TCR Talk Reviews: TC America at Road America

Vincent Dominates TCR Race 1 Win At Road America; Haldeman Takes Exciting TCA Win

Under sprinkling skies, Michael McCann Jr. and the #3 McCann Racing Audi RS3 LMS lead the field to green, but as the field got to turn 5 the slippery tarmac would hurt the leader as he slid wide, falling from first to last, handing the lead to Nate Vincent in the #72 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI. Vincent would never look back and go on to cruise to the TCR victory. “It was tricky driving in the rain, just tip-toeing around. This was my first time racing here at Road America, so having it in the rain was something! The team did a great job of setting up the car to handle the wet conditions and that was really the trick to bringing it home,” said Vincent.

As the field reached Canada Corner, Victor Gonzalez in the #99 VGMC Honda Civic Type R then fell victim to the rain and would spin out of third place, falling down the order. Championship leader Michael Hurczyn and the #71 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI would slide into second place, where he would finish. Hurczyn would claim the race’s fastest lap, giving him pole for Sunday’s race 2. Gonzalez would fight his way back through the field and finish third.

James Walker in the #34 Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo Giulietta would come home fourth with Christian Cole and the #3 McCann Racing Audi RS3 LMS claiming the TCR Cup win, finishing fifth overall.

With 28 minutes remaining, Mark Pombo and the #59 MINI Team JCW MINI Cooper would pass Chris Haldeman in the #69 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si for the lead. Haldeman would then go wide defending at turn 3 and go off track, falling to eighth in the TCA class.

As the clock ticked down to the 21 minute mark, Nate Norenberg in the #60 MINI Team JCW MINI Cooper would go off at The Kink, hitting the barrier but would get the car back to pitlane, keeping a full course caution from falling. Nick Wittmer and the #91 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ sT would inherit second place momentarily as Pombo then had an off from the lead, putting Wittmer in first with Tomas Mejia in the #69 MINI Team JCW MINI Cooper landing in second. While that was going on, Haldeman would fight his way back to third place and start his pursuit for second.

With 11 minutes left on the clock, Haldeman’s attack would see him overtake Mejia for second going into turn 3. Mejia would come home third with Taylor Hagler and the #77 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si fourth. Stephen Jeu would round out the top five in the #02 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si.

On the last lap, Haldeman’s charge would not stop and would overtake Wittmer for the lead, claiming his first win of the season. “I started from pole and pretty much immediately put myself in last, so I had to charge back through the field. Luckily it ended with me still taking the win!” said Haldeman.


Gonzalez Conquers Slippery Road America to Claim TCR Victory; Mat Pombo Takes Wet and Wild TCA Win

After a slight delay due to rainy conditions, Race 2 for the TCR and TCA classes got underway with championship leader Michael Hurczyn leading the field to green in the #71 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI after two laps behind the safety car to test conditions.

Heading into turn 5 at the start, Michael McCann Jr and the #3 McCann Racing Audi RS3 LMS went wide, falling to the back of the field from fifth position. At the same time, Nick Wittmer in the #91 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS would shoot past Tomas Mejia’s #62 MINI Team JCW for the lead in TCA as Mejia would fall to third in class as Tyler Maxson and the #74 Copeland Motorsports Mazda Global MX5 Cup would slot into second position. Maxson would then have a moment and fall to fifth position in class seeing Chris Haldeman and the #69 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si inherit second in the TCA class.

At the start of lap two, leader Michael Hurczyn would go off track at the fast turn 1, handing the lead to Victor Gonzalez and the #99 VGMC Honda Civic Type R TCR. Hurczyn would continue, landing in fourth position. Gonzalez would pull out an eleven second lead over Nate Vincent’s #71 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI in second and James Walker’s #34 Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo Giulietta in third. Gonzalez would control the rest of the race, and go on to claim his second win of the season. “I’m so happy and I know everybody back home is watching the race and are happy too. I have to thank the team and HPD Honda for giving us such a great car, I’m looking forward to one more in Las Vegas!” said Gonzalez.

Two laps later Hurczyn would get past Walker for third and set off for his teammate in second position.

Late in the race Hurczyn would get past Vincent with the FCP Euro teammates finishing second and third overall, with Walker coming home fourth.

With 24 minutes remaining, Haldeman would get past Wittmer for the TCA lead at turn 14. Two minutes later, TCA championship Tyler Maxson would face engine issues and pull into the pits. Maxson would continue a few laps later in the twelfth position, one lap down.

At the 20 minute mark, Haldeman would then have a moment of his own, falling to third, giving Wittmer the class lead and promoting Mat Pombo and the #61 MINI Team JCW MINI Cooper to second.

With 15 minutes remaining, Mat Pombo would power past Wittmer for the TCA class lead with the top three in class running nose to tail. Three minutes later Wittmer would get past Pombo for the lead at the outside of turn 1 with less than a second separating the three TCA class leaders.

Four laps later, Pombo would make a move on the outside of turn 7 around Wittmer and take the class lead with under six minutes remaining in the race. Haldeman would follow Pombo through, demoting Wittmer to third in two corners. On the next lap, Haldeman would go wide at turn 5, giving second place back to Wittmer with only two laps remaining.

On the final lap, Wittmer would sneak past Pombo for the lead at Canada Corner, but Pombo would fall right behind the #91 at turn 14, then win the drag race up the front straight to claim the class victory by a mere one-tenth of a second. “It was a hard fight the whole time and everyone was respectful. On the last lap, I had to lift a little, but luckily Wittmer made a little mistake out of 14, so I was able to go left and drag race up the straight to take the win. It was a great race with Nick [Wittmer] and [Chris} Haldeman. Very fun,” said Pombo.

Taylor Hagler and the #77 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si would come home fourth with Stephen Jeu and the #02 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si fifth in class.

Bryan Putt and the #15 Bsport Racing Audi RS3 LMS would claim the TCR Cup win, finishing fifth overall.

TC America’s TCR and TCA classes will next be in action for the final two rounds of the 2019 season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway October 18th – 20th.

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PROVISIONAL RESULTS – PDF Link

TCR Talk Reviews – 2019 Michelin Pilot Challenge at Laguna Seca

Morley, Ernstone Break Through for Inaugural TCR Win in Roadshagger Audi

One year ago at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Gavin Ernstone and Jon Morley contested their second career race in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge.

Returning this weekend to Monterey, Calif., the No. 61 Roadshagger Audi RS3 LMS brought a string of four podium finishes in six races and a painstakingly near-win in its first full season. That victory finally came Saturday afternoon in an impressive 12th-to-first performance without a pit stop in the final 50 minutes of the two-hour race.

“The team did an incredible job, as they have the last five races, jumping us up during the pit stop,” said Morley, a San Francisco resident. “They got me out in third place, and then I managed to get to the lead pretty quick, pull out a bit of a gap, and then from there, it was just managing tires. We weren’t planning on running the whole way, but the way the race went, that’s what happened.”

The win ends a trying few weeks for Roadshagger, which was involved in a late-race incident from the lead at VIRginia International Raceway three weeks ago that wiped out a potential victory. The following Monday, Ernstone and Morley learned their partnering team, eEuroparts, was immediately withdrawing from the sport.

“As luck would have it, I own all the stuff that is in our team,” said Ernstone. “I own the car, the hauler, all the tools and everything else, and eEuroparts was running it for me. We just got a driver and a tractor unit straight over to Connecticut, got everything in there and brought it to (my shop in) Vegas.

“That car was finished three minutes into the beginning of the promoter test on Thursday. We thought we were going to be working on it and adjusting it through the promoter test, but it was perfect the whole test. That gave us the ability to work on strategy and everything else for this weekend. It’s been great. It couldn’t be better.”

With the victory, Ernstone and Morley moved into third place in the Pilot Challenge TCR standings, 14 points behind the leading No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster N TCR pair of Michael Lewis and Mark Wilkins, 256-242.

Lewis and Wilkins finished second on Saturday by a narrow 0.276 seconds after starting from the pole position. They hold an 11-point margin over their next closest competitors in the title hunt, Tom O’Gorman and Shelby Blackstock of the No. 37 L.A. Honda World Racing Honda Civic TCR, who finished third Saturday.

The 2019 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge season concludes at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on Oct. 9-11. The two-hour FOX Factory goes green on Friday, Oct. 11 at 1:25 p.m. ET and can be streamed live on IMSA.tv with IMSA Radio commentary.

The NBCSN broadcast of the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 will air on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 1 p.m. ET.

(image courtesy of IMSA)

TCR Talk Reviews: 2019 TC America – Watkins Glen

Race 1

TC America Race 1 was held under the late afternoon sun at Watkins Glen International with Michael McCann Jr and his #3 McCann Racing Audi RS3 LMS leading the field to the green flag.  At turn 1 to start the race, championship leader Michael Hurczyn would get his #71 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI around the #34 Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo of James Walker to grab third position.  A few corners later, Mason Filippi and the #12 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N would leap past McCann for the lead, just prior to a full course caution being called for a heavy incident by Nick Wittmer’s #91 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS just two minutes into the forty minute event.

The race went back to green with 22 minutes left on the clock with Filippi leading McCann in TCR and Tyler Maxson in the #74 Copeland Motorsports Mazda MX5 Cup leading Mark Pombo’s #59 MINI Cooper JCW in TCA.

Heading into the bus stop with 19 minutes remaining, McCann was able to slip past Filippi for the TCR lead with the top five running within 1 second of each other.  McCann would slowly draw away from the rest of the field and go on to take his first TCR win of the season.

At the same time, Mark Pombo was able to get past Maxson going into the bus stop and take the lead in TCA.  Pombo would never look back and go on to take the class victory, his second of the season.  Behind Pombo the TCA class would finish with Maxson in second and Taylor Hagler third in the #77 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si.

With 13 minutes left on the clock, Nate Vincent and his #72 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI was able to get past both Hurczyn and Filippi to claim second position.  Shortly after, championship leader Hurczyn would follow Vincent past Filippi for third.  With under 2 minutes remaining Hurczyn would make his run at Vincent, but came just short and had to settle for the final podium position.

The TCR Cup victory would go to the #41 TWOth Autosport Audi RS3 LMS of Travis Hill with the #18 EXR Team by Premat Audi RS3 LMS of Stephen Vajda second and Christian Cole in the #27 McCann Racing Audi RS3 LMS third.


Race 2

TCR championship leader Michael Hurczyn and his #71 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI lead the TC America field to the green flag with race 1 winner, Michael McCann Jr and the #3 McCann Racing Audi RS3 LMS, quickly moving past Nate Vincent in the #72 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI for second place.  James Walker and the #34 Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo would also slip by Mason Filippi’s #12 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N for fourth.  Filippi would need to pit for a mechanical issue a few minutes later, essentially ending his race.

With 27 minutes remaining, Michael McCann Jr would take the lead after slip-streaming past Hurczyn going into the bus stop and instantly gap the field, pulling a 1.2 second lead.  McCann would go on to cruise to the overall victory, his second of the weekend.  “It was a really good weekend.  The Audi had really good pace, especially in a straight line.  The guys got the car ready and we made it happen!” said McCann.

In TCA, Mark Pombo and the #59 MINI Cooper JCW would lead from the start with Nate Norenberg in the #60 MINI Cooper JCW in second, Tomas Mejia in the #62 MINI Cooper JCW third with Tyler Maxson and the #74 Copeland Motorsports Mazda MX5 Cup fourth.  Taylor Hagler, who spun on lap 1 and fell to the back of the grid, would fight her way back through the field and find herself fifth in class with 20 minutes remaining.

Maxson would get past Mejia for third with 19 minutes left on the clock and would start his pursuit of Norenberg for second.  With 11 minutes left in the race, Maxson would catch and pass Norenberg going into turn 1 while Mejia would get past Norenberg on the next lap.  Later in the lap both Norenberg and Halger would suffer flat tires and retire.

Mark Pombo would control the TCA field and go on to take the class win with Tyler Maxson second, and Tomas Mejia third.  “Early in the season we had some trouble with the MINIs, but the guys at LAP Motorsports have really found something with the car and this weekend has saved our season,” said Pombo.  PJ Groenke in the #44 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS and Sally McNulty in the #780 TEAMSALLY Honda Civic Si would round out the top 5.

TCR Cup saw the #41 TWOTh Autosport Audi RS3 LMS of Travis Hill grab his second win of the weekend with Stephen Vajda and the #18 EXR Team by Premat Audi RS3 LMS finishing second and Christian Cole in the #27 McCann Racing Audi RS3 LMS third.

The TC America TCR/TCA classes will next be in action September 20th-22nd at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

TCR Talk Reviews: 2019 Michelin Pilot Challenge At VIR

Continuing along with the theme of late, rained poured for most of the Michelin Pilot Challenge weekend at Virginia International Raceway, a 3.27 mile, 17 turn road course in Alton, Virginia.

Friday’s qualifying was cancelled due to said rain, so Saturday’s race was set by championship points with the #98 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai Veloster N leading the grid of 12 TCR machines to the green flag for the 2 hour event.

Another hectic wet-dry race would see the field mixed up with the #23 FastMD Racing Audi RS3 LMS of James Vance and Nick Galante take the class victory, their first of the season, after storming from 8th.  The championship leading #98 car would fall to finish 4th in class, and see their points advantage reduced to a mere five points as the sister #21 Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundai would come home second, the car’s third straight podium finish.  The #54 JDC-Miller Audi RS3 LMS would grab the third, their second podium finish in the last three races.

With two races remaining in the 2019 season, the championship standings are as followed:

#98 Bryan Herta Autosport Hynundai Veloster N (224)

#21 Bryan Herta Autosport Hynundai Veloster N (219)

#37 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type R (215)

#61 eEuroparts.com Rowe Racing Audi RS3 LMS (207)

#84 Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civic Type R (200)

The Michelin Pilot Challenge series will next be in action on Saturday September 14th at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the penultimate round of the 2019 season.

(featured image courtest of IMSA / Galstad)