Patrick Long, of Belleaire, Fla., checked out for the Pirelli World Challenge GT win at the Privacy Star Grand Prix Presented by Bondurant, but the real fireworks came in a GTS finish that allowed Andy Lee, of Colorado Springs, Colo., to take his first series win.
Long took the overall win by 3.032 seconds in the No. 1 Privacy Star/Entrust/TruSpeed Porsche 911 GT3, averaging 96.168 mph in the 23-lap, 70.104-mile race, but the last-lap focus was on the GTS class battle.
Lee's No. 20 Best IT Chevrolet Camaro entered the last lap in fourth place in the GTS class, trailing Kinetic Racing teammates Michael Galati and Colin Braun in the Nos. 36 and 38 Infinity Audio/Kia Motors USA Kia Optimas and Peter Cunningham's No. 42 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX. Braun closed the gap to Galati, and the two were battling for the lead on the last corner of the 3.048-mile Outer Course configuration when the cars hit, sending both off course, collecting Cunningham, and letting Lee race to the win. The crash was named the Kia Turning Point of the Race.
"I still can't believe it actually happened," Lee said. "You don't want to win a race like that with people crashing so I 'm glad everyone is ok, but if you get it handed to you then you might as well take it. We need the points, we had a horrible race at Long Beach, and this is just icing on the cake to be here. It's awesome."
Galati took the lead officially with the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race on the sixth of the 22 laps the GTS machines would complete, battling but holding the lead over Cunningham and Jack Baldwin's No. 68 Hot Wheels/Invoice Prep Porsche Cayman through the 21st lap until the incident.
After the race, neither driver was sure what happened - only that Braun recovered for a second-place finish and Galati crossed the stripe third for Kia's best finish in the four-race Pirelli World Challenge season.
"My whole plan the whole race was to try and save my tires, so I was kind of sitting back there trying to keep within arms reach of the leaders," Braun said of the race. "Michael did a great job all day and had a lot of pace. I felt like my strength was going to be sitting there being patient and make a run for it at the end. We kind of followed right along with what we were