Shift Up Now Athlete Erin Vogel earned the pole position and a third-place podium spot for Saturday’s SRO GT World Challenge America race, with teammate Michael Cooper at Watkins Glen, then followed it up with a fifth-place finish on Sunday.
Vogel ran P6 in both of the practice sessions on Friday and used the time to dial in the setup of the No. 19 car for DXDT Racing.
Overnight rain brought mixed conditions for qualifying on Saturday morning but Vogel was confident in the setup and was the first car out of the box when the green flag flew. She let one car by to open up a clear track and laid down several solid laps, moving up to P3 before another car caused a red flag. Once it was lifted, Vogel had time for one more flying lap. Despite running side-by-side with another car into the Carousel at turn five, her 1:51.104 lap was fast enough to put her on the pole.
Vogel started behind the wheel in race one and knew that strategy would be a factor. She trailed the two lead cars and maintained a P3 position while stretching out a comfortable lead over the fourth- and fifth-place cars. She handed the wheel over to Cooper, who held their P3 position through the checkered flag to give them a podium finish.
Race two on Sunday brought the best track conditions and car setup of the weekend. Vogel and Cooper were able to drive their most consistent laps yet, climbing to P2 at one point, but got shuffled back due to several safety-car periods. The duo fought hard and finished the second race in P5.
“Overall, it was a weekend I’m very proud of as a driver,” said Vogel. “My first pole position in pro racing, another podium this season and another top-five finish are all great results. I can honestly say that all my hopes for my rookie season have been achieved and there are still two events left in the season. Even without converting my first pole position to a win, it was very special to stand on the podium and spray that champagne. I was incredibly proud of everyone on the team for a great day of racing.
“Saturday’s results were also particularly special because not only was there a woman on the podium, but for the first time – and maybe ever – two teams on the SRO GT World Challenge America podium had female drivers.”
Vogel will head to Sebring International Raceway on October 1-3, 2021 for rounds 11 and 12 of the SRO GT World Challenge America season.