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Pirelli World Challenge winners at Long Beach survive frantic ending

Apr 22, 2013, 10:00 PM EDT

042213_Sofronas

James Sofronas earned his second and Lawson Aschenbach his first win of the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge season Sunday on the streets of Long Beach after a frantic end to the 31-lap race.

Sofronas, who won GT in his GMG Audi R8, was again in the right place at the right time when mechanical maladies struck cars ahead of him. Alex Figge had a brake rotor failure in his K-PAX Racing Volvo S60, which caused a yellow, and smoke from Johnny O’Connell’s Cadillac CTS-V after the restart meant he stopped on the final lap. A piece of Figge’s rotor actually went through O’Connell’s radiator, which caused the smoke.

“We were just waiting for something to happen and boy, did something happen,” said Sofronas.

O’Connell’s Cadillac Racing teammate, Andy Pilgrim, and the HAWK Performance Nissan GT-R of Mike Skeen completed the GT class podium.

Aschenbach, meanwhile, had a hard fought battle in GTS with Peter Cunningham to secure Blackdog Speed Shop’s first class win in the No. 10 Chevrolet Camaro. He edged past Cunningham’s RealTime Racing Acura TSX on lap 24 into Turn 1.

“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 1,” said Aschenbach.

The aforementioned Baldwin followed his sweep of the St. Petersburg doubleheader with his third straight podium in his GTSport Racing with Goldcrest Porsche Cayman.

Sofronas, handily, and Baldwin lead their class points heading to the next round for the championship at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas May 17-19. The Touring Car and Touring Car B- classes have their opening tripleheaders that weekend, as well.

The Long Beach race airs at 2 p.m. EST, May 5, on the NBC Sports Network.  More information on the series can be found at www.world-challenge.com

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