- Race One Featured Tight Battles for Wins
- Jason Daskalos Takes SRO3 Class Win
- Ross Chouest Wins GT4 Class with Last Lap Pass
Race One of GT America powered by AWS finished with flare after a slow start due to an early incident. SRO3 and GT4 classes saw tight battles for the win at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Competitors received a special surprise due to a delay in the schedule. Race One took place at sunset and into the night. With headlights gleaming, the two GT America powered by AWS classes put on an exciting show for the crowd.
The SRO3 Class had an unexpected start with Jeff Burton in the No. 91 Mercedes AMG GT3 starting fourth but making contact with the wall brought the field to its only yellow flag of the race. Unfortunately, for 2022 SRO3 Class Champion, George Kurtz, received damage from the incident and forfeited his second place start. Pole sitter Scott Smithson spun on his own, abdicating the lead.
The restart saw Memo Gidley lead SRO3 with his TKO Motorsports Mercedes AMG GT3. However, it wasn’t long before Jason Daskalos would use some fancy footwork and took over first-place duties. He and his No. 27 Mercedes AMG GT3 would hold on to the lead through the checkered flag. James Sofronas in the No. 14 Audi R8-LMS was hot on Gidley's heels, but try as he might, he would take the checkered flag in third.
“It’s because of them,” said Jason Daskalos EBOOST Hard Charger Award winner. “I was P1 early in practice. I hit the wall. We switched over to the backup car out but it wasn’t ready to race. The crew worked their butt off to get it to race ready. It’s all because of them.”
Pole sitter Todd Coleman led a majority of Race One in his No. 69 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 but with six minutes remaining; he found a tire barrier. This relinquished the lead to hometown hero Jason Bell in the No. 2 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4, who spent the race dueling it out with Coleman.
However, on the last lap, Ross Chouest dove to make a pass for the lead. While Chouest made the pass stick in his No. 50 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4, Bell received damage to the right front tire. He kept his cool and brought his Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 across the finish line, but not before Gray Newell made a pass in the No. 25 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT4 for second.
“The boys did a great job,” Chouest said. “Halfway through the race, I couldn’t quite find the speed. It became very challenging as the sun went down with concrete everywhere. I clipped my left side mirror and had a slight wobble in the wheel after grazing my right front. Later in the race I saw an opportunity and jumped on it.”
Race Two goes green Saturday, March 4, at 12:15 p.m. ET in St. Petersburg, Florida. The session completes SRO Motorsports America’s weekend in the sunshine state before the series heads west to Sonoma Raceway.
The weekend schedule, live timing and scoring, and session reports are available at gtamerica.us. Check out race live streams for free on YouTube at GT World. Get up-to-the-minute info on the GT America powered by AWS social channels on Facebook @srogtamerica, Instagram @gt_america and Twitter @gt_america_.