Race Weekend Central

Ross Chouest Wins 1st Career GT America Race at Sonoma

Chouest-Povoledo Racing’s Ross Chouest took the lead when CrowdStrike Racing by Riley’s George Kurtz was penalized early on. From there, he was able to hold on to win GT America powered by AWS Race No. 2 at Sonoma Raceway Sunday morning (April 7). It is his first GT America victory in the SRO3 class in only his second start.

“I had a little luck today on the start,” Chouest told SRO America’s Amanda Busick after the race. “I took advantage of that and was able to hold off some of the other guys. We’ll take this win today and build on it.”

Chouest’s margin of victory was .550 seconds over SKI Autosports’ Johnny O’Connell. GMG Racing’s James Sofronas was third, then Kurtz. GMG Racing’s Kyle Washington was fifth.

GMG Racing’s James Sofronas led the field to green in his Audi, but his advantage did not last long. Exiting turn 6, contact was made between Sofronas and Kurtz. Sofronas did a half-spin and recovered, but dropped back to sixth.

Kurtz assumed the lead as a result of the half-spin, but he was slapped with a drive-through penalty as the stewards determined that he was responsible for Sofronas’ incident. That gave the overall lead to Chouest-Povoledo Racing’s Ross Chouest.

Despite only being in his third GT3 race, Chouest seemed to adjust to his Mercedes-AMG GT3 well and opened up a three-second lead over Turner Motorsport’s Justin Rothberg. Kurtz emerged from the pits after his penalty with GT4 traffic, but pounded out quick laps to slowly move back towards the rest of the pack.

Eventually, Chouest caught lapped traffic and lost a significant amount of time. That didn’t just bring Rothberg into contention, but also O’Connell, Jason Daskalos and Sofronas.

The four drivers ran nose-to-tail until Rothberg caught the GT4 BMW of Carrus Callus Raceteam’s Nick Shanny. The pack got bunched up, allowing Sofronas to move up to third.

Rothberg then went too fast into turn 7 and went wide, allowing O’Connell to sweep past both Rothberg and Sofronas to take second. Daskalos tried to follow past into third, but contact was made. Rothberg spun and Daskalos ended up in the grass.

While Daskalos was able to resume in fourth, he was given a drive-through penalty for causing the spin. As a result, he ended up finishing seventh.

Lapped traffic allowed O’Connell to run down Chouest in the final laps. However, Chouest was able to hold on for the win.

On the final lap, Mishumotors’ Mirco Schultis made a wild move at turn 9 on Washington for fourth. Cutting through the grass, Schultis hit Washington and spun him out.

Kurtz was able to sweep by both drivers to earn a fourth-place finish. Washington recovered from the spin to finish fifth.

Schultis had a mechanical problem due to the contact that caused him to slow down exiting turn 12 before reaching the line in sixth. He was then given a drive-through penalty for the contact. Since it occurred on the final lap, it was converted to a time penalty that dropped Schultis to 10th.

In GT2, Brent Holden started from pole in his Mercedes-AMG GT2. Despite finishing well down the order Saturday, his best lap was nearly three seconds faster than the best lap for class winner Aaron Farhadi.

Ultimately, the race saw Holden and Farhadi battle for the first 10 minutes of the race before Farhadi was able to get past. Once in the lead, Farhadi was able to drive off into the distance. Holden eventually was forced to retire due to wheel nut issues.

Farhadi was able to coast to the weekend sweep. His margin of victory was 22.662 seconds over TPC Racing’s Alan Grossberg.

GT4 action saw Saturday’s winner Isaac Sherman start from pole in his Porsche. Much like Saturday, he spent much of the race by himself, opening out a good gap.

Further back, Flying Lizard Motorsports’ Todd Parriott was given a drive-through penalty after he got into Shanny on lap 2, spinning the BMW out in turn 7. The penalty dropped Parriott back to the rear of the field.

Sherman, who just revealed that he will run the full season in GT America Sunday morning, held on to score the weekend sweep by 6.674 seconds over Archangel Motorsports’ Todd Coleman. The Heart of Racing’s Gray Newell was third, then ACI Motorsports’ Curt Swearingin and Parriott.

GT America powered by AWS: Sonoma Race No. 2 Results

Unlike the other SRO America series, GT America powered by AWS teams will be back in action in two weeks on the Streets of Long Beach. Race No. 1 on the 1.968-mile street course will be April 20 at 7:45 p.m. ET. The race will be streamed live 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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