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(Photo: Phil Allaway)

Antonio Garcia Tops Wild VIR WeatherTech Practice No. 2

On Friday afternoon, Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia was fastest overall in the second WeatherTech SportsCar Championship practice session at VIRginia International Raceway.  Garcia’s lap of 101.323 seconds (116.183 mph) was a full second faster than what Tommy Milner turned during the first session.

Garcia’s lap was eight-hundredths of a second faster than BMW Team RLL’s John Edwards.  Dirk Müller was third quickest in the No. 66 Ford, followed by teammate Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford.  Risi Competizione’s Giancarlo Fisichella was fifth quickest.

Unlike the first practice session, practice No. 2 was filled with incidents.  No less than five different drivers spun off course.  None of these incidents drew red flags, but they did negatively affect the session.

First, Porsche GT Team’s Patrick Pilet spun at the Oak Tree Corner and hit the tires.  Pilet was able to back out of the barrier and drive back to the pits.  A quick check of the nose was all that was necessary.  A few minutes later, Fisichella spun at the same spot and continued.

Later on, SunEnergy1 Racing’s Kenny Habul spun in turn 5.  He did not hit anything and continued.

Towards the end of the session, the Oak Tree Corner claimed two more victims.  First, Alegra Motorsports’ Daniel Morad spun and backed into the tires before continuing.  Finally, Stevenson Motorsports’ Lawson Aschenbach slid off-course and nosed into the tires.  In Aschenbach’s case, there was some damage to the No. 57 Audi.  Not enough to seriously hamper the weekend, but enough that it required some extra work in the paddock.

Outside of racing, the big story this weekend is Hurricane Harvey making landfall on the Gulf Coast in Texas with 130 mph winds and heavy rains.  Riley Motorsports’ Ben Keating lives in Victoria, Tex. and owns a network of car dealerships that are right in the line of fire for the storm.  As of press time, Victoria is under a Hurricane Warning and is forecast to receive over 30 inches over the next few days.  Due to the situation, Keating has chosen to leave VIR in order to attend to his home and businesses.

Continental Tire SportsCar Championship veteran Trent Hindman has been tapped as Keating’s replacement in the No. 33 Mercedes-AMG GT3 for this weekend.  While Hindman does have a start this season for BAR1 Motorsports in the PC class, Sunday will mark his GT Daytona debut.

Despite next to no experience in GT3 equipment, Hindman appears to be acclimatizing himself to the Mercedes fairly well.  Hindman’s best lap was only seven-tenths of a second off of teammate Jeroen Bleekemolen.  Bleekemolen’s best lap put the No. 33 eighth in class.

For the second session in a row, Change Racing’s Jeroen Mul was fastest in class with a lap of 103.830 seconds (113.378 mph), roughly seven-eighths of a second faster than in the first session.  Mul’s time was a half-second faster than Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s No. 93 Acura for Andy Lally.

Prior to Aschenbach’s crash, Andrew Davis was third quickest in the Stevenson Audi, followed by CORE autosport’s Colin Braun in the fastest Porsche.  Jörg Bergmeister in the Park Place Porsche was fifth quickest.

Results of IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Michelin GT Challenge at VIR Practice No. 2

WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams have one more practice session Saturday prior to qualifying.  It is scheduled for 8:45 a.m. and will last for one hour.

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About Phil Allaway

Phil Allaway
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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