Tyler Maxson led the field to the green flag with his No. 74 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N for TC America Race 3 at Virginia International Raceway and never looked back, going on to grab the victory, sweep the weekend and make it five for five to start the 2020 season.
“This is an awesome achievement for the team, exactly how you’d want the season to go. The Copeland team has been great and we’re excited!” said Maxson.
The TC division saw Race 1 and 2 winner Johan Schwartz and his No. 31 Hard Motorsport BMW M240iR Cup jump from third on the grid to take the lead at turn 1 with Toby Grahovec and the No. 26 Classic BMW M240iR Cup and James Clay in the No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW M240iR Cup slotting into second and third respectively.
In TCA, Roy Fulmer IV and his No. 186 CCR team TFB Honda Civic Si passed the No. 61 MINI JCW Team Mini Cooper of Mark Pombo at the start for second position with Tyler Gonzalez and his No. 57 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster Turbo impressively slotting into fourth after starting last. Later in the lap Pombo would run wide just before Oak Tree allowing Gonzalez to get by for third in class.
On the next lap, Gonzalez got past Fulmer IV and grabbed second position, just behind class leader Tomas Mejia in the No. 60 MINI JCW Team Mini Cooper. Minutes later it was Pombo’s turn to attack and get past Fulmer IV for third position and start tracking down Gonzalez.
As the TCR leaders worked through the TCA field, Gonzalez was able to catch and pass Mejia for the TCA lead down the back stretch.
With 18 minutes to go, Grahovec was able to take advantage of lapped traffic make a daring pass on Schwartz for the class lead on the outside of Snake. The top three in TC ran nose to tail for the next few minutes.
The race ended under caution with Maxson taking his fifth straight TCR victory to open the season with Gonzalez in the No. 99 VGMC Honda Civic Type-R finishing second and Scott Smithson in the No. 17 DXDT Racing Honda Civic Type-R third.
Grahovec took the TC class win with Johan Schwartz second and James Clay third.
Gonzalez claimed the TCA win with Mejia second and Pombo taking the final podium position.
“I need to thank Copeland Motorsports and Hyundai for giving me a great car. I was able to work my way up and pass the field. It’s unfortunate the race ended under caution, but we’ll take the win!” said Gonzalez.
TC America will return to action August 7-9 at Sonoma Raceway for rounds 6, 7, and 8 of the 2020 season.