Mason Filippi and the No. 12 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N TCR took a dominant green-to-checkers SRO TC America TCR Series Round 15 victory Saturday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, his fifth win of the season.
“This is a great win,” he exclaimed. It’s my Mom’s birthday, so ‘Happy birthday, Mom!’ The Copeland Motorsports crew gave me a great Hyundai, and these Pirelli P Zero tires were great — I’m really excited!”
As soon as the race went green, a full-course yellow was called for an incident between Victor Gonzalez and James Walker, with Gonzalez spinning at Turn 1, leaving Walker (No. 34 Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo) nowhere to go. The Alfa hit the No. 99 VGMC Honda Civic Type R, ending both drivers’ races.
The race went back to green with 28 minutes remaining.
Nate Vincent (No. 72 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI TCR) came home second, with Michael McCann Jr. (Mo. 3 McCann Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR) taking the final podium position.
Despite fuel pump issues, Michael Hurczyn nursed the No. 71 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI TCR to a seventh-place finish, scoring enough points to unofficially claim the 2019 TCR Driver’s Championship.
Starting second, Chris Haldeman (No. 69 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si) took the TCA class lead at the start of the race, with a swarm of MINI JCW Team MINI Coopers giving chase. Haldeman would not look back, though, and wound up taking his second win of the season.
“I started P2 but got a great start and was able to get into the lead. I (opened up) a couple of car lengths, but Mat (Pombo, who finished second in class) made an excellent charge at the end. I think he had a tire strategy in mind, but I just kept my head down and drove,” said Haldeman.
With 20 minutes remaining, Tyler Maxson (No. 74 Copeland Motorsports Mazda Global MX5 Cup) slipped past Nate Norenberg’s No. 60 MINI JCW Team MINI Cooper for fourth, where he would finish, with Tomas Mejia and the No. 62 MINI JCW Team MINI Cooper fifth.
Maxson would unofficially gain 11 points on Nick Wittmer in the title chase after the latter’s No. 91 TechSport Subaru BRZ tS faced a power issue and finished well down the order in 10th, tightening up the championship battle with only tomorrow’s Race 2 remaining.
With only four minutes left on the clock, class leader Stephen Vadja went wide in Turn 1, letting Christian Cole (No. 3 McCann Racing Audi RS3 LMS) inherit the TCR Cup class lead and win, finishing fourth overall.
But with a third-place finish, Bryan Putt (No. 15 BSPort Racing RS3 LMS TCR) unofficially wins the TCR Cup Championship.
SRO TC America TCR/TCA Race 2 goes green on Sunday, Oct. 20, at 12:30 p.m. PDT, streaming at www.tcamerica.us/watch-live.
The series is closing out its 2019 season in Las Vegas, the weekend sponsored by R.U.N – The First Live Action Thriller produced by Cirque du Soleil.