After four hours of hard-fought racing at Watkins Glen, Multimatic Motorsports’ duo of Chad McCumbee and Patrick Gallagher scored their first ever CTSC GS win driving the #8 Ford Mustang GT4.
The pair ran a consistent race, starting second and running behind the pole-sitting #80 AWA Ford of Martin Barkey and Brett Sandberg for the opening 37 laps of the race, before the Barkey in the leading car came into contact with Eric Lux’s #99 Automatic Racing Aston Martin. The incident ended with Barkey in the tyres with rear-end damage around the halfway mark, and caused the car to drop down the order, eventually finishing 20th.
From there it was relatively plain sailing for McCumbee and Gallagher, who ended up crossing the line 7.9 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.
“This is awesome and what a race to [get back to Victory Lane],” said McCumbee, who also co-drove with Gallagher in the Mazda MX-5 Cup Series.
“Watkins Glen is one of my favourite tracks. I didn’t come from road course racing, but this has quickly become one of my favorites. Hats off to all the guys at Multimatic, Mazda and Ford. There are so many people that got Patrick and I in this position and I am very thankful.”
Behind the race-winning Multimatic Mustang, the battle for the remaining podium spots was close. Tyler Cooke in the #82 BimmerWorld Racing BMW 328i charged through the top five during the last half hour of the race to finish second with co-driver and team owner James Clay. The result marked the team’s third podium in four races.
Taking the last spot on the podium were Nate Stacy and Kyle Marcelli in the #60 Roush Performance/KohR Motorsports Ford Mustang. After back-to-back wins at Sebring International Raceway in March and at Mid-Ohio, a third-place result keeps the team’s podium streak alive heading into the halfway point of the season next week at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
Unfortunately, there were two big incidents in the race. The first was on the opening lap, a multi-car pile-up while the pack headed up Turns 3 and 4, involving the #26 Classic BMW of Toby Grahovec, #65 Murillo Racing Mercedes of Tim Probert, the #9 Automatic Racing Aston Martin of Aurora Strauss and the #75 TCR-pole-sitting Compass Racing Audi of Pierre Klienubing. The incident shook up the order in the midfield and forced the #26 and #9 into retirement.
The second involved the #57 Winward Racing/HTP Mercedes of Bryce Ward, who was transported to Schuyler Hospital after an off. At the hospital, he underwent a CT scan on his head and was diagnosed with a concussion.
Meanwhile, in TCR, Compass Racing brought home its fourth straight TCR victory on Saturday, it certainly wasn’t easy.
After the team’s #75 Audi RS3 LMS of Pierre Kleinubing and Roy Block crashed out on the opening lap, the remaining TCR entries jumped at the opportunity, especially eEuroparts.com Racing.
The #12 Audi of Kenton Koch and Tom O’Gorman led the most laps of any TCR car with 47, but ultimately it was the #77 Compass Racing Audi of Tom Long and Britt Casey, Jr. that found its way back to the lead when it mattered, leading the last 16 laps before taking the checkered flag.
Long and Casey, Jr. swept the two Continental Tire Challenge endurance races this season in the TCR class, as the #77 also took the four-hour victory at the season-opening BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway in January.
“Our car was amazing, the guys had it so hooked up,” said Casey, Jr. “With these endurance races, we are more worried about car longevity and the tire. It works and we just proved it. It’s a great day.”
The remaining Compass Racing Audi, the #74 of Kuno Wittmer and Rodrigo Sales – who entered the weekend with two consecutive wins in the class – finished second.
Rounding out the podium was the #54 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi RS3 LMS of Michael Johnson and co-driver Stephen Simpson. The third-place finish – the team’s best since entering the Continental Tire Challenge two years ago – was especially sweet for Johnson, a paraplegic since the age of 12.
In ST, for the third consecutive race, a MINI drove into victory lane, and for the second time this season, it was the #52 MINI JCW.
Piloted by Mark Pombo – who was part of the #52’s winning line-up at Sebring International Raceway in March – and rookie Colin Mullan, the MINI JCW Team inherited the lead late in the race and never let go. The victory brings MINI JCW Team’s total win count in the series to four, all of which have come in the last two seasons.
While the MINIs ran consistently throughout the four-hour race, it was the #81 BMW of Devin Jones and Nick Galante that appeared to be unstoppable. However, an equipment issue during a pit stop in the final hour halted the team’s run and dropped them to second place, ultimately their finishing result.
Finishing third for the second time this season was the #21 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman of Max Faulkner and Jason Rabe.
Up next, the 2018 IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season reaches its halfway point next weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for the two-hour Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120.
Featured image courtesy of IMSA