ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – The competition at Elkhart Lake’s Road America historic road racing circuit doesn’t get any better than Sunday’s TC America 40-minute sprint event when Toby Grahovec and James Clay put on a thriller with their BMW M240iR sports car in SRO America action.
Driving his No. 26 Fast Track Racing/ClassicBMW.com BMW M240iR car, Grahovec used his vast Road America experience to pull off a last lap pass of Clay’s M240iR machine to score a .114-second victory in the third TC race of the tripleheader weekend at the famed four-mile, 14-turn road course north of Milwaukee. It was the second TC America victory of the year for Grahovec, who first came to Road America at age four watching his father, Duane, race at the famed track.
Sunday’s TC feature began with a red flag when drivers Johan Schwartz, Chandler Hull and Bryson Lew, Grahovec’s 17-year-old Classic BMW teammate, were involved in a front straightaway incident. All three BMW racers were eliminated from Sunday’s TC race and repairs were needed for the front stretch wall.
At the restart, Toby held off Clay to grab the lead in the 17-lap TC contest, but James came back to take the advantage in the ‘kink’ section of the track. Both drivers then battled nose-to-tail for the next 16 laps before Grahovec got a run on the back straightaway to slide by Clay for the lead on the final lap.
Toby took the top spot into “Canada Corner” and was able to hold off James to the checkered flag in a sensational bumper-to-bumper battle. Third went to Austin Smith also in a BMW M240iR.
“That was just a great race with James,” said Grahovec, the 2016 TC America series champion. “We battled back and forth, and I was able to get a good run on him on that last lap coming out of the ‘kink.’ He fought back and I was able to hold my line in ‘Canada Corner (turn 12) and the final turn (14). It was a wild race and a victory I will remember for quite some time. I grew up going to Road America with my family and it’s always special to win at that track.”
Grahovec also recorded second and fourth place finishes in the other two TC America events this weekend at Road America. Lew, the 17-year-old racer from Moraga, Calif., scored fifth and sixth placings in his Road America debut before getting taken out at the start of race 3 on Sunday.
In the GT4 SprintX division, Grahovec and Hull teamed up in the No. 26 TACenergy/ClassicBMW.com BMW M4 GT4 sports car in the Silver class in the three GT4 SprintX 60-minute, two-driver races and collected a fifth and two sixth place finishes in the Friday, Saturday and Sunday main events.
The upcoming TC America and Pirelli GT4 America events will be held at the popular Circuit of the Americas (COTA) on Sept. 17-20.
The TC events at Road America will be shown on CBS Sports Network on Sept. 10 at 8 p.m. EDT, while the Road America GT4 SprintX highlights will be televised on Sept. 10 at 10 p.m. EDT.