At the end of a 2 hour, 40-minute sprint race the top three drivers saved their best for last as the final three minutes were action-packed. Harry Tincknell protected the lead through the final lap as he and Dan Cameron banged fenders in Round 9 of the IMSA Weathertech Sports Car Championship. Tincknell prevailed.
It was the third win in a row for Mazda Team Joest and the second for the No. 55 of Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito. The No. 55 team won the Sahlen’s Six Hours at the Glen. Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez won the Mobil 1 Sports Car Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.
“I just had nothing left,” Tincknell said after the race. “I was pushing as hard as I could the whole way.”
On his way to the lead, Tincknell made a dramatic move to the outside of Montoya.
“On the outside move, I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s not easy to get by Juan Pablo. But at the end, I was just hanging on for dear life.”
Tincknell pushed a little too hard in Turn 5, which opened the door for Cameron. Tincknell slammed it shut and clipped the front nose of the No. 6. Both drivers kept the cars pointed in the right direction and finished 1-2.
It was not as if the lead was ever particularly safe. After a spirited battle in the opening laps between the Team Penske cars of Cameron and Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 6 and Helio Castroneves and Ricky Taylor in the No. 7. Bomarito took the lead from Cameron on Lap 15. At the end of the first hour, the top three were separated by less than a second as they navigated traffic.
Oliver Jarvis and Tristan Nunez in the No. 77 team car to the winner finished third with the second-place team in the points, Pipo Derani and Felipe Nasr finishing fourth.
Jordan Taylor and Renger Van Der Zande rounded out the top five. Road American remains the only track on which Wayne Taylor has not yet conquered.
Patrick Kelly scores his first LMP2 victory
Matthew McMurray and Patrick Kelly won following a return from injury. It was the first win for Kelly and the fourth for McMurray.
Patrick Kelly described the feeling of winning after such a long, nine-year hiatus.
“I’ll tell you, it’s hard to describe. I think the last race I was in was Laguna or maybe it was Sebring in GTC, remember when we had the Cup cars that ran in the class,” Kelly said. “I was in a really horrible crash with a school bus driver who was texting and swerved into on-coming traffic. I was just about a year ago able to cleared to go back. I just said I have to keep a clear head, do what I need to do, do decent lap times, don’t do anything stupid and foolish. And just hand it over to Matt in one piece. I’ll admit, it was hard to stay relaxed.
“Wow. Road America. I mean, Road America is the greatest track in North America. I’m originally from Minnesota, this is like the Mecca. So I’ve been coming here for holidays and even better holidays when there are race events. It’s always been that track that the European drivers come over and say it’s their first or second favorite track in the world. It’s incredible.”
The pair finished 10th overall.
Westbrook, Briscoe earn GTLM victory
Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe in the No. 67 Chip Ganassi Ford scored a 10.657 second win over their Chip Ganassi teammate Joey Hand and the No. 66 in GTLM class.
“The key was being good on the tires,” Westbrook said. “Really the last 10 laps of the stint were the important 10 laps, not the first 10 laps. If you fell off the cliff like the Corvettes definitely did 20 laps into the stint, you were toast. That was the key, the polar opposite of Lime Rock. We won on a three-stopper and today we made the two-stopper work.”
Briscoe is now one victory away from the 20-win mark in IMSA competition. This was his 10th Weathertech victory to go along with nine in the American LeMans Series.
“We’ve always run strong here,” Briscoe said. “I think we were unlucky to not win the first year too. It’s just a track that really suits the Ford GT. The long straights and fast corners. I think now it’s the consistency than the outright speed. We always come here with a lot of confidence and we know we’ll always have a shot at winning.”
Robichon, No. 9 team wins back to back in GTD
In the GTD class, it was back to back wins for the No. 9. After scoring the win with Zacharie Robichon and Dennis Olsen at Lime Rock, Matt Campbell took the car to Victory Lane at Road America along with Robichon.
It is Campbell’s first IMSA win and the second for Robichon.
Soon after losing the lead to Corey Lewis (who is filling in for the remainder of the season for Ryan Hardwick) on Lap 17 of the race, pole sitter Ben Keating broke a suspension and retired the No. 33 Mercedes less than 30 minutes into the race.
The next race of the 2019 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is the Michelin GT Challenge at Virginia International Raceway on August 25.