On Saturday afternoon, KohR Motorsports’ No. 59 Ford and Stevenson Motorsports’ No. 57 Chevrolet were the dominant teams for much of the Biscuitville Grand Prix. However, due to unusual circumstances, Rennsport One’s No. 28 Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR shared by Dillon Machavern and Dylan Murcott were able to sweep past to take their first overall victory.
The situation was set up when Mat Pombo had contact with Freedom Autosport’s Stevan McAleer and crashed in turn 1. As you can see below, Pombo broke threw the tire barrier to draw the race’s second full course yellow.
The yellow lasted for seven laps as the tire barrier was repaired. During that yellow, Machavern ran into the back of Robin Liddell, loosening the back bumper.
When the green came back out, the bumper immediately started coming loose. Such a situation means that the loose bumper acts as a parachute, slowing the Camaro GT4.R down. For most of the last 25 minutes of the race, the bumper was not fastened to the chassis. It was only being held up by a strap that Stevenson Motorsports had tied to the car prior to the race.
— Robin Liddell (@RobinLiddell) August 27, 2017
It looked like IMSA Officials were going to call Liddell in to remove the bumper, but they ultimately decided not to. Regardless, the loss of speed allowed Machavern to take the overall lead with just under 20 minutes to go. From there, Machavern pulled away to take the first overall win for Rennsport One in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge.
For Machavern, the goal for Saturday was simply to pad the points lead for himself and Murcott. Mission accomplished.
“Today was all about getting points,” Machavern said after the race. “I was just out there trying to run clean, consistent laps. It just so happened the RS1 guys gave us an incredibly fast car and it was super consistent on the Continental tires. It made my job really easy. This one really goes out to the RS1 boys.”
Early on, the battle was between KohR Motorsports’ Jack Roush Jr. and Stevenson Motorsports’ Matt Bell. The two drivers in American iron pulled away from the pack and attempted to settle things among themselves. Murcott was a solid third, a couple of seconds back.
Just shy of the halfway point, Rennsport One’s Aurora Straus went off into the grass exiting turn 10. Straus rejoined directly in front of the No. 52 MINI of Tyler Stone, fresh out of the pits. VOLT Racing’s Alan Brynjolfsson spun into the grass to avoid the incident and went hard into the tires to bring out the full course yellow.
Brynjolfsson was able to drive away, but made a tactical mistake in driving his Ford Mustang GT4 on the grass while trying to get back to the pits. That move destroyed the splitter and damaged the car more than it should have been.
The caution came out in the middle of pit stops for the Grand Sport teams. Bell had already pitted the No. 57 Camaro and handed over to Liddell. Roush was yet to stop and had to as soon as the pits opened. As a result, Liddell inherited the overall lead while the No. 59 dropped to fourth with team owner Dean Martin at the wheel.
Machavern’s margin of victory was 2.767 seconds over Bell and Liddell. However, that is a misnomer since Machavern was held up on the final lap by lapped traffic. Martin and Roush ended up third overall. C360R’s Matthew Keegan and Nico Rondet finished fourth, while Motorsports in Action’s Chris Green and Jesse Lazare were fifth.
In Street Tuner, Sarah Cattaneo got the jump on James Clay in her CRG-I Do Borrow Nissan at the start of the race, but was judged to have gone too early. As a result, Cattaneo had to give the position back. Once Clay had the lead back, he began to pull away.
Behind him, Freedom Autosport teammates Chad McCumbee and Tom Long were very quick in their Mazda MX-5s. McCumbee and Long were able to get into second and third and McCumbee was able to put the pressure on Clay for the lead.
Unlike the Grand Sport teams, Street Tuner teams could go the full distance on just one stop. The aforementioned full course yellow for Brynjolfsson’s crash resulted in those stops occurring under yellow. During the stops, CRG-I Do Borrow was able to get Owen Trinkler into the Nissan Altima Coupe and move up from third to second.
On the restart from the Brynjolfsson caution, Trinkler was able to make his move on BimmerWorld Racing’s Tyler Cooke for the class lead. Using the great restart pace, Trinkler was able to make the pass stick.
Over the last 25 minutes, Cooke tried his best to get back to Trinkler, but he could not prevent the small CRG-I Do Borrow team from taking their first win of the year.
Afterwards, Trinkler touted the small CRG-I Do Borrow operation.
“We’re such a little team and we’re so tight as a group,” Trinkler said in Victory Lane. “It’s so rewarding to get these wins when you’re such a small group. We just don’t have that big of a staff. That’s why you see the emotion in pit lane and Victory Lane.”
Clay and Cooke had to settle for second. That was more than enough for Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to win his bet with North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. As a result, a batch of North Carolina-produced peanuts and Cheerwine will be en route to Richmond. McCumbee and McAleer struggled in the second half of the race, finishing a lap down in 12th.
C360R’s Roy Block and Pierre Kleinubing finished third, the best run of the season for the Audi S3. JDC/Miller MotorSports’ Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson finished fourth, while BimmerWorld Racing’s No. 81 BMW of Ari Balogh and Greg Liefooghe were fifth.
The IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge will be back in action at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on Sep. 23 for four hours of racing on the 2.238-mile road course. The race will be streamed live on IMSA.com.
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