BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Kris Wilson, of Monument, Colo., driving the No. 07 TRG-AMR Orion/Royal Purple/PassTime USA Aston Martin Vantage GT4 returned to the top step of the podium in GTS Round 6 race at the MOMO Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park presented by Porsche, part of the Honda Grand Prix of Alabama weekend. It is Wilson’s second consecutive win and third win of this season in Pirelli World Challenge GTS.
For the Round 6 race and the standing start, the front row consisted of the No. 73 RESET-MD Porsche Cayman of Jack Baldwin, of Marietta, Ga. Next to Baldwin on the front row was Wilson. Behind them was Ben Clucas, of Northampton, England driving the No. 36 Kinetic Motorsports DonorsChoose.org Kia Optima. Next to Clucas on row two was Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa., driving the No. 32 Phoenix Motorsports/Calvert Dynamics Ford Mustang Boss 302.
Off of the start, Baldwin took the lead into turn one of the 2.38 mile, 17-turn road course. By turn eight of the first lap, Wilson made a bold move to take over the lead from Baldwin with Clucas pursuing them in third Another driver on the move was Kurt Rezzetano, of Phoenixville, Pa. in the No. 37 Phoenix Motorsports/Calvert Dynamics Ford Mustang Boss 302 who had moved up from his starting position of 5th after Baldwin’s Porsche suffered a transmission failure on lap two which resulted in his retirement from the race. The No. 73 slowed to a stop in turn four which brought out the first caution of the race.
The top five for the restart on lap five were Wilson, Aquilante, Clucas, Rezzetano, and Mark Wilkins, of Toronto, ON, in the No. 38 Kinetic Motorsports PutOnTheBrakes.org Kia Optima. Wilson took command of the lead once again thwarting a challenge from Rezzetano. However, after the restart, Rezzetano was penalized for crossing an out of bounds white line on the track which resulted in a drive through penalty. This moved Dean Martin, of Westland, Mich., in the No. 50 Picture Cars East Ford Mustang 302 into fifth at this point.
The next five laps were fairly calm at the front until Lou Gigliotti, of Dallas, TX, in the No. 28 LG Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 made a pass for fifth over Martin. Earlier, Gigliotti had passed Lawson Aschenbach, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. in the No. 1 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Z28 and was awarded the Invisible Clean Pass of the Race Award.
The two fastest laps of the race were set on lap 11 and lap 13 and they would foreshadow events in the second half of the race. Wilson turned a 1:32.839 on lap 11. Then the second fastest lap was set by Spencer Pumpelly, of Atlanta, Ga., in the No. 87 DWW Motorsports iTrackzone.com Ford Mustang Boss 302 with a 1:32.923. After starting 10th, was finding his way toward the front and he was already up to sixth by lap 11.
On lap 14, Wilkins’ Optima began to have an issue that moved him back to 14th. By lap 15, he was forced to retire on track, which caused the next full course caution. Just before the caution, Pumpelly had passed Giglotti for fifth. With Wilkins out this moved Pumpelly into fourth.
For the restart on lap 17 it was Wilson, Clucas, Aquilante, Pumpelly, and Giglotti. This top 5 order stayed the same until lap 22 when Pumpelly was able to nudge his way past Aquilante for third. Within a lap he was now on the rear bumper of second place Clucas. Over the next five laps, Pumpelly repeatedly made attempts to pass Clucas, finally making the pass for second position stick on lap 27 and this solidified the final order of the top 5. Pumpelly’s pass of Clucas was awarded the Cadillac ATS-V Move of the Race. During the battle between Pumpelly and Clucas, Wilson had checked out eventually taking the checkered with a seven-second margin over Pumpelly in second. Clucas finished third, Aquilante fourth, and Giglotti in fifth.
Another notable hard charger during the race was former series GT Drivers’ Champion Brandon Davis, of Napa, Calif., in the No. 4 Racing for Children’s Medical Properties Trust Porsche 911. Davis started 23rd and worked throughout the race to get up to sixth when the checkered flag flew. Davis, was awarded the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start for gaining six positions when the lights went out. He was also awarded the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award for gaining 18 positions during the race.
“I was hoping that we wouldn’t have such a hard race again today, but the field was so strong and I had to work hard,” said Clucas. “We had really, really good pace especially in the first half of the race. We were able to more or less run second for that time. The front tires began to go away and I just sort of waited for the guys behind me to make their moves. I saw that Spencer was a second a lap faster and he finally got me. Pretty happy with the points that come with this finish.”
“First off a huge thank you to everyone at DWW Motorsports for the great Mustang,” said Pumpelly. “A lot of people considered us an underdog, but I never did. Hats off to the team. I am having so much fun racing in the Pirelli World Challenge. The race was only disappointing because of our finish yesterday we had to start back a bit. The car was excellent and really good in long stints. We had a hard but clean race to get to the finish. Great race!”
“The guys on the team at TRG did a great job today for us,” said Wilson. “We just really had to manage the race until with 20 minutes to go my team informed me that Spencer was coming. With the battle behind me though I didn’t have to work too hard to keep the lead at the end. Again thank you to the crew.”
Results are final. Wilson leads in GTS points over Aquilante (661 -530). Round 6 from Barber Motorsports Park will air on CBS Sports Network on Sunday, May 3, 2 p.m. Eastern. GTS teams and drivers now head to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada for Rounds 7 and 8, May 15-17.
BIRMINGHAM, AL – Results from Saturday’s 30-lap 71.4 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship GTS Round 6 race, part of the MOMO Grand Prix at Barber Motorsports Park presented by Porsche, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. GTS, (2), Kris Wilson, Monument, Colo., Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 30.
2. GTS, (10), Spencer Pumpelly, Atlanta, Ga., Ford Mustang Boss302, 30, -7.088.
3. GTS, (3), Ben Clucas, Northampton England, , Kia Optima, 30, -9.152.
4. GTS, (4), Andrew Aquilante, Chester Springs, Pa., Ford Mustang Boss 302, 30, -9.398.
5. GTS, (11), Lou Gigliotti, Dallas, Texas, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 30, -11.712.
6. GTS, (23), Brandon Davis, Napa, Calif., Porsche 911 (997), 30, -26.435.
7. GTS, (5), Kurt Rezzetano, Phoenixville, Pa., Ford Mustang Boss 302, 30, -26.736.
8. GTS, (8), Dean Martin, Westland, Mich., Ford Mustang Boss302, 30, -27.973.
9. GTS, (14), Andy Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo., Chevrolet Camaro, 30, -30.785.
10. GTS, (9), Michael Cooper, Syosset, N.Y., Chevrolet Z28, 30, -31.071.
11. GTS, (6), Lawson Aschenbach, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Chevrolet Z28, 30, -31.892.
12. GTS, (16), Nathan Stacy, Owasso, Okla., Ford Mustang Boss302, 30, -32.104.
13. GTS, (12), Jack Roush Jr, Livonia, Mich., Ford Mustang Boss302, 30, -33.635.
14. GTS, (15), Mark Klenin, Lone Tree, Colo., Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 30, -36.070.
15. GTS, (18), Buz McCall, Boca Raton, Fla., Porsche Cayman, 30, -1:08.787.
16. GTS, (19), Nick Esayian, San Diego, Calif., Ford Mustang Boss 302, 30, -1:09.139.
17. GTS, (20), Geoff Reeves, Cleveland, Ohio, Chevrolet Camaro Z28, 30, -1:18.459.
18. GTS, (17), John Allen(R), Aurora, Colo., Porsche Cayman, 30, -1:24.662.
19. GTS, (21), Preston Calvert(R), Potomac, Md., Ford Mustang Boss 302, 30, -1:34.602.
20. GTS, (7), Mark Wilkins, Toronto, Ontario, KIA Optima, 17, -13 laps.
21. GTS, (22), Bryan Leonard, Birmingham, Ala., Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 7, Mech.
22. GTS, (13), Dan Martinson(R), Medina, Minn., Ford Mustang Boss302, 3, Mech.
23. GTS, (1), Jack Baldwin, Marietta, Ga., Porsche Cayman, 1, Crash.
Time of race: 50 minutes, 32.492 seconds.
Average speed: 84.762 mph
Margin of victory: 7.088 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-30, #07 Kris Wilson
Fastest race lap: #37 Kurt Rezzetano, 1:32.400 (92.727 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #73 Jack Baldwin, 1:32.128 (93.001 mph)