Track position was critical Sunday (Aug. 6) at Road America. Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Matt Campbell inherited the pole after a warmup crash. Campbell and Felipe Nasr then proceeded to dominate to win the IMSA SportsCar Weekend at Road America for their first win of the season.
“It’s fantastic. I feel like we’ve been fast [at] so many rounds this year, but the luck just hasn’t come together,” Campbell told NBC Sports‘ Hannah Newhouse in victory lane. “It’s a fantastic result for us after a tough year.”
Campbell and Nasr won by 4.635 seconds over Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian’s Tom Blomqvist and Colin Braun. Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport’s Filipe Albuquerque and Ricky Taylor were third, followed by Chip Ganassi Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais and Renger van der Zande. JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Mike Rockenfeller and Tijmen van der Helm were fifth.
Action Express Racing’s Pipo Derani was supposed to start on pole, but he was forced to start at the rear of the GTP class after teammate Alexander Sims crashed in the morning warmup. It was a thrash just to make to grid.
Derani’s crash gave Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Matt Campbell the overall pole. But, before the race could even start, BMW M Team RLL’s Connor de Phillippi spun into the gravel in the Carousel on cold tires. That put the No. 25 BMW at the back of the fields. The race ultimately started under caution due to the need to clean the track of loose stones once de Phillippi rejoined.
The trouble for de Phillippi was far from over. Less than 10 minutes into the race, de Phillippi slid off and went hard into the wall exiting the Kink to bring out another yellow. This crash ended de Phillippi’s day. Things weren’t much better for the No. 24 BMW as Philipp Eng developed gearbox issues.
When the green came back out, Campbell was able to pull away from the rest of the pack. It did not take long for Campbell’s Porsche to be eight seconds ahead of Bourdais.
When Campbell pitted to hand over to Nasr, he was 12 seconds ahead of Bourdais. That 12-second lead became 16.
In the final run of the race, Blomqvist was able to cut significantly into Nasr’s lead. With 20 minutes to go, the lead was cut to six seconds. Lapped traffic allowed Blomqvist to close in even more.
However, it was lapped traffic that also ended any chance of Blomqvist running down Nasr. Blomqvist got held up by Patrick Pilet‘s Porsche 911 GT3 R with a couple of laps to go and that was it.
Crowdstrike Racing by APR’s George Kurtz started from pole in LMP2, but quickly lost his advantage to Tower Motorsport’s Rodrigo Sales. The driver truly on the move was PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports’ Ben Keating. Keating quickly moved up from fourth at the start to take the class immediately before de Phillippi’s crash. When the green came out, Keating ran off and hid.
Keating led until a slow pit stop to switch to Paul-Loup Chatin resulted in TDS Racing’s Mikkel Jensen taking the lead. Jensen’s advantage was up to nine seconds before a gaggle of lapped traffic allowed not only Chatin, but Ben Hanley to catch up.
Jensen continued to lead until he cut a tire. That dropped the No. 11 to third and put Chatin in the lead over Giedo van der Garde.
Chatin ended up with a huge lead, but fuel was a little tight. As a result, Chatin spent most of the final stint saving fuel, but was able to take the first win of the year for PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports.
Keating and Chatin’s margin of victory was 9.517 seconds over TDS Racing’s van der Garde and John Falb. Jensen and Steven Thomas were third in the second TDS entry, followed by Sales and Louis Deletraz. High Class Racing’s Dennis Andersen and Ed Jones were fifth.
LMP3 saw pole sitter Nico Pino slowly but surely drive away from the rest of the pack. Bijoy Garg, the VP Racing SportsCar Challenge LMP3 points leader making his series debut, did extremely well to keep himself up in second during the entire first stint.
Once Joao Barbosa got in the car, he continued to pull away from Garg’s teammate Colin Noble. Noble continued to give chase until he went off-course exiting the Carousel and nosed into the barriers, ending any chance for a good finish.
In the final hour of the race, Riley Motorsports’ Josh Burdon came alive. Burdon was able to cut down a 16-second deficit to close in on the veteran Barbosa.
Once Burdon caught Barbosa, the battle did not take very long as Burdon was able to quickly take the lead with 20 minutes to go. Once in the lead, Burdon was able to pull away to take the victory, the fourth in a row for Riley Motorsports and Burdon’s teammate Gar Robinson. It’s the third straight win for Burdon, who normally serves as the team’s endurance driver.
Burdon and Robinson won by 11.785 seconds over Barbosa and Pino. Andrew Wojteczko Autosport’s Matt Bell and Orey Fidani were third, then Jr III Racing’s No. 30 for Ari Balogh and Garret Grist. AWA’s No. 17 for Wayne Boyd and Anthony Mantella were a lap down in fifth.
In GTD Pro, The Heart of Racing’s Alex Riberas won the pole on Saturday and managed to hold onto the advantage early. Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor gave chase until Riberas pitted 38 minutes in to hand over to Ross Gunn.
The rest of the class chose to pit around 50 minutes into the race, led by Jordan Taylor. The lack of tire wear allowed the Corvette with Antonio Garcia at the wheel to get out in front of Gunn. However, Gunn’s tires were up to temperature and he was able to take the lead back.
The same thing happened on the final pit stop. This time, Gunn tried to get the lead back in mixed traffic. That resulted in Gunn sliding off into the dirt exiting turn 6, which cost him some time.
Garcia eventually extended his lead up to four seconds, but the team was assessed a drive-through penalty for failing to meet the minimum fueling time during his final stop.
Gunn retook the lead from Garcia when Garcia served the penalty with 24 minutes remaining. From there, Gunn was able to hold on to take his and Riberas’ second straight victory.
Due to the positioning of the overall leaders, Gunn and Riberas ended up a full lap ahead of VasserSullivan’s Ben Barnicoat and Jack Hawksworth. Garcia and Jordan Taylor recovered to third after their penalty, while Pilet and Klaus Bachler were fourth.
GTD saw Madison Snow lead early in his BMW over Brendan Iribe. The margin was small, yet comfortable. A good first stop for Snow and trouble for Inception Racing in the pits allowed him to expand his advantage.
Once Bryan Sellers got in the car, it was more of the same as he was able to hold a decent advantage over The Heart of Racing’s Roman DeAngelis. In the final 45 minutes, Frederic Schandorff was able to get the Inception McLaren back up to seconds, but he could nothing to prevent Sellers and Snow from taking their fourth win of the year and expanding their points lead.
Sellers and Snow won by 2.261 seconds over Iribe and Schandorff. Team Korthoff Motorsports’ Mikael Grenier and Mike Skeen recovered from a practice crash to finish third, followed by US RaceTronics’ Misha Goikhberg and Loris Spinelli, who went to a backup car after a hard crash for Goikhberg Sunday. VasserSullivan’s Frankie Montecalvo and Aaron Telitz were fifth in their Lexus.
There is a split schedule going forward for WeatherTech teams. The next race is the Michelin GT Challenge at VIR, a GT-only event on Aug. 27. Prototype teams will return to action at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sept. 17.
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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