A day that started with passing cars and leading laps ended in heartbreak with just minutes left on the clock for the Paul Miller Racing team at Watkins Glen.
Starting fifth for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, co-drivers Madison Snow, Bryan Sellers, and Erik Johansson drove brilliantly to lead 18 laps of the race before weather brought the event to a halt for more than an hour.
Suffering with an injured foot after a pit stop miscue earlier in the race, Sellers heroically drove the final stint following the red flag, getting within minutes of crossing the line top-five, before the lap-down No. 59—following many egregious blocking moves to keep Sellers behind—punted the No. 1 Quartz Engine Oil-backed BMW M4 GT3 of Sellers, causing too much damage for the team to fix in the waning minutes of the race.
“We are here to try to win each race we compete in,” Paul Miller Racing team owner, Paul Miller, said.
“Unfortunately, the weather and race delay hurt our chances to win or at least maximize our result.
“Worse, we had a lapped car blocking us, which was unforgivable and hard to understand! Typically, you would expect a lapped car to move over and wave us through. Inexplicably, and a sign of incredible lack of sportsmanship, it got worse when we tried to pass.”
Next, the Paul Miller Racing team heads to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park for another round of the Sprint Cup.
Snow and Sellers currently lead the Sprint Cup—a championship-within-a-championship for races two hours, 40-minutes or less—following their stellar run of results in the shorter races this year. The duo has scored a victory at Long Beach, second place at Mid-Ohio, third at Detroit, and fourth at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
The last time either driver raced in the IMSA GTD class at CTMP was back in 2018, when they raced to a fourth-place finish together as teammates.
“We’re really looking forward to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park next weekend,” Paul Miller Racing team manager, Mitchell Simmons, said.
“It’s a fast and exciting race track, and we haven’t competed in the race there since 2018. I know everyone is really happy to get back, especially the drivers. And hopefully, that excitement translates to a good result and a good bounce-back from this weekend.”
“We had probably the best race car we’ve had so far here—even in the Lamborghini years. We absolutely nailed the BMW setup in the race. The team definitely did a great job, all the pit stops, and just everything in the race. We ended up being taken out from fifth at the time by a McLaren that was already a lap down, and that was just really unfortunate. These races are kind of fun because you can look at them in a little bit of a different way since we’re not looking at the Endurance Championship picture. We can just try to learn and go for podiums and wins instead of trying to collect points, but that being said, you never want to end the day behind the wall. But, that changes next week where we’ll be looking to increase our lead at the Sprint Cup at CTMP. I really like that track. I’m really excited to see how the BMW is compared to other cars I’ve raced there before. It’s always a learning experience taking a new car there, and it adds excitement and fun. It makes it difficult, but it also gives you an opportunity to improve.”
“The results today don’t reflect how good we were. We had a really, really strong race car, and I think we had a really great strategy. We had good pit stops, we went off strategy early in the race to try and position ourselves better at the end, and just before the red flag, I think we were in a really good place compared to the others. I think we also had enough speed combined with that to fight for the win. Unfortunately, it didn’t play out that way with the red flag—we had to do an extra pit stop and then the contact with the McLaren was just unnecessary. But, we have to be happy with the things we could control. I think we looked very strong today. It’s pretty exciting to go back to CTMP, we haven’t raced there since 2018 and it’s such a cool track. Historically, they’ve put together such a good event with a great crowd and I can’t wait to see how many people show up. I think they’ve made some improvements while the series was away, which is great for everybody involved. I’m really looking forward to getting there and it’s another Sprint Cup race we really have to try and perform well in.”
“I think we had a good race car today. We were looking really good for most of the race. But, at the end of the day, the red flag didn’t work in our favor and then, finally, being punted by a car one lap down isn’t how any of us wanted to finish today. But, the crew did a really great job today and all weekend and I think if the conditions were right we really could have challenged for the win. That’s not the case today, but we have one more chance to get it done in an endurance race this year at Petit Le Mans.”
Source. Paul Miller Racing