Race Weekend Central

Archangel Motorsports Wins 4 Hours of Mid-Ohio on Fuel Mileage

Archangel Motorsports’ Aaron Telitz made his last pit stop on lap 98. From there, he made his fuel last over the final 54 laps (82 minutes) to win the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge O’Reilly Auto Parts 4 Hours of Mid-Ohio with teammate/car owner Todd Coleman. It is the first victory in the series for the team and for both drivers.

“I just trusted what [Archangel Motorsports] told me to do,” Telitz told Frontstretch after the race. “I knew the [fuel] number that I had to hit, and I just started hitting it. It was a massive fuel save number, saving well over half a liter from full burn every lap. It was basically what we run every lap under caution.”

Coleman and Telitz’s margin of victory was 4.533 seconds over TeamTGM’s Paul Holton and Matt Plumb. Winward Racing’s Daniel Morad and Bryce Ward were third, then Ruckus Racing’s Scott Blind and JP Southern in their best-ever finish. Rebel Rock Racing’s Andrew Davis, Frank DePew and Robin Liddell were fifth.

Motorsports In Action’s Michael de Quesada started from pole in his McLaren Artura GT4. The Artura had shown great pace in both Pilot Challenge and VP Racing SportsCar Challenge competition all weekend and Sunday was no exception. De Quesada wasted no time opening up a gap on the pack.

Deily Motorsport returned to Pilot Challenge this weekend with a new Audi RS3 LMS TCR after starting the season with a Hyundai Elantra N TCR. Unfortunately, they only got the car on Tuesday. That meant that the weekend was always going to be a struggle.

15 minutes into the race, Jacob Deily suffered a left rear hub failure on his Audi. The wheel came off and flew into China Beach, stranding Deily and bringing out the first full course caution of the race. Deily and James Vance were out on the spot.

De Quesada held onto the advantage until the first round of pit stops just over an hour into the race. Then, disaster struck. First, the car didn’t want to take fuel. Then, the air jack broke on the McLaren, forcing the team to break out a floor jack to lift the car.

GT4 cars are not really designed to be jacked up using a traditional floor jack. The team had a lot of trouble getting the car to lift. Eventually, the deed was done, but the team lost two laps in the pits, ending any chances at victory.

Holton assumed control of the race following the pit stop issues. Morad was right behind, ready to pounce.

90 minutes into the race, Rockwell Autosport Development’s Eric Rockwell spun into the gravel at China Beach to bring out the second caution. That brought everyone into the pits for another round of stops.

Here, JTR Motorsports Engineering’s Nick Shaeffer took the lead in his Porsche. His primary competition was Hattori Motorsports’ Parker Thompson, who only found out that he was going to be in the car Friday morning. Thompson was tapped to replace Jack Hawksworth, who had to fly to France to participate in the Le Mans Test Day for Akkodis ASP Team in place of Jose Maria Lopez.

Thompson ran down Shaeffer and wasted no time in taking the lead.

Morad in the Winward Racing Mercedes gave chase. Ultimately, Morad took the lead just before Thompson came in for a pit stop.

Shortly afterwards, the scariest crash of the weekend happened. Random Vandals Racing’s Kenton Koch had a run on CarBahn Motorsports with Peregrine Racing’s Jeff Westphal on the frontstretch. Koch tried to get to Westphal’s inside entering tunr 1, but ended up hitting him in the rear bumper.

Westphal spun his BMW and hit the concrete wall where the bridge crosses the track. The hit ripped the right front wheel and suspension off the car and littered the track with debris. Westphal was ok, but he was done and the car was written off.

The caution came out roughly three seconds too early for Morad, who was trying to pit when the yellow flew. He had to drive through the pits, then pit when the pit lane reopened a couple of laps later. That dropped Morad towards the back of the top 10 while Thompson re-assumed the lead.

Despite the stops during the caution, no one could make it to the finish from here. As a result, the leaders started making stops within 15 minutes of the restart.

For Thompson, things went downhill fast after the pit stop. A few laps after his stop, he went wide exiting turn 1 and jumped over one of the cutover roads, getting all four wheels off the ground before landing in the grass. The Toyota GR Supra GT4 EVO is a lot of things, but it is not a Pro-4 truck. It is not designed to jump. The landing ultimately caused a series of issues for Thompson that eventually ended his day.

The lead eventually fell to Archangel Motorsports’ Aaron Telitz, who was off-sequence with his pitstops. He chose to go as hard as he could in an attempt to create as much of a buffer as possible over the rest of the field in case he had to pit.

In the final laps, Telitz significantly slowed his pace to try to make his fuel last to the finish. With 20 minutes to go, Telitz had a 22-second lead over Holton. He used up the majority of that advantage.

Ultimately, Telitz was able to make his fuel hold on out to take the win.

In TCR, Robert Wickens was scheduled to start second in class in his Hyundai. However, his car measured too low in post-qualifying inspection and was moved to the rear.

As a result, Montreal Motorsport Group’s Karl Wittmer and Bryan Ortiz shared the front row with their Hondas.

After the penalty, Wickens was the man on a move early on. In the first half-hour of the race, he moved up from the rear (16th) to sixth in class.

For much of the early portions of the race, the race was controlled by Wittmer and Ortiz. They were stuck behind the slower Stephen Cameron Racing Ford Mustang of Sean Quinlan.

Once Quinlan satisfied minimum drive-time and pitted, position swapping commenced. Mark Wilkins was able to move up to second and put pressure on Wittmer for the lead.

During the pit stops, a good stop allowed Ortiz to jump over both Wittmer and Wilkins to take the lead. However, Ortiz ran into trouble later on that dropped him back.

The race ultimately came down to KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering’s Tim Lewis Jr. and Bryan Herta Autosport’s No. 76 with Denis Dupont at the wheel. The two drivers swapped the lead back and forth, then took divergent pit strategies late.

Dupont held off on making his final stop until the final 10 laps of the race. He was able to stop for a splash and keep the lead. From there, Dupont held on to take his and teammate Preston Brown‘s first career TCR victories in 13th overall.

Brown and Dupont’s margin of victory was 4.197 seconds over Lewis and Dr. William Tally. JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Chris Miller and Mikey Taylor finished third, breaking a streak of three straight wins. Wickens and Harry Gottsacker were fourth, while Wittmer and Daijiro Yoshihara were fifth.

IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge O’Reilly Auto Parts 4 Hours of Mid-Ohio Unofficial Results

Next up for Pilot Challenge will be the Esses 120 at Watkins Glen International on June 22. That race will air live on Peacock at 12:50 p.m. ET. Frontstretch will be on-site in Watkins Glen to bring you all the action.

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.

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