Two races, 90 minutes. That’s all it took for Kelly Moss Motorsports to take first place in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama Team Championship last weekend at Watkins Glen International.
“It was exactly what we we’re hoping for,” Kelly Moss Vice President Jeff Stone said. “We did what we came to do.”
“If you would have told me I was going to win the race with six laps to go, I would never have believed you,” Thompson said. “All I knew is I wanted that first place and put it in there and stuck it, and we got the win.”
Both wins came on last-lap passes by Thompson, a 20-year-old Pennsylvania native. He started fifth and sixth in Rounds 6 and 7, respectively, of the International Motorsports Association (IMSA)– sanctioned series.
“He just did what we’ve known he could do since we first got together,” Stone said. “What we saw was just a matter of maturity as a driver and him taking everything we’ve talked about and moving forward.”
In both races Thompson slowly picked off the competition, erasing a nearly five-second deficit with six laps to go in Race 1 to overtake championship rival Angel Benitez Jr. in the last turn of the last lap. The outcome was identical in Race 2, with Thompson also making the decisive pass of Benitez on the last lap.
“The competition is ridiculous out here, but we got it done,” Thompson said. “My engineer and the team just gave me an unbelievable car. It was a rocket ship! We made some smart passes. We got by some people and took advantage of those yellows. Last lap once again! Who would have guessed?”
The two wins put Thompson in sole possession of first place in the Platinum Cup standings with 116 points. It also pushed the Brey-Krause sponsored Kelly Moss team to the top of the team Platinum Cup standings with 118 total points, one ahead of Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport.
Also finishing on podium over the weekend for Kelly Moss was William “Wild Bill” Peluchiwski, who after a technical review was awarded third place for Round 6 in the Gold Cup Masters Championship. The No. 74 Porsche GT3 Cup car was involved in an incident after spinning in Turn 8, ending his day after only eight laps.
The 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit is known not only for its racing history but also its ability to lure drivers into eliminating themselves from contention.
David Ducote, back in the car after missing Round 5 at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut, experienced just how brutal The Glen can be. After a rough first race, finishing sixth in the Platinum Masters Championship, Ducote skidded off the track, hit the tire barrier and rolled twice before coming to a stop on his side. Ducote was able to walk away from the incident, but it ended his weekend early.
Seth Davidow strapped in to his No. 77 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car for the first time this season. He ended the weekend with a sixth- and fifth-place finish in the Gold Masters Championship. In the same category, teammate Wayne Ducote picked up an 11th- and sixth-place finish in Race 1 and 2, respectively.
The fifth Gold Cup class driver, Frank Selldorff, finished 11th in the Gold Masters Championship for Race 1.
Rounding out the Kelly Moss team was Dan Weyland in the flashy No. 11 lime green Porsche, who recorded GT3 career-best seventh- and eight-place finishes for the weekend despite facing major electrical issues before the first race. The entire Kelly Moss team worked to get the car in racing condition.
“I’m really proud of the job all the guys did,” Stone said. “You would like not to have issues and controversy, but it’s all part of the territory. I think the entire team handled the weekend the best way possible and are committed to this organization and this season.”
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