AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 21, 2014) – Kelly Moss Motorsports was well represented at the podium with eight top-three performances combined for Rounds 13 and 14 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, pulling the team one step closer to a championship.
“It was a really great weekend of racing,” Stone said. “Not only with our guys but through the whole field and they should all be commended for that. For me this season I’ve taken a step back from engineering and left it to Chiel Bos. But this weekend I was able to put that hat back on for awhile and it was fun to see it all come together again.”
The final two rounds of GT3 Cup action of the season are shaping up to be a do-or-die, winner take all shootout at Road Atlanta, Oct. 2-4, for both the Platinum Team and Driver Championships.
The team will carry a lead into the deciding rounds in just two short weeks.
After second and third place finishes at COTA, Kelly Moss’ young driver Colin Thompson still holds a slim one-point lead in the driver’s Platinum Cup Championship. But the top four drivers are within 20 points of each other, making it anyone’s game and Thompson’s to defend.
Despite rainy conditions in Race 1 this weekend at the 20-turn, 3.4-mile track, the race was fairly uneventful for the 45-minute duration. Thompson qualified second and took the checkers in the same position.
“It was the most uneventful rain race I’ve ever been in,” Thompson said. “You know, everybody just raced everybody very clean for the amount of cars that I saw. So I definitely can’t complain. It was a great race and a good solid points finish, and we’re still first.”
In the Gold Cup David Ducote moved from third to first to make it his third straight Gold and Gold Masters win.
“It was dicey at first, with a lot of cars moving around,” Ducote said. “I think Kelly-Moss gave me a good setup in the wet. I was pretty consistent and just stayed with it. I was able to reel in the P1 runner consistently, and I just kept focusing on consistency, and it all worked out. I’m happy with the result.”
In his first start since Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May, Paul Barnhart Jr. finished on the second step for the Gold and Gold Masters Championship classes.
“It was the rain game, but we played it really well,” Stone said. “You didn’t know if you were going to get the Texas heat or the Texas sized rain. It was great to see Paul do so well and David podium again.”
In the second race, in what was the first-ever night race for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama, the excitement picked up. Thompson starting in second took a few laps before reeling in race-leader and Race 1 winner Michael Lewis.
Sloan Urry passed Lewis for second with 12 minutes remaining passed Thompson for the lead shortly after. Then the two drivers began swapping the lead multiple times per lap and running side-by-side. Looking to retake the lead Thompson spun in Turn 3. He was able to recover and salvage a third-place finish.
“This was probably the best race I’ve ever seen in any series,” Stone said. “Colin did really well. We were prepared for a battle and that’s what we got, we just weren’t planning for that last spin.
Barnhart kept the Kelly Moss Gold Cup podium streak alive with a third place Gold Cup finish and a second place Gold Cup Masters Championship finish.
“This was the first time we have ever raced at night,” Barnhart said. It was really well lit, except you couldn’t see the exit curbing. So you really didn’t know how much track you had to use on the exit, so you just kind of felt your way through it, but it was really a lot of fun. Kelly Moss gave me a great car. Unfortunately, I had to pass my teammate David Ducote, who has won the last three Gold races, but that was kind of fun, and I just clawed my way up to the podium.”
Ducote finished Race 2 in fifth. Bill Peluchiwski finished 12th and 14th in the Gold Cup class in the two races, respectively. Wayne Ducote, David’s father, picked up two 10th-place Gold Cup finishes for the weekend.
“The weekend was really good,” Wayne Ducote said. “I liked the compressed schedule even though we had two hard days, but it was fun. Night races are different and amazingly enough in the first race with the rain we had no yellows. David was able to win that one and get three in a row and he’s happy with that. I’m getting there but overall just a great, great weekend.”
Dan Weyland joined Thompson in the Platinum Cup class, rounding out the Kelly moss lineup, and finished the weekend with a 18th– and 20th-place finishes.
The Kelly Moss trucks will head straight to Road Atlanta to begin preparing for the final two knockout rounds October 2-4.
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