Kelly Moss Motorsports is gearing up for what could be a pivotal weekend for the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama championship, and they are doing it in a big way. Kelly Moss is taking a 14-point Team and Platinum Cup Driver Championship lead Aug. 8-10 to its home circuit, Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, with the opportunity to break away from the pack with the weekend due to three rounds of race action.
The team won't have to go far. The Kelly Moss trailers will travel only 108 miles from team headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, to Road America, the Disneyland of road courses. That is equivalent to just 27 laps around the 14-turn, four-mile road course.
"It's our home track, and we have a lot of laps here," Kelly Moss Vice President Jeff Stone said. "We've had five days on the course already and that gives us the home-court advantage. Extra confidence for our team only helps as we push for more points and look to extend our championship lead."
After having a smaller-than-usual lineup last month at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), Kelly Moss will come to Road America with six entrants for the home race. The weekend will feature Rounds 6, 11 and 12 of the series, with Round 6 rescheduled after being rained out in May at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.
"There's going to be a little more pressure on everybody with three races this weekend," Stone said. "That's 60 points at stake all at one place. More track time equals more risk but also more reward, and that's what we're looking for."
All six Kelly Moss drivers must pay attention to detail on the high-speed track, especially in the many fast corners. But the team also has its fair share of wins at Road America and feels ready to master the course.
"We've had a mix of bad luck here in the past," Stone said. "We've won a lot of races, but we've also had some bad luck, a few pretty bad incidents. But we hope we have that monkey off our back.
"The key is handling the high-speed parts of the track. Turn 1 is just high speed, and Turn 5 has some of the most intense braking we will see all season. The Carousel is it's own animal, and then, of course, you have the Kink. You have to have the setup to handle it and be able to coach your drivers through it, and we feel like we're ready for that."
Leading the charge is Colin Thompson, Platinum Cup driver points leader. Thompson increased his Driver Championship lead to 14 points, 152-138, over rival Angel Benitez Jr. with two hard-earned second place finishes at CTMP in the No. 14 car, with seven rounds remaining in the season. Thompson and Gold Cup/Gold Masters competitor William Peluchiwski were the lone Kelly Moss drivers in their respective categories at CTMP.
Joining Thompson in the Platinum Cup will be Dan Weyland, entered in the Platinum and Platinum Masters Championship. He is returning to the track for the first time since racing in late June at Watkins Glen International.
Peluchiwski will be back in his No. 74 Kelly Moss/Porsche of Bucks County Porsche to make a run for the top of the Gold Masters Championship standings. With 105 points, he is sitting in fourth place, only 19 points from third.
Also in the Gold Cup category will be teammates David Ducote, Wayne Ducote and Seth Davidow. Like Weyland, the three drivers will resume the series, racing their Porsche GT3 Cup cars for the first time since the Watkins Glen weekend.
That large group of drivers for Kelly Moss this weekend has a significant advantage as a hometown team: The shop is close if needed.
"It's good to be close for us," Stone said. "There have been times that we've had incidents, and without our shop being that close we may not have been able to continue. We've even helped other competitors. Last year Craig Duerson with NGT banged up his car. We got it to the shop, fixed it up, and he got the win the next day. This weekend everybody at Kelly Moss is on call and pulling double-duty to make it a success. It's all part of the job."
Kelly Moss will kick off the weekend by hosting an Open House Wednesday, Aug. 6 from 6-9 p.m. at its immaculate headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. The shop will be open to give a rare glimpse inside the impressive facilities. Championship winning driver Andrew Davis will be in attendance as well as other members of the Kelly Moss team.
Track action for the team will begin Friday, Aug. 8 with two practices. Qualifying for the GT3 Cup will take place at 8 a.m. (CT) Saturday, Aug. 9, followed by Race 1 later in the day at 6:05 p.m. There will be two more 45-minute sprint races Sunday, with the first at 9:50 a.m. and the second at 5 p.m.
Follow live timing at IMSA.com, live race commentary on Twitter at @IMSALive and live streaming video of all three races at www.fanschoice.tv.