Conquering a Slippery Slope
ALTON Va. (Aug. 18, 2018) - Performance Tech Motorsports finished its first rain race of the IMSA Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda season with a pair of podium finishes at VIRginia International Raceway.
The No. 77 of Howard Jacobs and James French and the No. 22 of Stephen Dawes rose to the rainy challenge by finishing first and third respectively in the Mazda Prototype Challenge class. Round 5 marked the second-to-last race of the IMSA Prototype Challenge Powered by Mazda season.
Jacobs and his No. 77 Cardio Access MPC started the race from eighth. Jacobs maintained position throughout his stint but fell off the lead lap after a downpour of rain slowed his progress while on slick-tires. He handed the No. 77 off to French at the 50-minute mark. Once behind the wheel, French got to work picking off the field one-by-one; ultimately a late race yellow would pack-up the field allowing him to gain three positions on the last two laps, earning the pair a first-place finish. The duos second in a row.
Dawes walked away with a third-place finish in MPC, his best finish since Sebring International Raceway where he took third place on the podium as well. He started his No. 22 A.I.G. Technologies MPC from seventh and continued on a steady climb over the duration of the race. Dawes single-handedly prevailed through the rain and on track drama, as one of the remaining few MPC competitors to drive solo. He was also the highest finishing single driver in the MPC class.
Cameron Cassels made double-duty look easy this weekend running both his No. 75 LMP3 entry as well as an entry in the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America series. As soon as Cassels unbuckled from his GT car he was belted into his No. 75 LMP3. Cassels qualified his car 10th overall and third in LMP3 Masters. He then went on to drive an impressive race climbing as high as third but finishing out the day ninth overall.
Misfortune ruled the dominating No. 11 entry of Dr. Robert Masson and Kyle Masson, Windemere, Florida. The pair topped the time charts all weekend including a strong qualifying performance by Robert with a fourth-place start. Following a pre-race lineup change, Kyle started the race from last and quickly drove to first in two laps, maintaining speed after contact from the No. 34 of Brownson.
After the driver change, Robert held on to first place joining the field out front and with good pace. However, with 15 minutes remaining disaster struck. The No. 11 slowed to a stop on track and had to be taken back to the paddock for potential repair.
The Charles Wicht Racing/ Performance Tech No. 7 LMP3 entry of Leo Lamelas and Andrew Evans finished out their day fourth overall in the LMP3 class. Lamelas started third but found himself battling both competitors and pouring rain, an obstacle he had never been challenged by before. The rookie impressively adapted his driving style on the fly and kept the No. 7 on the lead lap and in sixth place. Lamelas handed the car over to Evans in fourth after the field was shuffled during the pit window. Late race yellows and traffic would hold Evans’ charge up the field, leading the pair to a fourth-place finish.
“You know with all these cars it seems like every race has something good and something bad to it,” O’Neill said. “You have to hate it for Robert and Kyle, who were a dominant car, and then 15 minutes till the end of the race, something goes wrong in the car. Stephen was a solo driver and did such an excellent job. If we didn’t have that last caution, he would have easily won the race.
“Cameron, again, a solo driver, just jumped out of an hour race in the Lamborghini to do an hour and 45-minute race in an LMP3 did an amazing job as well. James isn’t a ladder kid, but he handled the MPC car really well and got Howard to another podium. Overall, I’m so proud of all of these guys.”
Next up for Performance Tech Motorsports is Round 6 of IMSA Prototype Challenge Powered by Mazda at Road Atlanta. The 2.54-mile track serves as the series season closer, promising tight times and thrilling battles. To catch today’s race highlights, tune in to FOX Sports 2 at 8 p.m. ET Thursday, Sept. 6. For a full schedule visit prototypechallenge.imsa.com. For live updates throughout the weekend follow along with scoring.imsa.com or imsatv.imsa.com.