Winward Racing’s Daniel Morad was able to snatch the lead away Saturday (June 3) from Rennsport One’s Stevan McAleer with 34 minutes to go in turn 1. From there, Morad opened up a gap and held on claim victory in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Chevrolet Detroit Sports Car Classic with teammate Bryce Ward.
“From the first [practice] session, I knew that we had a rocket ship,” Morad told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns. “[The car] just did everything you’d want it to do on a street course. It stopped well, accelerated well, it really turned and carved the corners well. I’m honored to be a part of this organization.”
Morad and Ward’s margin of victory was 2.405 seconds over Rennsport One’s McAleer and Eric Filguerias. Thaze Competition’s Michael DiMeo and Marc Miller scored a third-place finish for the debuting Thaze Competition. CarBahn Motorsports with Peregrine Racing’s Sean McAlister and Jeff Westpahl were fourth in their Porsche, while Murillo Racing’s Eric Foss and Jeff Mosing came from 15th on the grid after Mosing brought out a red flag in qualifying to finish fifth.
NOLAsport’s Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer dealt with late overheating issues that dropped them to sixth, while Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak in the second Murillo Mercedes were seventh. BGB Motorsports’ Thomas Collingwood and Spencer Pumpelly were eighth despite late wall contact. Vin Barletta and Robby Foley were ninth, while Accelerating Performance’s Michael Cooper and Moisey Uretsky were 10th.
Turner Motorsport’s Cameron Lawrence started from pole in his BMW M4 GT4. It did not take long for Lawrence to open up a decent gap over Filguerias. Meanwhile, the rest of the field fought the track itself.
Ave Motorsports’ Alfredo Najri and TeamTGM’s Ted Giovanis both hit the wall in unrelated incidents 20 minutes into the race. While they were both able to get back to the pits, they were both effectively out on the spot.
Rory van der Steur ran as high as fourth in the early going, but ended up in the runoff early on in the race. He would drop back to 14th. Things would get much worse for the team later on.
The wildest moment of the race occurred during the pit stop sequence. Robert Megennis had taken over for Lawrence in the No. 95 BMW and had be ran up on the slower Aston Martin of van der Steur.
McCusker appeared to slow down for the turn 3 hairpin much earlier than Megennis. As a result, Megennis ran up on the Aston Martin with no way to avoid him. The result was this wild crash:
“I went into turn 3 on hot tires, hit the brakes where I normally do, but the closing rate on the Aston Martin was so much quicker than what I was used to,” Megennis told NBC Sports’ Dave Burns afterwards. “[Van der Steur] was going so much slower than I thought. I went to the inside and I guess he didn’t see me and turned in.
“I knew I was on top of [van der Steur]. I didn’t realize that I was that high.”
Despite this wild crash, both drivers were not only ok, but were able to drive their cars back to the pits. The race’s sole caution was thrown for the crash. Both drivers were done for the day.
The crash occurred before the pit stop sequence was complete, which shuffled the field. Murillo was leading at the time of the yellow, but had to pit and dropped to sixth.
McAleer ended up with the lead for the restart with a little less than 40 minutes to go with two lapped cars between himself and Miller. However, the man on the move was Morad.
Morad restarted fifth and got to third on the first lap after the restart. The next lap saw him dispatch of Miller in the hairpin. McAleer fought as hard as he could, but Morad took the lead within a couple of laps.
From there, Morad pulled away while McAleer and Miller fought for second. The lead was as high as four seconds before McAleer closed back up in the final laps, but no one could prevent Morad and Ward from taking their first win together.
The Grand Sport and TCR teams will be back in action June 24 at Watkins Glen International for the Tioga Downs Resort Casino 120. Frontstretch will be on-site in Watkins Glen to bring you all the action.
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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