PWC: O’Connell, Stacy span age gap to win Sonoma Saturday races

Photo: Cadillac Racing
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SONOMA, Calif. – The second-to-last weekend for Pirelli World Challenge sees the GT/GTA/GT Cup and GTS classes in action at Sonoma Raceway.

And on Saturday, the two winners spanned the age gap. The 54-year-old cagey veteran, Johnny O’Connell, won overall in GT on the final lap, beating a teenager in rising star Austin Cindric, just 18. Meanwhile a pair of teenagers ended 1-2 in GTS, Nate Stacy scoring his first class win ahead of Parker Chase. Stacy is 16, Chase just 15.

Here’s quick recaps on the pair of races.


An otherwise flawless drive from Austin Cindric in the No. 6 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S GT3, who looked poised to secure his first series win after leading the first 30 laps in the 50-minute race, came undone on the final lap when Cindric left the door open at the final major passing opportunity.

The 18-year-old ceded the position to the cagier, relentless veteran, 54-year-old four-time defending champion Johnny O’Connell, who darted to the inside at Turn 7 to secure his second win of the season in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R (Circuit of The Americas Round 2 in March).

It’s O’Connell’s third win on the road, having also won the series’ most recent race in California in Long Beach back in April, but having later lost the win following post-race technical inspection for an infraction found. Alvaro Parente inherited the win there.

Cindric was left to secure a hard-luck second place, his second runner-up finish of the season, with the second Cadillac of Michael Cooper in third in the No. 8 Cadillac.

Parente, in the No. 9 K-PAX McLaren, finished fourth, with Michael Lewis top Porsche in the No. 98 Calvert Dynamics entry.

Parente closes the championship gap on title rival Patrick Long in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R unofficially to five points (1461-1456).

Michael Schein, in the No. 16 Wright Porsche, won the GTA race but second-in-class Martin Fuentes has enough points to wrap the GTA class title in the No. 07 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3. Cooper MacNeil took a debut podium in PWC in the No. 79 WeatherTech-backed Alex Job Racing Porsche in third.

Alec Udell won another close-fought battle in GT Cup in his No. 17 GMG Porsche over season-long sparring partner Sloan Urry, the No. 20 TruSpeed Autosport entry.


A racelong battle between Stacy, in the No. 14 Rehagen Racing/Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302 and points leader Brett Sandberg, in the No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-BOW GT4, saw Stacy defend against Sandberg’s advances for nearly the entirety of the race.

And then Lap 26 happened in the 29-lap, 50-minute race, that saw the race – and potentially the title – turn on its head.

Martin Barkey, in the No. 80 Mantella Autosport KTM, made a move to the inside of Chase, in the No. 19 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta GT4, for third place at the chicane. Barkey cleared Chase but his momentum on the inside of the right-hander carried him past on the left-hander and into Sandberg, in the No. 13 KTM, which speared the points leader and took him out of win contention.

It left Stacy, who has past class wins in the TC class, to bring home the bacon for the rest of the race – holding off Chase, who inherited second as a result of the KTM-on-KTM violence.

Hugh Plumb, the polesitter in a third ANSA KTM, finished third in the No. 12 car with Barkey in fourth and Scott Heckert in fifth in the No. 54 Racers Edge Motorsports SIN R1 GT4.

Kevin Marshall was sixth in a Lotus while Sandberg fell to seventh, one spot ahead of Lawson Aschenbach, who made it back to Sonoma in time for the first of two GTS races.

The four-time World Challenge champion, Aschenbach started last in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R but arrived in time following a private jet and helicopter ride, and made it up to eighth place – just one spot behind his closest rival in the championship. He finished 12th in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race at Circuit of The Americas in Austin earlier in the day, co-driving the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Audi R8 LMS with Matt Bell in IMSA’s GT Daytona class.

Both classes have their second race of the weekend tomorrow.

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”