Trent Hindman threaded the needle to take the lead on a three-wide pass with four minutes remaining on Saturday at Watkins Glen International. Hindman went on to score his third consecutive IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge victory, joining Cameron Cassels in the No. 12 Bodymotion Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport.
It was the second straight Grand Sport (GS) podium sweep for Porsche’s new turn-key race car. Tyler McQuarrie took second, 1.101 seconds behind in the No. 35 CJ Wilson Racing Safecraft/New Balance Cayman started by Till Bechtolscheimer. Teammate Marc Miller took third – 1.560 seconds back – in the No. 33 ONE Capital Management/MotorOilMatters.org Clubsport started by Daniel Burkett.
Miller seemed to be headed to victory when he was able to hold off several charges by Hindman in the closing minutes. However, Miller lost momentum when he slowed momentarily for slower traffic entering Turn 4. Hindman then made his move, slipping between the two cars, with McQuarrie following him to take second.
“This was by far the toughest one yet – and it’s going to keep getting more difficult,” said Hindman. “Patience was king today. It would have been easy to get ahead of myself and take both of us out. The key was all about waiting for the right moment.”
It was the sixth career victory for Hindman, while Cassels won for the third time in four career starts. CJ Wilson Racing, seeking its first GS victory, placed second and third for the second consecutive event.
“This was the toughest podium celebration I ever had to watch in my career, leading the race with a few laps to go and having a lapped ST car stop me in the uphill Esses,” Miller said. “Not a good feeling, because we had a great car. This was a tough one to swallow. When I got slowed and watched those two cars go by, it was like losing my puppy.”
Scott Maxwell won the TOTAL Pole Award and led twice for 16 laps before pitting the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C. Billy Johnson then worked his way up to lead four laps before his final planned pit stop. However, the left-front wheel became stuck during the tire change, which resulted in a long additional stop for the team to loosen the wheel. Johnson fought back to finish fourth. Unofficially, the pair continues to lead the GS standings by seven points over Burkett and Miller, 123-116.
Pumpelly, Galante Win ST In RS1 Porsche, Attrition Strikes Title Contenders
Spencer Pumpelly passed Devin Jones with one hour remaining and led the rest of the way, scoring the first victory of the season for the No. 17 RS1 Legistics/RickieFowler.com Porsche Cayman, and the first career triumph for co-driver Nick Galante.
“It feels great to come here and be able to win and have the points lead,” Pumpelly said. “Nick gave me the car in fourth, and we picked up a position in the pits. Then I could run down the leaders and get by. There were a lot of good cars that didn’t make it the finish, so it’s going to be tougher in the next race.”
Jones and Jason Rabe placed second in the No. 31 Bodymotion Racing Delaware Investments/Veristor Porsche Cayman, 3.302 seconds behind. He was followed by Corey Lewis in the No. 36 Strategic Wealth Designers Porsche Cayman, with co-driver Matt Dicken recording his first career podium finish.
Defending ST champions Chad McCumbee and Stevan McAleer finished fourth in the No. 25 Freedom Autosport ModSpace Mazda MX-5. McCumbee led 17 laps but encountered brake problems, spun and tagged the tires in Turn 6 on the lap before his planned pit stop. McAleer rejoined the race in 13th and worked his way back to fourth.
Entering the race tied for second in the standings, four points behind Chad Gilsinger, Pumpelly and Galante now hold an unofficial seven-point lead over McCumbee and McAleer, 113-106, as problems struck many of the cars battling atop the ST chart.
- After losing power steering and experiencing other various electrical problems 43 minutes into the race in the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si, Chad Gilsinger resorted to an unusual manner of communicating with his pit crew. Able to hear but not speak on his radio, Gilsinger gave ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’ on his in-car camera to answer questions, before pitting for lengthy repairs that resulted in a 21st-place finish.
Entering the event with the ST lead, Gilsinger is now third in the standings, trailing Pumpelly and Galante by 21 points, 113-92.
- After starting last on the grid after opting not to risk damaging their new No. 44 CRG-I Do Borrow Nissan Altima Coupe in Friday’s rainy qualifying session, Sarah Cattaneo worked her way into the ST lead before pitting on lap 35 and turning the car over to Owen Trinkler.
“A manufacturer change of any sort takes some adjustment,” said Cattaneo, who won at Sebring earlier this year in a Honda Civic Si. “We’ve done plenty of testing, and we figured Watkins Glen was the right spot to debut it. That proved to be the right move today.”
- Charles Putman led six laps in the No. 99 Automatic Racing Invisible Glass/Rogue Engineering/Red Glare Records Aston Martin Vantage co-driven by Charles Espenlaub before pitting with electrical problems. Teammates Al Carter and Rob Ecklin Jr. finished fifth in the team’s No. 09 Aston, giving Ecklin – a native of nearby Corning, N.Y. – his best career finish.
- The event marked the Continental Tire Challenge debut of Aurora Strauss, who co-drove the No. 18 RS1 Romero Investment Advisors/Monticello Motor Club Porsche Cayman with Justin Piscitell. The 17-year daughter of Monticello Motor Club President and CEO Ari Strauss finished eighth. She hopes to return to the series at the season finale in Road Atlanta.
The next race for the Continental Tire Challenge will be at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Saturday, July 9.