Sandberg, the current GTS point leader, jumped to the lead in his No. 13 ANSA Motorsports KTM X-Bow GT4 from the standing start Sunday with Stacy, the Saturday GTS winner in the No. 14 Roush Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302, in hot pursuit. Mark Klenin of Long Tree, Colo., made a sensational start from his fourth position but spun in turn 2 while running second. Klenin's spin caused a full-course caution period for the first lap of the 50-minute sprint race.
"My start was super important today with the standing start," said Sandberg. "On Saturday, we did everything we could to try to get around Nate. But he drove a flawless race. I knew how important today's start would be, and we nailed it. Overall, the ANSA Motorsports guys did a good job with a few changes from Saturday. It was cooler this morning for the race as (compared to) Saturday's afternoon event, so we made adjustments to help the car. We went more on the aggressive side because we knew we needed a fast car early in the race. We have done a lot with the KTM car this year and developed the chassis throughout the season. With the help of Reiter Engineering in Germany, it has been a process to get the car developed with each race. But overall it has been a fun year."
"It is impressive how Marcus Haselgrove (PWC Director of Competition) and his staff balanced with a brand mix of cars in the GTS class," Mantella remarked. "That is why you saw great racing in GTS this weekend. There are so many different types of machinery and we can all race hard and competitively. When I got out of my car after the race, I shook Nate's hand. It's amazing how he was driving that Ford like a drift car, and we fought side by side for position. As a driver, it's about as exciting as it gets. I love racing in the Pirelli World Challenge. It has to be some of the best racing in North America. Yesterday I made a mistake and tapped Brett in the back. That wrecked our races. But we came back today and put in a strong effort with the KTM."
Stacy commented on his Sunday race performance, "At the start, we tried to go three-wide up into turn two and that doesn't go very well. Then Mark (Klenin) slid off the track and Anthony (Mantella) moved in behind me. I tried to chase Brett (Sandberg) for a while and see if he would make a mistake, but I had nothing for him today. Anthony made a brilliant move on the outside of turn nine to pass me for second. I didn't see that one coming and I was just not ready to fight it. Overall, it was a great weekend for the team with a win and third place. It helps us in the points entering the finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. I can't wait to get there now."
At the restart, Sandberg fought off Stacy's challenge and opened his advantage to a second with two-time GTS series champion Lawson Aschenbach of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in third in the No. 10 Black Dog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro. Aschenbach started sixth Sunday.
By the fourth lap, it was a three-car battle with Sandberg, Stacy and Mantella, the Utah GTS winner in the No. 8 Gulf/Mantella Autosport KTM X-Bow, nearly nose to tail in another exciting GTS event at Sonoma Raceway. The race was shaping up to be a similar thriller as Saturday's GTS contest when Stacy, 16, captured his first GTS feature.
Sandberg started to open his gap to three seconds by the tenth circuit as Stacy and Mantella fought side-by-side throughout the 2.38-mile, 12-turn permanent racing facility north of San Francisco Bay. Twice Mantella moved wide in an attempt to pass Stacy for second but the youngster held him off both times.
On lap 16, another full-course caution came out on the track when Kevin Marshall of Incline Village, Nev., attempted a pass in turn nine on veteran Hugh Plumb. Unfortunately, Marshall's No. 44 VSA Motorsports Lotus GT4 made contact with Plumb's No. 12 ANZA Motorsports KTM X-Bow and both cars were retired from the effort. In addition, Jeff Courtney of Milwaukee, Wis., was caught up in the mishap with damage to his No. 99 JCR Motorsports/Kenda Maserati GranTurismo MC Trofeo.
The green flag returned on laps 21 and Stacy and Mantella applied the pressure to Sandberg for the lead once more, but the KTM pilot continued his smooth driving pace and opened up his advantage as the Stacy/Mantella battle raged again. With the teenager sliding his Ford around the track in an impressive "drifting style," Mantella made numerous efforts to gain the second spot. Finally, in turn nine on lap 23, Mantella used an outside line to notch second.
At the checkered flag, Sandberg recorded his fifth GTS win of the year followed by Mantella, Stacy, 15-year-old Parker Chase of New Braunsfels, Texas, in the No. 19 Performance Motorsports Group Ginetta GT4, Scott Heckert of Ridgefield, Conn., in the No. 54 Racer's Edge Sin Car GT4 and Aschenbach.
Other race awards and recognitions were determined as follows:
The Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award was given to Derek DeBoer in the No. 09 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage GT4 for his four-position gain from the start. The Cadillac Move of the Race was determined to be the No. 8 Mantella pass of No. 14 Stacy in the esses to take second place during Lap 22. The KIA Turning Point was determined to be No. 13 Sandberg getting the jump off the standing start into the lead. The VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger award was given to No. 09 DeBoer for picking up six positions overall. The Best Lap was determined to be from No. 80 Martin Barkey in the Mantella Autosport KTM X-Bow GT4 for his 1:42.109-second circuit.
GTS Rounds from Sonoma Raceway premiere on CBS Sports Network on Sunday, October 2nd, 2016 at 5 pm EDT; check your local listings for channel and alternate broadcasts. GTS teams continue the double-header action with a make-up and the season finale rounds at MAZDA Raceway Laguna Seca on October 7-9, 2016.
Pos. PIC, Class, Name, Hometown, Car, Laps
1. 1, GTS, Brett Sandberg, Allendale NJ/Allendale NJ, KTM XBow GT4, 26
2. 2, GTS, Anthony Mantella, Toronto ON/Toronto ON, KTM XBow GT4, 26
3. 3, GTS, Nate Stacy, Owasso OK/Owasso OK, Ford Boss 302, 26
4. 4, GTS, Parker Chase, New Braunfels TX/New Braunfels TX, Ginetta GT4, 26
5. 5, GTS, Scott Heckert, Ridgefield CT/Ridgefield CT, SIN R1 GT4, 26
6. 6, GTS, Lawson Aschenbach, Palm Beach Gardens FL/Palm Beach Gardens FL, Chevrolet Camaro, 26
7. 7, GTS, Martin Barkey, Huntsville QC/Huntsville QC, KTM XBow GT4, 26
8. 8, GTS, Harry Gottsacker, San Antonio TX/San Antonio TX, Ginetta GT4, 26
9. 9, GTS, Derek DeBoer, Novato CA/Novato CA, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 26
10. 10, GTS, Tony Gaples, Libertyville IL/Libertyville IL, Chevrolet Camaro, 26
11. 11, GTS, Mark Klenin, Lone Tree CO/Lone Tree CO, MASERATI GranTurismo MC Trofeo, 26
12. 12, GTS, George Kurtz, Scottsdale AZ/Scottsdale AZ, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 26
13. 13, GTS, Bill Ziegler, Ponte Verdra FL/Ponte Verdra FL, KTM XBow GT4, 26
14. 14, GTS, Greg Milzcik/Greg Milzcik/Greg Milzcik, Littleton CO/Littleton CO, Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 26
15. 15, GTS, Hugh Plumb, Unionville PA/Unionville PA, KTM XBow GT4, 15
16. 16, GTS, Kevin Marshall, Incline Village NV/Incline Village NV, Lotus GT4, 15
17. 17, GTS, Jeff Courtney, Milwaukee WI/Milwaukee WI, MASERATI GranTurismo MC Trofeo, 15