John Edwards and Trent Hindman atoned for a poor qualifying effort to take a pivotal GS win in Friday’s 11th round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season, the Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas. Meanwhile Ryan Eversley and Kyle Gimple took the ST win.
For both driver pairings, it’s their second wins this season (Mazda Raceway in GS, Watkins Glen in ST, respectively). It came on a day when mixed dry, then wet, weather conditions, impacted the race.
Hindman started ninth in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 but drove a clean opening stint prior to handing off to Edwards, and later changing onto wet weather Continental tires.
Edwards then delivered the winning move on Tom Kimber-Smith, in the similar No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3, with a pass through the Esses on Lap 51.
Unofficially, this will move Hindman into the GS class points lead over Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell, who finished fourth.
“We were praying for rain, going back so far as last week, but we still figured the BMWs would be strong,” Hindman said. “Even when the track was dry it was still tough. I never thought we’d be in contention for the win. But it was still quite a battle and John made the winning move.”
Kimber-Smith fought valiantly on dry-weather slicks to hold off Edwards but was unable to hold back the challenge. Still, the result marked a season-best result for he and Michael Marsal.
The polesitting Multimatic Motorsports No. 158 Ford Mustang Boss 302R of Billy Johnson and Ian James came home third, ahead of the Davis/Liddell pairing in the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R.
ST saw Gimple drive a smart opening stint in the No. 75 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si and run second behind the No. 5 CJ Wilson Racing Mazda MX-5.
Once Gimple handed to Eversley, Eversley followed a game plan that worked to the team’s advantage at Watkins Glen 2013, running well with the front-wheel drive car on dry-weather slicks on a damp track. The Compass360 team won the race out of the pits to secure the lead.
Eversley won from Eric Foss, in the No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman, who moves into the ST class points lead after this result. Foss shared with Jeff Mosing.
“Honestly if it didn’t rain we would have been a seventh place car,” Eversley said. “When we saw the weather might be in our favor, we told our Twitter followers to do a ‘rain dance.’ That made the difference, and we outran the Porsche Cayman today.”
Freedom Autosport made it onto the podium with Mark and Mat Pombo in the No. 25 Mazda MX-5.
Five of the six podium finishers, except the GS-winning Fall-Line BMW, completed the race on dry-weather slicks.
Of note, Tim Bell survived a massive first-lap shunt in the No. 28 Tim Bell Racing Nissan 370Z with apparent brake failure at the end of the long straight heading into Turn 12. Bell was evaluated and released; however the accident put the race under yellow for nearly half an hour.
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge concludes its 2014 season at Road Atlanta on Friday, October 3.
RESULTS: Lone Star Le Mans