Pagerey scores podium finish in Harrah's Grand Prix JOLIET, Ill. - After a slow start to the Harrah's Grand Prix weekend at the Autobahn Country Club, driver Mitch Pagerey, of Deerfield Beach, Fla., rebounded nicely with a ...
Pagerey scores podium finish in Harrah's Grand Prix
JOLIET, Ill. - After a slow start to the Harrah's Grand Prix weekend at the Autobahn Country Club, driver Mitch Pagerey, of Deerfield Beach, Fla., rebounded nicely with a fifth-place and a podium finish, respectively, in Rounds 5 and 6 of the Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama.
Pagerey had high hopes heading into Round Five qualifying but a broken gearbox relegated him to two laps and a top time of 2:32.117 (84.251 mph), which put him 12th on the grid. This meant Pagerey had some work to do if he was going to make a run at a podium finish. And, like all good drivers, he just put his head down, stayed consistent and continued to get faster throughout the race. In fact, he turned his best lap 10 circuits into the race with a 2:28.517 (86.293 mph). In the end, his fluidity and consistency earned him the Yokohama Hard Charger award for advancing the most positions (seven) throughout the race - from 12th to fifth.
In Round Six, Pagerey started third in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche GT3 Cup. Early on, the polewinner Martin Snow and the defending series Champion Bob Faieta put some distance between themselves and the rest of the field. And, while their lead continued to grow, Pagerey tried to run them down. Much like in the Round Five race, Pagerey got faster as the race wore on. On lap 13 of the 16-lap race, Pagerey set a new fast race lap record with 2:27.321 (86.994 mph). This was the fastest lap any one had run all weekend (it was second time this season Pagerey had set the fastest race lap).
With just a few laps remaining, a caution came out. This was the break the team needed. This caution meant that Pagerey would now be right behind Faieta and Snow, respectively; with a shot at the win. Essentially, this caution nullified the big lead that Snow and Faieta had on the field. Unfortunately, the race finished under caution and Pagerey finished third.
"We thought that late-race yellow was going to work to our advantage," Team Owner Alex Job said. "The car was really coming to Mitch and he was really laying down laps before that yellow. He was starting to make ground on Snow and Faieta, but there was so much distance, I don't think he would have caught them [without the yellow]. Unfortunately, it never went green again.
"Mitch has continued to improve throughout the season. Despite the fact he hasn't had a lot of time on some of these tracks, he learns them quickly. This was evidenced by him setting the fastest race lap for the second time in six races this season. I don't think it will be long before he gets his first GT3 Challenge win."
This season, Pagerey has two podiums, five top-five and six top-10 finishes. With six of 14 Rounds complete, Pagerey is still very much in the championship hunt. He trails the series point leader, Faieta, by only 35 points. Faieta has 114 points, followed by Snow (112), Galen Bieker (86), Pagerey (79) and Amadeo Quiros (71).
The Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama Series travels to Road America Aug. 13-16 for the Time Warner Cable Road Race Showcase.