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Utah Saturday Notebook

John Dagys’ Saturday notebook from Utah Motorsports Campus…

Photo: Brian Cleary/

Photo: Brian Cleary/

***Alvaro Parente’s GT championship quest took a dramatic twist in Saturday’s Race 1 when contact between he and title rival Michael Cooper took the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3 out of the race on Lap 2. Damage to the car prevented the Portuguese driver from rejoining the race, and thus will start Sunday’s Race 2 from the rear of the field after not recording a representative lap time in Race 1.

***Patrick Long, who entered the race at a 102-point deficit to Parente, has closed the gap to only 12 points entering the the 17th round of the season. Long’s former teammate, Michael Lewis, will start from the pole, thanks to setting fastest lap in Race 1.

***Bryan Heitkotter’s overall win in Sprint Race 1 was Nissan’s first since Road America in 2015 when James Davison scored top honors in Race 3. It also marked the inaugural Nissan GT Academy USA winner’s first major win in professional racing, five years after winning the gamer-to-racer competition.

***The cause of the handling issue that hampered Kuno Wittmer’s closing stint in the No. 46 Mills Racing BMW Z4 GT3 in the SprintX race has yet to be identified. Team owner/driver Michael Mills told Sportscar365 that it could have come due to an imbalance after electing to change the right-front tire during the pit stop.

***Jorge De La Torre served as the grand marshal for Saturday’s Sprint Race 1, having given the command to start engines. De La Torre has returned to the PWC paddock for the first time since his serious accident at Lime Rock Park in May.

***DIME Racing could debut the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the next PWC round at Sonoma, according to team owner Rod Shegem. The team’s No. 66 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 of Frankie Montecalvo is back this weekend after missing Mid-Ohio due to car prep. A new SLS tub for Montecalvo is expected for Sonoma as well.

***Patrick Long is expected to miss the FIA World Endurance Championship race at Circuit of The Americas next month for the PWC Sonoma round, which is on the same weekend. The PWC title contender missed the WEC season-opener at Silverstone for the PWC round at Long Beach.

***GTS team owners met with series officials on Friday evening to discuss the future direction of the class and championship. A similar meeting was held for GT team owners at Mid-Ohio.

***PWC has yet to officially confirm its 2017 schedule and format, with a formal announcement expected during the next event at Sonoma.

***While not fielding a car this weekend, C360R is poised to return to full-time GTS competition next year. Karl Thomson told Sportscar365 they are planning at least one entry, depending on the availability of Ford’s new GT4-spec Mustang. SprintX is also being considered. The team could also field cars in TC.

***Blackdog Speed Shop, meanwhile, is expected to continue in GTS next year, although potentially also with a new car. Rumors have persisted of a Camaro GT4 currently being under development. “We sure hope that’s where we’re headed,” team owner Tony Gaples told Sportscar365. “We would love to stick with Chevrolet and are very happy with them.”

***Former Mazda motorsports and Dempsey Racing executive Jim Jordan has joined PWC in a competition/future development role for the TC classes. Jordan, who officially started his new position this weekend, has already been working behind the scenes with the series for the last two months.

***GT Cup championship contender Sloan Urry, of Park City, Utah, is hosting more than 500 guests this weekend for his two primary sponsors, SecurityNational Mortgage and AVASIS. Urry claimed class victory on Saturday, breaking Alec Udell’s five-race win streak.

***The PWC GT/GTA/GT Cup race was preceded by the first Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA race of the weekend. The series is an all-Porsche championship utilizing both the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car and Porsche Cayman Clubsport GT4s.

***Dino Crescentini took his fourth Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA of the season with a flag to flag run up front in the No. 34. Crescentini Racing Porsche 911. Scoring a podium result in her final weekend of racing was Air Power Racing’s Desire Wilson in second place, with championship points leader Robert Todd taking third in his No. 52 BR Racing Porsche 911.

***The pole-sitter’s time for Race 1 (Dino Crescentini; 1:53.773) would have put him third on the PWC GT Cup class grid. Both championships utilize the same specification Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.

***Watch tomorrow’s second and final GT/GTA/GT Cup Sprint race of the weekend at 4:30 p.m. ET, live on MotorTrend on Demand and The SprintX race is set for 7 p.m. ET. Highlights of the races will be aired on CBS Sports Network on Aug. 21 at 2 p.m. ET (Sprint GT), Aug. 21 at 4 pm. ET (GTS) and Aug. 25 at 9 p..m. ET (SprintX).

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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