Stephens/Mullen win GT4 America opener at IMS

Stephens/Mullen win GT4 America opener at IMS

SRO America

Stephens/Mullen win GT4 America opener at IMS

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Conquest Racing West (No. 35 Mercedes-AMG GT4) drivers Michai Stephens and Colin Mullan won the penultimate GT4 America race of the season, taking the checkered flag first overall and for the Silver class at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Season champions NOLASPORT (No. 47 Porsche) drivers Matt Travis and Jason Hart added hardware to their championship-winning cache this year, while Smooge Racing’s Kevin Conway and John Geesbreght accomplished a similar feat in the Am class competition.

The race started with the field shuffling almost immediately after the first few turns, with James Clay (No. 36) grabbing three positions and front-row sitter Stephens (No. 35) dropping as far back as fifth place but regaining a position to sit fourth overall. An incident involving Jason Bell (No. 2 GMG Racing Aston Martin), Chris Gumprecht (No. 79 RENNtech Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) and Paul Sparta (No. 98 Random Vandals Racing BMW) saw Gumprecht end off-track, reporting no steering ability, and triggered a full-course yellow.

At the green, Kris Wilson (No. 16 Capstone Motorsports Mercedes-AMG) was served with a drive-through [enalty for causing a collision while Gray Newell (No. 24 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin) and Tim Barber (No. 22 CCR Racing/Team TFB BMW) jockeyed for the overall fifth spot, swapping positions before Barber settled into the fifth spot.

Up front, the manufacturer positioning battle continued to heat up as Clay fended off the onslaught from Kenny Murillo (No. 72 Murillo Racing Mercedes-AMG) for the second overall position as polesitter Grahovec (No. 11 Classic BMW BMW) methodically increased his lead lap by lap. Further dings against the BMW charge to the manufacturer’s title were hindered by efforts from Warren Dexter (No. 062 Dexter Racing Aston Martin) against Barber in the fifth overall position, and the retiring of the No. 98 Random Vandals Bimmer involved in the previous FCY collision. Still, the three-way battle for second-place saw the No. 72 and No. 35 Mercedes-AMG cars with their sights set on the Clay’s BMW.

At the opening of the pit window, it was the No. 47 Porsche of Travis that was first to make the driver change and have the strategies unfold. Just before the close, race leader and CrowdStrike Fast Lap award winner Stevan McAleer in the No. 11 Classic BMW took the required pit stop last. Back out and in the rhythm, the field saw the No. 11 Classic BMW lead dwindle from a charging No. 35, now driven by Mullan, and a relatively poor pit stop time. The No. 72 Murillo car, driven by Christian Szymczak, sat third overall with Pro-Am Class leader Jason Hart behind him in the No. 47 Porsche. Further back in the pack, Geesbreght held on to the first place position in the Am class, and the battles commenced.

With a little under 15 minutes left in the race, Mullan continued to chip away at Grahovec’s lead, while Szymczak held fast Hart worked to stay in front of the Pro-Am class. After non-stop pressure, Mullan was finally able to capture the lead with just under 11 minutes left in the race after which he never looked back. Murillo, too, was able to get by a short time later and the three held the positions until the checkered.

RESULTS

Pirelli GT4 America drivers complete the regular season with a Friday finale fight. The green flag drops at 2:35 pm ET.

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