Daytona Beach, Fla. (22 January 2022) - Jr III Racing kicked off the 2022 IMSA Prototype Challenge (IPC) season with a top five finish at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday. The No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320 of Courtney Crone and Terry Olson gained six positions to round out the top five in fifth. The three-hour race marked the first round of the 2022 championship, and the only endurance event of the season.
With rain falling at the race start, the team elected for rain tires as Olson suited up. Starting on the eighth row, Olson took the green flag in the No. 3 Ligier and quickly made up ground, gaining 11 positions as the field navigated the tricky conditions.
As the rain cleared and the track began to dry, Olson settled into green flag pace, clicking off 32 laps before he brought the No. 3 Ligier to pit lane from third for fuel and a driver change to Crone. A strategy call by engineer Scott Heckert kept the No. 3 Jr III Racing Ligier JS P320 on rain tires as the track began to dry.
Crone returned to the course in sixth with just under two hours remaining on the race clock. Crone maintained her position as she pushed the No. 3, looking for moisture on track to keep the tires cool and maintain her pace. As the second full course caution appeared, Crone dove into pit lane to make the switch to slick tires.
Consistency was key as Crone took over the fifth sport and maintained the position through the final restart of the race. The conditions once again got complicated as light rain fell with 30 minutes on the clock. Crone kept cool and focused, navigating through competitors sliding off course in front of the No. 3 Ligier to contest the final 17 laps and come across the line in fifth.
The fifth place finish is Crone’s career best IPC result and Olson’s third top-five finish with Jr III Racing.
“Wow, what a way to start a season!” said Olson. “I saw the opportunity on the first restart to make up a bunch of ground so I decided to act on it. That decision proved to be the best decision because it put us in a good position for Courtney (Crone) to take over. She did a stellar job and I am so proud to be her teammate. The entire Jr III Racing team did a phenomenal job and executed perfectly in the pits. A great team effort and just the beginning for us.”
“It was a great day and even better to be able to take home a solid result,” said Crone. “This is my best result in IMSA Prototype Challenge ever and I am happy to have done it with Terry (Olson) and the Jr III Racing team. The track conditions were ever changing and hard to navigate but I put my head down and focused on what I needed to do. A big thank you to my team Jr III Racing, my teammate Terry Olson, and all of my supporters that helped me get here. Without Cusick Motorsports, Gnarly Jerky, Myobrace, Lohla Sport, and Bob Simmons Dealerships I wouldn’t have been able to be in this position.”
The one-man entry of Ari Balogh in the No. 30 Airbnb Ligier JS P320 was on track for a podium finish before a late race penalty thwarted the result. Balogh crossed the checkered flag after three-hours of racing tenth overall but claimed a second place finish in the Bronze Cup.
The IMSA Prototype Challenge will enter a 15 week hiatus with the next event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on May 13-15th. Jr III Racing will be back in competition with the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship at Sebring International Raceway for the historic Sebring 12 Hour.