TOOELE, Utah – Johnny O’Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga. scored his second straight GT win and fourth of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge season in Round 17 at Miller Motorsports Park and the Ford Grand Prix presented by VP Racing Fuels. Frankie Montecalvo, of Highlands, N.J. also won his second straight race in GTA, while Colin Thompson, of Doylestown, Pa. in GT Cup won the Round 15 race.
As the light sequence went out for the standing start, pole sitter O’Connell in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-VR GT3 got the launch off he needed to protect the racing line into turn 1. JD Davison, of St. Petersburg, Fla., in the No. 33 Nissan AE/ReplayXD/NISSAN NISMO GT-R GT3 followed closely in second ahead of Andy Pilgrim of Boca Raton, Fla. in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-VR GT3 and Bryan Heitkotter of Fresno, Calif. in the No. 05 AE Replay XD Nissan GT Academy NISSAN NISMO GT-R who then continued to battle, with Pilgrim going through to third a few corners later. Championship points leader Ryan Dalziel, of Windermere, Fla. in the No. 31 EFFORT Racing World PMO Porsche 911 GT3R was also on the move on the opening lap, advancing to fourth from his starting position of eighth.
In GTA, class pole sitter Montecalvo, in the No. 66 Bayshore Racing DragonSpeed Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3, took the lead through turn 1 and slotted into ninth overall in the race ahead of Martin Fuentes, of Mexico City, Mexico, in the No. 07 ScuderiaCorsa/Hublot/Samsung/UnderArmour Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, who slotted into 15th overall and second in class and Henrique Cisneros, of Miami, Fla. in the No. 30 MOMO NGT Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, in 17th overall and third in class.
In GT Cup, pole sitter Alec Udell, of The Woodlands, Texas, in the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports/Amsource Capital/Panther Pipeline GMG Porsche 911 GT3 Cup launched cleanly to take the lead over Thompson, in the No. 11 Porsche of Bucks County/Penn Valley Constructors/Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes/Austin Hatcher Foundation Kelly-Moss Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Mitch Landry, of Lake Charles, La. in the No. 97 Deep South/VersaCrane Landry Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup slotted into third in class.
On the second lap, Dalziel would continue to move, getting around Pilgrim’s Cadillac for third while O’Connell began to build a gap over Davison’s Nissan.
On lap three, Guy Smith of Beverley, England in the No. 20 Team Bentley Bentley/Breitling/Mobil1 Bentley Continental GT3 came into the picture as he moved around Heitkotter for fifth, and two laps later, he passed Pilgrim for fourth place in the Black Rock Hairpin.
In GT Cup on lap six, a tremendous battle ensued with Udell and Thompson. Thompson passed Udell through turn 3. Udell would then drive his No. 17 machine alongside Thompson’s No. 11 machine through turns 4, 5 and 6 with Thompson ultimately winning the drag race through the Witchcraft section of the track to take the lead through the section of the track called the Attitudes. Thompson’s pass of Udell was named the MOMO GT Cup Turning Point of the race. On lap 7, Phil Fogg, Jr., of Portland, Or. in the No. 18 Zoro/TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup passed Landry for third in class.
In GT, Smith continued to pick up the pace, and he quicky caught Dalziel, who was running third as those two began a near-race long battle for the final podium position. A bit further back, Ryan Eversley of Atlanta, Ga. in the No. 43 RealTime Racing RealTime/Acura Motorsports/HPD Acura TLX-GT got around Montecalvo for eighth overall.
The lead margin went up and down as the race developed, as O’Connell and Davison worked their way through lapped traffic.
On lap 11, Salt Lake City’s Sloan Urry, in the No. 02 Engel & Volkers TruSpeed Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup moved into third in GT Cup. Through lap 11, Montecalvo still led in GTA over Fuentes and Cisneros.
On lap 17, Cisneros ran wide on turn 1 allowing Eric Lux, of Buffalo, N.Y. in the 08 Rembrandt Charms/Monticello Motor Club DragonSpeed Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3 to move into third. The pass netted Lux the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award.
On lap 19, Smith looked for a way around Dalziel as the scrap intensified. On lap 21, Dalziel ran a defensive, low line into turn one, as Smith put his Bentley on the outside of the corner. Exiting the corner, the two cars made contact, with Smith briefly going off course.
On lap 25, Dalziel’s EFFORT teammate Michael Lewis of Laguna Beach, Calif. in the No. 41 EFFORT Racing Curb-Agajanian Porsche 911 GT3R tried to get under Heitkotter’s Nissan in the first corner. This time, however, the outside line would work as Heitkotter kept the spot before Lewis made the move stick a lap later, the same lap in which Smith passed Dalziel. Smith’s pass earned him the Cadillac ATS-V Move of the Race Award. On lap 27, Lux passed Fuentes into second in GTA.
As the checkered flew, it was Cadillac, Nissan and Bentley in the top three in GT at Utah. O’Connell won over Davison with Smith in third. Dalziel would finish fourth, ahead of the second Cadillac of Pilgrim in fifth spot. In GTA, Montecalvo won over Lux and Fuentes, while Thompson finished ahead of Udell and Urry.
Championship contender Olivier Beretta, of Monte Carlo in the No. 61 R. Ferri Motorsport Ferrari of Ontario/Toronto/Alberta Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia finished 10th.
“This was a great points weekend,” O’Connell said. “We had a good car yesterday, but the guys at Cadillac Racing improved it even more and just made it a little easier to drive today. James Davison was all over me in his Nissan. He even tried flashing his lights at me late in the race, I just ignore that stuff. He is a great young talent. We are a fourth quarter team. We are going away from this weekend second in the points. Two good wins and a lot of points going into Sonoma in one week.”
“We had a good car in the beginning and I was in the middle of the GT battle,” said Montecalvo. “I was holding my position strong. I was looking at the points and the championship run too. I wasn’t going to block the GT cars. The DragonSpeed guys again gave a great car and is a tremendous weekend with two GTA wins. I think we were pretty strong running in the Top 10 overall, but I really got killed in traffic in the end. I got chopped with some slower cars and (Mike) Skeen got me. Then, right at the end of the race, I got chopped again and (Olivier) Beretta and (Peter) Cunningham were able to slip by. But it was fun racing with those experienced guys. I wanted to keep our car clean and in one piece as we have a quick turnout for Sonoma next week. With three races left in the season, anything can happen for the championship. Thanks to my teammate Eric (Lux) for his second place and stealing some points for me.”
“It was tough starting second behind Alec (Udell),” said Thompson. “He gave me a great run. He is a class act and it’s tough to pass him. After a few creative moves, I was finally able to get it done going into turn one. I opened up a decent gap but not enough if I made a mistake. It was nice when the leaders from the other group caught up to us. I was able to slingshot a little of bit of a bigger gap at that point. That brought us home the 11th win this year and I think the second championship in a row for us. It was a phenomenal weekend for us overall.”
Of note, Dalziel won the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award for gaining four positions when the lights went out. Dalziel also won the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award for gaining five positions during the race.
Results are provisional until posted final. In GT, Dalziel holds a slim lead over O’Connell who moves into second in the drivers’ championship ahead of Beretta in third. Montecalvo now leads in GTA over Cisneros. Thompson continues to lead in GT Cup. GT, and GTA drivers now head to Sonoma Raceway August 28-30 for Rounds 18 and 19 of the Championship, while GT Cup drivers get set for Rounds 14 and 15. Watch the races from Miller Motorsports Park on CBS Sports Network Sunday, August 30, 2 p.m. Eastern.
TOOELE, UT – Results from Sunday’s 28-lap 85.344 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship GT/GTA/GT Cup Round 17/15 race, part of the Ford Grand Prix presented by VP Racing Fuels at Miller Motorsports Park, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. GT, (1), Johnny O’Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Cadillac ATS-VR GT3, 28.
2. GT, (2), JD Davison, St Petersburg, Fla., Nissan GT-R GT3, 28, No Xponder.
3. GT, (6), Guy Smith, Beverly UK, UK, Bentley Continental GT3, 28, -5.127.
4. GT, (8), Ryan Dalziel, Windermere, Fla., Porsche 911 GT3R, 28, -10.136.
5. GT, (4), Andy Pilgrim, Boca Raton, Fla., Cadillac ATS-VR GT3, 28, -13.867.
6. GT, (7), Michael Lewis(R), Laguna Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3R, 28, -14.483.
7. GT, (3), Bryan Heitkotter, Fresno, Calif., Nissan GT-R GT3, 28, -15.837.
8. GT, (9), Nicky Catsburg, Kirchanschoring, Germany, Lamborghini GallardoFL2, 28, -21.149.
9. GT, (12), Ryan Eversley, Atlanta, Ga., Acura TLX-GT, 28, -22.259.
10. GT, (11), Olivier Beretta, Monte Carlo, , Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 28, -23.568.
11. GT, (10), Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee, Wis., Acura TLX-GT, 28, -25.435.
12. GT, (16), Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., Audi R8 LMS Ultra, 28, -26.702.
13. GT, (5), (A)Frank Montecalvo, Highlands, N.J., Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3, 28, -28.369.
14. GT, (13), Chris Dyson, Pleasant Valley, N.Y., Bentley Continental GT3, 28, -39.932.
15. GT, (15), (A)Eric Lux, Buffalo, N.Y., Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3, 28, -42.121.
16. GT, (14), (A)Martin Fuentes, Mexico City, Mexico, Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 28, -44.270.
17. GT, (17), Duncan Ende, Los Angeles, Calif., Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 28, -46.461.
18. GT, (18), (A)Henrique Cisneros, Miami, Fla., Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 28, -46.890.
19. GT, (21), (A)Bret Curtis, Austin, Texas, BMW E89 Z4 GT3, 28, -1:29.944.
20. GT, (19), (A)Eduardo Cisneros(R), Miami, Fla., Ferrari 458 GT3 Italia, 28, -1:30.723.
21. GT, (20), (A)Henry Hassid, Kirchanschoering, Germany, Lamborghini Gallardo REX, 28, -1:30.941.
22. GT, (22), (A)Drew Regitz, Denver, Colo., Audi R8 LMS Ultra, 27, -1 lap.
23. GT, (29), (A)Bill Ziegler, Ponte Vedra, Fla., BMW E89 Z4 GT3, 27, -1 lap.
24. GT, (23), (A)Jorge De La Torra, Mexico, , Aston Martin Vantage GT3, 0, DNS.
25. GT, (24), Robert Thorne, Littleton, Colo., McLaren 650S GT3, 0, DNS.
26. GT, (25), (A)Christina Nielsen(R), Aarhus Denmark, , Aston Martin Vantage GT3, 0, DNS.
27. GT, (26), Kevin Estre, Lochau Austria, , McLaren 650S GT3, 0, DNS.
28. GT, (27), James Sofronas, Pound Ridge, N.Y., Audi R8 LMS Ultra, 0, DNS.
29. GT, (28), Brent Holden(A), Newport Beach, Calif., Audi R8 LMS Ultra, 0, DNS.
30. GTC, (31), Colin Thompson, Doylestown, Pa., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 27.
31. GTC, (30), Alec Udell, The Woodlands, Texas, Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 27, -7.937.
32. GTC, (32), Sloan Urry, Salt Lake City, Utah, Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 27, -29.502.
33. GTC, (35), Lorenzo Trefethen(R), Napa, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 27, -38.945.
34. GTC, (33), Phil Fogg_Jr, Allendale, N.J., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 27, -41.058.
35. GTC, (34), Mitch Landry, Lake Charles, La., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 27, -50.125.
36. GTC, (37), Preston Calvert(R), Potomac, Md., Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 27, -1:05.510.
37. GTC, (36), Victor Gomez(R), San Juan, Puerto Rico, Porsche 911 GT3 CUP, 26, -1 lap.
Time of race: 51 minutes, 37.417 seconds.
Average speed: 99.191 mph
Margin of victory: 1.271 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-27, #3 Johnny O’Connell; laps 28-28, #33 JD Davison
Fastest race lap: #20 Guy Smith, 1:49.078 (100.596 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #3 Johnny O’Connell, 1:49.821 (99.915 mph)