No racer managed a clean sweep in the first ever visit to NOLA Motorsports Park for TC America powered by Skip Barber. BMW, Honda, Hyundai, MINI, and Subaru racers took podiums both Saturday and Sunday.
The TC America powered by Skip Barber series continued its 2022 championship season with rounds three and four taking place at the NOLA Motorsports Park — the first professional international sports car/touring car race weekend at the recently upgraded Louisiana venue.
Colin Garrett recorded his first TCX win in Race 1 in his No. 44 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M2 CS, holding off Jacob Ruud in the No. 1 BMW M2 CS from Fast Track Racing with less than five seconds separating the two. Ruud also recorded the Crowdstrike Fastest Lap of the race with a time of 1m50.529s. Garrett’s win breaks Ruud’s four-race win streak in the series. Rounding out the top three in class was the No. 26 Rigid Speed BMW M2 CS driven by Lucas Catania.
A former NASCAR driver, Garrett won on only his third series start. The win also marked the fifth anniversary of his first ever win.
“I just kept pressure on the No. 57 early and hit my marks throughout the race,” remarked Garrett.
Stephen Cugliari led the first ten laps in the No. 57 Accelerating Performance BMW M2 CS before Garrett made a pass for the lead and forced him to slip back to a fourth-place finish.
In the TC class, Kevin Boehm kept his winning streak going from the Sonoma weekend with a victory in the No. 22 Skip Barber Racing Honda Civic Type-R. Mat Pombo gave chase all the way, eventually coming second in the No. 37 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type-R. Matthew Ibrahim completed the podium in the No. 06 DRS & Gargistic BMW M240iR — a career best finish for the Californian driver and team.
“I go into the race with a plan and try to execute it,” said Boehm, after starting from the pole and leading flag to flag for the win. “We’re going to keep our heads down and work as hard as we can every race,” he added.
TCA saw Carter Fartuch (No. 16 Skip Barber Racing Honda Civic Si), Devin Anderson (No. 22 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ), Spencer Bucknum (No. 5 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Si), Cristian Perocarpi (No. 61 Mini JWC), and Clay Williams (No. 60 MINI John Cooper Works Team JCW Pro) fill out the top five. Williams looked like a certain podium finisher until mechanical gremlins stopped him 12 laps into the 22 lap race.
After 40 minutes of green flag action, Fartuch beat Anderson by 4.817s.
“We dialed it in just right and had consistent laps,” Fartuch said.
Race 2 saw the first caution flag of 2022 after three all-green races.
Yellow flew on lap one for an incident between Olivia Askew (No. 29 Fast Track Racing BMW M2 CS) and Steve Streimer (No. 30 HARD Motorsports BMW M2 CS), taking 10 minutes off of the clock and Askew out of the race.
After sweeping both races at Sonoma, Ruud battled Race 1 winner Garrett at the front, both trading fastest laps with Catania and Cugliari.
Catania eventually laid down the quickest time, earning the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap with a 1m51.072s.
In TC, Race 1 winner Boehm led the first four laps before giving way to Jeff Ricca (No. 78 Genracer/Ricca Autosport Hyundai Veloster N DCT), who was then passed by Williams for the lead. Williams was able to hold off Ricca from Lap 6 until the final yellow flag which ended the race. For Williams, it was compensation for his DNF yesterday while challenging for the lead.
In TCA, Gresham Wagner (No. 21 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ) raged ahead mid-race after starting in P3, passing Race 1 winner Fartuch.
Sally McNulty (No. 780 VGRT Racing Team Honda Civic Si) went on the attack after starting from the back and nabbed two spots in one braking zone, going from 9th to 7th. Not long after she made the pass, the race-ending second yellow flew.
TCX eventually saw Ruud the top the podium, followed by Garrett and Catania.
“The competition has been great,” Ruud said of the TCX field. “You hate to win under a yellow flag like that, and I think we would’ve had a good run if we were able to go green.”
As far as how his battle with Garrett went, he shared that, “They have the straight-line speed, so I just had to be defensive, keep him behind me and make him go the long way around at every single point possible.”
In TC, Williams drove to victory, followed by Ricca and Boehm.
“I think it was on the restart,” Williams said of how he was able to get the jump on Ricca. “When that came about, I knew I had to get around him. Ricca dove on the inside there — I was not expecting that — so it was a little bit dicey, but I couldn’t be more happy.”
TCA saw Wagner on top of the podium, followed by teammate Anderson and Fartuch in third.
“We had a great car both days. We put together a great program,” Anderson said. “It probably should’ve been a second or first, but we ran it a bit too hard and had a tire go down. To rebound with the win — it was what we needed to stay in the hunt. And for my teammate to be there in second — the first one-two of the season — I couldn’t really be happier with the day.”
Next, the series heads to VIRginia International Raceway June 17-19.