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IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Series


Monk, Lewis post first victory together at Road America

Motorsports in Action (MIA) claimed its first victory of 2020 in the Road America 120 for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge courtesy of stellar drives by Sheena Monk and Corey Lewis in the No.3 J.G. Wentworth McLaren 570S GT4. The duo scored MIA’s first victory in the series since 2017 as the race ended under full-course caution, and they won it in dominating fashion. Monk delivered the team’s best qualifying effort of the season, and Lewis set a lap record around the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course. Even more remarkable is that it came in just the third race together for Lewis and Monk, who became the first female overall race-winner in the series since 2015.

Optimism was high in the MIA camp after the two free practice sessions Friday with the McLaren placing third as Monk and Lewis both showed strong pace in the McLaren. That carried over to Saturday morning’s qualifying, where Monk finished third for the team’s best showing of the early season in time trials.

It got better in the race. Monk ran the majority of her 42-minute stint in second place after a stellar start where she gained a position by the time the GS field reached the first corner. If Monk was intimidated, it didn’t show as she held off entries from Audi, Mercedes and BMW and kept the McLaren fast and clean in just her third Michelin Pilot Challenge start. She pitted the McLaren for the first time 42 minutes into the race – after posting the fastest overall first sector of the race during her stint and handed off to Lewis to go the rest of the way.

“I’m in shock… I really don’t know what say!" said Monk after the race "The entire day was great. Qualifying went well. Maybe I left a little bit in the car, but the lap I put together was good. I was able to gain a position in the race pretty quickly at the start but made a little mistake to give it back, but my goal the entire time was to maintain it as best I could and bring a good racecar back to Corey. We had a fantastic stop to get Corey out and into the race.”

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Lewis, a two-time winner in the series, went from more than 25 seconds down at the time of the pit stop to within five seconds before the final cycle of GS pit stops. He pitted from the lead with 37 minutes left and emerged from pitlane just ahead of the second-place Aston Martin. The pressure from behind didn’t faze Lewis, who held Kyle Marcelli at bay and pulled away by as much as five seconds before the late-race yellow.

“It’s been a heck of a two days." said Lewis "With the condensed schedule, it’s tough on all the teams. To get everything ready for a race is stressing, especially on drivers like Sheena who is in this car for the first time this year. But she is such a sponge. I’m really proud of how quickly she’s come along in a such a short period of time. Her qualifying effort was great, kept the car clean and handed the car off exactly where we needed to be. Motorsports In Action gave us a car that was able to pick up the lead and catch the guys we were chasing midway in the race. The last pit stop was perfect. The guys in the pits kept talking me through the gap deltas and so forth. It’s been an amazing two days. I’m beyond proud of Sheena and beyond proud of Motorsports In Action. Thanks to J.G. Wentworth and IAA Auctions for allowing us to do what we do. This is one to remember, for sure. Hopefully it won’t be the last.”

Next up for MIA and the No. 3 McLaren is the Michelin Pilot Challenge race at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday, Aug. 23. Earlier on Saturday, IMSA announced that MPC will now race at Road Atlanta on Labor Day weekend in lieu of Watkins Glen, and that Mid-Ohio will feature a doubleheader for the series at the end of September.


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