Tough Weekend for Pagerey at Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - You couldn't tell it by the final results, but it was clear that Mitch Pagerey, of Deerfield Beach, Fla., was the class of the field during Rounds Seven and Eight of the Patron GT3...
Tough Weekend for Pagerey at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - You couldn't tell it by the final results, but it was clear that Mitch Pagerey, of Deerfield Beach, Fla., was the class of the field during Rounds Seven and Eight of the Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama at Road America.
Pagerey's No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche GT3 Cup was fast right out of the box. In fact, in Round Seven, he just missed getting the pole by 0.006-second. Championship point leader Bob Faieta nudged him for the top spot. On lap one, Pagerey and Faieta went side-by-side through Turns One and Two. But, in Turn Three, Faieta made contact with Pagerey knocking him off course. As a result, Pagerey fell to sixth.
Undaunted by the early contact, Pagerey fought his way back through the field and was challenging for second when Martin Snow closed the door on him. Snow's move damaged Pagerey's right front wheel. For all intents and purposes, this move ended Pagerey's day. Pagerey finished one lap down.
"Mitch was fighting for second," Team Owner Alex Job said. "[Darrell] Carlisle was on his left and Snow was on his right. There was an opening and Mitch went for it. Carlisle must have seen Mitch coming and decided not to mix it up with him. But then, Snow just shut the door and drove into him. This move put he [Snow] and Mitch off. As a result, the right front wheel was damaged. We had a flat tire so we had Mitch come in. We changed the wheel and sent Mitch back out. But, now we were last.
"At that point, we had the third quickest race lap and knew we were out of it [the race]. So, with just a little time left in the race, we decided to try to set the fastest race lap. We had Mitch come in to make a change. We made a wing adjustment. We sent Mitch back out with just enough time to set the fastest race lap - and Mitch did it! So, this gave us the pole for Sunday's race - which worked out well. This race hurt us in the championship because we finished last. But, we got our first pole."
Pagerey started Round Eight from the pole thanks to setting the fastest race lap (2:17.340, 106.107 mph) in Round Seven. This was Pagerey's first career pole in the Patron GT3 Challenge. Early on, Pagerey looked in command. But, on lap three the first caution came out and this bunched up the field.
"When it [the race] went green, we made it all the way to Canada corner," Job said. "[Amadeo] Quiros, who was running fifth or sixth at that point, tried to make a pass and lost the car. He went off in the grass on the right side. He went right past everyone in the grass. And then, coming into the corner, it [the car] hooked and he just plowed right into Mitch's right front. It knocked both of them into the gravel trap.
"When Quiros hit Mitch, I guess it kind of launched the car and Quiros barrel rolled into the gravel trap. Mitch was pushed into the gravel trap, but it [the contact] took out the right front corner. So, we were DNF'd. What a bummer. We were leading the race. Had we been running second at that point, we would not have gotten taken out.
"We had two terrible results. But, it was certainly not due to lack of performance. Mitch started on the front row for the first race and was on the pole for the second. In the first race, he was working his way back up to second when he was taken out. In the second race, he was leading the race when he was taken out."
This season, Pagerey has two podiums, five top-five, six top-10 finishes and one pole position.
"We're pretty much out of the championship hunt now - even with six races left," Job said. "But, on the positive side, we walked away knowing that Mitch performed well. He had never been to this track and instantly, even in the first test session, he was quick. He's doing better and better at tracks he's never been to. He is learning them very quickly. It shows his ability and that he is quick to adapt. It is pretty clear to the front runners now that Mitch is going to be there challenging them race after race."
The Patron GT3 Challenge by Yokohama Series travels north of the border to Mosport International Raceway Aug. 29-30 for the Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport.