More caution laps than green flag laps make for a disappointing race.
ST. PETERSBURG – After the compelling two opening races for the Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTA/GT Cup series at Circuit , round 3 was a major disappointment due to a massive crash at the standing start of the race, and a later-race caution that meant a yellow-flag finish.
Ryan Eversley in the RealTime Acura TLX-GT won from the pole, avoiding due to the late caution was would have likely been a charge from second-place finisher Ryan Dalziel in the EFFOR Porsche 911 GT3R, and the third-place Mike Skeen, in his DeVilbiss Audi R8 LNS Ultra. Fourth was Johnny O’Connell in the new Cadillac ATS-VR GT3. His teammate Amdy Pilgrim finished eighth, but had the fastest race lap, which will give him the pole for Sunday’s race.
Eversley, whose Acura is the only all-wheel-drive model in the field, said he got the pole largely due to a wet qualifying session, but he proved that he and they Acura were all-weather competitors. This is the 49th anniversary of Acura, “and getting them a win on their anniversary is great,” he said. “This is a dream come true.”
Big crash, bad start
The standing-start crash occurred in the back half of the field, with at least five cars getting damaged, with the worst of it going to Alex Udell, Sloan Urry, Maximillian Voelker and Colin Thompson, winner of the first two GT-Cup races. The caution flag ate up 25 minutes, half the race’s allotted 50 minutes.
The second crash occurred when Nissan GT Academy graduate Bryan Heitkotter, 11th-fastest qualifier in his Nissan GT-R GT3, was nosed from the rear and backed hard into the wall. The full-course caution meant the race would end under the yellow flag.
Michael Lewis won his third straight in the GTA class in his EFFORT Porsche 911 GT3R. “The car was on rails,” he said. And taking the GT-Cup class win was Phil Fogg in the Zoro Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
This race will air on CBS Sports April 5 at 5 p.m. ET.