race laps. His rocket ship run to the win was briefly interrupted by two full-course cautions. The second of which enabled Baldwin's Cayman to get a little too close for comfort.
"On that first yellow I had a good restart and kept a gap," Cunningham said. "But on the second restart, Jack was right there. I knew there wasn't much time remaining, but when I came around hoping to see the white flag they said 'ok, two laps to go,' so it was a really close finish! It was just enough margin to take it to the checkered flag."
Just enough indeed, the victory margin at the line was in fact 0.468 of a second.
"After heartbreak and tears over the last couple races, it's great to get the job done here in Monterey," Cunningham smiled. "We're very pleased to max out on the points this weekend with the pole, most laps led and the win."
Starting directly behind Cunningham, Esayian was also held up by the stalled GT car.
"I got up along Peter on the start and we went through the first couple of turns door-to-door," Esayian recalled. "Then I made the decision that one of us had to go, because Baldwin was starting to check out on us. I lifted and tucked in behind PD. He was faster than me in qualifying, so it was a quick decision."
After Cunningham was around Baldwin and into the lead, it was Esayian's turn to crank up the pressure on the Cayman. Unfortunately, slower Touring Car traffic came into play during one of the full-course caution restarts, which allowed Baldwin to place two slower cars between himself and Esayian.
It appeared as though the day would end with two RealTime Racing cars on the podium until the final lap around the 2.238-mile course.
"I got passed by [Aaron Povoledo] with four wheels off going into turn five on the last lap," Esayian lamented. "I could have turned in, but physics would have superseded judgment at that point, because he couldn't have stopped if he wanted to. I left the door open, got in the marbles and he got by. I tried to get up alongside him, but I couldn't make it happen.
"The TSX was great. It was fun running in third the whole time up until the end there. The restart was a real problem with the Touring Cars getting jammed in between us and I think that was a mistake that cost us."
The Monterey weekend in whole was a big success for the RealTime Acura team,