A last-lap pit stop for Charles Espenlaub handed victory to Billy Johnson and Multimatic Motorsports in a fuel-mileage race in Saturday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at Road America.
Johnson took his No. 15 Ford Shelby GT350R-C to a 13.596-second win over the No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport of Jeroen Bleekemolen, who fended off a hard-charging Guy Cosmo at the checkered flag.
The shape of the two-hour and 30-minute race turned upside down in the closing laps, following a series of splash-and-go stops for the leading cars.
The No. 33 CJ Wilson Racing Porsche of Marc Miller was the first to pit with 15 minutes to go, and looked to be en route to a second-place finish but was forced to make an additional stop on the final lap for fuel.
Espenlaub in the No. 99 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 attempted to get to the finish without a late splash but was forced to pit from the lead as the white flag flew, relegating he and Charlie Espenlaub to fourth.
Cosmo, in his series comeback, led the middle portion of the race in the No. 64 Team TGM Porsche, completed the podium in third with co-driver Ted Giovanis in a two-stop race for the car.
Up front, Johnson and co-driver Scott Maxwell scored their third consecutive Continental Tire Challenge victory and fourth of the season, although not in the dominant fashion seen in previous races.
They extend their championship lead to 23 points over Miller and Danny Burkett, which finished sixth in the race after the late-race miscue.
Spencer Pumpelly claimed top class honors in ST, taking his No. 17 RS1 Porsche Cayman to its second class victory of the year alongside co-driver Nick Galante.
Pumpelly edged out the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si of Ryan Eversley by 10.693 seconds after the No. 73 MINI JCW of Mat Pombo ran out of fuel on the final lap.
The No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman of Eric Foss completed the class podium in third, also benefitting from a number of late-race stops and incidents in another action-packed race.
The race saw four full-course cautions, including a heavy crash in the opening laps between the No. 35 CJ Wilson Racing Porsche of Till Bechtolsheimer and the Paul Holton-driven No. 76 C360R Ford, which sent the Porsche upside down and the Ford on its side.
Both drivers escaped without injury but resulted in a lengthy cleanup.
In the ST title race, Pumpelly and Galante extend their lead to 14 points over Freedom Autosport’s Stevan McAleer and Chad McCumbee, who finished fourth in class on Saturday.