Johan Schwartz held off fellow championship protagonist Toby Grahovec to win Saturday’s TC America series Round 7 at Portland International Raceway, part of the 59th Annual Rose Cup Races presented by Fastlife.TV. Schwartz’s teammate and Portland native Steve Streimer finished sixth on the day.
Pole sitter and former 2015 TCB champion Schwartz (No. 80 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M240iR Cup, photo above) grabbed the lead at the start while 2016 TC champion Grahovec (No. 26 Classic BMW BMW M240iR Cup), who started third, out-dragged second-on-the-grid Streimer (No. 81 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M240iR Cup) to the Turn 1 apex and took over second.
At the end of first lap, Schwartz led Grahovec while Streimer in third fended off a challenge from Paul Terry’s No. 33 Rearden Racing Nissan 370z.
By lap 2, Schwartz and Grahovec had gapped the pack behind them by nearly 20 car lengths, Terry heading the pack after edging past Streimer.
By lap 4, Schwartz had gapped Grahovec, but by lap 16, a patient Grahovec had closed the gap to .146 seconds, the pair now running nose to tail.
Behind the leaders, Terry held third while on lap 18, Robert Nimkoff (No. 20 Auto Technic Racing BMW M240iR Cup) moved past Streimer into fourth.
With time running out, Grahovec relentlessly looked for a way through but Schwartz continued to hit his marks, making no mistakes and opening no doors.
At the checkered, Schwartz scored his fourth win of 2019 over Grahovec by .191 seconds. Terry finished third, Nimkoff fourth and Cameron Evans (No. 82 Copart / BimmerWorld Racing BMW M240iR Cup) fifth ahead of Streimer who had fallen to sixth.
Grahovec had the fastest lap of race and will start on pole for Sunday’s race, setting up another showdown with Schwartz who now leads in the driver’s championship standings with 125 points to Grahovec’s 108.
“I am so happy! The team did an amazing job getting the car ready for this race,” said Schwartz in victory circle after the race. “We made a few changes after qualifying for the long run. I tried to preserve my tires the best that I could, but with the pressure I was getting from Toby (Grahovec), I had them worn pretty good. The car still ran great.
“Thank you to West Virginia University and BMW, Todd and Michael Brown for putting this whole effort together. Great job by everybody.”
The second TC race of the weekend is scheduled to go green Sunday at 10:30 am PDT. All races will be streamed live on TCAmerica.us. CBS Sports Network coverage for TC America races at Portland airs July 24 starting at 7 pm EDT. Check your local listings for additional broadcast time and channel information.