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Sprint Challenge USA West Reaches Halfway Mark in Utah

Recaps from last weekend’s Porsche Sprint Challenge USA West by Yokohama at Utah Motorsports Campus…

Photo: Porsche Sprint Challenge USA West

Porsche Sprint Challenge USA West brought its highest car count of the season this past weekend to Utah Motorsports Campus, with more than 30 cars joining the series’ third round of the season.

Located half an hour west of Salt Lake City, the 3.048-mile track configuration saw side-to-side battles amongst five Porsche classes. As he did at the previous event at Sonoma Raceway, Robert Todd swept the weekend in the No. 252 BR Racing Porsche 992 GT3 Cup, albeit not without a challenge, as USA West reached the halfway point of its season.

Race 1:

After winning the WeatherTech Pole Position Award to start first on Saturday morning, Robert Todd controlled Race 1 at Utah, but was assisted by a lengthy full-course yellow that flew during the opening laps of the race. Cleanup from the incident took nearly 20 minutes, with only nine minutes of action remaining when the field returned to green.

At the restart, James Sofronas was unable to match Todd for the Pro/Am class lead, but maintained a gap to the rest of the pack to easily finish second in the No. 204 Porsche. The battle for third-in-class, however, was yet to be settled.

Kayden Kelly held the position, but in his efforts to pass Dmitri Novikov’s 992 GT3 Cup Am car just ahead for a spot on the overall podium, he opened the door for Jake Pedersen to pass by on the final lap and steal third in Pro/Am.

Novikov ultimately held on to finish third overall and first in the Am class, with Peter Ludwig and Kyle Washington following suit in their 992 GT3 Cup cars.

In the 991 GT3 Cup class, Jim Walsh started from the lead in the No. 196 Porsche, but dropped to second behind eventual winner Casey Dennis in the No. 174. John McInnes snuck in to finish third, after Michael Zuieback held the spot at the start of the race.

Race 2:

On Saturday afternoon for Race 2, Todd faced much stiffer pressure from Sofronas, but ultimately collected his fifth consecutive win dating back to the season opener at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch. After initially starting third behind Kelly, Sofronas quickly made a pass for second before going door-to-door with Todd on several occasions until the latter began to pull away.

“I could not be more pleased with the results from the weekend, it was a dream,” said Todd. “The team really rose to the requirements that Utah threw at us in terms of both conditions like the heat and any issues we had with our customers cars. I cannot thank BR Racing and the crew enough for all their hard work to make something like this happen.

“Coming off the tight races at Sonoma, I knew that James would really be bringing the pressure to me and the series, and he did not let us down. He truly kept me honest through both races. Having someone like James in this series truly speaks to the caliber of what USAC has built in partnership with Porsche and Yokohama and where they are going.

“Together with James, I hope to continue to raise the level of the series and get more drivers involved that have been considering joining.”

Jake Pedersen once again rounded out the Pro/Am podium, passing Kelly for third with just over 10 minutes to go, but running with too far of a gap from the leaders to advance further.

Dmitri Novikov and Peter Ludwig dueled again for the Am class victory, with the latter leading the majority of the race until Novikov made a pass in the closing minutes to sweep the weekend.

After finishing third in Race 1, Kyle Washington fell victim to a mid-race incident while trying to pass a slower car that took him out of contention and allowed Laura Ely to score her first podium of the weekend.

Both 991 GT3 Cup class victories went to Casey Dennis and RWE Racing on Saturday. After finishing second earlier in the day, Jim Walsh was another competitor out of contention for a second trophy after being collected in a multi-car incident on Lap 1.

Zuieback then reclaimed a spot on the 991 podium by finishing second, with Mark Nelson rounding out in third.

The Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport field was represented this weekend by both Matthew Paige, winning in the No. 22 BR Racing Pro/Am entry and Race 1’s Yokohama Apex Award, and Michael Gaulke, winning the Am category with the No. 99 Competition Motorsports Porsche.

RESULTS: Race 1/Race 2

Road America hosts the next round for Porsche Sprint Challenge, reuniting the North American series’ GT3 Cup and Cayman GT4 Clubsport fields following a GT3 Cup-only round earlier this month at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The weekend will take place on Aug. 11-3, with the next event for USA West scheduled for Aug. 25-27, as part of a joint weekend with its sister series at Circuit of The Americas.

All Porsche Sprint Challenge North America by Yokohama races stream live on FloSports, in addition to the series’ YouTube channel. More information can also be found at www.porschesprint.com and on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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