Bijoy Garg earns double podium finish in VP Racing SportsCar Challenge
Bowmanville, ON, Canada (11 July 2023) - After a strong qualifying effort, great race pace, well executed pit stops and team strategy, Jr III (“Junior-Three”) Racing was disappointed to see its chances of victory vanish after being knocked off track for the lead on the final green flag lap of the race, causing the No. 30 Airbnb to fall short of a win during the Chevrolet Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (CTMP).
There were multiple visits to the IMSA podium for the team on the Canadian weekend, as Bijoy Garg and the No. 3 Jr III Racing VP Racing SportsCar Challenge added two second place finishes to their podium collection.
Garett Grist and Ari Balogh started the CTMP weekend fast right out of the transporter. Grist set the fastest lap in both practice sessions. Balogh qualified the No. 30 Airbnb Ligier on the inside of the second row scoring his best qualifying effort in IMSA WeatherTech competition.
Balogh was first behind the wheel maintaining his third place starting position for the first 16 laps. Balogh passed the Ligier to Grist with just under two hours remaining in the race. Due to an unplanned extended pit stop, Grist fell back to fifth and immediately started working his way back up to the front of the LMP3 pack. Grist passed for the lead on lap 74 and was able to begin to build a gap between him and second place. With just under five minutes left on the clock, the No. 74 Ligier lunged inside of track record holder Grist and drove him off the track and into the dirt. That same lap a caution came out removing the opportunity for Grist to make a move back to the front. Grist took the checkered flag in second place.
“Not a lot to say,” said Grist. “Fastest in both practices. Passed for second, passed for first, fastest lap of the race, best average. Then got hit and driven off the track for the win. I’m all good with hard racing, but there comes a point. Incredible job by the team all weekend. Strongest car for the third race in a row. I’m really proud of Ari’s stint and pace all weekend. We’re ready to get to work at Road America.”
The Jr III Racing team had double duty this weekend as Bijoy Garg was behind the No. 3 Jr III Racing VP Racing SportsCar Challenge entry. Garg scored his third pole position of the season during Friday’s evening qualifying session.
Saturday morning saw Garg earn a second place finish under caution after battling for the lead throughout the 45-minute race.
Garg started from the pole position once again on Sunday based on the fastest lap from Saturday’s race. Garg fell back to fourth on the start, but worked his way up to second place and in position for the lead. Unfortunately traffic kept Garg from making a pass for the lead on the last lap. Garg took the checkered in second place for the second time of the weekend.
“It was not the weekend we wanted to have,” said Garg. “I felt like what happened at the start didn’t really need to happen, but we drove a pretty good race both days. We did what we could. I think we closed the points gap, so that’s a good thing. All we can do now is to look forward to Lime Rock and hopefully sweep the weekend.”
Jr III Racing will be back in action with the VP Racing SportsCar Challenge at Lime Rock Park for a doubleheader weekend on July 21-22. The WeatherTech team will be back on track at Road America August 4-6 for the IMSA SportsCar Weekend.