Race Weekend Central

Jason Daskalos Wins COTA GT America Race No. 1

CRP Racing’s Jason Daskalos was able to snatch the lead away from GMG Racing’s James Sofronas with nine minutes remaining. From there, Daskalos was able to hold on to win his fourth GT America race of 2024.

“I only wanted to pick up one position on the first lap, but I picked up three, which was amazing,” Daskalos said after the race. “CRP [Racing] guys gave me a great race car today.”

Daskalos’ margin of victory was 9.593 seconds over SKI Autosports’ Johnny O’Connell. CrowdStrike Racing by Riley’s George Kurtz was third, then Sofronas. Turner Motorsport’s Justin Rothberg was fifth.

O’Connell led the field to green Saturday afternoon and outdragged Sofronas to turn 1. However, the California-based veteran didn’t just settle in and ride. Sofronas got a good draft off of O’Connell and managed to take the lead away under braking for turn 12 on the first lap.

Daskalos started in sixth and quickly made his way to the front. By the end of the first lap, he was able to get past O’Connell to take second.

Once there, he ran down Sofronas fairly quickly, then dropped back into a rhythm. Then, bits started falling off of Sofronas’ car.

it started off with just a small piece of bodywork. Later, the whole rear diffuser on Sofronas’ Audi R8 LMS GT3 came loose, killing his downforce.

The lack of downforce allowed Daskalos to run Sofronas back down and take the lead with nine minutes remaining in turn 11. The lack of downforce on Sofronas’ Audi proceeded to benefit him as he was able to come back on Daskalos on the long backstretch. However, he went wide at turn 12, allowing Daskalos to keep the lead.

Kurtz was able to run both drivers down as they battled. As a result, he was able to slip inside of Sofronas at turn 20 to take second half a lap after Daskalos took the lead.

Kurtz then ran down Daskalos and tried to take the overall lead. However, the CrowdStrike Mercedes slowed suddenly on the final lap. That was more than enough for Daskalos to take the victory.

On the final lap, Ross Chouest crashed his Mercedes exiting turn 9, extensively damaging the car. The Chouest-Povoledo Racing team is using the same car for both GT America powered by AWS and Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS, so if the car cannot be repaired quickly, the team will have a double DNS on Sunday.

In addition, Kurtz’s car suddenly slowed in the second half of the final lap. What was a two-second deficit quickly became much more. That allowed O’Connell to take second in the final couple of corners. Kurtz made it to the finish, then immediately pulled over to the side of the road.

In GT4, Isaac Sherman continued his domination, leading the field to green and opening up a decent gap over The Heart of Racing’s Gray Newell. ACI Motorsports’ Curt Swearingin quickly moved up to second in his Porsche in the opening laps.

Unlike a number of the earlier GT America races, Sherman didn’t just run away with the race. When Swearingin got to second, he was able to match Sherman’s pace. He could reel in the No. 098 Porsche a little bit at a time, but the advantage that Sherman had before Swearingin took second was just too much to overcome. Sherman was able to hold on for his seventh straight GT4 win to start the year.

Sherman’s margin of victory was 2.364 seconds over Swearingin. Newell was third, while Carrus Callus Raceteam’s Nick Shanny was fourth.

GT America powered by AWS: COTA Race No. 1 Results

Kurtz turned in a lap at 96.478 mph around the 3.427-mile road course early in the race. That held up to be the fastest lap of the race. As a result, Kurtz will be on pole for Race No. 2. That event is scheduled to be held at 10:35 a.m. ET Sunday morning and will be streamed on the GT World YouTube channel.

About the author

2021 Phil Allaway Headshot Phil Allaway

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.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share via