With 40 minutes remaining in Saturday’s Road America 120, the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge field was brought on to pit lane and the red flag displayed due to lightning in the area. While the conditions eventually improved, there was not enough time to complete full-course caution procedures and restart the race, so the checkered flag was displayed.
As a result, KohR Motorsports took home its third Grand Sport (GS) class win of the season in the No. 59 Ford Mustang driven by Dean Martin and Jack Roush, Jr.
“There is no real preparing for it,” said Roush about facing uncertain weather conditions. “You just have to go out there and take risks and make the best decisions you can in each moment and that’s all you can do.”
“Those rainy conditions, they’re never the same so you’ve just got to take what the weather brings you and hope for the best,” Martin added. “We’ve struggled a little bit because it’s a new car, it’s the first car that was built. We’ve had a few gremlins, but the teams worked really well to work everything out.
“The guys at Ford and the guys at Multimatic have been extremely helpful with that, very supportive and we think we’ve got everything sorted now. We would’ve liked to run the whole race and get another race distance done, but the team’s done great and we have a lot of support from Ford and Roush and Multimatic, so it’s been a good year.”
For the third consecutive race, Dillon Machavern and Dylan Murcott matched their best series finish of second-place in the No. 28 RS1 Porsche Cayman GT4 MR. Rounding out the podium was the No. 69 McLaren GT4 of Jesse Lazare and Chris Green for Motorsports In Action.
The red flag replaced the second full-course caution, caused by Charlie Putnam in the No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage stopping in the grass off-track as other teams were cycling through pit stops.
The race results did not favor those teams at the top of the GS championship standings.
Points leaders Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels were caught in eighth place in their No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 when the red flag emerged after the team had just completed its pit stop.
For Paul Holton and Matt Plumb, who entered the race second in the point standings, what began as a promising weekend turned to disappointment before the race started. The No. 76 C360R McLaren GT4 co-drivers were set to lead the field to green after Holton collected his third pole of the season earlier in the day, but the car did not make the pre-race grid and resorted to starting from the back of the pack.
The problems continued though as the car stopped on track during the warm up laps due to electrical issues. The team was unable to recover and finished 13th.
Mazda Records Second Straight 1-2 Sweep in Street Tuner
In the Street Tuner (ST) class, Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer in the No. 25 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5 recorded their second consecutive victory after winning from the pole at Lime Rock two weeks ago.
“I look back at this and I felt like it shows the strength of our ModSpace team,” said McCumbee. “We were average in every condition today. We were actually the best car in one condition, the drying condition, but we were a top-five car in the wet, a top-five car in the dry and maybe the best car in the drying stuff. The performance was there. I think we would’ve had to race our own tails off all the way to the finish if it stayed green or if the rain didn’t come.
“I think it’s a testament to how strong we have been over the last three years. Stevan and I have had some heartaches and we’ve had a lot of success. I feel like we could’ve won that championship last year and if things went a little different at the start of this year, I think we would’ve been right in the thick of it this year. We’ve had so much success together, it’s been a lot of fun and I think today just proves that rain or shine, no matter what condition, no matter what the good Lord throws at us, we’re right there and competitive so it’s pretty awesome.”
Freedom Autosport teammates Britt Casey, Jr. and Tom Long followed suit, finishing runner-up for the second consecutive race in the No. 27 Mazda MX-5. This is the first race for Long with the team after competing in the Prototype class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for the Mazda team, and the best finish of the season again for Casey.
Points leaders Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss found themselves back in the top three after a one-race hiatus at Lime Rock, making it the sixth of seven races this season they have landed on the podium.
The top four cars in class had yet to cycle through pit stops, putting Tyler Cooke in the No. 84 BMW 328i in fifth place after just taking over the car from polesitter and co-driver James Clay. Until the red flag, Clay led the majority of the race in ST and the yellow flag was brought out while the car was in the pits.
The Continental Tire Challenge next heads to VIRginia International Raceway for the Biscuitville Grand Prix on Saturday, Aug. 26.