The TC America Powered by Skip Barber field kicked off Saturday morning’s action-packed day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with Race One taking place bright and early under the glaring sunshine. All three classes served up thrilling battles throughout the entirety of the 40-minute event. A full course caution at the halfway mark briefly punctuated the race, but the field put it in high gear with a sensational sprint to the finish.
Daijiro Yoshihara, Jeff Ricca, and William Lambros claimed the first victories of the weekend in the TCX, TC, and TCA classes and earned the honor of kissing the famous bricks.
Daijiro Yoshihara started on pole in the No. 99 VGRT Honda Civic Type-R TCX, but it was Championship-elect Colin Garrett who got a fantastic start and grabbed the lead off the start in his No. 44 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M2 CS (Cup). Kenny Schmied also propelled himself forward and was in hot pursuit in the No. 14 AOA Racing BMW M2 CS (Cup).
Despite the initial setback, Yoshihara began fighting back and reclaimed the lead just four minutes into the race. The field remained incredibly tight, with the entire pack running nose-to-tail around the Brickyard. The running order continued to change rapidly and dramatically, with Garrett dropping down to fourth place in a matter of a couple of corners.
The final ten minutes of the race saw a great deal of action as a multitude of competitors fought tooth and nail for the remaining podium positions while Yoshihara sped away down the track. Garrett clamored his way back up to second place, accompanied by Adam Gleason in the No. 21 Fast Track Racing BMW M2 CS (Cup), who benefitted from some drama in the field around him.
Yoshihara went on to claim his second win of the season in dominant fashion, followed by a great comeback drive from Garrett to claim second place, with third place belonging to Gleason.
Christian Perocarpi, the hometown hero in the No. 37 MINI JCW Team Mini JCW Pro TC, led the charge in the TC Class as the green flag waved. He came under attack from Celso Neto in the No. 7 Skip Barber Racing School Honda Civic Type-R, who went on to move up into the lead towards the end of the opening lap.
Perocarpi was not going to let Neto get away easily and began to close down the gap between them again. Just as Neto looked to be in a comfortable rhythm, he was involved in an on-track incident and sent limping off into the gravel with damage to the car, which brought out the first full course caution with just over 20 minutes remaining.
The race resumed with just under 13 minutes to go, which saw Jeff Ricca get a sensational launch into the first corner in his No. 78 Genracer/Ricca Autosport Hyundai Elantra N TC, passing both MINI JCW Team drivers to move up into the lead.
Ricca expertly claimed the win and collected his eighth victory of the season, further tightening the championship battle as the field prepares for the final race on Sunday. Perocarpi finished in second after chasing Ricca all the way to the line. The final spot on the podium went to Kris Valdez in the No. 11 DRS Honda Civic Type-R.
With the championship hunt getting closer than ever between Devin Anderson in the No. 22 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ and Spencer Bucknum in the No. 5 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Si FE1, these final two races hold a great deal of importance for these title contenders.
Anderson started on pole as Bucknum started alongside him, but disaster struck shortly thereafter for Anderson as he tumbled down the running order and fell to the back of the pack in the opening laps. Bucknum was therefore promoted to first place as the clock ticked away, followed by William Lambros trying to apply pressure in his No. 77 Skip Barber Racing School Honda Civic Si FE1.
Bucknum and Lambros were keeping each other honest, both aware of the fact that there was no room for error around the 14-turn road course. With just one minute remaining, Lambros launched an attack and pulled off the overtake for the top spot, and it proved to be one of the most vital moves of the entire race.
The two could not have been any closer, performing a drag race to the finish line and providing an unbelievable photo finish as they wrapped up Race One just 0.001 seconds apart, with the advantage handed to Lambros, with Bucknum finishing second. Anderson recovered to third place in the end.
The series will be back on track for Race Two on Sunday morning at 9:35 a.m ET. Fans can follow progression with Griiip Live, live timing. The studio makes it easy to follow class battles, lap times, and pit strategy for the five SRO America series. Stream the races live on the YouTube page, GT World or join the conversation on Twitch.