Shinya Michimi clinched the Pro Driver Championship, while Santino Ferrucci picked up his second win in two days to sweep the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America races at Circuit of The Americas.
Ferrucci took the Round 10 checkered flag in the No. 77 Courtney Racing entry representing Lamborghini Broward 6.977 seconds ahead of Michimi to sweep the final event this season on North American soil.
But the second-place finish by Michimi secured his title as the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America Pro Driver Champion and Prestige Performance as Team Champions.
“I really don’t know what to say,” Michimi said. “I’m a bit speechless, like I was with my first win. I’ve just got to thank everybody in the team, everybody who has helped me out during my career.
“My family, all of my sponsors. They stuck with me through all the year, so I really want to thank them for all that.
“I think I’ve put together some really good times, as well, so I’m really happy we’ve been able to put something together. I lost my grandfather two years ago to cancer, and he was a drag racer. He was a lot of my inspiration.
“He used to tell me stories about what he did as a child and everything, so I’m dedicating this whole year to him.”
The teams will head to Valencia, Spain, for the final two rounds of the championship Dec. 1-2 to decide the remaining titles followed by the World Finals on Dec. 3-4.
A combination of quick racing and good pit strategy helped Ferrucci capitalize in a competitive race.
Haas F1 development driver Ferrucci started from pole, but Cedric Sbirrazzuoli and Michimi in the No. 1 Prestige Performance entry representing Lamborghini Paramus got a good jump at the line.
Sbirrazzuoli took the lead in the No. 07 Dream Racing Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Las Vegas on the front straight, and Michimi fell into second position after an outside move in Turn 1.
“That was one hell of a race,” Ferrucci said. “That start was a bit of a mess for me. I’m not used to rolling starts, so I got hosed. Fair enough.”
Two separate incidents caused a full-course caution on the first lap. The field went back to green with 36 minutes remaining in the 50-minute race.
The running order didn’t change on the restart, and Sbirrazzuoli started to pull a gap on the field.
At the mandatory pit window, Michimi and Ferrucci pitted almost immediately as Sbirrazzuoli continued in hopes of gaining a larger advantage before handing the car to co-driver Larry DeGeorge.
Ferrucci was in the fourth pit stall, Michimi in the eighth. Michimi left his pit stall and almost immediately Ferrucci darted out of his, slowing slightly to ensure he met his minimum pit time.
Ferrucci narrowly made it in front of Michimi, and the two left pit lane nose to tail.
“The pit stop was brilliant,” Ferrucci said. “Once again, we were able to undercut Michimi there. I’ve got to thank the team for that. The timing was perfect.”
Michimi tried to squeeze to the inside going into Turn 2, but Ferrucci shut the door. Much like Thursday, the two moved in unison over the next few laps around the 20-turn, 3.427-mile circuit in the heart of Texas.
Behind that dueling duo, Richard Antinucci, who had taken over the No. 17 US RaceTronics entry representing Lamborghini Beverly Hills from co-driver Brian Thienes, made quick work of Derek DeBoer in third position.
Antinucci overtook Michimi to settle into second position with 13 minutes remaining and set his sights on Ferrucci. The gap was 0.991 seconds with 10 minutes to go. Five minutes later, it was 1.243 seconds.
Over the closing laps, Antinucci pushed to close the gap to the leader, but Ferrucci held on for the win.
“Richard Antinucci was coming up on me, and I was like: ‘All right. This is going to be a really tough race,'” Ferrucci said. “I was just able to keep him right behind me and manage the gap, which was really, really hard. Overall, I’m really happy with that.”
Antinucci crossed the finish line second but a post-race enforced penalty for a short pit stop dropped him and Thienes to third place overall. They were the top Pro-Am finishing entry.
Former standout National Hockey League defenseman Patrice Brisebois earned his first career victory in the Amateur class and placed fourth overall in the No. 24 DAC Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach.
Luis Rodriguez Jr. rounded out the top five and earned a second-place Amateur finish in the No. 29 Change Racing entry representing Lamborghini Carolinas.
The result closed Rodriguez’s championship gap to 13 points behind Damon Ockey, who leads, 117-104, with two rounds to go.
Rodriguez’s Change Racing teammate Josh Norman was sixth overall and third in the Amateur class in the No. 71 entry representing Lamborghini Carolinas.
Enrique Bernoldi and Jeff Burton earned their second podium position of the weekend, finishing second in the Pro-Am class in the No. 12 DXDT Racing entry representing Lamborghini Dallas.
Joining them on the Pro-Am podium was Victor Gonzalez Jr. in the No. 16 Change Racing machine representing Lamborghini Carolinas. Gonzalez earned two podium finishes this weekend in his season debut.
Will James earned his first career win in the No. 11 eXclaim Racing/Migliore Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Paramus in the Lamborghini Cup class. The victory snapped a nine-race winning streak this season by Ross Chouest, who had won every round in 2016 before today.
Shawn Lawless was second in class in the No. 27 Dream Racing Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Las Vegas. Jackie Heinricher rounded out the podium with a third-place finish in the No. 57 DAC Motorsports entry representing Lamborghini Palm Beach.
RESULTS: Round 10