Aschenbach, in the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Camaro, was in a see-saw battle with Cunningham for most of the race. The two traded positions a couple times including a restart on lap 21, where Cunningham blew by both Aschenbach for second place and polesitter Andy Lee for the lead on the run to Turn One. One lap later, Lee's No. 20 Best IT Chevrolet Camaro came to a rest between Turns Nine and 10 with suspension damage.
Aschenbach, closed the gap to Cunningham, attempting to out-brake the driver of the No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing Acura TSX into Turn One on Lap 23, but couldn't make the move stick until a lap later, getting the job done on lap 24, earning him the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race.
“The start was actually pretty good,” Aschenbach said. “I got off really quick. Surprisingly quick. I thought I was going to be second going into Turn 1 but then got boxed out by a couple of slower GT cars.
“Fortunately enough, when you race against guys like Peter [Cunningham] and Jack [Baldwin], they give you all the room that you need and fortunately I was able to out-brake them into Turn One. The last caution was what did it for us. We were quicker than Andy but he gapped me there pretty good on the start and I was slowly reeling him in, finally that caution was what caught us all back up. I actually got a better start than he (Lee) did, but Peter blew by me, and I was able to kind of follow him around and push as hard as I could."
Cunningham finished second in GTS, adding to his streak of three straight podiums.
“Lawson was coming, and he was coming and he was coming,” Cunningham said. “And when he out-braked me going into Turn 1, I had nothing for him and I figured, ‘OK, I will be third behind these two Camaros.' Then I got a really good restart and drove right by both Camaros to take the lead for a couple of laps. And then Andy was out of the race, something broke on his car.
“Lawson, though, was coming and it was only a matter of time. He caught me and passed me and I tried to keep the pressure on to see if something would happen but then the next thing I know I have Jack coming from pretty far back. But then the yellow came out and we weren't sure we were going back to green, and then get it under checkers. Congrats to Lawson to win in another category now.”
Baldwin, in the No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Foametix Porsche Cayman, had a positive points day as well finishing third in GTS after a sweep in St. Petersburg.
“I am real happy with a third place,” Baldwin said. “We didn't qualify as well as we wanted to. I got a pretty good start. Ran hard all day. My hat is off to Lawson and Peter, they are great drivers. They drove a good race and we finished third today. I wasn't sure we had a third-place car going into today. I'm happy, the guys worked really, really hard. On to Austin. I'm just thrilled to be here, it's great.”
Former Long Beach winner Brandon Davis ended up fourth in GTS after the dust settled, in the debut of the No. 27 HP/Adobe Road Winery Aston Martin Vantage. Mark Wilkins ended up in the fifth position in the No. 38 Kia Motors America Kia Optima.
Roger Rodas got the best jump on the standing start, taking the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award, in the No. 52 Always Evolving Performance Ford Boss 302. Gaining eight positions, Damien Faulkner, of Ireland, earned the Sunoco Hard Charger Award in the No. 26 VIZIO/HULU Plus Aston Martin Vantage.
After his second-straight win, Sofronas sits atop the GT Drivers' Championship standings, with 407, to Pilgrim's 275 and Figge's 271. Audi leads the Manufacturers' Championship, with 27, to Volvo and Cadillac's 17.
Baldwin leads the GTS Drivers' Championship, with 389 points, to Aschenbach's 332. Cunningham is third, with 301. Chevrolet leads Acura 25 to 17 in the Manufacturers' Championship for GTS.
The Pirelli World Challenge moves on to the next stop in Austin, Texas for the Cadillac Sports Car Challenge at the Circuit of the Americas, May 17-19. The event will comprise of Rounds Four and Five of the GT/GTS campaign, as well as a season-opening triple-header for Touring Car and Touring Car B classes.
More information on the series can be found at www.world-challenge.com or on Twitter @WCRacing.
LONG BEACH, Calif. - Results from Sunday's 31-lap, 61.008-mile Pirelli World Challenge GT/GTS Round 3 race, part of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on the Streets of Long Beach, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses,
driver, hometown, car, laps, distance behind winner and reason out (if any).
1. GT, (1), James Sofronas, Villa Park, Calif., Audi R8 LMS, 31.
2. GT, (7), Andy Pilgrim, Boca Raton, Fla., Cadillac CTS-V.R, 31, -1.036.
3. GT, (8), Mike Skeen, Charlotte, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette, 31, -2.927.
4. GT, (4), Duncan Ende, Los Angeles, Calif., Audi R8, 31, -3.371.
5. GT, (10), Bret Curtis, Westlake Village, Calif., Audi R8, 31, -4.072.
6. GT, (9), Tim Pappas, Boston, Mass., Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3, 31, -4.492.
7. GT, (12), Brent Holden, Newport Beach, Calif., Porsche 997 Cup, 31, -11.062.
8. GT, (5), Johnny O'Connell, Flowery Branch, Ga., Cadillac CTS-V.R, 30, Mech.
9. GT, (11), Craig Stanton, Long Beach, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3, 29, -2 lap.
10. GT, (2), Alex Figge, Denver, Colo., Volvo S60, 26, Crash.
11. GT, (13), Tim Bell(R), Los Altos, Calif., Nissan GTR, 26, -5 lap.
12. GT, (6), Alex Welch, Englewood, Colo., Audi R8 LMS, 22, Mech.
13. GT, (3), Randy Pobst, Gainesville, Ga., Volvo S60, 1, Mech.
14. GT, (38), Tomy Drissi, Los Angeles, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette, 0, DNS.
15. GT, (39), Kyle Kelley, Huntington Beach, Calif., Dodge Viper, 0, DNS.
16. GT, (40), Jeff Courtney, Milwaukee, Wis., Audi R8 LMS, 0, DNS.
17. GTS, (17), Lawson Aschenbach, Jupiter, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 30.
18. GTS, (16), Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee, Wis., Acura TSX, 30, -.148.
19. GTS, (18), Jack Baldwin, Marrietta, Ga., Porsche Cayman S, 30, -1.510.
20. GTS, (21), Brandon Davis, Huntington Beach, Calif., Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 30, -2.173.
21. GTS, (19), Mark Wilkins, Toronto, Ontario, Kia Optima, 30, -2.735.
22. GTS, (30), Damien Faulkner, Ireland, , Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 30, -5.820.
23. GTS, (37), Nic Jonsson, Sweden, , Kia Optima, 30, -9.595.
24. GTS, (20), Nick Esayian, San Diego, Calif., Acura TSX, 30, -10.094.
25. GTS, (15), Kevin Gleason, Johnstown, Pa., Porsche Cayman S, 30, -11.914.
26. GTS, (25), Brad Adams, New Orleans, La., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 30, -12.592.
27. GTS, (24), Tony Gaples, Libertyville, Ill., Chevrolet Camaro, 30, -13.303.
28. GTS, (28), Harry Curtin, Buffalo, N.Y., Chevrolet Camaro, 30, -14.919.
29. GTS, (26), Dane Moxlow, Grosse Isle, Mich., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 30, -15.452.
30. GTS, (31), Bill Ziegler, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Pontiac Solstice, 30, -17.059.
31. GTS, (22), Jim Taggart(R), Raleigh, N.C., Lotus Exige, 29, -1 lap.
32. GTS, (35), Roger Rodas, El Salvador, , Ford Boss 302S, 29, -1 lap.
33. GTS, (33), Erik Davis, Burbank, Calif., Ford Mustang Boss 302S, 29, -1 lap.
34. GTS, (34), Buz McCall, Boca Raton, Fla., Porsche Cayman S, 29, -1 lap.
35. GTS, (36), Robert Stout, Brownsburg, Ind., Scion FR-S, 28, -2 lap.
36. GTS, (23), Lou Gigliotti, Dallas, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 25, Crash.
37. GTS, (14), Andy Lee, Colorado Springs, Colo., Chevrolet Camaro, 19, Mech.
38. GTS, (27), Mark Klenin, Lonetree, Colo., BMW 2009 M3 E92, 13, Crash.
39. GTS, (29), Ric Bushey, Virginia Beach, Va., Nissan 370 Z, 10, Crash.
40. GTS, (32), Ardee Toppe, The Woodlands, Texas, Ford Mustang Boss, 9, Crash.