Austin, TX – The opening rounds of Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car were exactly that for Honda Ste-Rose/Matt Young Motorsports, a CHALLENGE! During the morning warmup session, a TCB car made contact with Nick’s Accord, breaking his wheel and damaging part of the right rear suspension. As a result the #91 Honda Ste-Rose/Matt Young Motorsports Honda Accord V6 only logged 4-laps in the session, which was still enough time for Nick to turn the second fastest lap of the session at 2:29.220.
The team immediately began working to fix the damage to the car, and was able to get the car staged for qualifying with less than 10 minutes to spare before the session began. In Qualifying Wittmer only needed 2 laps at speed to put his Honda on pole, turning a fast lap of 2:27.721!
The first race of the Pirelli World Challenge Season took the green flag with a rolling start led by the teams striking Red, White, and Black #91 Accord. Nick led the first several laps before settling into third place. At approximately the midpoint of the race, the teams Honda motor, a brand known for its notoriously durable engines, blew up fairly suddenly, ending Nick’s day sitting in the gravel outside of Turn 20.
Under normal circumstances a blown motor marks the end of the race weekend for a Touring Car team, but not for the Honda Ste-Rose Matt Young Motorsports crew! The team worked through the night to remove a motor, gratefully given to them from Steve Kohli’s Honda Accord, and install it in Nick’s car to keep the team in the championship hunt in TC (Touring Car Class).
Pre-Grid came early on Saturday, as the team prepared for an 11:45am green flag, there wasn’t enough time to setup the cars alignment, but a confident group running on adrenaline sent their man Nick out, ready to start from the 4th position on the grid.
A clean standing start went off without a hitch, and it did not take long for Nick to make up ground. He quickly made a pass going into turn 1 to take 3rd position, and then shortly thereafter, found himself in 2nd, where he set his sights on the Pole sitting BMW of Toby Grahovec. As the race hit the 20 minute mark, Wittmer seemed to be reeling in the leader little by little, but slower traffic played a huge role and Nick had lost out to the BMW.
When the white flag came out to signal the final lap of the race, it was clear that Nick would be settling for 2nd place, and the Honda Accord V6 first PWC TC podium finish. For the team it felt as close to a victory as a runner-up finish possibly could have, an incredible way to finish arguably the most up and down weekend of every team members respective racing careers!
The Pirelli World Challenge Nissan Grand Prix of Texas Presented by VP Racing Fuels Touring Car races will air on CBS Sports Network Thursday, March 17th at 8:00PM ET, so please tune in to cheer Nick on! Looking forward, the Honda Ste-Rose/Matt Young Motorsports group prepares for its second consecutive “home track” visit when Pirelli World Challenge heads to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada on May 19-22.