The Two-Time North American Champion Collects His Fourth Victory of 2021
By Mark Robinson
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Despite constant pressure from his nearest adversaries, Richard Antinucci is trying to run away with the Lamborghini Super Trofeo North America championship in the Pro class.
Antinucci won Friday’s 50-minute race at Watkins Glen International, notching his fourth victory in five outings in 2021. The driver of the No. 27 Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini Las Vegas Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo EVO extended his unofficial points lead to 19 prior to Saturday’s second race at The Glen, which will mark the halfway juncture of the 2021 campaign.
“Today was about management,” Antinucci said after holding off Jeroen Mul in the No. 16 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán by 0.598 seconds at the checkered flag. “Of all the tracks, this one has been the most stressful on the tires – the rears. We’ve had a couple problems in the past, me personally, but we brought it home great today. It was perfect. When we had to push on the restart, we had great tires and got that good gap.
“Four (wins) out of five, wow, that’s the best I’ve ever had!”
Antinucci is a two-time North American champion in Lamborghini Super Trofeo and now an 18-time race winner, but he sat out all of 2020. He was glad to be back at Watkins Glen, which also made its return to the 2021 schedule and welcomed fans back after its events last year were canceled due to the pandemic.
“To be able to actually say ‘Hi’ to a crowd and have people cheering you on, knowing that they’ve watched your whole race, that’s so rewarding,” said Antinucci, who will start second overall and from the Pro class pole on Saturday. “Thanks to all the fans that love this sport.”
Like Antinucci in the Pro class, Brandon Gdovic and Bryan Ortiz collected their fourth win of the season in ProAm on Friday. The co-drivers of the No. 46 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán started from the class pole and were never headed, winning by 2.356 seconds ahead of Victor Gomez IV (No. 29 Change Racing, Lamborghini Charlotte Huracán).
“It was a really fun race,” said Ortiz, who started the race before turning the car over to Gdovic on the mandatory pit stop. “I know we are battling for the ProAm championship, but as a competitor you want to be up front overall no matter what. I was pushing but then thinking I need to give Brandon a good car, so just managing the pace and gapping the cars behind us in the class.”
“Bryan did an awesome job in qualifying, put us up near the front row,” Gdovic added. “We kind of just cruised the whole race and had good pace. When I hopped in, we were in a good spot to just run laps and finish it off. Hopefully, we’ll do it again tomorrow.”
The Am class winner on the 3.4-mile 11-turn road course was Giano Taurino in the No. 88 Taurino Racing, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán. It’s Taurino’s third win this season and moved him into the class lead by two points over Alan Metni, who finished second Friday in the No. 99 Change Racing, Lamborghini Dallas Huracán.
“Today was good,” Taurino said, smiling over his qualifying effort that was third overall among the 25 entries and tops in Am. “I started third and tried to be calm at the beginning and not do anything stupid. I know how aggressive it is at the front, so I was making sure no one was dive-bombing me. The pace was really good; we kept up with a lot of the front-runners, which was amazing and shows us, a new team, has the pace to keep up with the front.”
Terry Olson and Mark Kvamme recovered from a poor start to triumph in LB Cup. It delivered the third win in a row for the No. 47 Precision Performance Motorsports, Lamborghini Palm Beach Huracán.
“Somebody – me – missed the green flag and we got really backed up at the start and went from second place to like fifth,” Olson said. “We had to really work to get back in front, so I put my head down and did the best I could to turn the car over to Mark.”
When Kvamme took the wheel, he still had to chase down LB Cup pole sitter Justin Price in the No. 21 Dream Racing Motorsport, Lamborghini Atlanta Huracán – making the decisive pass with less than 10 minutes remaining.
“Justin was kind of hung up on a lap, so I got a move, went underneath and just out-braked him into Turn 1,” Kvamme said. “The car just hooked up after that. It was just going and we did some great laps.”
Saturday’s race streams live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold and IMSA.com starting at 10:35 a.m. ET.