MONTEREY, Calif. – The first race of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge by Yokohama at the American Le Mans Monterey presented by Patrón got off to an exciting start this afternoon as the green flag dropped on the 24-car field, and incident on the first lap of competition immediately put a new “spin” on the action.
There was an immediate full course caution as the car No. 20 of Effort Racing’s Sloan Urry apparently dropped two wheels off track exiting turn two and made contact with the No. 45 TruSpeed Motorsports entry of Miles Maroney upon re-entering the track.
While Maroney was spinning across track from the initial impact, he collected the NGT Motorsport entry of Angel Benitez Jr. along with the Kelly-Moss Motorsports No. 17 of Paul Barnhart Jr., forcing them all to retire from competition.
Urry was able to repair his damage and continue on, but he was later penalized for avoidable contact, costing him valuable position on-track.
Once back to green flag action, Colin Thompson in the No. 14 entry of Thompson Racing and Effort Racing teammates Ashley Freiberg and Michael Mills took advantage of the gap created at the front of the field and moved up to take the third and fourth positions, respectively.
Freiberg, a former open wheel contender in the Star Mazda Series, proved she was able to quickly adapt to her 911 GT3 Cup car, and used all 11 turns of the 2.238-mile ranging road course to catch up to rival Thompson with only 10 minutes remaining in the race. She was able to manage her tires to make a solid pass on Thompson to capture second place on the podium.