Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix
ALTON, Va. – Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson earned the co-drivers’ first podium finish of the 2021 IMSA Pilot Challenge season, placing second at the Virginia Is For Racing Lovers Grand Prix at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Va.
The top three showing by Johnson and Simpson was also their first since joining the Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) team.
With the second-place finish at VIR, comes points for Johnson and Simpson, who entered Sunday’s race in seventh place in the season standings. They will likely rise a couple of spots in the TCR standings, placing them in position to potentially reach the top three with one final race remaining on the schedule.
“The weekend at VIR went very well,” said Johnson. “With the limited amount of dry track time, we had a fast car. I felt comfortable in the car and Stephen was stellar as usual. The entire BHA crew was fantastic as well. This second place finish is what we desperately needed. I am looking forward to Road Atlanta in November.”
VIR has been good to the driving duo, marking the second time in three years that Johnson and Simpson have achieved a podium finish. In 2019, they recorded a third-place result.
Behind the wheel of the BHA Universal Coating No. 54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR car, Johnson and Simpson negotiated the 3.27 mile-long track with a top time of 1:57.862.
“It was a good race for us; it’s nice to be back on the podium and get a strong second-place finish,” said Simpson. “Michael drove of his best races of the year today. He drove us all the way from P9 to fourth place before his tires wore out. Nevertheless, it was a very strong race by Michael. I am proud of him. Big thanks for our BHA Autosport team; our car was very strong today.”
Next month, Johnson, Simpson and the BHA team will wrap up the 2021 IMSA Pilot Challenge circuit, racing in the Fox Factory 120 at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Atlanta, Ga. The two-hour race on the 12-corner, 2.54 mile-long track is set for a 1:10 p.m. start on Friday, Nov. 12.