The second Pirelli GT4 America Sprint race of the weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park Sunday (May 19) was not quite as exciting as Saturday’s. The Racers Group’s Spencer Pumpelly regained the lead early after losing it on the first lap and held on to take his second win of 2019.
“This was a tough day. It’s nearly a flag-to-flag win, but I’ve never worked that hard for a flag-to-flag win before,” Pumpelly said after the race. “I had a different guy in my mirror every lap. Any time I made the tiniest bobble, Jarret [Andretti] would be there.”
By virtue of clocking the fastest lap of Saturday’s race, Pumpelly earned the pole position. The race seemed to start off as a continuation of Saturday’s race as Nicolai Elghanayan was able to get pass Pumpelly using the outside line in Turn 1 to take the lead.
The KTM X-Bow GT4 has a lot of good qualities. Grunt is not one of them. A couple of laps later, Pumpelly was able to use the extra power on tap in his Porsche to drive past Elghanayan on the Mario Andretti Straightaway to regain the lead. Unlike Saturday, Pumpelly brought additional help with him as Gar Robinson also followed past in his Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R.
Elghanayan continued to drop down the order as he simply could not keep his momentum up. He would eventually drop as far as ninth before recovering to finish seventh.
Unlike Saturday, Pumpelly was unable to get away from the pack. For a while, Robinson stayed right on his back bumper. Later on, it was the McLaren of Blackdog Speed Shop’s Michael Cooper that put the pressure on.
Ultimately, as Pumpelly noted above, his biggest challenge on this day would come from Jarret Andretti. The son of former racer John Andretti, Jarret was able to move into second overall, then put the pressure on Pumpelly for the lead. On Lap 28, Jarret made a move for the lead at the end of the Mario Andretti Straightaway. For a couple of turns, the No. 18 McLaren was in the lead. However, Pumpelly was able to pull back in front.
As the race continued on, the tires began to go off on Jarret’s McLaren. That allowed Cooper and Team Panoz Racing’s Ian James back into the hunt. None of them could prevent Pumpelly from getting back on the top step of the podium.
On the final lap of race, Jarret’s McLaren stumbled exiting Turn 3. The reasoning for the stumble is somewhat unclear (Jarret was rather cagey when asked about it after the race, but noted that it was not a new issue), but it cost Jarret a number of spot.
Jarret’s misfortune elevated Cooper to a second-place finish, 1.471 seconds behind Pumpelly. James was third, while KohR Motorsports’ Nate Stacy came from the very back of the pack in his Ford Mustang GT4 to finish fourth without the aid of a caution. Jarret ended up fifth.
Despite the last-lap issue that dropped him out of second overall, Jarret still managed to take the Am victory, having led flag-to-flag. Ian Lacy Racing’s Drew Staveley was second, 9.738 seconds back in his Ford. Tony Gaples was third in the second Blackdog Speed Shop McLaren.
The Pirelli GT4 America Sprint teams will be off through the entire month of June. The next time that they are scheduled to race will be in July at Portland International Raceway.