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Pirelli World Challenge GP of Utah

With temperatures soaring into the high 90s, the sun blasting all day and racing at nearly 5000 feet, the Utah GP at the Utah Motorsports Campus tested both man and machine. However, expectations were high as this is our home track.

Friday started off solid for Jeff Burton in the #19 Audi R8 LMS GT4, setting a fastest time of 2:02.857 in the practice sessions, good for 11th place in class. The sessions provided the team with valuable information in preparation for Saturday’s Qualifying. The Nissan 370z TC Spec cars of Vesko Kozarov and Paul Terry put in a fastest time of 2:05.413 and 2:06.620, good for a 3rd and 6th place, respectively.

On Saturday it was time for qualifying and Race 1 of the weekend. Jeff Burton put in a great qualifying lap in his Audi R8 and qualified in 18th place overall and 9th in class with a time of 2:00.463.
Later that day, it was time for race one. After conceding a spot on the opening lap, Burton fought hard to gain a couple spots before the pits opened for the mandatory pit stops. He kept good pace when the rest of the field stopped, which saw him running in fifth for a while. After a blistering pit stop he rejoined the field to continue to fight for a good finishing position. Unfortunately he cut a tire on his out lap and had to come in again to change his tires, which put him towards the back of the field. Burton ended up finishing in 28th place.

Earlier that morning, the TC qualifying session had netted the team some good results, although the BMW M235i of Schwartz proved to be too quick over a single lap. Vesko Kozarov put his Nissan 370 Z in third place with a time of 2:04.434, just 0.786 of the fastest time by Schwartz. Paul Terry put in a 2:05.237, which was good for fifth place.

During the start of the race, Vesko Kozarov made a blistering start and overtook the BMWs of Whittmer and Travis. Johan Schwartz was deemed to have made a false start and was awarded a drive through penalty. This gave Kozarov the lead in the race, which he did not concede, taking the win on his home track!
Paul Terry lost a spot at the beginning of the race, but continued to fight the BMWs all race long. He successfully kept them behind until the end of the race, when a very fast Schwartz was finally able to overtake him 3 laps before the end of the race. Paul Terry finished in sixth place and qualifying in seventh for Sunday’s race. Vesko’s run in clear air allowed him to extract the maximum out his Nissan 370Z, giving him pole for Sunday’s race.

Sunday’s GTS race began with a bang, with a massive crash towards the back of the field, which had the field running behind the safety car for the first three laps of the race. Burton managed to get around the crash and keep his car in one piece. He was fighting hard with the Audi R8 from the Flying Lizard team in the first part of the race. He managed to keep everything clean and gain a spot during the pit stop phase. After some skirmishing in front of Burton, he was able to take advantage and gain a few spots to finish in 16th place in the race.

Paul Terry had a rough start to the race when he snapped an axle on the start. Vesko Kozarov was off to a good start and was able to keep the BMWs of Travis, Schwartz and Whittmer behind him. Running in clear air, he was able to build a gap to extend his lead in an otherwise uneventful race and taking home another victory!

Stay tuned for the last TC race in Watkins Glen August 31st – September 2 where we have a good chance to clinch the TC championship!

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