Billy Johnson and Scott Maxwell outpaced the competition in their No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Shelbey GT350R-C to win the Circuit of the Americas 150 in Texas, the penultimate round of the Continental Tire SportsCar Championship. Following the GS class, Texas natives, Jeff Mosing and Eric Foss won in the ST category in their No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman. Throughout the race, temperatures soared causing a number of issues for teams and drivers. Following the Shelby in GS, Trent Hindman and Cameron Cassels finished in second place in their Porsche Cayman GT4 after late-race issues from the No. 33 CJ Wilson Racing Porsche. Paul Holton and Pierre Kleinubing completed the GS podium in their Shelby. The Honda Civic Si of Cameron Lawrence and Chad Gilsinger led Greg Strelzoff and Connor Bloum’s Porsche to completed the ST podium.
The race started out in hectic fashion as the mad rush into COTA’s epic Turn 1 produced a classic chaotic start. The first and only Yellow waved before the field was able to return to the start/finish line for Brent Mosing’s BMW 328i in the barrier at Turn 12. The next 56 laps were run completely green.
ST points leader, Nick Galante, was forced to pit on the first lap after discovering a loose shift cable. He and Spencer Pumpelly were able to get back out after lengthy repairs, finishing 22nd in class. By Lap 2, Holton was able to get by Danny Burkett’s Porsche for second place. The two battled through the first round of pit stops.
A number of competitors experienced issues with the Texan heat. After a solid first stint by Sarah Cattaneo, Owen Trinkler was forced to pull the No. 44 Nissan Altima off line due to an overheating issue. Michael Johnson was also forced to retire his BMW due to a mechanical issue.
After driver changes, Marc Miller set his sights on the Shelby. A quick second pit stop saw the Porsche almost take the lead into Turn 1 on Lap 42. Johnson was quick to defend, maintaining a lead of around two and a half seconds. With just 21-minutes remaining, a right rear suspension failure on Miller’s Porsche forced the team to retire.
After the Porsche’s exit from the event, it was smooth sailing for the Multimatic team to capture their fifth win of the season. It was Maxwell’s 15th career win, tying him with Terry Borcheller and Eric Curran for eighth on the overall win its while Johnson tied Matt Plumb for most wins in the series with 22. At 295 points, the team now leads Miller and Burkett by 31 points heading into the final round of the season – simply completing drive time at Road Atlanta will lock in the championship.
Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAllen come out of Texas holding the points lead in ST by just eight points. Pumpelly and Galante currently sit in second, one point ahead of Foss and Mosing. With the top three championship contenders just nine points apart with one round remaining, it’s anyone’s championship heading into Atlanta.
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge heads to Road Atlanta for the Road Atlanta 150 in two weeks’ time. The 2016 champions will be crowned after the race on Friday, September 29.