An Emotional Win for Liam Dwyer at the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, powered by Mazda – Day 2 Recap
Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge
USMC Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer got his second IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory in a thriller at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It was an emotional victory, as the man who saved Dwyer’s life when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), Sgt. Aaron Denning, joined Dwyer at the track for the first time and waved the green flag to start the race. Dwyer’s co-driver, Andrew Carbonell, charged from fourth place inside the final 10 minutes to take the victory in the No. 26 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5, passing teammate Tom Long in the No. 25 Mazda two turns from the checkered flag in the two-and-a-half-hour race.
Stevenson Motorsports’ pairing of Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell scored their second straight Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Stevenson strategist Mike Johnson called Davis, in the No. 6 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R, in for his first stop with two hours and four minutes remaining in the two-hour, 30-minute race.The second stop with 57 minutes remaining, when Davis handed over to Liddell, ensured the car was good to go to the checkered flag and net leader once the then-top-three cars pitted for their final stop later in the last hour. Billy Johnson got by Zacharias for second on the inside at Turn 11 with just over five minutes remaining and hounded Liddell to the finish, but was unable to pass the Scotsman for the win. Liddell won by 0.552 of a second.
TUDOR United SportsCar Championship
Jordan Taylor emerged fastest Saturday for his first pole of the season, and somewhat surprisingly, his first pole in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Taylor set a best lap of 1:18.718 minutes around the 2.238-mile Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, while Pruett was slightly more than two tenths in arrears at 1:18.940. Scott Pruett and fellow Northern California native, and co-driver, Joey Hand will roll off second in search of their first win together as teammates.
Despite having two incidents in the 15-minute session, Chris Cumming secured the Prototype Challenge pole in the No. 11 RSR Racing Oreca FLM09. Cumming edged Mike Guasch, in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car, by just 0.004 for the fastest lap of the session. He set a 1:22.565 to Guasch’s 1:22.569 for the pole position.
Dirk Werner (GT Le Mans) and Patrick Lindsey (GT Daytona) are first-time TUDOR United SportsCar Championship polesitters in the GT classes for Sunday’s Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix Powered by Mazda at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Werner, who co-drove with Bill Auberlen to win the most recent GTLM round at Long Beach two weeks ago, took the No. 25 BMW Team RLL BMW Z4 GTE to a new lap record of 1:22.362 around the 2.238-mile road course. He waited a bit in the 15-minute session to run, but executed it to perfection. It eclipses the previous mark of 1:22.373, set last year by Antonio Garcia. Lindsey took his first GTD pole in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America with an absolute flier nearly a second clear of the rest of the field. His best time of 1:27.040 was 0.981 of a second clear of Marc Miller, in the No. 93 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GT3-R, in the best session of the weekend for the second Viper.
The Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix, powered by Mazda, Round 4 of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, is scheduled to take the green flag Sunday, May 3, at 1:05 p.m. Pacific.
Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo
Richard Antinucci led from start to finish to win Round 1 of the 2015 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, highlighted by the series debut of the Lamborghini Huracan LP 620-2 Super Trofeo car. Antinucci drove the No. 50 Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo fielded by O’Gara Motorsport and representing the Beverly Hills dealership to the win under caution in the 50-minute race.
Cedric Sbirrazuoli, from Monaco, placed second in his Super Trofeo debut in the No. 07 STR entry representing Dallas. Sbirrazuoli was the first Huracán Pro-Am finisher. Corey Lewis completed the overall podium, finishing third overall and second in the Pro-Am class in the No. 29 Change Racing Huracán representing Carolinas after starting sixth overall.
Antinucci, the nephew of famed American driver Eddie Cheever, captured pole position for both races in a double qualifying session earlier in the morning.
Race No. 2 of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo is set for Sunday, May 3, at 10:15 a.m. Pacific.
SCCA Pro Racing Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Presented by BF Goodrich Tires
John Dean, of Sebring, Florida, added another victory to his 2015 resume as the result of a Turn 11 pass in the closing laps of Round Five of the SCCA Pro Racing Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires, at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the Monterey Grand Prix. Patrick Gallagher, of Thornville, Ohio, finished second followed by his teammate Peter Portante, of Plainville, Connecticut.
Dean led only the final four laps of the 23-lap Round Five race at the 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course, in his No. 16 Bulb Jacket/PPG MX-5, but it proved to be enough to cross the finish line in first. The race was slowed by two full-course yellows that totaled three laps. However, Dean made his pass for the lead happen under green-flag conditions.
Race No. 2 of the Battery Tender Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BF Goodrich Tires is scheduled for Sunday, May 3, at 9:10 a.m. Pacific.