While Povoledo's car got the worst of the GTS startline crash, Galati did not emerge unscathed. An inspection of the right-front wheel after the race revealed a broken spoke on his wheel, which caused the handling of the car to deteriorate over the course of the race.
That didn't deter Galati from actually passing Wilkins' No. 38 Kia Motors America Kia Optima for the lead on lap 22. As the red cars ran nose-to-tail, Jack Baldwin's No. 68 Team Hot Wheels/Invoice Prep Porsche Cayman S joined the fray, making a three-way battle for the lead with only a handful of laps remaining.
Galati's handling began to fade, and Wilkins re-took the point on lap 25. Galati could not fend off Baldwin, who moved to second. He was unable, however, to run down Wilkins, who sped away to a 2.795-second win.
“Jack [Baldwin] was coming on really strong,” Wilkins said. “Michael [Galati] was real quick. He [Galati] came up quick and then it looked like he had a little bit of damage on one corner, which was tough. I thought I got a little pick up on the tires. At one point, I went a little off line and wasn't quite sure. I tried to play it safe. I wanted to bring a good strong result home for Kia. Once I figured out it was all good, I went for it. We had a great car. I've just got to thank Kia and Kinetic guys for a fantastic job all weekend.”
Baldwin's run netted his third top-five finish in the last five races.
“I caught them [Wilkins and Galati], but I was not catching them on the straightaway,” Baldwin. “I was catching them in the corners and getting in position. I knew something was developing. Something was happening. They were a little slow coming off the corners. It looked like one was weak, one was strong. I'm not sure what they were doing. I think they were trying to help each other.
When I got up on them, I figured out where I could pass them, if I could just get a good run. I got a good run of the last corner and was able to stick it down in Turn One. Once I got by, Michael [Galati] fell back. It was great. I would have never imagined the Team Hot Wheels Cayman would have finished second today. But, I'm real happy about it. I've got to thank my crew and all of the guys that work on the car.”
As Galati tried to nurse his No. 36 Kia Motors America Kia Optima home, Andy Lee and Alec Udell moved past. On the final lap, Udell moved his No. 16 MDG/Ford Racing/Kart Nation Ford Mustang Boss 302S around Lee's No. 20 Best IT Chevrolet Camaro for third. Galati ended up fifth, but set a new GTS track record, with a best time of 1:25.858 (103.105 mph).
Peter Cunningham earned the Sunoco Hard Charger award for moving up four positions to finish sixth in his No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing Acura TSX. Karl Poeltl captured the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start award for advancing five positions on the opening lap in his No. 37 Wossner/Performance Racing Oil Porsche 996. He ultimately finished 10th.
Lee extended his championship point lead, with 981 over sixth-finishing Peter Cunningham's 970. Baldwin moved to within eight of Cunningham, with 962. Galati is fourth, with 806, followed by Justin Bell, who missed the weekend due to television broadcast commitments, with 678. Ford re-took the Manufacturers' Point lead, with 49 to Acura's 45. Chevrolet is just two behind, with 43, followed by Kia, with 34. Points are provisional pending final race results.
Today's race will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network Saturday, July 7 at 5 p.m. ET. The series takes July off and next travels to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Aug. 3-5.