ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Scott Smithson survived a wild and woolly TC America round at Wisconsin’s Road America to collect his first victory on Saturday afternoon.
Smithson and the No. 17 DXDT Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR brought the field to the green flag, with Tim Lewis Jr. jumping from fourth to second in class going into turn one.
As the field approached turn 5, Olivia Askew spun in the No. 29 DXDT Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCR, then got collected by teammate CJ Moses in the No. 04 entry.
The TC grid got through the havoc, but as they entered turn six, championship leader Johan Schwartz went wide and dropped three positions to eighth in class, just before the safety car was called for the previously-mentioned incident at turn five.
As the field paced behind the safety car, Smithson led in TCR, Toby Grahovec in the No. 26 Classic BMW M240iR led TC, and Kevin Boehm and the No. 9 Boehm Racing Honda Civic Si topped TCA.
The race went back to green with 29 minutes remaining, with Lewis Jr. drag racing to the lead over Smithson, and Victor Gonzalez Jr. getting past Tyler Maxson for third overall.
At the end of the lap, Maxson pulled his car to the pit lane with a mechanical issue and retired, ending his streak of nine consecutive race wins on the season.
On the next lap Gonzalez Jr slipped past Smithson for second in TCR, trying to chase down Lewis for the lead.
In TC, race one winner James Clay and the No. 36 BimmerWorld BMW M240iR powered past Grahovec for the lead in TC, with Bryson Lew in the No. 27 Classic BMW M240iR third.
With 23 minutes on the clock, Gonzalez Jr dove to the inside of Lewis Jr. at turn five, nipping the TCR and overall lead as the top three ran nose to tail.
TCA saw Boehm remain in front, with Tomas Mejia in the No. 60 MINI JCW Team MINI Cooper in second and Jonathan Newcombe in the No. 178 VGMC Honda Civic Si third.
Both TCA championship leaders, Tyler Gonzalez in the No. 57 Copeland Motorsports Hyundai Veloster Turbo and Mark Pombo in the No. 63 MINI JCW Team MINI Cooper, retired with mechanical issues.
With 17 minutes remaining, Smithson worked past Lewis Jr. for second in TCR, as the TC field also saw a change with Chandler Hull and the No. 94 BimmerWorld BMW M240iR passing Lew for third in class.
At the same time, Johan Schwartz worked his way back up to fifth in TC, then also got past Lew for fourth in class with a strong pass on the outside of turn six.
In TCA, P.J. Groenke and the No. 25 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ tS got past Newcombe for third in class and quickly began chasing down Mejia in second.
With 10 minutes left on the clock, TCR leader Gonzalez Jr. suffered a puncture on his left-front tire and was forced to pit, with Smithson inheriting the lead, Lewis Jr. getting second and CJ Moses recovering from an early-race incident to grab third.
Gonzalez Jr. did, however, set the fastest lap of the race to earn the race three pole.
From there, Smithson never looked back, going on to take his first TC America TCR victory.
With two minutes remaining, Groenke wnt for a pass on Mejia for second in TCA, but ran wide at turn five, giving third place back to Newcombe and fourth place to Caleb Bacon and the No. 18 CB Motorsports Hyundai Veloster Turbo.
Later in the lap, Groenke crashed at Canada Corner and fell through the grid.
On the final lap, the TC class battle raged on and saw Chandler Hull move past Grahovec for second, then attack his teammate James Clay for the lead.
But Clay did not flinch and went on to get his second-straight class win of the weekend.
Schwartz also got past Grahovec to complete the podium on a fantastic recovery drive after his early-race mistake.
Boehm cruised to the TCA class win, ahead of Mejia and Newcombe.