Continental Tire Beyond the Podium looks at some of the other news, notes and nuggets to come out of this past weekend’s eighth round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season, from Virginia International Raceway.
***With nothing to lose, Automatic Racing went for it on a fuel gamble Saturday with Al Carter and Brett Sandberg sharing the team’s No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage GT4. Rob Ecklin Jr. previously has driven the car this year but was unavailable this weekend due to business commitments. He had had a best finish of eighth in four races this year. Sandberg led twice for 19 laps; even with running out of fuel, seventh marked the team’s best result of the year.
***Both Brad Jaeger and BJ Zacharias led for Doran Racing in the team’s No. 14 Nissan 370Z, with the pair combining to lead 33 of 66 laps at VIR. Jaeger set the race’s fastest lap with Nic Hammann setting the second fastest. Hammann brought the No. 41 Nissan back to the pits with a damaged car and the hood raised, and co-driver Nick McMillen didn’t even get the chance to drive.
***The double podium for Stevenson Motorsports is the team’s first since Sebring back in March, which also marked the last time Lawson Aschenbach and Matt Bell stood on the podium in the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R.
***With the Automatic Aston Martin and Doran Nissan’s fuel woes, Mantella Autosport’s pair of Kyle Marcelli and Martin Barkey scored their first top-five finish since Sebring in the No. 80 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R.
***Chevrolet entered the weekend with a nine-point lead in the GS Manufacturer’s Championship and even though it had a triple top-five, lost points to Porsche, which won the race.
***Scott Maxwell and Billy Johnson made the most of the previous generation Ford Mustang Boss 302R, rushed into action after an overnight drive by the Multimatic Motorsports crew. They finished sixth while the No. 158 Ford Shelby GT350R-C of Austin Cindric and Jade Buford retired with internal issues, including .
***Tom Long completed his double duty run for Freedom Autosport, starting the No. 26 Mazda MX-5, pitting on the same lap as the No. 25 car, jumping onto the wall and then replacing Britt Casey Jr. while Andrew Carbonell took over the No. 26. The No. 26 car finished fourth, with the No. 25 car in sixth.
***The other points-contending Mazda, the No. 5 CJ Wilson Racing MX-5 of Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer, did a good job of damage limitation on a tough weekend where they fought through various issues. McCumbee was on the fringes of the top 10 in his stint, but they gained track position by going back on sequence for a second stop, when he handed over to McAleer. They ended seventh, only three spots behind the No. 26 Mazda of Carbonell and Long.
***Jeff Mosing, who finished second, had a banner weekend with four podium finishes. He added three in the Porsche GT3 Cup USA Challenge Gold Cup class, along with his runner-up in the ST race.
***In a friendly wager between Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and North Carolina Pat McCrory, Blacksburg’s James Clay in the No. 84 Bimmerworld BMW 328i finished better than Tyler Cooke of Matthews, N.C. in the team’s No. 81 BMW 328i (18th versus 26th). North Carolina agricultural products will now be handed over to Virginia as a result.
***In fifth, Ethan Low and Jason Rabe returned to the top-five for the first time since Sebring, when they finished a season-best fourth. They share the No. 31 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman.
***CRG-I Do Borrow’s run of top-10 finishes continued with Owen Trinkler and Sarah Cattaneo ending 10th in the No. 44 Honda Civic Si. While it was the pair’s worst result since ending 15th at Sebring, it was still their sixth straight top-10 result.
***Strategic Wealth Racing also banked its second straight top-10 result in its first season in the championship. Matthew Dicken and Corey Lewis shared the No. 36 Porsche Cayman and recorded their second straight ninth place.
***The streak of four consecutive top-10 results for Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum in the No. 19 Rennsport One Porsche Cayman came to an end when they were caught up in the accident that also involved the No. 41 Nissan and No. 158 Ford.
***HART switched up its usual driving strategy with fill-in driver Cameron Lawrence starting and running in the top three or four in his stint, then handing over the No. 93 Honda Civic Si to usual starter Chad Gilsinger for the finish. They ended 12th.
***In a rebuilt car albeit one still with heavy right side crash damage, Nico Rondet and Jim McGuire brought Compass360 Racing’s No. 74 Audi S3 home in 17th in class, one lap down. They ran as high as ninth.
Stevenson Motorsports’ Matt Bell, who has qualified well with several pole positions this year, finally returned to the podium in second place. He and Al Carter had originally stayed out on the second yellow flag, but first pit stop sequence, 35 minutes into the race and then played catch-up from there before recovering to P2.
Justin Piscitell, a four-time polesitter this year, returned to the podium for the first time in four races since Watkins Glen. He and co-driver Christian Szymczak inherited third on the final lap after Remo Ruscitti lost a wheel. Piscitell also made a great early-race pass for the lead on Jeff Mosing, which he describes below.