- Jaeger, Zacharias take third in #14 370Z NISMO
- Hammann, Doherty Take #41 car as high as third before an issue drops Car to 7th
LAKEVILLE, Conn. — 07.26.2015 – Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge (CTSCC) veterans Brad Jaeger and B.J. Zacharias, drivers of Doran Racing’s #14 Nissan 370Z, have made it onto the podium in half of the CTSCC races held so far this year. The pair took their Nissan to its third podium in four races for the 2015 season.
On Saturday, closing driver Zacharias was fast enough to take second and possibly challenge for the win, but the narrow Lime Rock Course and an inopportune late caution made getting passing the two V8-powered Mustangs of Jade Buford and Billy Johnson impossible. It was close at the finish, with Zacharias drag racing Buford down the straight to within only 0.117 seconds of the second-place Mustang at the stripe.
“I think if we had stayed green, Jade [Buford]’s tires would have fallen off and given us a shot, but the podium finish is awesome. We just want to get a little higher on the podium,” said Cincinnati native Zacharias. “I didn’t have any issues – the car was great. I really have to say that it came down to the pit stops. The Doran team did a great job in the pits. I just tried to work through traffic.”
The team’s #41 sister car almost pulled off a storybook finish, with 2014 GT Academy winner Nic Hammann qualifying an impressive fifth and starting brilliantly in his first U.S. race. Hammann turned over the #41 car to GT Academy teammate Steve Doherty in third place. Doherty left the pits in fourth, as Zacharias got away in the #14 a shade quicker. The 2012 GT Academy winner was locked in on the bumper of veteran Zacharias, setting lap times at or near the series veteran and opening up a gap between the two Nissans and the Camaro Z28R of Robin Liddell in fifth.
The late caution period was costly for the #41, as the car developed a throttle control issue shortly after the restart and Liddell’s overheated tires had a chance to cool.
“We were running well. We were third and fourth with about a half-hour to go, but we had some throttle problems again, and it was getting worse. It caused me to go wide in Turn 1, and the contact with Liddell was at the exit of Turn 2,” said Doherty. “Nic did an awesome job; he brought the car in third for our only pit stop. We were riding around waiting for the Mustangs to burn their tires off, but it didn’t quite work out as well as we hoped.”
With about 34 minutes left, Zacharias had cut the margin between the #14 370Z, and the V8 Mustang in second from 5.97 seconds at that point to just 4.50 seconds when Kevin Boehm went off course on lap 92. Though the Honda Civic was stopped a safe area, a full-course caution was called on with just 20 minutes remaining in the race when that car’s brakes caught on fire while stopped.
The full-course caution allowed the top two Mustangs’ tires cool down prior to the restart on lap 97 with 15 minutes remaining. Zacharias continued to keep the pressure on the second-place car driven by Buford right up until the end.
Hammann kept his characteristic grin as he reflected on his first professional race in the U.S.
“It was a blast! Everyone on the team did a great job. We were in line for a top five until the end, but it was still good,” said the 21-year old from Wisconsin. “I had a good battle with Austin Cindric in the Mustang. It was a lot of fun. In some parts of the track he was better than I was and on other parts I was stronger, so I was trying to capitalize on him in those places. I can’t wait until the next race.”
The Lime Rock CTSCC race will air on Fox Sports 1 on August 2 from noon to 2 p.m. ET.
The next CTSCC race is Aug. 8 at Road America and will be streamed live at imsa.com from 1:20 to 2:50 ET. That race will be rebroadcast on August 17 on Fox Sports 1.