Saturday Canadian Tire Motorsport Park IMSA Notebook

Mired in heavy traffic and with Billy Johnson breathing down his neck, Andy Lally held on to win Saturday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in the No. 9 Stevenson Automotive Group Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R.

Lally co-drove to the victory with Matt Bell, who started third and drove the opening stint of the race.

"The track was the greasiest it was all week," said Bell of his stint. “It was tempting to light them up, but I had to save the car for Andy (Lally)."

Bell managed to save the car so much that after the switch, the Stevenson team opted for a two-tire stop for Lally as opposed to taking on four like most of his opponents. In the final laps, however, Johnson’s No. 158 Ford Mustang was closing in quickly, especially with the traffic.

“If there is a driver’s track on the (IMSA) circuit, this is it," commented Lally. “I knew the Mustang would be strong. On the restart, I was just trying to get away and my biggest fear was for them to get to my bumper. We got into lap traffic, and the guys tried to be nice, but we just got to them at the wrong time."

In the Street Tuner (ST) class, Canadians Adam Isman and Remo Ruscitti charged through the field in their No. 04 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche Cayman. Isman started from the rear of the grid due to repairs following an incident in qualifying, but worked his way forward and handed off to Ruscitti, who made a pass for the lead with three minutes remaining in the two-and-a-half hour race to get the victory.

“It’s nice to win in front of the home crowd," said Isman. “We had a good qualifying session, but then I put the car in the wall. The team worked very hard on it and now we are in Victory Lane."

The series will reconvene at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 25 for the eighth race of the season.

Dalziel fastest in final TUDOR Championship pre-qualifying practice

Ryan Dalziel was the only driver to break the one-minute, 10-second barrier in the final TUDOR Championship practice session at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park before qualifying on Saturday. The Scottish racer who hails from Orlando, Fla., drove the No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b/Honda to a best time of 1:09.996.

The No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP driven by Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante was second on the chart (1:10.224, 126.059 mph). The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi came in third (1:10.835,124.972 mph).

The only other car to eclipse the 70-second mark this weekend, the No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan/Nissan, could do no better than eighth on Saturday morning with a time of 1:11.674. On Friday, the car driven by Olivier Pla and Gustavo Yacaman was first in both of the two practices sessions with the fastest time of the weekend thus far at 1:09.853.

In the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class, the No. 56 BMW Z4 GTE Team driven by John Edwards and Dirk Mueller was fastest with a time of 1:15.308. The No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America was the fastest of the GT Daytona (GTD) class. The car driven by Patrick Lindsey and Kevin Estre recorded a time of 1:19.033.

The one-hour session saw a short red flag period around the 15-minute mark. The No. 35 Flying Lizard Motorsports Audi R8 LMS was driven by Seth Neiman when the car suffered fuel-related issues and stalled on the side of the track.

Canadians Feeling At Home

It might be the only visit for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship outside the United States, but for three drivers it’s a chance to drive on home soil.

In the Prototype class, Canadian Tire Motorsport Park is a “home race" for Michael Valiante even though his hometown is 4,500 miles away in Burnaby, British Columbia. On the heels of a victory two weeks ago at Watkins Glen, Valiante will again share the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP with Englishman Richard Westbrook in Sunday’s race.

Closer to home are Chris Green and Kuno Wittmer, who reside 300 miles away in Montreal. Wittmer is especially familiar with the track, having logged thousands of laps in multiple series and claiming his first podium result in the Formula 1600 series when he was just 16 years old.

“I like Mosport," said Wittmer. “From 1999 all the way through 2013, I’ve raced there in multiple championships and easily up to four or five race weekends a year. It’s important that we have this race in the calendar. Mosport draws a lot of attention from spectators that come from Toronto and the Ontario-area and even from the Province of Québec, some that make the five-hour drive to the race."

This weekend, Wittmer is driving the No. 93 SRT Motorsports Dodge Viper SRT with teammate Jonathan Bomarito from Monterey, Calif., in the GTLM class.

Green, meanwhile, is making his TUDOR Championship debut in the GTD class. He is sharing the No. 18 Muehlner Motorsports America Porsche 911 GT America along with Mark Thomas of Houston.

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