Ashton Harrison secures top-10 finish at Watkins Glen
After starting 19th, Ashton Harrison drove her way inside the top-10 before strong stints from teammates Danny Formal and Kyle Marcelli resulted in an eighth place finish for the Racers Edge Motorsports Harrison Contracting Acura at the 6 Hours of the Glen.
Ashton Harrison bounced back from misfortune at Long Beach to finish an impressive eighth in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship at Watkins Glen. Despite limited practice time, the #93 Acura made excellent progress during the six hour race with Ashton laying the foundations for the team. After starting 19th, Harrison drove her way inside the top-10 before strong stints from teammates Danny Formal and Kyle Marcelli resulted in an eighth place finish.
Making her third start of the season in the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship Endurance Cup, Ashton was looking to build upon a season’s best result of sixth alongside teammates Danny Formal and Kyle Marcelli. The first of two practice sessions was held in mixed conditions, with Harrison’s #93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura finishing inside the top-15. A twice red-flagged second session saw another top-15 placing, with Ashton completing 25 laps across both sessions to give good encouragement heading into qualifying.
Qualifying was also held in dry conditions with Ashton driving in the 15 minute session. Harrison continued to improve and set a best time of 1:50.581 which was the 19th quickest time in GTD. With her fastest lap coming on her final lap, this showed the potential for more improvements in the race.
Ashton took the start in the #93 Acura NSX and was immediately on the move, gaining one position before an early full course yellow was displayed. After passing Roberto Lacorte and Sheena Monk, Harrison was up to 14th by lap 11 with her race looking particularly strong. Moving into 12th three laps later, the top-10 was within reach and a smart strategy call at the time of the second full course yellow meant that Ashton was now inside the top-5.
After restarting fifth, a pit lane protocol violation resulted in a drive through penalty with the #93 Acura NSX falling to 16th. This proved to only be a minor setback with Ashton’s second stint equally impressive as her first. Restarting 15th after another full course yellow period, Harrison made a number of great moves and by lap 35 she was back inside the top-10. A series of quick laps to end her stint enabled Ashton to hand over the Racers Edge Motorsport Acura in tenth, with teammate Danny Formal taking over driving duties.
Despite falling to 15th after the pit cycle, Formal’s pace was extremely strong and this enabled him to move up to seventh position at the halfway point. Kyle Marcelli then took charge of the #93 Acura and continued to hold position inside the top-10. With a little over two hours remaining, a longer full course yellow period led to a frantic restart with Marcelli running ninth.
With 90 minutes remaining, the #93 Acura dropped to 12th, with Formal taking over at the final pitstop as the car once again re-entered the top-10 as the final hour approached. A brilliant stint from Formal meant that the car ran as high as seventh in the closing stages, before a late pass from Loris Spinelli resulted in a highly respectable eighth place finish for the #93 Racers Edge Motorsports Acura.
Ashton drove superbly during the opening two stints to ensure the team contended for a strong finish. She navigated traffic and a number of full course yellow periods to move the #93 Acura inside the top-10, showing significant improvements from both practice and qualifying.
“Not too bad of day, all things considered", she commented after the race. "Finishing P8 at Watkins Glen, especially considering we started 19th. The No. 93 Harrison Contracting Company Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 team did a mega job all day long, especially considering they thought it might rain and it ended up being blazing hot."
"Great work to all at Racers Edge Motorsports with Wayne Taylor Racing Andretti Autosport and to Kyle and Danny who had absolutely no cooling during their entire stints", Harrison added. "We will keep our heads down and get ready for Road Atlanta.”
The final race on the IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship Endurance Cup calendar takes place at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta on October 14th.