ALEC UDELL TAKES 10th VICTORY OF THE SEASON IN UTAH
With four cars running in five different categories, Global Motorsports Group (GMG) and their full roster of drivers and crew took full advantage of the most recent rounds of the Pirelli World Challenge with a victory and four podiums at the renowned Utah Motorsport Campus. With podiums in the upstart SprintX category as well as GTA, the highlight of the weekend once again went to Alec Udell in one of two GT Cup category entries, who managed to close the weekend with yet another victory and a strengthened lead in the championship. Despite the variety of machines on hand, the weekend was additionally highlighted by a remarkably smooth weekend with zero mechanical difficulties and every lap of competition completed.
“What an incredible weekend for our whole team,” stated team owner and driver James Sofronas. “Four podiums in three different categories is a huge testament to the quality and depth of our team, and it really showed this weekend. We seemed to always have a car on the track, but the entire weekend went smooth, and we have the trophies show for it. Alex Welch re-joined us this weekend and did a remarkable job pushing with the young guys in GT Cup. It’s a really talented group of young guys in similarly matched cars, and Alex did his best to keep with them all weekend and not put a foot wrong, he should be proud of how close he was to a podium. Brent Holden and I had a great time in our Porsche 911 GT3 R, it was my first time running SprintX and I really enjoyed the format, and coming back with a trophy is always a nice way to way to look back on the weekend. Brent was also very impressive driving the car during the GTA sprint races, and it showed with yet another podium! Kevin Westcott was with us for the Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA, and for his first experience at a track like this one he did remarkably well. Of course Alec Udell was the star of the weekend. He was the fastest all weekend, and proved on Saturday that even with adversity he has the calm and patience of a champion, which of course really showed on Sunday with a remarkable drive. There’s still three races to go and anything can happen, but it was a big weekend for his championship hopes. We’re proud of the effort and look forward to Sonoma.”
Headlining the effort once again was Alec Udell in the No. 17 Euroworld Motorsports / Panther Pipeline / Amsource Capital Porsche 911 GT3 Cup. Coming in to the weekend with a narrow lead in the series’ GT-Cup standings, the 20-year old knew that beyond the normal emphasis on wins, a “zero-mistakes” run would be critical to ensure maximum points heading in to the final races of the year. As the fastest car throughout practice, the No. 17 would be well poised thanks to a stellar pole position lap on the morning of Saturday’s Race One.
Taking the green flag, the battle between championship-rival Sloan Urry was immediately evident, with the two battling hard through the opening laps; Urry managing to sneak ahead of Udell on the race start. Knowing championship points were critical, Alec would stalk the leader throughout the first half of the race, at one point taking the lead before Urry would grab it back. With the duo past halfway and guaranteed finishing points, the stakes would raise as they embarked in to the remaining minutes of the race. Unfortunately, as Alec continued to stalk Urry within inches of his bumper, the hot and thin desert air would cause Udell’s engine temperatures to rise, forcing him to exercise patience for the remaining laps. Knowing he’d set the fastest lap and was in position to start on pole for Sunday’s Race Two, Alec would resign himself to second-place in the race in an effort to ensure he didn’t risk losing valuable points to a damaged engine.
For Sunday’s Race Two, the Clemson University Engineering Student’s patience on Saturday would pay immediate dividends. Starting from pole, a surprise hard charge from local challenger McKay Snow would create an unexpected extra challenge to both Udell and Urry, with the trio engaged in a fantastic nose-to-tail battle throughout much of the first half of the race. Having learned from Saturday’s events, Udell demonstrated experience beyond his years during the opening half of the race, showing the best pace of the three but maintaining a healthy gap to the leader in order to ensure clean airflow in to his car as a precaution to keep engine temperatures low. As the race came in to the second half, Udell would mount his charge, putting pressure on Snow until the opportunity would come through the famous “Attitude” corners where Alec would make a fantastic exit to take the lead. With Urry following suit, the trio would get three-wide at one point, with Udell holding the lead and never looking back. Adding insult to injury for Sloan Urry, a rare mechanical failure would hit with just minutes remaining, sending him down to fifth and putting a major dent in to his championship hopes.
Serving as his 10th victory of the year, Alec will head in to the final two weekends with a strong championship lead, but not an insurmountable one.
“This was an excellent weekend for us, I’m incredibly thankful,” stated Udell. “Saturday was a perfect example of teamwork, where we all collectively had to look at the big picture and decide to back off, but it put us in a great position for Sunday. Obviously the win on Sunday was amazing, and put us in a great championship spot. You hate to see your competitors have misfortune like that, but we’ll go in to Sonoma and Monterey in a very advantageous position, and that’s critical for us. Huge thanks to James, Neville, and everyone at this team for all of the great preparation and help, we’re looking forward to Sonoma!”
With only three races in two weekends remaining, the team will enjoy a small break before finishing the season in California, returning to Sonoma Raceway in just one month’s time before finishing the season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Official practice for Sonoma will begin on Friday, September 16 with race action taking place on the 17th and 18th.