Ford Captures Continental Tire Challenge Grand Sport Championship
Friday, September 30, 2016

Billy Johnson took the lead in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Shelby GT350R-C with 13 minutes remaining and went on to win Friday’s IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge season-ending Road Atlanta 150 – giving Ford a sweep of the driver, team and manufacturer championships in the process.

Scott Maxwell – who won his sixth TOTAL Pole Award of the season in Thursday’s qualifying – wrapped up the individual titles by meeting the minimum 45 minutes driving time needed to score points. Multimatic Motorsports took its third team championship by starting the race. Johnson then put an exclamation point to the season by locking down Ford’s fourth manufacturer’s crown in the closing minutes with the team’s sixth win in 10 races.

“It was the longest 45 minutes of my life,” Maxwell said “The car was fine, it was just about going around and not get into trouble or anything. It was all going to plan and then the yellow came out [at the 23-minute mark]. We stayed out knowing that I was coming in at 46 minutes. Then I was just a sitting duck out there when everyone came out on sticker tires. So it was kind of scary for me for a bit.”

Mired in the pack after the pit stop, Johnson found himself back in contention when the second and final caution waved at the one-hour, four-minute mark.

“We got on the same page with the rest of the field making one more stop,” said Johnson, who scored his series-leading 23rd career victory and first championship. “We got all four new tires. That was absolutely the perfect call. Just like all year, we made the right strategy call and we came away with the win. There were a lot of stressful moments during the race, but to come away and win the race and win the championships for teams and manufacturers, this is such a great day.”

Marc Miller placed second in the No. 33 CJ Wilson Racing ONE Capital Management/MotorOilMatters.org Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport started by Danny Burkett, 4.668 seconds behind.

Charles Espenlaub and Charles Putman finished third in the No. 09 Automatic Racing Invisible Glass/Rogue Engineering Aston Martin Vantage. Espenlaub led twice for five laps and was running in position to deny Ford the manufacturer’s crown with 30 minutes remaining before Johnson’s late charge.

View full results via Al Kamel Systems at Results.IMSA.com

NOTEBOOK

  • Maxwell and Johnson ended the year with 330 points, followed in the GS standings by Burkett and Miller, 296.
  • The No. 21 Muehlner Motorsports America H&R Special Springs Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport driven by Peter Ludwig and Jeroen Bleekemolen was withdrawn from the event following an incident in Thursday’s GS qualifying that resulted in extensive left-side damage. 
  • The 2016 Continental Tire Championship titlists were honored Friday evening at the Chateau Elan Resort and Winery in Braselton.
  • The Road Atlanta 150 will be televised on FS1 at 11 a.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 9. 

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