Ford Captures Continental Tire Challenge Grand Sport Championship

Multimatic’s Maxwell, Johnson Win At Road AtlantaRS1 Porsche Takes Comeback ST Title With Galante, PumpellyBilly Johnson took the lead in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C with 13 minutes remaining and went on to win Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season-ending Road Atlanta 150 – giving Ford a sweep of the driver, team and manufacturer championships in the process.Scott Maxwell – who won his sixth TOTAL Pole Award of the season in Thursday’s qualifying – wrapped up the individual titles by meeting the minimum 45 minutes driving time needed to score points. Multimatic Motorsports took its third team championship by starting the race. Johnson then put an exclamation point to the season by locking down Ford’s fourth manufacturer’s crown in the closing minutes with the team’s sixth win in 10 races.“It was the longest 45 minutes of my life,” Maxwell said “The car was fine, it was just about going around and not get into trouble or anything. It was all going to plan and then the yellow came out [at the 23-minute mark]. We stayed out knowing that I was coming in at 46 minutes. Then I was just a sitting duck out there when everyone came out on sticker tires. So it was kind of scary for me for a bit.”Mired in the pack after the pit stop, Johnson found himself back in contention when the second and final caution waved at the one-hour, four-minute mark.“We got on the same page with the rest of the field making one more stop,” said Johnson, who scored his series-leading 23rd career victory and first championship. “We got all four new tires. That was absolutely the perfect call. Just like all year, we made the right strategy call and we came away with the win. There were a lot of stressful moments during the race, but to come away and win the race and win the championships for teams and manufacturers, this is such a great day.”Marc Miller placed second in the No. 33 CJ Wilson Racing ONE Capital Management/ Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport started by Danny Burkett, 4.668 seconds behind.Charles Espenlaub and Charles Putman finished third in the No. 09 Automatic Racing Invisible Glass/Rogue Engineering Aston Martin Vantage. Espenlaub led twice for five laps and was running in position to deny Ford the manufacturer’s crown with 30 minutes remaining before Johnson’s late charge.Galante, Pumpelly Win ST Title In RS1 Porsche In Dramatic FashionKnowing that winning the Street Tuner (ST) championship was out of their hands due to having an eight-point deficit in the standings, Nick Galante and Spencer Pumpelly concentrated on putting the No. 17 RS1 Legistics/ Porsche Cayman at the front of the field – which Pumpelly accomplished with 30 minutes remaining.At that point, Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer were in position to defend their championship, before the No. 25 Freedom Autosport ModSpace Mazda MX-5 dramatically slowed with 18 minutes remaining – allowing Galante and Pumpelly to claim their first career titles.“We came here knowing the championship would be a little out of our hands, so we came here trying to do the best we could,” Pumpelly said. “We figured if we won and the 25 car was fifth or worst it would be ours. “It was just a matter of being patient with the tires and letting the guys come back to us. We figured we could just win the race and that would be that. I certainly wanted to win my first championship in 20-some years of doing this, but it’s unfortunate for the 25 car – they’ve been our greatest competition all year. But I can really enjoy this win and the championship.”Ryan Eversley finished second in the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si started by Chad Gilsinger, 11.310 seconds behind. Connor Bloum gave the No. 19 RS1 Zero Lag Communications/Intervision Porsche Cayman started by Greg Strelzoff its second consecutive third-place finish on the final lap.Mat Pombo and Derek Jones lost third position on the final lap in the No. 73 MINI USA MINI JCW. Pombo finished fifth, also passed by his brother Mark Pombo on the closing lap. Pombo was driving the No. 37 Hire Heroes USA MINI JCW started by Nate Norenberg that was crewed by four U.S. military veterans.View full results via Al Kamel Systems at Results.IMSA.comNOTEBOOKMaxwell and Johnson ended the year with 330 points, followed in the GS standings by Burkett and Miller, 296. In ST, Galante and Miller won over Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing, 268-256, with Gilsinger third with 253 points.“Freedom Autosport did a great job all season, but unfortunately, it blew up,” said McAleer, who fell to fourth in the final standings following the 21st-place finish. “We had warning going forward – there were a couple of stumbles coming out of pit road. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this before, and it turned out to be the same thing. The Mazda’s so highly strung here. We’re very disappointed. This is a big loss for us.”McCumbee revealed after his stint that he drove with a broken left arm, suffered last week while working on a car at his shop.“Driving was tough – it was a lot different experience doing it with one hand,” McCumbee said. “We knew what we had to accomplish today, and that was how my whole stint went. I didn’t want to push the issue early, I wanted to settle back and then pick off positions. It’s been a dominant year minus these couple of issues. Unfortunately, that’s part of the game we play.”The No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America H&R Special Springs Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport driven by Peter Ludwig and Jeroen Bleekemolen was withdrawn from the event following an incident in Thursday’s GS qualifying that resulted in extensive left-side damage. Also withdrawn after a qualifying incident was the No. 54 JCD-Miller Motorsports Universal Coating BMW 228i of Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson.The 2016 Continental Tire Championship titlists were honored Friday evening at the Chateau Elan Resort and Winery in Braselton.The Road Atlanta 150 will be televised on FS1 at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 9.