The fourth round of the Heusinkveld Mazda MX-5 World Tour was at Virginia International Raceway, however something was missing again, Sonny Kanchin would not be taking the start of the race meaning he would use another of his three no-show compensations, leaving him with just one race left to miss before it would really start to affect his championship. Kanchins absence allowed Robert Hartley to take the pole position with Eroõ Nomm alongside him in second place, with Travis Schwenke starting on the second row.
As the laps went by the lead train of the top eight cars kept on turning the laps with no overtaking manoeuvres because all of the drivers were waiting for the right time to pit and possibly jump some people by taking less fuel than them. Four laps in Neil Bamber had a big spin as he came through South Bend, he rejoined the race in the middle of a battle for position 22.
Three laps later Nomm went for the move for the lead on Hartley, he made the move stick meaning that he is no longer able to save fuel and would need to pull away to prevent Hartley from saving fuel from Nomm. Then on lap nine Brian Holmes clipped the curb at turn five, which sent him spinning towards the inside barrier, damaging the front of his car.
At the end of lap ten the top four came into the pits leaving Artem Khorolsky to lead the pack with Beroual-Smith and Nice behind him. Hartley came out of pit road first with Nomm and Travis Schwenke, but Gene Fides lost two seconds, leaving him in danger of being jumped by Khorolsky, Beroual-Smith or Nice. Khorolsky and Nice came in to pit at the end of the next lap, leaving just Beroual-Smith out on his own to surely pit next time by.
Khorolsky and Beroual-Smith joined the back of the lead pack with Khorolsky at the back with a lot of the work to do. Beroual-Smiths pit strategy didn’t work because he came out behind Khorolsky, sliming his chances of becoming the first ever AM-class driver to win a race overall in the MWT. However next time by the line Beroual-Smith was able to make the move in Khorolsky to move up into sixth position. On the same lap Schwenke made the move on Nomm for the lead before Madison Avenue. With five laps to go Nomm went ever so slightly wide out of the last corner putting him out of a winning position. With just two laps left Gene Fides made contact with Hartley, putting him on two wheels, then spinning and making contact with Drees Nice.
At the front Travis Schwenke was able to keep his cool and stay in the lead and win the fourth round of the MWT, Travis being Asbury Motorsports third different winner this season.
As we wait for the next round of the Mazda MX-5 World Tour at Mosport, we wait to see if Sonny Kanchin will be back to continue his title defence.