Continental Tire Beyond the Podium looks at some of the other news, notes and nuggets to come out of this past weekend’s seventh round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season, from Road America.
***Doran Racing had its best race of the season with the pair of Nissan 370Zs ending second and fourth. The No. 14 car driven by BJ Zacharias and Brad Jaeger posted its fourth podium in the last five races, while the No. 41 car of Nic Hammann and Steven Doherty ended just off its first podium of the year. Both cars led, with the No. 14 car out front for nine laps, and the No. 41 car leading for 11 laps.
***Despite ending a season-worst fifth, the points leading Stevenson Motorsports pair of Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell continued their consistency streak, posting their seventh top-five finish in as many starts this year in the No. 6 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R.
***It was a tough day for the pair of Ford Shelby GT350R-C cars, with Austin Cindric and Jade Buford ending seventh and Scott Maxwell and Billy Johnson resigned to a 12th place finish with an exhaust issue. It ended the team’s quest for a three-peat, after successive wins at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Lime Rock Park.
***Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey finished sixth in the sole Mantella Autosport Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R. The team’s No. 8 car, driven by team principal Anthony Mantella and Mark Wilkins, was a late scratch as Mantella has withdrawn that car citing BoP concerns for the immediate future. Wilkins was due to miss the next round at Virginia International Raceway anyway with a World Challenge conflict.
***CJ Wilson Racing’s return of its No. 33 Porsche 911 didn’t go according to plan. Marc Miller flew from 14th up to ninth in just three laps, but a gearbox issue sent the team behind the wall early before co-driver Tyler McQuarrie got the chance to drive.
***The issues that hit the No. 9 Chevrolet, No. 15 Ford and No. 33 Porsche promoted the No. 48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3, No. 09 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage and No. 78 Racers Edge Motorsports Ford Mustang Boss 302R to top-10 finishes in GS.
***There was some last-lap drama between two of the Mazda MX-5s, with Andrew Carbonell moving from ninth to sixth on the final lap. Contact between Carbonell and Christian Szymczak, from Freedom Autosport and Alara Racing, sent Szymczak off course and down to 11th. It was a racing incident and no action was taken from race control, but the points gain for Carbonell and Liam Dwyer will be interesting to note.
***Spencer Pumpelly’s running out of fuel on the final lap substantially jumbled the running order in the top-10. All told, eight of the top-10 positions changed on the final lap, with only Eric Foss (third place) and Connor Bloum (seventh) maintaining their positions from the penultimate lap. As Pumpelly ran out, it dropped him to 16th.
***Behind the top two Honda Civic Sis and Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman, Andrei Hartanto and Tyler Cooke recorded their best finish of the season in fourth in the No. 81 Bimmerworld 328i. The previous best had been sixth at Mazda Raceway.
***While Kevin Boehm scored a podium at Watkins Glen, he and co-driver Steve Eich posted their best result of 2015 in HART’s second car, the No. 92 Honda Civic Si, in fifth. HART’s No. 93 car of Ryan Eversley and Chad Gilsinger scored the win, to provide HART two top-fives and Honda three, with CRG-I Do Borrow coming second.
***Series debutantes Josh Bilicki and Lars Viljoen impressed, although neither result matched their race. Bilicki led off sequence from Laps 34 to 42 before pitting, having only just missed the chance to pit before a yellow came out, and he and Anthony Lazzaro ended 20th in the No. 21 Burton Racing BMW 128i.
***In Viljoen’s case, he took the No. 18 Rennsport One Porsche Cayman from 24th to seventh in 11 laps but fell back during the wave-by process on the first yellow. Viljoen and Remo Ruscitti ultimately finished 18th.
For the second straight race, BJ Zacharias came up just short of a higher spot on the podium. After hunting down Jade Buford at Lime Rock, he came up short of second. At Road America, Zacharias ended only 0.314 of a second behind race winner Matt Plumb.
Defending ST class champion Eric Foss was in roughly the same boat as he was at Lime Rock, similar to Zacharias. Foss raced friends and fellow drivers/instructors Spencer Pumpelly, Ryan Eversley and Owen Trinkler for podium positions. He ended third, having lost a position to Trinkler but gotten ahead of Pumpelly once he ran out of fuel.