PWC: Rivera, Bickers and O’Gorman sweep in TC at Road America

PWC: Rivera, Bickers and O’Gorman sweep in TC at Road America

Racer Blog

PWC: Rivera, Bickers and O’Gorman sweep in TC at Road America


Tony Rivera, Joey Bickers and Tom O’Gorman all scored their second consecutive TC, TCA and TCB wins in Round 8, respectively, at the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Road America presented by Cadillac.

From the standing start, Rivera, in the No. 97 Brass Monkey Racing Tiburon Motorsports Nissan 370Z, started from pole and went side by side with TC points leader Toby Grahovec, in the No. 26 BMW M235iR for Classic BMW Motorsports, for the opening two corners before powering into the TC lead in turn three.

Behind them, Nick Wittmer, in the No. 91 Honda Ste-Rose Racing Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, moved into third ahead of Patrick Gallagher, driving the No. 54 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda MX-5.

Wittmer then dropped back on the opening lap, allowing Gallagher to re-take third and Dennis Hanratty, Jr., in the No 4 KRUGSPEED Racing/Beta Tools/OG Racing/Winmax Brakes Lotus Exige, was promoted to fourth at the same time as Rivera ended the opening lap with a four-car-length lead on Grahovec’s BMW.

In addition, Shea Holbook, in the No. 67 Shea Racing BUBBABurger/LucasOil/KoniShockAbsorbers Honda Accord V-6 Coupe got around Kevin Krauss, in the No. 88 Outlier/Scion Group Alyses Porsche Cayman for fifth place on lap two.

In TCA, pole-sitter Bickers, in the No. 49 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda MX-5 Cup, launched cleanly into the lead from the standing start while Eric Powell, in the No. 23 Tech Sport Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup, rocketed up to second from his fifth starting position. As they crossed the stripe to complete their first four-mile lap of Road America, Bickers led Powell with Elivan Goulart, in the No. 70, S.A.C. Racing/ Mazda MX-5 Cup, in third place.

In TCB, pole-sitter Noah Grey, in the No. 65 Hale Motorsports Solvang Brewing Co/Kelly Benefit Strategies/Foundation Fighting Blindness Mazda 2, battled Michael Johnson, in the No. 24 Tech Sport Racing Chevrolet Sonic, for the lead on lap one. As the came to the line to complete the first lap, Johnson led over Grey and O’Gorman, in the No. 94 Black Armor Helmets TNIA Honda Fit, with P.J. Groenke, in the No. 25 Tech Sport Racing Pool & Spa/Cabano’s Comfort Food/Clairhaven, Ltd/Martinrea Intl Inc/Pelto Agri Investments/Ro-Ro Property Management Corp./Warp Speed Computers Inc. Chevrolet Sonic, in fourth.

On lap three, Grahovec passed Rivera for the race lead, with Rivera then taking the lead back a few corners later in turn one.
In TCA, Bickers continued to lead Powell with Sam Adams, in the No. 48 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda MX5, passing Goulart for third place.

Through lap four, Grey re-gained the TCB lead as O’Gorman passed Johnson and closed in on Grey for the lead. Johnson ran in third, with Groenke in fourth.

Lap six saw Wittmer nursing his car back to the pits missing a wheel, while up front, Rivera continued to lead Grahovec by .5 seconds, with Gallagher in third and Hanratty in fourth. Moving up to fifth was John Weisberg, in the No. 5 BERG Racing Power Brake/REDCOM/Red Line Oil/Powerflex/Mann’s/Miller/MCS Mazda MX-5, passing Holbrook.

By lap six, Bickers’ MX-5 began to emit wisps of smoke as Adams closed on Powell in TCA and then passed him for second. Powell tried to battle back running on the bumper of the No. 48. Bickers continued to build a lead as the race developed.

A lap later Grey had dropped off the pace and fell back to sixth in TCB, while O’Gorman took over the lead ahead of Johnson and Groenke. Ted Hough, in the No. 69 Breathless Racing Mazda 2, had moved into fourth and Jasper Drengler, in the No. 01 Drengler Racing Chimney Mechanix Honda Fit, in fifth.

In TC, Weisberg continued his progress, passing Hanratty for fourth on lap seven, with Holbrook closely following in sixth place.
Holbrook then got around Hanratty in TC on lap eight for fifth place, and Krauss closed on the fifth place battle between Holbrook and Hanratty from seventh with Andrew Rains, in the No. 44 Rains Racing National Bank of Commerce/PLK Investment Partners/Honda Motorsports Alabama Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, following in eighth.

On lap 11 Race Control issued a full-course caution with Lara Tallman, in the No. 34 CA Sport Nissan/Nismo/Stance Nissan 370Z, off in turn 12 with roughly 13 minutes remaining in the 40-minute race.

The green flag flew to restart the race with just under four minutes left on the clock. Rivera held the lead in TC with Grahovec in second while cars fanned out and took evasive action deep in the field on the frantic restart.

In TCA, Bickers launched cleanly into the lead with cars behind him running three-wide on the exit of turn five and Goulart moving into second after the three-wide moment with Adams and Powell going up the hill toward the left that is Road America’s turn six.

TCB saw O’Gorman maintain his race lead in hopes of a weekend sweep as Hough moved into second ahead of Groenke in third and Johnson right behind him.

At the checkered, Rivera’s led was just .728 seconds, with the No. 97 driver sweeping the weekend with two wins in TC in two days, and his fifth straight in TC at Road America dating back to the 2015 season. Grahovec finished second in class after challenging Rivera on the last lap. Weisberg passed Gallagher on the last lap to finish third by .236 seconds, with Gallagher in fourth, Hanratty in fifth and Holbrook in sixth.

In TCA, Bickers swept the weekend taking the victory over Championship-leading Goulart in second, Adams in third and Spencer Patterson, in the No. 79 Patterson Racing Jim Locke Automotive Mazda MX-5 Cup in fourth.

O’Gorman also swept the weekend in TCB with a five-car length win over Hough in second and Groenke in third. Hough was the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger, advancing 14 positions during the race. James Wilson, in the No. 55 Black Armor Helmets Mazda 2, won the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award with a nine-place improvement on the opening lap. Goulart took home the Cadillac ATS-V Best Move of the Race for his pass on Adams in turn eight.

“Today’s race was not as eventful as Thursday’s race,” said Rivera. “I had a little bit more breathing room today, especially before the caution. I knew that Toby (Gravohec) was slowing a little bit before the full-course caution. But for the restart, I was nervous that his car was cooling down and I knew he would give me a hard run. I tried real hard not to look in my mirrors but I did. I tried to focus on not making any mistakes. Earlier in the race, I did make a couple of mistakes. He then closed the gap and I was able to open it later. The tires were getting slippery later in the day. There was a lot of different rubber on the track today and a lot of racing too. I just love racing here. I would love it if I was just testing by myself here at Road America. It’s such a great track. I’m happy to be back in the winner’s circle again.

“The first part of the race before the full-course caution came out I was able to build a little lead,” said Bickers. “I was trying to do consistent laps. A few laps before the caution came out, we had smoke in the cabin. I wasn’t sure what was going on and I was little scared. I didn’t know if I had a fire or what was happening. Then the steering got pretty heavy. It made the car (Mazda) pretty difficult to drive. Actually, it was more difficult under caution because I was going slow. No power steering in the makes it very tough to drive. When we went back to green, I just told myself to keep my head down and go. The heavy steering really is tough and it also affects the handling of the car. You can’t really have the turn-in that you normally have. You just are struggling to turn the car. I didn’t want to over drive the car. It was difficult to keep it on the exits of the corners.”

“Today’s race was very different than Thursday,” said O’Gorman. “We got a great start. I was going to hook up with Noah (Grey) and try to pull away. But he missed a shift in the middle of the track and I was able to go. I kept my head down and got a good gap until the full course yellow. We had a wild restart with TC, TCA and TCB all mixing it up on the front straight. It was a little of bit of madness. And everyone raced with each other and I was able to get away again. It’s incredible to win again today. It is one year since I started in the Pirelli World Challenge and I was able to score a double win this weekend. I was always fighting a bit of pace with my old 2010 car but the 2015 Honda Fit was what I needed to push me over the edge and get to the top of the podium.”

Results are provisional until posted final. With his second place finish, Grahovec continues to lead the TC Driver’s Championship, while Goulart continues to lead in TCA, and Groenke takes over the lead in TCB.

TC, TCA and TCB drivers and teams next head to Utah Motorsports Campus, in Tooele, UT, August 12–14 for Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2016 Championship. Watch extended coverage of races from Road America in an expanded format on CBS Sports Network Thursday, July 7 at 8 p.m. Eastern.

Elkhart Lake, Wis. — Results from Friday, June 24, 2016 Pirelli World Challenge Championship TC/TCA/TCB Round 8 part of the Road America Grand Prix presented by Cadillac. Results shown by driver position, place in class, class, name, hometown, car, laps completed and running status. All results are provisional until posted final.

1. 1, TC, Tony Rivera, Vista CA, Nissan 370Z, 15, Running
2. 2, TC, Toby Grahovec, Little Elm TX, BMW, 15, Running
3. 3, TC, John A. Weisberg, Webster NY, Mazda MX-5, 15, Running
4. 4, TC, Patrick Gallagher, Thornville OH, Mazda MX-5, 15, Running
5. 5, TC, Dennis Hanratty, Mechanicsburg PA, Lotus Exige, 15, Running
6. 6, TC, Shea Holbrook, Orlando FL, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 15, Running
7. 7, TC, Max Fedler, Denver CO, BMW M235i, 15, Running
8. 8, TC, Kevin Krauss, Fishers IN, Porsche Cayman, 15, Running
9. 9, TC, Steve Burns, San Antonio TX, Ford Mustang, 15, Running
10. 10, TC, Jason Fichter, Jupiter FL, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 15, Running
11. 11, TC, Andrew Rains, Birmingham AL, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 15, Running
12. 12, TC, Brian Lift, Crestwood IL, Porsche Cayman, 15, Running
13. 13, TC, Steve Kohli, Iowa City IA, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 15, Running
14. 14, TC, Gino Carini, Milwaukee WI, BMW M235iR, 15, Running
15. 1, TCA, Joey Bickers, Moorpark CA, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 15, Running
16. 2, TCA, Elivan Goulart, Shelton CT, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 15, Running
17. 3, TCA, Sam Adams, Hubertus WI, Mazda MX-5, 15, Running
18. 15, TC, Dinah Weisberg, Webster NY, Mazda MX-5, 15, Running
19. 4, TCA, Spencer Patterson, Pittsburgh PA, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 15, Running
20. 5, TCA, Matthew Fassnacht, Madison NJ, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 15, Running
21. 16, TC, Daniel Moen, Rindge NH, Mazda MX-5, 15, Running
22. 6, TCA, Jay Salinsky, Miami FL, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 15, Running
23. 7, TCA, Samantha Tan, Gormley ON, Honda Civic SI, 15, Running
24. 8, TCA, Kris Wright, Pittsburgh PA, Kia Forte Koup, 14, Running
25. 1, TCB, Tom O’Gorman, Mason OH, Honda Fit, 14, Running
26. 2, TCB, Ted Hough, Farmington MN, Mazda 2, 14, Running
27. 3, TCB, P.J. Groenke, Richmond Hill ON, Chevrolet Sonic, 14, Running
28. 4, TCB, Michael Johnson, Austin TX, Chevrolet Sonic, 14, Running
29. 5, TCB, Blake Thompson, Racine WI, Mazda 2, 14, Running
30. 6, TCB, Jasper Drengler, Shawano WI, Honda Fit, 14, Running
31. 7, TCB, Travis Washay, Milford CT, MINI Cooper, 14, Running
32. 8, TCB, James Wilson, Kyle TX, Mazda 2, 14, Running
33. 9, TCB, Henry Morse, Redondo Beach CA, Mazda 2, 14, Running
34. 10, TCB, Noah Grey, Dana Point CA, Mazda 2, 14, Running
35. 9, TCA, Eric Powell, Orlando FL, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 13, Running
36. 11, TCB, Patrick Wilmot, Roswell GA, MINI Cooper, 13, Running
37. 12, TCB, Stephanie Anderson, Racine WI, Mazda 2, 13, Running
38. 17, TC, Lara Tallman, Salt Lake City UT, Nissan 370Z, 9, MissedSeveralLaps
39. 10, TCA, Kevin Anderson, Huntington NY, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 9, MissedSeveralLaps
40. 18, TC, Nick Wittmer, Montreal Canada, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 9, Running
41. 19, TC, Paul Street, Anniston AL, Honda Accord V-6 Coupe, 8, Not Running
42. 20, TC, Randy Hale, Haddam CT, Mazda MX-5, 2, Not Running
43. 11, TCA, Tom Noble, St.Louis Park MN, Honda Civic SI, 0, MissedSeveralLaps
44. 12, TCA, Paul Whiting, Las Vegas NV, Honda Civic SI, 0, MissedSeveralLaps
45. 13, TCA, Daniel Williams, Scottsbluff NE, Mazda MX-5 Cup, 0,MissedSeveralLaps

MX-5 Cup | Round 1 – Daytona | Race Highlights