Strong start to 2022 IMSA WeatherTech Campaign as team completes every lap
Sebring, Fla. (20 March, 2022) - Jr III (“Junior Three”) Racing raced to second place in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto on Saturday with drivers Garett Grist, Dakota Dickerson, and Ari Balogh. The race was the first of the championship season for the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship LMP3 class, and saw the team impress through a long hot day with strong execution on both sides of the pit wall at Sebring International Raceway.
Ari Balogh manned the controls from the drop of the green flag, keeping in the fight. As temperatures soared and the race ran under a furious opening segment with no caution periods, Balogh impressively took on a triple stint - the only bronze driver in the class to do so. Balogh turned the car over to Dickerson shortly after the three-hour mark on a well-time pit stop which saw the Sebring debutant move to the lead on a pit stop cycle on lap 107.
Making his first-ever IMSA WeatherTech race start, the promising young American racer ran in podium contention with the car briefly returning to the lead of the race before Dickerson turned the car over to Grist on lap 176 as the race moved past the halfway mark. Grist demonstrated his deep experience and strong pace as he ran in podium contention through his stints.
Once again moving to the lead on lap 265 before pitting, the Jr III entry was guided home through the final stages with Grist and Dickerson locked in P2. A long run of green flag action saw the team hit their marks on the pit stops well into the Florida night as Grist brought the car home in second place following 12 hours and 331 laps of hard racing.
"It was a lot of fun,” said Dickerson of his first run at the IMSA WeatherTech level. “It was a long race and everyone did a great job. I felt like I learned a lot and made improvements throughout my two stints. We kept the car clean, kept it on the lead lap and were able to make up a little ground as well. I'm very thankful for the opportunity that Jr III gave me. They did a fantastic job calling strategy, made great pit stops and really just did an awesome job all around. I'm very grateful to be on the podium in our first WeatherTech event together and I'm hoping for more to come in the future."
"I didn't get in the car until, probably, about seven hours in,” said Grist. “We had some trouble with handling issues during the daytime and then it was such a complete difference at night. So, I think we just have to look at why it was such a big swing. I knew that being able to battle with them (No. 33) was going to be tough, but our mechanics put in so much work this weekend and over the last couple of months at the shop -they are really the ones that got us this podium.”
“It was a long day, good day,” said team owner Billy Glavin. “The way we unloaded out of the box, I would have never expected second. The drivers did a great job and I think our crew really were key to getting this result today. To come and do every lap of one of the toughest races without a glitch—the guys did a mega job from preparing the car at the shop to all the stops we did today. Our car didn’t handle great in the middle segment of the race and I think that made the difference but this was really a great start for us and a great finish for the points, too. We have high expectations so we want to perform no matter where we go, so I’m really happy with how the whole week went and looking forward to build on this.”
Jr III will be back in IMSA action at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course May 13-15.