Metni Wraps Up Platinum Masters Title with Class Win;
Edge Breaks Through in Gold Cup Thriller
Riley Dickinson took advantage of a great jump when the green flag dropped on this morning’s penultimate round of the 2020 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season and went on to lead every lap en route to victory Friday morning at Sebring International Raceway.
Driving the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup machine, Dickinson pulled comfortably into the lead from his second-place starting position going into Turn 1 ahead of polesitter and Platinum Cup points leader Jeff Kingsley. From there, the 18-year-old Texan set sail, cruising to a 14.469-second victory over Kingsley.
“I think all-around, it was a team win once again,” said Dickinson, who earned his fourth victory of the season. “Moorespeed delivered a great car for me to go execute with. It was definitely a team win for sure. I can’t thank my guys enough. Overall, we’re certainly going to be pushing for the second race so we’re going to quickly digest this one and get back to the trailer, go over the data and go for the second one.”
With the victory, Dickinson staved off elimination in the Platinum Cup championship standings heading into this afternoon’s season finale. However, Kingsley’s second-place run in the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche left him with a 28-point lead, and the Canadian will wrap up the title for current-generation 911 GT3 Cup machines by starting this afternoon’s race.
Speaking of championships, Alan Metni clinched his third consecutive Platinum Masters championship for drivers 45 years of age and over with his 10th class victory of the season aboard the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche. Metni also finished third overall in the Platinum Cup class after fighting past Sean McAlister in the No. 11 JDX Racing Porsche midway through the race.
Metni’s victory coupled with an eighth-place Platinum Masters class result for Charlie Luck in the No. 45 Wright Motorsports entry gave Metni an insurmountable, 39-point advantage.
“It’s been great to be able to do what we love during these times that are so challenging for so many people,” Metni said. “I want to thank everybody at IMSA and at Porsche for working hard to figure out how to make this possible and how to make it safe. I want to thank my family for giving me the time and the space to do this, and I want to thank my crew and the whole team at Kelly-Moss for supporting me throughout the entire year.”
Michael Mennella came home second in Platinum Masters in the No. 4 MCR Racing Porsche, with Frank Raso completing the Masters podium with a third-place showing aboard the No. 57 Topp Racing entry.
Another Platinum Masters racer, Vernon McClure in the No. 10 TPC Racing Porsche, took home the Yokohama Hard Charger Award as the Platinum Cup driver who improved the most overall positions from start to finish in Race 1. McClure finished fourth in the Platinum Masters class and ninth overall after rolling off the grid from the 15th position.
Whereas the battles for Platinum and Platinum Masters were decided early in the 45-minute race, that wasn’t the case in Gold Cup for 911 GT3 Cup machines built between 2014 and 2016. That battle for victory between Richard Edge in the No. 18 ACI Motorsports entry and Efrin Castro in the No. 65 machine waged for much of the second half of the race.
Just after receiving the white flag, Edge claimed the lead from Castro when the No. 65 machine slid wide in Turn 1. Castro battled back to momentarily pull ahead coming out of the Turn 7 hairpin, but Edge finally claimed the position – albeit not without some door banging – in Turn 10 and went on to secure the victory. It was Edge’s first win in the series.
“It was great,” Edge said. “I mean, ACI set me up with a great car. I had a blast out there. I knew I had decent pace with Efrin Castro, so I just decided to hang in there, hit my marks and then wait for my opportunity. He started to make a couple of small mistakes and then when I saw an opportunity late in the race, I just took it into Turn 1 and then it all worked out. I’m super happy, it was a lot of fun, but it was a team effort.”
Castro wound up second, with Curt Swearingin – Edge’s teammate – taking third after employing a conservative approach with his Gold Cup championship lead in Race 1. Swearingin pulled his No. 44 ACI Motorsports Porsche into the pits at the end of the first lap and came out of Race 1 with a 16-point lead. He too will wrap up the Gold Cup title simply by taking the green flag this afternoon.