Watkins Glen, NY (27 June 2023) - The Jr III (“Junior-Three”) Racing team had an incredible comeback after a qualifying incident Saturday evening as the team rebounded to finish second in the IMSA Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen event.
Jr III Racing started the weekend strong by setting the fastest LMP3 lap of Friday’s practice session, followed up by posting the fourth fastest lap on Saturday’s morning practice. A heavy downpour at the start of the Saturday afternoon qualifying session created significant traction issues as water flooded several sections of track. The sudden rain saw the No. 30 Ligier lose traction and go off track momentarily. Unfortunately, before Balogh could return to action, an LMP2 behind him had the same experience, spinning off the track and making hard contact with the side of Balogh’s stationary Ligier. Fortunately, while the damage was very severe, the crash structure worked as intended.
However the incident caused Balogh to opt not to race and the team looked to Dyan Murry to take his place. Murry had spent the 2021 season in an IMSA LMP3 scoring five podiums before moving to an LMP2 in 2022. Jr III Racing full season regular Garett Grist and endurance driver Dakota Dickerson joined Murry for the six hour enduro.
The Jr III Racing squad worked through a second downpour of rain until late Saturday night and early Sunday morning preparing a brand new back up chassis. The No. 30 Airbnb Ligier made it to warm up Sunday morning, where Murry laid down the second fastest lap of the session.
Murry started Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen from the fourth row, but was able to make up three positions before a caution came out due to a GTP wreck on the first lap. Once the track was back green, Murry once again made gains towards the front of the pack. On lap 57 Murry handed the car to Dickerson who within four laps brought the Ligier to the front of the pack, leading for a total of 33 laps before Grist took the wheel on lap 121 under yellow flag conditions. Grist battled for the lead for the last hour, but the race turned to a fuel strategy game. Grist took the checkered flag in second, scoring the team’s first podium of the season.
Jr III Racing will head to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park next for a few days of testing before going back for the IMSA event weekend July 7-9th.
Garett Grist - “I mean, it was definitely an up and down weekend. I think practice one we were P1 which was great, we rolled off well. Practice two, I think we had really good pace as well, we just didn’t run new tires and I think other guys did so we were there. Unfortunately the rain in qualifying, Ari's spin honestly wasn’t bad, but when the LMP2 car came spinning off it absolutely destroyed our car. So we had to get our back up car out, but our back up car is brand new and never been driven. It got a few laps in warm up this morning as a bit of a shakedown. To finish P2 in the race is great. We just saved the entire two hours and fifteen minutes I was out there. We also had the right front die plane broken off, the toe is all messed up so we didn’t really have a perfect car to go battle Fraga and Riley today. Just a big thank you to our team for all the hard work all weekend and our drivers. I’m just really sorry for Ari. He wasn’t able to race and we’re here for Ari and its Ari’s race program. I just hope he gets better soon. We’ll be back at Mosport.”
Dakota Dickerson - “It was a really good recovery especially in the race given what happened in qualifying. The guys worked really hard last night to get us a brand new race car. It went well. We all had a good pace. All of us did a great job. Dylan did an awesome job getting called up last minute, putting in a great first stint to get us to the lead and then I just tried to sustain and keep the car clean for Garett and from there we just a good race, it ended up turning into a fuel saving race so Garett had to drive with his hands behind his back for a little bit. All in all happy to get P2. I know the guys are going to be working hard so that we can take it to the Riley guys at Mosport.”
Dylan Murry - “We started out very far in the back due to car and driver change and everything. So it was really hard to push at the beginning to get to the front. We were able to get to the front and then towards the end of the race, it was a fuel saving race. Garett was out there having to save so much fuel while still setting up a pretty fast pace. So it all came down to the end of saving fuel. I am very thankful to be a part of the team. It was a last minute call, but it was really great to be a part of Jr III. Hopefully we’ll do it again in the future"