The Italian team of Daniel Mancinelli and Niccolo Schiro took the checkered flag Sunday at Utah Motorsports Campus with a “trophy dash” finish in the 60-minute Pirelli World Challenge SprintX feature as part of the final day of the Security National Mortgage Supercar Grand Prix of Utah.
Lehi’s McKay Snow sweeps Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA
Driving the No. 31 TR3 Racing/The Collection/Italian Shoemaker Ferrari 488 GT3, Schiro jumped to the lead from the pole and paced the 31-car field for the first 11 laps around the 3.048-mile, 14-turn road circuit. On the 12th lap, Schiro pitted with a 4.3-second lead and handed the Ferrari off to Mancinelli, the SprintX race winner at Virginia International Raceway in April.
A late-race, full-course caution period left Mancinelli in the lead with Ryan Eversley, Patrick Long, Michael Cooper, Alvaro Parente, Ricky Taylor, Bryan Sellers and Ryan Dalziel all set to make a three-lap dash to the finish.
In the end, Mancinelli fought off Eversley in turn one at the restart of lap 24 and went on to score a 0.969-second win over the No. 43 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 of Eversley from Atlanta and Tom Dyer of Corte Madera, Calif. The victory for the No. 31 Ferrari was the second in SprintX action this year and Mancinelli is the first driver to repeat in SprintX this year, having teamed with Andrea Montermini in Virginia.
“We had a strategy to pit early, and this was a great choice by the team because it ended up working out well for us,” said Mancinelli. “There was quite a lot of traffic in front of Niccolo, so he decided to pull the car inside early when the pit window opened. We were the first car into the pits, and then I was able to come back into a clear track and push hard for two laps. At the second caution, the Acura was on my exhaust and he tried to pass because they were so good in the straights, but I closed the door. He tried to get on the inside and I went outside, then the next corner he was right next to me but left me proper racing room. From there, I put in two laps that were fast like qualifying laps and that allowed me to take the victory for the team who gave me the car in perfect condition. This circuit is fun because it's wider than others, and you're able to go two-to-three cars side-by-side and that makes it fun and exciting for the viewers.”
“We knew that the Acura was very fast on the straight,” said Schiro, “It was very important for us to keep the first position at the first corner. We knew we had a really good pace and that we could manage it, so my race went as planned. When we handed it over to Daniel we were a little nervous because of all the cautions and restarts. It wasn't easy. Congratulations to everybody. Thanks to the guys at TR3 Racing for this opportunity for me to race in America.”
Third went to Cooper of Syosset, N.Y., and Jordan Taylor of Orlando, Fla., in the No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. which won at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in May. Rounding out the top five were reigning PWC GT champion Parente and 20-year-old Ben Barnicoat of England in the No. 9 K-PAX Racing McLaren 650S; followed by Ricky Taylor of Apopka, Fla., and four-time PWC GT champion Johnny O’Connell of Flowery Branch, Ga., in the No. 3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac ATS-V.R. Long of Manhattan Beach, Calif., and Jorg Bergmeister of Germany in the No. 58 Wright Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R finished sixth.
Saturday’s SprintX winning team of Peter Kox of The Netherlands and Mark Wilkins of Toronto, Ont., Can., was forced to pit the No. 93 RealTime Racing Acura NSX GT3 on lap three with a punctured tire while running second in the 26-lap main event.
In the GTS class, Ian James and Drew Staveley, two of the most experienced drivers at Utah Motorsports Campus, put on a sensational two-man show in the 50-minute feature before James drove his No. 50 Team Panoz Racing Panoz Avezzano GT to his fourth 2017 victory.
After making an excellent standing start, James held off a charging Staveley, who pressured the Paradise Valley, Ariz., resident in his No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ginetta G55 GT4 for the last 14 circuits of the 24-lap contest.
James won the inaugural Grand-Am race here in 2006 when the track was known as Miller Motorsports Park and was also a longtime co-driver with the late Roger Miller, son of the track’s founder, the late Larry H. Miller. Staveley is one of the senior instructors for the Ford Performance Racing School based at UMC, with thousands of laps around the facility’s various track configurations. The two battled within tenths of each other before James was able to hold his advantage at the checkered flag.
“A few races ago, we spent half a day practicing our standing starts and it's been paying off,” said James. “We had a great start at Road America and here, so I managed to sneak into the lead there. It was just good racing today. We didn't have the fastest car, but sometimes if you get out front and be consistent, that's what counts. (Staveley) was right on my bumper and I couldn't make any mistakes. My last lap was my fastest lap, and I gave it everything I had. It was a fun race -- no contact, clean racing; this is how racing should be.”
Staveley, who placed fifth in Saturday’s GTS feature, tracked down James from his fifth starting position today but couldn’t make the pass to gain the lead. A newcomer to Pirelli World Challenge and recent newlywed, Staveley enjoyed a spectacular racing weekend in front of friends and family in his hometown.
“We got passed early and went back to fourth or fifth,” said Staveley. “I got to Ian on the first long green run, and it was exciting. We were just going as fast as we could go. We were nose-to-tail all the way to the end. I thought maybe I might be able to have something for him, at least get alongside of him on the last two corners, but he drove a great race and it was all I could do to be second. I'm super happy for me and the team. This is our home track and all our wives and friends are here, so this is a win for our new Pirelli World Challenge team.”
Taking third Sunday in the GTS main event was 17-year-old Nate Stacy of Owasso, Okla., in the No. 14 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR with a brilliant last-corner move to nip George Kurtz by inches at the line.
Kurtz, the GTS Am (amateur) points leader, finished fourth overall Sunday but won his category for the seventh consecutive race in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/GMG McLaren 570S. The business entrepreneur made the start of the race by coming from ninth starting position to grab the overall lead in turn one.
Rounding the top five was GTS points leader Lawson Aschenbach of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R. Unofficially, Aschenbach leads James 296-227 after 14 rounds of GTS competition.
In the final race of the weekend, Lehi phenom McKay Snow made it a clean sweep in the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA series, taking the checkers 14.341 seconds ahead of Max Root, who also finished second on Saturday. The two weekend wins were young Snow’s first in the series, in which both his parents and older brother, Madison, have won championships in previous years.
The next big road-racing event for Utah Motorsports Campus will be the 10th annual Bonneville Vintage Grand Prix for historic motorcycles on Labor Day Weekend, Sept. 1-3, sanctioned by the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association (AHRMA). The AHRMA event is the oldest continuously-running event at the track since it opened in 2006. The support races will be provided by the ever-popular two-man sidecars and the locally-based amateur Superbike series, the Utah Sportbike Association’s Masters of the Mountains presented by Law Tigers.
The final big spectator event of the year will be the second 2017 Lantern Fest, scheduled for September 23.
For event or ticket information, or for questions regarding UMC, browse this website or call 435-277-8000.
John Gardner, Public Relations Manager