Braun, Blomqvist record third-consecutive podium finish for new Acura GTP
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (6 August 2023) – Meyer Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian roared back into IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship contention with its third-consecutive podium finish, placing second in Sunday’s IMSA SportsCar Weekend feature race at Road America.
Tom Blomqvist saw a spirited late-race charge come up short for the No. 60 AutoNation / SiriusXM Acura ARX-06 started by Colin Braun, crossing the line just 4.635-seconds shy of a second-straight GTP victory. Once well back in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the team was eighth in the standings, 284 points back, after four events. Then the season turned around, with a third-place finish in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen followed by victory at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and Sunday’s runner-up finish. Now, MSR is fifth in the points with only two races remaining.
After a myriad of incidents throughout practice, qualifying, morning warmup and even the pace lap – causing the clock for the two-hour, 40-minute race to start under caution – Sunday’s lone additional caution flag waved on the third lap. When racing resumed on lap seven, the final two hours, 22 minutes were run under the green flag.
While Braun qualified sixth on Saturday, he actually took the green flag starting fourth after pre-race incidents sent two higher-placed cars to the back of the GTP grid. He took third on the opening race lap, and the MSR Acura ran in podium contention for the remainder of the race.
Braun moved up to second one hour into the event, and pitted in that position with one hour, 36-minutes remaining. Blomqvist joined the race in fourth, quickly moved up to third, and then made a pass for second with one hour, nine minutes left on the clock. He made his final pit top with 48 minutes remaining, and was back in second one lap later, running 6.396-seconds behind the leader. On the final stop, MSR changed all four tires, while the leader gambled by changing only left-side Michelins.
From that point, Blomqvist gradually carved his way into contention. Less than two seconds back with eight minutes on the clock, bad breaks in traffic hindered his charge over the final three laps.
The championship now moves to iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Sept. 17 Tirerack.com Battle on the Bricks. That sets the stage for the traditional finale, the 10-hour Motul Petit Le Mans on Oct. 14 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
Meyer Shank Racing Team Quotes:
“We got a bit of luck to pick up a couple of spots before the start. We had a good start, got into third and then, honestly, we just went to a fuel number and started riding it out. I think everyone in the race expected a lot of yellows, so it was surprising to only get one. It was a great stint from Tom at the end. We had great strategy and great pit stops. Considering in our first two practice sessions we struggled with some brake problems, to bounce back and be in contention for a win here was pretty awesome. I’m proud of everyone at MSR, Acura and HPD.
“Even if we’d caught the back of them (No. 7 Porsche), it’s quite hard to pass here if you don’t get lucky with traffic. We had a great race though. The start put us in a good position and the team did great pit stops. We had some good stints. I think ultimately if we’d get caught behind the 01 car for that long, maybe that would have made it closer at the end.”