Under sunny and hot skies, Tyler Maxson and the #74 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster N brought the field to the green flag to start Round 3 of the 2020 TC America season on Friday afternoon. Scott Smithson and the #17 DXDT Racing Honda Civic Type-R would immediately attack Victor Gonzalez Jr and the #99 VGMC Honda Civic Type-R at Turn 1, taking over second position with an impressive inside pass.
From there Maxson never looked back and took his third-straight TC America win to kick off the season. “We have had a really great start to the season and the team had this car on rails today. We’re going to keep pushing and going for more!” said Maxson.
Tristen Herbert in the #44 New German Performance Audi RS3 LMS DSG, who started fifth, would move up two positions and finish an impressive third with Luke Rumberg and the #16 Rumcastle VW Golf GTI DSG fourth. Victor Gonzalez Jr, in the #99 VGMC Honda Civic Type-R, would cut a tire late in the race and fall through the order, but would set the fastest lap of the race, giving him pole for Race 2.
A single safety car was called on lap 2 of the race as the #28 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS of Ben Bettenhausen slid off into the tires at Turn 1. As the field lined up behind the safety car, Maxson remained in the TCR class lead, Toby Grahovec lead in TC in the #26 Classic BMW M240iR, with Mark Pombo on top of the TCA field in the #61 MINI JCW Team Mini Cooper.
The race went back to green with 29 minutes remaining.
In the TC division the top four were running nose to tail with 22 minutes to go when 2019 champion Johan Schwartz and the #31 Hard Motorsport BMW M240iR made a daring inside move at the turn 1 braking zone to snatch the lead from Grahovec. James Clay in the #36 BimmerWorld BMW M240iR then followed Schwartz through to claim second position in class at the turns 3-4 complex.
Schwartz would slowly pull away from his rivals and go on to take the class victory as the three behind him battled for the final podium positions. “These cars are so even and they don’t draft that well, but still make for some fun racing. I had a great battle with Toby [Grahovec] for the lead and was able to get him in a braking zone and go from there. Such a fun race out there today,” said Schwartz.
On the final lap, Grahovec would sneak beside Clay on the final turn and win a drag race to the finish line and claim second position by .124 of a second with Clay settling for the final podium position.
The TCA class saw teammates Pombo and Tomas Mejia in the #60 MINI JCW Team Mini Cooper easily pull away from the rest of the field and go on to claim a 1-2 finish. After a race-long game of cat and mouse, Mejia would overtake Pombo for the lead at Oak Tree in the final minutes of the race and go on the claim the win. “We had a great finish at COTA in March, so we are excited to be able to come out here and do it again at VIR. The whole team made this car perfect today for a great race between Mark [Pombo] and I today,” said Mejia.
Tyler Gonzalez and the #57 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster Turbo would finish third in class.
Race 2 goes green on Saturday, July 11th at 11:30am ET streaming live at tcamerica.us/watch-live. Listen along at SiriusXM channel 383 and app channel 984.