Tom Blomqvist and the #60 Meyer Shank Racing team secured their third-consecutive podium finish after a late-race charge from Tom rewarded the team with a second-place finish to springboard themselves back into IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship contention.
Heading to Road America’s IMSA SportsCar Weekend, Tom and the team arrived at the circuit on the back of a strong run of form that had seen them secure their second victory of the season, winning at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and hoping to continue that into Sunday’s two hour 40-minute race.
Tom and the team in the #60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Acura ARX-06 got off to a tricky start, with day one seeing them having to manage through braking-related issues as they finished the opening practice sessions in fifth and eighth place respectively.
Heading into Saturday's qualifying session, the team opted for big changes on setup and focussed on Sunday's race as Colin Braun was elected for qualifying duties. With most of their GTP rivals pitting for a second set of Michelins during qualifying, Meyer Shank Racing opted to save its tires for the race, but despite this Braun was able to secure a third-row, sixth-place starting position for the team on Sunday.
While Braun qualified sixth on Saturday, he actually took the green flag starting fourth after pre-race incidents sent two higher-placed cars to the back of the GTP grid. He took third on the opening race lap, and the MSR Acura ran in podium contention for the remainder of the race.
Braun moved up to second one hour into the event and pitted in that position with one hour, 36-minutes remaining. Blomqvist joined the race in fourth, quickly moved up to third, and then made a pass for second with one hour, nine minutes left on the clock. He made his final pit top with 48 minutes remaining, and was back in second one lap later, running 6.396-seconds behind the leader. On the final stop, MSR changed all four tires, while the leader gambled by changing only left-side Michelins.
From that point, Blomqvist gradually carved his way into contention. Less than two seconds back with eight minutes on the clock, bad breaks in traffic hindered his charge over the final three laps.
Tom's spirited late-race charge came up short for and crossed the line just 4.635-seconds shy of a second-straight GTP victory. Once well back in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the team was eighth in the standings, 284 points back, after four events. Then the season turned around, with a third-place finish in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen followed by victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Sunday’s runner-up finish. Now, MSR is fifth in the points with only two races remaining.
The championship now moves to iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Sept. 17 Tirerack.com Battle on the Bricks. That sets the stage for the traditional finale, the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 14 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
“Even if we’d caught the back of them (No. 7 Porsche), it’s quite hard to pass here if you don’t get lucky with traffic. We had a great race though. The start put us in a good position and the team did great pit stops. We had some good stints. I think ultimately if we’d get caught behind the 01 car for that long, maybe that would have made it closer at the end.”
In association with MBP