Sally McNulty recovers to seventh in Sebring second race
Despite a bumpy start at Sebring, Sally McNulty finished the TC America weekend with a solid seventh place in Race 2, making the most out of a challenging round and navigating through adversities with determination.
The penultimate round of TC America turned out to be not an easy one for Sally McNulty, driver of the #780 Borla Exhaust Skip Barber Honda Civic in the TCA class. Nevertheless, navigating through adversities with determination and fighting spirit, McNulty bounced back on Sunday with a P7 as her best result of the weekend.
McNulty - a Shift Up Now athlete - made her debut in TC America in 2019 and continued to develop as a driver ever since. Despite a series of top five finishes in the TCA class this year, her season so far has been marked by a few mechanical issues and on-track incidents - setbacks that ultimately prevented her from scoring her first podium of the year so far.
After a team change midway through the season, McNulty headed to Road America as the new driver of the Skip Barber Racing School team, in a brand-new eleventh generation Honda Civic Si HPD race chassis. At her first race weekend in new colours, she was P7 and P5 in the TCA class.
At Sebring, the American racer was eyeing even further progress, but a tough qualifying hampered her chances in Saturday's race 1, when a red flag in her fast lap relegated McNulty to seventh on the grid in the TCA class.
She managed to find a way past the #63 Mini of Alain Lauziers and then battled hard in the mid-pack. She would trade places with Shaoyi Che (TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ) and eventually crossed the finish line in eighth place in class.
Colin Garrett (Rooster Hall Racing BMW M2 CS) took the overall victory, preceding Lucas Catania and Jacob Ruud. Olivia Askew was eighth in TCX.
Techsport Racing's Gresham Wagner was the TCA class winner, as the driver of the #21 Subaru preceded Branyon Tiner and Devin Anderson.
The high temperatures at the Florida racetrack did not help the #780 Honda Civic, as well as tyre degradation, on Saturday - but on Sunday morning, McNulty was determined to fight back, despite starting even further back on the grid.
Race 1 lap times, in fact, shaped the grid of race 2, and McNulty found herself having to recover from ninth. A contact on the first lap made everything even more challenging - but Sally made her way up the order and, lap after lap, she charged back to seventh in class.
Garrett repeated Saturday's success with a back-to-back victory - with Stephen Cugliari this time finishing in second place for the TCX class. Olivia Askew had a strong race in the overall top five, at the wheel of the #29 Fast Track Racing's BMW.
Gresham Wagner also swept the weekend at Sebring for the TCA class, in an identical podium to race 1. Wagner is now tied on top of the championship standings.
While she couldn't claim another top five, Sally McNulty still brought home solid results, persevered through challenging circumstances and now looks ahead at the season finale in Indianapolis.
"This definitely wasn’t the weekend I was hoping for", Sally commented. "The Skip Barber crew worked hard on the car throughout the weekend to bring me a competitive setup."
"The heat was tough on the car, the tires, and the team. The cooler temps this morning [Sunday] definitely helped with a stronger finish, so hopefully Indy will treat us better with the fall weather", she continued.
"Skip Barber was the best thing to happen to my career, and I look forward to ending the season on a high note!"
The 2022 season is set to end with one of the biggest events of the TC America calendar - the Indy double-header, in support of the Intercontinental GT Challenge's 8H of Indianapolis, on October 7-9.