Kyle Marcelli slipped past hometown hero Patrick Gallagher in the closing minutes, survived a scare on the final lap, to go on to win the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Mid-Ohio 120 for KohR Motorsports’ second consecutive series win.
Nate Stacy qualified the race-winning No. 60 KohR Ford Mustang GT4 in 12th but the team played its fuel strategy perfectly and was firmly in the mix headed into the final half hour.
With Marcelli at the wheel, the Mustang GT4 moved into second place 15 seconds behind race leader Gallagher in the No. 8 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang GT4. The Toronto resident gradually closed in, finally made the winning move with just over three minutes remaining, and appeared poised to cruise to victory lane.
A final moment of drama came on the white flag lap when Marcelli abruptly slowed, allowing Gallagher to close in.
According to Stacy’s interview with IMSA Radio, Marcelli reported that something had broken on the car forcing him to drop his pace.
Nevertheless, Gallagher was unable to find a way around Marcelli’s stricken Mustang which went on to win by 0.286 seconds, while Tyler Cooke came home third in the No. 82 BMW M4 GT4 for BimmerWorld Racing.
Two early front runners were sidetracked in the opening fifteen minutes when Chase Briscoe’s Ford made contact with Paul Holton in the Compass Racing McLaren 570S GT4 while fighting for second place.
Briscoe made a late dive down the inside of Holton headed into the Keyhole and could not get slowed down in time to avoid the McLaren driver.
The contact caused terminal damage to the Compass Racing entry, while Briscoe continued on, slowed only by a drive-through penalty for incident responsibility.
Both cars spent time behind the wall making repairs to damage stemming from the contact and neither were a factor afterwards.
Compass Racing Takes TCR Win
Kuno Wittmer and Rodrigo Sales picked up the TCR class win in the No. 74 Compass Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR as trouble found most of the other contenders, but not without drama of their own.
It initially appeared that the polesitting No. 77 Compass Audi TCR of Tom Long and Britt Casey Jr. had made the pass for the lead on the final lap, but because the pass was made on a portion of the circuit that was covered by a local yellow the pass was disallowed putting Wittmer and Sales back in the lead.
It was nevertheless an impressive comeback for Casey and Long who had their race upended by contact with the No. 11 Audi of Don Istook 40 minutes into the event. Istook was penalized for being deemed responsible for the incident.
Casey’s co-driver Tom Long put in a strong drive to nearly win the race at the end, while Pierre Kleinubing and Roy Block made it a Compass Racing Audi sweep of the TCR podium in third.
JDC-Miller Motorsports, another early race frontrunner, had its race come unraveled due to miscues on pit lane just after Stephen Simpson had gotten behind the wheel to replace Michael Johnson.
The problems began when the Audi TCR was lowered off the jacks before the left front wheel could be secured.
After that was rectified, contact leaving the pit box led to a drive through penalty that ultimately took the second-place starting TCR car out of contention. Simpson ultimately brought the car home in fourth.
MINI took the top two spots on the ST podium with the No. 73 entry of Mat Pombo and Mike LaMarra fending off the sister No. 52 entry of Mark Pombo and Colin Mullan.
Class polesitters Devin Jones and Nick Galante completed the podium in third for BimmerWorld.
RESULTS: Mid-Ohio 120