Mini entries finished first in the Street Tuner class and a BMW M4 GT4 finished second overall and second in the Grand Sport Class in the two-hour Continental SportsCar Challenge Series race run on the Friday before the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Toby Grahovec, in the #26 Classic BMW/Vess Energy Group M4 GT4 that he shared with Jayson Clunie, finished second in GS. He passed Greg Liefooghe in the #19 Mercedes with seventeen minutes left in the race. The pole-sitting #28 Porsche, driven by Dillon Machevern, moved into third, and ran on Grahovec’s tail until the end. The win went to Kyle Marcelli and Nate Stacy in the #60 Mustang. Grahovec and Clunie were a second ahead of Machevern and his co-driver, Spencer Pumpelly.
James Clay and Tyler Cooke finished eleventh in the #82 BimmerWorld M4 GT4; the car had run as high as fifth, but it fell back after contact with another car led to a drive-through penalty late in the race.
Nick Galante led the Street Tuner class early in the race in the #81 Bimmerworld 328i. He soon came together with Nate Norenberg in the #37 Mini; Galante recovered, while Norenberg received a drive-through penalty for the incident, and had to stop for repairs; the incident propelled Mike LaMarra into the class lead in the #73 Mini.
After mid-race pit stops, the #52 Mini, with Mark Pombo in the car, led #81 and Mini #73, with Pombo’s brother Mat at the controls. In the end, the #52 Mini that Mark Pombo shared with Jared Salinsky took the win, the #73 Mini finished second, and the #21 Porsche Cayman driven by Max Faulkner and Jason Rabe finished third. The #37 Mini, driven Norenberg and Derek Jones, finished fourth, while the #81 BMW, with Galante’s co-driver Devin Jones driving the second stint, finished fifth; the car was set back with a drive-through for an infraction on its pit stop.
The CTSC series runs again at Mid-Ohio in May. — Brian Morgan