Wright Motorsports Finishes 1-2-3-4 on Friday; Johnston and Snow are 1-2 Again on Saturday
Wright Motorsports Finishes 1-2-3-4 on Friday; Johnston and Snow are 1-2 Again on Saturday In IMSA GT3 Cup Action at Road America
ELKHART LAKE, Wis., Aug. 22 — Wright Motorsports had another record-setting weekend last Friday and Saturday at Road America in the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama. The Batavia, Ohio-based team fielded the cars that finished in the top four positions in Round 10 of the series on Friday, as Sean Johnston won, Madison Snow finished second, Fernando Peña placed third and Kasey Kuhlman finished fourth. Johnston and Snow finished first and second again on Saturday in Round 11 of the 15-race series.
Johnston, of Mt. Shasta, Calif., had a perfect weekend. He earned the BBS Pole for both 45-minute races and then led every lap of both of them with his Wright Motorsports No. 10 2012 Porsche 997 sponsored by Driscoll’s Berries. He also set a new track record in qualifying and new race-lap records. The twin triumphs were the rookie’s third and fourth career victories in the series. They helped him increase his lead in the driver point standings and helped Wright Motorsports increase its advantage in the team point standings.
Starting and finishing second in both races was the team’s other young gun, Madison Snow of Lehi, Utah, who drives the Universal Industrial Sales No. 62. Snow, who has three victories so far this year, challenged for the lead several times, showing that he’s also knocking on the door for another victory. He’s third in the current point standings after the excellent showing, which helped him close the point gap to second place.
Peña, who qualified a second faster than his qualifying record set last year, was the third Wright Motorsports driver to earn a podium finish on Friday, as the Minneapolis-based driver finished third with his No. 16 Porsche sponsored by Colours, Inc. He’s second in the point standings.
Finishing fourth was the team’s “local” driver, Kasey Kuhlman of Cincinnati, in the Wright Motorsports No. 15 sponsored by Kuhlsport and the Motorsports Country Club of Cincinnati.
The following day Kuhlman finished a solid fourth again, while Peña placed sixth.
“At Mosport in July, Kasey began a completely different program in how he attacks the weekend,” team owner John Wright said. “If he hadn’t had a fuel system electrical malfunction at Mosport he would have recorded four top-five finishes in the last four races.
“Fernando had another solid weekend too,” Wright added. “He had a great Race 1, but on Race 2 he fought a brake bias issue. Once he adjusted for it, he was able to run times faster than the leaders at that point of the race to close his gap back up behind the third, fourth and fifth-running cars. It’s too bad the race ended under yellow, because we would have had two Wright Motorsports cars battling for the last podium spot.”
John Baker of New York City finished 11th in both races in the top class, Platinum Cup, in a fifth Wright Motorsports Porsche 997. “His goal is to be in the top 10 in each race, and he was certainly very close,” Wright noted. “He’s setting personal lap time goals and achieving them. John has been very consistent this year, and his results are proving that. He’s doing a great job this year as a Wright Motorsports driver.”
Wright Motorsports also fielded two Porsches in the Gold Cup class here. Mitch Landry of Lake Charles, La., was very consistent, placing sixth in that class in both races with the VersaCrane car.
“The competition in the Gold Cup class is very close this year, but Mitch is doing a great job managing his races,” Wright said.
Snow’s mother, Melanie Snow of Pleasant Grove, Utah, showed good speed with her Gold Cup car in qualifying and practice, but in Race 1 she unfortunately was caught out in a lap one, multi-car accident that forced her out of the race. It also forced her to start Race 2 from the back of the field.
“In Race 2 Melanie drove a great race, advanced through the field and was passing two cars battling for fourth and fifth place,” Wright said. “One of those cars made contact with hers and triggered a three-car accident at the end of the race. She suffered minor injuries in the accident and was treated and released at a local hospital, but she is already looking forward to her next race.”
Only two more events remain this year: Sept. 13-15 at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va., and Oct. 17-20 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Ga.
Unofficially Johnston leads the driver point standings following Road America with 198 points. Peña is second with 162 and Madison Snow is third with 153. Kuhlman is in sixth place in the driver point standings, just eight points out of fifth.
Wright Motorsports leads the team standings with 206 points. Its cars run under the Snow Racing/Wright Motorsports banner hold second place in the team standings with 172 points, again unofficially.
“It was another outstanding weekend,” Wright concluded. “The work the crew is putting forth with their car preparation and the way the team has gelled is very satisfying, and shows the strength of our program. The drivers are also putting strong efforts in both on and off the track, and the results show that. Having Pat Long on board as our driver coach is another good resource our team offers its drivers. They are setting personal goals and they are achieving them. We hope to continue our success at the last four races of the year.”
The series’ Web site is at imsachallenge.com. Additional information is on the team’s Web site at wrightmotorsports.com and its Facebook page.
Post-event quotes follow:
Sean Johnston: "To leave Road America having secured two pole positions, two race wins, and both the qualifying and race-lap track records all in a single weekend is a true testament to Wright Motorsports and the incredible job they do. It was a great weekend for me, Wright Motorsports and Driscoll's.”
Madison Snow: “I started second on Friday and got a good run on the start. I was almost next to Sean but he took the corner and then coming out I was able to get next to him again into Turn 3, but not enough to make the pass. I tried again exiting Turn 6 and into 7 but the room just wasn't there. The second race was pretty much the same as the first one.”
Fernando Peña: “Wright Motorsports took five out of the six podium positions available this weekend for the Platinum class. Their knowledge and expertise continues being overwhelming. Now the top three spots in points for the Platinum class are Wright Motorsports cars. They are the team to beat. They continue being perfect. The cars are magic to drive.”
Kasey Kuhlman: “I had a good run on Friday with no major mistakes after escaping the first-lap carnage in Turn 3. The long caution cost me valuable laps that I could have used to my advantage, since my car was getting better as the race went on.
“I had a really fun race on Saturday, with great, close action and a strong P4 finish. I think I could have gotten on the podium if we had finished under green. I was right behind Sloan Urry with 6 minutes to go and really pressuring him. It was a blast! This was my best points weekend so far this season and I closed a big gap to the guys ahead of me in the points.”
Melanie Snow: “It was a real tough week for me. I got caught up in a tiny bump in the first race that took out my radiators, and then had the massive crash in the second race. I want to thank all the IMSA officials, safety workers and medical staff. They really did a wonderful job.
“Porsche builds a tough, safe car.”