Miller Sweeps a Double in IMSA GT3 Cup Competition
Newest EFFORT Racing Driver Posts Two-in-a-Row at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Bowmanville, Ont., July 22, 2012--Only a few short days ago, D. Bryce Miller made a mid-season switch to EFFORT Racing to join Michael Mills in IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama competition. The team welcomed Miller with the hopes of making a stronger run for the Championship beginning at this weekend's Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport.
Miller started his first weekend with EFFORT Racing in Round 8 yesterday in a thrill-ride around Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Points leader, Wright Motorsports’ Sean Johnston fought a nearly race-long battle to the finish that would see Miller take his first win with his new team.
Today’s Round 9 was a near repeat of yesterday as Miller and Johnston lined up together on the front row to continue their battle from the previous race. Miller would have to defend his Pole position start on nearly every lap against a relentless pursuit by Johnston.
Johnston was unable to overtake Miller, but a last lap shootout did ensue as Johnston got a run on Miller going into Turn 1. Johnston was nearly able to get by as the two drove side-by-side through Turn 2. Miller was able to hold his line and fend off the attack by Johnston, taking the checkered flag first some eight turns later.
"The car was just great from the first lap to the last," said back-to-back winner Miller. "It was just incredible. Every lap I could put it just where I wanted to. So we just settled into a good rhythm and didn’t want to push too hard. I knew he [Sean Johnston] would be catching me and also making mistakes so I just held my own and I am just so happy. I was able to hold it together and he wasn’t able to get around me. He got a little close and we bumped a little on the last lap, so I was trying to hold it together. But the team did an amazing job and I feel twice as good as yesterday. Doubling up and sweeping this weekend is an incredible feeling!"
It would be Johnston's second Podium of the weekend as he matched yesterday's second-place finish overall.
"That was the best race of the season," said the hard-charging Johnston. "Bryce [Miller] drove an absolutely incredible race and I was pressuring him the entire time. He never gave and inch and it was a very, very close and exciting race and he absolutely earned that win. I gave it everything I had and he was able to stay in front. I do want to apologize to my teammate Melanie [Snow]. We had a tiny bit of contact when Bryce and I were coming through and it messed up her race a bit. She still made it on the podium but I do feel bad about what happened. Overall though, great race!"
Miller’s EFFORT Racing teammate, Michael Mills, would follow yesterday’s script and charge around the circuit unchallenged for the entire race. He would take the third step on the Podium for the second day in a row.
"It was a great weekend for EFFORT Racing," said Miller's teammate. "To get Bryce out here and get him on the topbox of the podium twice is amazing. For me to get on the podium in third place is great. The two kids were just screaming today. We had a pretty good car today, but we just couldn’t hang at that pace with them. I could go with them for a while but then they got a gap on me and I never saw them again. Once Kasey [Kuhlman] was out of the race I went on cruise control because I was never going to catch them. The team did a great job. Chuck Toups put us out here to do all of this and we have to give him thanks!"
The Gold Class was also nearly a repeat of yesterday’s performance as Angel Benitez, Jr. took a clear lead and ran consistent, clean fast laps until a late spin with under two minutes to go took him out of contention and gave the advantage to Aussie David Calvert-Jones.
In his first win for the Norton Mobile/Competition Motorsports team, “CJ” as he is known to all in the paddock was all smiles as he stepped up to the top spot on the Gold Class Podium.
“This is my first win,” he exclaimed! “I was just trying to plug away. But we were having some water pressure and level issues and I had alarms going off all over the place, so I was focusing on that. Which made it hard to drive the car. And then I realized I had a good lead on Fred [Poordad] and I was just behind Angel [Benitez, Jr.] who was in first. So I just tried to keep it consistent and make sure I finished the race. And then on the next-to-last lap I saw Angel spin out and I came through to take the lead. It was a lucky win today, but you’ve got to be on the track at the end of the day.”
Fred Poordad seemed to have overcome the issues that plagued his Competition Motorsports entry yesterday as he joined his teammate Calvert-Jones on the podium in second place.
“It was a really fun race today,” he said. “Yesterday I had some problems. I had a tire go out and the transmission linkage broke but today the car worked great thanks to Competition Motorsports. And my partner CJ (David Calvert-Jones) got P1 so we couldn’t have asked for a better day for the team!”
But the true Gold celebration was for Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports pilot Melanie Snow, who celebrated her 40th birthday today on the third step of the podium with her usual grace and beauty and desire for the celebratory champagne.
“For my birthday all I wanted to do was be on the podium and drink some champagne,” she laughed! “So I am pretty excited. It was a good race for me. My tires didn’t come in until about halfway through so I had to catch up to the guys in front of me. When I did catch them, I started working on passing them, so I had a great time out there. This track is very intimidating so you just have to keep it together and not make any mistakes.”
And speaking of gold, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Canada by Yokohama entries glowed a bit brighter this weekend as the new gold windshield banners reflecting the new partnership with The Hertz Corporation (NYSE:HTZ) made their debut this weekend. The momentum translated to great racing action all weekend as the GT3 Cup Porsches truly “traveled at the speed of Hertz” for the Mobil 1 Presets the Grand Prix of Mosport.
The excitement continues next at the 14-turn, 4.048-mile Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The Road Race Showcase, August 16 through 18, also include the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón and the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Series, among others.