(Photo: Phil Allaway)

Dean Martin, Jack Roush Jr. Win Lightning-Shortened Road America 120

For KohR Motorsports’ Dean Martin and Jack Roush Jr., they must be quite pleased when the electricity flows through the air.  At Watkins Glen, they claimed their first win of the year in a race hampered by a red flag for lightning and heavy rains.  Sunday was more of the same.

The KohR Motorsports No. 59 Ford Mustang for Martin and Roush were in the lead when the red flag was displayed due to lightning with 47 minutes remaining in the two-hour race.  The race was never resumed.  32 minutes later, the checkered flag was displayed, giving Martin and Roush their second victory of the season.

Afterwards, Roush, who did the vast majority of the driving, was quite happy with his afternoon.

“Dean and the team did a tremendous amount of work, getting the car ready for this race,” Roush stated afterwards.  “We started in very transitional conditions. It’s always kind of a challenge, as a driver, trying to find where the grip is as it’s constantly changing. You’re also trying to decide which tires to choose. The Continental tires came up to temp really well and we were just able to find more and more time out there. It was a blast.”

Paul Holton may have won the pole on Friday, but he did not start the race up front.  The C360R team discovered a suspension issue on the No. 76 McLaren after qualifying and started the race from the pit lane.  That move effectively gave Rennsport One’s Dylan Murcott the pole.  When the green first came out, it did so in dicey conditions.  Rain was falling while most of the field was on slick tires.

Heck, Holton technically didn’t even take the green before he got off course at turn 14.  He would eventually finish 13th in class.  On the first lap, VOLT Racing’s Alan Brynjolfsson crashed to draw the full course caution.

Brynjolfsson loves the rawness of the Ford Mustang as opposed to the McLaren 570S GT4 that he started the season with.  However, it looks like the rawness caught him out.  The crash put him out for the day.

After the restart, Murcott and Roush opened up a gap on the field.  Despite the speed advantage over the rest of the field that Murcott possessed, it did not take long for Roush to run him down.  On lap 7, Roush passed Murcott for the overall lead and began to pull away from the pack.

Roush gradually built the lead in mixed conditions up to over 12 seconds.  Thanks to those mixed conditions, everyone was able to stretch their fuel to near the halfway point of the race.  Roush stopped on lap 23 and got out in favor of Martin.  Once the round of stops ended, Martin ended up with a big lead.

Shortly after the stops, the full course yellow flew due to lightning being spotted within eight miles of the track.  That eventually became a red flag after two laps behind the pace car.

At the time of the stoppage, Müehlner Motorsports America’s No. 21 Porsche for Moritz Kranz and Gabriele Piana were second overall.  However, they were penalized for passing under yellow prior to the red flag and dropped to ninth in class.

As a result, Murcott and teammate Dillon Machavern ended up second.  Motorsports in America’s Chris Green and Jesse Lazare were third, followed by Stevenson Motorsports’ Matt Bell and Robin Liddell.  C360R’s Matthew Keegan and Nico Rondet.

In Street Tuner, BimmerWorld Racing’s James Clay started from the pole and held the advantage on the first lap.  After the restart from Brynjolfsson’s crash, MINI Team JCW’s Chris Miller was able to put the moves on Clay and take the class lead.  That lead was short-lived.  Miller spun out of the lead after only holding the advantage for two laps, allowing Clay to retake the lead.

Once back out front, Clay had to hold off a wolfpack at first.  MINI JCW Team’s Derek Jones was in hot pursuit, followed by Murillo Racing’s Jeff Mosing and Freedom Autosport teammates Chad McCumbee and Tom Long.

Ultimately, pit strategy determined the race.  If you pitted, you lost.

Clay brought the No. 84 BMW to the pit lane with 57 minutes remaining for their sole pit stop.  Tyler Cooke got in the car at that point.  Clay’s stop gave the lead to McCumbee.  McCumbee needed to make a stop, but before he could, the caution flew.  Shortly afterwards, the red came out for lightning.

With the race not resuming post-red flag, McCumbee and teammate Stevan McAleer (who never got in the car) claimed the class victory.  It is their second class victory in a row.  Given the unusual circumstances of the race, points will be awarded to both drivers regardless of drive time.

Just like at Lime Rock, Freedom Autosport’s No. 27 of Long and Britt Casey Jr. were second.  Murillo Racing’s Eric Foss and Mosing were third in class, followed by Rennsport One’s Nick Galante and Spencer Pumpelly.  MINI’s Jones and Mat Pombo were fifth.

Unofficial Results of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Road America 120

IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge teams will be back in action next at VIRginia International Raceway.  The Biscuitville Grand Prix is scheduled for Aug. 26.

 

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Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.

Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as Tony Stewart's Arctic Cat All Star Circuit of Champions.

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