SEBRING, Fla. (March 21, 2015) – The winning ways continued for Kelly Moss Motorsports with six podium finishes in the opening two rounds of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season March 19-20 at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.
Picking up where the team left off last season, the Brey-Krause sponsored Kelly Moss team put four different drivers on the podium between the two races, including two Platinum Cup victories by the team’s new young driver, Jesse Lazare.
In Race 1, Montreal resident Lazare passed pole sitter Elliott Skeer of Wright Motorsports nine minutes into the 45-minute race and never looked back. Lazare, 17, drove the No. 21 Kelly Moss Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to a 2.145-second victory.
It was Lazare’s second career victory but first with Kelly Moss. In the second race, Lazare led from green to checkered to cap off the clean sweep. Lazare held off Skeer in a stirring last-lap duel, outbraking him on the outside in Turn 3 to keep the lead and pulling away to a tight victory by just .121 of a second in one of the most thrilling races of the Sebring event week.
“It was great to see Jesse come right out of the gate strong,” Kelly Moss Vice President Jeff Stone said. “We’ve been working with him over the winter, and he’s done a great job. He’s shown to be very consistent and very quick, and we’re very happy with all of that. We’re working on developing him a lot like what we did with Colin Thompson last year and so far, so good.”
Jay Patel also made his Kelly Moss debut and finished on podium with a third-place Platinum Masters Championship result in the second race, following a sixth-place finish in Race 1.
“For Jay to come in and get two solid races and finish with a podium is great,” Stone said. “He’s a great addition to our team, and we’re excited about what he can do the rest of the season.”
Bill “Wild Bill” Peluchiwski produced two fourth-place finishes, and Frank Selldorff had an eighth-place finish in their Platinum Masters championship debuts.
Kelly Moss also had success in the Gold Cup class. Wayne Ducote recorded a career-best finish of third in both the Gold Cup and Gold Masters Championship in Race 1. He followed with a fourth-place finish in Gold Masters Championship in Race 2.
“Wayne is a rock star,” Stone said. “We’re not sure he’s human. We just love the guy, and he did really well. Very proud of him.”
Paul Barnhart finished an emotional week by standing on the podium with a third-place finish in the Gold Masters class in Race 2. He missed qualifying and Race 1 after a family emergency. Barnhart had to start Race 2 in 28th position and gained 15 spots during the race, earning the Yokohama Hard Charger Award.
“For him to be able to come in after a family loss, come back, get a Hard Charger and finish third is amazing,” Stone said.
Both veteran David Ducote and series rookie Jim Leslie had a stroke of bad luck in the Gold Masters class in both races. After qualifying well, Ducote was running in podium position for most of both races before he was taken out in separate incidents. It was much of the same for Leslie, with unavoidable contact in each race.
Ducote finished with seventh- and eighth-place finishes for Race 1 and 2, respectively. Leslie ended the weekend with an eighth-place finish in Race 1 and seventh place in Race 2.
“It’s been an up-and-down weekend, equal in both directions,” Stone said. “It was just not their luck. They’re both great guys.
“Jim came in and got hit in both races running strong. I felt so bad for him because he’s such a great guy, and I enjoy working with him. We look forward to him being back. David could not have had worse luck. Not only did his car get beat up, but so did he. We have a new car for him, and we’re going to come back at NOLA (Motorsports Park) and go to the front.
“I have to thank our engineers, crew chiefs and entire team, including my wife. It’s always a team effort, but especially when we have nine cars running. This wouldn’t be possible without them and their support.”
The team missed driver Dan Weyland, who was entered in the race but had to miss the weekend due to a last minute medical issue. Weyland is expected to be back with the team for the next two rounds.
Delayed television coverage of both rounds at Sebring will be provided on major network affiliates in numerous U.S. markets by Sinclair Broadcast Group. The schedule can be viewed here, and the broadcast will be available on YouTube after it airs on television.
Round 3 and 4 will take place April 9-12 during the Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana at NOLA Motorsports Park in Avondale, Louisiana, located 15 minutes from the historic French Quarter in New Orleans. It’s a home race for proud New Orleans natives Wayne and David Ducote, the father-and-son tandem for Kelly Moss in Gold Cup competition.
The team first will head to St. Petersburg, Florida, for the next two rounds of action in Pirelli World Challenge.
To stay up-to-date with Kelly Moss Motorsports, visit www.kellymoss.com. For live updates from track, like the team on Facebook and follow @kellymossmotors on Twitter.