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Aug 19, 2014 - 06:57 AM
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Wright Motorsports' Road America Race Report
Posted by: newsla on Aug 19, 2014 - 06:54 AM
Sports Cars
Wright Motorsports' Road America Race Report


Four Wright Motorsports drivers were key contenders as the land of beer, brats, cheese and cows hosted a rare tripleheader for the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Yokohama Aug. 9-10 at the longest track on the schedule, Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis.

 

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The series staged one race that Saturday evening and two on Sunday — one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. The third race replaced one that was rained out at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut on May 24.

Kasey Kuhlman of Cincinnati recorded two Masters class victories in Saturday's race and in the nightcap on Sunday with his Kuhlsport #15. He was on the overall podium when he finished third in the first race, and he had a top-five finish on Sunday afternoon too. He was as high as seventh in the middle race but ended up 28th overall in that one.

Michael Schein of New York City had two top-10 finishes on Sunday, placing seventh in the morning and ninth in the afternoon. He started on the pole and led a lap of Sunday afternoon's race too. He finished 14th overall on Saturday.

Santiago Creel of Mexico City, Mexico consistently improved. He was 21st in the first race, 14th in the second one and seventh in the third event with his #60, which is sponsored by Hotbook and Under Armour.

Kristin Treager's results don't reflect the good pace she showed with her #52, which is a Gold Cup car sponsored by the Sheehan Racing Team, Women's Sports Foundation, Women in the Winner's Circle Foundation and Boston Avenue Law PLLC. The Tulsa, Okla.-based driver finished 11th in that division in the first two races and sixth in the nightcap. She was in line for a podium in the final race until she was involved in a violent accident on the last lap that saw her Porsche get airborne and roll several times. She was treated and released from a local hospital with minor injuries.

Race 1: Saturday

Finishing on the podium after starting tenth on a long track where the field can get spread out is quite an accomplishment, but Kuhlman achieved just that in Saturday's race.

Schein was the Wright Motorsports driver in line for a podium finish on Saturday afternoon until the midway point of the 45-minute event. He was third when he was forced to pit working lap eight of the 16-lap race on the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course.

Schein's misfortune moved Kuhlman up to eighth. He got two more spots on the next lap by passing David Calvert-Jones and Jesse Lazare to move into sixth place overall and first in the Masters class. He got two more positions by passing both Colin Thompson and Christina Nielsen just before a full-course yellow waved on lap 12, and he nailed down third when Angel Andres Benitez Jr. ran too wide in a turn after a late restart.

Creel suffered right-rear damage to his car in an early incident, but he ran in the top 10 for three-quarters of the race until a penalty knocked him down the standings.

Treager held fifth place in Gold Cup throughout the race until she dropped to 11th at the end.

Race 2: Sunday morning

Kuhlman took the lead in the Master class and moved into seventh place working lap six in Sunday morning's race when he passed Calvert-Jones.

Trouble struck when Kuhlman and Thompson spun in Turn 5 while fighting for sixth place on lap seven. Another spin with Jay Patel in Turn 8 with nine laps down and 23 minutes remaining in the 45-minute race didn't help Kuhlman's efforts.

Creel and Schein were in seventh and eighth place after Kuhlman's departure. Schein got seventh when Creel served a penalty working lap 15, and Schein was able to remain in that position until the checkered on lap 21.

Treager ran in fifth place in Gold Cup from the start until she moved into fourth place working lap seven after Michael Levitas fell back. She moved into third working lap 18 when Patrick-Otto Madsen had a problem, but then she went on and off course herself on the following lap, allowing three rivals to pass her and dropping her to sixth in class. She dropped further down the rundown after she had to pit due to a cut tire with just one lap remaining.

Race 3: Sunday afternoon

All three of Wright Motorsports' Platinum-class drivers finished in the top 10 in Sunday afternoon's race.

Schein earned the pole for this race in May, and he led the first lap before both Benitez Jr. and Michael Lewis got by. Lazare passed him just after the halfway mark on lap 10, but he stayed in fourth place until he dropped to ninth on lap 17 of the 18-lap race.

Kuhlman started seventh overall and first in the Masters class. He remained first in Masters throughout the race, but he didn't move into sixth until he passed Thompson for that position working lap 16. He got fifth when Schein dropped back near the end.

Creel started eighth and finished seventh, also moving up one spot due to Schein's misfortune.

Treager started sixth in Gold Cup but immediately rose two spots to fourth in that class before one lap was in the books. She remained in fourth most of the race but rose to third on lap 17 when both she and Charlie Putman passed Jeff Mosing. Unfortunately her podium finish disappeared when she fell to sixth in class after an accident that saw her car do multiple rolls on the last lap. Luckily she escaped serious injury.

Point standings

Unofficially Wright Motorsports is fifth in both the Platinum and the Gold Cup team standings with four races remaining. Kuhlman is fifth in Platinum Cup and first in the Masters class point standings for that division. Schein is eighth in the Platinum point standings and Creel is tenth. Treager is fifth in Gold Cup points.

The series' next event is a doubleheader at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas Sept. 19-20. The final doubleheader of the year will be held Oct. 2-3 at Road Atlanta.

The series' Web site is part of imsa.com. Additional information is available at GT3CupChallengeUSA.com.

The team's Web site is at WrightMotorsports.com and it also posts updates on its Facebook page.

Other social media links of interest include:
Wright Motorsports: Facebook: Wright Motorsports; Twitter: @WrightRac1ng
Kasey Kuhlman: Facebook: Kuhlsport
Michael Schein: Instagram: @Mike_Schein
Santiago Creel: Instagram: @Santiagocreel; Twitter: @screelg
Kristin Treager: Facebook: KristinTreagerRacing; Twitter: @KristinTreager

Post-race quotes follow:

Kasey Kuhlman: "Road America is such a tough, fast track. My qualifying session was a bundle of frustration and misfortune. Starting P10 and P11 in the races made for extra pressure. I got good, clean starts and just went to work trying to be in position for passing opportunities.

"An overall podium was a fantastic reward for well-executed strategy and multiple strong restarts. Two top fives was our goal, and we delivered."

Santiago Creel: "Overall it was a good weekend with lots of learning and improvement. We had gearbox problems during qualifying for the first two races. That caused a bad starting position for the first races, which led to some contact and a bad finishing position. For the third race I started in eighth and finished in seventh.

"Overall it was a great learning weekend. We look forward to finishing in the top five in the next races."

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