BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy earned their third Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race of the year – and it wasn’t without drama.
After Stacy qualified the No. 60 Scudo Wallets Ford Mustang GT4 fifth and turned in a solid opening stint, Marcelli jumped in and embarked on the fuel run of the season for the KohR Motorsports/Roush Performance team. Marcelli took the checkered flag on fumes before running out of fuel on the cool-down lap.
“It’s a pleasure racing here at home,” said Marcelli, of Ontario, Canada. “I love the weather, I love the racetrack, the people. It was a good day. It was a tough stint for me…it became a fuel conservation race for us. I went to the ‘fuel used’ page on the dash and just watched it and called out the number every single lap, so much that we were lifting early for turn one, two and eight, and basically just using the gearbox to slow the car down. It paid off. We saved about two-and-a-half laps of fuel and were able to win.”
The Ford Mustang GT4 nearly swept the podium, with the No. 80 MBRP Performance Exhaust team and drivers Martin Barkey and Brett Sandberg finishing second.
“Everyone on the team was flawless all day,” Stacy said. “I can’t wait for Lime Rock. Thanks to Continental Tire and VP Racing Fuels and all the guys on the team.”
For Barkey and Sandberg, the podium finish was a welcome end after a promising weekend at Watkins Glen that started with their first pole ended in a disappointing race.
“Leading up to the race today, we’d been struggling a little bit with the car and the grip,” Barkey said. “I’ve often said we had the best team in the paddock and I think today, with the car we started this weekend with and the car we finished with, it’s just a testament to those guys. For myself, got out there, battled and had a great start…then Brett, can’t say enough. Just drove the wheels off the car just like he did last weekend.”
It was the first podium for the Ontario-based AWA Ford Mustang GT4 team.
“It was definitely redemption,” Sandberg said. “After the pole at Watkins Glen and leading the race and feeling so confident in the car, then having the incident and having such a short turnaround between the Glen and here, it put a lot of workload on the guys, but it’s a testament to how hard they work and their preparation and the way they are able to get the car going. We were fortunate with our fuel strategy today. The whole first half I was conserving as much as I could knowing we would be really close at the end. Fortunately, it paid off.”
The No. 7 VOLT Lighting Ford Mustang GT4 team finished just off-podium in fourth, while the No. 8 ModSpace Ford Mustang GT4 finished fifth after leading the race. The No. 15 Multimatic Ford Mustang GT4 of local legend Scott Maxwell and Ford Performance development driver Chase Briscoe finished 19th after an early issue with the exhaust forced the team to pit for repairs.
The Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series returns in two weeks at Lime Rock Park.