D.J. Fitzpatrick leap-frogged from his second place start on grid to take the lead in GTS2, a position he held for several laps. Conversely, Rafael Torres, who started on pole, got shuffled back out of the top three in the early stages of the race. What happened?
“It was a very interesting race,” Torres said. “We started first, but a brake failure of a competitor ended up putting us back to fourth. We got back on course and got back to fourth.”
As it turned out, Fitzpatrick had some brake issues decelerating into Turn 10.
“The race went really well,” Fitzpatrick said. “I got into first place in the first turn and then held it for a couple of laps then coming into Turn 10 I lost my brakes and unfortunately I ran off another competitor.”
After the midpoint of the race, the safety car came out to regulate traffic flow after an incident on track. At that point, Fitzpatrick got on the radio, apologized to Torres, and pointed him by on the restart.
“I could not have finished in first if not for the gentleman pass from D.J. Fitzpatrick,” Torres said. “I saved my tires until the last second. I cooled them down a lot during the yellow flag, so I was able to come back strong and draft cars and get back on course and take first place.”
The move put Fitzpatrick in second, a position he would hold till the end over third-place finisher Jonathan Vasquez.
“It was fun. It was hot,” Vasquez said. “I got the lead for a few laps and then at the restart, Rafael got by me and then on the last lap D.J. got a great run out of Turn 7 and passed me for second place.”