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Aschenbach Takes GTS Race 2 at Sonoma

Lawson Aschenbach wrapped up 2017 with a win at Sonoma…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Lawson Aschenbach capped off his Pirelli World Challenge GTS Championship season with a win in Race 2 which was marred by two heavy accidents.

Aschenbach jumped to second from third on the grid with a great launch on the standing start in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, then took the lead with a power move to the inside of Ian James’ Panoz Avezzano GT on the restart following the race’s first caution.

Once in the lead, Aschenbach checked out on the field and had the race well in hand when his teammate Tony Gaples’ hard crash triggered a red flag and the end of the race.

It was Aschenbach’s second win of the season that saw him finish outside the top-five just twice in 18 starts.

Ian James settled for second, while Rodrigo Baptista completed the podium in the No. 3 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.

Gaples was the GTSA class-leader before the accident, which was triggered by contact from the No. 007 Aston Martin Vantage GT4 of GTSA competitor Derek DeBoer in the esses.

His Camaro made hard contact with the concrete barrier, momentarily going airborne, but Gaples was able to walk to the ambulance under his own power before being transported to a local hospital for further observation.

The first accident of the race occurred just before halfway when Bob Michaelian in the No. 45 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 spun into the wall after contact exiting Turn 11.

The impact with the wall was heavy enough to move the concrete barriers and necessitated a lengthy cleanup. Michaelian walked to the ambulance under his own power and was checked and released by track medical staff.

The final GTSA results were not released pending official review, but Gaples was the class leader for the last completed lap.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based broadcaster and reporter. In addition to his work covering primarily domestic sports car racing for Sportscar365, he is the lead announcer for SRO America's TV coverage as well as a pit reporter for IndyCar Radio. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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