Takes Pirelli World Challenge GTS victory at CTMP.
Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga. used as he said the best start of his entire career to take the lead and ultimately the victory in the flag-to-flag green GTS Round 8 race, part of the Remo Ferri Group Canadian Grand Prix presented by Replay XD event, held at the 10-turn 2.459 mile Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Kurt Rezzetano, of Phoenixville, Pa., finished second with Michael Cooper, of Syosset, N.Y. in third.
On the standing start, Baldwin in the No. 73 GTSport RESET-MD Porsche Cayman was able to make a brilliant move between pole sitter Max Riddle, of Vancouver, B.C. in the No. 07 TRG-AMR Royal Purple/Orion/LaSalle Solutions/PassTime USA Aston Martin Vantage GT4 and fellow front row starter Rezzetano in the No. 37 Phoenix Performance Calvert Dynamics Ford Mustang Boss 302. Riddle struggled on his first career standing start and was pushed back to seventh by the end of lap 1 while Rezzetano moved comfortably into second as the field behind jostled to establish the order in the top five and top 10.
Early on behind the two leaders, the No. 50 of Dean Martin, of Westland, Mich. in the Rehagen Racing Picture Cars East Ford Mustang Boss 302 and Michael Cooper in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro Z28 moved into third and fourth while pulling away from No. 38 Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, Ont. in the Kenetic Motorsports PutOnTheBrakes.Org Kia Racing Optima in fifth. Behind the top five, Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, Colo. was in sixth in the No. 20 BestIT Chevrolet Camaro Z28 and behind him in seventh by lap 3 was Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa, in the No. 32 Phoenix Performance Calvert Dynamics Ford Mustang Boss 302.
By lap 10, Aquilante went deep into turn 5A and contacted with Wilkins and was able to push his Mustang into the sixth position by the exit of turn 5B. As the green flag race continued a number of other drivers were making moves forward from their initial starting positions. Jack Roush, of Livonia, Mich. in the No. 60 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302 moved into eighth past Riddle on lap 15 and then into seventh in front of Lee on lap 16. This move by Roush was occurring as Cooper made a bold move in turn 10 on Martin that he was able to finalize through turn one to take over third position. Once past, Cooper quickly eased away and looked to catch the two leaders.
Another notable drive in the mid-point of the event came from the No. 33 of Dean Martinson, of Medina, Minn., in the Gear Tie/Nite Ize Ford Mustang Boss 302. Martinson was forced to start from the back of the grid for the Round 8 race due to a retirement in Round 7. However, Martinson and his Mustang were in the zone and he made the move into the top 10 just before the mid-point of the race. It was good timing as the drivers in fifth through ninth were battling their handling and this allowed Martinson to continue to hunt for spots.
After getting ninth on lap 18 from a falling Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, Colo., in the No. 20 BestIT Racing Chevrolet Camaro, Martinson still had a car that was handling very well even with the long green flag running. He quickly disposed of Riddle on lap 19 and continued to push forward. While Wilkins, Roush, and No. 36 Ben Clucas, of Northampton, England, in the No. 36 Kinetic Motorsports DonorsChoose.Org Kia Racing Optima we fighting for sixth, Martinson closed on these three drivers. After 10 plus laps of hard fighting between the three sixth place contenders, Clucas took advantage of an optimistic move for Roush that did not work. Clucas then worked to attack his teammate Wilkins for sixth while Martinson moved in behind him in eighth. On lap 30 Clucas and Wilkins made contact as they exited turn 10 after an ambitious lunge from Clucas on Wilkins caused them to band doors and lose momentum. Martinson took advantage of this contact and passed Clucas into turn one on lap 31 before getting Wilkins in turn 5. His move on Wilkins would eventually net Martin a sixth place finish at the conclusion of the race.
After this mid-top 10 action settled, the event moved towards its finish. Baldwin drove very hard throughout the event and with the exception of a side-by-side moment on lap 27 in turns 8, 9, and 10 the leaders were close to one another but the lead position never changed. It was a great win for Baldwin after a challenging time to open the season with a mixed bag of misfortune. For Rezzetano, this result was a great way to back up his victory yesterday with the second place finish. Cooper was very pleased to finish third but also knows if he can start the next race better he may have pace for the front runners as the team continues to develop the Camaro. Fourth was Martin who was pleased with his result while Aquilante soldiered on to a lonely fifth place finish that will be good for the season points standings.
Of note, Martinson won the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start for gaining four positions when the lights went out. The Cadillac ATS-V Move of the Race was awarded to Cooper for his pass on Martin for third place on lap 15. The Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race was awarded to Roush for his pass on Wilkins. Martinson was awarded the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award for gaining nine positions overall.
Baldwin said, "My hats off to my GTSport team this season in staying focused. Steve Ruiz and Bob Sanderson have done a stellar job in getting the car so good for today. This start was the BEST launch I have EVER had. As a matter of fact I have NEVER beaten Dean (Martin) off of start in my career. So we figured I would follow him into turn one. But when I let off the clutch and got on the gas the Cayman just left and I thought I might be able to split the front row. I just thought GO LIKE HECK! When I got in front I felt I could manage the gap. Really great drive by Kurt and I am honored to win a race against two of the best young American drivers in racing today."
Rezzetano said, "I am really happy with the race today. The Mustang was great today and it has been so consistently fast all season. The start by Jack was a big surprise because it was my worst start and must have been his best. Starting from the outside made it tough to get grip but if someone was going to get past I thought it would be Martin! But when I saw it was Jack it was good, because I knew Jack would race me fair as I have gotten to know him and talk to him this year. Once I was behind Jack I just wanted to work hard to stay with Jack and get a gap from the field. I did get one run at Jack into turn eight, but he kept himself on my corner through nine and ten. And then he was so good into turn one and he was able to keep me behind. It was a lot of fun today with the battle with Jack in a full green flag race."
Cooper said, "I have to say thanks to the Blackdog Speed Shop guys who gave me a great Camaro today, it was awesome. Got a really good launch and then we all settled in the front. I was working to get Dean (Martin) to work with me to push toward the leaders, but I had more speed. So I eventually made a move around Dean for third in turn 10. Once past, I pulled away but didn't have enough time to catch the leaders after the pass."
Results are provisional until posted final. Rezzetano leads in GTS Drivers' Championship points. Watch Rounds 7 and 8 on CBS Sports Network, May 27th at 9 p.m. EST.
BOWMANVILLE, ON - Provisional results from Saturday's 35-lap 86.065 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship GTS Round 08 race, part of the Remo Ferri Group Canadian Grand Prix prsnt by Replay XD at CTMP, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. GTS, (3), Jack Baldwin, Marietta, Ga., Porsche Cayman, 35.
2. GTS, (2), Kurt Rezzetano, Phoenixville, Pa., Ford Mustang Boss 302, 35, -.396.
3. GTS, (6), Michael Cooper, Syosset, N.Y., Chevrolet Z28, 35, -2.678.
4. GTS, (4), Dean Martin, Westland, Mich., Ford Mustang Boss302, 35, -13.577.
5. GTS, (8), Andrew Aquilante, Chester Springs, Pa., Ford Mustang Boss 302, 35, -18.455.
6. GTS, (16), Dan Martinson(R), Medina, Minn., Ford Mustang Boss302, 35, -40.225.
7. GTS, (9), Jack Roush Jr, Livonia, Mich., Ford Mustang Boss302, 35, -41.205.
8. GTS, (10), Ben Clucas, Northampton England, , Kia Optima, 35, -42.448.
9. GTS, (1), Max Riddle, Vancouver, Canada, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 35, -45.950.
10. GTS, (5), Mark Wilkins, Toronto, Ontario, KIA Optima, 35, -48.108.
11. GTS, (11), Nick Esayian, San Diego, Calif., Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 35, -48.260.
12. GTS, (7), Andy Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo., Chevrolet Camaro, 35, -48.618.
13. GTS, (12), Tony Gaples, Libertyville, Ill., Chevrolet Z28, 35, -50.482.
14. GTS, (13), Preston Calvert(R), Potomac, Md., Ford Mustang Boss 302, 35, -54.164.
15. GTS, (14), Mark Klenin, Lone Tree, Colo., Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 35, -1:15.814.
16. GTS, (15), Buz McCall, Boca Raton, Fla., Porsche Cayman, 34, -1 lap.