Random Vandals Racing’s Kenton Koch was able to sweep around the outside of AutoTechnic Racing’s John Capestro-Dubets to take the lead with 12 minutes to go. From there, Koch was able to hold on to win PirellI GT4 America SprintX Race No. 1 at VIRginia International Raceway with teammate Kevin Boehm.
For Koch, the win is his second in less than 90 minutes. Earlier in the day, he won the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS race for TR3 Racing with Daniel Morad.
“This is a good day [in my career],” Koch told SRO America’s Amanda Busick. “[John Capestro-Dubets] is probably the hardest guy to pass ever. He blocks down the inside like nobody’s business, so I had to find another way around him. I guess I rode the rim a little bit. Man, that was an awesome race.”
The margin of victory was .262 seconds over Capestro-Dubets and Zac Anderson. BimmerWorld Racing’s Tyler McQuarrie and James Walker Jr. were third, followed by teammates James Clay and Charlie Postins. NOLAsport’s Jason Hart and Matt Travis were fifth.
In the Silver class, Koch and Boehm defeated Anderson and Capestro-Dubets. STR38 Motorsports’ Harry Gottsacker and Chandler Hull were third after starting at the rear of the field. Copeland Motorsports’ Tyler Gonzalez and Tyler Maxson were fourth in their Supra, while NOLAsport’s Andrew Davis and Francis Selldorff were fifth.
Anderson started on pole after a penalty moved Hanley Motorsports’ Daniel Hanley to the rear of the field. Early on, Anderson had to do battle with Boehm, but was able to hold him off.
The BMW M4 GT4 appeared to be the car to have as six of the first seven cars overall after 15 minutes were the new G82 M4s. Conquest Racing’s Jesse Webb was the sole exception to the rule.
Anderson was able to hold onto a small advantage all the way to the mid-race pit stops over Boehm. However, while Capestro-Dubets was getting into the No. 51 BMW, the AutoTechnic Racing team popped the hood and appeared to add brake fluid.
Despite adding the fluid, the team did not lose any time as they were bound to a 70-second pit lane delta. Capestro-Dubets exited the pits with roughly the same advantage over Koch that Anderson had over Boehm prior to the stops.
During the round of stops, Conquest Racing/JMF Motorsport’s Michai Stephens slid off-course and nosed into the tires in the Oak Tree turn.
Stephens would have ended up fourth once the stops were complete had the incident not happened. He ultimately dropped back to 16th overall with a secondhand Mercedes. Stephens and Webb would eventually finish 12th overall, sixth in Silver.
Koch was able to put the pressure on Capestro-Dubets for the lead for most of the final 20 minutes. Capestro-Dubets had to take defensive lines on the straights often as Koch made a charge.
With 12 minutes to go, Koch was able to get underneath Capestro-Dubets exiting turn 1 for the lead. This move put him on the opposite of the track for the turns 2-3-4 complex than you would want to be.
Despite that, Koch was able to hang with Capestro-Dubets on the outside of turn 3. In turn 4, Koch was able to complete the pass for the lead.
Once out front, Koch attempted to pull away from Capestro-Dubets, but was unable to do so. On the final lap, Capestro-Dubets tried to get to Koch on the backstretch, but could not do so as Koch held on for the win.
In Pro-Am, James Walker Jr. started on pole and was able to keep pace in the opening laps with the two Silver class leaders. As the race continued on, James Walker Jr. began to fall away from the leaders and put himself in a space for himself.
Once McQuarrie got in the car, he was able to stem the losses to Capestro-Dubets and Koch. By that point, he was nine seconds back and 16 ahead of NOLAsport’s Hart.
From there, McQuarrie was able to hold on to take the class win in third overall. The margin of victory for McQuarrie and James Walker Jr. was 16.8 seconds over Hart and Travis. Rooster Hall Racing’s Colin Garrett and Johan Schwartz were third, then Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Andy Lee and Elias Sabo. Chouest-Povoledo Racing’s Ross Chouest and Aaron Povoledo were fifth.
In Am, Postins started from pole and immediately started moving forward. In the first 15 minutes of the race, Postins was able to get up to fourth overall. Meanwhile, Satakal Khalsa started 12th overall and quickly moved up to seventh.
Postins was the last driver to stop during the mid-race stops. Clay got into the car and was able to resume in fourth overall. His main competition was Rob Walker in the No. 253 AutoTechnic BMW. Rob Walker ultimately dropped down the order, allowing Clay to easily drive to the Am victory in fourth overall.
Clay and Postins’ margin of victory was 12.956 seconds over STR38 Motorsports’ Chris Allen and Robert Mau. Random Vandals Racing’s Al Carter and Paul Sparta were third, followed by NOLAsport’s Nelson Calle and Juan Pablo Martinez. Van der Steur Racing’s Brady Behrman and Coby Shield were fifth.
Race No. 2 for Pirelli GT4 America SprintX is scheduled to go green at 10:55 a.m. ET Sunday morning. Coverage will begin at 10:45 a.m. ET 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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