Super Touring 1 drivers Ray Sweers and Benjamin Lesnak had lap times 2 seconds apart from each other. Lesnak was clearly faster, but because he didn’t score any points in one of the qualifying races, he was relegated to starting from dead last in the field of six. Sweers was second. A.R. Hoshmandy was on pole.
Lesnak waited out the double yellow and then proceeded to chip away through out-of-class traffic until he finally caught and passed Sweers.
“There was some traffic that I worked through and then I caught up to Ray,” Lesnak said. “And it was pretty tough because he’s got me on the straightaways, so I’m really forced to annoy him going into the braking zones and things like that, but it was super clean. He got back by me on the straightaway a few times. Eventually I was able to get one to stick and I was able to run away.”
The cat and mouse game suited Sweers, who brought the right equipment — a Dodge Viper has won the ST1 or STR1 Championships four of nine times — but didn’t have enough experience at this particular track.
“This is my second time to Road Atlanta, so I’ve been spending the weekend trying to figure things out, and it really helps to follow some of these fast guys,” he said. “But I thought I’d give that first place Corvette a run for the money and the way he called it is exactly the way I saw it. I could get him on the straights a little bit, trying to follow his line, but once he walked away, he just knows the track just a little bit better.”
Sweers also had a mirror full of Rene Molina Jr., who had driven his Mustang from third place on grid.
“We got that double yellow that packed up the whole field on the restart,” said Molina Jr. “Some ST2 cars got by. I didn’t want to get in the middle of their race, and I was trying to keep in contact with Ray, but there was too much separation and I was trying to make the checkered flag. I was actually running out of gas at the last minute, so I barely made it.”