07 May Race Report: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
On Saturday, May 4, Winward Racing took to the track at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio for the third race of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series season. Perilous rain plagued the entire weekend, but that did not keep the No. 33 and No. 57 machines from being two of the fastest cars on the track all weekend.
“Winward Racing had a great weekend despite the treacherous weather conditions,” Bryce Ward, driver of the No. 57 Mercedes-AMG, said. “So much went right and so little went wrong, but that was all that it took to dash our hopes for a podium this weekend. This just shows the strength of the competition in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge series.”
After posting consistent times in all practices, Russell Ward qualified the No. 33 in the third position in the rain. The qualifying effort by Russell was a major accomplishment for the team. The No. 57 ended up putting a tire off line and was trapped in the mud during qualifying.
The rain was challenging all weekend, and it really showed who was prepared. Practice time was very limited because of how many people were spinning off course in the wet. The weekend really separated those who were faking it and those who were making it with both rain and dry setups needed in the same sessions.
All of Winward Racing’s drivers are really good in the rain, and the team was hoping for a chance to show that in the race. The No. 33 and No. 57 teams gambled by taking rain tires at the first sign of rain. However, the storm went just around the track, so the team was stuck with full rain tires for the remainder of the race in relatively dry track conditions.
In the end, the No. 33, driven by Russell Ward and Indy Dontje, finished in the 15th position. The No. 57, piloted by Bryce Ward and Christian Hohenadel, brought home a 19th place finish.
“This was another weekend that shows we’re one step closer towards winning,” Glen Wheeler, Winward Racing’s team manager, said. “The team is working hard and the strength of the team is really coming together. With a little luck, the No. 33 and No. 57 will be racing each other for wins.”
Next up on the race schedule is four-hour Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240 at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York on Saturday, June 29 at 1:55 p.m. EST. The race will be tape-delayed and broadcasted on NBC Sports Network on Monday, July 8 at 6:00 p.m. EST.