A trend throughout the 2020 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama season continued Saturday morning at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
In the four weekends that the series has run so far this year, the first victory of each weekend has gone to Jeff Kingsley in his No. 16 Kelly-Moss Road and Race Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car. Race 1 of 3 in Lexington, Ohio, was no different as the Canadian tallied his fourth career Platinum Cup class victory.
Kingsley started second alongside polesitter Riley Dickinson in the No. 53 Moorespeed Porsche but got a speedy start that saw him overtake Dickinson for the lead moments after the green flag flew. Kingsley finished 3.284 seconds ahead of Dickinson, despite getting mired in slower traffic in the closing stages.
Race 2 is set for later Saturday afternoon at 3:35 p.m. ET. The front row will be flipped from Race 1, with Kingsley on pole and Dickinson – who has two wins of his own this season – on the outside front row.
"Riley got a good jump right off the line and then we just beat him on the brakes and went around the outside into Turn 4," Kingsley described. "Super happy with that. I know I have to make my moves early and try and pull away which is exactly what we did. It seems like when we get out in front, we can control the race from there and that’s what happened.
"I think (Race 2) will be different because we’re starting on pole for the afternoon race. That will obviously play things differently. You never know if Riley is going to do the same thing that happened to him, he might do the same thing. I’ve got to keep an eye out for that, get clean starts and move forward."
Rounding out the podium and earning the Yokohama Hard Charger Award for gaining the most positions throughout the race was Sean McAlister in the No. 11 Porsche for JDX Racing. McAlister – who finished third twice at during the most recent round at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for the first time this season – started seventh on the grid.
"In Race 1, we did really well," said McAlister. "We got a great start. I got a pocket right on the left side going into Turn 4 and I was able to get around three or four cars right there and get right into fourth place. After that, me and (Alan) Metni (in the No. 99 Kelly-Moss/AM Motorsports Porsche) had a good battle pretty much the rest of the race. He challenged me hard, he ran the car hard and it was really difficult to pass him, but I was able to just get him out of Turn 1."
Metni, who scored his seventh consecutive Platinum Masters victory, held on for fourth.
In the Gold Cup class for Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars built between 2014 through 2016, a blanket could have been thrown over the four Porsches for the first half of the 45-minute race. Bart Collins started from pole and held off the hard charging No. 65 TPC Racing Porsche of Efrin Castro.
However, Curt Swearingin would not be denied as he slowly picked off both cars and inherited the lead around the 20-minute mark. Shortly after he took the lead from Collins, the latter spun in his No. 22 MCR Racing Porsche and Castro finished 4.822 seconds behind for the runner-up position.
"We had the pace here, we knew we were faster than the rest," said Swearingin. "We practiced, we had been really good and then we got a couple curveballs in qualifying and we just weren’t on pace. But we stayed true to our setup that we knew was good and it really came to us today and it showed on track. It was fun racing with Bart and with Efrin and we had a couple good moves on them. Got ahead of them, checked out and put the race in the bag. It was a great team effort on ACI Motorsports, they did an awesome job on the car."
Race 2 at Mid-Ohio goes green at 3:35 p.m. ET, with the third and final race of the weekend set for Sunday at 9:20 a.m. Both races can be streamed live on IMSA.com.