MacNeil and Millstein win an evening thriller at COTA
Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli completed its first day of competition at the Circuit of the Americas. Divided into two groups, nearly 40 competitors took to the track to compete in the opening races.
Race 1 began under the setting sun, while race 2 was run well after the sun had completely set. Drivers had only their headlights and nearly 40 light towers around the circuit to light the way ahead. Of course the drivers had plenty of practice in the night with 8+ hours of night running over the previous three days, and they put on quite a show, running without need for a safety car interruption in either race.
Cooper MacNeil (Ferrari of Westlake) had another dominant performance continuing his streak of race wins, fastest laps and pole positions with a fastest race lap of 2:12.136 and earning the win by 25 seconds at the checkered flag. Ross Chouest (Boardwalk Ferrari) came home in second, leading an intense pack of racing that shuffled numerous times through the 30-minute contest. Joseph Rubbo (Ferrari of Long Island) started in second, but as the race wore on it was clear that his tires were wearing away faster than this rivals, leaving him vulnerable. With just a few laps to go, there was a tremendous scrap, and Chouest came out ahead in second while Rubbo was forced to settle for third.
Trofeo Pirelli AM
Jean-Claude Saada (Boardwalk Ferrari) took yet another win in the Trofeo Pirelli AM category, fighting throughout the race with his rivals in the Trofeo Pirelli category. Yet his closest challenger in-class, Brent Holden (Ferrari of Newport Beach) was in the same scrap, never more than a few seconds behind. Ultimately, though, Saada was able to maintain his position and Brent was forced to settle for second. Jason McCarthy (Wide World Ferrari) made his return to the podium, his first after being promoted from the Coppa Shell category.
Kevan Millstein (Ferrari of San Diego) continued his strong run of form, begun at Indianapolis, and took the win in the Coppa Shell category, beating out pole-sitter Brad Horstmann (Foreign Cars Italia). The duo led the Coppa Shell category to their own green flag and were largely undisturbed by competitors for much of the 30-minute contest. Jim Booth (Ferrari of Atlanta) came home in third and also claimed the Gentlemen’s cup.
Coppa Shell AM
Taking place under the setting Austin sunlight, the Coppa Shell AM category took the green flag just past 7:40 p.m. local time, with 21 cars, the largest class of the Ferrari Challenge weekend at Circuit of the Americas. After qualifying on pole, Michael Watt (Ferrari of Atlanta) eased away and was largely unchallenged for the duration of the 30-minute race as the field crested turn 1. Further back, however, excellent battles and competition were found up and down the field, but most notably with championship leader Justin Wetherill (Ferrari of Central Florida) who jumped the start and was assessed a 15 second time penalty. That ended up irrelevant as he opened at 30-second gap on his competition, and thus his 2nd place on the road stood. Chris Aitken (Ferrari of Houston) claimed third, beating Kirk Baerwaldt (Ferrari of Beverly Hills) by just under three seconds. Lisa Clark claimed the Ladies Cup with a 14th place finish in the class.
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