By Mark Robinson
The championship landscape in Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America underwent a major shift Saturday in the first race of the weekend doubleheader at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta. It places even more emphasis on Sunday’s second half of Round 3 on the 2020 calendar.
Madison Snow led essentially wire-to-wire on Saturday, though he had to hold on in dramatic fashion at the checkered flag. Driving the No. 16 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO, Snow built a comfortable seven-second lead midway through the 50-minute race before backing off as a precaution and encountering lapped traffic. It allowed Brandon Gdovic in the No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán to eliminate the deficit and produce a nail-biting finish.
Gdovic was hot on Snow’s tail on the final lap when they came upon a pair of lapped cars entering the closing corners and downhill stretch on the 12-turn, 2.54-mile permanent road course. Gdovic saw an opportunity to make a move for the lead as they exited Turn 12 onto the front straight, but Snow was able to make his car wide enough to hold on for the win by 0.206 seconds.
"It was a good race," Snow said after nabbing his second win of the season. "I started on pole, the best spot I could have to go, and then I had a clean track the first half of the race and was able to build a gap.
"Brandon was quick at the end, definitely quicker than me. Traffic wasn’t helping that. Coming down the hill (to the final turn and finish line), we had two lapped cars, so it was kind of throw it in and hope you get it. Thankfully, I had enough of a gap that I looked back, saw where he was and then I could lift (off the throttle) coming down the hill and kind of coasted across the line."
The No. 6 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Beverly Hills Huracán, shared by Steven Aghakhani and Jacob Eidson, entered the race with a five-point lead over Snow in the Pro class. Aghakhani, however, slid off track 10 minutes into the race and fell to 15th place in the 16-car field. He and Eidson recovered to finish fifth overall and fourth in class, but it still allowed Snow to take an unofficial two-point lead into Race 2. Eidson starts on pole Sunday, with Snow second.
Leo Lamelas finished fourth overall and was the ProAm winner for the second time this season. Lamelas, in the No. 24 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini Westlake entry, inherited the lead when McKay Snow had to pit with a mechanical issue in the No. 63 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán just six minutes from the finish.
Lamelas took the checkered flag a lap ahead of the class runner-up, the No. 99 Ansa Motorsports, Lamborghini Broward Huracán driven by Danny Formal and Trick Madsen. With their fourth-place finish, McKay Snow and Corey Lewis saw their unofficial ProAm lead dwindle to three points over Lamelas.
"It’s always a pleasure racing at Road Atlanta; I love so much this track," Lamelas said. "The car was not so good in qualifying; we had a problem improving the time from old tires to new tires. Then the team did a perfect strategy for us to win the race today. I was trying to save the tires at the beginning and then tried to push more in the second stint of the race.
"Now we’re more close to the championship lead so I will battle tomorrow to get more points and take this championship lead."
Victor Gomez IV drove to his fifth win in as many outings in the Am class. The result came despite the No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán suffering a punctured left-front tire less than five minutes from the conclusion.
"I didn’t have the best start going out, but I could overtake other cars and I felt really focused," Gomez said. "I was hitting my points and had a couple good battles with the Pros. I was happy with my lap times and looking forward to doing it again tomorrow – without a flat tire."
Meanwhile, John Hennessy’s dream weekend continued in LB Cup. After securing the pole position for both races in Friday qualifying, Hennessy rolled to victory in Race 1 by nearly 12 seconds over Randy Sellari. Hennessy was ecstatic celebrating his first series win in victory lane.
"Because I’m on the older side, I’ve spent a lot of time prepping, (doing) sim work, looking at video and all that," said Hennessy, driver of the No. 33 US RaceTronics, Lamborghini San Diego entry. "Working out, eating right, even drinking a little bit less, believe it or not, trying to get ready for it. I’m just excited that all that work pays off. This is my first win in a real race, so I’m very, very excited."
"This is the most fun I’ve ever had in my life in a car."
The closing race of the weekend rolls off at 9:10 a.m. ET Sunday and streams live on IMSA.com with IMSA Radio commentary.