Race Weekend Central

George Kurtz, Colin Braun Win NOLA GT World Challenge America Race No. 2

Crowdstrike Racing with Riley Motorsports’ George Kurtz won the race off of pit road Sunday (April 30) at NOLA Motorsports Park. From there on, he was able to hold on to win Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS Race No. 2 on the 2.748-mile road course for himself and teammate Colin Braun.

“It was an exciting race today,” Kurtz told SRO America’s Amanda Busick. “We had a rough day [Saturday], but we put it all together today. [Colin Braun] had a great drive, then it was ‘how many restart do we have to do?’ We’d get a gap, then [the caution would come out] and we’d have to build it up again.”

Crowdstrike Racing’s margin of victory was 2.669 seconds over BimmerWorld Racing’s Bill Auberlen and Chandler Hull. Rennsport One’s Eric Filguerias and Stevan McAleer were third, followed by The Racers Group’s Derek DeBoer and Valentin Hasse-Clot. Wright Motorsports’ Jan Heylen and Charlie Luck were fifth.

Hasse-Clot started from pole in his Aston Martin and got out to a quick lead. ST Racing’s John Edwards, who set the fastest lap overall during Race No. 1 on Saturday, quickly dispatched Heylen for second. Heylen was able to stay with Edwards after losing the spot, but was penalized for a start procedure violation that dropped him to the rear of the field.

Edwards began to challenge Hasse-Clot hard for the lead 20 minutes in. He was almost able to get alongside exiting turn 4. Edwards then went wide and nearly lost second to Braun.

Eventually, the margin between Hasse-Clot and Edwards stabilized at a little more than a second. It remained as such until the mid-race pit stops.

Hasse-Clot chose to pit at the first possible opportunity for tires, fuel and to hand over to DeBoer. Edwards waited an additional lap, while Braun stayed out to the absolute last second.

The result of the pit stop sequence was that when Kurtz got in his Crowdstrike Mercedes, he inherited a lead of nearly 10 seconds over TR3 Racing’s Ziad Ghandour. Samantha Tan was right on his tail.

Tan was able to get past Ghandour for second, but was unable to make any real ground on Kurtz. Further back, Racers Edge Motorsports’ Ashton Harrison and Rennsport One’s Eric Filguerias ended up catching the DXDT Racing entries of teammates Jeff Burton and Scott Smithson.

The Mercedes AMG-GT3 log jam got Filguerias up to Harrison’s rear bumper. The time was right to attempt a move for the class lead in turn 6. However, contact was made and Harrison spun into the gravel trap to bring out the race’s first safety car period.

Harrison was able to get pulled out of the trap and was able to continue. The Racers Edge Acura ultimately finished two laps down in 16th.

The yellow cost Kurtz a 13-second lead and put Tan right on his tail for the restart with 21 minutes to go. Ultimately, Kurtz was able to get a good jump and drive off while Tan had to deal with DeBoer.

Conquest Racing’s Manny Franco spun into the turn 6 gravel with nine minutes to go. This set a three-lap sprint to the finish that proved chaotic.

Wright Motorsports’ Adam Adelson spun his Porsche into the grass after contact from DeBoer and nearly came back into traffic. While the car didn’t appear to be damaged, the radiators were chock full of grass and mud. Ultimately, Adelson ground to a halt with a lap and change to go. Ghandour was also spun out by Heylen.

Tan was still second at the start of the final lap, but she ran into transmission issues that resulted in her BMW slowing significantly. She would ultimately finish 13th while Kurtz took the win.

Braun and Kurtz won the Pro-Am class by 4.901 seconds over DeBoer and Hasse-Clot. Heylen and Luck were third, then Esses Racing’s Adam Carroll and Will Hardeman. DXDT Racing’s Jeff Burton and Corey Lewis were fifth.

In the Pro class, Racers Edge Motorsports’ Mario Farnbacher started on pole, but that was seventh overall. He then had contact on the first lap with ACI Motorsports’ Spencer Pumpelly. This booted Auberlen off the track and allowed McAleer to take the class lead.

Farnbacher ended up falling down to fourth in class, but still had a very quick Acura. He was able to slowly work his way back and took the class lead back from McAleer 28 minutes into the race.

After the pit stops, Harrison was able to maintain the lead over Filguerias, but just barely. Then came the contact.

Instead of assessing an in-race penalty, SRO America officials decided to review the incident after the race. As a result, Filguerias was able to take the class lead.

Once the green came back out, Filguerias was able to make a couple of passes to get up to fifth overall. However, the second yellow put Hull right on his tail.

On the final restart, Hull was able to sweep past Filguerias and take the Pro lead. From there, he was able to hold on to take the victory.

Auberlen and Hull’s margin of victory was .799 seconds over Filguerias and McAleer. MDK Motorsports’ Trenton Estep and Seth Lucas finished third.

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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