Murillo, Groenke Score PWC Round 12 Victories In TCA and TCB Classes Saturday at Mazda Raceway
Fassnacht, Groenke Secure PWC Season Championships
SALINAS, Calif. – Young Kenny Murillo of Santa Rosa, Calif., and P.J. Groenke captured the Round 12 race Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the Touring Car A and B divisions as part of the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Monterey.
In addition, Matthew Fassnacht of Madison, N.J., clinched the TCA point championship Saturday with placings of fifth in both 40-minute main events at the legendary 2.238-mile, 11-turn road circuit east of the Monterey Bay.
Murillo, 19, was award the TCA victory Saturday after Eric Powell was disqualified from the win when his No. 23 TechSport Racing Scion FR-S sedan failed post-race technical inspection.
Placing second in the TCA race was Tom O’Gorman of Mason, Ohio, in the No. 94 Shea Racing Honda Civic Si.
Rounding out the top-five in Saturday’s TCA Round 12 was Jeff Sexton of Austin, Tex., in the No. 89 Winding Road Team Mazda Global MX-5 Cup car, the newly-crowned TC champion Fassnacht and Shea Holbrook of Orlando in the No. 67 Shea Racing/Bubba Burgers Honda Civic Si.
Fassnacht played the points game Saturday in his battle for the TCA championship with defending TCA champion and S.A.C. Racing teammate Elivan Goulart of Shelton, Conn. The 2016 PWC “TC Rookie of the Year” unofficially finished with 245 points to claim his first professional racing title.
“I don’t like to race this way, points racing,” said Fassnacht., “It’s not as fun. We did want to keep an eye on the championship, and I’m an analyst so I had a spreadsheet going into the weekend. Unfortunately for Elivan (Goulart) he hit the curb in turn six and that changed the whole thing. At that point we knew the math for the number of cars. So, we reduced the risk in the first race by letting people go by and managing the points. Again, not as fun as being able to go-go-go. But, hats off to Murillo for what he accomplished. This has been quite a ride for me. It’s only my second season racing professionally full-time and I’ve had quite a few ups and downs. Elivan and I have a great relationship.”
Groenke, the most experienced TCB racer in the field at MRLS, drove impressively in his No. 25 TechSport Racing Chevrolet Sonic with a great start and the Richmond Hill, Ont., Canada driver defeated his class rival Jake Pipal of Oakdale, Calif., by 23.299 seconds to clinch the coveted TCB series title. Both Groenke and Pipal were tied for the TCB point lead at 243 entering Round 12.
Provisionally, Groenke finished with 268 points to Pipal’s 266. Pole winner Canaan O’Connell of Chandler, Ariz., was in the thick of the TCB points hunt in the final event but dropped out of the 40-minute event with a mechanical issue in his No. 24 TechSport Racing Chevrolet Sonic.
“I’m at a complete loss of words,” said Groenke. “I’ve been in PWC TCB since the inception in 2012. I ran one race weekend there and I’ve been in this class ever since. I put it to the floor on that standing start, got Canaan (O’Connell) on that standing start. To sweep the weekend at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, such an iconic track, for the last race of the season of TCB, to be the champion, I don’t know what to say. I can’t thank TechSport Racing enough, everyone in the series is amazing. First and foremost my sponsors – Sid from Verax.ca, Jonathon from Tundra, Stratus from Prestone, and Sean and Peter from Cabano’s Comfort Food. I wouldn’t be anywhere without my sponsors and this is for them.”
The TCA/TCB events at MRLS will be televised on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 8 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
Contact: Tom Blattler, Pirelli World Challenge, firstname.lastname@example.org, 317.525.5692
SALINAS, Calif. – Round 12 results for Saturday’s Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car 40-minute race. Results are provisional until posted Final.
1,1, A,Kenny MURILLO,Santa Rosa, CA,Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car,24,Running,41:44.692,
2,2, A,Tom O’GORMAN,Mason, OH,Honda Civic Si,24,Running,41:44.899,4.624
3,3, A,Jeff SEXTON,Austin, TX,Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car,24,Running,41:45.757,5.481
4,4, A,Matthew FASSNACHT,Madison, NJ,Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car,24,Running,42:08.391,28.115
5,5, A,Shea HOLBROOK,Orlando, FL,Honda Civic Si,24,Running,42:15.596,35.320
6,6, A,Elivan GOULART,Shelton, CT,Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car,24,Running,42:26.670,46.394
7,7, A,Cameron PARSONS,Santa Ana, CA,Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Car,24,Running,42:47.403,1:07.127
8,8, A,Daniel MOEN,Rindge, NH,Mazda MX-5,23,Running,42:10.288,1 LAP
9,1, B,P.J. GROENKE,Richmond Hill, Ontario, CA,Chevrolet Sonic,22,Running,41:40.435,2 LAPS
10,2, B,Jake PIPAL,Oakdale, CA,Honda Fit,22,Running,42:03.735,2 LAPS
11,3, B,Jasper DRENGLER,Shawano, WI,Honda Fit,22,Running,42:50.281,2 LAPS
12,4, B,James WILSON,Kyle, TX,Mazda 2,22,Running,42:55.614,2 LAPS
13,5, B,Damon SURZYSHYN,Winnipeg, MB,Mazda 2,22,Running,42:56.425,2 LAPS
14,6, B,Stephanie ANDERSEN,Racine, WI,Mazda 2,21,Running,42:35.584,3 LAPS
15,7, B,Canaan O’CONNELL,Chandler, AZ,Chevrolet Sonic,13,Not Running,24:37.883,11 LAPS
16,9, A,Eric POWELL,Orlando, FL,Scion FR-S,DISQUALIFIED