By Jeff Olson
Corey Lewis knew his shot to win had everything to do with staying ahead of Kyle Marcelli when he left the pits with little more than 35 minutes left in Saturday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Road America.
Lewis made it back on the track just ahead of Marcelli and held him off on cold tires while Marcelli moved within feet of Lewis’ rear bumper. Lewis later pulled away to win the GS class and overall race as it finished under caution
"That final pit stop was perfect," Lewis said. "That was probably the longest 20 minutes or so at the end, but the guys were talking me through it. It was an amazing two days."
Teammate Sheena Monk started third in the No. 3 Motorsports In Action McLaren 570 GT4, and Lewis finished off the victory over Marcelli and teammate Nate Stacy in the No. 60 KohR Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4.
Monk recorded her first victory in her first race in the series and became the first woman to win overall in Michelin Pilot Challenge since 2015, when Ashley Freiberg won at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
"Fortunately, I know Road America pretty well," Monk said. "The first practice out was a little awkward for me, because I had to retrain my brain about where I was going to brake and learn the behavior of the car. With a condensed schedule, you just have to make the most out of every minute."
While Monk and Lewis were winning the GS class, Gabby Chaves was saving enough fuel to help Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian sweep the podium in the TCR class. Chaves and Ryan Norman teamed for victory in the No. 33 BHA Hyundai Veloster N, followed by the team’s No. 29 Hyundai shared by Parker Chase and Spencer Brockman and the No. 21 driven by Mark Wilkins and Harry Gottsacker.
Chaves took over the car after Norman put it comfortably in front. After that, it was his job to keep it there while saving fuel.
"Ryan handed the car off to me with the lead," Chaves said. "My job was to keep it from there. I had to do a little fuel saving, but Ryan helped me out with a gap. It’s a much easier job to be able to manage your tire life and your fuel from the front rather than trying to chase someone down."
Following the Monk/Lewis McLaren and the Stacy/Marcelli Aston Martin to the finish line in the GS class was the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Audi R8 GT4 shared by Tyler McQuarrie and Jeff Westphal.
The race finished under yellow after Billy Johnson crashed in the No. 4 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4. He was not injured.
The Michelin Pilot Challenge season resumes Sunday, Aug. 23 with the Virginia is for Racing Lovers Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway. The race streams live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold at 2:50 p.m. ET.