win was its fifth in a row at Mazda Raceway.
***Porsche Caymans, in their first race with a new air restrictor, struggled for most of the weekend at Mazda Raceway while the MX-5s continued their specific track dominance. After three Caymans finished in the top five at both Daytona and Sebring, there wasn’t a single one in the top-five Saturday in Monterey. The No. 42 Team Sahlen and No. 31 Bodymotion Racing entries finished eighth and ninth.
***In the second race for the returning MINI JCW entry, LAP Motorsports posted its first top-10 finish, with Remo Ruscitti and series and sports car debutante Zack Meyer sharing the No. 37 MINI en route to a 10th place.
***The Rennsport One team had a tough weekend, with the No. 18 car of Adam Isman and Jon Miller retiring with engine issues and the No. 17 car of Spencer Pumpelly and Luis Rodriguez Jr. incurring contact and going behind the wall early in the race.
Once Multimatic Motorsports pitted for the final time on Lap 60 of the 84-lap race, with both its No. 15 and 158 Ford Mustang Boss 302Rs, Billy Johnson was a rocketship through the field. Johnson, who co-drove with Scott Maxwell, quickly caught and passed B.J. Zacharias for second and nearly ran down the winning No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R.
Alara Racing’s Christian Szymczak was in the middle of the four-way Mazda MX-5 scrap for the win in ST, in the car he shared with ST class polesitter Justin Piscitell. The past Mazda MX-5 Cup series champion recapped the battle.