A Recent “EFFORT” Pays Off in Canada
D. Bryce Miller and Sean Johnston Bring Plenty of Excitement to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Bowmanville, Ont., July 21, 2012--Yesterday’s qualifying for the 2012 Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport was no surprise as IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama points leader Sean Johnston took another BBS Pole Award for Wright Motorsports, as well as setting a new qualifying lap record at the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit. Johnston was joined at the front of the starting grid today for the first round of a weekend double-header by Michael Mills and D. Bryce Miller of EFFORT Racing, who qualified second and third, respectively.
In a thrilling 45-minute race that stayed under a green flag for its entirety, fans were treated to plenty of great racing throughout the entire field, but it would be the Platinum Cup trio of Johnston, Mills, and Miller that would provide race-long excitement to the very end.
Miller snuck by his EFFORT Racing teammate Mills early and began to chase down 21-year-old Johnston. The duo of Johnston and Miller broke away from the field by lap ten and start a two-car hunt for the win that would keep fans on the edge of their seats for nearly the entire race.
Constant pressure was applied by Miller, but Johnston wasn’t fazed and both competitors kept running flawless laps. It would take 25 laps before Miller would find his chance to get by the Wright Motorsports’ young-gun Johnston, during which Miller set a new race lap record.
“That was a bit more excitement than I was looking for to be completely honest," laughed Johnston. "But it was a great race between myself and Bryce [Miller] up there at the front. We were very closely matched on pace for the first third of the race and then we came up on lapped traffic and I went to make a move, because if I didn’t try to pass [lapped traffic] then, he [Miller] would be able to get a run on me. So I had to make a really strong move. But some lapped traffic came across me and I went over the curb in 5a and took the splitter off the car. So I ran the last third of the race without a splitter and that made things very interesting and very exciting. I am sure the fans loved it, and Bryce drove a really great race.”
Miller took the lead on Lap 25 and held off Johnston until the end to win his first race with EFFORT racing after making a mid-season switch to the team just days ago. The team was excited to add Miller to their stable with the goal to shake-up the point standings and put their team in stronger contention for the championship.
“Man, if you thought qualifying was good, that race was just phenomenal! There was so much dicing and battling,” said the new EFFORT Racing driver. “If you made one mistake you were gone. Everyone was performing at such a high level and it was just unbelievable. I really have to thank everyone, especially my family and EFFORT Racing this weekend. The team just gave me a great car and I thought I would be done after the last race [with GMG Racing] and to join this team and come back and win is just an unbelievable feeling.”
EFFORT Racing teammate Mills took home a third overall for the team from Texas.
“It was a really great day for EFFORT,” said Mills. “Just the whole thing. I knew that if we had Bryce [Miller] in the right car he could pull this off! He is so strong in the car and I am just so happy for him right now and the entire team for our performance.”
In Gold Cup competition, Angel Benitez, Jr. of Ansa Motorsports would lead his class from Pole early, but not without pressure from the MGM entry of Peter Collins. The two would provide plenty of excitement for the Bowmanville, Ontario crowd, but Benitez, Jr. would not relinquish the lead.
“It was a good race and the car was just perfect,” said Benitez, Jr. “It was a really, really busy race! There was a lot of lapped traffic to contend with but it was a really fun race and I am just really happy to be here on the Podium again.”
Collins was keeping pace with Benitez, Jr. until he encountered lapped traffic, which separated the two and gave Benitez Jr. some distance on Collins. Getting caught in that traffic also gave a hard-charging Scott Tucker a chance to track Collins down.
“Angel [Benitez, Jr.] and I had a great battle the first 10 laps,” said MGM driver Collins. “Then we caught some lapped traffic, and it’s hard when you are running by yourself and you don’t have a rabbit. And then Scott [Tucker] was gaining on me and then pulled a great move on me in the second to last lap in Turn 8. You’ve got to give it to him, it was just a great pass!”
Tucker’s late pass would put the Level 5 Motorsports driver in second position for the finish, relegating Collins to a third-place in Gold class. The trio of Benitez, Jr., Tucker, and Collins placed 11th, 12th, and 13th overall.
Another amazing on-track dogfight was waged for fifth through seventh place position among Wright Motorsport championship defenders Fernando Pena and Madison Snow in contention with Sloan Urry of TruSpeed Motorsports. The three were locked in a grueling contest that ultimately saw veteran Pena win out to take fifth followed by Snow and Urry.
The excitement continues on in tomorrow's second race of the weekend double-header which starts at 3:20 pm Eastern. The final 45-minute feature will round out the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park double-header for the Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport.