K-PAX/3R Racing Porsches finish 3rd, 10th and 14th as contact takes a heavy toll in Charlotte WCGT race Charlotte N.C. (May 24, 2007): Round 4 of SCCA Pro Racing's SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Series was an adventure for K-PAX/3R ...
K-PAX/3R Racing Porsches finish 3rd, 10th and 14th as contact takes a heavy toll in Charlotte WCGT race
Charlotte N.C. (May 24, 2007): Round 4 of SCCA Pro Racing's SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Series was an adventure for K-PAX/3R Racing Porsche drivers Randy Pobst, Michael Galati and Robb Holland as Pobst survived to finish 3rd. Michael Galati's day ended 14 laps early due to contact with a tire barrier while Robb Holland drove a smart race to finish strong in 10th.
Randy Pobst, of Gainesville Georgia, led the race in his #22 K-PAX/3R Racing/Jim Haughey LLC Porsche GT3 Cup car after Galati had his early spin and held the point until the scheduled mid race break with Andy Pilgrim's Cadillac in the second position.
"It was amazing, it was like two different races," Randy Pobst said of the split race format at Lowes Motor Speedway which was more like a Saturday night special than a sports car race.
Michael Galati, of Olmstead Ohio, held the lead from his pole position in the #23K-PAX/3R Racing Porsche but rear brake lockup caused him to spin going into the second chicane on the restart after a first lap full course caution stopped the action early.
"We had a good start and then the yellow came out on lap 1," said Galati of the opening laps of the race. "On the restart I went into the second chicane and the rear brakes locked up and I spun. I went all the way back to last!"
As Pobst related Galati's spin could have been worse for the K-PAX team.
"It was really, really close," Pobst said. "I got on the brakes hard and missed him by an inch. He left me one cal length and an inch and I just squeezed by!"
Galati was able to recover and drive his K-PAX Porsche back into the 5th position before the end of the first half of the two part race that was split to provide teams time to perform a mandatory tire change due to tire concerns on the banked Lowes track.
During the break the infamous, for the K-PAX team at least, Wheel of Inversion was spun onto the number two which switched the top two cars dropping Pobst back to the second position and giving the lead to Pilgrim.
When the second half was given the rolling start Randy Pobst pressured Pilgrim for the lead but the only passing opportunities are on the high banking and Randy's Porsche couldn't match the Cadillac's V-8 power down the straights.
"Randy could run with him (the lead Cadillac of Pilgrim) but he had to push the car too hard through the chicane to do it and we burned the rear tires off the car," said Bob Raub of 3R Racing. "We were really hooked up through there but we had nothing for the Cadillacs on the banking."
Eventually Pobst began to fade as his right rear tire began to lose grip and feeling that a 3rd place was better than nothing Randy let Aschenbach pass into 2nd.
"We came in first in the first half but when we changed the tires we noticed that we blistered a rear tire in that half," said Pobst. "In the second half I started noticing a vibration and smelled burning tire so I started backing down and had to settle for second!
"My K-PAX Porsche was fast but I had to push it too hard through the chicanes to make up for what we lost on the banking to the Cadillacs which created a lot more tire wear!"
"We decided to take 3rd rather than nothing so Randy let Aschenbach by and limped home in 3rd," said Raub.
Michael Galati started the second half in the 5th position and was soon up to 4th and gaining on the 3rd place Cadillac of defending GT driver's champ Lawson Aschenbach.
Michael caught Aschenbach's Cadillac easily but as was the case with Pobst and Pilgrim Galati couldn't get around the Aschenbach as his Cadillac had too much grunt on the banking and straights.
Galati's race ended on lap 31 when he laid back and took a run into the chicane on the back straight to get a jump on Aschenbach. Unfortunately Galati misjudged his entry and smacked the tire barrier ending his day prematurely limping to the pits with race ending suspension damage.
"It was a disaster, a real sad story," Michael Galati said of the race. "We actually should have finished better than we did because the car was really great! What a shame!"
Robb Holland, of Denver Colorado, in just his second GT race in the Motorsports Gallery/K-PAX Porsche GT3kept his head and cool while those around him were crashing and finished a strong 10th.
After qualifying 17th Robb avoided track clogging multi car crashes in both the first and second chicanes on the opening lap and drove smart clean race to finish while nearly half of the field did not.
"We are looking to the long term for K-PAX racing and every race we are getting better," concluded randy Pobst of the Charlotte race. "I want to thank my personal sponsors, WeatherTech and APR Tuning, who make a lot of this possible."
Randy Pobst's 3rd place finish elevated him to 3rd in the Driver's Championship chase with 99 points and Michael Galati's 14th place finish kept him in the run for the championship in 5th position with 93 points. Pilgrim and Aschenbach lead with 112 and 100 points respectively.
The K-PAX 3rd place finish elevated Porsche into a tie (with Dodge) for 3rd in the Manufacturer's Championship with 15 points. Cadillac and Chevrolet are 1st and 2nd with 25 and 24 points.
Round 4 from Lowes Motor Speedway will be broadcast on Saturday, June 2 at 4 p.m. (EDT) on SPEED.
Round 5 of the SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT championship Series will be at Watkins Glen International in New York on June 10th.