Cugliari, Smith, Rumburg Defeat Class Rivals in First Sebring Race

Cugliari, Smith, Rumburg Defeat Class Rivals in First Sebring Race
  • Cugliari Defeats Ruud for Second Time
  • Smith Wins in TC Over Boehm, Adams
  • Rumburg Wins Scrap with Anderson, Bacon

Sebring, Fla. - The decade-long wait to return to Sebring International Raceway for touring car racing under the World Challenge banner resulted in a competitive and entertaining fight in all three classes in TC America Powered by Skip Barber Racing School. After winning at Road America, Stephen Cugliari took his #57 BMW M2 CS Cup to the top of the podium over the #81 BMW of Jacob Ruud. The two swapped the lead several times before Cugliari was able to drive away and win in the TCX category. The #54 BMW of Garrett Adams finished third for Classic BMW.

In TC, the #51 of Austen Smith, driving for Auto Technic Racing, defeated the #9 Honda Civic Type-R of Kevin Boehm. The championship leader, the #92 Honda Civic Type-R of Eric Powell, was unable to start the first race due to an incident in qualifying, allowing Boehm to narrow Powell’s points lead with a second place finish. The #21 Nissan 370Z of Rob Hines finished third in TC.

The TCA lead was a revolving door for the entire duration of the 40-minute race, but when the checkered flag flew, the #33 Hyundai Veloster Turbo of Luke Rumburg was the driver out front, claiming victory for the Forbush Performance Team. Newcomer Devin Anderson in the #22 Toyota 86 for TechSport Racing finished 2nd, with the #62 Mini Cooper of Cristian Perocarpi finishing third in the TCA class.

The opening laps in TCX allowed the #81 BMW M2 CS Cup of Jacob Ruud to take an early lead in his Classic BMW entry over the #57 BMW of Stephen Cugliari, driving for Accelerating Performance. Cugliari wrestled the lead away after a few minutes, leading Ruud by about a second, with the #5 BMW of Roy Block and #54 BMW of Garrett Adams following in third and fourth. 

In TC, the #9 Honda Civic Type-R of Kevin Boehm shot out to an early lead over the #60 MINI JCW of Derek Jones, who experienced an issue while battling for the lead on the opening lap, and dropped down the order. Boehm led early before relinquishing the top spot to Austen Smith in his #51 BMW M240iR. The TC order remained for the majority of the race while the field sliced through TCA traffic.

The #16 Honda Civic Si of Carter Fartuch led early in TCA, ahead of the #99 Honda of Jose Blanco, #18 Hyundai Veloster Turbo of Caleb Bacon, and #33 Hyundai of Luke Rumburg. The #22 Toyota 86 of Devin Anderson started on the front row, but dropped back on the opening lap to sixth position. Anderson recovered a few spots, then went off course in turn 3, dropping down to ninth. While battling for position with Bacon, Anderson was pushed wide in turn 1, then again by Rumburg in turn 3. In the final laps, Anderson was able to drive all the way back to second place, and was side by side with Rumburg for the lead on the last lap, but was unable to beat the #33 Hyundai on the run to the checkered flag. Fartuch and Jose Blanco, who spent time at the front in the first half of the race, were shuffled rearward when the Hyundai and Toyota battle broke out, losing additional spots to the #62 Mini of Perocarpi and #41 Mazda MX-5 of Luca Mars. Points leader Caleb Bacon ran wide in turn 7 in the closing minutes of the race, and suffered an issue that dropped him to 10th in class at the finish.

TC America Powered by Skip Barber Racing School Race 2 is Sunday, October 3rd, at 9:30 AM ET, and marks the final on-track action for the series at Sebring International Raceway before the series finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in two weeks.