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Prototype Challenge

Skeen Wins Finale; Pflucker, McCusker Crowned Champions

Mike Skeen wins IMSA Prototype Challenge season finale at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

While Mike Skeen was driving his race of the year in IMSA Prototype Challenge, Rodrigo Pflucker and Austin McCusker were calmly maneuvering their way to the 2019 championship.

Skeen recovered from a Lap 3 spin, charging from 18th place to win Friday morning in the final IPC race of the season. Pflucker and McCusker, meanwhile, only needed to start the race at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta to clinch the driver and team titles.

A steady if unspectacular drive to sixth place wrapped up the crowns for the Forty 7 Motorsports duo.

Pflucker drove a sister Forty 7 Motorsports car last season before being paired with McCusker in 2019.

Their lone win came at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in July, but they added second-place finishes to kick off the six-race season at Daytona International Speedway and Sebring International Raceway.

The No. 47 Norma M30 ran as high as second place on Friday, but a pit-speed violation during the lone stop forced a drive-through penalty that knocked it out of podium contention. It couldn’t diminish the joy of the championship, however.

Skeen, meanwhile, thought his race was all but over in the No. 23 Gilbert/Korthoff Motorsports Norma when he spun while battling Matthew Bell (No. 64 K2R Motorsports Ligier JS P3) for second place early into the one-hour, 45-minute race.

Falling all the way to 18th place, Skeen raced faster and longer than most anyone for the first stint, taking the lead for five laps before making his mandatory pit stop on Lap 39, nearly an hour into the race.

He emerged in second place after the pit cycle, trailing only pole sitter Stevan McAleer (No. 43 Robillard Racing).

After a restart following the last of four full-course cautions, Skeen dove inside McAleer heading into the esses with five minutes remaining. McAleer slid into the grass before correcting and getting back on track, but Skeen was long gone.

Skeen pulled away to win by 2.928 seconds over Bell in the No. 64. The victory followed a second-place finish for Skeen in the previous series race at Virginia International Raceway in August.

Wayne Boyd and Naj Husain placed third Friday in the No. 30 Sean Creech Motorsports Ligier with McAleer finishing fourth.

McAleer still secured second in the driver standings, tying No. 4 Ansa Motorsports drivers Leo Lamelas and Neil Alberico in points but owning the tiebreaker with a series-leading two race wins.

Kris Wilson in the No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P3 won the Bronze Cup trophy – for the highest placing Bronze driver lineup – for the second consecutive race and in just his second series start.

The broadcast of the Prototype Challenge season finale airs at 1 p.m. ET Friday, Oct. 18 on NBCSN.


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