Watkins Glen, NY (27 June 2022) - Jr III Racing was in podium contention throughout the first half of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of Watkins Glen until a fuel seal issue forced the team to retire the No. 30 Airbnb Ligier JS P320 on lap 126 on Sunday.
The premature end followed a strong day from Ari Balogh, Nolan Siegel and Garett Grist as they all took to the No. 30 Airbnb Ligier JS P320 with the goal of extending the Jr III Racing championship points lead. The Jr III drivers competed with intensity as they ran a combined 69 laps in podium contention.
Making his Watkins Glen LMP3 debut, Siegel moved from seventh to second within the first 12 laps of his stint, which was highlighted by a strong restart following the third yellow flag. The 17-year old driver led the LMP3 class for nine laps at the halfway point of the race.
Siegel pitted and handed the wheel to Grist on lap 97, but the team faced adversity when the car’s rear pneumatic jacks stopped working. The team sprung into action, raising the front of the car with the cars jacks during the refueling, and then manually raising the rear to effect the tire change. Once back on track, Grist maintained his position in second for the majority of his 61-minute stint. Grist matched lap times of the class leader as he maneuvered through traffic.
Grist came to the pit box on lap 135 for a routine pit stop that ended in flames when the fuel probe emitted fuel at the wrong time. Quick responses from the crew extinguished the fire, but unfortunately the race was over for the No. 30 Airbnb machine.
Although he didn’t get the finish that he had hoped for, Siegel was pleased with the weekend he had for his debut with Jr III Racing.
“My stint was really good, and I led a lot of it then hung on to a solid second,” said Siegel. “Unfortunately, an issue in the pit stop took us out of the race, so it’s not the way we wanted it to end, but it was a strong weekend overall. It was great running with Jr III this weekend. I am really grateful for Billy (Glavin Jr.) and Ari for giving me the opportunity to run with them. I really enjoyed working with the team as everyone did a great job, so they really deserved a podium today.”
After the disappointing points payout on the day, Grist’s focus is on making up championship ground in the next round of IMSA competition next weekend as the series visits his home country with a visit to Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
“It is too bad,” said Grist. “We came in leading points, and I am not sure what happened there. We did have a couple issues all race long that we were fighting through, but still we held our own. I definitely think we would have been good for a podium had we made it to the end. It’s not a good points day, but it happens. We also had broken jacks so that made every pit stop long, but we’ll be back next weekend.”
The Charlotte-based racing team stands third in the LMP3 championship with 951 points heading into the second half of its debut IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
Jr III Racing heads north for the Chevrolet Grand Prix at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park on July 3 at 3:05pm ET with coverage on NBC.