DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kellymoss with Riley enjoyed a victorious debut in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Friday at Daytona International Speedway, and it couldn’t have been more dramatic.
Riley Dickinson, who won the Porsche Carrera Cup North America Pro class championship in 2023, displayed remarkable fuel-saving skills that made a daring pit strategy orchestrated by legendary engineer Bill Riley work to perfection.
Dickinson started the last lap in second place in the No. 91 Kellymoss with Riley Porsche 718 GT4 RS Clubsport but swept into the Grand Sport (GS) class and overall lead of the BMW M Endurance Challenge when Kenton Koch pitted the No. 92 Random Vandals Racing BMW M4 GT4 (G82) for a splash of fuel.
Dickinson, who teamed with Michael McCarthy and Brady Golan, had enough fuel on board to hold off a rapidly closing Daniel Morad in the No. 57 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG GT GT4 and win the season opener. The Kellymoss with Riley Porsche crossed the finish line with a 1.936-second advantage. Matt Plumb and Owen Trinkler finished third in the No. 46 Team TGM Aston Martin Vantage GT4, 6.554 seconds in arrears.
Riley made the call for Dickinson to pit for fuel near the end of a full-course caution with an hour remaining in the four-hour contest. The No. 91 Porsche was in 10th place entering the final 15 minutes, but one by one competitors were forced to stop for fuel.
Making Dickinson’s last stint even more amazing, he revealed it was the first time that he was ever in a position where he was asked to save fuel – Porsche Carrera Cup consists of 40-minute sprint races where fuel mileage is not a concern.
“Ultimately, we should give Bill Riley a pretty big shoutout for the strategy,” said Dickinson, a 21-year-old Texas native. “He was the mastermind behind the fuel save. That was the first time that I’ve done a live fuel save during a race, so it was definitely a bit of a learn-on-the-fly kind of experience.
“This was a bit of a last-minute program,” Dickinson added. “Not even three weeks ago we decided to green light this thing. To be honest, to have this all happen the way it did is a dream come true. It’s been quite an up-and-down offseason for me, so this definitely feels quite rewarding right now.”
The debut in Michelin Pilot Challenge was an unexpected bonus for the Kellymoss organization, a longtime sports car stalwart now owned by Andy Kilcoyne and Victoria Thomas.
“We were really hoping for a top 10, best-case scenario, so we couldn’t be more excited,” Kellymoss with Riley co-owner Victoria Thomas said. “Riley’s strategy was absolutely spectacular, and the lineup of these three young guys, you can’t beat it. We’re so excited for the season.”