Colin Thompson completes a sweep at The glen in his Kelly-Moss Porsche of Bucks County 911 GT3 Cup racer.
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (June 28, 2014) - He did it again.
Colin Thompson completed a sweep of both Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama rounds this weekend at Watkins Glen International, once again using a last-lap pass of championship rival Angel Benitez Jr. for victory Saturday.
Thompson, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, powered his No. 14 Kelly Moss/Porsche of Bucks County 911 GT3 Cup car past Benitez's No. 05 Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport entry exiting Turn 5, completing the decisive pass before both drivers dropped into the famous "Boot" section of the historic circuit. He then sped to the checkered flag .717 of a second ahead of Benitez.
The victory completed another charge from the third row of the starting grid by Thompson, who started sixth. He started fifth Friday.
Platinum Masters (drivers 45 and older) standout Kasey Kuhlman completed the overall podium by finishing third in the No. 15 Wright Motorsports Porsche, 1.752 seconds behind Thompson.
"After qualifying like that and having a transponder failure yesterday, I just never thought we'd be able to work forward like that," Thompson said. "The competition is ridiculous out here. We got it done. My engineer and the team just gave me an unbelievable car. It was a rocket ship!
"We made some smart passes. We got by some people and took advantage of those yellows. They paid off in the end. Last lap once again! Who would have guessed?"
Thompson navigated traffic with precision Friday to erase a deficit of nearly five seconds in the last five minutes of the race. He passed Benitez in the final corner of the 11-turn, 3.4-mile road course for his first career victory after both drivers split the lapped car of Thompson's Kelly Moss teammate Seth Davidow.
Traffic didn't play as big of a factor in the final-lap showdown Saturday.
Thompson passed Kuhlman with less than three minutes remaining in the 45-minute race. He then set his sights on Benitez, who led by .553 of a second. Thompson pulled to within .331 of a second with one lap remaining, with clear track ahead of both drivers.
Benitez and Thompson charged into Turn 1 and up through the narrow Esses turn complex and the back straightaway. Thompson looked to pass entering the Bus Stop chicane, but Venezuelan driver Benitez parried.
Then Thompson made his move exiting the Bus Stop and drove past Benitez before the two drivers entered The Boot.
Benitez was upset after Thompson's victory Friday, inferring that lapped cars impeded his progress and helped Thompson catch him. But Benitez praised Thompson's inspired final lap today.
"I'm glad I got second after what happened yesterday," Benitez said. "I'm happy just to be on the podium. I guess he deserved this one. He drove really good, so it was a good victory for him."
Thompson expanded his championship lead to four points, 116-112, over Benitez with the weekend sweep. He and Benitez entered this event tied atop the standings with 76 points.
Michael Lewis finished fourth in the No. 98 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian Porsche, with Sloan Urry rounding out the top five in the No. 20 JDX Racing entry.
David Calvert-Jones was the second finisher behind Kuhlman among Platinum Masters competitors in the No. 12 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian entry. David Baker completed the Platinum Masters podium in the No. 56 Topp Racing car.
Thompson wasn't the only driver to pull off a class sweep. Masters driver Michael Levitas, from Baltimore, earned his second victory of the weekend in the Gold Cup (2010-2013 model cars) in the No. 35 TPC Racing Porsche.
Patrick-Otto Madsen finished second in Gold in the No. 99 ANSA Motorsports entry, with Masters driver Jeff Mosing finishing third in Gold in the No. 01 Topp Racing car.
Fred Poordad rounded out the Gold Masters podium in the No. 02 Competition Motorsports 911 GT3 Cup car.
Gold Masters competitor Oscar Arroyo won the Yokohama Hard Charger Award by climbing five spots from his starting position in the No. 89 JDX Racing Porsche.
Rounds 9 and 10 of the season are scheduled for July 10-13 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, the only rounds of the series in Canada.
For more information about Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama, visit www.gt3cupchallengeusa.com, follow hashtag #GT3USA @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook. For live updates of on-track action during the season, follow @IMSALive on Twitter.
COLIN THOMPSON (No. 14 Kelly Moss/Porsche of Bucks County, winner): "After qualifying like that and having a transponder failure yesterday, I just never thought we'd be able to work forward like that. The competition is ridiculous out here. We got it done. My engineer and the team just gave me an unbelievable car. It was a rocket ship! We made some smart passes. We got by some people and took advantage of those yellows. They paid off in the end. Last lap once again! Who would have guessed?"
ANGEL BENITEZ JR. (No. 05 Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport, second): "I'm glad I got second after what happened yesterday. I'm happy just to be on the podium. I don't do good on politics, so I guess he (Colin Thompson) deserved this one. He drove really good, so it was a good victory for him. Yesterday, if there hadn't been so many Kelly-Moss cars, I think we would have won. Formula Motorsport and Avid Motorsport did a great job. I think we are doing what Porsche does. We do more with less. And that's how we are trying to keep it. As long as politics doesn't get involved in the sport, I think we can win the championship. That's what we are doing here. Just demonstrating that the small ones can win championships."
KASEY KUHLMAN (No. 15 Wright Motorsports, third; first, Platinum Masters): "Great day today. Man, I feel awesome. I feel like I earned this podium straight up. Nobody spun in front of me. Nobody made a mistake. It was just head down, delivering the goods. I made one little bobble that let (Colin) Thompson catch me and get by me. He drove great. I feel proud to be on the overall podium as a Master."
DAVID CALVERT-JONES (No. 12 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian, second, Platinum Masters): "Today was great. I really had a bad day yesterday. A couple of issues yesterday morning, which got my mind totally off balance. I had a bad qualifying and a terrible race. It was just absolutely hopeless, and today I felt really good. Today was really great. Started P10, I think. Moved up to P8 with some fast people behind me. But I stuck with them. It was great."
DAVID BAKER (No. 56 Topp Racing, third, Platinum Masters): "It was a better day than yesterday was because I kind of had third locked up and got passed in the Bus Stop by (Javier) Quiros. Terrible start on my part today. I lost about six positions and had to work my way back up at least for a podium. We took some wing out of it and changed some suspension settings, and it seemed to work out for us today. My first IMSA race was right here one year ago, and my first podium was also one year ago!"
MICHAEL LEVITAS (No. 35 TPC Racing, first, Gold Cup, Gold Masters): "Just an absolutely amazing day. When I get through Turn 1 and things are clean and I am looking for Patrick (-Otto Madsen) behind me and the field is tight, it's really a great race. And right up until the end, in the last two laps, a few Platinum cars came by me, and I had to open the door to make it a clean ending and I knew we would have a sprint there toward the end. Patrick was there and did an amazing job, and I just had to pull out all the stops and just run my Yokohamas as hard as I could. It was a great finish!"
PATRICK-OTTO MADSEN (No. 99 ANSA Motorsports, second, Gold Cup): "Today was a tough race. I had (Michael) Levitas in front of me and at the start I got passed by a couple of cars. So I really had to bring it home today and bring home the points. I am pretty satisfied with the second place today after having a bad start to the weekend. We had gearbox issues. We finally got the Porsche sorted out. So it's a nice way to finish off the weekend. Thanks again to ANSA Motorsports. I had a great car."
JEFF MOSING (No. 01 Topp Racing, third, Gold Cup; second, Gold Masters): "It was a really fun race again. I love this series and always have a lot of fun running in it. I started third and stayed out of trouble with the first-lap incidents that were going on. I wasn't able to give the 99 car anything until toward the end. It was a lot of fun. Hats off to Yokohama and Porsche for putting together such a great series."
FRED POORDAD (No. 02 Competition Motorsports, third, Gold Masters): "Compared to yesterday, much better. The car was great. The car was great yesterday. Had a mishap on the first lap yesterday that put me down. I started P7 today and ended up P5, so I'm happy with that. A few more laps, and I could have moved up the field. But we had a couple of long yellows today, and ironically, not yesterday. When I needed them, we didn't have them, and today I didn't want them and we had them. I thought it was a good race. Everyone was clean out there and worked really hard. So I'm happy with that performance. Competition Motorsports did a great job putting an awesome car underneath me."
OSCAR ARROYO (No. 89 JDX Racing, Yokohama Hard Charger Award winner): "I am very happy with this race. I made a lot of effort to advance and advance. Next time, I am going to try to do even better. We want to be back and give a shout to our great people."
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama
The IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama enters its 10th season in North America as the one of Porsche's largest single-make Cup Challenge series in the world. The series produces intense, exciting competition for semi-professional and aspiring professional drivers in one of the world's most successful and iconic race cars, the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Racing is divided into two classes - Platinum Cup, featuring the new 2014 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, which is based in on the current seventh generation of the street car, and Gold Cup, which is comprised of the previous version (2010-2013) of the race car. The series is the perfect platform for aspiring drivers to ascend to the highest levels of GT competition, such as the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The series races at classic American road courses, providing thrills for drivers and fans.
The International Motor Sports Association, LLC (IMSA) is the sanctioning body of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, the road-racing series resulting from the merger of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series. IMSA also sanctions two developmental series, the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge and the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, as well as four single-make series: Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama; Ultra 94 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Michelin; Ferrari Challenge North America; and Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America. IMSA is the exclusive strategic partner in North America with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO) which operates the 24 Hours of Le Mans as a part of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The partnership enables selected TUDOR United SportsCar Championship competitors to earn automatic entries into the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.