Wild to the End at The Glen
Hyundais prevail for double podium
Watkins Glen, NY (June 26, 2021) – The scenarios changed so often even the telemetry had a hard time keeping up in the Tioga Downs 4 Hour race at The Glen, but the BHA Hyundais prevailed with the #98 Elantra N TCR finishing second and the #77 Veloster N TCR third.
The longer, four-hour format added an extra two hours and 117 miles to the traditional challenges of an IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race. It also requires two additional pitstops, and for most drivers, at least an extra hour of racing time in the car in extremely hot temperatures.
Parker Chase led the Hyundai charge to the front with an incredible drive from last to first by the end of the first hour. Chase was forced to start last as a steering issue kept the #98 Elantra N TCR from qualifying. He accepted the challenge and kept the car up front, racing over two hours before turning the car over to co-driver Ryan Norman in third position, “It took a lot of patience out there today, but our Engineer (Hunter Wright), gave us a darn near perfect car and I wasn’t going to let that go to waste! It was challenging, it was hot, and cars were going off everywhere. With almost 40 cars out there, it seemed like there was always something.” Norman took over for the final push with nearly an hour and a half to go. Although he consistently stayed in the top four, the scenarios changed lap by lap, tight battles ensued, Norman fought hard and ultimately took the checkered flag in second position, “It was crazy out there. I think two laps before the end I was fourth and thought that might be it, but here we are in second, you can’t ever give up and you just never know in these races. Parker brought the car in practically perfect condition after his long stint. This track is so hard on the front tires, we were pushing so hard, it was tough out there, but ultimately, it was another great day for points for the #98 team, and this one feels good.”
The #77 Veloster N TCR of Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis finished third, scoring their third consecutive podium in four races. The #77 also raced from the back to the front after an early race incident put them a lap down. Early race contact forced Hagler into the gravel trap, she was able to recover quickly and turned the car over to Lewis with 2.5 hours remaining. The #77 team strategized to recover the lap and Lewis produced a thrilling drive to finish third, “What a day. Taylor did a great job protecting the car in that early race incident and the crew was awesome as usual today. Our first goal was to get our lap back, once I was able to pass the leader to get it back, we were back in the game, so this is one of those days you’re thankful for that longer race, but it was a tough one!”
The #54 Universal Coating Veloster N TCR looked set for a podium finish, but unexpected fuel alarms forced Stephen Simpson to make an additional late race stop. Simpson and Michael Johnson finished sixth. Harry Gottsacker and Mark Wilkins proved once again that the #33 Elantra has the pace to win, and with a little luck, they will. Unfortunately, luck was not on their side, when steering gremlins arose and forced the crew to spend an hour under the tent for diagnosis and repairs. They were able to return for the final hour, and in that time, Wilkins set the second fastest lap for Hyundai and secured the points required for each driver’s minimum drive time. The #33 Elantra N TCR was 10th.
It’s a quick turnaround for the BHA squad as they remain in upstate New York this week and race the Sahlen’s 120 again at Watkins Glen this Friday. The race, originally schedule to be held at The Canadian Tire Motorsports Park was rescheduled due to COVID 19 travel restrictions.