Fittipaldi, Barbosa win Road Race Showcase at RA


CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI/Joao Barbosa maneuver turn 3 en route to winning Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America. – Photo by Mike McGill CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI/Joao Barbosa maneuver turn 3 en route to winning Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America. – Photo by Mike McGill ELKHART LAKE – Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi prevailed in Sunday’s Continental Tire Road Race Showcase at Road America.

The drivers of the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP recovered from an early spin and brake problems, dodged six cautions and made a timely pit stop to score their third TUDOR United SportsCar Championship victory of the season – padding their lead in the Prototype point standings in the process.

Barbosa, from Portugal, took the checkered flag 2.240 seconds ahead of Ozz Negri, who had his best finish of the season in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb/Agajanian Ford EcoBoost/Riley, started by John Pew. Scott Sharp and Ryan Dalziel completed the podium in the No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports Tequila PatrĂ³n HPD ARX-03b/ Honda.


PATRICK DEMPSEY, TV star, signs autographs for fans during last weekend’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Road America. Dempsey competed in the GTD class. – Photo by Mike McGill PATRICK DEMPSEY, TV star, signs autographs for fans during last weekend’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge at Road America. Dempsey competed in the GTD class. – Photo by Mike McGill Fittipaldi, from Brazil, spun while leading early in the race after contact with Ricky Taylor, driving the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP. Fittipaldi pitted under caution on lap 22, turning the car over to Barbosa, with most of the leading teams using that stop to change drivers.

“It was a pretty wild race, but we can’t be happier,” Fittipaldi said. “At one point during my stint, I thought it was all over. I was having huge brake problems. But we managed to fix it on our first stop, and we had a solid car the rest of the race.”

The turning point of the race came on lap 38, when the Action Express team pitted under caution while a number of contenders elected to stay out. That allowed the three eventual podium finishers to maintain their track positions while the remaining contenders pitted during a later caution with 45 minutes remaining, effectively splitting the Prototype field.


CONTINENTAL TIRE Road Race Showcase winners Christian Fittipaldi (right) and Joao Barbosa celebrate after Sunday’s finals. – Photo by Mike McGill CONTINENTAL TIRE Road Race Showcase winners Christian Fittipaldi (right) and Joao Barbosa celebrate after Sunday’s finals. – Photo by Mike McGill Jordan Taylor was leading the race in the car started by his brother Ricky when the fifth caution waved for an incident involving Olivier Pla in the No. 42 OAK Racing Morgan/ Nissan in Turn 3.

Before the caution ended, Taylor hit a barrier in Turn 9, and his race was ended with a steering failure. That incident extended the caution.

When racing resumed with 20 minutes remaining, the cars that pitted were mired in traffic with Prototype Challenge (PC) and GT Le Mans (GTLM) cars, with not enough time remaining to get back into contention. Barbosa led the remainder of the race, while Negri managed to pass Dalziel on the final restart to take second.

“The car was really perfect today,” Barbosa said. “The team did unbelievable strategy. We pitted at just the right time, and the last few yellows really made us good to go all the way to the end.

“I didn’t have to worry about conserving fuel – I could push as hard as I could. I think we would have been good to go regardless but the extended caution really helped us.”

Entering the race with a twopoint lead, Action Express Racing unofficially increased its lead to 16 points over the Taylors with two Prototype races remaining, with VisitFlorida.com Racing co-drivers Richard Westbrook and Michael Valiante another two points back after a fourth-place finish.


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