Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell have captured their third straight win in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS class, in Saturday’s Continental Tire 150 at Watkins Glen. The pair also won this race last year.
The race featured rain all the way through, intensifying throughout the entirety of the two-hour and 30-minute race.
Some of the teams even ran the full 150-minute race without changing Continental rain tires, which spoke as a testament to the durability of the wet weather rubber.
With 30 minutes to go, a red flag was called for track conditions. The race went back to yellow flag conditions with just under 14 minutes remaining, and while the cars circulated around they did not restart the race.
Davis started the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R from sixth place and made it up to second before a pit stop to switch to Liddell. Liddell then made the ultimate winning pass following a good four-lap run after a restart.
Liddell restarted 4.5 seconds behind leader Matt Plumb on Lap 31, closed the gap down to 2.3 seconds and 1.4 seconds in the next two laps before making the move to the inside of Plumb at the toe of the Boot on Lap 34. He pulled away from there.
“It was quite tricky when you first get out there, because some have been out for an hour,” Liddell said. “You try to feel your way in as quick as possible without making any silly mistakes. The only meaningful pass I made was on the 13 for the lead. On the last restart he fell off, and it put them back.”
Plumb was due to finish second in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911 in the car he shared with brother Hugh, but he ran wide exiting Turn 5, past the Bus Stop, and fell back to sixth.
The off course excursion promoted Trent Hindman and Ashley Freiberg to a season-best second in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3, with the No. 14 Doran Racing Nissan 370Z of Brad Jaeger and B.J. Zacharias third for the second consecutive race.
The No. 158 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C of Austin Cindric and Jade Buford finished fourth ahead of the second Stevenson Camaro, the No. 9 car driven by Matt Bell and Lawson Aschenbach.
Both Cindric and Frieberg, a pair of young drivers, drove exceptionally well in the rain while Bell fought through ABS issues to keep his car on the road.
The second of the debuting Shelby GT350R-Cs, the polesitting No. 15 car of Scott Maxwell and Billy Johnson, ended seventh after an extra pit stop in the opening laps. Both Shelby GT350R-Cs fought through defogging issues on their windshields.
In ST, CJ Wilson Racing’s pair of Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer took their first class win of the year, and the team’s first win in the series since Watkins Glen 2013 (McAleer and Marc Miller) in the No. 5 Mazda MX-5.
Mazdas controlled the race with McCumbee taking the lead from polesitter Justin Piscitell on Lap 6.
McCumbee drove cleanly and consistently throughout his stint in the before handing over to McAleer, with the Scotsman reassuming the lead once the primary round of pit stops were complete.
“The thing was phenomenal in the wet,” McCumbee said. “We really needed to know what we had to do in wet conditions. Just hats off to everybody. Couldn’t have asked for a better result for our ModSpace team.”
The No. 34 Alara Racing MX-5 of Piscitell and Christian Szymczak finished second, with Piscitell scoring his third podium in four starts this season.
Meanwhile the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si scored its first podium of the year with Kevin Boehm and Chad Gilsinger driving.
There was drama further down the ST order with both of the class points leaders having issues during the race.
Eric Zimmermann, in the No. 83 Next Level European Porsche Cayman he shares with Greg Liefooghe, had an off course excursion at Turn 8 in the opening hour.
Meanwhile at the one-hour mark, the No. 64 Team TGM BMW 328i of Ted Giovanis and David Murry made an unscheduled pit stop with rear bumper damage.
One further heavy incident occurred in ST in the opening five minutes, when Jason Briedis lost control of his No. 84 Bimmerworld BMW 328i exiting Turn 1.
Briedis’ spin forced Cody Ellsworth to swerve to the inside in the No. 52 LAP Motorsports MINI JCW, which then smashed his car’s front-end into the barriers. It marked the No. 52 car’s second front-end impact in as many days.
After the long gaps in the schedule to this point, the CTSC season resumes in just two weeks at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 11.
RESULTS: Continental Tire 150