TOOELE, Utah – Vesko Kozarov of Salt Lake City, Utah swept the Touring Car class at Miller Motorsports Park in Round 15 at the Ford Grand Prix presented by VP Racing Fuels, taking the victory in the third race of the weekend, and making it three in a row. Jason Wolfe of Mount Vernon, Ohio also won his third straight race in TCA while Joey Jordan, of Fallbrook, Calif. scored the victory in his series debut weekend in Pirelli World Challenge.
As the lights went out for the standing start, Kozarov in the No. 3 Skullcandy Team Nissan Nissan Altima took the lead over Alex Welch of Englewood, Colo. in the No. 16 HPA Motorsports VW Jetta GLI.
It was Kozarov’s last session of a busy day that saw him take the TC win earlier in the morning and finish third in the GTS race just prior to the TC start.
In TCA, it was championship points leader Wolfe in the No. 36 Kinetic Motorsports Wolfe Trucking Kia Forte Koup leading from the standing start, backing up his victory performance from the Saturday morning race at Miller. Championship contender and directly trailing Wolfe in points, Patrick Seguin of Ottawa, Ont. in the No. 39 Team OST Racing helpkevinproject.com Honda Civic Si followed closely for the opening portion of the race.
In TCB, Jordan’s fast lap from the morning race earned him pole position in the Protomotive Corksport/Minxnails.com Mazda 2. Jordan launched off the line, and was another car leading flag-to-flag, to earn his first victory in his debut weekend.
Later on the opening lap, drama ensued as John Weisberg of Webster, N.Y. in the No. 50 Berg Racing REDCOM Laboratories/Red Line Mazda MX5 slowed and dropped positions, but was able to continue.
A few moments later, smoke erupted off the back of the No. 00 Motorsports Promotions USLED/Axis Roofing/AERO/RSS/Motul Porsche Cayman of Corey Fergus of Columbus, Ohio. Fergus retired without completing a lap, a hit to his title hopes as he came into the weekend leading the TC points standings.
By lap 4, Welch was busy with Ernie Francis Jr. of Davie, Fla. in the No. 98 Breathless Racing Time4Learning Mazda MX-5, who stayed with the VW driver for lap after lap, looking for a way by.
On the same lap, Seguin mounted his most serious challenge to Wolfe, but couldn’t get by, eventually falling back behind Wolfe’s Kia.
Ernie Francis Jr. of Davie, Fla. in the No. 98 Breathless Racing Time4Learning Mazda MX-5 made his move on lap seven, quickly getting past Welch for second place. Welch then immediately came into the pits with an apparent problem. He was able to rejoin the race, but unable to get back out on the lead lap.
As Wolfe built up his TCA lead over Seguin, Kris Wright of Pittsburgh, Penn. in the No. 34 Kinetic Motorsports Wright Automotive Group Kia Forte Koup had moved up to fourth, but went off course, losing two spots.
In TCB, Jordan was methodically building up his race lead over Johan Schwartz of Huntersville, S.C. driving the No. 25 Tech Sport Racing/ZERO Cancer Chevrolet Sonic, who ran solidly in second for the race.
As the race came to a quick close, Weisberg had moved his Mazda MX-5 into striking distance of third-place-running Steve Burns, of San Antonio, Texas, in the No. 43 Ian Lacy Racing VP Racing Fuels Ford Mustang V6. Burns was able to keep Weisberg at bay, until the two caught a trio of TCB cars involved in their own race. Burns went high and couldn’t find a way by, while Weisberg went low, passing four cars in one move, and taking over third place. That move earned Weisberg the Cadillac Move of the Race Award.
Despite smoke coming from Weisberg’s car on the closing lap, he was able to hold on to take the final podium spot in TC behind Kozarov, who won, and Francis Jr., in second.
Wolfe took top honors in TCA with Seguin and Tony Rivera of Vista, Calif. in the No. 86 Brass Monkey Racing Tiburon Motorsports Scion FR-S rounding out the podium.
In the TCB class, Jordan led Schwartz and Glenn Nixon of Mission, B.C. in the No. 58 Racing.ca LaptopScreen.com/ClubRacing.com/Nixon Prosports/HPD Honda Fit to the checkered flag.
Marc Sherrin of Lucas, Texas in the No. 27 Steadfast Motorsports Steadfast Funding Ford Fiesta earned the Optima Best Start Award for advancing seven positions as the lights went off.
The VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award went to Paul Whiting of Pahrump, Nev. in the No. 70 Compass360 Racing Honda Performance Development Honda Civic Si who advanced eight positions during the event to finish fourth.
The Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the race went to P.J. Groenke of Toronto, Ont. in the No. 8 P.J. Groenke Racing Verax.ca/Tundra/Mulligan Gold/Clairhaven Ltd/Clorox Pool&Spa/Martinrea International Inc/Pelto Agri Investments/Warp Speed Computers Inc. MINI Cooper. Groenke’s move was on two cars: Tom Noble of Medina, Minn. in the No. 48 Shea Racing BIR Performance Driving School/West Real Estate MINI Cooper and Ted Hough, of Farmington, Minn. in the No. 66 Shea Racing BubbaBurger/LucasOil/Coolshirt Honda Fit.
“I feel pretty good after all of the races today,” said Kozarov. “I’m ready to drink some champagne tomorrow. It was a great weekend in the TC class. I was hoping for a little better result in the GTS class. But you always do when you don’t win. The TC program was pretty straight forward and the Nissan car ran great.”
“That one was rough. It’s all about the traffic. Patrick (Seguin) and I were dead even. He was right on my bumper until we hit traffic,” said Wolfe. “Then I was able to manage it a little better. We were running a little hotter than we would like in the afternoon race. And we might lose a mile an hour or so. But that happens to everyone. At the end, I was trying to baby it through with the TCB guys and not ruin their race. Then I was able to pop through and get some air to the finish.”
“This weekend was pretty crazy for us. We broke an axle yesterday and we were scrambling for parts. Luckily, Corksport came through and drove all night from Seattle with a new axle,” said Jordan. “We were able to put it together at the last minute for the morning race. We had to start from pit lane as we got there right at the green flag. I was able to find my way up to third in that one. In the afternoon race, I was able to keep it consistent and come away with the win.”
Of note, TC championship points contender Adam Poland, of Mount Vernon, Texas in the No. 33 EASTEX Motorsports Mazda MX-5 did not start the race.
Results are provisional until posted final. With rounds 13, 14 and 15 in the books for all three Touring Car classes, they next head to the season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca to decide the titles, with a triple-header weekend scheduled for Sept. 11-13.
TOOELE, UT – Results from Saturday’s 19-lap 57.912 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship TC/TCA/TCB Round 15 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, (1), Vesko Kozarov, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nissan Altima, 19.
2. TC, (3), Ernie Francis_Jr, Davie, Fla., MAZDA MX-5, 19, -2.278.
3. TC, (5), John Weisberg, Webster, N.Y., Mazda MX-5, 19, -52.389.
4. TC, (6), Steve Burns(R), San Antonio, Texas, Ford Mustang V6, 19, -53.081.
5. TC, (8), Lara Tallman, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nissan 370Z, 19, -1:05.535.
6. TC, (2), Alex Welch, Englewood, Colo., Volkswagon Jetta GLI, 17, -2 lap.
7. TC, (4), Corey Fergus(R), Columbus, Ohio, Porsche Cayman, 0, -19 laps.
8. TC, (7), Austin Snader, Sealy, Texas, Mazda MX-5, 0, DNS.
9. TC, (9), Jeff Altenburg, Ellicott City, Md., Volkswagon Jetta GLI, 0, DNS.
10. TC, (10), Adam Poland, Mt. Vernon, Texas, Mazda MX-5, 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, (13), Patrick Seguin, Ottawa, Ontario, Honda Civic Si, 19, -.584.
15. TCA, (15), Tony Rivera, Vista, Calif., Scion FRS Coupe, 19, -23.417.
16. TCA, (20), Paul Whiting, Pahrump, Nev., Honda Civic Si, 19, -28.474.
17. TCA, (16), Kris Wright(R), Pittsburgh, Pa., Kia Forte Koup, 19, -29.210.
18. TCA, (18), Samantha Tan(R), Gormley, Ontario, Kia Forte Koup, 19, -30.118.
19. TCA, (17), Emilee Tominovich(R), Clarksville, Md., Honda Civic Si, 18, -48.014.
20. TCA, (19), Ron Yarab, Youngstown, Ohio, Honda Civic Si, 18, -1:10.607.
21. TCA, (21), Jason Saini, Chicago, Ill., Mazda RX8, 0, DNS.
22. TCA, (22), Chase Pelletier, Brampton, Ontario, Honda Civic Si, 0, DNS.
23. TCA, (23), Kevin Anderson, Huntington Station, N.Y., Mazda RX8, 0, DNS.
24. TCA, (24), Steve Kohli, Iowa City, Iowa, Honda Civic Si, 0, DNS.
25. TCB, (25), Joey Jordan, Fallbrook, Calif., Mazda 2, 17.
26. TCB, (28), Johan Schwartz, Huntersville, S.C., Chevy Sonic, 17, -18.089.
27. TCB, (27), Glenn Nixon, Mission, British Columbia, Honda Fit, 17, -22.363.
28. TCB, (29), Wei Lu(R), Richmond, British Columbia, MINI Cooper, 17, -22.545.
29. TCB, (26), Andrei Kisel, N. Vancouver, British Columbia, MINI Cooper, 17, -23.007.
30. TCB, (30), Van Svenson(R), Hyde Park, N.Y., Chevrolet Sonic, 17, -28.914.
31. TCB, (33), Marc Sherrin(R), Lucas, Texas, Ford Fiesta, 17, -39.446.
32. TCB, (31), Jason Fichter, Jupiter, Fla., MINI Cooper, 17, -39.482.
33. TCB, (34), PJ Groenke, Toronto, Canada, MINI Cooper, 17, -58.775.
34. TCB, (32), Tom Noble, Medina, Minn., MINI Cooper, 17, -1:00.649.
35. TCB, (35), Ted Hough, Farmington, Minn., Honda Fit, 17, -1:03.006.
Time of race: 40 minutes, 51.203 seconds.
Average speed: 85.053 mph
Margin of victory: 2.278 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-19, #3 Vesko Kozarov
Fastest race lap: #3 Vesko Kozarov, 2:07.661 (85.952 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #3 Vesko Kozarov, 2:07.661 (85.952 mph)