Fuel mileage of the name of the game Sunday (Aug. 6) at Road America. When the leaders were forced to pit for a splash of fuel with eight minutes to go, Winward Racing’s Daniel Morad took the lead. He was able to make his fuel last to win the Road America 120 on the road. Or, so they thought.
You have to survive inspection to win. The Winward Racing Mercedes was found to hold too much fuel after the race. According to the official Balance of Performance tables for Road America, the Mercedes-AMG GT4 could hold no more than 78 liters of fuel. The No. 57 Mercedes took more than that, resulting in officials disqualifying the team and placing them at the rear of the field.
Rebel Rock Racing’s Frank DePew and Robin Liddell finished 3.229 seconds behind Morad on the road, but have been declared the winners of the Road America 120. It is the duo’s first win of the season in the final year of competition for the Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R, despite not being in contention nearly all day. It is also the team’s second win at Road America. The other win in 2019 came under strange circumstances as Liddell passed Kuno Wittmer to win on the line after Wittmer accidentally touched the pit lane limiter.
KohR Motorsports’ Luca Mars and Bob Michaelian were second on fumes, followed by McCumbee-McAleer Racing’s Jenson Altzman and Chad McCumbee, who qualified fourth, but had to start at the rear after failing post-qualifying technical inspection. Turner Motorsport’s Robby Foley and Vin Barletta had to settle for fourth, while Koch and Paul Sparta were fifth.
Turner Motorsport’s Robert Megennis got a big jump on the start from pole, but it didn’t take long for trouble to break out. In turn 5 on the first lap, Accelerating Performance’s Patrick Gallagher got in the back Van der Steur Racing’s Rory van der Steur under braking. That pushed van der Steur into Motorsports In Action’s Alex Filsinger, who spun out.
Filsinger’s McLaren Artura GT4 stalled in the middle of the track, leading the field to scatter. Filsinger ended up getting clouted by the Aston Martin of Automatic Racing’s Dr. Ramin Abdolvahabi. BGB Motorsports’ Thomas Collingwood rode up on the left front corner of Abdolvahabi as well, puncturing a radiator on his Porsche. NOLAsport’s Adam Adelson also got a small piece.
Abdolvahabi, Collingwood and Filsinger all walked away from the crash. However, they were all done for the day. The wreck hurt Collingwood the worst as he and Spencer Pumpelly entered the race third in Grand Sport points. Adelson never spun out and was able to continue. Gallagher was given a drive-through penalty for causing the wreck.
Once the green came back out, Megennis was able to pull out a decent advantage over Rennsport One’s Eric Filguerias. The BMW M4 GT4 appeared to be handling very well.
40 minutes into race, GS teams started making their first pit stops once the minimum drive-time was satisfied. Turner Motorsport had a split strategy where the No. 96 pitted early to get Foley in the car in place of Barletta. Meanwhile, Megennis stayed out.
A few minutes later, Archangel Motorsports’ Billy Johnson went wide in the Kink, hit the wall, then spun and crashed his Aston Martin into the inside wall to bring out the race’s second caution. Johnson was able to get out under his own power, but he was out of the race.
Megennis and the remaining GS teams that had not stopped were forced to pit here. It appeared that getting to the finish from this point would be quite difficult.
The stops gave the lead to Murillo Racing’s Christian Szymczak, but NOLAsport’s Elliott Skeer made an aggressive move on the restart to take the advantage away. Morad, who had won the race off pit road during the caution, followed into second.
Skeer briefly opened up a couple of seconds on the pack, then the Turner BMWs came back on the scene. Foley moved himself up to second, with Cameron Lawrence behind. Kenton Koch in the Random Vandals Racing BMW was up in the mix as well.
Foley was able to take the lead away from Skeer with 23 minutes to go under the Sargento Bridge with Lawrence right on his tail. It didn’t take long for the former TA2 champion to get the slip on his own teammate and take the advantage.
Ultimately, fuel mileage determined the race. The quick pace forced Lawrence, Foley and Koch to pit for a splash of fuel with eight minutes to go. Morad was not too far behind the leaders when they stopped, so he was able to sweep into a lead he would not relinquish.
In TCR, Bryan Herta Autosport teammates Harry Gottsacker and Michael Lewis started on the front row in their Hyundais. However, it was the JDC-Miller MotorSports Audi of Chris Miller that charged forward.
After the restart following the Filsinger crash, Miller was able to drive past both of the Hyundai Elantra N TCRs to take the lead. Once there, Miller opened up a small gap on the rest of the class.
The Johnson crash brought the entire class into the pits for their only stop of the race. The stops jumbled up the field as Van der Steur Racing’s Tyler Maxson won the race off pit road. The JDC Audi with Mikey Taylor at the wheel dropped back to fourth.
Taylor was able to get past the BHA teammates and took the battle directly to Maxson. With a little more than a half-hour to go, Taylor was able to get the lead.
The battling was fair from over as Tim Lewis Jr. followed Taylor past Maxson into second. The KMW Alfa Romeo is said to have a straight-line speed advantage over the other TCR cars, so it was an outright duel for the lead for the final 25 minutes of the race.
With two laps to go, Tim Lewis Jr. got a run on Taylor for the lead. That was fended off in turn 5. A second go in turn 6 ended up being successful. From that point, Tim Lewis Jr. was able to hold on to take his and Roy Block‘s third win of the year.
Tim Lewis Jr. and Block’s margin of victory was 8.213 seconds over Miller and Taylor, who backed off to save fuel on the final lap.. BHA’s Gottsacker and Wickens were third, then Rockwell Automotive Development’s Denis Dupont and Eric Rockwell. LA Honda World Racing’s Ryan Eversley and Mat Pombo were fifth.
Michelin Pilot Challenge teams will be off for the next week before resuming their season at VIRginia International Raceway with the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix on Aug. 26.
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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