Scott Maxwell and Billy Johnson took advantage of lightning-fast work in the pits by the Multimatic Motorsports pit crew to score their second consecutive victory at Lime Rock Park on Saturday in the No. 15 Ford Shelby GT350R-C, extending their lead in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge GS class with their third triumph of the season.
The pair combined to lead four times for 88 of the 150 laps on the fast 1.53-mile seven-turn “classic” layout in the caution-free race.
“We won it in the pits today – our pit stops were superb,” Maxwell said. “The car was really good – we were about a half-second off the pace – and Billy and I didn’t make any mistakes. But we gained about five or six seconds on both of our pit stops, and that was enough to win the race.”
CJ Wilson Racing’s Danny Burkett won the Total Pole Award and took the lead in the No. 33 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport after Maxwell led the opening seven laps.
Burkett paced the field for 52 laps before his pit stop, and co-driver Marc Miller led three laps before his final stop, but the team exited the pits trailing the leader after both visits.
“The only place we were losing ground to Multimatic was in the pits,” Burkett said. “They’re doing a great job getting the fuel in quickly. Our guys are doing a great job, we just need to figure something out on our pit stops.”
Three-time 2016 winners Cameron Cassels and Trent Hindman took third in the No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
Unofficially, Maxwell and Johnson extended their lead in the GS standings to 13 points over Burkett and Miller, 193-180.
After opening the year with a victory at Daytona, they have finished in the top four in all six events. Johnson now has 16 career Continental Tire Challenge victories to nine for Maxwell.
Taking a page from 2015, Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer combined to lead 107 of 147 laps en route to their second victory of the season in the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5.
Last year, the championship-bound duo led 85 laps co-driving for CJ Wilson Racing.
“Chad did a fantastic job, getting the car in front, and that makes my job much easier,” McAleer said. “I was running good laps, getting a reading every five or six laps to see how far back the second and third place cars were.”
It was a podium sweep for Mazda, with Terry Borcheller and Christian Szymczak placing second in the No. 34 Alara Racing MX-5, 10.660 seconds back, with Liam Dwyer and Andrew Carbonell in the No. 26 Freedom Autosport SemperFiFund.org Mazda.
“It’s always great to come back home to Lime Rock, a half-hour from where I grew up,” said Dwyer, a former resident of Litchfield who scored his first career victory at the circuit in 2014.
“I qualified well, raced well and finished on the podium. Today was a huge win for Freedom, and more importantly, it was fantastic seeing Mazda finish 1-2-3 on the podium. Maybe today will turn our season around.”
Nick Galante and Spencer Pumpelly combined to finish fourth in the No. 17 RS1 Porsche Cayman. Entering the race with a 14-point lead in the standings, they now unofficially lead McCumbee and McAleer by seven points, 173-166.
Two ST contenders who were running in the top four in the championship fell by the wayside in the opening 40 minutes. Sarah Cattaneo had to park the No. 44 CRG-I Do Borrow Nissan Altima Coupe, while Chad Gilsinger went out with engine problems in the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si.