Race Weekend Central

Jason Daskalos Wins Long Beach GT America Race No. 1

CRP Racing’s Jason Daskalos was able to take the lead away from SKI Autosports’ Johnny O’Connell with a little more than five minutes to go Saturday (April 20). From there, Daskalos held on to win GT America powered by AWS presented by 5.11 Race No. 1 in Long Beach. It is Daskalos’ second victory of the season.

“We both had equal cars early, [but my car] came to me late in the race,” Daskalos told SRO America’s Amanda Busick after the race. “A little bit of traffic played into my hands, and that’s racing.”

Daskalos’ margin of victory was .298 seconds over O’Connell. GMG Racing’s James Sofronas was third, then Turner Motorsport’s Justin Rothberg. GMG Racing’s Kyle Washington was fifth in his Porsche.

O’Connell started from pole in his Audi with Sofronas giving chase. Up until the race, O’Connell had topped both practice sessions in addition to winning the pole. Very quickly, the race became a three-man battle between O’Connell, Sofronas and Daskalos.

When the leaders caught the rear of the GT4 field, O’Connell was able to get through the traffic better and opened up his advantage. Meanwhile, Daskalos was able to take second from Sofronas 12 minutes into the race in turn 8.

O’Connell was able to expand his advantage to as much as three seconds over Daskalos. However, Daskalos was able to run down the veteran racer in the closing stages of the race.

With a little more than five minutes to go, Dasaklos was able to get a run on O’Connell underneath the plaza on Seaside Way. O’Connell attempted to hold on, but Daskalos was able to make the pass stick. From there, Daskalos was able to hold on to take the win.

In GT2, Lone Star Racing’s Dan Knox started from pole in seventh overall. In the opening laps, he moved up to sixth overall and held off a charge from TPC Racing’s Aaron Farhadi, who won both races in Sonoma.

Knox spent much of the race wrapped up in battles with some of the SRO3 runners. At the same time, Knox was able to pull out a lead of nearly five seconds at one point.

As the race continued on, the SRO3 competitors were able to take advantage of their downforce in the turns to dispatch of Knox. Despite that, Knox was able to hold on to take the class victory in his season debut.

Knox’s margin of victory was 2.260 seconds over Farhardi. Brent Holden was third.

The Heart of Racing’s Gray Newell started from the pole, but Rotek Racing’s Isaac Sherman got the better start. That allowed Sherman to sweep into the class lead on the outside entering turn 1. Newell attempted to come back on Sherman just after the fountain, but was unable to get past.

Newell then dropped back a little, allowing Sherman’s teammate Robb Holland to move up to second. Once the Rotek Racing Porsches were one-two, they began to run away and hide.

25 minutes into the race, Sherman and Holland had 17 seconds on third-place Curt Swearingin in the ACI Motorsports Porsche. Newell was hot on his tail.

Sherman had a couple of seconds on Holland, but lost that advantage in the closing laps. Despite that, he was able to hold on for his third straight GT4 win to start the season.

Sherman’s margin of victory was .666 seconds over Holland. ACI Motorsports’ Curt Swearingin was third in his Porsche, then Newell and Samantha Tan.

Daskalos set a lap at 89.105 mph with three laps to go in the race. The lap, which was faster than O’Connell’s pole lap, was the fastest lap of the race and gives him the overall pole for Race No. 2.

GT America powered by AWS Race No. 2 from Long Beach will serve as the final race of the Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend. The race is scheduled to go green at 7:20 p.m. ET Sunday and 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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