PORTLAND, Ore. – Johan Schwartz held off fellow championship protagonist Toby Grahovec to win Saturday’s TC America series Round 7 TC contest at Portland International Raceway, part of the 59th Annual Rose Cup Races presented by Fastlife.TV. Schwartz’s teammate and Portland native Steve Streimer finished sixth on the day.
From the drop of the green, pole sitter and former 2015 TCB champion Schwartz, in the #80 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M240iR Cup grabbed the lead. Former 2016 TC champion Grahovec who started third in his #26 Classic BMW BMW M240iR Cup drag raced second-on-the-grid Streimer in the #81 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M240iR Cup to the turn 1 apex. Grahovec was able to slide under Streimer for position and into second.
At the end of first lap, Schwartz led over Grahovec while Streimer in third held off challenges from Paul Terry in the #33 Rearden Racing Nissan 370z. By lap 2, Schwartz and Grahovec had gapped the pack behind them by close to 20 car lengths. Terry headed the pack after moving past Streimer and into third.
By lap 4, Schwartz had gapped Grahovec by close to a second, while Grahovec maintained a five-second gap over Terry and Streimer. But by lap 5, Grahovec began a string of quick laps to edge closer to Schwartz. By lap 16, Grahovec had closed the gap to .146 seconds on Schwartz to run nose to tail with the driver of the #80 machine. Back behind the leaders, Robert Nimkoff in the #20 Auto Technic Racing BMW M240iR Cup moved past Streimer on lap 18 and into fourth.
With time running out Grahovec relentlessly looked for a way to attempt a pass for the lead but Schwartz continued to deftly hit his marks not making a mistake to open the door for Grahovec to find a way by.
At the checkered, Schwartz scored his fourth win of 2019 over Grahovec by .191 seconds. Terry finished third, while Nimkoff finished fourth. Cameron Evans, in the #82 Copart / BimmerWorld Racing BMW M240iR Cup finished fifth ahead of Streimer in sixth. Grahovec had the fastest lap of race and will start on pole for Sunday’s race setting up another showdown with Schwartz who now leads in the driver’s championship standings with 125 points to Grahovec’s 108.
“I am so happy! The team did an amazing job getting the car ready for this race,” said Schwartz in victory circle after the race. “We made a few changes after qualifying for the long run. I tried to preserve my tires the best that I could but with the pressure I was getting from Toby (Grahovec), I had them worn pretty good. The car still ran great. Thank you to West Virginia University and BMW, Todd and Michael Brown for putting this whole effort together. Great job by everybody.”
Results are provisional until posted final. The second TC race of the weekend is scheduled to go green Sunday at 10:30 am PDT. All races will be streamed live on TCAmerica.us. CBS Sports Network coverage for TC America races at Portland airs July 24 starting at 7 pm EDT. Check your local listings for additional broadcast time and channel information.