Pirelli World Challenge W/ Nascar Nationwide RND 8
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. – Adam Poland, of Mt. Vernon, Texas, Jason Wolfe of Mt. Vernon, Ohio and Glenn Nixon, of Mission, British Columbia, have scored wins in Round 8 of the Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car, Touring Car A and Touring Car B-Spec seasons, the Cadillac Grand Prix at Road America.
Poland, who finished third in Friday’s earlier Round 7, dominated the late afternoon Round 8. Driving the No. 11 Eastex Motorsports/Poland Construction Mazda MX-5, Poland captured his first series victory by 10.423 seconds after leading all 16 laps from pole position.
“The car was awesome; I got an awesome start, and it turns out all those nights from a local drag strip had been good,” Poland said. “At one point I thought I was over-driving but dialed it back. It was a clean and awesome race.”
Second for the second consecutive race was Michael DiMeo, of Toronto, in the No. 71 Grand Alarms Honda Civic Si. DiMeo’s drive to second this race was less eventful than his drive in Round 7, but still included a pass for the position on the opening lap of Fred Emich, of Denver, Col., in the No. 30 Emich Racing Volkswagen Jetta GTI.
In third and scoring his first podium of the day and season was Round 7 polesitter Bryan Heitkotter, in the No. 93 Nissan/GT Academy/Skullcandy Nissan Altima Coupe. Like DiMeo, Heitkotter delivered a consistent drive en route to the podium finish.
Fourth was Jon Miller, of Tustin, Calif. in the No. 68 Racecomp Engineering Honda Civic Si with Karl Thomson, of Toronto, fifth in the No. 72 Children’s Tumor Foundation/Touge Tuning/Racing4Research.org Honda Civic Si. Today marked Thomson’s first ever running on the Road America track.
If TC was calm, TCA was quite eventful and featured a three-way battle for the lead. Ultimately it was Wolfe, in the No. 36 Wolfe Trucking Kia Forte Koup, who held on for his third win of the season after three official lead changes between he and fellow first-year driver Jason Cherry. As he held on, Wolfe took home the StopTech Brake Late, Finish First award.
“It was totally back-and-forth; (Jason Cherry) was better in some areas, I was better in others,” Wolfe said. “It was a battle of race techniques.”
The pair of Shea Racing teammates ended second and third. Shea Holbrook, of Groveland, Fla., made it to second and just 0.450 of a second back of Wolfe in the No. 67 TRUECar/Lucas Oil/Radium Honda Civic Si. Had Holbrook won, it would have been her fourth consecutive victory; as it is, she continued her podium streak of eight podiums in as many races this year.
“Anything you could think of that goes through your mind did through mine today,” Holbrook said. “If that wasn’t a good show, I don’t know what would be. There were times of three-wide into 1, and some rubbing going on between Wolfe and Cherry. I wasn’t great through traffic but still very satisfied with second place.”
Hard-luck third place was Cherry, of Gambrills, Md., in the No. 13 Autism Society of America/Avpro/Purposeful Architecture Mazda MX-5, after leading the first six laps, plus Lap 9 for a total of seven circuits up front at the 4.048-mile road course. One of the lead passes secured him the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race award. Cherry fell back late but still threatened for his first series victory.
A pair of first-time drivers in the TCB class contended for the win. Ultimately it was Nixon, in the No. 58 Racing.ca/LaptopScreen.com/Nixon Prosports Mini Cooper who held off Ryan Reed, of Concord, N.C. in the No. 12 American Diabetes Association/Lilly Diabetes/American Honda Honda Fit for Garrett Racing/Drive4Diabetes. Nixon and Reed exchanged the lead several times before Nixon prevailed.
“It was quite the race for sure. Holding off Ryan was difficult, but it worked out pretty good,” said Nixon. “It was fun; I’d been here almost 20 years ago in a formula car. It’s a great result and want to thank Andrei (Kisel) for this opportunity.”
One of Reed’s passes for the lead awarded him the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race. Although he was second, Reed was very satisfied with his first race in the series. He’ll race in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at the circuit, as well.
“I wanted the win! I wanted to show my competitors some respect, and they deserve it because I think this is a great series,” Reed said. “We were pretty close in practice, Johan (Schwartz) told me do what I needed to do. It took a few laps to get the balance right after being in the Nationwide car all day.”
In third was Paul Holton, of Tallahassee, Fla. in the No. 65 Radium/TRUECar/Lucas Oil Honda Fit for his second podium of the day. Holton started fourth and had a front row seat to both the lead battle and a three-car incident that occurred off Turn 5 on the opening lap.
“There was a crazy cluster in Turn 5 but we made it through. I don’t know how many times positions changed hands,” said Holton.
Palmer, of San Diego, Calif., recovered to fourth after being caught up with two other cars in the first lap, Turn 5 fracas, in the No. 37 MINI USA/Mobil 1/Flying L Racing/ThePainter’sFriend.com/Discount Tire Mini Cooper. In fifth for his second top-five finish of the day was Michael Ashby, of Buffalo, Minn., in the No. 16 Morrie’s Mazda Motorsports Mazda 2.
Of note, Chris Capaldi, of Imlay City, Mich. in the No. 31 Wolverine Bronze/Capaldi Racing Ford Fiesta was the Sunoco Hard Charger with a gain of eight positions from start to finish, while Jim Cleveland, of Brisbane, Australia took home the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start with a gain of seven positions off the line. Capaldi ended eighth and Cleveland 11th in TCB.
Results and points are unofficial. DiMeo still leads TC while Wolfe and Holbrook are neck-in-neck in TCA, with Wolfe ahead by only a handful of points. Brian Price, of Middletown, Va., still leads TCB in the No. 51 Unlimited Racing/RP Performance Honda Fit despite failing to start either Rounds 7 or 8.
The next rounds for the TC, TCA and TCB classes are Rounds 9 and 10 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, August 1-3.
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