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06/27 2016

Eversley Completes Road America Sweep by NSSN Staff

Ryan Eversley swept both Pirelli World Challenge GT class races at Road America. (PWC Photo)

Ryan Eversley swept both Pirelli World Challenge GT class races at Road America. (PWC Photo)

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. — Ryan Eversley completed a weekend sweep of the Pirelli World Challenge GT class events on Sunday afternoon at Road America.

Frankie Montecalvo and Alec Udell won in GTA and GT Cup, respectively.

The clock started on the race after the first processional lap, with Race Control issuing an extra pace lap due to slightly damp track conditions as a result of heavy rain earlier in the morning.

From pole, Eversley fended off an early challenge from second-on-the-grid Bryan Heitkotter, while Adderly Fong pulled into third and J.D. Davison followed in fourth from seventh on the field completed the first lap of the race.

In GTA, Montecalvo launched cleanly from pole into first and 14th overall, with Michael Schein in 17th overall and second in class followed by Andy Wilzoch. GTA championship points leader Martin Fuentes was in fourth but running off the pace with a mechanical issue. A full-course caution was brought out on the opening green-flag lap as GTA driver Michael McCann made contact with the wall in turn one. McCann was not injured.

With the field behind the safety car, Eversley led Heitkotter, Fong and Davison with Peter Cunningham in fifth and Johnny O’Connell in sixth after starting ninth, while Patrick Long ran in seventh. GT Cup saw Udell led from pole followed by Sloan Urry and Corey Fergus.

The green flag came back out on lap seven and Eversley led Heitkotter while behind them, contact saw Kyle Marcelli spin in turn one with the incident also involving Michael Lewis. Lewis would receive a drive-through penalty for the contact.

A few corners later, Austin Cindric and Jon Fogarty made contact in turn five, sending Fogarty spinning. Cindric received a drive-through penalty for the contact.

In GTA, Montecalvo maintained his lead over Schein and Wilzoch on the restart, while Udell stayed out in front over Urry and Fergus in GT Cup, followed by Alex Welch and Preston Calvert.

Lap eight saw issues for O’Connell, who lost multiple positions with Long, Cooper, and Alvaro Parente passing the four-time and defending Pirelli World Challenge GT champion. O’Connell would continue to drop back during the race.

Montecalvo would move up to 10th overall by lap eight, with Schein up to 16th and Wilzoch up to 19th in GTA, while Udell stretched his lead over Urry in GT Cup to a full second.

An unscheduled visit to pit road for Davison on lap nine erased any chances of a strong run for the Nissan driver in the GT class. By lap 10, Eversley continued to lead, but only by .914 of a second over Heitkotter, with .677 of a second back to Fong in third, who was followed by Cunningham and Long.

Montecalvo continued his charge in GTA on lap 10, continuing to lead and now up to eighth overall, followed by Schein who was up to 13th overall and second in class, but some 19 seconds behind the Mercedes driver. In GT Cup, Udell had taken off, with a four-second lead over Urry and another second back to Fergus in third.

Cooper moved past Long for fifth on lap 11 with a pass in turn one, and then proceeded to close in on fourth-place running Cunningham, passing him on lap 14 into Canada Corner.

In GTA, Montecalvo ‘s lead was up to 31 seconds over Schein, with Wilzoch in third. Fuentes retired from the race on lap 16 – even though he was running off the pace, Fuentes continued to complete laps in order to collect valuable points based on completing 50 percent of the race distance.

As Eversley’s lead built to 3.5 seconds on lap 17, Cooper closed on Fong for the final podium spot while Heitkotter slowed on the front stretch with an issue, sending him dropping down the running order from a potential second place finish at Road America.

Eversley would go on to take the victory, sweeping the Road America weekend for RealTime in the No. 43 Acura, with Fong and Cooper completing the podium and Cunningham and Long finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.

In GTA, Montecalvo scored a dominating flag-to-flag win, finishing seventh overall with a 41-second lead on Schein in second, with Wilzoch completing the class podium.

Udell marked a flag-to-flag win in GT Cup, his second victory in as many days, scoring the win over Urry by eight seconds, with Fergus on the final podium spot.

“On the green, Bryan (Heitkotter) and I went side-by-side into turn one,” said Eversley. “I knew he had a little more aero than we did but I felt we were going to have a good race here. I think he waited for me to brake into turn one. I was a little conservative into turn one due to the wetness on the inside of the pavement. We went side-by-side down into turn three and I just stuffed it into the corner. Of course, I got sideways and almost looped the darn thing. Then the yellow came out with the Viper hitting the wall in turn one. So the restart we were single file and I got a good start and held the lead.

“Our Acura is very fast in a straight line but, when we get behind people, we lose a lot of front grip. You saw that Peter (Cunningham) was fast yesterday when he was out by himself. But today he was stuck behind guys at the start and that hampered his pace. That was my goal for me was to be fast at the start and run in the clean air. Actually, I was happy for the long yellow period because it helped dry the track more. I don’t mind driving in the wet but a lot of dumb things happen in the rain. Myself included. On Saturday, we tried to save the tires a bit in the middle of the race. But today, knowing there was only about 20 minutes left in the race, I just put my head down and drove hard to the finish.”