SONOMA, Calif. – Tyler Maxson made short work of Friday’s TC America TCR field to earn his sixth victory of the season at Sonoma Raceway.
Victor Gonzalez and the No. 99 VGMC Honda Civic TCR led the TC America field to the green flag for Friday’s race under sunny skies. Maxson, who started fourth due to a qualifying technical infraction, jumped to second on the first lap.
By the end of the second lap, Maxson would get past Gonzalez for the lead and never look back, going on to take his sixth-straight win to open the season. Maxson would also run the fastest lap of the race, giving him pole for Saturday’s second race.
“The Copeland Motorsports guys had the Hyundai Veloster N really hooked up today. Our handling is a little off right now, but the guys spent all night getting this thing right and it’s really on rails now,” said Maxson.
Gonzalez would end the day in second with Roy Block third.
In the TC division, James Clay snuck past the polesitting No. 31 Hard Motorsports BMW entry of Johan Schwartz for the lead to start the race. Clay and Schwartz would battle nose to tail for the next 40 minutes. Joseph Federl and the No. 23 Tech Sport Racing Nissan 370Z would stay in third position at the start, but stalk the two leaders.
TCA saw the polesitting No. 60 MINI JCW Team MINI Cooper of Tomas Mejia maintain the lead at the green flag with Tyler Gonzalez, who started fourth in the No. 57 Copeland Motorsport Hyundai Veloster Turbo, jump immediately to second and begin to hunt Mejia for the class lead.
With 20 minutes to go, Gonzalez would get past Mejia for the lead going into turn 4 and take the TCA class victory, his second-straight.
“I want to thank Copeland Motorsports for a great car. I was able to get a good start and manage the tires and that was really the key today,” said Gonzalez.
With 19 minutes on the clock, TC-class challenger Toby Grahovec and the No. 26 Classic BMW M240iR would suffer a flat tire while running in fourth position and was forced to pit, handing the position to his teammate Bryson Lew and the No. 27 Classic BMW M240iR. Lew would then get past Federl for third in class, where he would ultimately finish.
Clay would take the TC victory followed by Schwartz and Lew.
“I was able to get a good start and settle into first, but had a great race-long battle with Johan. It really came down to tire management and the BimmerWorld guys giving me a great car,” said Clay.
With just less than six minutes left on the clock, Mark Pombo and the No. 61 MINI JCW Team MINI Cooper would sneak past Mejia at the final hairpin for second position in the TCA class with the twin MINIs taking the final two podium positions.