Crowdstrike Racing with Riley Motorsports’ George Kurtz took the overall lead Saturday (May 20) on the second lap of the race in turn 15. From there, he drove away from the field to win GT America powered by AWS Race No. 1 at Circuit of the Americas.
SKI Autosports’ Johnny O’Connell won the pole in moist conditions Saturday morning and led the field to green in his Ferrari 458 GT3. However, he had Kurtz right on his tail.
It didn’t take Kurtz long to make the move to take the lead away. Once out front, Kurtz was able to pull away.
O’Connell was still running quite competitively until he was hit in turn 19 by Daskalos while racing for third. O’Connell spun out and was joined by Wright Motorsports’ Adam Adelson. The incident was judged to be a racing incident, so no penalty was accessed. O’Connell would eventually finish sixth.
Points leader Memo Gidley was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop in the opening laps that dropped him to the rear of the field. He spent the rest of the 40-minute race playing catchup. He would eventually finish 11th.
Daskalos eventually ran down and passed Sofronas for second. He tried to run away from the pack to try to get to Kurtz, but that just wasn’t in the cards. However, he was able to slightly distance himself from Sofronas, Treffert and Bartone.
On the final lap, Treffert attempted a move for third on Sofronas in turn 20. Sofronas was able to hold on, while a slight loss of momentum was all Bartone needed to take away fourth at the line.
In GT4, Chouest-Povoledo Racing’s Ross Chouest won the class pole in his Aston Martin and led early. However, Jason Bell in the similar Aston Martin from Flying Lizard Motorsports was able to get past in the opening laps. From there, Bell, who was fastest in practice Friday, was able to open up a decent advantage.
Elias Sabo in the second Flying Lizard Aston Martin was running and eager to complete an Aston Martin podium sweep. However, he spun out in turn 12 just after halfway and fell down the order.
Bell had an eight-second lead and looked good for victory until he locked up his brakes going up the hill to turn 1 with two laps to go. He ended up in the runoff area and got his car restarted, but not before Chouest was able to drive back into the lead.
From there, Chouest was able to hold on to take his first GT America class win of the win. Bell ended up second.
On the final lap, Sabo and Rotek Racing’s Robb Holland came together in turn 15, resulting in Sabo spinning out for a second time. Holland finished third on the road, but was penalized for avoidable contact. As a result, The Heart of Racing’s Gray Newell was credited with third, followed by Blackdog Speed Shop’s Tony Gaples. Sabo ended up fifth.
By virtue of setting the fastest lap of the day, Kurtz will start Race No. 2 on Sunday from the overall pole. Sabo will start on the GT4 pole. Race No. 2 is scheduled to go green at 9:40 a.m. ET Sunday morning and will be streamed live on the GT World YouTube channel.
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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