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Jun 30, 2014 - 04:09 PM
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Thompson Scores Thrilling Double Victory At Watkins Glen
Posted by: newsla on Jun 30, 2014 - 04:00 PM
Sports Cars
Thompson Scores Thrilling Double Victory At Watkins Glen


Colin Thompson scored his first two Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama victories in thrilling fashion at Watkins Glen International. Thompson earned both race wins with spectacular last lap passes and left with a four-point lead in the GT3 Cup Championship.

 

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The weekend initially looked like it was getting off to a rocky start when the transponder on Thompson’s No. 14 Porsche of Bucks County Porsche 911 GT3 Cup failed, resulting in only one lap being registered by timing and scoring. This meant Thompson would start fifth in Friday’s race.

A strong start put Thompson into fourth by Turn One and a handful of laps later the Kelly Moss Motorsports car was up to third chasing Michael Lewis in the No. 98 and Angel Benitez Jr. in the No. 05. Thompson mastered lapped traffic and quickly made up the ground to Lewis, passing him for second with less than five minutes remaining in the race.

Chasing his championship rival for the lead on the final lap, Thompson nearly resigned himself to a safe second-place finish, but saw an opportunity open up as the pair approached a lapped car.

“You’re never happy with second, but I knew it was a points race between myself and Angel, so I couldn’t do anything stupid—I had to finish the race,” Thompson recalled. “No matter how it played out, I was going to be satisfied, but going into that corner, it was total improvisation; we had a lapped car that held its line, Angel chose the inside, I chose the outside and the outside was the place to be.”

Thompson exited the final corner in front of Benitez and crossed the finish line to take his first-ever GT3 Cup victory.

And he wasn’t stopping there.

Starting sixth in Saturday’s race, another brilliant start gained Thompson a position on the first lap. Two well-timed full-course cautions put him in an excellent spot to pick up two more positions before getting into a duel with Kasey Kuhlman in the No. 15, which ended in an impressive pass in the Uphill Esses.

“I can’t tell you how hard I was laughing when I passed Kasey,” smiled Thompson. “I was so excited! Anytime a pass like that happens, it’s so much fun. Your heart rate is going a million miles an hour, but you’re still having fun. We went two-wide through the Esses, which no one should do! And I stuck it!”

This set up another last lap showdown between Thompson and Benitez. This one didn’t go all the way to the final corner. Instead, Thompson cranked up the pressure in The Bus Stop, forcing Benitez into a mistake that opened the door for a pass.

“I was on his bumper going down the front stretch going into the last lap," recalled Thompson. "It was déjà vu on the race before. I just knew, whether it was the first corner or the last corner, I had to get it done that lap. I set him up in the Bus Stop and tried to get in his mirrors. I think he over-braked a bit and coming out he didn’t have the exit and I was able to sneak in going into the next corner.”

Thompson won his second GT3 Cup race for Kelly Moss Motorsports by 0.717-second—a strong margin compared to Friday’s 0.108-second finish. It completed a dream weekend for the 20-year old from Doylestown, Pa.

“I got the bad luck out of my way in qualifying with the transponder failing,” Thompson said. “I’ll take bad luck in qualifying for finishes like this any week.”

The double victory was especially well timed in that it coincided with a special birthday party Thompson and Kelly Moss Motorsports were hosting. At a local hospital visit last year, Thompson met young Robert “Robbie” Barrett, who was suffering from Hydronephrosis (stage four renal failure). Thompson kept in touch and made sure to invite Robbie to Watkins Glen this weekend to celebrate his eighth birthday. Not only did Robbie get to watch his favorite race car driver win twice, he got to give the “Driver Start” command and hand out trophies on the podium, plus he received his very own push cart made to look exactly like Thompson’s No. 14 Porsche GT3 Cup. To find out how you can help Robbie, you can visit his Give Forward page.

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