NASCAR Great Jeff Gordon Competes Against Stout Competition
INDIANAPOLIS – Riley Dickinson closed out the second annual Porsche Sports Car Together Fest on Sunday with his first win in the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Presented by the Cayman Islands. The Texan bettered a field of 33 of the best Porsche 911 GT3 Cup race car drivers in the world to earn his debut victory in the series at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Included on that stout entry list was NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon, who made his first starts in the one-make racing series piloting the No. 24 Hendrick Performance Group machine. The four-time NASCAR Cup champion nearly had finishes of 15th and 11th in the two weekend races on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course.
Reigning Pro-Am champion Efrin Castro (No. 65 Kelly Moss Porsche) swept the class wins over the weekend, as did Mark Kvamme (No. 43 MDK Motorsports) in the Am class.
The all-Porsche series now travels to Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta to decide the second recipient of the Al Holbert Cup awarded to the overall champion of the Porsche Carrera Cup North America. The final two 40-minute races of the season will decide the champions in each of the three classes, with rounds on Sept. 29 and 30.
In earning his inaugural victory, Dickinson (No. 53 Kelly Moss) became the fifth driver to win in the two-year-old series. Despite being among the youngest drivers in the championship at age 20, Dickinson has been a threat since the series debuted in 2021. He leapt into the lead from third place on the opening laps Sunday and staved off teammate Kay van Berlo for the remainder of the race.
For the first time since the green flag for the season opener at Sebring International Raceway, van Berlo entered a 2022 Carrera Cup race not as the points leader. That honor went to Parker Thompson (No. 9 JDX Racing) who, by virtue of his win in Saturday’s race, entered round 14 with an 11-point lead. That changed shortly into Sunday’s race when Thompson exited with a damaged car. That same incident took out Trenton Estep (No. 6 MDK Motorsports), who entered the day third in the standings.
On Saturday, Thompson earned his fourth win of the season today, holding the lead from the pole position to the end of the 40-minute race. Van Berlo and Dickinson raced as hard as two teammates could behind Thompson, including several moments of contact in the heat of battle. When the race came to a close, it was van Berlo who nosed out Dickinson for second place.
With just the doubleheader finale remaining, van Berlo leads Thompson by 11 points Estep by 40 points and Dickinson by 47.
Parker Thompson, No. 9 JDX Racing (after Saturday’s win): “Really good day for points. We got the win, pole this morning, I’d say that is a pretty good day for the JDX crew. My hat is absolutely off to this JDX team. We are on a budget. We are doing whatever we can. We are a one-car team up against these Goliaths in a KMR and an MDK, and it just shows how hard this team works. Everyone works so hard to put that No. 9 at the front. Without this group of people, I couldn’t win races at the World’s Capital of Racing. It is pretty cool to be an Indianapolis resident and to get to kiss the bricks three times.”
Riley Dickinson, No. 53 Kelly Moss (after Sunday’s win): “I can’t thank everyone at Kelly Moss enough for everything they do. I am still out of breath. I am going to enjoy this one a little bit. I have always said everything happens for a reason. It all makes sense today. Winning my first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is that reason. This is a surreal moment.”
Jeff Gordon, No. 24 Hendrick Performance Group: “I wanted to do some fun things, make some passes. I made a pass on the white-flag lap; that made my whole weekend. I think we ended it on a positive note. All week I have been happy I am here, having a great time with Ray (Evernham), Steve Bardahl, my dad, Jon Edwards and the whole team. I must say that yesterday, I thought ‘Man, I am getting beat out here’ and I don’t like that. If I am going to be in an environment like this, I want to be competitive. But today turned the corner for me. So, I hope I get to do another one one day.”
With his second Pro-Am weekend sweep of the season, Castro (No. 65 Kelly Moss) took another step toward repeating as class champion. He closed within 14 points of Alan Metni (No. 99 Kelly Moss), who had finishes of third and second at IMS.
Efrin Castro, No. 65 Kelly Moss: “I want to give thanks to the Man Above for this victory. I also want to give thanks to my team at Kelly Moss for such an amazing job. All the Pro-Am drivers come, and they fight and they make me push my limits. This is one of the best series in Pro-Am. The field is full of talented drivers. I am blessed to be racing against them.”
Kvamme continues to be a juggernaut at the front of the Am class, charging to his third weekend sweep and ninth win of the season. Since he missed one doubleheader round this season, however, his points lead is just 16 over John Goetz (No. 55 Wright Motorsports).