Action Express Racing went back-to-back in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, with Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi coming out on top in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America.
Barbosa held off a late challenge from Ozz Negri to give the No. 5 Corvette DP its third victory of the year, aided by split pit strategies for Prototype class competitors in the caution-filled two-hour and 45-minute race.
The Portuguese ace, along with Negri and the No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b of Scott Sharp, pitted under yellow with just over 1 hour to go, while race leader Memo Rojas didn’t come in for service until nearly 20 minutes later.
With the No. 01 Ganassi Riley-Ford Scott Pruett and Richard Westbrook’s Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP stuck behind traffic in the stop-start closing 40 minutes, it gave prime track position to Barbosa, who cruised to a 2.240-second victory.
Negri got around the No. 1 ESM HPD of Ryan Dalziel on the final restart with 10 minutes to go to give he and co-driver John Pew a season-best second place finish in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford, while Dalziel and Sharp settled for third, the best of the P2 runners.
The top-five in the P class was completed by SDR’s Westbrook and Michael Valiante and the No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette DP of Burt Frisselle and Eric Curran.
It was a big points day for Barbosa and Fittipaldi, who extend their championship lead to 16 points over the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP, following steering failure for Jordan Taylor, which which resulted in retirement with 30 minutes to go.
OAK Racing’s championship also took a turn for a worse after contact between Olivier Pla and the No. 2 ESM HPD of Johannes van Overbeek, which saw the French squad end its day in the barriers and record its first DNF of the season.
Fortunes were better for the DeltaWing of Andy Meyrick and Katherine Legge, which recorded its first finish of the season in 8th overall, 6th in class, after mixing it with the leaders all race.
Pruett and Rojas, meanwhile, finished 7th in class.
In Prototype Challenge, Starworks Motorsport broke through for its second class win of the year, thanks to quick pit work and a fight out of the pit lane that went in the favor of Renger van der Zande.
The Dutchman, teamed with Mirco Schultis, edged out the No. 25 8Star Motorsports Oreca FLM09 of Sean Rayhall by just 0.415 seconds at the line for the class win, and 6th place overall result.
Rayhall and co-driver Luis Diaz dominated the race, only losing the lead in the final round of pit stops, which saw the two cars make contact exiting pit road. No penalty was issued to either car.
The No. 85 JDC-Miller Motorsports entry of Stephen Simpson and Chris Miller scored their first podium finish of the season in third.
Simpson benefited from a late-race incident between two other PC cars that sent the third-placed No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports entry of Gunnar Jeannette into the pit wall on a restart.
Championship leaders CORE autosport also had to day to forget, with Colin Braun crashing out after contact from the No. 38 Performance Tech entry of David Ostella, who received a penalty for avoidable contact.
Braun’s Oreca FLM09, however, suffered significant damage and lost nearly 10 laps in the garage for repairs. It finished 8th in class.
RESULTS: Continental Tire Road Race Showcase