Loh, Ricca, Bucknum sweep TC America NOLA weekend

TC America powered by Skip Barber racers took to the track for the second and final time at NOLA Motorsports Park Sunday. The skies were bright and sunny overhead, but lingering wet spots on the track from the rain the day before had all drivers approaching the corners on high alert.

TCX class
It was a clean start off the line in the TCX class, with Daijiro Yoshihara pushing hard to break away from the rest of the field on board his No. 99 VGRT Honda Civic Type-R TCX. However, Kyle Loh was a man on a mission as he rocketed away from the back of the grid and began to move up the ranks in his No. 73 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCX. Yoshihara managed to build up a 4s buffer between himself and Loh with half an hour remaining, but as Loh continued to set fastest lap times, crowds could sense a battle looming between them just over the horizon.


At the same time, an intense showdown was taking place between the No. 44 Rooster Hall Racing BMW M2 CS (Cup) of Colin Garrett and the No. 26 Rigid Speed Company BMW M2 CS (Cup) of Lucas Catania. The two briefly made contact, which sent Catania swerving off the track momentarily, but he was able to regain control and put himself back in the hunt for the final spot on the podium. The battle between Garrett and Catania lasted all race long, as the two went side by side all the way to the very end, exchanging positions back and forth.

The gap between Yoshihara and Loh was reduced to just under 2s in the closing stages of the race. With only a few laps separating him from the checkered flag, Yoshihara suddenly experienced an issue and his pace dropped, allowing Loh to pass for the lead of the race. The No. 99 car began to limp towards the finish line but was ultimately overtaken by the rest of the drivers in class on the final straightaway. Kyle Loh claimed the victory, with Garrett and Catania following in second and third.

“I’m super excited for the team, we had some obstacles to overcome but we kept our heads down and got it done” explained Loh. “This whole weekend has been so exciting and our time here in NOLA was a real dream come true.”

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TC class
Jeff Ricca, Saturday’s race one winner, was able to build up a comfortable gap to his fellow competitors behind as he powered ahead in his No. 78 Genracer/Ricca Autosport Hyundai Elantra N TC. Meanwhile, Christian Perocarpi found himself in some trouble on the first lap as he dropped down to 6th and ultimately retired from the race.

Ricca concentrated on the clear road ahead, gradually accumulating more and more space between himself and Brazilian driver Celso Neto, following in second behind the wheel of the No. 7 Skip Barber Racing School Honda Civic Type-R. The No. 60 MINI JCW Team Mini JCW Pro TC of Clayton Williams was also in the mix, with all three drivers driving with tenacity for the entirety of the 40-minute event.

Ricca crossed the line to pick up his second win of the weekend, with Neto and Williams completing the podium

“Hats off to the entire team, our race today was absolutely flawless,” exclaimed Ricca. “The team put in so much work and they gave me a great car. This place is very special to me and my family. I’m very happy. Thank you to everyone for your constant support; it means the world to me.”

TCA class
Spencer Bucknum charged to the front of the pack as he moved down the inside around the first corner. At the same time, pole sitter Devin Anderson dropped back two spots in the opening turns on board his No. 22 TechSport Racing Subaru BRZ. It was a misfortune for P.J. Groenke today, his race ending almost as soon as it started, as some contact with another car sent his No. 62 MINI JCW Team Mini JCW spinning and he was ultimately unable to resume.

As the race progressed, Bucknum’s lead gradually began to diminish, as William Lambros was on a mission to get to the front in his No. 77 Skip Barber Racing School Honda Civic Si FE1, and Anderson was beginning to close in behind him as well, both waiting for the right moment to strike.

Bucknum dug deep and thrived under pressure, fending off the threats from his fellow competitors behind and crossing the finish line to complete a weekend sweep in the second round of the season at NOLA Motorsports Park.

“This weekend has been so special,” said Bucknum. “To win race one and then be able to back it up with another win today is amazing. I’m so happy to bring home another victory for LA Honda World HPD, this team works so hard. We’ve picked up a very solid haul of points, and we’ll be doing everything we can to bring this momentum into the next round at COTA.”

The SRO Motorsports America competitors return to the track again in three weeks at the home of SRO America — Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX — for rounds five and six of the TC America powered by Skip Barber.


Story originally appeared on Racer