Pole-sitters Tyler Maxson, John Castro Dubets and Kevin Boehm secured TC America Round 13 victories in TCR, TC and TCA respectively at Circuit of The Americas on Saturday. Roy Block and Victor Gonzalez Jr. finished second and third respectively in TCR. In TC, James Clay finished second, while Toby Grahovec finished third at his home track. In TCA, for Tyler Gonzalez and Jonathan Newcombe finished second and third respectively.
Drama ensued even before the drop of the green flag to start the 40-minute contest as pole sitter Maxson, in his Copeland Motorsports No. 74 Hyundai Veloster N, was forced to start from the back of the TCR field because of a mechanical fix his team had to make to his machine to get it out on track to start the race. That led to second-on-the grid DXDT Racing’s Scott Smithson bringing the 31-car field to green behind the wheel of his No. 17 Honda Civic Type-R TCR. And Smithson would successfully launch into the lead. Behind, him pole sitters Castro Dubets, in the No. 20 Auto Technic Racing BMW M240iR and Boehm, in the No. 9 Boehm Racing Honda Civic Si, launched successfully to lead their respective classes.
But then through Turns 6 and 7, Smithson spun allowing Block, in the KMR Motorsports w/ TMR Engineering No. 5 Alfa Romeo Giulietta, to take the lead followed by Maxson who had already slotted up into second, and DXDT Racing’s Olivia Askew in the No. 29 Honda Civic Type-R TCR. Behind them Castro Dubets led over Clay, in the No. 36 BimmerWorld Racing BMW M240iR, and Friday’s winner Grahovec in the No. 26 Classic BMW BMW M240iR. Boehm led over Caleb Bacon in the No. 18 CB Motorsports Hyundai Veloster Turbo, MINI JCW MINI Cooper JCW Mark Pombo in the No. 61 machine, Tomas Mejia in the No. 60 MINI JCW Team MINI Cooper JCW and Gonzalez in the No. 57 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster Turbo. Pombo, Mejia and Gonzalez would then move up to second, third and fourth respectively when race officials issued a drive-through penalty to Bacon for a track limits violation.
Then on lap 7 through Turn 19, Block was bogged with lap traffic allowing Maxson and Askew to slide by for position. Block a few turns later fought back and passed Askew to slot into second and begin a pursuit of Maxson. With Castro Dubets opening up a three-second lead atop TC, class championship contenders Clay and Grahovec continued their heated battle.
In TCR, Taylor Hagler in the No. 77 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type-R would pass Askew to move into third. Then with six minutes left in the contest, Pombo would suffer a cut tire dropping him back. At the checkered, Maxson crossed 1.5 seconds ahead of Block, and Gonzalez Jr. who passed Hagler on the white flag lap. Castro Dubets finished just over six seconds ahead of Clay, while Boehm crossed ahead of Gonzalez, and VGMC Racing’s Jonathan Newcombe in No. 178 Honda Civic Si who fought his way up into third in TCA.
“We went to fire the car to get to pre-grid and it wouldn’t fire and the team and I thrashed to fix a distribution switch,” said Maxson “We were able to get the car out to pit lane but we had to start from the back of the grid.”
“Auto Technic gave me a great car and I really just put my head down and knocked out some laps, consistency helped me build the lead,” said Castro Dubets. “Luckily Clay and Grahovec were fighting behind me.”
“With these front-wheel drive cars the trick is to find a way to make it turn, we finally found a way to make it turn real good,” said Boehm on his fifth straight win. “The trick is to hang on as long as you can especially at the end of a race. We have the car in a real sweet spot right now.”
TC America drivers now get set for Sunday’s Round 14 race scheduled for a green flag start of 10:55 a.m. Central. Watch the race live at www.youtube.com/GTWorld.