Second place result marks best career IMSA finish for Jr III Racing
Lexington, Ohio (16 May 2021) - Jr III Racing wrote a new chapter in the team’s history books after finishing second in IMSA Prototype Challenge (IPC) race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday. Mike Skeen and Terry Olson teamed up behind the wheel of the No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320 for the first time and made the most of their debut outing together with a big result.
The IPC field qualified on Saturday with Olson laying down a fast lap of 1:18.718-seconds to place the No. 3 Ligier in seventh on the starting grid.
Set to start the race on Sunday, Olson geared up for his IMSA IPC debut and took the controls for the opening stint of the one hour, 40-minute race. Consistency was key for Olson as he maintained his running position for 32 laps before coming to pit lane for fuel, tires and a driver change.
Sports car racing veteran Skeen returned to the course before he was called back to pit lane to serve a stop-plus-five penalty for not meeting the fueling time during the first stop. Skeen returned to action in eighth position but quickly recovered the lost track position to move into seventh.
Skeen began hunting down his competition, laying down a 1:17.179-second lap - the fastest lap of the race on Lap 38. The first and only full-course caution on Lap 57 came at an ideal moment for Jr III Racing as the field slowed behind the safety car ahead of the restart.
Skeen pounced on the opportunity, moving up two spots on the restart and chasing down the chance to fight for a podium finish. By Lap 71, the Jr III Ligier was up to third, as Skeen continued to push and make a clean over-under pass in turn eight to take over second.
With the white flag in the air, Skeen was now focused on closing the gap to the leader on the 2.258-mile final lap of the track, coming up just 0.4-seconds shy of a victory as he brought the No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320 across the finish line in a strong second place.
The podium finish is the first for Jr III Racing in IMSA competition.
“Jr III Racing prepared a car that is absolutely incredible,” said Olson. “It responded to adjustments quickly and well - even an amateur like myself could drive it fast. It's an absolute thrill to be in the front seat and then be able to watch Mike (Skeen) do Mike (Skeen) things, it was an incredible weekend. He's a machine, absolutely a beast. I knew he would be the one to bring us home, so my goal was to keep the car clean, run consistent laps and not lose any positions. It has been an absolute pleasure working with Jr III Racing and an amazing result to cap the weekend.”
“We had a lot of pace there at the end relative to some of the top five cars and it was a blast battling up to the front,” said Skeen. “I wish the yellow was a couple laps earlier to give us a little bit of a longer run to the end. I can’t thank Jr III Racing and Terry (Olson) enough, we had an awesome weekend together. We had a small miscommunication in the pits that put us back but honestly made the race a lot of fun for me. We had an incredible car and tried to make the most of it up to the very end.”
Jr III Racing returns to IMSA Prototype Challenge competition at Watkins Glen International for the fourth stop of the 2021 season on July 1-2nd.