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Turner Motorsports Goes 1-2 in Michelin Pilot Challenge at Watkins Glen

(Photo: Cornnell Chu | The Podium Finish)

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Robby Foley and his Turner Motorsport No. 96 Grand Sport car got the lead with about 50 minutes remaining and ran with it. He survived a series of late restarts and pulled away, eventually bringing the car home to win the Sahlen’s 120 at The Glen, the team’s second victory of the 2023 season in the Michelin Pilot Challenge.

The win was part of a 1-2 finish for Turner and the third year in a row that the organization has won this race at Watkins Glen.

“We were kind of halfway to a wet setup and the car was really good,” said Foley, who drove the final stint of the race. “We could be really strong on restarts and make some moves, so that’s kind of the key. Once we got out in front, it was just about not screwing it up and just managing.

“I tried to keep my tires going. They would drop a lot because it’s kind of cool out, just try to get the tires going and get a little gap on the first lap … it’s a great day for the whole team. Awesome to have a 1-2 [finish] again.”

Vincent Barletta started the race for the No. 96 machine in the 11th position as the race began in wet weather conditions. Eighteen minutes into the race, the No. 33 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian Touring Car suffered damage and became the first car to swap from wet weather tires to slicks. Once other teams recognized the pace of driver Harry Gottsacker, they began to hit pit road to change to slicks as well.

The first slowdown of the race came 31 minutes in when the No. 57 Winward Racing Grand Sport car crashed with the No. 47 NOLASPORT Grand Sport car. After exiting Turn 9, the No. 57 car, which was driven by Bryce Ward, came across the track and collected the No. 47, which was driven by Adam Adelson. Both cars were unable to finish the race and the No. 95 Turner car suffered minor damage.

The extended caution helped meet the minimum drive time of just 40 minutes, and under yellow, most cars pitted to complete a driver swap. At that point, Foley relieved Barletta of his duties and the team went to work.

“It was a little difficult, but the track improved right away,” Barletta said. “We were able to get that early pit stop in and that really set Robby up … the cautions fell in our direction. They don’t always, but Robby was saving fuel and probably the second to last [caution], he knew that he was OK.

“I’m happy for the 96 and however it shakes out, but that’s all you can do is if you max out the points. And then your sister car comes in second, so unbelievable. The guys worked hard.”

On the restart with an hour and five minutes remaining, the No. 27 Lone Star Racing Grand Sport car driven by Scott Andrews got hit by the No. 43 Stephen Cameron Racing Grand Sport car driven by Gregory Liefooghe, causing another caution. Both cars suffered heavy damage.

In Touring Car, the No. 15 Rockwell Autosport Development machine driven by Denis Dupont spun out in Turn 7 from the class lead, turning the top spot over to the No. 1 car with 44 minutes remaining. Dupont could not get the car refired, which led to the third caution of the race.

Micahel Lewis, who piloted the No. 1 for Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb Agajanian, led the class to green with 30 minutes remaining, but the No. 5 KMW Motorsports with TMR Engineering car driven by Tim Lewis took the lead with 27 minutes to go.

From that point on, Tim Lewis never looked back. Despite two restarts in the final 15 minutes, he held off a field that included three hungry Bryan Herta cars to win the class with co-driver Roy Block.

The Michelin Pilot Challenge returns in two weeks at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.


Nathan Solomon serves as the managing editor of The Podium Finish. He has been part of the team since 2021 and is accredited by the National Motorsports Press Association. Solomon is a senior in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. Contact him at

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