After crews made a frantic change from rain to dry tires just prior to the race start, TCR championship leader Tyler Maxson and the No.74 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N led the TC America field to the green flag for Race 1 at Road America on a rapidly drying circuit.
Before lap 1 was even complete, Tim Lewis Jr would shoot from third place on the grid in his No.55 KMW Motorsports w/ TMR Engineering Alfa Romeo Giulietta to first, overtaking both Victor Gonzalez Jr’s No.99 VGMC Honda Civic Type-R and Maxon. Gonzalez Jr would also slip past Maxson to claim the second position.
In TC it was Johan Schwartz and the No.31 Hard Motorsport BMW M240iR that led the way with James Clay and the No.36 BimmerWorld BMW M240iR right on his heels.
TCA would see the pole-sitting Kevin Boehm and the No.9 Boehm Racing Honda Civic Si out front with Tomas Mejia and the No.60 MINI JCW Team MINI Cooper in second. Championship leader Tyler Gonzalez and the No.57 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster Turbo would face a mechanical issue and sit in the pits while trying to diagnose the issue.
Nine minutes into the race Schwartz would make a mistake going deep on the brakes into turn 5 and run wide, allowing Clay to slip by and grab the TC class lead with Toby Grahovec and the No.26 Classic BMW M240iR inheriting second position.
With just under 30 minutes remaining, it was Lewis Jr’s turn to make a mistake as he would fall from the TCR and overall lead to sixth in class with Maxson and Gonzalez Jr left battling for the lead. Maxson would get around Gonzalez Jr and begin to open up a 4-second gap. Scott Smithson and the No.17 DXDT Honda Civic Type-R TCR would slot into the third position.
With 21 minutes on the clock the first full course caution was called as Mark Pombo’s No.61 MINI JCW Team MINI Cooper wrecked coming out of the right-handed turn 3. PJ Groenke and the No.25 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS would move to third in class.
The race would get back to green with 9 minutes on the clock with Maxson leading in TCR, Clay in TC, and Boehm in TCA.
Side-by-side going into turn 6, Smithson would get past Gonzalez Jr for second in TCR and begin to chase down Maxson for the lead.
Further back in the grid however, Joseph Federl and the No.23 TechSport Racing Nissan 370Z would spin going into the high-speed kink and bring out the second full course caution of the race with 7 minutes left on the clock.
The race would end behind the safety car with Maxson claiming his ninth-straight win on the season. Smithson would finish an impressive second in class and grab the fastest lap of the race, giving him pole for Saturday’s Race 2. Gonzalez Jr would take the final podium position ahead of Olivia Askew’s No.29 DXDT Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR and her teammate CJ Moses in the No.04 rounding out the top five.
“To be honest, our car is not very fast here this weekend, so I’m not really sure how we did it today! Just thankful for the Copeland Motorsports crew for giving me another great setup,” said Maxson.
Clay would take the TC-class win followed by Grahovec and Schwartz.
“The BimmerWorld guys have been on it today, so they gave me a great BMW, as usual. I was able to slip into the lead and go from there! A great car and a great race!” said Clay on his third race victory of the season.
Kevin Boehm went on to take the TCA-class victory, his first of the season, ahead of PJ Groenke and Tomas Mejia.
“It feels overdue! It’s great to finally put it together this weekend. We had a great qualifying run, and luckily we were able to keep it together here today and grab the win!” said Boehm.
TC America Race 2 will go green Saturday, August 28th at 11:40am CT streaming live at https://www.tcamerica.us/live.