WATKINS GLEN, New York (June 26, 2021) – Ryan Eversley and Todd Lamb earned Atlanta Speedwerks’ first IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge win on Saturday at Watkins Glen International, which was Lamb’s first career victory in the series and Eversley’s first since 2018. While the No. 94 Dinner With Racers/Lemons of Love Honda Civic TCR crossed the stripe first, the team’s No. 84 Sabelt/Pagid Honda Civic TCR driven by Robert Noaker and Brian Henderson scored a fourth-place finish.
Lamb and Eversley averaged 87.642 mph in the 104 lap, 353.599-mile race that was slowed five times for full-course cautions. Eversley crossed the line 6.435 seconds ahead for the win.
Lamb started the race in second place beside the pole-sitting Noaker and ran solidly in the top five during his stint, including the fastest TCR-class lap of the race in 1:57.489 (104.179 mph), with one notable exception. Early in the race, Lamb felt the Honda Civic lose power. A full course caution came out one lap later, and the team was able to quickly diagnose and reattach the boost pipe without losing much ground.
The narrow lap time gap between the traditionally quicker GS class cars and the longer fuel stint of the TCR cars at Watkins Glen meant that Lamb led one lap overall before his pit stop – as did Noaker, who pitted one lap earlier.
“It’s so awesome,” Lamb said. “Ryan’s a great teammate, we’ve got an amazing team and we just keep getting better and better as the season’s gone on. To win as not only a driver but as a team owner is a very special thing to me. We’ve been plugging away at this for three years now, and to get our first win after being so close so many times is really, really special. I’m thankful to the crew and to Honda and everyone involved.”
In addition to Lamb’s lap led during this stint, Eversley led a total of 21 laps – including the final 12 after the final pit stop and full course caution. Eversley restarted third, passing Henderson in second place and another competitor to take the lead and never look back, earning his eighth-career IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge win, taking over the Drivers’ Championship and the Team Championship point lead after four races, and earning Manufacturers’ Championship points for Honda.
“We’ve had a great season so far, and the Honda Civic TCR has been competitive at most places,” Eversley said. “I’ve had a few different teammates, and Todd and I have been friends for a long time. I was pretty excited to be able to win. The Michelin Pilot series has some big, talented names, so it’s been a lot of fun racing this class. To be able to do it with Honda every year is a true honor.”
Noaker led 42 laps in his nearly two-hour, 30-minute stint before handing the car to Henderson to finish the race. He lost the lead not on the track but during the pit sequence, and later regained it through a fantastic stop by the Atlanta Speedwerks crew. The 17-year-old held the lead, including his lap as the overall leader, until his green flag pit stop to pass the car to Henderson.
Henderson led two laps of his own and was second on the lap 92 restart, giving chase to the leader. Henderson fell as low as sixth in the difficult final stint and climbed all the way back to fourth, passing for two positions in the closing laps.
The 44 laps led for the No. 94 Honda Civic were the most of the race, earning them their second VP Fuels Front Runner point of the season and taking the season-long lead in that category.
“There are a lot of really good things to take away from the race today,” Henderson said. “We had a good bit of speed and were really competitive. We were in the top three most of the race. There are a few more things we can still improve on for the race next week but overall I’m really glad we ended up in fourth place. We probably could have taken a few more risks and maybe we’d have gotten second, and maybe we wouldn’t have finished the race. I’m really happy with a solid fourth-place finish, and at the same time a little disappointed to not be up there with Ryan and Todd. But there’s a good shot we’ll be up there next week and that’s what I’m looking forward to now.”
Atlanta Speedwerks and the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge have a short turnaround to defend or improve on their position, running a two-hour race again at Watkins Glen in just six days, on Friday, July 1. Eversley will be joined by Scott Smithson, who co-drove to a podium finish with Eversley at Mid-Ohio, in the No. 94 Honda Civic TCR, while Noaker and Henderson will return to action in the No. 84 Honda Civic TCR.