Jeff Kingsley’s success in Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama continued Saturday morning at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
The driver of the No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car overcame a misstep at the start of the 45-minute race – dropping from the front row to third place – to win his third race of the 2020 season. Kingsley now has won at least one race during each of the three doubleheader weekends so far, the first at Road America and the second two weeks ago at VIRginia International Raceway.
After settling into third position Saturday, Kingsley made quick work to pass Sean McAlister in the No. 11 JDX Racing Porsche with 39 minutes remaining to earn back second place. He then chased down and battled the polesitter, Riley Dickinson in the No. 53 Porsche for Moorespeed, making a clean pass on the outside in Turn 10A. He would go on to win by 0.602 seconds.
“That one was a bit tough today, for sure,” said Kingsley. “I fell back to third at the start, which wasn’t ideal. Sean had a hell of a start, too, so he gave me a bit of a battle. Got by him clean and there was a bit of a yo-yo back and forth there with Riley. He drove awesome and was super quick. It was back and forth between us two just pace-wise.
“Every position matters in this championship, so it’s all about consistency. The key tomorrow (for Race 2), we’re starting third, so another tough position to be in, but we just need to repeat what we did today and get up front.”
Dickinson held on for a second-place finish, while McAlister rounded out the top three for his first overall podium of the season in the Platinum Cup class for current-generation Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars.
Coming off his first overall victory in Round 4 at VIR, Alan Metni continues his own dominance of the Platinum Masters class for drivers 45 and older by finishing fourth overall in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche and scoring the class victory. Metni has won each Platinum Masters race so far in 2020.
In the Gold Cup class for Porsches built between 2014-2016, Efrin Castro held off a hard-charging Curt Swearingin for his second victory in 2020. In the No. 65 TPC Racing Porsche, Castro started first in Gold and faced pressure from Swearingin – the winner of the last three Gold races – for the majority of the race, even getting within three-tenths of Castro in the closing minutes. However, Castro held him off for the win.
“I want to give thanks to God for giving me the opportunity to finish the race,” Castro said. “We just had the right car for this race and all I had to do was hit my mark and stay focused. I knew I was going to keep him behind. I just couldn’t make a mistake and that was my focus – hit my marks and run the perfect race. I want to congratulate my team because they did an amazing job. They’re the ones that got me to this point. Without a team, it wouldn’t happen.”
Swearingin finished second in the No. 17 ACI Motorsports Porsche by 0.662 seconds, while Bart Collins finished third in the No. 22 MCR Racing Porsche.
Scoring the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions throughout the race was David Brule Sr., who finished eighth on the charts and also took home a third-place trophy in Platinum Masters.
“It’s absolutely wonderful,” said Brule, who drives the No. 48 Porsche for Kelly-Moss. “I’m 72 years old, I’m the oldest guy on the grid. It’s great to be able to beat these young guys. They show me a lot of respect, too, but afterwards, not during!”
Race 2 for Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama kicks off Sunday’s on-track activities at 8 a.m. ET. The race can be streamed live on IMSA.com with IMSA Radio commentary.