Murillo/Szymczak take SprintX Race 2 honors at Sonoma

The No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman CS MR of Jason Hart (SprintX Pro-Am) would lead the field to the green flag for the final Pirelli GT4 America SprintX race of the weekend at Sonoma Raceway. But it was the No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes of Kenny Murillo and Christian Szymczak (SprintX West Pro-Am) that would grab all the headlines, charging up from fifth to take the win.

On the pace lap, SprintX Race 1 winner Jeff Burton (SprintX West Am) peeled off into the pits to change a tire that was losing air pressure on the No. 91 Rearden Racing Audi R8 LMS GT4. The team changed the tire and got the car back on track without losing a lap and Burton would fight back through the field from last to finish an impressive eighth overall.

Thirteen minutes into the race, the No. 51 Panoz of Matt Keegan (SprintX Am) pulled along-side the No. 19 Cameron Racing BMW M4 GT4 of Gregory Liefooghe (SprintX Pro-Am) and would out-brake the BMW at the Turn 7 hairpin, then hold the outside line to take over second place. Keegan then chased down the leading No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche, and grabbed the lead at the final hairpin one lap later.

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During the mandatory pit stops for driver changes, the first and second place cars pitted together early in the pit window, with Preston Calvert getting in to the No. 51 Panoz and Matt Travis the No. 47 Porsche. Third place Gregory Liefooghe stayed out in an attempt to over-cut his rivals, pitting with 26 minutes remaining and turning the No. 19 Cameron Racing BMW over to Sean Quinlan. The stop was just a little too quick compared to the minimum required time, though, and the No. 19 would face a drive-through penalty for the error.

Keegan took the Team Panoz Avezzano GT into the lead early, but the team couldn’t hold off the charging Murillo Mercedes in the closing laps.

The No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes AMG of Christian Szymczak (SprintX West Pro-Am) was the fastest car on track after switching drivers, and the bright orange machine climbed from fifth to second in just a matter of laps before setting off in chase of the race-leading Panoz.

With 20 minutes remaining the Mercedes sliptreamed past the Panoz into the Turn 7 hairpin into the overall lead which it would never relinquish.

“I was actually going back and forth on racing this weekend, but I knew it was going to be a great time, so I had to,” said Szymczak. “The Mercedes was really good all weekend.

“I’ve been racing with Murillo for years now,” he continued. “The team is great and gave us a great car.”

Team USA scholar Colin Mullan paired with Jarett Andretti to give the Andretti Autosport McLaren a podium finish.

Half a lap later, Colin Mullan (SprintX Pro-Am) in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S GT4 would pass the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche on the outside of Turn 1 to claim the final podium position.

The overall top five: Christian Szymczak in the No. 34 Murillo Racing Mercedes AMG (SprintX West Pro-Am) first; Preston Calvert in the No. 51 Team Panoz Avezzano (SprintX Am) second; Colin Mullan in the No. 36 Andretti Autosport McLaren 570S (SprintX Pro-Am) third; Matt Travis in the No. 47 NOLASPORT Porsche 718 Cayman CS MR (SprintX Pro-Am) fourth; and Jon Miller in the No. 28 ST Racing BMW M4 (SprintX West Pro-Am) fifth.

The Pirelli GT4 America SprintX competitors will be in action next on July 12-14 at Portland International Raceway.

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