Compass Racing Overcomes Strong Competition for Fourth Straight TCR Win, While Paraplegic Driver Johnson Gets First Podium
While Compass Racing brought home its fourth straight TCR victory on Saturday, it certainly wasn’t easy.
The team’s No. 75 Audi RS3 LMS of Pierre Kleinubing and Roy Block started from the pole but was involved in a first-lap incident that ended its chances for victory. As a result, the remaining TCR teams jumped at the opportunity, especially eEuroparts.com Racing.
The No. 12 Audi of Kenton Koch and Tom O’Gorman led the most laps of any TCR car with 47, but ultimately it was the No. 77 Compass Racing Audi of Tom Long and Britt Casey, Jr. that found its way back to the lead when it mattered, leading the last 16 laps before taking the checkered flag.
“It was great racing,” said Long. “It’s always exciting having more cars come with the series. The eEuroparts car was there with us as a new entry, really tough. I got a good clean pass on him coming up in traffic, using it to our advantage.
“Then I just put my head down and drove. We were lucky enough to check out on him and I just love this track. I’ve got to really thank Watkins Glen and IMSA for putting on a great event here.”
Long and Casey, Jr. swept the two Continental Tire Challenge endurance races this season in the TCR class, as the No. 77 also took the four-hour victory at the season-opening BMW Endurance Challenge at Daytona International Speedway in January.
“Our car was amazing, the guys had it so hooked up,” said Casey, Jr. “With these endurance races, we are more worried about car longevity and the tire. It works and we just proved it. It’s a great day.”
The remaining Compass Racing Audi, the No. 74 of Kuno Wittmer and Rodrigo Sales – who entered the weekend with two consecutive wins in the class – finished second.
Rounding out the podium was the No. 54 JDC-Miller Motorsports Audi RS3 LMS of Michael Johnson and co-driver Stephen Simpson. The third-place finish – the team’s best since entering the Continental Tire Challenge two years ago – was especially sweet for Johnson, a paraplegic since the age of 12.
“This is something I’ve been working towards since I started in cars in 2009 and finally we have that podium,” said Johnson. “It finally shows that I can really do it and I’m so happy about that and all the work that I put into it. “