Both the GTS and Touring Car results changed following technical inspection. On the track, Brown (LEFT) led from pole and pulled away from the field in the No. 50 Lucas Oil/K&N Filter Ford Mustang Boss 302S, leading the first 28 of the 29 laps the GTS cars completed. With two laps to go and a hometown win in sight, a transmission problem left the Southern Californian with just first and fourth gear.
Jason von Kluge's No. 19 Varsity Ford Ann Arbor/Steeda Ford Mustang Boss 302S passed Brown in the race's final corner, with both drivers sideways trying to find traction. While von Kluge celebrated the win, an emotional Brown was left to digest a race that slipped away. Von Kluge was stripped of the win and disqualified from the race for a non-compliant part following the race.
Later, Brown – who before the technical violation was discovered, would have led 52 of 69 laps on the season and not had a win to show for it – was given the news that he had won.
“I usually start crying when I talk about how much this race means to me,” Brown said. “This entire program was put together by friends and family. It's all volunteers and we've been working our butts off. This last week has been hell, between pulling all-nighters to get here and moved in, to have a car able to run up front consistently, it means a lot.”
The team also raised money in the effort for Methodist Hospital of Southern California, who is raising funds to upgrade the trauma center. The cause is special to Brown and his family, when many years ago his wife was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and had her life saved at the hospital.
“If it wasn't for the support of my wife, my good friends, my crew chief Adam Cox and the dedication of the guys on the team, we'd have never been able to do this,” Brown said.
Ben Crosland, driving the No. 25 Interbank FX/RacewithRP.com Ford Mustang FR500S, finished third on the track and inherited the runner-up position when each of the GTS competitors moved up one finishing position.
Defending Drivers' Champion Peter Cunningham inherited third in the No. 1 Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX, followed by Brad Adams (No. 75 VooDoo Music/RacewithRP.com Ford Mustang FR500S) and Pratt Cole (No. 96 USA Cares/Western Metal Ford Mustang FR500S). Cole almost didn't make the race following a mechanical failure in qualifying, but the team got the pieces needed to get the car on track for a fifth-place finish.
Brown now leads the GTS Drivers' Championship with 373 points, followed by Eric Foss (321 points), Cunningham (312), von Kluge (255) and Crosland (231). Ford leads Acura in the Manufacturers' Championship, 30 to 27. Foss finished ninth in GTS after a tire failure on his No. 73 Traxxas/St. Jude's Hospital/SPX Ford Mustang FR500S.
The Touring Car technical inspection left Holbrook (LEFT) as just the second female winner in the history of Pirelli World Challenge. The 21-year-old finished originally finished second in the No. 67 Lucas Oil/MyPluggz.com/K&N Filters Honda Civic Si in what would have been her highest career finish as a professional driver.
Holbrook finished on the track behind the No. 01 Revo Technik/Carbotech Volkswagen GTI of Rafael Navarro IV, but Navarro's car was disqualified after technical inspection. Navarro led the last 22 laps on the track until the checkered flag.
“I've had a rough start to the year,” Holbrook said. “We got into an accident on lap eight at the first race, and it put a cloud over our head. The only reason I was able to get into a car for race two was because some fans came together to put me in the seat. We started dead last and finished eighth, so that was pretty good for me. We came here in yet another car, and that was stressful. I'm also a full time student, and I had a lot going on. To be honest, I wasn't sure if was prepared for this weekend. It just all fell into place. All of our hard work had finally paid off. And to be top dog at the Grand Prix of Long Beach is just amazing. I'm at a loss for words.
“I went into the 2011 season thinking there were certain accomplishments I wanted to make, and I literally just made all of them within this one race weekend. I'm really happy, the crew worked so hard, and I have to thank Branden Peterson Racing for taking a chance and helping us with this car.”
With the win, Holbrook becomes the first female World Challenge winner since Melanie Snow captured the S1 class win at Sears Point in a Porsche in 1996.
Holbrook also earned the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start award and the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for improving 14 positions from her 33rd overall spot on the combined class grid.
Devin Cates earned his best career World Challenge finish with a runner-up in Touring Car, 5.926 seconds behind Holbrook. Cates drove the No. 23 Cutaway Creations/Cates Engineering Volkswagen GTI to the finish after starting fourth in Touring Car.
Robb Holland finished third in the No. 66 K-Pax Racing Volvo C30, with teammate Aaron Povoledo finishing fifth in a matching No. 88 machine. Rookie Thomas Ehlen earned a fourth-place finish in the No. 72 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si.
The start of the Touring Car race was marred with contact between polesitter and Championship leader Lawson Aschenbach (No. 71 Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si), second-starting Ron Zitza (No. 60 Gila Monster/Zotz Racing Volkswagen Jetta) and Povoledo. Aschenbach and Zitza finished 8th and 9th in class, respectively, after the accident knocked them both out of the race.
Aschenbach continues to lead the Touring Car Drivers' Championship with 367 points, followed by Cates (278 points), Holbrook (252 points), Zitza (246) and Holland (235). Honda leads the Manufacturers' Championship with 27 points, followed by Volkswagen (24) and Volvo (9).
The Pirelli World Challenge of Long Beach presented by StopTech will air on Versus on Saturday, April 30 at 2:30 p.m. ET.
1. GT, (2), Brandon Davis, Huntington Beach, Calif., Ford Mustang Cobra, 31.
2. GT, (5), James Sofronas, Newport Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 31, -2.410.
3. GT, (4), Jason Daskalos, Albuquerque, N.M., Dodge Viper, 31, -18.590.
4. GT, (10), Tony Gaples, Libertyville, Ill., Chevrolet Corvette, 31, -20.799.
5. GT, (1), Patrick Long, Belleaire, Fla., Porsche 911 GT3, 31, -23.706.
6. GT, (8), Rob Morgan, Ladera Ranch, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 31, -25.438.
7. GT, (7), Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, 31, -28.063.
8. GT, (9), Andy Pilgrim, Marina Del Rey, Fla., Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, 31, -32.761.
9. GT, (11), Tomy Drissi, Hollywood, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 31, -1:24.750.
10. GT, (15), Jason Carter(R), Dallas, Texas, Porsche 911 GT3, 30, -1 lap.
11. GTS, (18), Paul Brown, Covina, Calif., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 29, -2 laps.
12. GTS, (19), Ben Crosland(R), Salt Lake City, Utah, Ford Mustang FR500S, 29, -2 laps.
13. GTS, (21), Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee, Wis., Acura TSX, 29, -2 laps.
14. GT, (3), Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 28, Mech.
15. GTS, (22), Brad Adams(R), New Orleans, La., Ford Mustang 500S, 28, -3 laps.
16. GTS, (25), Pratt Cole, Salt Lake City, Utah, Ford Mustang FR500S, 28, -3 laps.
17. GTS, (26), Ernie Jakubowski, Oakville, Ontario, Porsche Cayman S, 27, -4 laps.
18. GT, (6), Dino Crescentini, Mahattan Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 26, Crash.
19. TC, (33), Shea Holbrook, Groveland, Fla., Honda Civic Si, 26, -5 laps.
20. TC, (30), Devin Cates, Broad Run, Va., Volkswagen GTI, 26, -5 laps.
21. TC, (34), Robb Holland, Denver, Colo., Volvo C30 FWD, 26, -5 laps.
22. TC, (32), Thomas Ehlen(R), Vancouver, British Columbia, Honda Civic Si, 26, -5 laps.
23. GT, (12), Patrick Lindsey, Santa Barbara, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette Z06, 25, Mech.
24. TC, (29), Aaron Povoledo, Toronto, Ontario, Volvo C30 FWD, 25, -6 laps.
25. TC, (35), Don Istook, Fort Worth, Texas, Audi TT, 25, -6 laps.
26. GTS, (23), Nick Esayian, San Diego, Calif., Acura TSX, 21, Mech.
27. GT, (13), Fred Roberts, Mississauga, Ontario, Dodge Viper, 20, Mech.
28. TC, (31), Eric Meyer, Indianapolis, Ind., Mazda RX-8, 18, Mech.
29. GTS, (24), Richard Golinello(R), Oldsmar, Fla., Ford Mustang FR500S, 15, Mech.
30. GT, (16), Randy Pobst, Gainesville, Ga., Volvo S60 AWD, 13, Mech.
31. GTS, (20), Eric Foss, Dallas, Texas, Ford Mustang FR500S, 7, Mech.
32. GT, (14), Brent Holden, Newport Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 6, Mech.
33. TC, (27), Lawson Aschenbach, Darnestown, Md., Honda Civic Si, 1, Crash.
34. TC, (28), Ronald Zitza, Orlando, Fla., Volkswagen Jetta, 0, Crash.
35. GTS, (17), Jason von_Kluge(R), Ann Arbor, Mich., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 29, -2 laps.
36. TC, (36), Rafael Navarro, Temecula, Calif., Volkswagen GTI, 27, -4 laps.