Riley Dickinson and the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche GT3 Cup team scored a second-place finish in the long-awaited season-debut of the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup USA by Yokohama Saturday at Road America.
Starting on the outside front row, Dickinson slotted into second at the race start and held the position to the checkered flag. A pair of race-slowing cautions limited the amount of green-flag racing time, and in the end Dickinson and Moorespeed settled for second-place points in what was the first IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup race run since last year’s season-ending sprint October 11 at Road Atlanta.
"Overall, it was a good race and I feel like on my end I definitely learned a lot," Dickinson said. "This is our first race in almost 300 days, still a lot to learn, and we will come back tomorrow even stronger."
Dickinson’s best shot at making a move for the lead in today’s race came when he was able to stay in touch with the leader in the run to turn one on the first restart.
"I was never able to get close enough for a move, but I know there’s a few places where I can work on him if I do need to get up next to him," Dickinson said. "I think I know where I can get him if it comes to that."
Dickinson starts from the pole for Sunday’s final 45-minute sprint of the weekend after posting the second fastest lap in Friday’s qualifying.
"We got some good points today," said Moorespeed President David Moore. "Second place is not what we wanted but we will take it. We are on the pole for tomorrow, the car is in good shape, and tomorrow is another day. It’s great to be back at the track after having been away since March 13."
Moorespeed and Dickinson participated in 2020’s originally scheduled season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida in March only to see the event cancelled after morning practice on Friday the 13th. Within days the motorsports world quickly united for an industry-wide pause in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This weekend’s return to racing at Road America, which is open to race fans, is being conducted with social distance protocols and approved PPE requirements.
"All in all, I can’t thank everyone enough at IMSA, NASCAR, Porsche Motorsports North America and Yokohama for actually putting this together," Dickinson said. "It feels right to get back to racing safely and with fans here. No better place than Road America. I can’t thank them enough for allowing us to come out here and do what all of us on the Moorespeed team love. I am looking forward to tomorrow. It should be a good one."
The second and final IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup race of the Road America weekend is scheduled for Sunday at 9 a.m. CDT.
"We have a little bit of work to do," Moore said. "I don’t think Riley was quite happy with the car. We have to figure out why the car changed, because we haven’t made a change on the car the entire time we have been here, and all of a sudden something changed. We will look at the data, look at the video and regroup for tomorrow."
Sunday’s 45-minute sprint streams live on IMSA.tv starting at 10 a.m. EDT and, along with Saturday’s race, will be featured on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) Tuesday, August 11, in a one-hour show at 4 p.m. EDT.
– Moore joins his young driver in giving high marks to this weekend’s event organizers for a well-planned and safe return to racing. "IMSA and NASCAR have worked tirelessly with state and local officials to hold this race at Road America and actually allow fans onto the track facility and perimeter of the paddock without compromising anyone’s safety," Moore said. "Yes, racing is ‘entertainment’ where we are aware more than ever how important it is for the teams to provide some joy during these difficult times and give the fans a reprieve, if only for a moment, from the loss and challenges we all face. If we can help reassure them that the world will overcome this, and we are moving forward back to some normalcy, we may give folks a little spark of hope."