INDIANAPOLIS – Drew Staveley led from start to finish en route to Thursday’s Pirelli GT4 America sprint race win at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Matt Travis and the No. 48 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 led the field to the green flag for Thursday’s penultimate round of the 2020 season, but as the grid came into turn one, Drew Staveley and the No. 12 Ian Lacy Racing Ford Mustang GT4 snuck into the overall and pro lead.
That was all Staveley needed as he went on to claim his second win of the season.
“What a day! I can’t believe we were able to do that today,” Staveley said. “We have a really great team working for us. It’s not easy and we have been working non-stop, but we’ve been fighting tooth and nail and I can’t thank everyone enough!”
Also at the start, Paul Terry’s No. 59 Rearden Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT4 would take advantage of Staveley’s move and slip past Travis for second overall, first in the Am class.
Michael Cooper and the No. 10 Blackdog Speedshop would waste no time and also get around Travis at the turns four and five complex and fall into third position overall.
On the next lap, Am championship leader Michael Dinan and the No. 210 Flying Lizard Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 would go for a pass on the outside of turn three around Jeff Courtney, but turned in too early, colliding with Courtney and getting sent into the gravel.
The first safety car would quickly be called as Courtney would be forced to pit to change a flat left front tire. The RecStuff Racing crew would work quickly and keep Courtney on the lead lap in 11th position overall.
The race would get back to green with 42 minutes remaining with Staveley leading Terry and Cooper overall.
With 36 minutes left on the clock, Cooper would sneak to the inside of Terry at turn seven to claim second position overall, but find himself four seconds behind Staveley in the lead.
On the next lap, Travis would go for a pass around Terry at the same spot, but tap the No. 59 Aston Martin, spinning him and allowing Jarett Andretti’s No. 18 McLaren 570S GT4 to inherit third position overall with Terry falling to 10th overall.
Travis would face a warning, but keep the Am-class lead and go on to take the victory.
“That was a lot of fun! We came here to get a little extra seat time, but man that was a long race, I’m tired! Great day and a lot fun, I look forward to the next one!” said Travis.
As the clock ticked past the 27 minute mark, the battle for the Am podium stayed hot as Erin Vogel, subbing for Tony Gaples in the No. 11 Blackdog Speedshop McLaren 570S GT4, would make an impressive pass around Christopher Gumprecht’s No. 79 CG Racing Mercedes AMG GT4 for second in class.
That position change would be short-lived however, as Gumprecht would get back around Vogel on the following lap. Terry, recovering from his earlier spin, would also get past Vogel for third in Am, but would tap the back of Gumprecht at turn two and spin the Carolina Blue Mercedes into seventh in class.
With 20 minutes remaining, Sean Quinlan’s #119 Stephen Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 would get past Vogel’s McLaren for third in class, sixth overall with an inside pass going into turn 11.
With just under two minutes left, the Am-leading Porsche of Matt Travis would make an outside pass around Andretti at turn one for third overall.
As the checkered flag flew Staveley would get the overall and Pro class win ahead of Cooper and Andretti. Staveley would also claim the race’s fastest lap of 1:31.439, landing him on pole of Friday’s second race of the weekend.
Travis would take the Am victory ahead of Terry and Quinlan.