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Johnson/Maxwell Score Final Lap Victory At Road America
- Updated: August 6, 2016
Billy Johnson celebrates the victory with co-driver Scott Maxwell. [Dave Jensen Photo]
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 6, 2016) – Watching an upset-seeking Aston Martin take the white flag on pit road, Billy Johnson took the lead on the final lap Saturday at Road America and went on to join Scott Maxwell in scoring their third consecutive IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory—and fourth of the season.
The victory for the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C unofficially extended the team’s lead in the Grand Sport (GS) point standings to 23 points – 228-205 – over CJ Wilson Racing’s Danny Burkett and Marc Miller with only three races remaining. Miller was running third but finished sixth after running low on fuel on the final lap.
“I was doing what I was told – to go as fast as I can – but I was getting a little nervous when I saw cars running out of fuel and pitting earlier than us,” said Johnson, who pitted for a splash for fuel with 12 minutes remaining. “But they had the strategy down, and kudos to the Multimatic team for great strategy, putting us in the position to win. We always race to win – we just don’t ride around. We would have been happy to finish second, but it’s great to get the win, because Scott and I had never won here before.”
After seeing four full-course cautions in the opening one hour, 18 minutes, the remainder of the race ran under the green. Charles Espenlaub attempted to stretch the fuel in the No. 99 Automatic Racing Invisible Glass Aston Martin Vantage, started by Charles Putman, to capture the win. However, Espenlaub slowed dramatically in the waning minutes, finally pitting with one lap remaining for a splash of fuel, finishing forth.
Jeroen Bleekemolen, driving the No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport started by Peter Ludwig, held off Guy Cosmo in the No. 64 TGM Motorsports Clubsport started by Ted Giovanis by just 0.079 seconds – although 13.596 seconds behind Maxwell. Cosmo, making his first start of the season, led for 15 laps early in the race but was forced to pit under the green for his final stop.
Coming two turns short of victory at Road America in 2015, Spencer Pumpelly was not to be denied on Saturday at Road America in the Street Tuner class. Pumpelly led the final 18 laps after taking over from Nick Galante in the No. 17 RS1 Legistics/RickieFowler.com Porsche Cayman, passing the No. 73 MINI JCW of Mat Pombo with 41 minutes remaining.
It was the second victory of the season for Pumpelly and Galante. They unofficially extended their lead in the standings to 14 points (208-194) over Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer, who finished fourth in the No. 25 Freedom Autosport ModSpace Mazda MX-5.
“This is redemption from last year, when we ran out of gas on the last lap in this same position,” Pumpelly said. “I wanted to make sure we got this thing home. I had a really good car today. It was easy to drive, it was easy to keep it underneath me and keep putting down good, solid laps. I know the 25 car finished well to so the battle continues, but we needed a win and we got it.”
Defending Road America winners Chad Gilsinger and Ryan Eversley finished second in the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si, 10.693 seconds in arrears, after starting at the back of the field. Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss rebounded from an accident on the first lap of Friday’s opening practice to finish third in the rebuilt No. 56 Murillo Racing/Mosing Motorcars Porsche Cayman.
Similar to the GS battle, an ST contender ran short of fuel just before the finish. Pombo led six laps after taking over from Derek Jones in the No. 73 MINI USA MINI JCW and then ran second down the stretch, before slowing to seventh on the final lap.
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