The year has not been nearly as kind as 2016 was for defending PWC TC class champion Toby Grahovec and his Classic BMW, FastTrack Racing BMW M235iRacing.
He has struggled out of the gate this year with zero podiums and only 70 points coming into the Utah Motorsports Campus and rounds 7 and 8 of the Pirelli World Challenge season. Grahovec’s visit to the track showed signs of promise immediately with solid practice sessions as well as a fifth place qualifying post.
Friday’s first race saw Grahovec leap from fifth to third after turn one and he managed to hold that position while calamity occurred taking 4 of the TC cars out of the compettiion as quickly as the race began. Grahovec battled heavily with the Nissan 370Z driven by his friend and veteran racer, Tony Rivera, for the initial 32 minutes of the 40 minute race. Struggling with heat related running issues several cars in the field dealt with operation modes interfering with their power as the management systems tried to save the cars from overheating. An issue such as this occurred with Rivera’s Nissan and Grahovec passed to claim the second step on the podium. His first podium of 2016, an event that was like clockwork for Grahovec in 2016 where he managed 11 podiums in 12 races.
Race two saw a similar start with the chaos in turn one. It appeared that Paul Holton shot the first corner too quickly and pushed Tony Rivera’s Nissan 370Z into Jayson Clunie’s Fast Track Racing BMW M235iracing, which caused a chain reaction ending several competitors’ race weekends in the first turn. Once the dust had settled, Grahovec found himself clear of damage and settled into the fourth position during the 12-minute caution period that followed the incident.
As racing went green, the battle was continual between Stephen Cameron Racing’s, Ari Balogh, Samantha Tan Racing’s, Nick Wittmer and Grahovec with the order remaining as such until the race reached four minutes from conclusion when both Wittmer and Grahovec managed to pass Balogh after several laps of heavy pressure in turn 5. Grahovec threatened but was unable to make a move on Wittmer and was in the end was thrilled to grab the final step on the podium and claim a double podium finish weekend.
The defending champion is back on the podium and carrying momentum into his home race September 2-3 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas for rounds 9 and 10 of the Pirelli World Challenge. Who knows what will happen when Grahovec with his Classic BMW and Fast Track Racing fans show up in numbers to show their support. Maybe we will see more of what we saw at the Utah Motorsports Campus.