Gonzalez, Pombo conquer slippery Road America to win TCR, TCA Race 2

Gonzalez, Pombo conquer slippery Road America to win TCR, TCA Race 2

SRO America

Gonzalez, Pombo conquer slippery Road America to win TCR, TCA Race 2

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After a slight delay due to rainy conditions, Race 2 for the TCR and TCA classes got underway at Road America with TCR championship leader Michael Hurczyn leading the field to green in the No. 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. (No. 3 McCann Racing Audi RS3 LMS) went wide, falling to the back of the field from fifth position. At the same time, Nick Wittmer (No. 91 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS) shot past Tomas Mejia’s No. 62 MINI Team JCW for the lead in TCA, Mejia falling to third in class as Tyler Maxson (No. 74 Copeland Motorsports Mazda Global MX5 Cup) took over second. Maxson would then have a moment and slip back to fifth as Chris Haldeman (No. 69 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si) inherited second in the TCA class.

At the start of Lap 2, leader Hurczyn slid off track in the fast Turn 1, handing the lead to Victor Gonzalez (No. 99 VGMC Honda Civic Type R TCR, photo above). Hurczyn would continue, dropping to fourth, as Gonzalez pulled out an 11-second lead over Nate Vincent’s No. 71 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI and James Walker’s No. 34 Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

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 is happy, too,” Gonzalez said. “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!”

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

With 24 minutes remaining, Haldeman dove past Wittmer into 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, but in 12th, one lap down.

At the 20 minute mark, Haldeman had a moment of his own, falling to third, giving Wittmer the class lead and promoting Mat Pombo and the No. 61 MINI Team JCW MINI Cooper to second.

With 15 minutes remaining, Pombo powered past Wittmer for the TCA class lead, the top three in class running nose to tail. Three minutes later, Wittmer darted past Pombo for the lead at the outside of Turn 1, still with less than a second separating the three TCA class leaders.

Four laps later, Pombo made a move on Wittmer around the outside in Turn 7, taking the class lead with under six minutes remaining in the race. Haldeman followed Pombo through, demoting Wittmer to third in two corners; but on the next lap, Haldeman slid wide in Turn 5, giving second place back to Wittmer with only two laps remaining.

On the final lap, Wittmer passed Pombo for the lead in Canada Corner, but Pombo fell right in behind the No. 91 through Turn 14, then won 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, but everyone was respectful,” Pombo said. “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!”

Taylor Hagler (No. 77 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si) finished fourth and Stephen Jeu (No. 02 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si) fifth in class.

Bryan Putt and the No. 15 Bsport Racing Audi RS3 LMS claimed the TCR Cup win, finishing fifth overall.

TCR / TCA RESULTS RACE 2

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, Oct. 18-20.

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