Despite severe weather, lightning delays, heavy rainfall, and an early end to race two, the team brought home three wins on the weekend
Braselton, Ga. (11 July 2022) – Despite a World Racing League powered by Hagerty (WRL) weekend that didn’t go to script–including severe weather, lightning delays, and heavy rainfall– the trip to Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta saw Round 3 Racing (R3R) score three wins on the weekend after some great driving and big teamwork brought home strong results.
Saturday’s race was delayed by two hours owing to extreme weather, while Sunday’s enduro saw the entire field pause in the pits to comply with local rules that set aside a quiet time from 10 am to noon. Sunday’s finale didn’t make it to the scheduled distance, as lightning forced series officials to call the race early.
Even with all the challenges and the flip the script weather, the Round 3 Racing drivers and crew continued to perform under pressure and bring home more strong results for the team as WRL turns the chapter into the second half of the season.
No. 401 TEAM HAGERTY MOTORSPORTS BMW M4 GT4 (GTO): Saturday’s difficulties made Sunday’s win even more rewarding
For the fourth consecutive race weekend, the No. 401 Hagerty Motorsports BMW claimed pole in qualifying. Sarah Montgomery set a fast lap early on Friday, but Cole Loftsgard swooped in and took the fast lap in the afternoon.
Montgomery took the wheel for the start to Saturday’s weather-delayed start. Maintaining a top-five despite a sensor issue, the native Georgian turned the car over to Brad McCall next. But the sensor issue became critical, forcing the team behind the wall to evaluate the BMW M4 GT4. But that never give up attitude got the machine back on track and despite the large gap to the lead, Loftsgard was last to get in behind the wheel to put his head down and bring the car home in the 22nd position.
Sunday’s race was able to get underway on time. Even though the No. 401 was not able to get the position they wanted on Saturday, they were able to lay a fast lap to start on pole for Sunday’s race. Montgomery was first in the car, driving until the 10 am quiet time red flag.
Through pit rotations, Montgomery parked the car down pit lane in third. McCall was next to jump into the BMW, driving the car up to lead the field. He handed the car over to Loftsgard who was able to maintain the lead position until the race was called due to weather.
“Heartbreak on Saturday turned into immense happiness on Sunday,” said Loftsgard. “I’m so proud of everyone on R3R. The team deserves this. Brad and Sarah put in phenomenal driving performances, Kevin and Marc gave us a superb setup capable of a convincing win, and pit stops from the boys were flawless all day… What a feeling to get it done!”
No. 609 TEAM SENTINEL BMW M4 GT4 (GTO): Fast and Fourth on Saturday, Frustrated on Sunday
The team of James Candelaria, Brian Ghidnelli, and Ron Hugate started Saturday’s race in the eighth position. Candelaria took the first stint driving the car up to sixth before passing the car over to Hugate. Hugate stayed in the car a little longer to help keep a track position in the top ten. Ghidnelli was last to take the wheel on Saturday. Hugate handed the car over to him in the eighth position. Ghidnelli drove the car home in the race’s final hour, making it up to fourth at the finish.
First up in Sunday’s competition was Ghidnelli, starting in second place. Ghidnelli took the lead going into turn one, from there was able to build a gap from the rest of the field. Stopping in for fuel and to put Hugate in the car, the car stalled at fifth for quiet time. Unfortunately, due to an incident on the first lap going back green after quiet time, the No. 609 was retired for the day.
“What a rollercoaster of a weekend,” said Candelaria. “We had challenging conditions on Saturday, but a strong finish. On Sunday we had a front row start to lead the race, nailed strategy on the red flag and then unfortunately got caught up in an incident in turn seven where a spun car caused us to have contact that ended our race. We are looking forward to VIR.”
No. 701 TEAM COOPER TIRES PORSCHE CAYMAN (GP1): Fourth and eighth after great team effort
The No. 701 Cooper Tires team worked their way through the field from fifth on Saturday, with Mo Dadkhah starting in the driver’s seat. Dadkhah handed the wheel to Zack Ping, a local from Buford, GA. Dadkhah and Ping were able to keep the Porsche Cayman in the top five throughout their stints. Loni Unser was last to get behind the wheel, the car was in fourth. Unser was able to keep her position, taking the checkered in fourth looking for third.
Ping was first to behind the wheel for the No. 701 during Sunday’s race. Unfortunately an incident involving going off track cracked the radiator, forcing the Cayman to the garage. The Cayman was able to make it back on track after quiet time. Unser and Ping took turns putting down steady laps, putting the car from last place up to eighth to finish the race.
“Saturday was hard because we thought we were doing work,” said Unser. “ Sometimes it doesn’t always pan out with the way yellows fall. I think we had good pace all day Saturday, but we were just caught out on some yellow flags and strategy sometimes doesn’t work. Today was a bummer. Mistakes happen. It’s super hard to drive in wet conditions and to have an accident happen is a bummer, but we know what we need to do for VIR.”
No. 605 TEAM HAGERTY DRIVERS CLUB PORSCHE BOXSTER (GP3):Double-win weekend
Carter Pease, Dennis Neel, Hannah Grisham, and Buz McCall piloted the No. 605 Porsche Boxster this weekend. Grisham was first behind the wheel; the team started in fourth and kept the Boxster in the top five before passing the car to Neel. Neel moved the car up to second before passing to Pease. Pease battled for the lead, and was given the opportunity for a clean move to the lead with just 15 minutes left to come home P1.
The No. 605 started in the second position for Sunday’s race. Neel was first up in the car. After a pit cycle rotation Neel parked the car for quiet time in third. Grisham was next up behind the wheel. She drove the car up to second, putting it in position for Pease to take over. Pease was able to take the lead before the race ended early. The No. 605 team brought home the second win of the weekend.
“Both yesterday and today shows the sheer grit that this team has,” said Pease. “ Saturday we had to battle back from full course yellows that didn’t work out in our favor and put us a lap down. We were able to fight all the way back and pass the leader with less than a half hour left in the race to come through with a win. The race on Saturday was really exciting! In order to pull off that win, Hannah drove great in the rain with our slick tires on, Dennis drove really consistent and smart, then handed it off to me in prime position. On Sunday, Dennis started us out in the rain again on slick tires and again drove very smart. Hannah was able to put down some flying laps to be able to get us back on the lead lap after that full course yellow. Mistakes by other teams in their pits allowed us the opportunity to be able to come up with a one lap lead and I just held on all the way until the end with the lightning delay.”
Round 3 Racing will head home to begin preparations for another four-car outing next month at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, VA. The double header weekend will take place September 2-4th.