In classical terms, the Super Touring 2 field was about as unlucky as you could get on the start of the race. An ST1 car had spun in the middle of Turn 1 just after the start, collecting one ST1 car and an ST2 car, and essentially blocking a good portion of the field from a section of the turn they were going to use.
In terms of Chad Gilsinger’s perspective, it couldn’t have worked out better. Gilsinger started from third on grid in his second-generation Acura NSX and got enough of a jump on the field that he was able to get inside the spinning ST1 car and come out ahead of everyone. It was a stroke of luck for Gilsinger, but, well, no one else.
After more than 10 minutes behind the pace car, the ST2 field restarted mixed in with Super Unlimited, ST1 and the three American Iron Extreme cars. This time, everyone got off to a clean start, and Gilsinger established a healthy gap over Todd Clarke, who was trying to keep Adrian Wlostowski and Michael McAleenan behind him. At checkers, Gilsinger held on for the win and the ST2 Championship.
“It really came down to the first turn, honestly. I had a really good start,” Gilsinger said. “I knew Todd was a lot quicker than me, so I had to get out to as big a gap as I could. I was able to get by the ST1 cars, which he ended up having to battle through. Then lapped traffic, you really had to be aggressive to get by them or else you’d get held up too much.”
As Gilsinger and Clarke rounded Turn 20 on the last lap, Clarke was right in Gilsinger’s mirrors. It was that close.
“Lapped traffic was quite a big factor. We got held up by the Extreme cars and the ST1 cars and so it was a big factor, but that’s racing,” Clarke said. “I got caught up a little bit in the first turn wreck, although the red flag pulled us all back together and it was just cat and mouse with the ST and Extremes, and I just ran out of time.”
Michael McAleenan, who suffered some front-end damage in the Turn 1 melee, got around Wlostowski to finish third.