In a repeat of Saturday’s contest, Johan Schwartz and Toby Grahovec, the two championship protagonists in the TC class, battled for the top step, and again the driver of the No. 80 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M240iR Cup prevailed to win Sunday’s TC America series Round 8 TC contest at Portland International Raceway.
Robert Nimkoff finished second, while Chandler Hull crossed the line in third.
At the green, polesitter Grahovec, in the No. 26 Classic BMW M240iR Cup took the lead over Schwartz, while Paul Terry (No. 33 Rearden Racing Nissan 370z) slotted into third.
What followed for the next 24 laps was a clinical display of driving prowess between the former series champions, Grahovec the 2016 TC champion, and Schwartz the 2015 TCB champion and current TC points leader.
While the leaders up front held their positions deftly hitting their marks, battles were waging behind them. Nimkoff, in the No. 20 Auto Technic Racing BMW M240iR Cup, finally passed Terry through Turn 1 on lap 13 to pace a four-car pack including Terry, Chandler Hull (No. 94 Copart/BimmerWorld Racing BMW M240iR Cup) and Hull’s teammate Cameron Evans (No. 82 BMW). Soon joining the group was Tom Capizzi, who had moved up four positions into seventh in his No. 52 Auto Technic Racing BMW M240iR Cup.
On lap 22, Evans, now in front of his teammate, would pass Terry through Turn 1 and take over fourth.
With under four minutes remaining, Schwartz began to more aggressively seek a way around Grahovec, but like on Saturday when Schwartz defended skillfully in the lead, it was Grahovec’s turn to defend keep challenger Schwartz behind.
On lap 25, Schwartz moved to the inside through Turn 7 and took the lead. Two laps later, Grahovec looked to return the favor in the same spot, but the two leaders came together and both slid off the circuit. Schwartz gathered up his machine first and returned to the track in the lead, while Grahovec followed but not before the pack that Nimkoff led pushed through.
At the checkered, Schwartz scored his fifth win of the season to grow his points lead over Grahovec. Nimkoff and Hull completed the podium, with Terry and Capizzi rounding out the top 5.
Grahovec finished an unhappy 10th.
Provisionally, Schwartz leaves Portland with 150 points to Grahovec’s 109.
After the race Schwartz commented on the late-race battle with Grahovec: “I hate that it happened like that. I actually made a pass on him (Grahovec) one time earlier and had contact with him and pushed him wide but let him go by again. I didn’t want to race him like that. It’s unfortunate, but we had such a great battle. I wanted us to finish 1-2, even if he had won. We put on a great show, though.”
The TC teams and drivers next head to Watkins Glen International Raceway Aug. 31-Sept. 1 for Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2019 Championship. 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.