Shift Up Now Athletes Sarah Montgomery and Hannah Grisham stood atop the podium of their respective classes after Rounds 10 and 11 of the 2022 World Racing League season at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.
All five of the Shift Up Now Athletes started in the top ten in their classes on Saturday, during a wild and rainy start. As the cars lined up on the grid, lightning and torrential rain delayed the start for approximately three hours.
Montgomery had a strong weekend from start to finish in the No. 401 Hagerty car in the GT0 class for Round 3 Racing, starting from the pole position for Saturday’s 9-hour endurance race and Sunday’s 7-hour race around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile track.
On Saturday, Montgomery’s team elected to pit immediately on the first pace lap for wet weather tires, sending her to the back of the 70-car field but better prepared for conditions. She then advanced quickly through the field to P2 by the end of her stint. Later in the race, a sensor failure sent the team to the garage. Although out of contention for a good result, the team returned to the track and set a fast lap that gave them the pole for Sunday.
Montgomery took the wheel first for race two and kept the car in the top three for her entire stint. Her teammates continued the trend and with one hour to go, the race was red flagged and called for lightening, sending the No. 401 to victory lane.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here with this fantastic team, crew and car, and I am on such a high right now from this awesome weekend,” said Montgomery. “Thank you to Round 3 Racing, Hagerty, Team Cooper Tire, Bell Techlogix and Shift Up Now for helping me be in such a great situation this year, with the opportunity to win races.”
Grisham started Saturday’s race from P4 in the GP3 class. Driving the No. 605 Hagerty car for Round 3 Racing, she kept the car in the top five during her stint, where the race was stopped multiple times for accidents in the tough weather conditions. Once the track dried, Grisham’s teammates continued making moves to advance and bring home the victory.
On Sunday, the No. 605 stayed in the top three for the entire first stint. Grisham then took the wheel and drove into the P2 spot. In the final two hours, the team was in the lead, driving an entire lap ahead of the GP3 field when the lightening strike hit and the checkered flag fell.
Shift Up Now Athlete Loni Unser and teammates started P5 in the GP1 class for Saturday’s race. The No. 701 Team Cooper Tires car with Round 3 Racing remained in the top five for the whole race, driving solid and focused to earn a P4 finish.
On Sunday, Unser’s car required a trip to the garage during the first two hours of the race. Despite being many laps down, the team returned to the race to salvage championship points, and finished P7.
Shift Up Now Athlete Pippa Mann started a season-best P7 on Saturday, driving the No. 770 MonoFlo International Porsche Cayman in the GT0 class. Like Montgomery, Mann’s team elected to switch to wet weather tires on lap one. At the apex of turn six, a competitor’s mistake meant contact to the right rear tires of the MonoFlo Cayman, resulting in a handling issue that the team would battle for the rest of the race.
Despite being in contention for a top-ten finish in the last hour of the race, contact from another car ruled the No. 770 out for the remainder of the weekend.
Shift Up Now Athlete Laura Hayes started Saturday’s race in P4 in the GT0 class. Driving the No. 111 car for Thunder Bunny Racing, Hayes was behind the wheel for the first stint and was one of the few that elected to stay out at the start of the race instead of switching to wet weather tires. She kept the car in the top three during her stint. Similar to Mann’s situation, Hayes’ car was in top-ten contention when late-race contact forced the team to retire.
The Thunder Bunny Racing car started P9 on Sunday and once again, retired to due to contact.
The Shift Up Now Athletes return to World Racing League action for back-to-back, eight-hour endurance races on August 5-7, 2022 at High Plains Raceway in Deer Trail, CO.