After starting first in both Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama races at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Riley Dickinson finally finished first on Sunday morning during the second and final round of the weekend.
In the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car, Dickinson qualified on pole for Saturday’s Race 1, but was overtaken midrace by Jeff Kingsley in the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche, who went on to victory.
On Sunday, it was a different story.
Dickinson charged forward at the drop of the green flag in Race 2 and while the 18-year-old led flag to flag, Kingsley loomed large in his mirror for the entire 45 minutes with unrelenting pressure. At one point, Kingsley was able to pull alongside Dickinson’s Porsche in Turn 10A – identical to his pass for the win on Saturday – but Dickinson held him off and the No. 16 was not able to pull closer afterwards. Dickinson went on to win by .602 seconds.
“We both had a great battle,” said Dickinson. “It was hard fought for sure, he definitely kept me honest. I was just kind of waiting and hoping he’d fall off because I was pushing as hard as I could. I can’t give it up to Moorespeed enough, they delivered a great car once again. Last night we figured out that we had a left rear shock failure, that’s why I fell off in Race 1 yesterday. Coming out today, we knew had the speed and just had to stay out front and we got ‘er done.
“I think for the viewers, it’s going to be a fun championship to watch because me and him, we’re very close right now, very similar. It’s going to be a fun one to watch and a fun one to drive in as well.”
With Dickinson’s second win of the year, he moves into second place in the Platinum Cup point standings for current generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars. Entering the next round at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the IMSA Hurley Haywood GT3 Cup Scholarship recipient will be nine points behind Kingsley in the points, 201-192.
Continuing to lead the Platinum Masters class for drivers 45 years and older, Alan Metni swept the weekend once again in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche. He finished fourth overall in both Rounds 5 and 6.
“We had a good weekend,” said Metni. “It’s great to be racing. The folks here in Atlanta put on a great event, they did a really good job making it possible for us to race, but also keeping it safe, so it was a lot of fun.”
In the Gold Cup class for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars built between 2014-2016, there was drama midway through the race that would ultimately impact the final results.
Driving the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche, Curt Swearingin took advantage of slower traffic to make a pass for the lead on Efrin Castro, who started first-in-class after winning Race 1. Swearingin sailed away and seemed poised for the win until he attempted to make a pass on a slower contender, but both cars made contact and spun in Turn 3.
Castro sped past in his No. 65 TPC Racing Porsche and collected his third victory of the season, tying Swearingin’s number of wins as well. Castro is now within two points, 197-195, of Swearingin in the point standings.
“I feel really sorry for what happened to my old teammate, Curt,” said Castro. “We were battling all weekend. He did a pass in front of me and we were going to go at it for the next 30 minutes and an incident happened that took him out, unfortunately. That helped me hit the reset button in my championship chances going to Mid-Ohio, so now our point deficit is not as big. I just want to give thanks to my team because without them it wouldn’t have been possible.”
Finishing second in Gold Cup was Bart Collins, who also scored the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions in the class throughout the race. The result was an improvement from Saturday’s finish when Collins finished third in the No. 22 MCR Racing Porsche.
“Yesterday went good, but I studied a lot of tape overnight,” said Collins. “I don’t have a coach so it’s a little tough, but I did get some data from some other people to study the track. I picked up a little time and had a great race with Mr. (Richard) Edge (in the No. 18 ACI Motorsports Porsche). Unfortunate for Curt, he had a little mishap, so it put me in second place. But it was a good weekend. Two podiums, you can’t go wrong.”
A tripleheader is on deck for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama at Mid-Ohio on Sept. 25-27. The first race is set for Saturday, Sept. 26 at 9:50 a.m. ET, with Race 2 following later that day at 3:50 p.m. The third race will take place Sunday at 9:20 a.m.
All races can be streamed live on IMSA.com with IMSA Radio commentary.