Sebring, FL – It was an action-packed two hours of intense racing at Sebring that left five of the six Bryan Herta Autosport Hyundais feeling a little unlucky on the afternoon of St. Patrick’s Day.
Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis turned an unlucky start and a battle from the back – after serving two drive-through penalties into a near win with an intense final lap chase to the checkers. Lewis and race leader Karl Wittmar used every inch of the track in the final lap to fight for the victory, and in the end, Wittmar held the lead for the victory, but by a very slim .182 sec margin. Lewis was the fastest driver of the day, he set the fastest lap of the race just seven laps before the end. It was Lewis and Hagler’s second consecutive second place finish in as many races this season. The defending champions now lead the Series points standings by a 10- point margin.
Mason Filippi had an eventful weekend. He scored his first ever IMSA pole position on Saturday, and it was the second straight pole position for the #77 Elantra N TCR as Filippi’s teammate, Tyler Maxson took the honors at Daytona. Filippi paced the field and ran strong throughout the first half of the race, but his fortunes turned when he was involved in an incident with Kyle Marcelli in the Toyota Supra GT4, 51 minutes into the two-hour race leaving both cars embedded in the tire barrier after a massive impact. Fortunately, both drivers walked away from the incident.
In just his second race using hand controls, Robert Wickens familiarized himself quite quickly, he qualified on the front row and took the lead by the 6th lap at Sebring. Wickens raced 1hr 11 minutes before turning over the car to Wilkins, who soon after had contact resulting in a cut tire. The damage forced the #33 team to the garage where they attempted to repair the #33 Elantra N TCR but were unable to.
Frustrations prevailed after strong runs from the #2 Elantra N TCR of AJ Muss and Ryan Norman, the #98 Elantra N TCR of Harry Gottsacker, Parker Chase and the #54 Universal Coating Elantra N TCR of Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson, who finished seventh, eighth and ninth respectively. Gottsacker and Chase had the most promising day of the group, they ran inside the top five all day and looked like they might be headed for a podium finish before being hit by another car in the final laps.
The series has a five-week hiatus before the Hyundai Monterey Sports Car Challenge, Hyundai’s home race at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca on April 28-30, 2022, in California.
BHA Race Results
Taylor Hagler/Michael Lewis
#1 Elantra N TCR – Started 5th/Finished 2nd
Championship Standings: 1st – 640 pts
Harry Gottsacker/Parker Chase
#98 Elantra N TCR – Started 3rd/Finished 7th
Championship Standings: 11th – 430 pts
AJ Muss/Ryan Norman
#2 Elantra N TCR – Started 6th/Finished 8th
Championship Standings: 13th – 380 pts
Michael Johnson/Stephen Simpson
#54 Universal Coating/Elantra N TCR – Started 7th/Finished 9th
Championship Standings: 8th – 470 pts
Robert Wickens/Mark Wilkins
#33 Elantra N TCR – Started 2nd/Finished 13th (puncture)
Championship Standings: 6th – 480 pts
Tyler Maxson/Mason Filippi
#77 Elantra N TCR – Started 1st/Finished 15th (contact)
Championship Standings: 14th – 380 pts
Post-Race b-roll including Hagler/Lewis Interview from Sebring Raceway: