PIT LANE INCIDENT SPOILS STRONG DAY FOR PARKER CHASE
July 5, 2021
Watkins Glen, NY (July 2, 2021) – Texan Harry Gottsacker opened America’s birthday weekend in celebratory style, scoring the first pole position of the 2021 season for Bryan Herta Autosport and the first pole position ever for the new Elantra N TCR in North America.
Racing back-to-back weekends at Watkins Glen International in up-state New York, round two looked to be one for the record books for the Elantra entries as they ran first and second with Gottsacker in the #33 Elantra leading Chase in the #98 through most of the first half of the race. It wasn’t meant to be.
Gottsacker’s domination of the race was abruptly halted when he reported a popping noise, forcing an early pitstop. In short order, the #33 crew diagnosed and remedied what turned out to be a fuel issue. While the #33 Elantra was able to finish the race, the additional stops resulted in a 10th place finish.
Parker Chase teamed with 2020 champion Gabby Chaves this weekend as his full-time teammate, Ryan Norman made his IndyCar debut. Chase had another fantastic performance in the #98 Elantra N TCR, his third consecutive event racing inside the top-three. He challenged his teammate Gottsacker form third position the first 15 laps and then raced hard for the lead for 11 laps before coming to the pits for a driver change.
As Chase approached his pit box, the Toyota Supra in the neighboring pit box was released into Chase’s lane and narrowly missed the #98 Elantra N TCR. In effort to avoid contact, Chase was forced to stop beyond his pit box, too far for the fueling apparatus to engage. Rules prevent cars from using reverse in the pitlane and the #98 crew frantically pushed Chase back to his service area while Chaves anxiously stood by in the pitlane to execute the driver change and take over the cockpit for the remainder of the race. They continued in the race, but similar to the #33 team, the lengthy pitstop pushed the #98 from second to eighth position.
Taylor Hagler and Michael Lewis had a challenging, but ultimately rewarding pair of races at The Glen. Early contact forced them to battle their way from the back of the pack in the four-hour race, yet they got the job done and scored their third consecutive podium when they finished third at the first race at The Glen. They were forced to do it all over again one week later at The Glen when they had fuel issues during qualifying and were not able to record a time. The consequences of starting in the back were bigger in the two-hour race with less time to work their way through the field. They prevailed, Taylor Hagler put in a strong performance, she worked her way up from 15th to eighth before turning the #77 Veloster N TCR over to her teammate Michael Lewis. Lewis once again, raced flawlessly into the top-five, however the duo thought their podium streak had ended with their fifth-place finish. Not so fast! The second and third place finishing cars failed post-race inspections for being underweight. This elevated Hagler and Lewis to third place, their fourth consecutive podium result and pushed them back strongly into the championship points lead!
Michael Johnson, co-driver of the #54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR scored his best qualifying result of the season. While he and teammate Stephen Simpson were not in contention for victory this weekend, they scored another top five finish and strengthened their championship position. They are ranked fifth, just 40 points behind fourth.
Bryan Herta Autosport returns to their Speedway, Indiana workshop after two weeks on the road, to prepare for he second half of the IMPC season. The Hyundai’s return to competition in two weeks at Lime Rock Park, in Lakeville, CT.
Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian:
Founded in 2009, Bryan Herta Autosport has grown from a single car Indy-Lights team into a multi-championship winning auto racing franchise. Led by IndyCar and Sports Car star Bryan Herta, Bryan Herta Autosport has won races in every discipline they have entered, including Indy Lights, Indy Car, Global Rallycross, and championship titles in Pirelli World Challenge and IMSA. BHA rose to prominence after winning the 2011 Indianapolis 500 in what was the final race of the Centennial Era, a celebration of 100 years of racing at The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, with driver Dan Wheldon. Five years later, BHA partnered with Andretti Autosport, and defied the odds again, winning their second Indianapolis 500 with rookie driver Alexander Rossi. In 2018, BHA entered the American Sports Car scene beginning its immensely successful partnership with Hyundai. Together, BHA and Hyundai have won three championships in as many seasons, including their dominating performance finishing first, second and third in the 2020 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, where Hyundai won its first manufacturers title. For 2021, BHA will debut the all-new Hyundai ELANTRA N TCR and continue with the proven Veloster N TCR with a three-car assault in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge. For more information, visit: www.BryanHertaAutosport.com.
BHA/Hyundai Customer Support: Bryan Herta Autosport is the U.S. sales agent and part support representative of Hyundai TCR and TCA race cars for customer teams. The BHA/Hyundai Customer Support Team offers trackside engineering support, setup and tuning advice, and part and order fulfillments for the Hyundai Veloster N TCR and TCA teams and drivers from the BHA’s headquarters in Speedway, IN. Since its North American debut in 2019, the Hyundai Veloster N TCR has scored 26 race wins, and three TCR championship titles.
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