Blackdog Speed Shop’s Lawson Aschenbach used a great start to move up to the lead from third on the grid in his Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. From there, no one could catch him as he pulled out to a 12-second lead and held on for his third GTS Sprint win of 2018.
Naturally, the veteran racer was quite pleased to spend Victoria Day weekend in Ontario.
“I love this place,” Aschenbach said. “It’s a pleasure to come here because there’s so much history here. The track really suits our car. I’ve qualified and raced here in the rain multiple times, so I was really confident going into the qualifying. But I just couldn’t quite get the grip level I needed out of my car. Going into the race, my engineer made a really good call to change the setup quite a bit from yesterday and we thought the track conditions were going to be quite different and he was spot-on.”
Once Aschenbach got the lead, he was able to pull away by roughly one second a lap on the rest of the field. Meanwhile, pole sitter Ian James was right in a middle of a four-way battle for second with PF Racing’s Jade Buford, GMG Racing’s James Sofronas and 74 Ranch Racing teammates Shane Lewis and Gar Robinson.
Sofronas was able to get past James for second and Buford took third as well. Later in the race, James was able to get Buford back and went to work on Sofronas. With a couple of laps to go, James executed a bump n’ run on Sofronas at Moss Corner to retake second. That move drew the ire of the stewards, who forced James to give the spot back to Sofronas on the final lap.
Aschenbach was able to back off late and claimed victory by 7.73 seconds. The main issue with the penalty imposed on James late was that Sofronas was not right behind him after the bump. He had dropped back to fifth. So, on the final lap, James pulled over and dropped back. That move allowed Buford to move up to a second-place finish. Lewis rounded out the podium in third. Sofronas was fourth, while James ended up fifth.
In GTA, 56-year old Mark Klenin led handily for much of the race in his McLaren 570S GT4. However, the star of the class was Fred Roberts in the No. 89 JCR Motorsports Maserati. Roberts used familiarity with the 2.459-mile circuit to move up to second in class. After dispatching of GTS contender Harry Gottsacker, Roberts ran down Klenin on the final lap. Exiting the final turn, Roberts made his move to the inside, but Klenin just held on for his second career victory.
Klenin, who finished seventh overall, finished just one-seventh of a second ahead of Roberts. Tony Gaples in the second Blackdog Speed Shop Camaro was third, followed by GTSA pole sitter Mike Hedlund. Roberts’ car owner/teammate Jeff Courtney was fifth.
In addition to dominating the race from start to finish, Aschenbach clocked the fastest lap of the race with a time of 83.841 seconds (105.586 mph). That lap will give Aschenbach the overall pole for Race No. 2. In GTSA, Roberts had the best lap in class with a time of 85.225 seconds (103.871 mph). That time was good enough to put him seventh on the grid.
GTS/GTSA Race No. 2 is scheduled to go green at 10:05 a.m. Sunday morning. The race will be streamed live at World-Challenge.com.