Daskalos Earns Pirelli World Challenge Win In Utah
TOOELE, Utah - When the dust settled at Miller Motorsports Park and the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Utah presented by Bondurant was over, Jason Daskalos, of Albuquerque, N.M., earned his second career GT win.
Daskalos, driving the No. 7 Dalsin Developments Dodge Viper, became the fourth consecutive Viper driver to win a World Challenge GT race at Miller Motorsports Park, following back-to-back wins by Tommy Archer in 2007 and 2008 and a win by Kuno Wittmer a season ago. Daskalos earned a 0.349-second victory over James Sofronas, averaging 82.007 mph over the 23-lap, 70.104-mile race.
Starting fourth based on Drivers’ Points after qualifying was snowed out Friday afternoon, Daskalos was ahead of the carnage on the standing start when seventh-starting Randy Pobst’s No. 6 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 and Andy Pilgrim’s No. 8 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V Coupe both stalled practically side-by-side when the lights went out.
Pobst’s car was nailed hard from behind by the No. 37 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang Boss 302S, heavily damaging the Volvo and leaving the defending GT Champion stranded on the front straight. The incident brought out the yellow flag on the first trip around the 15-turn, 3.048-mile configuration.
When the field restarted on lap six, the race leader Sofronas, Tony Gaples in the No. 11 Kleinschmidt/Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Corvette, and Daskalos raced away from the field, tailed by the No. 6 Cadillac Racing Cadillac CTS-V Coupe of Johnny O’Connell and the No. 4 Centric Parts/StopTech Porsche 911 GT3 of Dino Crescentini.
The three ran nose-to-tail behind Sofronas for 12 laps, with Daskalos moving ahead of Gaples on lap eight. Daskalos powered by Sofronas on lap 13, then spent the remaining 10 laps holding off the Porsche.
With Sofronas closing in at the finish, Daskalos turned his fastest lap of the race on Lap 21, running a 1:53.684 (96.520 mph) to put a small gap between him and Sofronas. Sofronas made one last charge on the final lap at Daskalos, but the Viper power pulled ahead down the front straight for his second career win and first since a win at Mosport in 2009.
“I didn’t get the greatest launch,” Daskalos said. “I was able to sneak into third. I was able to get by [Mike] Skeen on the start. I tucked in behind [Tony] Gaples. I just ran a smart race. I was able to pick Gaples off in traffic. Then I just followed James [Sofronas] for a while – saving my tires. He also got caught in traffic and it was to my benefit to take the lead, and I was able to hold it the rest of the way.
“Coming into three, there was traffic up ahead and he had to get out of the throttle. I was able to get a run on him coming out of four into five. I just late braked him in down into five and we went side-by-side through five and was able to hold it through six. James ran a good, smart race like he always does. I saw him coming [Sofronas]. I pushed kind of hard through witchcraft and a couple of sections where I felt I was better than James and was able to gap him through there. He was better than me through the slow stuff. But, I was able to hold him off for the finish.”
Gaples earned his first podium finish this season, finishing third, 3.444-seconds behind Daskalos after running in the lead group for most of the race. Gaples earned his second career podium finish and first since a runner-up finish at Infineon Raceway in 2005.
A pair of Cadillacs completed the top five in the GT class and overall. O’Connell held his fourth position for 22 laps after moving there on lap two. O’Connell matched his season high with the finish, while Pilgrim set his season best in the manufacturers’ return to the series in 2011.
Sofronas does take over the Drivers’ Championship lead after prior leader Patrick Long missed Round Four with a testing commitment in Europe. Sofronas’ 466 points leads Long (417) by 49 points, with Daskalos (381) moving to third with the win. Gaples (332) and O’Connell (332) complete the top five.
TOOELE, Utah - Results from Saturday's 23 lap, 70.104 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship Round Four race, part of the Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. GT, (4), Jason Daskalos, Albuquerque, N.M., Dodge Viper, 23.
2. GT, (1), James Sofronas, Newport Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 23, -.349.
3. GT, (3), Tony Gaples, Libertyville, Ill., Chevrolet Corvette, 23, -3.444.
4. GT, (6), Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, 23, -5.233.
5. GT, (8), Andy Pilgrim, Marina Del Rey, Fla., Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, 23, -11.431.
6. GT, (14), Kelly Collins, Newport Coast, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 23, -22.937.
7. GT, (9), Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 23, -46.665.
8. GT, (11), Fred Roberts, Mississauga, Ontario, Dodge Viper, 23, -47.583.
9. GT, (13), Tony Rivera, Houston, Texas, Nissan GTR, 23, -1:08.456.
10. GT, (16), Sonny Whelen, Old Saybrook, Conn., Chevrolet Corvette C6, 23, -1:29.927.
11. GT, (17), Charles Morgan, Dallas, Texas, Porsche 911 GT3, 23, -1:32.182.
12. GT, (15), Stephen Ruiz(R), Redondo Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3 Jetta GLI, 23, -1:34.355.
13. GT, (12), Jason Carter(R), Dallas, Texas, Porsche 911 GT3, 23, -2:01.385.
14. GT, (18), George Whelen(R), Chester, Mass., Chevrolet Corvette C6, 22, -1 lap.
15. GTS, (31), Jordon Musser(R), Coppell, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 22, -1 lap.
16. GTS, (20), Eric Foss, Dallas, Texas, Ford Mustang FR500S, 22, -1 lap.
17. GTS, (21), Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee, Wis., Acura TSX, 22, -1 lap.
18. GTS, (22), Jason von_Kluge(R), Ann Arbor, Mich., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 22, -1 lap.
19. GTS, (23), Ben Crosland(R), Salt Lake City, Utah, Ford Mustang FR500S, 22, -1 lap.
20. GTS, (24), Brad Adams(R), New Orleans, La., Ford Mustang 500S, 22, -1 lap.
21. GTS, (19), Paul Brown, Covina, Calif., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 22, -1 lap.
22. GTS, (25), Nick Esayian, San Diego, Calif., Acura TSX, 22, -1 lap.
23. GTS, (32), Scott Bove, Conifer, Colo., BMW M3 E46, 22, -1 lap.
24. TC, (40), Aaron Povoledo, Toronto, Ontario, Volvo C30 FWD, 21, -2 laps.
25. TC, (38), Ron Zitza, Orlando, Fla., Volkswagen Jetta, 21, -2 laps.
26. TC, (41), Tristan Herbert(R), Reston, Va., Volkswagen GTI, 21, -2 laps.
27. GTS, (33), Scott Kuhne(R), Minneapolis, Minn., Porsche 911, 21, -2 laps.
28. TC, (36), Lawson Aschenbach, Darnestown, Md., Honda Civic Si, 21, -2 laps.
29. TC, (44), Eric Meyer, Indianapolis, Ind., Mazda RX-8, 21, -2 laps.
30. GTS, (26), Richard Golinello(R), Oldsmar, Fla., Ford Mustang FR500S, 21, -2 laps.
31. GTS, (27), Ernie Jakubowski, Oakville, Ontario, Porsche Cayman S, 21, -2 laps.
32. TC, (39), Robb Holland, Denver, Colo., Volvo C30 FWD, 21, -2 laps.
33. TC, (45), Chip Herr, Lancaster, Pa., Mazda RX-8, 21, -2 laps.
34. TC, (43), Patrick Seguin(R), Calrence Creek, Ontario, Honda Civic Si, 21, -2 laps.
35. GTS, (30), Tom Felt(R), Provo, Utah, Honda S2000CR, 21, -2 laps.
36. TC, (48), Rafael Navarro(R), Temecula, Calif., Volkswagen GTI, 21, -2 laps.
37. GTS, (34), Jason Ott(R), Thornton, Colo., BMW Z4 M Coupe, 21, -2 laps.
38. TC, (49), Branden Peterson, Edwards, Colo., Honda Civic Si, 21, -2 laps.
39. TC, (47), Brett Sandberg, Allendale, N.J., Honda Civic Si, 21, -2 laps.
40. TC, (42), Ray Mason(R), Columbus, Ohio, Honda Civic Si, 21, -2 laps.
41. TC, (46), Carolyn Kujala, Tucson, Ariz., Volkswagen Jetta, 21, -2 laps.
42. GTS, (29), Pratt Cole, Salt Lake City, Utah, Ford Mustang FR500S, 21, -2 laps.
43. GTS, (35), Dan Spirek(R)), Parker, Colo., BMW Z4 M Coupe, 20, -3 laps.
44. GT, (5), Dino Crescentini, Mahattan Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 16, Mech.
45. TC, (37), Devin Cates, Broad Run, Va., Volkswagen GTI, 15, Mech.
46. GT, (2), Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 1, Mech.
47. GT, (7), Randy Pobst, Gainesville, Ga., Volvo S60 AWD, 0, Crash.
48. GT, (10), Patrick Lindsey, Santa Barbara, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 0, Mech.
49. GTS, (28), Chris DeSalvo(R), Charlotte, N.C., Ford Mustang GT, 0, Crash.
50. TC, (50), Kevin Marshall(R), Austin, Texas, Mazda RX-8, 0, DNS.
51. TC, (51), Thomas Ehlen(R), Vancouver, British Columbia, Honda Civic Si, 0, DNS.
Time of race: 51 minutes, 17.448 seconds.
Average speed: 82.007 mph
Margin of victory: .349 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-12, #14 James Sofronas; laps 13-23, #7 Jason Daskalos
Cautions: 1 for 6 laps