MONTEREY, Calif. (May 7, 2014) – Kelly Moss Motorsports climbed to the top of the team standings in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama after its drivers stood on the podium five times at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California.
Entering the weekend, Kelly Moss Vice President Jeff Stone had the goal of going back home to Madison, Wisconsin, leading the Platinum Cup points. Mission accomplished.
“This is awesome,” Stone said. “This is what we came here for, to get back on top. We had a bunch of podiums and are bringing home some hardware, so this is great.”
After struggling in the first race, young Kelly Moss prodigy Colin Thompson followed up two runner-up finishes in March at Sebring International Raceway with a second-place finish in race two at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The finish also propelled him to the top of the Platinum Class standings with 64 points, six points in front of Michael Lewis, who swept both races this weekend.
“We had a great car, and I really didn’t have to do much,” Thompson said. “It’s hard to pass on this track. So once I went from fourth to second, I just tried to hold my position and keep Kasey (Kuhlman) off my tail. Unfortunately, Michael just had a little bit more than we had today and I couldn’t catch him. But we were right there, and that puts us in a great position for Lime Rock.”
In his first race of the 2014 season, Paul Barnhart Jr. came up big for Kelly Moss with three podium finishes after qualifying on pole. In race one, he finished second in Gold Cup Masters and third overall in the Gold Cup class. In race two, Barnhart claimed third place in the Gold Masters Cup Championship.
“The first race was a good, clean race,” Barnhart said. “We lost a position on the start but ran a real strong second and reeled the leader back in Gold.”
In the second race, Barnhart had to overcome a changed start position to fight his way back to the podium.
“After a car stalled coming out, they gave my grid position up to another Gold car, which put me behind her on the start,” Barnhart said. “So I lost two positions right away because I lost my grid position. I finally caught back up to (Patrick-Otto) Madsen, and I had a great race with him. It could have really gone either way, but I was happy to finish on podium again. Overall, it was a very successful weekend.”
Rounding up the Kelly Moss podium finishers was David Ducote, finishing third in the Platinum Masters class. Ducote is still getting used to his new 911 GT3 Cup car, but he was able to push through to get to the fifth podium of the day for Kelly Moss.
“This track isn’t one of my best tracks, and I’m still kind of learning the 911 in terms of subtleties of the car,” Ducote said. “So overall it was a good weekend of competition. In the second race, I just held it steady and didn’t make any mistakes. I just worked at it and worked at it and ended with a good result.”
William “Wild Bill” Peluchiwiski ended his day with sixth- and 11th-place finishes, respectively, in the Gold Cup class.
Dan Weyland had a rough weekend in his No. 11 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car in the Platinum Masters class. After starting at the back of the field due to tire problems in qualifying, Weyland was hit and forced into pit wall on the second lap in race one. The damage to the car was too much and ended his race day early.
“The car is pretty messed up,” Weyland said. “It’s really sad to have those kind of wrecks when you’re running in 32nd and 33rd place, so it’s very disappointing. But we’ll have it ready for the next one, and I’m looking forward to that.”
Hard work from the entire Kelly Moss team paved the way to a successful event on the 11-turn, 2.238-mile circuit in scenic Northern California.
“This is really a credit to all the crew guys, every crew chief, every single helper,” Stone said. “I have to give a lot of credit to my new protégé, Alex Stone. We brought him under the tent, and I am grooming him to be able to help me more in the future, and he’s done a great job.
“Chiel Bos, our engineer from Holland, is just an exceptional guy. We have become close personal friends ,and he has really found a good chemistry with the team. We missed Colin’s crew chief, Pete DeVries, as he’s battling with health issues and we are sending positive thoughts his way, but Henk stepped in and did a great job for us this weekend. I also want to recognize all of our other crew chiefs, Brad DeVries, Timo Duncan, Chris Welch and Norm Hornitschek, for all of the hard work they have put in for this team. From truck drivers to head crew chiefs, everyone has really stepped up.”
The Kelly Moss team will be in action next May 23-24 at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville Connecticut, for the next round of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.