Curran Takes Third SPEED GT Win of Season at Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Eric Curran, of East Hampton, Mass., led Sunday's SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Race Presented by Trenton Forging flag-to-flag to capture his...
Curran Takes Third SPEED GT Win of Season at Mid-Ohio
LEXINGTON, Ohio -- Eric Curran, of East Hampton, Mass., led Sunday's SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship Race Presented by Trenton Forging flag-to-flag to capture his third series win of the season in front of a record crowd at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., and Lawson Aschenbach, completed the top three.
Curran started from the pole in his No. 30 Whelen Engineering Chevrolet Corvette and sped away from the standing start to an early lead over the No. 5 Mopar/Autohaus Motorsport Dodge Viper of Tommy Archer. The top three qualified and remained the same throughout the 29-lap, 65.481-mile contest that ran caution-free.
While the gap between first and second was under a half second with just a few laps remaining, Curran was able to pull out to a final margin of 2.002 seconds at the finish over Archer. In post-race technical inspection, the gearbox in Archer's Viper was found to be out of compliance, and the car disqualified.
For Curran, it has been feast or famine in SCCA SPEED GT competition this year. After starting the season off with back-to-back wins at Sebring and Long Beach, he had three-straight DNFs followed by a run two weeks ago in Toronto that included two stop and go penalties and a pit stop.
"It's been an unbelievable season," Curran said. "The first couple of races were amazing. Two wins with a new team, and then things fell apart in a hurry. I couldn't believe how quickly things went down hill, but these guys at Marsh Racing have been working their hearts out weekend after weekend trying to give me the best possible car. Toronto was a disastrous weekend, but we ended up finishing seventh and got to take some weight out of the car and I think that helped a bit today.
"The Whelen Engineering Corvette was just fabulous today. For the fans, it would have been a lot more exciting to see us closer together, but it was a lot of work. I wanted this win so badly and I felt like I was running qualifying laps. With some help from Randy [Pobst] pushing Tommy [Archer], I got a little bit of a gap, but I pushed a little bit too hard. The tires started to go off a bit and the brake pedal started to sink and Tommy was coming strong. I did everything I could to keep that Whelen Corvette at the front and it just feels great to be back on the podium. To win three races in one season is just unbelievable, especially racing with these guys who are the top drivers in the country."
It was Curran's second win of the weekend, also taking a Grand-American win at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama from the pole on Saturday.
"I landed at two in the morning here to do qualifying on Saturday after qualifying in Alabama on Friday," he said of his travels. "Once I got in the car, I forgot about the lack of sleep and just focused and got the pole. Then flew right back to Barber and ran two races there. It was a long day yesterday, but I got some good sleep and felt great this morning. Two poles and two wins this weekend, it's wonderful, it couldn't be better."
Point leader Pobst had a solid run in his No. 22 K-PAX Racing/Jim Haughey Porsche 911 GT3. Coming off of back-to-back wins at Watkins Glen and Toronto, Pobst extended his lead in the Championship to 18 points over Andy Pilgrim with his fourth-straight podium.
"From where I sat, it was flat out," Pobst said. "My K-PAX Porsche was tuned just right for this track. There were times when I thought I had a little something for Tommy [Archer]. Toward the end of the race, he was a little quicker and pulled out a gap, but I just kept pushing as hard as I could.
"I love running here at Mid-Ohio, it's a fun track. I'm kind of disappointed though that we all spread out so much and didn't make a better show.
"For the Championship this is another good race for the K-PAX/3R team. One of my personal sponsors, Team Janica, was here today, so it's great to be on the podium."
Pobst entered Mid-Ohio leading both the SCCA SPEED GT and Touring Car Championships, but leaves only with the GT lead after an early incident eliminated him from the Touring Car race this morning.
"This reminds me a little bit of Laguna Seca last year where the Touring Car race was first and there was a bit of a disaster that I created, but then the GT race went much better. It's all part of racing; you get the good breaks, you get the bad breaks. Now we get five weeks off and on a high note, because my mood is usually determined by how the last race went."
Defending series Champion Aschenbach had a quiet run to wind up third in his No. 1 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac CTS-V, his fourth top-three finish of the season.
"I got a good start, and my Cadillac really took off," Aschenbach said. "At the end of the race, I was slipping and sliding. I didn't have anything for the Corvette, Viper and Porsche, so we were just trying to bring the car home in the points."
Aschenbach's teammate Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., was fourth in his No. 8 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac CTS-V. Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio, recovered from a start-line stall to finish fifth in his No. 23 K-PAX Racing/Jim Haughey Porsche 911 GT3.
Michael McCann (Dodge Viper), Brian Kubinski (Chevrolet Corvette), James Sofronas (Porsche 911 GT3), Tim McKenzie (Porsche 911 GT3) and Doug Peterson (Chevrolet Corvette) completed the top 10.
Kubinski took home two awards for his effort in the No. 12 Diamond Construction/Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette--the B&M Oil Coolers Coolest Move of the Race for his pass on James Sofronas and the Piloti Rookie of the Race.
Sofronas earned the Toyo Tires Cup in his No. 14 Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3 and Jeffrey Robbins, of Southfield, Mich., was the Sunoco Hard Charger in his No. 6 RSIG Security Dodge Viper for advancing four positions in the race.
Pobst's 215 points top Pilgrim's 197 in the Drivers' Championship. Aschenbach is third, with 185, followed by Galati (174) and Curran (153).
Cadillac continues to lead the Manufacturers' Championship Presented by RACER Magazine, with 45 points. Chevrolet moved into a two-way tie with Porsche for second with the win (41 points), followed by Dodge (19).
Today's race will be broadcast Saturday, July 28 at 4 p.m. (EDT) on SPEED.
The series next travels to Canada for the Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport Aug. 25.