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GT4 Club Sport Trophy East: Monticello news and notes

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

SPRINT 1

Porsche Club of America (PCA) Club Racing Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series drivers competed for the first time as a series at Monticello Motor Club (MMC) as part of the PCA Club Racing’s Porsche of Conshohocken Presents the 2017 Riesentöter Stuttgart Challenge at Monticello Motor Club event. 

The staff at this beautiful automotive country club delivered competitors a true member experience serving meals, cocktails and decadent desserts throughout the weekend. 

Drivers fought through foggy and misty conditions during the Friday evening qualifying session and Saturday, the series welcomed a podium newcomer during Sprint 1. 

ACI Motorsport’s Efrin Castro, a member of the Northern New Jersey PCA Region, gained the pole position Friday. The rookie driver’s fastest lap time was 2:26.958 but Castro had an advantage as he is a member at MMC.

After sliding off MMC’s technical track not long after Sprint 1 started Saturday afternoon, Castro fell behind five positions but made a comeback after passing several cars to gain his first series podium ever.  

“I didn’t expect to lose so much grip at the beginning - I made a mistake and lost six positions,” Castro said. “But I was able to stay focused and make a comeback. I took a chance passing David [Baum] but him being the gentleman that he is, he gave me room.”

Tennessee PCA Region member Curt Swearingin qualified fifth but passed four cars throughout the 30-minute race to gain yet another first-place finish in his No. 18 Advanced Collision Inc. (ACI) Motorsports entry in the Championship class. Mardi Gras PCA Region member Alejandro Galindo came in second in his No. 17 NOLAsport.  

BGB Motorsport’s Tom Collingwood qualified second and was leading the race after Castro’s spinoff, but unfortunately, the series veteran couldn’t hang on to a podium finish and came in fourth place. 

Meanwhile, in the Masters class, MMC members Charlie Craig and John Frank came in first and second place, respectively. Dawe’s Motorsports’ Noël Brown came in first place in the Pro class after battling with Autometrics Motorsports’ Craig for most of the race. 

“I spent the entire race trying to get by Charlie [Craig],” Brown said. “The funny part about it is he told me every door he was going to close during this race as a way of giving me advice, and he closed every single one of those doors. I couldn’t get past him, but it was a blast!” 

SPRINT 1 QUOTES

Curt Swearingin (winner, Championship) – “We just worked. There were a few mistakes here and there – Efrin [Castro] ran off and that let us get by. We had to work past a few other cars but we just kept putting our head in there. That’s just what we do – we put our heads down and we go after it. Cass [Whitehead] and the team did a great job. We were happy to go from fifth to first at this track – it’s a tough track so it was awesome.” 

Alejandro Galindo (second, Championship) – “It feels amazing to place second at this track. I am missing my daughter – she was ill and couldn’t be here, along with my wife and family. But it was an amazing race and thanks to my team – NOLAsport.”  

Efrin Castro (third, Championship) – “I didn’t expect to lose so much grip at the beginning - I made a mistake and lost six positions. But I was able to stay focused and make a comeback. I took a chance passing David [Baum] but him being the gentleman that he is, he gave me room. I want to thank my family and my team – ACI Motorsports – for all the support.” 

Charlie Craig (winner, Masters) – “I owe it all to my college hockey coach for teaching me how to keep my elbows way out so Noël Brown couldn’t get past me. And to Autometrics for setting up the car perfectly.”

John Frank (second, Masters) – “I got a great start but I slowed down a bit after that. I worked as hard as I could. It’s great to be here at Monticello Motor Club and it’s great to be back running with the Clubsports.” 

Noël Brown (winner, Pro) – “I had an entertaining time with Charlie [Craig] – I spent the entire race trying to get by him. The funny part about it is he told me every door he was going to close during this race as a way of giving me advice, and he closed every single one of those doors. He is an accurate defensive guy. I couldn’t get past him, but it was a blast! Thanks to my team Dawe’s Motorsports and MMS.”

SPRINT 2

Sprint 2 started late Saturday afternoon with perfect 75-degree weather and sunny skies. Swearingin dominated in his No. 18 ACI Clubsport entry from flag-to-flag, winning first place in the Championship class. 

NOLAsport’s Galindo once again placed second in the Championship class in his No. 17 NOLAsport Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport entry. David Baum, who represents the Western Michigan PCA Region, saw his first podium since his win at Watkins Glen International in early June. He rounded out the Championship podium in third.

In the Masters class, Craig and Frank repeated their 1-2 finish from Sprint 2 with TOPP Racing’s David Walker placing third. Walker had an incident during the Saturday morning warmup and praised the TOPP team for setting up his car and getting him on grid for Sprint 2 just in the nick of time. 

“TOPP Racing is the best,” Walker said. “They got my car back together just in time for me to compete in Sprint 2.”

Brown repeated his first-place finish in the Pro class in his No. 33 Dawe’s Motorsports entry. 

SPRINT 2 QUOTES

Curt Swearingin (winner, Championship) – “Wow, that was a good run. We were able to maintain a great pace, and the car has been great. We had been fighting a lot of push, a lot of oversteer, but it’s balance. We were able to just manage the car through it with the conditions which have changed over the weekend. Yesterday during qualifying, they felt great, and today’s been so hot, but we work through it like everybody else is working through it. I had a great day. I’m happy that my family and friends and everybody that’s been supporting me and letting me come out and do this stuff. My team’s behind me.”

Alejandro Galindo (second, Championship) – “I feel pretty good about second, but I would feel better about first place. I’m feeling more confident on this track. I would like to dedicate this second-place finish to Ben’s mom. Ben is one of the best guys I know and his mom passed away recently so this is for Ben’s mom.” 

David Baum (third, Championship) – “Pretty good race. Glad to be back on the podium after not having very good luck last race at VIR. I found out we had a little bit of a mechanical issue on the first race, so I think we got that taken care of. Hopefully I’m back on the podium tomorrow!”

Charlie Craig (winner, Masters) – “Autometrics did a great job setting up my car and on my strategy. Noël [Brown] is terrific and John [Frank] was a lion in waiting – sitting behind waiting for us to mess up so he could pounce! That forced me to focus. Autometrics set up the car so even I couldn’t oversteer it.” 

David Walker (third, Masters) – “TOPP Racing is the best. They got my car back together (following an incident in warmup this morning) just in time for me to compete in Sprint 2.” 

Noël Brown (winner, Pro) – “I’m more confident on the track, but I’m getting sick of looking at the back of Charlie’s car! Maybe one of these days – there’s always tomorrow. All of this is due in large part to Dawe’s Motorsports and MMS – they’re keeping me fast.” 

ENDURO

Drivers competed in perfect racing conditions Sunday morning during their 80-minute enduro race. ACI Motorsports’ Swearingin swept the weekend after winning the enduro ahead of father-and-son Dawe’s Motorsports team Lincoln and Anthony Llopiz and ACI Motorsports’ teammate Castro.

Lincoln started off driving his No. 121 Dawe’s Motorsports entry while his son Anthony took over for him following a mandatory five-minute pit stop. 

“We got out there early, set a pace, and we were doing great,” Swearingin said. “[Anthony] Llopiz’s son got in the car, and he’s fast, and we knew he would be coming, so we just tried to pace it.”

Castro started at the back of the pack due to an incident in Sprint 2 Saturday but he gained momentum throughout the race to finish third in front of a podium full of his friends, family and MMC fans.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Castro said. “I had to keep pushing all the way through to the end. It was a tough race, very long, but I felt comfortable being at home and I just kept being consistent and that worked out. I want to give thanks to God, first of all, and to my family for being here, and my team who made it all happen.”

MMC member Frank won the Masters class in his No. 11 Speedsport Tuning entry, followed by fellow MMC and Connecticut Valley PCA Region member Craig. TOPP Racing was able to fix Kathy Mead’s No. 50 entry following an incident in the qualifying session Friday evening to get her a third-place finish in the Masters class. 

“During warmup, we realized the transmission had a small leak, so it was always the plan to come into the pit during the race,” Mead said about her strategy. “Then when I went back out, there was a steering issue, so I had to go really slow. But we took the checkered!”

Meanwhile, Brown finished his second PCA event weekend with a sweep in the Pro class. 

“The car was set up great, and again, another fantastic run, so a huge thanks to Dawe’s Motorsports,” Brown said. “Huge thanks to the staff for running this; it’s been a lot of fun.”

The series travels to Canada for the first time in just three short weeks. Canadian Tire Motorsport Park will welcome the drivers Aug. 4-6. 

ENDURO QUOTES

Curt Swearingin (winner, Championship) – “We got out there early, set a pace and we were doing great. [Anthony] Llopiz’s son got in the car, and he’s fast, and we knew he would be coming, so we just tried to pace it. Cass [Whitehead] was in my ear, like ‘Hey, we need to pick up just a hair. We’ve got this much of a gap.’ We just kept working and my team just keeps putting it together. So, it’s been an awesome day. Especially for Efrin [Castro]!”

Anthony Llopiz (second, Championship) – “It’s my first race at this track. We crashed the car yesterday but Dawe Motorsports worked to get it back, and they prepared everything up for the race.”

Lincoln Llopiz (second, Championship) – “Like Anthony [Llopiz] said, we had an incident yesterday, but we worked hard last night and got it together, and so far, we did a lot better. We just needed five more minutes and I think we would’ve gotten the win, but we’ll take it! We’ll take second; it’s good either way.”

Efrin Castro (third, Championship) – “It’s an awesome feeling. I had to keep pushing all the way through to the end. It was a tough race, very long, but I felt comfortable being at home and I just kept being consistent and that worked out. I want to give thanks to God, first of all, and to my family for being here, and my team who made it all happen.”

John Frank (winner, Masters) – “It was a great enduro and great test of driving. It’s great to be here. I want to thank Speedsport Tuning and my family and the whole MMC organization.”

Kathy Mead (third, Masters) – “Going off yesterday, I had a small link. In warm up, we realized the transmission had a small leak, so it was always the plan to come into the pit during the race. Then when I went back out, there was a steering issue, so I had to go really slow. But we took the checkered!”
 
Noël Brown (winner, Pro) – “A big component to this strategy was Trevor and the team at Dawe’s Motorsports - when to pit, how to come in and out of the pits, etc. The car was set up great, and again, another fantastic run, so a huge thanks to those guys. Huge thanks to the staff for running this and Dawe’s Motorsports and everybody. It’s been a lot of fun. Now I just need a nap!”

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