Porsche Club of America (PCA) Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series drivers competed on the high-speed, iconic Watkins Glen International track over the weekend with several of the competitive drivers gaining first-place podium wins for the first time in their Clubsport racing careers.
2016 Championship winner Keith Jensen was back in action with NOLAsport and won first place overall, plus first in the Pro class in his Clubsport MR. Series newcomer Noel Brown came in second in the Pro class in his MR entry.
Jensen started on Pole after qualifying first with the fastest lap time on Friday evening. During Sprint 1, Jensen’s fastest lap was 1:57.40 which was during the last lap of the 30-minute race.
“I’ve said it before but this is the car for Watkins Glen,” Jensen said. “I always do best in high-speed turns and that’s what this track has, so it just suits me very well.”
Curt Swearingin continued his winning streak at Watkins Glen in his No. 18 Advanced Collision Inc. (ACI) Motorsports entry in the Championship class. David Baum, who represents the Western Michigan PCA Region, came in second with Mardi Gras PCA Region member Alejandro Galindo gaining his first podium of the season in third.
“It was amazing to be on such an iconic racetrack and have my first podium,” Galindo said.
Meanwhile, in the Masters class, TOPP Racing’s David Walker had his first win since he started the series in 2016, with coaching help from his son, Russell. Walker also placed seventh overall – a career best for him.
“That was my best race yet!” Walker, who represents the Maverick PCA Region, said. “I dropped two seconds chasing Efrin [Castro].”
2017 series newcomer David Peterman gained his first podium of the season by coming in second place in his No. 52 Hairy Dog Garage entry in the Masters class and Charlie Craig, representing the Connecticut Valley PCA Region, came in third. This event at Watkins Glen International marked Peterman’s fourth race ever.
“I am very exhilarated,” Peterman said. “I didn’t expect to be on the podium this whole year. I trusted my coach and listened to him, and I trusted my car.”
Sprint 1 Driver Quotes:
Keith Jensen (winner, Pro) – “It is fabulous to be back in the GT4. I’ve said it before but this is the best track that suits this specific car and this is the car for Watkins Glen. I always do best in high-speed turns and that’s what this track has, so it just suits me very well. The tires are less relevant here than at other tracks because it’s so smooth.”
Noel Brown (second, Pro) – “I had a great time – all the drivers on track were complete gentleman. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I learned a lot. The organization did a great job, I think this is an awesome event. I’m happy to be here.”
Curt Swearingin (winner, Championship) – “It was a blast. This track is a lot higher speed. My team was trying to make sure I can go as fast as I can, but I’m better at low speed stuff. I stepped up there and got it and we let them battle for second and third right behind me. We’ve been fortunate at a few races to do that. My coach, Cass Whitehead, did a great job once again – it’s only my second time at Watkins Glen. I’m proud of my ACI Motorsports teammates here too – Efrin Castro and David Hurt!”
David Baum (second, Championship) – “I didn’t get a very good start but I worked my way up to second place. I had a great time battling with Alejandro [Galindo]. Actually, three of us were battling for second, third and fourth and that was fun. My Autometrics crew did a great job. I love this track! I can’t wait until Sprint 2.”
Alejandro Galindo (third, Championship) – “It was amazing to be on such an iconic race track and have my first podium. I’m really happy to be here.”
David Walker (winner, Masters) – “That was my best race yet! I dropped two seconds chasing Efrin [Castro]. First, I was ahead of him and then he got by me on Turn 9. I saw what he was doing and changed my line a little bit and caught back up to him. I was trying to take him – it was fantastic. When I came in I thought to myself ‘I can almost call myself a race car driver now and if I can do it one more time, I’ll call myself a race car driver!’”
David Peterman (second, Masters) – “I am very exhilarated – I didn’t expect to be on the podium this whole year because this is only my fourth race ever with this series. I trusted my coach and listened to him, and I trusted my car. It was a great race.”
SPRINT 2 SUMMARY
Swearingin’s eight-race winning streak was broken Saturday afternoon after Galindo passed him for his first win of the season in his No. 51 NOLAsport entry. Galindo contributed his win to his wife, who came to watch him race for the first time this season.
“My No. 17 NOLAsport car is our wedding anniversary date so I think she gave me luck!” Galindo said.
Swearingin’s positive attitude and camaraderie continued to shine even after his second-place finish.
“This year, we’ve been on such a great run that it’s a bummer to get second but hats off to Alejandro [Galindo],” Swearingin said. “He’s a tough competitor and he’s driving great here. It’s good to see somebody else get a win. I loved racing with him – it was fun and it was clean.”
Lincoln Llopiz came in third place in the Championship class in his No. 121 Dawes Motorsports entry after battling with Baum for the majority of the race.”
When I came in [after Sprint 1], I thought to myself ‘I can almost call myself a race car driver now and if I can do it one more time, I’ll call myself a race car driver,’” D. Walker said following Sprint 1.
Well, he can most definitely call himself a race car driver now! Walker swept the Masters class with his second win of the day in his No. 28 TOPP Racing entry.
Craig improved from his third-place finish in Sprint 1 to snag a second-place finish in Sprint 2 with John Frank, of the Connecticut Valley PCA Region, coming in third in his No. 11 Speedsport Tuning entry. Once again, Jensen dominated and led from flag to flag in Sprint 2, and Brown finished in second in the Pro class.
Sprint 2 Driver Quotes:
Keith Jensen (winner, Pro) – “It was great to be out here, great day and go Clubsport!”
Noel Brown (second, Pro) – “I think I slightly improved. My team, Dawes Motorsports, did a great job with the car’s suspension and tightened things up for me. I had a great time playing with Charlie [Craig] – he made it entertaining.”
Alejandro Galindo (winner, Championship) – “My first win and it was the first time my wife came to watch a race. My No. 17 NOLAsport car is our wedding anniversary date so I think she gave me luck!
Curt Swearingin (second, Championship) – “Last year at this time, we would’ve loved to get a second-place finish. This year, we’ve been on such a great run that it’s a bummer to get second but hats off to Alejandro [Galindo]. He’s a tough competitor and he’s driving great here. It’s good to see somebody else get a win. I loved racing with him – it was fun and it was clean.”
Lincoln Llopiz (third, Championship) – “It was a good race, my car ran well. I’m still working on my driving, but overall, I’m happy with the results.”
David Walker (winner, Masters) – “I feel great. It was a good race. I couldn’t catch Efrin [Castro] – he was on stickers and I was on old tires. The track had warmed up so it was a little slick. I held off everyone else in the Masters class and it was big fun.”
Charlie Craig (second, Masters) – “It’s a great pleasure to be with Corey Freidman and Autometrics because with them, even a blind squirrel can get an acorn every once in a while.”
John Frank (third, Masters) – “Kathy [Mead] fought tough. Hats off to all the drivers – it’s great to be back. It’s great to be here at Watkins Glen International.”
Following heavy rain and cool temperatures for their warm-up on Sunday morning, drivers enjoyed close and competitive racing on a dry track by the time the enduro race started at 4:30 p.m.
Jensen showed off his driving skills by once again leading from flag-to-flag in his No. 51 NOLAsport Clubsport MR entry. Brown also finished in second again, improving from race-to-race throughout the weekend in his first-ever event with the series.
“This was my first weekend with the Clubsport series – and my first enduro ever,” Brown said. “It was a blast. I had a lot of fun chasing all these drivers. I was thinking before the race, this whole series is a fantastic concept.”
After a pit-stop mishap between Swearingin and Galindo, both battling for first place in the Championship class, Baum was able to pull away and take his first-ever victory in the series since his debut at Road Atlanta in 2016. Swearingin finished in second and Galindo followed in third.
“I got my first win and I got the monkey off my back,” Baum said. “Yes! I’m so happy for me and my Autometrics crew – we work so hard and we finally got first place.”
The father and son duo of David and Russell Walker were also gunning for their first-ever win in the Championship class but unfortunately, R. Walker ran out of fuel on the very last lap of the 80-minute race while he was in second place.
In the Masters class, Kathy Mead, representing the Hill Country PCA Region, gained her first podium of the weekend and came in first place. Craig followed in second – gaining his third podium at Watkins Glen International.
“I improved a lot throughout the weekend,” Mead said. “In the enduro, you get a lot of laps to really dial in your speed. I had a great weekend and I love the enduro race.”
Next up, the series heads to VIRginia International Raceway in Danville, Va. for its third event in just over a month.
Enduro Driver Quotes
David Baum (winner, Championship) – “What a great weekend here at Watkins Glen. It was supposed to rain today but now it’s beautiful. I just ran my tail off and everything went well. I got my first win and I got the monkey off my back – yes! I’m so happy for me and my Autometrics crew – we work so hard and we finally got first place.”
Curt Swearingin (second, Championship) – “We were two seconds short going out of the pit stop but we are lucky to get back into second place. Baum got a win and that’s great for him so we are happy for him. We’re still on podium, still getting good points so it’s all good!”
Alejandro Galindo (third, Championship) – “It was a difficult race. I was in first place but then I got a black flag for being short on my pit stop. I tried to do my best to recover, but considering the black flag, third place is still pretty good.”
Kathy Mead (winner, Masters) – “I improved a lot throughout the weekend. In the enduro, you get a lot of laps to really dial in your speed. I had a great weekend and I love the enduro race.”
Noel Brown (second, Pro) – “This was my first weekend with the Clubsport series – my first enduro ever. It was a blast. I had a lot of fun chasing all these drivers. I was thinking before the race; this whole series is a fantastic concept. If it weren’t for this series, I’m not sure if I would be able to access racing. This whole event was wonderful – hats off to all the staff. I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.”
Source. LST Marketing