It was the inaugural event for Steven Clemons Jr., BSI Racing, and the Toyota GR Cup North America program as the series debuted this past weekend at the famed Sonoma Raceway. Piloting the pink #76 Toyota GR Cup machine, Clemons Jr. drove to eighth and 11th place results, improving on both of his qualifying efforts for rounds one and two.
“The weekend was great overall, Toyota really put on a great show for the first race at Sonoma Raceway,” explained Clemons. “Qualifying was not my strong point this weekend, I just struggled to find a solid lap to put down in the 15-minute session and that put me behind early.”
With a pair of Promoters Test Days on Wednesday and Thursday, the #76 entry went into Friday motivated for success as the official race weekend got underway. With two more test sessions to prepare for the ever-important qualifying session on Saturday, the BSI Racing crew fine-tuned the pink #76 for speed and the wheel-to-wheel racing that was to come.
Saturday morning saw a 15-minute qualifying session where Clemons ran the 18th fastest lap of the session. Disappointed with his result, the young gun put his head down in the race and drove forward. Taking advantage of several caution periods that bunched the cars closer to one another, Clemons took his BSI-prepared Toyota into the top-ten with an eighth-place result.
Returning to the track Sunday where qualifying saw Clemons slot into the 13th position after the short, timed session, a relatively green flag race saw the drivers more evenly spaced making it hard to jump positions. When the final checkered flag flew, Clemons once again improved to drive from 13th to finish 11th.
“Steven did exactly what he needed to do,” explained BSI Racing’s Shea Holbrook. “Keeping the car clean, he was able to learn, gain experience and move forward. A great debut for BSI and Steven in a new series.”
Clemons Jr. added, “The racing was very tight, yet very clean at the same time; I can’t wait to get back in the car and go racing at the Circuit of the Americas. A huge thanks to all my partners for the help and support, as well as BSI Racing for the preparation and execution throughout the weekend. Let’s better these results at the next one!”