02 Jul Race Recap – #TiogaDowns240 at Watkins Glen International
On Saturday, June 30, Winward Racing took the green flag for the four-hour #TiogaDowns240 at Watkins Glen International on the front row for the first time in team history. Starting first in the No. 33 Mobil1 Mercedes-AMG GT4, Indy Dontje and Russell Ward started alongside teammates Christian Hohenadel and Bryce Ward who were piloting the No. 57 IBERIABANK machine during the fourth race of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series season.
On Friday, Winward Racing history was made. After practicing within the top-five throughout the weekend, the drivers of the No. 33 and No. 57 machines anxiously awaited qualifying, knowing they were amongst the fastest of the weekend. Indy Dontje soared to the pole position with a time of 1:54.70, out-qualifying his teammate, Christian Hohenadel, by .17 seconds, marking the first time in team history of starting on the front row.
“We have proved we are here and hunting for trophies. We are a championship caliber team” Glen Wheeler, team manager, said. “It’s important to mention the growth of this team. Every weekend we keep getting stronger. We’ve been strong, and we’ve been fast, but not necessarily getting the results in the end. But by getting the pole and sweeping the front row, we definitely proved that we are here to contend for wins and for that championship.”
Mother Nature played games this weekend, however. The start of the race was delayed due to storms and rain, and though the track conditions improved to be able to race, the weather wasn’t the friendliest during the 4-hour event which played into race strategy. In the end, the No. 57 and the No. 33 brought home 19th and 20th place finishes due to a racing incident and a mechanical issue respectively.
In addition to the weekend, the No. 57 machine had a new sponsor on-board — IBERIABANK. IBERIABANK is a financial holding company based out of New Iberia Louisiana. IBERIABANK has been serving its community for over 130 years via financial services in retail, commercial, business banking, private banking, and mortgage. We can’t thank IBERIABANK for coming on board with us at Watkins Glen International.
Next up on the race schedule is the two-hour Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario at 1:45 PM EST. The race will be tape-delayed and broadcasted on NBC Sports Network on Tuesday, July 16 at 3:00 p.m. EST.
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