TOOELE, Utah – Salt Lake City’s Vesko Kozarov scored his second win in a row at Miller Motorsports Park at the Ford Grand presented by VP Racing Fuels. Jason Wolfe, of Mount Vernon, Ohio, won his second race in a row as well in TCA, while Johan Schwartz, of Huntersville, S.C., scored his ninth win of the season.
John Weisberg, of Webster, N.Y. in the No. 50 Berg Racing REDCOM Laboratories/Red Line Mazda MX-5 was on the TC pole as the lights went out on the standing start. The Mazda had a solid getaway from the line, but Alex Welch of Englewood, Colo. in the No. 16 HPA Motorsports VW Jetta GLI challenged on the inside heading for turn one, while Ernie Francis Jr. of Davie, Fla. in the No. 98 Breathless Racing Time4Learning Mazda MX5 flew around on the outside, taking the lead as the field exited the first turn.
Behind them, Friday’s winner Kozarov in the No. 3 Skullcandy Team Nissan Nissan Altima was forced to start last after a post-race technical infraction from Round 13. Kozarov was on the move as well, going from eighth to fourth in the opening set of corners and continuing to advance.
While this was all happening, championship contender Adam Poland of Mount Vernon, Texas in the No. 33 EASTEX Motorsports/RPM Motorsports Mazda MX-5 pulled off with a reported coolant hose issue.
In TCA, Patrick Seguin, of Ottawa, Ont. in the No. 39 Team OST Racing helpkevinproject.com Honda Civic Si took the lead over Jason Wolfe of Mount Vernon, Ohio in the No. 36 Kinetic Motorsports Wolfe Trucking Kia Forte Koup and Emilee Tominovich of Clarksville, Md. in the No. 72 Compass360 Racing Children’s Tumor Foundation/HPD/Racing4Research.org Honda Civic Si. Tominovich won the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award for gaining six positions when the lights went off.
TCA pole-sitter and 2008 Rookie-of-the-Year Jason Saini of Chicago, Ill. in the No. 23 Tech Sport Racing Mazda RX-8 encountered issues and fell back to ninth.
In TCB, the opening laps saw a lead battle between Glenn Nixon of Mission, B.C. in the No. 58 Racing.ca LaptopScreen.com/ClubRacing.com/Nixon Prosports/HPD Honda Fit, Johan Schwartz of Huntersville, S.C. driving the No. 25 Tech Sport Racing/ZERO Cancer Chevrolet Sonic, and Andrei Kisel of North Vancouver, B.C. in the No. 57 Racing.ca/LaptopScreen.com MINI Cooper.
By lap two, Kozarov was still on the move in TC, getting past Welch for second and setting his sights on Francis Jr. and the race lead. In TCB, Schwartz would move on Nixon for first into turn 1 on the second lap as the three TCB leaders would continue to battle for the lead.
On lap three, Wolfe moved his Kia around Seguin’s Honda for the TCA lead.
A lap later, Kozarov’s Nissan was challenging Francis Jr., making the move for the lead on lap four and pulling a gap to take the eventual race win. In TCA Wolfe and Seguin ran nose-to-tail battling, while Schwartz was leading an entertaining race in TCB over Kisel and Nixon, with Nixon moving ahead of his teammate on lap nine into second and looking to challenge Schwartz.
While Kozarov led Francis Jr., one of the best battles in the race was for fourth, as Corey Fergus of Columbus, Ohio in the No. 00 Motorsports Promotions USLED/Axis Roofing/AERO/RSS/Motul Porsche Cayman found his way by Weisberg.
On lap 12, Kris Wright of Pittsburgh, Pa. in the No. 34 Kinetic Motorsports Wright Automotive Group Kia Forte Koup moved into third in TCA, with Tony Rivera of Vista, Calif. in the No. 86 Brass Monkey Racing Tiburon Motorsports Scion FR-S in fourth and Tominovich in fifth. Rivera moved past Wright two laps later to take third place.
Fergus and Weisberg would meanwhile follow nose-to-tail in fourth and fifth in TC until lap 16, when they caught Welch’s VW who was running third.
On lap 17, Fergus made a move for third on Welch, but Fergus ran out of road, as Weisberg capitalized to take fourth, demoting Fergus back to fifth. Later in the lap, Weisberg and Welch would make contact coming onto the front straight. Weisberg’s Mazda would spin and continue, while Welch held onto third ahead of Fergus for the remainder of the lap. Fergus’ Porsche would find its way by for the final podium spot a lap later, earning him the Cadillac ATS-V Move of the Race for the pass, with Welch finishing fourth and Weisberg completing the top five.
In TCA, Wolfe edged Seguin for the victory with Rivera in third.
In TCB, Schwartz would hold on for the race win, also taking the StopTech Brake Late Finish First Award. Nixon was second in TCB, ahead of Joey Jordan of Fallbrook, Calif. in the No. 47 Protomotive Corksport/Minxnails.com Mazda 2 who finished third after charging through the field. Jordan won both the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award for passing nine cars after starting in the pits and also took home the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award for improving 11 spots overall during the race.
“I got another good start,” said Kozarov. “It was a little entertaining in the early laps but all went smoothly. We cleaned up the car pretty well last night and I thought the car was really tuned up for this morning’s race. Being cooler this morning was very good for us too. This afternoon’s race will be tougher in the hotter conditions.”
“I had a horrible start as my hand slipped right off the shift knob,” explained Wolfe. “We had to work our way back up then and I used traffic to my advantage to get the lead. The first half of the race was super critical to be smooth and consistent. I had to watch my tires again this morning with the front wheel drive car. Even with the cooler conditions, the tires wear about the same. So at the beginning of the race, you really have to pull that gap since you know how the car works at the end. I really like this track, especially the long corners. It’s fun to drive.”
“We had a little problem with shifter linkage on Friday as the little clip came off,” Schwartz said. “And the gearbox was stuck in fifth gear with two laps to go and leading, I figured I just needed to hit my marks for the win. Glenn (Nixon) put the pressure on me the whole time in today’s race. I didn’t to get too rattled because he was all over me. It got a little hairy when Glenn tried to make an inside pass. If I would have turned in, we would have collected each other. I thought it was a little ambitious, to be honest. Fortunately nothing happened because both of us could have been out on that one.”
TC, TCA and TCB competitors finish their weekend at Miller Motorsports Park with race three and Round 15 of the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge season, taking place at 4:30 p.m. Mountain time on Saturday, August 22. Watch live online at world-challengeTV.com and motortrendondemand.com and follow live timing and scoring at worldchallenge.growsites.net.
TOOLE, UT – Results from Saturday’s 19-lap 57.912 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship Round 14 race, part of the Ford Grand Prix presented by VP Racing Fuels at Miller Motorsports Park, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. TC, (8), Vesko Kozarov, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nissan Altima, 19.
2. TC, (3), Ernie Francis_Jr, Davie, Fla., MAZDA MX-5, 19, -3.845.
3. TC, (4), Corey Fergus(R), Columbus, Ohio, Porsche Cayman, 19, -19.923.
4. TC, (2), Alex Welch, Englewood, Colo., Volkswagon Jetta GLI, 19, -23.062.
5. TC, (1), John Weisberg, Webster, N.Y., Mazda MX-5, 19, -30.582.
6. TC, (5), Austin Snader, Sealy, Texas, Mazda MX-5, 19, -37.573.
7. TC, (7), Lara Tallman, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nissan 370Z, 19, -48.947.
8. TC, (6), Steve Burns(R), San Antonio, Texas, Ford Mustang V6, 19, -58.995.
9. TC, (9), Adam Poland, Mt. Vernon, Texas, Mazda MX-5, 1, -18 laps.
10. TC, (10), Jeff Altenburg, Ellicott City, Md., Volkswagon Jetta GLI, 0, DNS.
11. TC, (11), Dinah Weisberg(R), Webster, N.Y., Porsche Cayman, 0, DNS.
12. TC, (12), Andrew Rains(R), Auburn, Ala., Volkswagon Golf, 0, DNS.
13. TCA, (14), Jason Wolfe, Mt. Vernon, Ohio, Kia Forte Koup, 19.
14. TCA, (15), Patrick Seguin, Ottawa, Ontario, Honda Civic Si, 19, -2.162.
15. TCA, (16), Tony Rivera, Vista, Calif., Scion FRS Coupe, 19, -26.314.
16. TCA, (18), Kris Wright(R), Pittsburgh, Pa., Kia Forte Koup, 19, -28.109.
17. TCA, (20), Emilee Tominovich(R), Clarksville, Md., Honda Civic Si, 18, -40.759.
18. TCA, (17), Samantha Tan(R), Gormley, Ontario, Kia Forte Koup, 18, -43.841.
19. TCA, (22), Ron Yarab, Youngstown, Ohio, Honda Civic Si, 18, -1:06.122.
20. TCA, (21), Paul Whiting, Pahrump, Nev., Honda Civic Si, 18, -1:09.531.
21. TCA, (13), Jason Saini, Chicago, Ill., Mazda RX8, 14, -5 lap.
22. TCA, (19), Steve Kohli, Iowa City, Iowa, Honda Civic Si, 0, DNS.
23. TCA, (23), Chase Pelletier, Brampton, Ontario, Honda Civic Si, 0, DNS.
24. TCA, (24), Kevin Anderson, Huntington Station, N.Y., Mazda RX8, 0, DNS.
25. TCB, (28), Johan Schwartz, Huntersville, S.C., Chevy Sonic, 17.
26. TCB, (26), Glenn Nixon, Mission, British Columbia, Honda Fit, 17, -.964.
27. TCB, (35), Joey Jordan, Fallbrook, Calif., Mazda 2, 17, -3.331.
28. TCB, (25), Andrei Kisel, N. Vancouver, British Columbia, MINI Cooper, 17, -6.274.
29. TCB, (27), Wei Lu(R), Richmond, British Columbia, MINI Cooper, 17, -17.892.
30. TCB, (34), Van Svenson(R), Hyde Park, N.Y., Chevrolet Sonic, 17, -25.719.
31. TCB, (31), Jason Fichter, Jupiter, Fla., MINI Cooper, 17, -26.553.
32. TCB, (29), Marc Sherrin(R), Lucas, Texas, Ford Fiesta, 17, -35.333.
33. TCB, (30), Tom Noble, Medina, Minn., MINI Cooper, 17, -37.383.
34. TCB, (32), PJ Groenke, Toronto, Canada, MINI Cooper, 17, -54.202.
35. TCB, (33), Ted Hough, Farmington, Minn., Honda Fit, 17, -1:14.887.
Time of race: 40 minutes, 32.144 seconds.
Average speed: 85.720 mph
Margin of victory: 3.845 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-4, #98 Ernie Francis_Jr; laps 5-19, #3 Vesko Kozarov
Fastest race lap: #3 Vesko Kozarov, 2:06.427 (86.791 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #50 John Weisberg, 2:08.372 (85.476 mph)