Race Recap: Continental Tire Roadrace Showcase at Road America

Some describe Road America as “North America’s Nürburgring.” The four-mile track cut into Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine region shares many characteristics with the infamous German track: high-speed turns, fast straights, and often little space between the edge of the track and disaster. It’s these features that make it a favorite for drivers and fans of the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar challenge.

The No. 158 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R sits second on the grid during the pre-race fan walk at Road America. Billy Johnson qualified the car behind John Edwards in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3.

The series’ tenth round was held at the historic circuit situated just south of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin the weekend of August 9, 2014. The event started off with a test day on Thursday, followed by practice and qualifying on Friday, and the race on Saturday.

After teams used the test sessions on Thursday to hone their setups, practice started bright and early on Friday morning. In the cool and dry conditions, the quickest times of the day were set in the first practice session. The No. 8 Aston Martin of Mantella and Wilkins clocked the quickest time, but Jade Buford and Scott Maxwell weren’t far behind in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R. Kurt Rezzetano and Andrew Aquilante (No. 32 Phoenix American Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R) and David Levine and Lucas Bize were third and fourth quickest, respectively.

In qualifying, BMW professional factory driver John Edwards put the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 on the pole with a blistering 2:22.590-second lap. Billy Johnson perked up Mustang fans by filling out the second spot on the front row driving the No. 158 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R. The Camaros were not far behind, however, with Matt Bell and his No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R setting the third-quickest time in qualifying. Kurt Rezzetano would start right behind Johnson in his No. 32 Phoenix American Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R.

At the start of the race, the field charges down the hill to turn three at Road America. John Edwards (No. 46 BMW) held the lead, while Kurt Rezzetano (No. 32 Mustang) moved up to second, and Billy Johnson (No. 158 Mustang) shuffled back to third.

Beautiful and comfortable temperatures greeted the race fans when the green flag dropped for the 2.5-hour endurance race. Edwards (No. 46 BMW) led the field to turn one, but with cold tires and new brake pads, drifted a bit wide at the exit of the turn, contacting Billy Johnson (No. 158 Mustang), forcing Johnson over the curbing. Johnson rejoined the track in third place behind Rezzetano, who advanced several positions in the shuffle.

Left: Ian James and Billy Johnson teamed up again in the No. 158 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R at Road America. The Mustang was fast all weekend and Johnson was second-quickest in qualifying. Center: The No. 78 Racers Edge Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R was shared by Lucas Bize and David Levine at Road America. The car is pictured here hugging the curbing around Canada Corner on Friday morning. Bize started the race from 10th on the grid. Right: One of the icons of Road America is the Johnsonville Bratwurst “Speedville” bridge that leads into Road America’s infamous carousel turn. Here the No. 32 Phoenix American Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R speeds ahead of the No. 14 Doran Racing Nissan during Friday’s mid-day practice session.

A crash in the ST-class brought out the yellow flags on the first lap. After the crash was cleaned up, the race returned to green. On lap five, Billy Johnson (No. 158 Mustang) passed John Edwards (No. 46 BMW) to take the lead.

Left: The No. 35 Phoenix American Motorsports Mustang rounds “Canada Corner” during Thursday morning’s test session at Road America. Right: Sadly, this was the last we saw of the No. 35 Phoenix American Motorsports Mustang at Road America, as a crash on the next lap damaged the car badly, and it was withdrawn from the weekend.

Kurt Rezzetano and Andrew Acquilante shared the No. 32 Phoenix American Motorsports Mustang at Road America. The car is seen here powering out of turn six during Thursday afternoon’s test session.

After nearly 45 minutes of racing completed, Johnson ducked the No. 158 Mustang into the pits for fresh tires and fuel, handing the lead back to Edwards. During the pit stop, an issue while jacking the car slammed the right side of the car down before the wheels could be installed. The problem cost the team several seconds before the team could get the car off the ground. Fortunately, the car seemed OK, and the only issue was lost time in the pits.

Meanwhile, Edwards pitted and handed over driving duties to series points-leader Trent Hindman, who rejoined the race driving the No. 46 BMW well ahead of the No. 158 Mustang.

Another yellow flag came out with just over an hour remaining when the No. 47 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW went off-track. The entire GS-class field came to the pits for fresh tires and to top off with fuel…hopefully enough to go the distance to the checkered flag.

Left: Billy Johnson brings the No.158 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R into the pits for fuel and tires. Right: The Multimatic Motorsports crew struggles with the No. 158 Mustang after it fell off the jack. Another crew member (left side of photo) is coming to their rescue with another jack.

After the restart, Matt Plumb in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche took the lead. Drivers Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi have won the past two races at Road America, and were looking for a third straight victory at the 14-turn track. Plumb lost the lead on another yellow-flag restart when Andy Lally (No. 9 Camaro) passed Plumb. However, Plumb regained the lead when Lally was forced to pit to serve a penalty for running over an air hose during his last pit stop.

Seen here rounding turn thirteen is another car that got damaged during the weekend was the No. 79 Racers Edge Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R shared by Nick Galante and Chris Beaufait.

With the Rum Bum Racing team looking to regain lost points in their championship hunt, it looked like a win was a real possibility…until a suspension arm broke with just a handful of laps remaining. Plumb was helpless as Lawson Aschenbach (No. 01 Camaro) drove past to take the lead. However, Pierre Kleinubing (No. 76 Subaru WRX-STI) used his all-wheel-drive machine to drive around Aschenbach into the lead.

Left: The No. 79 Racers Edge Motorsports Mustang exits Canada Corner and thunders out of the woods toward turn 13. Center: The No. 78 Racers Edge Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R speeds past the Johnsonville Bratwurst “Speedville” bridge toward Road America’s legendary carousel turn. Right: David Levine relays some last-minute advice to co-driver Lucas Bize, who qualified the No. 78 Racer’s Edge Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R 10th on the grid at Road America.

Kleinubing lead the field on the last lap until he slowed on the last corner. Aschenbach powered past Kleinubing up the hill to the finish line to snatch the win in dramatic fashion!

The victory the No. 01 CKS Autosport Camaro Z/28.R was the first of the season for Lawson Achenbach and Eric Curran. Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell came in second in their No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro Z/28.R. Ray Mason and Pierre Kleinubing limped their No. 76 WRX across the finish line third. Series points leader Trent Hindman and John Edwards brought their BMW M3 home fourth.

With their runner-up finish, Liddel and Davis closed the gap four additional championship points on leader Hindman. With only three rounds remaining, the championship battle is heating up! Next up: Virginia International Raceway on August 23rd!

Scott Maxwell muscles the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R around turn five at Road America at the race’s mid-point. Maxwell and Buford went on to finish the race 6th after Buford started the race 7th.

Ian James rounds turn six during the race. Co-driver Billy Johnson started the No. 158 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang BOSS 302R from second position, and James finished the race 9th after a problem in the pits.

The No. 15 Mustang BOSS 302R driven by Scott Maxwell defends his position against the No. 14 Nissan while pressuring the No. 7 Porsche for position late in the race.

Road America features many picturesque places to watch the racing action. The track has also added a zip line, with a rider seen in this photo.

Fans watch the leaders exit turn thirteen during the closing laps of the race at Road America.

David Levine takes to the grass and picks several positions on a last-lap restart at Road America. Levine went on to finish fifth.

About the author

Wes Duenkel

Wes Duenkel is a motorsports photographer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Born in Wisconsin near Road America, his professional experience includes art, engineering, and mechanics — so motorsports photography is a marriage of interests. He’s attracted to the dramatic human, technical, and competitive aspects of sports car racing. When he is not traveling worldwide to cover sports car races, Wes enjoys spending time with his wife and two young boys, and wrenching on his Mustangs.
Read My Articles

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