Both the #50 driven by Ian James and Mathew Keegan, and the #51 driven by Preston Calvert, take victories in the GTS Sprint-X Pro/Am and Am classes respectively at Utah Motorsports Campus in the penultimate round of the GTS Sprint-X Championship.
Tooele, Utah – Qualifying this morning went well for the Team Panoz crew. Mathew Keegan put the #50 Panoz Avezzano on the front row of the grid in second, and Preston Calvert qualified ninth overall, third in class with the #51 Panoz Avezzano.
In an eventful first half, where both starting drivers Keegan and Calvert were initially caught up in traffic, both proceeded to climb up the leaderboard. About ten-minutes into the race, Keegan battled the lead Mustang who was dropping oil on the track and windscreen as he followed closely behind. After a ten-minute battle, Keegan made it around and took the lead, prior to handing over the wheel to Ian James. Calvert, before his pit, had made it up to sixth overall.
James maintained the lead throughout his stint taking the checkered flag for the first Panoz victory of the day. After pitting, Calvert returned to the track in third, but soon made it to second overall to give Panoz a one-two lead in the race. Harry Gottsacker hunted down Calvert in the #51, eventually making it past shortly before the finish, meaning Calvert took the checkered flag in third overall, first in class.
After both cars winning today’s race, James will start tomorrow’s race in first with the #50 and Calvert will be in eighth, second in class with the #51. Tomorrow’s race will be the final round of the Pirelli World Challenge GTS Sprint-X Championship.
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“A great result today with both of us winning. So proud of the Panoz organization, they always put in 100% to get these results and it’s so rewarding when it happens. To have Matt and Preston on the podium with me was a brilliant result for Panoz and we will work hard to make it two in a row tomorrow.”
“The team once again gave us a great car. This facility is great, the track works really well for our car, and we were able to put it together. It’s nice to have some momentum behind the team, everybody is working hard. The start of the season was a little rough, but now we have some good momentum and hopefully we are able to keep it going.”
Dr. Preston Calvert*
“Well it was a very good race. We’ve had some ups and downs this weekend, in that my car required a transmission rebuild between practice sessions yesterday, but the Panoz team and my car chief, Richard Hassel did a great job getting it fixed and really had the car in perfect condition. The race itself was hot and challenging, but I was fortunate to feel comfortable on the track here as the car was perfectly balanced. Even though we don’t have the best straight-line speed we have good balance, cornering and good exit speed. It was an incredible thrill to be on top of the podium again and to bring it home for team Panoz. I hope I can keep performing and we do it again tomorrow.”
* Dr. Calvert, a nationally-recognized neurologist and neuro-ophthalmologist for more than over 30 years, serves as a media advisor to the Pirelli World Challenge Safety Team and also is director of the series’ new mTBI (minimal Traumatic Brain Injury) Screening Program for driver safety as part of the protocol for possible concussion testing among PWC drivers.
Honoring Those Who Serve
Team Panoz Racing in a partnership with Hometown Heroes Racing proudly displays the badges of the U.S. Fire, Police and EMS services on the Nos. 50 and 51 Avezzano GT race cars to honor those who dedicate their lives to serve our nation and protect, defend and save the lives of complete strangers every day. Michael E. Murphy, RN, EMT-P, founded Hometown Heroes Racing in 2014 with the sole focus of building honor and camaraderie amongst first responders and the military.