Round 7 of the TC America season and Race 2 at Sonoma Raceway brought another flag-to-flag victory for Tyler Maxson and the No. 74 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N TCR.
Maxson jumped out to an early lead over Roy Block’s No. 5 KMW Motorsports w/TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta and never looked back in the 22-lap, 40-minute-long race.
In the TC class, points leader Johan Schwartz (No. 31 Hard Motorsports BMW M240iR) and Race 1 winner James Clay (No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW M240iR) both jumped past the pole winner, Joseph Federl (No 23 TechSport Racing Nissan 370Z), who fell to third.
Nine minutes into the race, Federl found his pace and moved past Clay for second place in TC with a daring move on the inside of Turn 7.
Mark Pombo (No. 61 Mini JCW Team Mini Cooper) paced the TCA field at the start with teammate Tomas Mejia’s No. 60 Mini and Tyler Gonzalez’s No. 57 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Turbo battling for second. Gonzalez overtook Mejia on Lap 2 as the three TCA leaders ran nose to tail.
By the race’s halfway point, Maxson had built a 7.3s lead in TCR and overall, and would never look back, claiming his seventh win in seven 2020 season races.
“The Copeland Motorsports guys have had this Hyundai hooked so far. Seven for seven — man, that’s something,” said Maxson. “The team has had a lot of long nights getting this car where it is today, but that’s paying off.”
Late in the race, Block’s TCR Alfa Romeo hit mechanical problems, handing second in class and overall to Victor Gonzalez Jr. The Honda driver would hang on to finish, 9s behind Maxson.
With just under 17 minutes on the clock, Clay pounced on Federl in Turn 1 and took over second place in TC. Lew and Grahovec followed Clay through as Federl dropped down the order with mechanical problems.
Schwartz took advantage of the clean air and built his class lead to over 3s, going on to claim his third win on the season, followed by Clay, Lew, and Grahovec.
“We made a few changes last night and I could get the power down a little sooner today, so that’s what really made the race for me today,” said Schwartz. “The Hard Motorsports crew is awesome; I can’t thank them enough. I can’t wait for Road America coming up next…”
As the clock ticked past the 10-minute mark, TCA points leader Mejia finally slipped past Gonzalez for second in class as Kevin Boehm (No. 9 Boehm Racing Honda Civic Si) closed on the Hyundai, the two beginning a fight for third.
Pombo claimed an easy TCA victory, his second of the season, followed to the checkered by Mejia, Gonzalez, and Boehm.
“I really just needed to not kill my tires early in the race,” said Pombo. “Luckily the guys behind me were battling, so I was able to get clean air and just drive this awesome MINI.”
TC America Race 3, the St. Petersburg make-up event for TCR and TCA competitors, will go green on Sunday at 11:10 a.m. PT, streaming live at www.tcamerica.us/live.