GT3 Cup Challenge USA Circuit of The Americas Friday Notebook
Friday, May 5, 2017

Estep in the Right Direction

All the ingredients for a spicy recipe of thrilling on-track action came together Friday evening for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama as they rolled off the grid for Race 1 at the Advance Auto Parts Sportscar Showdown for the only twilight race of the 2017 season at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. 

Current points leader and Race 1 pole-sitter Jake Eidson in the No. 24 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup entry of Kelly-Moss Road and Race led the field into Turn 1 at the drop of the green flag, but he didn’t hold it for long. 

Seventeen-year-old Trenton Estep of San Antonio, Texas made a deep dive into the inside of Turn 1 on Lap 1 in his JDX Racing/Hertz No. 3 entry. The daring move proved successful as he swept under Eidson and the No. 00 of Corey Fergus to take the Platinum Cup lead into Turn 2 and never looked back thereafter.  

The shakeup gained Fergus and local hometown team Moorespeed the advantage over Eidson as they moved into second place in Platinum competition in front of friends and family. 

A full-course caution period on Lap 3 due to contact between Phil Bloom in the No. 11 of  Wright Motorsports and the No. 19 of Will Hardeman of Moorespeed packed the field back up to make an exciting restart on Lap 6. 

McKay Snow in the No. 63 of Wright Motorsports started in seventh postion on the grid, but moved swiftly up through the field, ultimately landing on the podium in third place after a great pass on Eidson on Lap 9, relegating Eidson to fourth at the checkered flag. 

Not to be outdone by “the kids” as Platinum Master classman Jeff Mosing referred to the top four contenders in a post-race interview, the 45-years-of-age and older Platinum competitors faced plenty of action, with Mosing, of Austin, Texas taking the top step of the Masters podium in the No. 01 of TOPP Racing/Mosing Motorcars in front of his hometown crowd. 

Tom Haacker in the No. 80 of Kelly-Moss Road and Race had a great on-track battle with the No. 43 of Mark Kvamme for JDX Racing. Both drivers gained positions after the green flag, ultimately settling into 11th and 12th position with Kvamme leading after the restart. The two remained in lockstep, and Haacker eventually gained the advantage halfway through the race to take second-place podium honors with Kvamme just one step beneath. 

In a spectacular run to the finish, Victor Gomez IV in the No. 25 of NGT Motorsport swept the Gold Cup victory on the very last lap over the No. 6 of David Ducote and Kelly-Moss Road and Race. The two dueled for position most of the race with Ducote leading in 14 of 19 total laps. Gomez snuck by on the restart after the early caution period, but Ducote gained it back on Lap 11 and held it until Gomez made the last-lap charge. 

Fred Kaimer, also of NGT Motorsport rounded out the Gold podium in third position after gaining five positions overall throughout the race.

C.J. Wilson made his first trip to the podium after Race 1 to collect the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for advancing seven positions during the 45-minute contest.

Qualifying:

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series ran a 20-minute qualification round on Friday morning to determine the official starting grid for the first of two 45-minute races at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.  

Jake Eidson in the No. 24 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Platinum entry put down a flyer of two minutes, 10.160 seconds, barely clipping the 2:10.193 lap of Corey Fergus in his Moorespeed/US LED No. 00 GT3 Cup car.

Eidson has started every race from the pole position thus far in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA competition.

Not to be outdone, the Texas contingent continued to dominate on-track action with Moorespeed teammates Fergus and Will Hardeman collecting second and third place positions on the starting grid in Platinum Class. Based in Austin, Texas, Moorespeed led a number of Lone Star State competitors in the dash for starting positions. It could have been anyone’s pole to take today as the top seven Platinum Cup cars were separated by less than a second in qualifying.

Returning series veteran David Ducote made his mark in qualifying, securing the Gold Cup pole position with a lap of 2:13.596 in his No. 6 Kelly-Moss Road and Race entry. This will be the Houston, Texas-based driver’s first race in the series in 2017 competition.

Continuing with speed from yesterday’s practice, Platinum Masters driver Jeff Mosing set the quick time of the day for his class with a 2:11.854 trip around the circuit in his No. 01 TOPP Racing/Mosing Motorcars GT3 Cup car. 

Event Details:

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series takes the track again for the second race of the weekend at 11:00 a.m. CDT, Saturday, May 6. Live timing for every race is available at IMSA.com.

Saturday’s IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama race will stream live at IMSA.tv at 10:50 a.m. CDT. and will be broadcast live online by IMSA Radio at IMSA.com.

Follow IMSA on Facebook and @IMSA on Twitter with the hashtag #GT3USA for updates on the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama.

Schedule:

Round 2 (45 minutes): 11:00 - 11:45 a.m. CDT Saturday, May 6 

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