LEXINGTON, Ohio — Vesko Kozarov, of Salt Lake City, Utah, scored his third Pirelli World Challenge TC win of the 2015 season in Round 11 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, part of the OPTIMA Batteries Grand Prix presented by MOMO. Jason Wolfe, of Mount Vernon, Ohio scored his second straight TCA win and third of the season, while Johan Schwartz, of Huntersville N.C. also won his second straight TCB race and his seventh of 2015.
From the standing start, pole sitter Kozarov took the lead through turn 1 over second-on-the-grid Jeff Altenburg, of Ellicott City, Md. in the No. 15 HPA Motorsports VW Jetta GLI and third-on-grid Corey Fergus, of Columbus, Ohio in the No. 00 USLED/Axis Roofing/AERO/RSS/Motul Motorsports Promotions Porsche Cayman.
TCA polesitter Wolfe took the lead through turn 1 over Toby Grahovec, of Little Elm, Texas in the No. 24 Classic BMW Motorsports BMW Z4 and Patrick Seguin, of Ottawa, Ont. in the No. 39 helpkevinproject.com Team Ost Racing Honda Civic SI.
In TCB, polesitter Schwartz, in the No. 25 Tech Sport Racing/ZERO Cancer/CAS Group Chevy Sonic led over Glenn Nixon, of Mission, B.C., in the No. 58 LaptopScreen.com/ClubRacing.com/Nixon Prosports/HPD Racing.ca Honda Fit and P.J. Groenke, of Toronto, Ont. in the No. 8 Verax.ca/Tundra/Mulligan Gold/Clairhaven Ltd/Clorox Pool&Spa/Martinrea International Inc/Pelto Agri Investments/Warp Speed Computers Inc. MINI Cooper.
On lap 3 through turn 5, Altenburg passed Kozarov for the lead, with Fergus in third, Round 10 winner Ernie Francis Jr., in the No. 98 Breathless Racing/Time4Learning Mazda MX-5 in fourth and Adam Poland, of Mount Vernon, Texas, in the No. 33 EASTEX Motorsports Mazda MX-5 in fifth.
In TCA, Wolfe maintained his lead over Seguin, with Steve Kohli, of Iowa City, Iowa, in the No. 67 Lucas Oil/BUBBA Burger/Hendrick Honda Shea Racing Honda Civic SI in third.
On lap 4, Nick Lougee, of Minneapolis, Minn. in the No. 48 BIR Performance Driving School/West Real Estate Shea Racing MINI Cooper passed Groenke to move into third in TCB.
Through lap 5, Fergus and Francis Jr. would go side by side for a number of turns before the driver of the No. 98 slotted into third. A lap later Poland also passed Fergus to move into fourth. Then on lap 8, Kozarov moved into the lead on the front straight. The pass netted Kozarov the Cadillac ATS-V Move of the Race Award. Francis Jr. then battled Altenburg for position as Kozarov quickly opened up a 2.3 second lead over Altenburg.
On lap 12 in TCA, Wolfe and Seguin battled for the lead going side by side at one point down the front straight. Wolfe however defended well to keep the lead through the Keyhole. Grahovec had worked his way back into third. On lap 13, Francis Jr. completed a pass on Altenburg for second. Altenburg then pulled into the pits with a mechanical issue.
Poland, the TC points leader coming into the Mid-Ohio weekend, made contact with TCA driver Ron Yarab, of Youngstown, Ohio, in the No. 71 Children’s Tumor Foundation/HPD/Racing4Research.org Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si through thunder alley. Both Poland and Yarab came into the pits for repairs.
By lap 17, Kozarov had built a 2.5-second lead over Francis Jr., while John Weisberg, of Webster, N.Y. in the No. 50 REDCOM Laboratories/Red Line Berg Racing Mazda MX-5 slotted into third. Wolfe still led Seguin and Grahovec in TCA, while Schwartz led Nixon and Lougee.
At the checkered, Kozarov took the TC win over Francis Jr. and Weisberg, while Wolfe won over Seguin and Grahovec. In TCB, Schwartz won over Nixon and O’Gorman.
Of note, Wolfe won the StopTech Brake Late, Finish First Award. Seguin was awarded the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award. O’Gorman won the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award gaining seven positions during the race. Emilee Tominovich, of Clarksville, Md. in the No. 72 Children’s Tumor Foundation/HPD/Racing4Research.org Compass360 Racing Honda Civic Si won the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award for gaining three positions when the lights went out to start the race.
“It was pretty predictable to grab the lead at the start into turn one,” said Kozarov. “Jeff (Altenburg) didn’t really respect my solution to the turn one problem and got into my rear bumper. But we got the lead. We are going to my home track next week but that track (Miller Motorsports Park) hasn’t been a good one for me. So I’m not sure it is a favorite track. At least, it’s short drive for me.”
“I’m here about six days out of a month at the Mid-Ohio Driving School as an instructor, so I have plenty of laps around here,” said Wolfe. “Patrick (Seguin) kept the pressure on me and did a really good job throughout the race. It wasn’t easy with the traffic. I was all about being consistent and making good laps. Traffic worked to my advantage sometimes and sometimes it didn’t. But it was a fun race. We didn’t have the best weekend at Road America with long straightaways. But I knew coming here that, even if our car was off a little, I could make the car work here. Everything seems pretty balanced out in the class right now.”
“So far it’s been a perfect weekend with two wins,” said Schwartz. “The Chevy Sonic has had some challenges throughout season with various weight adjustments. We were fortunate in the first race today with Glenn Nixon having a little bit of a handling problem. I was lucky to have some clean track too as second through fourth were really battling for positon today. I just had to deal with the faster cars today. No contact today and it was a lot of fun. I probably won’t take chances if we are in the point lead with a large margin. I think it is our season to lose right now.”
Results are provisional until posted final. TC, TCA and TCB competitors now get ready for Round 12 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course scheduled for Saturday morning at 9:45 a.m. With the fastest race lap in TC in Round 11 (1:34.468 – 86.048 MPH) Weisberg will start on pole, while Grahovec (1:39.047 – 82.070 MPH) will start on the TCA pole, and Schwartz (1:48.666 / 74.805 MPH) on the TCB pole.
LEXINGTON, OH – Results from Friday’s 26-lap 58.708 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship TC/TCA/TCB Round 11 race, part of the OPTIMA Batteries Grand Prix at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course presented by MOMO, 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, 26.
2. TC, (4), Ernie Francis_Jr, Davie, Fla., MAZDA MX-5, 26, -1.234.
3. TC, (7), John Weisberg, Webster, N.Y., Mazda MX-5, 26, -9.465.
4. TC, (3), Corey Fergus(R), Columbus, Ohio, Porsche Cayman, 26, -9.589.
5. TC, (5), Alex Welch, Englewood, Colo., Volkswagon Jetta GLI, 26, -20.648.
6. TC, (10), Fred Emich, Denver, Colo., Volkswagen Jetta GLi, 26, -33.333.
7. TC, (9), David Baum, Hasting, Mich., Porsche Cayman, 26, -33.703.
8. TC, (12), Paul Street(R), Anniston, Ala., Honda Accord, 26, -45.799.
9. TC, (8), Nicolas Hammann, Elkhart Lake, Wis., Nissan 370Z, 26, -47.722.
10. TC, (11), Jeff Ricca, Milford, Conn., Hyundai GenesisCoupe20T, 26, -1:09.572.
11. TC, (6), Adam Poland, Mt. Vernon, Texas, Mazda MX-5, 24, -2 lap.
12. TC, (2), Jeff Altenburg, Ellicott City, Md., Volkswagon Jetta GLI, 14, -12 laps.
13. TC, (13), Austin Snader, Sealy, Texas, Mazda MX-5, 0, DNS.
14. TC, (14), Cory Friedman, Charleston, S.C., Porsche Cayman, 0, DNS.
15. TCA, (15), Jason Wolfe, Mt. Vernon, Ohio, Kia Forte Koup, 25.
16. TCA, (17), Patrick Seguin, Ottawa, Ontario, Honda Civic Si, 25, -3.318.
17. TCA, (16), Toby Grahovec, Little Elm, Texas, BMW Z4, 25, -8.843.
18. TCA, (22), Kris Wright(R), Pittsburgh, Pa., Kia Forte Koup, 25, -38.002.
19. TCA, (21), Emilee Tominovich(R), Clarksville, Md., Honda Civic Si, 25, -39.612.
20. TCA, (19), Steve Kohli, Iowa City, Iowa, Honda Civic Si, 25, -46.250.
21. TCA, (24), Jon Miller, Tustin, Calif., Honda Civic Si, 25, -46.478.
22. TCA, (23), Samantha Tan(R), Gormley, Ontario, Kia Forte Koup, 25, -58.911.
23. TCA, (25), Kevin Anderson, Huntington Station, N.Y., Mazda RX8, 24, -1 lap.
24. TCA, (20), Ron Yarab, Youngstown, Ohio, Honda Civic Si, 22, -3 lap.
25. TCA, (18), Tony Rivera, Vista, Calif., Scion FRS Coupe, 3, -22 laps.
26. TCB, (26), Johan Schwartz, Huntersville, S.C., Chevy Sonic, 23.
27. TCB, (28), Glenn Nixon, Mission, British Columbia, Honda Fit, 23, -3.566.
28. TCB, (33), Tom O’Gorman, Mason, Ohio, Honda Fit, 23, -6.089.
29. TCB, (29), Nick Lougee, Minneapolis, Minn., MINI Cooper, 23, -6.423.
30. TCB, (31), PJ Groenke, Toronto, Canada, MINI Cooper, 23, -7.423.
31. TCB, (30), Wei Lu(R), Richmond, British Columbia, MINI Cooper, 23, -8.112.
32. TCB, (37), Andrew Salzano, Marysville, Ohio, Honda Fit, 23, -17.703.
33. TCB, (32), Andrei Kisel, N. Vancouver, British Columbia, MINI Cooper, 23, -18.062.
34. TCB, (34), Jay Salinsky, New Port Richey, Fla., Honda Fit, 23, -18.245.
35. TCB, (27), Van Svenson(R), Hyde Park, N.Y., Chevrolet Sonic, 23, -34.192.
36. TCB, (35), Jason Fichter, Jupiter, Fla., MINI Cooper, 23, -35.202.
37. TCB, (36), Marc Sherrin(R), Lucas, Texas, Ford Fiesta, 22, -1:30.960.
Time of race: 41 minutes, 32.254 seconds.
Average speed: 84.802 mph
Margin of victory: 1.234 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-1, #3 Vesko Kozarov; laps 2-7, #15 Jeff Altenburg; laps 8-26, #3 Vesko Kozarov
Fastest race lap: #50 John Weisberg, 1:34.468 (86.048 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #3 Vesko Kozarov, 1:34.322 (86.181 mph)