ALTON, Virginia (June 24, 2022) – CrowdStrike Racing enjoyed one of its best weekends in SRO Motorsports America with five victories in six races across three categories at Virginia International Raceway.
George Kurtz and Colin Braun won for the second time this year in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered by AWS in dramatic fashion Sunday, competing in their No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS Mercedes-AMG GT3 from CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports.
Kurtz continued to momentum in GT America Powered by AWS, sweeping the weekend with another No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS Mercedes-AMG GT3, giving him three wins in six races this season.
CrowdStrike Racing earned another sweep in Touring Car America Powered by Skip Barber Racing Schools thanks to two more wins for Kevin Boehm in the Touring Car category with his No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS Honda Performance Development Civic Type R TC.
Throw in two perfect runs for CJ Moses in GT America with the No. 58 CrowdStrike/AWS Audi R8 LMS GT2, and it was an event to remember for the entire CrowdStrike Racing program.
The weekend also was a memorable one for a group of employees, family and friends from AWS and CrowdStrike, the official Cloud and Internet Security Provider for SRO America. Around 100 guests from the East Coast region were on-hand to get an inside look at an SRO race weekend, meet the various CrowdStrike Racing teams and drivers, and join in the podium celebrations… of which there were many!
GT World Challenge America
Braun and Kurtz rebounded from a hard-luck race Saturday to claim a thrilling, come-from-behind victory to take the lead in the GT World Challenge America Pro-Am Drivers Championship.
Braun started the 90-minute race third but moved directly to second overall and in class at the start. Two full-course cautions in the opening 50 minutes interrupted his progress while he challenged for the overall lead.
Braun made his mandatory pit stop with 36 minutes left for fuel, fresh tires and driver change to Kurtz, who rejoined the race still second in class. He clicked off steady laps and kept his cool in traffic, which became important when the class leader went off-track inside the final 10 minutes. Kurtz roared past and went on to win by 7.418 seconds.
"Sometimes you just have to hang around, and hopefully you get a little bit lucky,” Kurtz said. “Ashton (Harrison) drove a great race but we took advantage of her off-track stop. We were super clean and consistent to produce a great team win. I couldn’t be more proud of the CrowdStrike Racing and the Riley team. We kept it clean and hit our marks. If you can do that, at the end of the race good things can happen."
Sunday was a stark contrast to the pairing’s Saturday race, which saw the No. 04 Mercedes lose time due to a punctured tire and a late penalty to finish eighth.
"This was a great weekend for the CrowdStrike Racing by Riley Motorsports team,” said Braun, who celebrated another VIR win with Kurtz in 2020. “I'm super proud of those guys. To finish strong like we did was just awesome. What happened Saturday was unfortunate and out of our control. Other than that, everyone executed really well. We kept our confidence up and knew we had a good, fast car. The Mercedes is really strong on the long runs and with tire degradation, and we were hoping that would come into play today. I knew George would do a great job when he got in this CrowdStrike machine. He always delivers. It's always a pleasure to race with him and drive for a guy like Bill Riley. I'm really proud of everyone. It was a total team effort.”
Kurtz kicked off the weekend with a victory Saturday in GT America. He started from pole position in the No. 04 CrowdStrike/AWS Mercedes after posting the fastest qualifying time on his final lap of the session.
The early portion of Race One was a little closer than Kurtz would have liked with a gap of less than a second over the second-place entry before a full-course caution nine minutes into the race.
Kurtz picked up his momentum again from qualifying when the race went green again by jumping out to a 2.5-second lead on the first lap after the restart. He increased his lead to eight seconds with 10 minutes to go and set the CrowdStrike Fastest Lap of the Race in the process. He won by 9.740 seconds.
Things were a little more tense in Race Two. Kurtz again began from pole and held a slim lead through the first 10 minutes before he came up on a large pack of slower GT4 cars. He navigated the traffic to retain his lead, but the second-place car made contact with a GT4 car while trying to stay with Kurtz. The other driver served a penalty for contact, and all of a sudden, Kurtz led by more than two seconds.
The gap grew to more than three seconds before a late-race, full-course caution period that bunched up the field again for the final two racing laps. Kurtz held steady and won by 0.595 seconds. The two wins on the weekend gives three on the season and first place in the Drivers Championship.
"It's important to clear traffic, particularly if you build up a lead because it can evaporate quickly,” Kurtz explained. “We did a good job of getting through the traffic and gapped our competitors.
"The most important thing is getting the tires ready to go,” he added. “We had a lot of safety cars this weekend and we kept the tires clean, which is important on this track, which I love. The CrowdStrike Riley guys gave me a great car, just like they have all season.”
Meanwhile, Moses enjoyed two clean, trouble-free races in his No. 58 CrowdStrike/AWS Audi R8 LMS GT2. It was the first event for Moses in GT America since the season-opener at St. Petersburg, and he made it count.
Moses qualified eighth on the overall grid but started Race One from pitlane. Despite being mired behind slower machinery, Moses calmly and quickly worked his way past 18 GT4 cars without incident and got around a GT3 entry to finish seventh overall.
Race Two was a more traditional run with Moses beginning the race eighth. Another faultless run netted him two positions to sixth place at the end – again without issue while a handful of other cars had incidents of their own.
“It’s such a good feeling to drive a fast car around a place like VIR,” Moses said. “It’s a track that’s even more enjoyable in a car like the Audi GT2. It felt really strong all weekend, and I was pleased with the performance in traffic during Saturday’s race. It wasn’t great starting from the pitlane but in hindsight, I learned a lot about racecraft and dealing with slower cars. I have three more races this season, and if they’re all as smooth as this weekend then it will be a successful season.”
Touring Car America
Boehm tightened his grip on the Touring Car Drivers Championship with his fourth and fifth wins in six races. His victory Saturday was another hard-fought one, although looking at the results will tell a different story. Starting from pole in the TC class, Boehm led by less than a second through the first 20 minutes before ceding the position.
Only a handful of laps later, Boehm and the No. 9 CrowdStrike/AWS HPD Civic surged back into the lead before slowly and steadily extending his lead over the race’s second half. Some late-race drama made the final laps interesting but Boehm persevered to win by 0.462 seconds.
Boehm drove to the front Sunday after starting third, taking second at the opening corner and the lead a couple of turns later. He fell back to second before the race stopped with a red-flag period due to a crash and barrier repair.
The race went green again with 16 minutes to go, and Boehm took the lead for good only two minutes later with a strong run down VIR’s long backstretch. He weathered a late full-course yellow and won by 1.6 seconds.
"There's a lot of luck involved in these races,” Boehm said. “If you look at Saturday's race, we were battling for the lead the entire way. I can't even tell you what happened because I was so fried trying to stay out front! It was give-and-go the whole time for both races... falling back a little and then having to catch back up. It all comes down to the hard work of the Skip Barber Racing team. They put in a lot of work behind the scenes in prepping the car and getting it up to speed. They're doing a great job. It's great to have CrowdStrike and AWS with us. We have a ton of guests here this week, so I'm really happy to get on top of the podium for them."
Saluting Operation Motorsport
Teamwork is key to success on the racetrack, and the partnership between CrowdStrike and Operation Motorsport is a great example. A not-for-profit, OpMo provides a chance for these service members to use their skill sets in a variety of areas including paddock operations, car and tire prep, marketing, social media and other key areas that are part of a racing program.
Three OpMo beneficiaries were part of CrowdStrike’s winning weekend: Craig Neri, Retired – U.S. Air Force, and Retired Air Force Technical Sgt. Michael Neri assisted Boehm’s TC-winning efforts. Brandon Mateo, Retired – Army National Guard Master Sgt., got his first taste of SRO America competition with Moses and his Audi R8 LMS GT2 in GT America. All three veterans continue to carry on the OpMo mantra of “Recovery Through Motorsports #OneAtATime.”
CrowdStrike also is a proud part of American Corporate Partners (ACP), which provides CrowdStrike mentors for service members looking to transition to the private sector, and a partner with HireMilitary, to provide meaningful internship experiences to service members exiting the military via the DoD SkillBridge program.
CrowdStrike Racing next competes in SRO America at Watkins Glen International from July 22-24.
For more information, visit CrowdStrikeRacing.com. Follow #CrowdStrikeRacing on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn for updates.
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Tips, tricks, wins, and learnings. Go behind-the-scenes at the race shop and the track with Boehm Racing.