KANSAS CITY, Kan. – John Edwards held off Matt Plumb in a three-lap sprint to the checkered flag Saturday at Kansas Speedway, joining Matt Bell in winning their second race of the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season in the No. 9 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro.
With the victory the duo extends their Grand Sport (GS) championship hopes with two races remaining.
“I think Matt (Plumb) definitely had the faster car,” said Edwards, after scoring his fifth career victory in the CTSCC. “When Matt (Bell) got by Nick Longhi in the first part of the race, that put me in position to defend the lead at the end.”
Bell took the checkered flag 0.425 seconds ahead of Plumb in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 997 started by Nick Longhi. The Rum Bum duo now leads the standings by 51 points (276-225).
“I’d like to think I had something for them at the end, but the risks were too great,” Plumb said. “I was hoping to go for the win, but the opportunity never came up.”
Shelby Blackstock went from ninth to third in the final 30 minutes to score his first GS podium finish in the No. 51 Starstruck Ford Mustang Boss 302R. The car was started from the back of the grid by Joey Atterbury due to a technical infraction after qualifying fourth.
After running the opening hour under the green flag, the latter portion of the race was slowed by four caution periods. A multi-car accident in turn one with 17 minutes remaining sidelined the third-place Porsche of Ken Wilden and also involved the Aston Martin of Kris Wilson and the Volkswagen Jetta of Aleks Altberg. Wilden and Altberg were both evaluated and released from a local hospital.
Jade Buford captured his sixth pole of the season in the No. 55 Multimatic Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage and led three times for 27 laps. Scott Maxwell was running third when the car lost drive and retired with 22 minutes remaining, ending their championship hopes.
In Street Tuner (ST), Taylor Hacquard and Derek Jones their first CTSCC victories in the No. 32 i-Moto/Cybernation Mazda Speed 3 after race leader Michael Valiante was penalized for manipulating the final restart.
When Valiante failed to answer the black flag following the final restart, he was given a time penalty that dropped the No. 93 HART Honda Civic Si started by Chad Gilsinger to an 11th-place finish.
“Valiante just bunched us up before it went green,” Hacquard said. “I didn’t even know he was ‘DQ’ed’ until the final lap. I just stayed behind him. I didn’t want to make any mistakes.”
The competitive ST battle featured 15 lead changes among seven drivers and four cars. Valiante and Gilsinger led a race-high 66 laps, while Hacquard was credited with leading only the final lap.
Terry Borcheller finished second in the No. 23 Burton Racing BMW 128i started by Mike LaMarra, regaining the ST points lead in the process. Jesse Combs and Jeff Mosing entered the race holding a six-point lead but finished eighth. They are now tied for second with Ryan Eversley and Kyle Gimple – who placed third in the No. 75 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic – three points behind the leaders (215-212).