Second-generation Ferrari dealer Onofrio Triarsi capped off an evening of racing in the streets of Nashville, Tennessee, by winning Race 1 of the GT America powered by AWS Saturday night as the sun set.
Earlier in the day, Triarsi took pole position in a fifteen-minute qualifying session, putting his #23 Triarsi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3 ahead of his team mate Justin Wetherill in the #37 Ferrari. The session ended prematurely due to a massive, sudden rain storm that rolled in over Nashville. In fact, all track activities were disrupted because of thunder and lightning strikes in the area.
But the race eventually got started at its scheduled time, just before 7:25 PM local time, and it was the pole sitter Triarsi who led the field away as the green flag dropped – then controlled the race from flag to flag.
Triarsi built an advantage of over five seconds from his team mate Wetherill, who had his hands full battling Jason Daskalos’ #27 Daskalos Motorsports Audi R8 LMS Ultra for second position. Even after a Safety Car caused by an accident for the #69 Smooge Racing Toyota GR Supra GT4 of Todd Coleman, Triarsi picked up right where he left off in the first half of the race, winning it by 2.4 seconds in his GT America debut weekend .
“I definitely didn’t stop pushing out there,” Triarsi said after the victory. “It was exciting from the start to have a one-two lockout on the front row, and the team did an amazing job. My team mate did a fantastic job keeping up with the pace and setting new laps for himself, and it was great just managing the traffic and staying safe out there—we got a great result.”
Despite some brave driving by Daskalos including a bump-and-run on Wetherill into turn ten early in the race, Wetherill was eventually able to retake second position and hold onto it until the end of the race, his best finish of the season in the SRO3 category. Daskalos finished in third, for his fifth podium of the season.
SRO3 championship leader George Kurtz didn’t have the outright pace to compete for victory aboard his #04 CrowdStrike/Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, but he did have enough in hand to withstand the pressure of the likes of Scott Smithson and Jason Harward before finishing in fourth place. Smithson finished in fifth despite hitting the tire barriers early in the race aboard his #08 Qelo Capital/DXDT Racing AMG GT3, ahead of his DXDT team boss David Askew in the #63 Usalco-sponsored Mercedes.
The #88 Zelus Motorsports Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Harward dropped to seventh after he went into the tires with under ten minutes left in the race. Mirco Shultis (#70 MISHUmotors Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R) and Kyle Washington (#032 GMG Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R) completed the running order in SRO3.
Similarly in the GT4 class, ex-BTCC driver and SCCA World Challenge veteran Robb Holland kept all challengers out of reach, driving his #99 Rotek Racing Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 RS Clubsport to victory – his first of the 2022 season.
And with the #124 ARG/Rotek Racing Ford Mustang GT4 of Edgar Lau finishing third, Holland’s team brought both of their cars home to a class podium.
“We got this car right before St. Pete without any real time to develop and test the car,” said Holland. “The guys have been working hard at Rotek Racing, and it’s really been a whole team effort. We got two cars on the podium—two different manufacturers, two cars on the podium from Rotek Racing—I’m over the moon!”
Prevailing in a race-long battle for second was Ross Chouest in the #50 Chouest Povoledo Racing Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4, who finished 1.4 seconds ahead of Lau. With his third consecutive runner-up finish, Chouest takes the lead in the GT4 championship from Jason Bell (#2 GMG Racing Vantage GT4), who finished fifth in class and now trails by three points.
Adam Adelson (#120 Premier Racing Cayman MR) finished in fourth place ahead of Bell, then the two Regal Motorsports/Bartone Bros Porsches, the #3 Cayman MR of Andy Pilgrim in sixth, and the #427 of Anthony Bartone in seventh. Chris Cagnazzi (#39 Cameron Racing Mercedes-AMG GT4) had to start from the pit lane, after requesting an additional set of tires for the race. He finished eighth in class.
GT AMERICA RACE 1 RESULTS >>
Race 2 starts tomorrow morning at 10:55 AM CDT (local time), leading into the IndyCar Series Music City Grand Prix in the afternoon.
Images © Fred Hardy / SRO Motorsports Group America