Heavy rains cut the race short as Mazdas finish one-two in Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge at Watkins Glen.
After winning Saturday’s Continental Tire 150 at Watkins Glen International for the second consecutive year in the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge Grand Sport (GS) class, Scotland’s Robin Liddell characterized the conditions as, “Typical Scottish weather.”
His countryman, Stevan McAleer, who took the victory in the Street Tuner (ST) class with Chad McCumbee in the No. 5 CJ Wilson Racing ModSpace Mazda MX-5, agreed, as the two-hour and 30-minute race was held in steady rain at Watkins Glen International.
The rain was bad enough that only a single lap in the final hour of the race was run under green, and the conditions resulted in a 17-minute red-flag stoppage. The rest of the final hour was conducted under yellow.
McCumbee passed TOTAL Pole Award winner Justin Piscitell for the lead on the sixth circuit and with McAleer dominated the remainder of the event in taking ST class honors. It was the first career victory for McCumbee and third for McAleer, who gave the team owned by Los Angeles Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson its first victory since winning at Watkins Glen in 2013.
McCumbee might have been content to sit in second, but with conditions and spray as they were, the lead was a much more attractive place to be. So when he had the opportunity, he took it. Piscitell and Christian Szymczak finished second in the No. 34 Alara Racing Mazda MX-5.
The Freedom Autosport duo of USMC Staff Sgt. Liam Dwyer and Andrew Carbonell unofficially took over the lead in the ST championship with a fourth-place finish. Seeking the team’s second-consecutive victory in the No. 26 SemperFiFund.org Mazda MX-5, the team was assessed a drive-through penalty for having too many crewmen over the wall on a pit stop. That put Carbonell near the back of the 30-car ST field, but the Miami driver worked his way back to finish fourth.
Carbonell and Dwyer hold an unofficial two-point lead over Piscitell, McCumbee and McAleer, 106-104 as the series heads next to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on Saturday, July 11.