Tooele, Utah - Patrick Long, of Belleaire, Fla., checked out for the Pirelli World Challenge GT win at the Privacy Star Grand Prix Presented by Bondurant, but the real fireworks came in a GTS finish that allowed Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, Colo., to take his first series win.
Long took the overall win by 3.032 seconds in the No. 1 Privacy Star/Entrust/TruSpeed Porsche 911 GT3, averaging 96.168 mph in the 23-lap, 70.104-mile race, but the last-lap focus was on the GTS class battle.
Colin Braun’s No. 38 Infinity Audio / Kia Motors USA Kia Optima entered the final lap in third place and closed the gap to the leader as the two were battling for the lead on the last corner of the 3.048-mile Outer Course configuration when the cars hit sending both off course. The crash was named the Kia Turning Point of the Race.
After the race, neither driver was sure what happened – only that Braun recovered for second-place for Kia’s best finish in the four-race Pirelli World Challenge season.
“My whole plan the entire race was to try and save my tires so I was kind of sitting back there trying to keep within arm’s reach of the leaders,” Braun said of the race. “I felt like my strength was going to be sitting there being patient and make a run for it at the end. We kind of followed right along with what we were trying to do and had a lot of fun racing there at the end. The leader got a little bit wide through on one of the last corners, and I got a really good run down the straightaway and made an attempt to try and pass him. We ran side by side through a few corners, and then I’m not really sure what happened. We just got together, and that was that. It would have been one of those things where, if not for a bunch of gravel and stuff that he ran through and got real wide the corner before, it was never going to be a race. I thought we’d have a really good race side by side for the win and just missed it a little bit. It doesn’t take much of a touch and hooked the doors and that was that.”
Some on-track incidents are still under investigation. Any penalties that may be assessed will be announced in a later release.
The GT and GTS classes return to action in two weekends at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Touring Car and Touring Car-B classes will complete a tripleheader weekend with a 40-minute race on Sunday at 11:25 A.M. MDT.