Kevin Boehm victorious again in TC America competition
George Kurtz, Colin Braun take victory, third place in Fanatec GT World Challenge America
First race action at NOLA Motorsports Park for CrowdStrike
CrowdStrike and its CrowdStrike Racing team members came away as big victors near the Big Easy over the weekend, with a pair of victories to go along with two additional podium finishes as SRO Motorsports America visited NOLA Motorsports Park for the first time.
In the premier Fanatec GT World Challenge America Presented by AWS series, George Kurtz and Colin Braun took a victory and third-place finish in their No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS Mercedes-AMG GT3 in a pair of 90-minute, two-driver races.
Kevin Boehm, driver of the No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS Honda Performance Development TCR TC, matched those results in the Touring Car category of TC America Powered by Skip Barber Racing.
Both entries left NOLA with championship leads in their respective categories, proving that CrowdStrike is a leader on and off the race track in SRO Motorsports America.
“We came to this race prepared with a solid set up and strategic plan which paid off in the superior performance of our team throughout the weekend,” said Kurtz, founder and CEO of CrowdStrike. “This first race at NOLA has been a great one for us. Any GT World Challenge weekend where you can achieve a double-podium, one being a win, is a great success and we look forward to continuing building on this momentum.”
Kurtz, Braun and CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports were victorious in Saturday’s GT World Challenge race. Their triumph also moved the Kurtz/Braun pairing into the Pro-Am Drivers Championship lead for the first time this season.
The Drive of the Day on Saturday undoubtedly belonged to Braun. He got in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS Mercedes with 48 minutes to go for a mandatory pit stop and driver change after a solid and trouble-free run from Kurtz, who gained a spot to third from the start.
Braun maintained that position through a late-race restart with four minutes to go when he sent the Mercedes-AMG up the inside at the circuit’s third turn. The Pro-Am leaders ran three-wide into the corner, the No. 04 CrowdStrike/Riley AMG emerged with the advantage. Braun held on over the final lap to win by just 0.336 seconds.
"First off, I'm proud of these guys,” Braun said. “They had a really good pit stop. George had a really good opening stint, avoided a lot of adversity and kept us in the game. On that final restart, I was really excited for it. I really like starts and restarts. I just put my head down and thought, 'Hey, let's see what happens.' I knew I had a bit of a buffer behind me of lap cars to the next car in our class, so I had an opportunity to throw a dart and see what happens.
“I love those situations where the ball is in your hands and it's time to go,” he added. “I knew from the race pace that we had a really fast Mercedes. I think we're stronger on the long run and stronger on tire degradation. That's where the Mercedes has always shined; it's always good on the tires. I knew that there was an opportunity at the end of the race to make something happen.”
Sunday’s race was another chaotic affair with some rain in the early portion of the race during Braun’s opening stint. He drove the first 49 minutes and ran fourth when he handed the Mercedes-AMG off to Kurtz, who held the position when the pit cycle ended with 40 minutes to go.
Kurtz briefly fell to fifth in class inside the final 30 minutes before a couple of intense moments in traffic that saw him not just move back up to fourth in traffic but into podium position following a nifty pass with 17 minutes to go... on a damp circuit, no less.
“George did a heck of a job,” Braun said. “There was a lot of chaos and George did a good job of making some great moves, keeping it clean and being very opportunistic. I'm really proud of his drive and pumped to be back on the podium. Knocking out these podiums is the goal here. We're trying to chip away at it and put ourselves in a good spot week in and week out. I'm really proud of that effort. It was a really good effort."
Boehm’s win in Saturday’s 40-minute TC America race featured a tough battle early in the race as well, but the No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS HPD Civic Type R TC stayed consistent and reliable throughout as he went on to win by 8.207 seconds for his third victory in as many races to start the season.
"It's easy to overthink things, but for me it's about going into a race with a plan and executing it. I focus on gathering as much data as possible before the event, then I adjust in real time to get the most accurate results," Boehm said. “That's exactly why our partners at CrowdStrike, AWS, HPD and everyone involved take the same approach, which is why it's such a good relationship. There's only one place up from where we finished in points last year, so that's the goal. We have a lot of really good competitors out here so it's not going to be easy. Our heads are down and we're working as hard as we can every race."
Boehm went on to finish third in Sunday’s TC America race and leads the TC Championship by 27 points with 25 going to race winners.
Due to a change in track location just weeks before the race, the teams and drivers had only limited time to learn about and prepare for their race in Louisiana. Despite the initial uncertainty, the track organizers welcomed SRO and its field of sportscar teams and sponsors with a warm New Orleans welcome, and the overall response to the circuit was a positive one.
In addition to being a competitor, CrowdStrike also was present in the Big Easy as the Official Internet and Cloud Security Partner of SRO and GT World Challenge. The New Orleans area was another new venue and market for CrowdStrike – a leader in cloud-delivered protection of endpoints, cloud workloads, identity and data. That puts CrowdStrike on the front line of protecting data and preventing security breaches, while also being on the starting line in many of SRO America’s racing categories – including the premier GT World Challenge America.
The company’s powerful Falcon also is the dominant feature on all CrowdStrike Racing entries in SRO America competition, another point of leverage that racing provides to tell the CrowdStrike story.
CrowdStrike and Operation Motorsport
Another important part of the CrowdStrike Racing program weaving through each weekend is the involvement of Operation Motorsport. A not-for-profit, OpMo provides a chance for medically retiring service members and disabled veterans to use their skill sets in a variety of areas including paddock operations, car and tire prep, marketing, social media and other key areas that are part of a racing program.
The NOLA weekend continues a proud tradition of CrowdStrike supporting veterans and the Operation Motorsport program. One OpMo beneficiary was a key contributor for the CrowdStrike family at NOLA: Air Force Technical Sgt. Michael Neri worked on Boehm’s TC program as not just a crew member, but also as crew chief for the No. 9 HPD Civic. Neri worked with Boehm throughout the weekend on the car setup, a challenge with high temperatures, humidity and some rain to carry on the OpMo mantra of “Recovery Through Motorsports #OneAtATime.”
CrowdStrike and CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports move to VIRginia International Raceway for the next weekend of SRO Motorsports America competition June 17-19.
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