Gonzalez Conquers Slippery Road America to Claim TCR Victory; Mat Pombo Takes Wet and Wild TCA Win

22 September 2019 TCR, TCA

After a slight delay due to rainy conditions, Race 2 for the TCR and TCA classes got underway with championship leader Michael Hurczyn leading the field to green in the #71 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI after two laps behind the safety car to test conditions.

Heading into turn 5 at the start, Michael McCann Jr and the #3 McCann Racing Audi RS3 LMS went wide, falling to the back of the field from fifth position. At the same time, Nick Wittmer in the #91 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS would shoot past Tomas Mejia’s #62 MINI Team JCW for the lead in TCA as Mejia would fall to third in class as Tyler Maxson and the #74 Copeland Motorsports Mazda Global MX5 Cup would slot into second position. Maxson would then have a moment and fall to fifth position in class seeing Chris Haldeman and the #69 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si inherit second in the TCA class.

At the start of lap two, leader Michael Hurczyn would go off track at the fast turn 1, handing the lead to Victor Gonzalez and the #99 VGMC Honda Civic Type R TCR. Hurczyn would continue, landing in fourth position. Gonzalez would pull out an eleven second lead over Nate Vincent’s #71 FCP Euro VW Golf GTI in second and James Walker’s #34 Risi Competizione Alfa Romeo Giulietta in third. Gonzalez would control the rest of the race, and go on to claim his second win of the season. “I’m so happy and I know everybody back home is watching the race and are happy too. I have to thank the team and HPD Honda for giving us such a great car, I’m looking forward to one more in Las Vegas!” said Gonzalez.

Two laps later Hurczyn would get past Walker for third and set off for his teammate in second position.

Late in the race Hurczyn would get past Vincent with the FCP Euro teammates finishing second and third overall, with Walker coming home fourth.

With 24 minutes remaining, Haldeman would get past Wittmer for the TCA lead at turn 14. Two minutes later, TCA championship Tyler Maxson would face engine issues and pull into the pits. Maxson would continue a few laps later in the twelfth position, one lap down.

At the 20 minute mark, Haldeman would then have a moment of his own, falling to third, giving Wittmer the class lead and promoting Mat Pombo and the #61 MINI Team JCW MINI Cooper to second.

With 15 minutes remaining, Mat Pombo would power past Wittmer for the TCA class lead with the top three in class running nose to tail. Three minutes later Wittmer would get past Pombo for the lead at the outside of turn 1 with less than a second separating the three TCA class leaders.

Four laps later, Pombo would make a move on the outside of turn 7 around Wittmer and take the class lead with under six minutes remaining in the race. Haldeman would follow Pombo through, demoting Wittmer to third in two corners. On the next lap, Haldeman would go wide at turn 5, giving second place back to Wittmer with only two laps remaining.

On the final lap, Wittmer would sneak past Pombo for the lead at Canada Corner, but Pombo would fall right behind the #91 at turn 14, then win the drag race up the front straight to claim the class victory by a mere one-tenth of a second. “It was a hard fight the whole time and everyone was respectful. On the last lap, I had to lift a little, but luckily Wittmer made a little mistake out of 14, so I was able to go left and drag race up the straight to take the win. It was a great race with Nick [Wittmer] and [Chris} Haldeman. Very fun,” said Pombo.

Taylor Hagler and the #77 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si would come home fourth with Stephen Jeu and the #02 X-Factor Racing Honda Civic Si fifth in class.

Bryan Putt and the #15 Bsport Racing Audi RS3 LMS would claim the TCR Cup win, finishing fifth overall.

TC America’s TCR and TCA classes will next be in action for the final two rounds of the 2019 season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway October 18th - 20th.