It was a disappointing return to VIRginia International Raceway for Michael Shank Racing on Sunday when both of the team’s Acura NSX GT3 machines were taken out early by contact from competitors. The GT-only event marked Round 10 of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Despite a promising run through the early stages of the race when Ozz Negri improved three spots on the very first lap in the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 and Katherine Legge moved up to run seventh during her stint in the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3, both cars retired early.
Legge was running seventh when contact and an additional brake check from Sage Karam in the No. 14 Lexus saw the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 that Legge shares with Andy Lally sustain race-ending damage. The No. 14 was handed a stop plus 60 second penalty for the contact, but the damage was done and the Acura was unable to return to the race.
Meanwhile, contact between the No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 and No. 3 GTLM car saw Negri shoved off track and into the tire barriers. Negri was able to keep the car going, but after pitting for full service and a driver change, co-driver Jeff Segal reported problems on the car. After bringing the No. 86 behind the wall, the Michael Shank Racing team determined that the damage was not fixable.
“The good news is that both cars were quick and we expected them to do well today,” said Team Owner Mike Shank. “The bad news is that the wheels just fell off the whole thing today. The first problem was Sage (Karam) and Kat (Legge) getting together. What Sage did is beyond anything reasonable in racing. We’re all aggressive and we’re all trying to do well but he blatantly drove her off the track and then brake checked her. I’m extremely disappointed in Sage Karam and how he raced us.
“On the No. 86 side of things, Ozz (Negri) was pushed out by the Corvette. They were both going for the same apex, and arguably the Corvette shouldn’t have tried to do it there (in Turn 3). But we got into a mess and the car is not good right now. We’re going to regroup, we’ll fix both cars and we’ll be back at Laguna ready to go forward.”
The No. 86 Acura NSX GT3 was classified 14th at the finish, and the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3 was 15th.
The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship returns to race action with all four classes at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca September 21-24.
Source. Sunday Group