The battered and bruised Road Shagger Audi RS 3 LMS TCR crossed the line second on Saturday; taking home yet more hardware for the team and keeping Ernstone and Morley in the Championship picture heading to the season finale (Nov. 13 at Sebring)
Going into the race with a tender back and unsure of how long he could run, Ernstone did a great job capitalizing on the first turn melee to jump from 8th to 2nd. He then settled in behind the two lead Hyundais as the top 3 TCR runners attempted to cut their way through the back of the GS field.
Once the two Hyundais had cleared the #71 Camaro, Ernstone knew he needed to get clear quickly as well or risk losing touch to the front two. He made a move in turn 11 and got together with the #71, damaging the right front corner of his car.
Remarkably, the suspension wasn’t damaged in the incident and Ernstone was able to continue with nothing more than some lost downforce due to the body damage. Ernstone drove great for the rest of his stint and brought the car to the pits under green in 3rd place.
Morley jumped in and found the car much to his liking. He came out in fifth and was able to set the fastest lap of the race shortly after leaving pit lane (his mark was eventually eclipsed by James Vance by one tenth). Morley proceeded to push hard to try and build a gap, knowing that the front runners would pit later than him and have fresher tires late in the race.
Once everyone had cycled through pit lane, Morley found himself with 50 minutes to go, a 12-second lead and 10 more laps on his tires than everyone else. He did his best to manage his tires, but the massive fall-off in tire performance seen during practice once again reared its ugly head.
On fresh rubber, Chavez was able to lap a second-per-lap faster than Morley and track him down. Once caught, Morley managed to hold Chavez off for a lap and half. But eventually, Morley had to choose between contact or giving up the lead, after Chavez made an aggressive late move into the corkscrew.
Morley tried to fight back, but his tires were gone and all he could do was watch Chavez slowly creep away.
Now, for the second season in a row, Road Shagger Racing heads to the season finale in 3rd with an outside shot at the Championship! To win it, they will need to win the race and have the #33 finish 8th and the #98 finish 5th. Anything can happen though, so make sure you tune in on NBC’s TrackPass Friday, November 13th at Noon Eastern Time!!