O’Connell & Baldwin Are Up To The Challenge
In GTS, Lawson Aschenbach started from the Motul pole and held the lead over Drivers’ Points leader Baldwin, who started second, for a majority of the race. At numerous points Baldwin challenged Aschenbach for lead but could not complete the pass. Then in lapped traffic on Lap 26, Aschenbach’s charge was affected by traffic. As he moved up the road through turn one, Baldwin moved to his inside to make the pass. The pass scored Baldwin the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award.
“We made a chassis change and hit the setup today,” said Baldwin. “I was following Lawson, and he was doing a great job. I knew I needed a break in traffic and I got it when a Mercedes got into Lawson, pushed him up high in one, and I got by on the inside. That was the event that changed the outcome of the race.”
Baldwin’s win is his third this season, and his eighth podium finish in nine races. He swept the opening doubleheader weekend at St. Petersburg but had not won since.
“I’m very fortunate and appreciate it,” said Baldwin. “It’s about time to win another one, so thanks. We had a winning car yesterday. I felt bruised and bloodied yesterday getting hit about six times. I just couldn’t make it happen. But big thanks to the GTSport with Goldcrest team.”
Aschenbach was looking to complete the weekend sweep in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro. It is still his sixth podium finish in nine races this season.
“I knew coming in it was going to be that way (with traffic),” said Aschenbach. “Today I got the bad side of it. It’s frustrating. You expect GT cars to go by you and be done with it. It gave Jack a wide-open inside of turn one. Hats off to Blackdog Speed Shop Team Chevy Camaro. If I just did my lines and did what I had to do, I thought I could keep him behind. We’ll regroup and be better at Toronto.”
Mark Wilkins finished third in the No. 38 KIA Motors America KIA Optima, for his third podium finish in the last four races. He started sixth and advanced to third, and consolidated second place in the unofficial points behind Baldwin.
“Good points day for us all things considered, and a great effort from the Kinetic Motorsports and KIA guys,” said Wilkins. “This is a tough track for our car because all the right-hand turns load the left front really hard. With the weight up front, we have to manage it.”
Andy Lee in the No. 20 Best IT/Bondurant/Crown Seven Chevrolet Camaro, finished fourth ahead of Wilkins’ teammate, Nic Jonsson in the No. 36 KIA Motors America KIA Optima. Jonsson’s fifth place finish is his third top-five finish of the season.