WATKINS GLEN, NY – Rearden Racing’s Paul Terry outdueled TC championship points leader Johan Schwartz to win Saturday’s Round 9 race at Watkins Glen International presented by CrowdStrike. It’s Terry’s first win of the 2019 TC America season.
Pole sitter Schwartz, in the #80 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M240iR Cup assumed the lead from the green flag to open the 40-minute contest. Behind him, second-on-the-grid Joseph Federl in the #23 TechSport Racing Nissan 370z slotted behind Schwartz while Terry, in the #33 Nissan 370z maintained his position from the grid in third. While the leaders heading the pack came around to complete lap 1, back in the field competitors battled door-to-door through turn 7 and contact between Steve Streimer in the #81 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M240iR Cup and Toby Grahovec in the #26 Classic BMW BMW M240iR Cup resulted in heavy damage to the right front suspension of the #26 machine. Grahovec would limp the car back to the pits and his team began working quickly to try to get him back into the race.
The leaders held their positions through lap 3, but by lap 4 Terry passed Federl through turn 1 to take over second and later in the lap Hull moved into third dropping Federl back to fourth.
Terry then began pursuing Schwartz for the lead and by lap 6 had moved his machine to the rear bumper of the leader – the two leaders had built a gap of 2.7 seconds on the pack. Behind them a heated battle raged between Hull, Nimkoff and Ruud – Nimkoff would pass Hull into third and then Ruud moved into 4th dropping Hull back to 5th.
Terry continued to pressure Schwartz up front and on Lap 7 executed a clean pass through turn 1 into the lead. The driver of the #33 machine would then build up to a .654 gap on the championship points leader.
On lap 9 a hard charging Ruud continued his pace moving past Nimkoff and into third – the driver of the #20 machine had gained an impressive nine positions from the start of the race. By lap 13, the great battle between Nimkoff and Ruud continued with the driver of the #20 machine moving past the driver of the #810 machine and back into third. On the same lap, Grahovec re-entered the race after his team completed extensive right front repairs to his #26 machine.
With under three minutes remaining in the race, a full-course yellow was issued after the #09 Dynamic Racing Solutions BMW M240iR Cup driven by Greg Nitzkowski contacted the inside tire wall through the chute between turns 1 and 2. Nitzkowski was not injured, but damage to the tire wall could not be fixed before the clock expired and the race finished under yellow. Terry crossed the line ahead of Schwartz, Nimkoff, Ruud and Federl.
"I wanna give it up to my team Rearden Racing, they worked extra hard,” said Terry after the race. “I haven't made it easy on them all year, but that's racing so give it up to those guys, they stuck it out with me. They had faith in me and gave me a great car, staying ahead of the front guys is never easy but the car was very good. Thanks to the whole crew at Rearden Racing.”
With his second-place finish, Schwartz increases his lead over Grahovec in the TC class driver’s championship – 168 points to 109. Schwartz also secured the fastest lap of the race and will again start on pole for Sunday’s Round 10 scheduled for a green flag start of 8:40 am EST. Watch the race live at https://www.tcamerica.us/watch-live. Results are provisional until posted final.