Pank grabs 3rd at Portland IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge The IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin traveled to Portland for the 3rd round in the 5 race series. The Farnbacher Loles team featured a strong 4 car line-up including Shawn Price, Paul...
Pank grabs 3rd at Portland IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge
The IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin traveled to Portland for the 3rd round in the 5 race series. The Farnbacher Loles team featured a strong 4 car line-up including Shawn Price, Paul Orwicz, Russell Smith and Tom Pank.
Qualifying was held on Saturday and saw very close competition with the top 7 drivers separated by less than a second. Californian Price was clearly dialed in posting a 1:17.828, which was good for 4th on the grid. Following Shawn was fellow Farnbacher Loles driver Paul Orwicz from Connecticut who nailed a 1:18.268 to grab the 6th spot. Tom Pank, who hails from Maryland, was directly behind Paul in 7th. Rounding the Farnbacher Loles effort, Bermudan Russell Smith posted a 1:19.583 to secure the11thspot on the grid.
Sunday's race went off in warm conditions with Price getting a great start, picking up 2 positions before the first turn. Price looked strong running in 2nd through most of the race and pulling out a big lead on the 3rd place car. Price ran flawlessly and even overcame contact from another car without losing his position. Unfortunately a fuel pickup problem sidelined him on lap 28 ending his day. While he was disappointed to drop out so close to the end, he knows the points race is not over yet and is "looking forward to the next round."
Paul Orwicz also got an excellent start and was running a very solid 4th. Paul drove impressively smooth and consistent, defending his position through most of the race until he lost numerous spots while avoiding a late race incident. Even though he posted the race's 5th fastest time, Paul was unable to get back in the top group and finished in 10th.
Russell Smith had an incredibly spirited drive. Starting 11th on the grid, Russell drove with great skill, working through the field. Russell's "Close Call" sponsored blue machine was a crowd favorite and he gave the fans lots to cheer for. Russell climbed all the way to 5th position and in an intense battle for 4th place at the finish line he came up less than half a car length short.
Getting his first series podium finish, Tom Pank battled to a well-earned 3rd place. Pank fought hard to get the key passes he needed and while his car ended the day a little worse for wear, Pank was thrilled to get the good result. After the race, he thanked the Farnbacher Loles team and was very happy to carry the team banner for his fellow drivers.
The next race is at Road America, Sunday, August 21. The Farnbacher Loles Racing team is based in Danbury, CT.