Riley Dickinson has wrapped up his Porsche Deluxe Carrera Cup North America championship-winning season in fine style by completing the season’s final round at Circuit of the Americas with victory in front of a huge US Grand Prix crowd.
Starting from pole, the Kellymoss racer held off McElrea Racing’s Tom Sargent in turn one and was never headed in the run to the flag.
Behind him, however, the action was fierce as drivers were pushed to – and over – the limit to try to score a strong result in the final race of the season.
Three caution flags flew during the race as hopes were dashed and championship results upturned.
Am class leader Scott Noble’s hopes of clinching the championship were ruined by contact on lap one which put him out the race. His teammate and team owner, Mark Kvamme, was able to race to victory to also score back-to-back championship wins.
Mechanic drama and contact hit Pro class drivers Bayley Hall (McElrea Racing); Jake Pedersen (Rearden Racing); Elias de la Torre (JDX Racing) and Dan Clark (NOLASPORT) while Baby Bull Racing’s Michael Cooper’s chance of scoring a podium came unstuck after contact from Sargent, who was also hit behind by MDK Motorsports’ Jimmy Libre.
Libre showed impressive speed before his race came to an end in the barriers on lap 11 when JDX Racing’s Will Martin clashed with NOLASPORT’s Thomas Merrill and launched his front wheels high in the air.
By the time time Martin was able to regain control, he struck Libre going throught esses and both cars spun off – Libre’s hitting the barrier hard.
This brought out the final safety car, which sadly caused the race to finish under yellow.
“We had a little bit of everything: some full course yellows, some restarts, quite a bit of action in turn one,” Dickinson said.
“Taking what we learned yesterday, I had a good idea of what to expect from the restarts. Bringing in what we learned on those restarts, I was able to use it today to put our best foot forward.
“A huge thank you to everyone at Porsche for allowing us to come and race at such an incredible venue. This has been a pretty surreal event. It being my home track, it is pretty special, but I think it has been for all the teams.
“What a fantastic way to finish out our season. This is a testament to everyone at Kellymoss. When I heard we had the opportunity to finish our season at COTA, I was thrilled.
“I knew how much this event means to the world of racing but also to me and to my partner Porsche of Austin. It has been a special experience. Thank you to our friends at Racing For Children’s, it has been a special journey with them.”
Topp Racing’s Ryan Yardley collected his best finish of the second to run second behind Dickinson – a fitting record for the New Zealander who threatened to climb the podium several times during the year only for misfortune to take him out of contention.
Tom Sargent completed the podium in third place and cemented his championship position of second at season’s end.
The Rafa Racing Club Pro-Am class had a new “Sherrif” in town, with GMG Racing’s James Sofranos taking his second win in succession.
He led home MDK Motorsport’s Chris Bellomo and championship winner Efrin Castro.
“We are going to have a bigger involvement in Carrera Cup North America next year, and I wanted to experience it for myself firsthand,” Sofronas said.
“I thoroughly enjoyed it. I knew the race today was going to be rough and tumble, so having probably 500 starts in different series in my career, I knew what to expect.
“At one point at the start, I got hit on both sides, and the steering wheel snapped 90-degrees. I was in midair while a car was four-wheels up on the inside curbing in [turn] two. I don’t know how I didn’t wreck. I think the only reason I didn’t was because I just hit a car to my left and to my right and it straightened me out.”
Mark Kvamme walked away with the Am class win and championship for the MDK Motorsports boss but it was a bittersweet day for the team owner whose customer, friend and rival Scott Noble had his championship hopes dashed by contact.
Noble graduated to Carrera Cup after winning the GT4 America Championship last year in Porsche Cayman with Jason Hart and led the points heading into COTA – but finished the weekend with a damaged car and a broken heart.
“This was 100 percent not the way I wanted to win this championship,” Kvamme said.
“Scott [Noble] has been such a great competitor all season long. He races super fair. We had a great race yesterday. I wanted to battle with him today and see what happens.
“I hate to say it, but that’s racing. That has happened to me in the past, and I feel really bad for him. At the beginning of the season, I had him. But then he just put this head down and worked. He came right at me.
“Right now, he is faster than me. So, I just had to be as smart as I could in the races. It has been a great year.”