World Challenge Round 3 Report at Circuit of The Americas
Austin, TX. — The performance of the weekend in the combined TC/TCA/TCB event at the the Nissan Grand Prix of Texas brought to you by Motul was by Johan Schwartz of Huntersville, NC. Schwartz pulled the hat trick in his No. 25 ZEROCancer/CASgroup/CustomDieCasts Tech Sport Racing Chevy Sonic taking all three rounds of TCB and establishing a commanding lead in the championship. Vesko Kozarov, of Salt Lake City, UT, in the No. 3 Skullcandy Nissan Altima won in TC, while Jason Wolfe, of Mt. Vernon OH in his No. 36 Wolfe Trucking/Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup took TCA top honors.
With the decision made to do a flying start due to the wet conditions that would last throughout the race, it was Kozarov going from his sixth spot on the grid to the lead on lap one and holding it until the end and taking the Cadillac Move of the Race for his tremendous start.
While Kozarov was making his move his Skullcandy/Nissan/Autism Society Nissan Altima teammate Jason Cherry, of Gambrills, MD in the No. 13 also made a great start going from eighth starting position to third.
Sandwiched between the two was pole sitter Andrew Aquilante of Chester Springs, PA, in the No. 32 Calvert Dynamics/Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang V6.
By lap two Kozarov had checked out with an early lead of more than three seconds over the field with Aquilante holding a slim lead over Cherry who built a 1.5 second gap to Adam Poland, of Mount Vernon, TX., driving the No. 33 Edge Addicts/Texas Track Works/EASTEX Motor Sports Mazda MX5.
Behind this battle the group of Porsches driven by John Weisberg of Webster, NY. in his No. 40 REDCOM Laboratories/Color Track/Red Line Boxster, Corey Fergus, of Columbus OH. in the No. 00 USLED/Axis Roofing/AERO/RSS/Motul, Motorsports Promotions Cayman and Cory Friedman, of Charleston, NC., in his No. 03 Mac Papers/Hastings Fiberglass Autometrics Motorsports Cayman, went three wide across the stripe only to have Weisberg drop out of the race on the following lap after contact with Ian Lacy, of San Antonio, Texas, in the No. 43 VP Racing Fuels Ford Mustang V6.
Meanwhile the No. 14 of Nathan Stacy of Owesso, OK turned up the wick in his 3R Racing/Stacy Racing Volvo C30 turning in fast laps and moving up to pass Saturday's double winner Cody Ellsworth in the No. 04 Mac Papers/Hastings Fiberglass, Autometrics Motorsports, Cayman to take over seventh.
On lap five Friedman set a new fast lap getting by Aquilante to take over third who was followed by Fergus and Ellsworth. Over the next two laps Friedman was able to get by Cherry to take second, a position he would hold to the end.
At the halfway mark it was Kozarov with just under an eight second lead over Friedman, followed by Cherry, Fergus, and Ellsworth.
Next to take up the charge was Ellsworth who got by Fergus to take over fourth on lap eight and then setting a fast lap to get by Cherry on lap nine to take over the third spot that he would hold to the end.
On lap 11 Fergus was the next to take on the Altima of Cherry making a great fight for fourth with Fergus getting it done and Cherry having to settle for fifth on the day.
In the end it was Kozarov leading wire-to wire for the win followed by Friedman, Ellsworth, Fergus and Cherry.
In TCA it was Wolfe taking the lead over Tony Rivera in the No. 86 Eurotech, Brass Monkey Racing Scion FR-S, earning the StopTech Brake Late, Finish First award and Shea Holbrook of Orlando FL. in her No. 67 Lucas Oil/BUBBA Burger/Hendrick Honda Civic SI.
By lap five Wolfe had secured a 15-second lead over Rivera while Juan Carlos Casa Diego, driving the No. 5 NDP Motorsports Honda Civic Si made a move to get by Holbrook and eventually passing Rivera for second place.
Three laps later it was Holbrook getting by Rivera in turn three only to spin in the wet and tricky conditions dropping back to fifth behind Patrick Seguin from Ottawa, Ontario in his No. 49 Let’s Hug it Out Brandon Peterson Racing Honda Civic Si now in fourth.
In the end Holbrook came under attack by Emilee Tominovich of Clarksville, MD. in her No. 72 Children's Tumor Foundation/Honda Performance Development/Racing4Research.org Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si. Tominovich got by initially as the two drives battled over the final lap but it was Holbrook ultimately coming out on top.
At the checker it was Wolfe taking the win followed by Casa Diego, Rivera, Seguin, and Holbrook.
In TCB the race was another battle between the No. 25 Chevy Sonic of Johan Schwartz and the No. 58 of Glenn Nixon, Mission, BC., driving his Racing.ca/Nixon Prosports/LaptopScreen.com/Miniusa.com MINI Cooper, along with the No. 7 of Jason Fichter of Jupiter, FL. in the Surf Fire & Security Breathless Racing MINI Cooper.
Landing the Optima Best Start Award was Wei Lu from Richmond, BC driving the No. 59 Racing.ca/Nixon Prosports/LaptopScreen.com/Miniusa.com Racing Ca. MINI Cooper who went from ninth to first on the start ultimately finishing in fifth.
For the first seven laps it was Schwartz leading Nixon. On lap 8, Nixon made contact with Schwartz resulting in the No. 25 Sonic getting sideways. Schwartz made an amazing save to keep his car on track and resumed pursuit of Nixon. The contact resulted in a drive through penalty for the driver of the No. 58 Mini, which dropped him to third place where he would finish.
In the end it was Schwartz going three-for-three on the weekend followed by Fichter and Nixon in third.
The VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger award went to the No. 55 driven by James Wilson of Kyle TX., in his Black Armor Helmets Mazda 2 for moving up 14 positions in the overall standings. The Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award was given to Friedman for his pass on the No. 13 Skullcandy Team Nissan Nissan Altima of Jason Cherry.
“The guys did the hard work; I did the easy work,” said Kozarov. “It was wet. It really goes to Nissan, Skullcandy, they did a great job putting the team together and they did all the hard work and I had all the fun. I don’t know if I excel in wet weather, but I enjoy it. Our platform is not exactly competitive enough in the dry as we saw over the weekend but the wet is the equalizer so that kind of took care of that.”
“It feels great,” said Wolfe. “I hope to win the championship again so it is good to get this first win out of the way. The conditions were super wet in the beginning but slowly drying so the line changed a little bit but kept I her under control and brought her home for the win.”
TC/TCA/TCB drivers will race next at the Canadian Grand Prix presented by Audi, May 15-17 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
1. TC, (6), Vesco Kozarov, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nissan Altima, 15.
2. TC, (7), Cory Friedman, Charleston, S.C., Porsche Cayman, 15, -5.359.
3. TC, (5), Cody Ellsworth, Jupiter, FL,Porsche Cayman, 15, -5.616.
4. TC, (2), Corey Fergus(R), Columbus, Ohio, Porsche Cayman, 15, -11.681.
5. TC, (8), Jason Cherry, Gambrills, Md., Nissan Altima, 15, -12.567.
6. TC, (9), Nathan Stacy, Owesso, Okla., Volvo C30, 15, -14.334.
7. TC, (3), Ernie Francis_Jr, Dania, Fla., MAZDA MX-5, 15, -20.447.
8. TC, (1), Andrew Aquilante, Chester Springs, Pa., Ford Mustang V6, 15, -21.362.
9. TC, (4), Adam Poland, Mt. Vernon, Texas, Mazda MX-5, 15, -27.198.
10. TC, (15), Alex Welch, Englewood, Colo., Volkswagon Jetta GLI, 15, -1:11.885.
11. TC, (14), Paul Street(R), Anniston, Ala., Honda Accord, 15, -1:35.751.
12. TC, (11), Austin Snader, Sealy, Texas, Mazda MX-5, 15, -1:56.387.
13. TC, (13), Jeff Altenburg, Ellicott City, Md., Volkswagon Jetta GLI, 0.
14. TC, (17), Randy Hale, Haddam, Conn., Mazda MX-5, 0.
15. TC, (18), Michael Pettiford, Louisville, Colo., Pontiac Solstice GXP, 0.
16. TC, (16), Dinah Weisberg(R), Webster, N.Y., Mazda MX-5, 5, -10 laps.
17. TC, (12), John Weisberg, Webster, N.Y., Porsche Cayman, 4, -11 laps.
18. TC, (10), Ian Lacy, Salt Lake City, Utah, Ford Mustang V6, 4, -11 laps.
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