BRASELTON, Ga. – Motorsports In Action’s Alex Filsinger and Jesse Lazare controlled the vast majority of the action from the front Friday (Oct. 13). Lazare took the lead when Turner Motorsport’s Cameron Lawrence made a pit stop. From there, he held on to win the FOX Factory 120 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
“Alex [Filsinger] made my life really easy today,” Lazare told Frontstretch after the race. “The car was extremely fast and the race was pretty easy until the last 20 minutes when it started to rain. Part of me is…very happy with the safer win not going back to green, but I would have been happier in the moment had [the race] gone back green and we had held on.”
NOLAsport’s Adam Adelson and Elliott Skeer finished second in their Porsche. Rennsport One’s Eric Filguerias and Stevan McAleer were third despite having to come from the rear of the Grand Sport class due to measuring too low in post-qualifying inspection.
Rebel Rock Racing’s Frank DePew and Robin Liddell finished sixth in their Chevrolet. Points leaders Vin Barletta and Robby Foley finished 13th on the road, but were elevated to 11th after both Billy Johnson and Thiago Camilo were given drive-through penalties that they were unable to serve. As a result, Barletta and Foley won the GS championship by only 10 points.
The race got off to an inauspicious start. Filsinger led from the pole. Meanwhile, JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Chris Miller failed to get up to speed in his Audi. Not only did it create a logjam in the TCR class, but it also resulted in the race’s first full course caution when Miller stalled on the course.
Van der Steur Racing’s Rory van der Steur had a roughly early portion of the race. A couple of laps after the restart, van der Steur had contact with McCumbee-McAleer Racing’s Jenson Altzman in turn 6. Van der Steur was able to continue while Altzman spun and hit the tire barriers. Since Altzman was unable to get back underway on his own, the yellow came out.
It was ultimately a couple of laps before that yellow flew. As it was coming out, van der Steur dove to the inside of Murillo Racing’s Kenny Murillo and had contact with the Mercedes. Murillo did a half-spin before resuming. Van der Steur was eventually forced to serve two drive-through penalties for his actions. Thanks to the third yellow of the race, van der Steur did not lose a lap because of it.
That caution flew 30 minutes into the race when CarBahn Motorsports with Peregrine Racing’s Sean McAlister spun into the gravel at the chicane. The 40-minute mark for minimum drive-time was met during the yellow.
In the brief periods of racing under green, Filsinger was able to hold off the rest of the pack with veritable ease. However, a number of other drivers including Murillo, Charles Espenlaub, Moisey Uretsky and Sean Quinlan chose to stop on the restart.
Filsinger chose to stay out and drove out to a 10-second lead over Turner Motorsport’s Cameron Lawrence. Meanwhile, the fastest driver on the track was Liddell. After a bad pit stop put the Chevrolet a lap down, Liddell was able to run Filsinger down from more than five seconds back to get back onto the lead lap the old school way.
Filsinger pitted from the lead with 50 minutes to go in order to hand over to Lazare. Lawrence took the lead as a result.
Right as Lawrence was going to make his stop, Rockwell Automotive Development’s Denis Dupont stalled in turn 10, bringing out the fourth yellow of the race. That put Lawrence over the maximum drive-time of 80 minutes, rendering their day complete.
Lazare took the lead when Lawrence stopped and pulled away from Skeer on the restart. In the final 20 minutes, the on and off mist turned into actual rain.
Skeer was able to reel in Lazare and was within a couple of seconds of the McLaren when the racing came to an end with eight minutes to go. Stephen Cameron Racing’s Paul Mercier crashed exiting turn 5, bringing out the yellow that ended the race.
In TCR, Bryan Herta Autosport’s Mason Filippi took over the class lead when Miller’s Audi failed. With Miller and Mikey Taylor 20 points out of the points lead, their championship chances ended right there.
Filippi was able to open a small advantage over teammate Harry Gottsacker, who he was battling for the TCR championship. The teammates constituted a Hyundai 1-2-3-4 early on in the race.
The strategies split once the mid-race pit stops started. Filippi pitted 67 minutes in to give way to Mark Wilkins. The lead revolved to Sally McNulty in the Deily No. 70. Unfortunately, the Dupont caution burned her much like it did Lawrence.
Wilkins took the lead back when McNulty stopped. From there, he opened a small margin over the pack and held on for the win.
Van der Steur Racing’s Tyler Maxson and Bryan Ortiz were second, then LA Honda World Racing’s Ryan Eversley and Mike LaMarra. Gottsacker and Robert Wickens ended up fourth, good enough to claim the TCR championship. VGRT’s Tyler Gonzalez and Victor Gonzalez Jr. were fifth.
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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