Mid-Ohio: GM Racing GT race report

Banner Pontiac GXP.R Third At Mid-Ohio Collins and Edwards Persevere To The Podium The Banner Pontiac GXP.R of Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards finished third today in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course GT race. The duo fought ...

Banner Pontiac GXP.R Third At Mid-Ohio
Collins and Edwards Persevere To The Podium

The Banner Pontiac GXP.R of Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards finished third today in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course GT race. The duo fought through several issues to come home on third step of the podium in round seven of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.

The No. 07 Banner Pontiac led the GT field to the start and an immediate first lap caution had the team making a strategy call to pit the 07. Collins returned the race in seventh and by lap 19 was running in second and assumed the lead under the third caution period on lap 21. While warming his tires, Collins noticed front grip problems and then a large chunk of rubber came off of the right front, causing the Californian to mistakenly think his tire was going down.

"We lost a lot of time when I pitted with what I thought was a flat," Collins said. "The two previous yellows I didn't have any pickup problems. On the third yellow I saw a huge piece of rubber come off the right front and thought the tire was coming apart. I went back out and ran qualifying laps to get us back in the hunt, and then the clutch started to slip. Paul did a great job to bring it home in third. We are lucky to get this result, but we still want a win."

Edwards took over from Collins at nearly the two-hour mark. The speedy Californian proceeded to move the 07 Banner Pontiac up the field and set the races fastest lap on round 92 of 94.

"We did most of the development on the GTO.R here and the GXP.R is the evolution of that car, so it really feels at home on this track," Edwards said. "When Kelly gave me the car the clutch was really slipping coming out of the corner and that hurt us. I had to adjust the way I was shifting. Other than that the car was really good and I was able to put in fast lap of the race and help to maximize our points on the day."

Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis Jr. in the No. 06 Banner Pontiac showed a lot of speed all race. Reese started the car along side teammate Collins in second position and was a factor at the front early. The Minnesota resident took over the lead on lap 45 and led until lap 61 when the motor stumbled and forced him to pit for fuel.

"I had the best car I have ever had at Mid-Ohio," Reese said. "I could drive it about any where on the track. I was passing guys on the outside. It was great to run in the lead. The Porsche was all over me and I had him covered, but then we ran it right up to the pit window, the car stumbled for fuel and he got by me. Great close racing."

Lewis Jr. didn't have the same ride at his teammate. The Florida based driver was struggling with the cars handling.

"Leighton had a great opening stint," Lewis Jr. said. "He must have put the handling in his pocket when he got out. I had a huge push in the car, it didn't want to turn at all. Through turns 14 and 15 I was really having trouble keeping it on the road. We had a decent finish, but I think we could have been a lot better, especially after Leighton led a bunch of laps early."

Disappointment plagued the No. 30 Racers Edge Pontiac GXP.R of Mark Pavan and Drew Staveley. In the warm-up this morning, Pavan was going through the 10 - 11 turn complex and got sideways, he was then hit in the passenger side B-pillar area causing substantial damage to the GXP.R. The damage was so severe that it caused Jon Mirachi, team owner, to withdrawal the car from the race.

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Paul Edwards , Kelly Collins , Leighton Reese , Mark Pavan , Tim Lewis