Mid-Ohio 120 recap

LEXINGTON, Ohio  —  Michael Johnson, Stephen Simpson and the Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) team recorded a second-consecutive top 10 finish, guiding the No. 54 Universal Coating Hyundai Elantra N TCR car to a seventh-place showing on Saturday in the Mid-Ohio 120 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. 

“Mid-Ohio had its ups and downs, but I learned more here than I have anywhere else this season,” said Johnson. “I’m learning this Elantra N TCR very well now. We unfortunately had a couple pit lane penalties that cost us a podium, but I am looking forward to Watkins Glen in June. I want to thank all the BHA crew for putting together a fantastic car and everyone from MJR.”

Two weeks ago, the team raced to a sixth-place finish in the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120 in Salinas, Calif. Currently, Johnson and Simpson reside in sixth place in the 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge standings with 720 points. 

“It was another tough result for us; another tough race,” said Simpson. “We didn’t get the result I felt we deserved. Michael drove absolutely amazing. He got up to third position on the first lap, which was fantastic, and then there was a little error in the pits and he dropped back to last place and had to come driving forward. He was the fastest TCR car out there and made up about 15 seconds that was lost. 

“The highlight (of the race) was Michael’s improvements. I am very, very proud of him. I feel like we have a fast car and had one of the fastest out there for the entire race. One of these days, we will be in the right position at the right time and we will be back on the podium; we are working hard to achieve that.”

For the next leg of the 2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Johnson, Simpson and the BHA team will travel to southwestern New York State for the Tioga Downs Casino Resort 120, as part of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, at famed Watkins Glen International in the town of Dix. The two-hour race at the 3.4-mile, 11-corner track is scheduled for a 3:35 p.m. start on Saturday, June 25.