Sofronas leads the pair of Volvos at Mid-Ohio (Weber Image)
August 8, 2010 (Mid Ohio Speed World Challenge GT Race)
Starting first, James Sofronas got away cleanly at the start in his No. 14 Global Motorsports Group (GMG) Porsche 911 GT3, fending off a great start by third-gridded Pilgrim and his No. 8 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60. Saturday’s winner, Mike Skeen (Corvette) fell back from his second starting position to fifth at the start but was able to work back up to fourth by lap four.
Sofronas led a seven-car train for the first seven laps until Charles Morgan’s trip to the gravel brought out the race’s first caution.
On the lap-11 restart, Skeen rocketed past both Randy Pobst’s No. 6 K-PAX Racing Volvo S60 and Pilgrim into second as they entered the Keyhole. The move earned Skeen the MTM Special Ops Best Move of the Race and he set his sights on Sofronas. Sofronas weathered an early attack, but built a gap on Skeen’s No. 2 Carlisle Companies/Cragar Chevrolet Corvette working through traffic. But, to Sofronas’ dismay, a second full-course-caution came out on lap 21, setting up a five-lap dash to the finish.
“I was far more aggressive through traffic this time,” Sofronas said. “When the yellow came out, it was one of those ‘Are you kidding me?’ moments.”
On the restart, Pilgrim got a jump on Skeen and moved into second. At the Keyhole, Skeen fell back further as he began to experience transmission problems in the Corvette. Sofronas had his mirrors full of Pilgrim for the remaining laps, and in the final corner on the final lap caught a slower Touring Car, allowing Pilgrim to get a run at the finish. In the end, Sofronas beat Pilgrim by 0.151-second to capture his fourth-career win.
He averaged 77.791 mph over the course of the 29-lap, 65.481-mile race.
“I feel great on a lot of levels. I want to dedicate this win to my Dad,” Sofronas said of his ailing father, George. “To win today meant a lot to me. I thought about him when I was in the car and it kept me going because he never gave up in life and he’s just an amazing man. It gave me the inspiration.”
Sofronas admitted that traffic was a point of frustration during the race, with all three classes (GT, GTS and Touring Car) sharing the track together in the largest field of the season.
“The worst part was the last turn of the race, and [Robert] Stout was limping through the carousel,” Sofronas said. “He was still on the proper race line, and I thought I was going to drill him because I had nowhere to go. It was that or run off in the grass and he just started to veer to the right and I kept my foot in it. All of a sudden, I saw this big Volvo nose that literally filled my entire mirror. I couldn’t see anything except this big blue hood. That would have been a tough one to lose, but I think its poetic justice the way this weekend went. The Volvos got back up front, the GMG guys are running up front where we should be, and everything is great.”
The result puts Sofranos into third for the championship, with two events remaining. The other GMG car (Dino Crescentini) is fourth in the championship. Just like all season, BRracing team members were crewing again for GMG at Mid-Ohio this weekend. GMG and BRracing…..producing great results on the track, and for your car.