July 23, 2020
The fourth event of the 2020 World Racing League Season took place at Road Atlanta starting with practice and qualifying on Friday, July 15 and continuing with two races on Saturday and Sunday. The Sunday race gave Round 3 Racing their first victory of the season in GP2 with Shift Up Now driver Shea Holbrook at the wheel alongside Mo Dadkhah and Michael Gilbert in the #601 Team Cooper Tire entry. Meanwhile Sarah Montgomery and the #602 Shell V Power Porsche Boxster took two podium finishes from the two races with her co-drivers Brad and Buz McCall, and left the event placing the team first in the Eastern Championship points and second for the National Championship.
The successful weekend for Round 3 Racing and Shift Up Now began on Friday, when Sarah Montgomery used her Shell V Power to qualify on pole for the first race of the weekend on Saturday, and was joined on the front row in the GP2 class by the sister Team Cooper Tire car. With the #604 Motiv8 Sports Group car driven by Loni Unser, Pippa Mann and Mandy McGee not far behind, all 3 cars looked to be in contention to try and sweep the podium positions during the weekend.
The first race started as planned for both the #602 and the #601 car, but the #604 Motiv8 Sports Group entry was eliminated from the competition early following an incident that left the car in need of repairs. Misfortune then also befell the #601 Team Cooper Tire Porsche Boxster, which had to drop out of the lead in GP2 to resolve an issue in the team garage area. Not to be defeated by adversity, the Round 3 Racing crew went to work to solve the problem, and the #601 was able to rejoin the race still in contention to finish in the top five. The #602 Shell V Power car was left as the sole Round 3 Racing entry at the very front of the race, and after having to overcome adversity of their own, that team was able to claim a second place finish in the first race.
The second day, and the second race, had both the Motiv8 Sports Group Team, and the Team Cooper Tire car looking for come-backs, while the Shell V Power team were eyeing one place better on the podium. During the first 2 hours of the race, Sarah Montgomery in the #602 entry and Shea Holbrook in the #601 entry ran away from the field, while Pippa Mann drove the #604 entry up to 4th place in the field before handing over the driving duties to Loni Unser.
As the race unfolded, it was once again a different tale for each of the three race cars.
The #604 Motivate Sports Group car was forced to retire from podium contention just over 4 hours into the race, and the #602 Shell V Power car started to have driver cooling system issues that were resulting in the drivers of the car having to put in incredible efforts behind the wheel while fighting an outside cockpit heat index of over 100. However the #601 Team Cooper Tire entry was able to keep turning competitive laps with no major drama, and in race 2, they were the team to take the spoils by coming home with victory in the GP2 class. Despite the hostile conditions in their car, the drivers in the Shell V Power team fought their way onto the podium with a third place finish.
Brad McCall owner of Round 3 Racing said, “We were honored and thrilled to have the racers from Shift Up Now in all three of our cars at Road Atlanta. Shea Holbrook and Sarah Montgomery led all drivers with the two fastest laps of the weekend, once again displaying the immense talent that Shift Up Now drivers bring to the track. We have the National Championship in our sights and our teams are ready to keep the momentum going.
Watching from the sideline, Shift Up Now President and Race Director Karen Salvaggio had high praise for the efforts of the entire Round 3 Racing organization for keeping their cool in the blistering heat while wrenching to maintain three very competitive cars. And for the nine drivers she said, “Hats off to all of you; each one gave it their all, and I continue to be proud of all of our Shift Up Now athletes for their talent and tenacity.
The World Racing League continues at High Plains Raceway in Colorado on August 8th and 9th.