SWARTZBAUGH BUILDS ON CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD WITH MOSPORT WIN BOWMANVILLE, Ontario (Sept. 2, 2006) - Nathan Swartzbaugh's first career victory in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin couldn't have come at a better time. The...
SWARTZBAUGH BUILDS ON CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD WITH MOSPORT WIN
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario (Sept. 2, 2006) - Nathan Swartzbaugh's first career victory in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin couldn't have come at a better time. The young Californian seized control of the championship for the series' Type 997 class with a win Saturday at Mosport International Raceway.
It was truly a team effort for Swartzbaugh and the rest of the AASCO Motorsports team. After damaging his No. 17 Porsche 911 Cup car in Thursday's test session, teammate Gary Becker voluntarily stepped out of the No. 24 entry to make way for Swartzbaugh, who came in leading the class championship by 2 points.
But as a result of his 13-second win over runner-up Shawn Price, Swartzbaugh enters the next round of the championship at Road Atlanta with a 6-point lead over Dino Steiner, who finished third.
"We really wanted to build momentum heading into the last two races of the season," Swartzbaugh said. "You don't really want to win a championship without winning a race. But we have that now. A big thanks goes out to everyone on the AASCO team. We all did it together."
In the Type 996 class, Dino Loles powered to his fifth consecutive victory and further tightened his grip on the class championship. Loles' fifth- place overall finish was the highest this season for the No. 47 Farnbacher Loles Racing entry. The win gives Loles a 23-point lead over Darrell Carlisle heading into Road Atlanta.
A maximum of 40 points are available for winning the final two rounds. Knowing that, Carlisle needs to finish five positions ahead of Loles in Atlanta to keep the youngster from clinching the class title.
"We're always keeping our eyes on the championship," said Loles, who has led in class since the first lap at Sebring in March. "Really since Mid- Ohio, that's what we have been focused on. We have a great team that has helped us get to this point. Hopefully we can keep it going a little longer."
Even in the older 996 model of the famed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, Loles was able to keep in sight with the overall leaders in the opening. What he saw ahead of him was a terrific battle between Price, Steiner and Bryce Miller for second and third place early on. Miller had the position in hand before a late-race flat tire knocked him from the podium.
The next round of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Michelin is scheduled for 1:50 p.m. EDT on Friday, September 29 as part of Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Live timing & scoring can be found at imsaracing.net.