Race Weekend Central

James Sofronas, Alex Welch Claim COTA GTS Race No. 2 Win

GMG Racing’s Alex Welch ran down and passed ST Racing’s Samantha Tan with nine minutes remaining on Sunday.  From there, Welch held on until a full course caution flew due to the spun Porsche of Orey Fidani.  The race ended under yellow, allowing Welch and teammate/team owner James Sofronas to coast to victory in GTS SprintX Race No. 2.  It is the first victory in the United States for the new Audi R8 LMS GT4.

“James [Sofronas] obviously put it in position so that I had a chance today,” Welch said after the race.  “I just put my head down and focused.  We knew where we were stronger.  Coming out of the corners, I had to dig a little deep and get down to second gear.  I never go down to second gear, but I got a run [on Tan].”

By virtue of the fastest lap in race No. 1 on Saturday, ST Racing’s Nick Wittmer started on pole with Classic BMW’s Stevan McAleer (who finished 24th on Saturday) alongside.  The two drivers staged a fierce duel for much of the early portions of the race in their BMWs.

A good pit stop allowed Tan (Wittmer’s teammate) to keep the lead with a four second advantage over McAleer’s teammate Justin Raphael.  Welch was giving chase further back.

A full course caution flew shortly after the stops due to Racers Edge Motorsports’ Mark Pavan stalling on course.  That closed up the gaps and allowed Welch to close up on the leaders.  On the restart, he was able to get by Raphael for second.  Tan did her best to hold off Welch, but she was overtaken two laps later.

Raphael was able to follow Welch past and finish second, followed by Tan and Wittmer.  Harry Gottsacker in the No. 69 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4 had to charge through the pack, but managed to bring it home in fourth.  Compass Racing’s Paul Holton and Ray Mason finished fifth in their McLaren.

In the Amateur subdivision, Stephen Cameron Racing’s Greg Liefooghe started on pole (fourth overall) and led early.  After the stops, it was ST Racing’s Aurora Straus who clearly came to play.  The 19-year old racer moved up from 13th overall all the way to sixth.

The sixth-place finish was good enough to give Straus and teammate Al Carter the Amateur division victory.  Saturday’s winner Drew Staveley was second, followed by Classic BMW’s Toby Grahovec and Chris Ohmacht.  Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Mike Hedlund came from 36th on the grid to finish 11th overall (fourth in Am), while The Racers Group’s Derek DeBoer and Sean Gibbons rounded out the top five.


Originally, the GTS teams were going to be off for a month until the next SprintX weekend at VIRginia International Raceway.  However, due to low car count, a GTS invitational has been added to Long Beach.  The Long Beach race on April 15 will not count for points.

About the author

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 the Super DIRTcar Series.

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