Random Vandals Racing’s Kenton Koch recovered from an early spin for teammate Kevin Boehm and got himself into fourth on the final restart. He moved up to third in turn 1, then took advantage of Hanley Motorsports’ Parker Thompson running AutoTechnic Racing’s Zac Anderson wide in turn 3 to take the lead.
Just before the pass for the win, Smooge Racing’s John Geesbreght went hard into the tires in turn 1. That brought out the yellow for the final time.
It was all Koch and Kevin Boehm needed to win Pirell GT4 America SprintX Race No. 2 at Sebring International Raceway Saturday (Sept. 23). It is Koch and Boehm’s second win of the year.
“The seas parted. I don’t know what happened,” Koch told SRO America’s Amanda Busick. “I came through turn 1 and I was fourth. I came through turn 5 and I was first. It was crazy how it all came together. No contact; I just took advantage of some guys [racing hard].”
Anderson and John Capestro-Dubets finished second, followed by Thompson and Daniel Hanley, who won Race No. 1 on Friday. Conquest Racing/JMF Motorsport’s Michai Stephens and Jesse Webb were fourth, while NOLAsport’s Jason Hart and Matt Travis were fifth.
Like on Friday, the top four finishers in the race were the top four in the Silver class. STR38 Motorsports’ Harry Gottsacker and Chandler Hull were fifth. The results are unofficial as a number of post-race investigations are ongoing.
Webb led the 36-car field to green, but it didn’t last long before trouble broke out. Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Elias Sabo and The Heart of Racing’s Gray Newell collided in turn 6 and speared off the road and into the wall.
The crash immediately brought out the safety car. Both Newell and Sabo were out on the spot. Both drivers were able to exit their Aston Martins and walked away from the crash.
Webb and Gottsacker jointly ran away from the field once the green came back out. 20 minutes into the race, they had six seconds on third-place.
Another caution flew right before the mid-race pit window would have opened. This was due to Carrus Callus Raceteam’s Nick Shanny dropping a wheel exiting turn 1, then spinning into the barriers.
After a lot of trying, Shanny was able to restart his Supra and drive it back to the pits. It was heavily damaged, though. Due to the timing of the crash, the mid-race pit window had to be delayed.
On the restart, contact resulted in Webb going wide in turn 1. That allowed Gottsacker to take the lead into the mid-race stops. Capestro-Dubets followed into second.
During the stops, SRO America officials determined that Gottsacker jumped the restart for a restart violation. A drive-through penalty for Hull after he got in the car killed any chance of winning.
As a result of the penalty, Anderson ended up in the overall lead with Stephens giving chase. Immediately afterwards, Crucial Motorsports’ Kaia Teo slid off course and nosed into the tires, bringing out the third safety car period.
The green came back out with a little less than seven minutes remaining. Under normal circumstances, everyone would be racing hard. This was even more so when Geesbreght spun and went hard into the tires in turn 1. The young racer, who indicated to Frontstretch at Indianapolis last weekend that his goal is to eventually race full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD class full-time, was OK.
Everyone knew that the race would end under yellow and tried to get what they could before the yellow. Thompson pushed up the track in turn 3 and gave the win to Koch.
In Pro-Am, NOLAsport’s Matt Travis started from pole in third and had a number of Silver-class cars between himself and Chouest-Povoledo Racing’s Ross Chouest. However, Travis was holding up those Silver cars.
Things got rough entering turn 1 few laps after the restart. That resulted in Boehm spinning in turn 1 after contact with Capestro-Dubets. The spin dropped Boehm back to 13th overall. From there, he had to charge before handing over to Koch.
As the race continued on, Travis was able to lock in his advantage. Once Hart got in the car, it was more of the same as the longtime teammates took their second Pro-Am win of the year in fifth overall.
Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Jason Bell and Michael Cooper were second, then BimmerWorld Racing’s Tyler McQuarrie and James Walker Jr. Rooster Hall Racing’s Colin Garrett and Johan Schwartz were fourth, while Conquest Racing’s Cedric Sbirrazzuoli and Custodio Toledo were fifth.
In the Am class, ACI Racing’s Richard Edge started from pole in his Porsche. However, he had to deal with the closing Charlie Postins early on. Postins was able to take the class lead shortly before Shanny’s crash.
The pit stops ultimately decided the race. Postins pitted at the first opportunity after the restart to get James Clay in the car. Meanwhile, Edge chose to stay out and stop when the pit lane was less crowded a lap later.
That move allowed Matt Halcome to take the lead back for ACI Racing with STR38 Motorsports’ Chris Allen in second. The Teo crash closed everyone back up for the final restart and Halcome was able to hold on for the win.
The fourth-place finish for Clay and Postins was enough for them to clinch the Am championship with three races still to run. It is their second straight Am championship.
The third and final Pirelli GT4 America SprintX race of the weekend is scheduled to go green at 10:50 a.m. ET Sunday morning. The race will stream live on the GT World YouTube channel and SpeedSport1 for free. It will also stream at Motorsport.tv.
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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