Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron have claimed their long-awaited first victory with Acura Team Penske in Sunday’s Acura Sports Car Challenge at Mid-Ohio.
Montoya took the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 to a 2.022-second win over the No. 77 Team Joest Mazda RT24-P of Tristan Nunez, following a race-long battle between the two DPi cars.
Pole-sitter Oliver Jarvis lost the lead to Cameron on Lap 7, although regained the top spot during his second stint in a move around the Colombian through traffic.
A quicker stop for the Penske crew, however, put Montoya back in the lead following the second round of pit stops on Lap 61.
While holding a marginal advantage over Nunez, Montoya benefitted from a late-race yellow to expand his gap over the Multimatic-built DPi on the restart to more than six seconds.
The gap reduced in the closing laps as both cars diced through traffic.
It marked Penske and Acura’s second overall victory in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship competition, coming 12 months after the program’s maiden win with Ricky Taylor and Helio Castroneves.
Jonathan Bomarito took third despite briefly slowing with two laps to go after a fierce battle with the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac DPi-V.R of Felipe Nasr.
Nasr was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for passing under a local yellow in Turn 1 for the parked No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Scott Hargrove, which resulted in a fourth place finish for the DPi championship leader.
The No. 7 Penske Acura DPi of Ricky Taylor, whose was forced on a four-stop strategy, completed the top-five, despite having right-side bodywork damage from opening-lap contact between co-driver Helio Castroneves and the No. 55 car of Ryan Hunter-Reay.
The two-hour and 40-minute race looked set to run caution-free until a suspected mechanical problem sent the No. 54 CORE autosport Nissan DPi of Colin Braun into the gravel with 33 minutes remaining.
It set up a 23-minute run to the checkered flag.
LMP2 class honors went to the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Matt McMurry and Eric Lux, who finished 11th overall.
It came after a troubled race for the class pole-winning No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca, which suffered a crash on the opening lap followed by multiple off-course excursions from Cameron Cassels.
RESULTS: Acura Sports Car Challenge