Lexington, Ohio (15 May 2022) - Finally quenching the 15-week drought of races on the IMSA Prototype Challenge (IPC) schedule, Jr III Racing successfully raced to another top four finish at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Sunday.
The No. 30 Airbnb Ligier JS P320, manned by Thomas Merrill and Ari Balogh, stayed in the fight for fifth during the entirety of the race and were rewarded with a last lap gain in position. Despite a drive-through penalty due to a pit stop infraction, Merrill continued to use his pace to move forward.
After joining Jr III Racing for the first time this weekend, Merrill also showed great speed in Practice 2 on Saturday morning that carried into Sunday’s second round of the 2022 IPC season.
“It’s a great result for us, particularly our first time pairing up to be in the top five is really, really good,” said Merrill. “I think we would have been on the podium without the pit lane infraction, which would have been amazing because I think it’s what the team deserved. Jr III is a first class operation. They are a relatively new team, but they don’t look like it.”
The No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320, with driver pair Terry Olson and Courtney Crone, finished tenth, but there were impressive passes made by Olson to maintain that position after a stuttered start off the green flag. Olson made his way from P16 to P10 by the end of his stint.
“I was trying to get up really close under the green flag and I put the car into limp mode,” said Olson. “The car was great and really a lot of fun driving today though. I put a lot of pace into it to catch the field and put us at least back to where we started. I think I could have put the car up into the 5, 6, 7 range, but we'll learn from this one and come back and do it again.”
After the driver change, Courtney Crone dodged multiple obstacles including re-fire issue but maintained the P10 position for the rest of the one hour and 30 minute race.
“Overall today was tough from start to finish, but Terry did a fantastic job on getting us back up in the mix,” said Crone. “Unfortunately with our mishap with our car not re-firing, that hurt our day the worst. Performance was good, and I am happy we could salvage a P10 out of the eventful day. I’m looking forward to carrying on our momentum as a team into Canada.”
Although the driver pair had a tough day, they both look towards carrying Jr III in the next IPC race. Round 3 of the 2022 IMSA Prototype Challenge season continues at the Chevrolet Grand Prix at the Canadian Motorsports Park on July 1-3.