Maxell Paper Racing Caps dominating Patron GT3 Challenge Season with strong weekend at Road Atlanta
October 4, 2010 (Cresson, TX) -- In the final race weekend of the 2010 Patron GT3 Challenge, the Maxwell Paper Racing duo of Ross and Kendall Smith demonstrated one last time the speed that the team has been able to extract out of their pair of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.
Entering the double header weekend, Ross entered the weekend with the chance to tie the series record of nine wins in one season. He earned his eighth victory at the previous race weekend at Road America, where he also clinched the Platinum Cup championship. Kendall Smith, for his part, entered the weekend with an outside shot at clinching the Gold Cup championship, but it was a tall order as he had never before raced at Road Atlanta.
As it turned out, the real race for Ross Smith became the race to the start of Friday's round 13 as he was involved in a practice crash that left his No. 5 Maxwell Paper Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup badly damaged. The team thrashed to repair the car and made it to the starting line with only moments to spare -- and good thing they did, as Ross moved up to the lead on the opening lap and led the race until the checkered. A mid-race red flag to allow all of the cars to swap from rain to dry tires erased his lead but Ross held on to the win to tie the series record at nine wins in one season.
In the Gold Cup, Kendall would finish a strong fourth in the No. 4 Maxwell Paper Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup but the result would essentially mathematically eliminate him from the Gold Cup class championship.
Saturday's round 14, the season finale, would see the fortunes reversed for Ross and Kendall. Ross, looking to break the record for wins in a season, saw his chance to do so evaporate when he suffered a cut tire, ending his race. Kendall, however, was hit on the opening lap which dropped him to the back of the field. While his chances at victory also appeared dashed, he put in some fast laps to make up ground and a late-race caution period put him back within striking distance of the Gold Cup class leader.
A very frantic restart saw Kendall emerge relatively unscathed -- but more importantly, he came down the hill into turn 12 as the Gold Cup class leader and held it until the checkered flag. However, he was unable to win the Gold Cup championship despite finishing the season on a high with his third victory of the season.
"It was disappointing to all but lose our chance at the championship on Saturday," said Kendall. "Winning the Gold Cup championship would have been an awesome opportunity for Maxwell Paper Racing to win dual championships in its first season with the Patron GT3 Challenge, and show its professionalism and dominance. In the Sunday race I was punted pretty hard at the start -- incidentally, by the teammate of the driver who ended up winning the Gold Cup championship. But, that's racing. In the end, winning was the best way to finish the season and to thank the guys for all of their hard work throughout the year. That was a crazy race, but I'm glad we were able to leave here with two wins for Maxwell Paper Racing."
Having clinched his championship before the weekend, Ross was hoping to finish the season standing alone as the record-holder for wins in the season. With one win and a DNF, he now shares the record of nine wins.
"I really wanted that record, and it's a little disappointing to lose our chance because of a cut tire," said Ross. "But we have had a great season and I couldn't be more proud of our team for our Platinum Cup championship. I'd like to thank them the team, especially our dad, for such a great year."
Rounds 13 and 14 of the Patron GT3 Challenge presented by Yokohama series will be broadcast on Sunday, October 24, at 1:00 AM ET on SPEED Channel.