Season 9 of our famed Tuesday night PS4 GT3 League was back in action to an old familiar face from the original Project Cars game, Road America.
As all qualifying recaps have started this season, the props go to Tyler McIntosh (MacAttack0922) for making it a clean 6 for 6 on Poles this Season. With his 16th Career Pole, Tyler now is the All-Time League leader in that category, breaking the tie he created last week with Patricio Campos (Pitricio). Mark McCormak (RPG) did not let it come easy though, as the Top 2 qualifiers were only separated by 0.380 seconds. Chase Cavalier (Doge_With_It_420), Dave Cristelli (TheGreatC81) and Kyle Spencer (KDawgHonda777) rounded out the Top 5.
The race would start out for the most part clean through the first handful of turns. There was a little bumping in Turn 1, but no major damage was had by any driver, though Kyle would fall back a couple spots after being forced to go wide exiting Turn 1. The big time winner off of the start was Mark Kaelin (Bubba18). Mark K. had a great go off of the light, a very strong Turn 1 and found himself as high as 3rd before the end of the Lap 1. That great start was even that much important for Mark K. as calamity would strike in the back half of the field later on in Lap 1. The Kink (Turn 11) is a super fast right hand turn that drivers challenge themselves to try to take flat out. This dangerous curve showed itself in full force tonight, especially on Lap 1. While running in 7th, Mart Boissonneault (Addiktd) ran wide out of the Kink and into the grass, but no harm as he caught the car and just lost a little bit of time. Behind him, Kyle would make the same mistake, but the outcome would be very much different. Kyle made an over correction, which caused his car to whip around very quick and violently. However, his car spun and stayed on the track! Dray Simpson (_Dray_) also ran wide out of The Kink, and could not keep control of his car as well while trying to watch where Kyle was spinning on the track. Dray would land a huge T-Bone hit on Kyle, sending him in the air, doing several 360s. Kyle's car bounced off of the left side wall and back into the track, where this time Alan Dunagan (DestroyAlkaline) would deliver a crushing blow sending Kyle's car back into the air, and landing on top of Michael Caterino's (vWardude) McLaren! When the smoke finally cleared and the cars all straightened out, 6 of our 13 drivers for the evening were caught up in one of the biggest wrecks in the League's history, which 3 of those drivers would be unable to finish the race. The action was far from over though, and that is not the last time The Kink would have an impact on the race. As the race wore on, the new game patch and tire model would get the best of the field. In defense of the drivers, the patch came out on Monday, barely giving anyone 24 hours to put in some new practice with the re-balanced GT3 field. So with that, there were more overtakes due to offs then actually on the track (except for Mark K.'s blistering 1st Lap of course). The only other multi car accident took place several laps later as Dave ran wide entering Turn 3 too fast, and contact happened with Chase as Dave tried to get back on the track. The fenders hooked and sent both drivers into the left side wall, with Dave getting the worst of the damage and would not be able to finish the race as well. Chase would recover and bounce back to finish 6th on the evening. As the race went on, it was a familiar sight up front with Tyler and Mark M. battling for the lead. Each driver would make mistakes and trade the lead back and forth. They both were able to control the tire wear enough to make it a 1 stop race, which was the concern leading into the event. After the pit stops, Tyler started running away with it, having the stronger pace on fresher tires with less fuel weighing down the car. As the race was coming close to the finish, The Kink made it's presence known again. With 4 to go with over a 10 second lead, Tyler's left rear tire would clip the outside curb of the Kink and that instantly lost traction on the tire and sent Tyler spinning to the right side wall. The suspension would be heavily damaged and Tyler would have to pit. This gave Mark M. the lead and a huge gap over the rest of the field. Mark M. never looked back and took home his 3rd win of the Season, continuing the pattern of trading off wins with Tyler this Season. Mart would run a very clean race in his debut and pace his way to a super impressive 2nd Place finish. In a bit of a heart breaker, Mark K. crossed the line in 3rd place, but several time penalties would relegate him down to 4th Place, which handed the final Podium spot back to Tyler after his late wreck and recovery. Samuel Yong (PhynesT-X) would round out the Top 5 of the Race. In a bit of a consolation prize, Mark K. would still easily be the Hard Charger of the race, going +9 on evening. Tyler would also claim the Fastest Lap of the Race, adding onto is All-Time stat total.
**Top 10 finishers for Road America**
1. Mark McCormak (RPG) – 3rd Win of the Season Mark McCormak (RPG)
2. Mart Boissonneault (Addiktd) – Podium in his 1st Career PRL Race!!
3. Tyler McIntosh (MacAttack0922) – 6th Podium of the Season; 15th of his Career (tied for 4th most All-Time)
4. Mark Kaelin (Bubba18)
5. Samuel Yong (PhynesT-X)
6. Chase Cavalier (Doge_With_It_420)
7. Michael Caterino (vWardude)
8. Max Lewin (RiteAidKid84)
9. Alan Dunagan (DestroyAlkaline)
10. Lance Lewin (RacerLance)
In the Driver's Championship battle, Tyler McIntosh (MacAttack0922) kept a 22 point lead over 2nd place, but that now would be over Mark McCormak (RPG), who used his win to jump up in the Standings. Mark Kaelin (Bubba18) moved up into 3rd Place in points, as Kyle Spencer's (KDawgHonda777) DNF was him fall down 2 positions in the Standings. Chase Cavalier (Doge_With_It_420) jumped up into 5th Place in the Standings after Road America.
The Team Championship standings saw Pony Up Racing (Mark Mc. and Mark K.) return the favor and then some after last week and took a 19 point chunk out of Apex Motorsports' (Tyler and Kyle) lead. The spread between the 2 teams is now back down to 21 points. Metal Mulisha (Samuel and Mart) moved up to 3rd in the Team Standings, but well back of our Top 2 teams.
Next week will be the first race of the European/Asian swing of the Season as the crew takes the GT3s to Austria and tackles the beautiful Red Bull Ring Circuit for the first time ever. Each week, please join our League's Broadcaster Charles Sumner (Hootius; www.twitch.tv/oldmanhoot ) as he breaks down all of the action that happens each Tuesday night @ 9PM EST.
Here is the broadcast of the great actions from Long Beach: