LEXINGTON, Ohio — Billy Johnson and Jack Roush Jr. returned to victory circle in Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge competition for the first time since the 2012 season opener at Daytona in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Driving the No. 61 Roush Performance Products/USANA Health Sciences/Gary Yeomans Ford Lincoln Ford Mustang Boss 302 R, Johnson took the Grand Sport (GS) class lead on Lap 37 of what would be a 70-lap race when leader Bryan Sellers made a pit stop.
Johnson held on to the lead through several restarts – including one with less than five minutes remaining in the race – to score his 11th career Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge victory. It was the eighth career victory in the series for Roush, who started from eighth on the grid.
“We’ve had a lot of great runs at Mid-Ohio,” Johnson said. “I like to think we could have won the last two years. It’s really nice to be able to finish first. This is my first win at Mid-Ohio. I’ve always loved this track and it’s nice to be able to come back with a first-place trophy.”
Lawson Aschenbach came home second in the No. 01 CKS Autosport Chevrolet Camaro GS.R, finishing 0.307 seconds behind Johnson. Aschenbach’s co-driver is Eric Curran. Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi finished third in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche Carrera.
David Empringham and John Farano finished fourth to take over the lead in the GS driver standings. With 132 points, they are one point ahead of a four-way tie for second between Longhi and Matt Plumb, and teammates Hugh Plumb and Al Carter, who finished seventh.
The Street Tuner (ST) victory went to co-drivers Chad Gilsinger and Michael Valiante in the No. 93 Red Line Oil/HPD Honda Civic Si. Gilsinger started from the ST pole and led 19 laps during his stint before giving way to Valiante, who led a class-high 24 laps to score the victory.
“For me this is like the 24 hours and I’m doing another stint,” said Valiante, who started the Rolex Series race Saturday from second on the grid. “Even when I was leading I was trying to pace myself to be ready to run in the prototype as well.”
Brothers Mark and Mat Pombo came home second in ST co-driving the No. 12 Infinity Audio/Kia Motors America/Rocky Tools Kia Forte Koup. Andrew Novich and Adam Burrows were third in class co-driving the No. 74 Dr. Kimberly Henry/Speed Secrets/HPD Honda Civic Si. After an 11th-place result, co-drivers Andy Lally and Nic Jonsson lead the ST driver standings by nine points, 128-119, over Pierre Kleinubing, who finished 18th.