TOOELE, Utah — Salt Lake City’s Vesko Kozarov scored the TC win at Miller Motorsports Park for the Ford Grand Prix presented by VP Racing Fuels. Jason Wolfe, of Mount Vernon, Ohio, won in TCA and Glenn Nixon, of Mission, B.C. won in TCB.
For Kozarov, it’s his fifth win of the season and third straight. Wolfe scored his fourth win of the season, while Nixon won his fifth race of the season.
From the rolling start, Alex Welch of Englewood, Colo. who had started third in the No. 16 HPA Motorsports VW Jetta GLI charged into the TC lead into turn one, but wasn’t able to hold it as Corey Fergus of Columbus, Ohio in the No. 00 Motorsports Promotions USLED/Axis Roofing/AERO/RSS/Motul Porsche Cayman grabbed the lead after starting on the outside of the front row.
Kozarov in the No. 3 Skullcandy Team Nissan Nissan Altima had qualified on pole but was forced to start seventh due to a penalty issued from Round 12 at Mid-Ohio. The local driver wasted no time at the drop of the green, quickly passing four cars and assuming the third position by the middle of the opening lap.
While the battle for the lead was going on, TC championship contender Adam Poland, of Mount Vernon, Texas in the No. 33 EASTEX Motorsports/RPM Motorsports Mazda MX5 pulled off near the end of lap 1 and did not finish.
In TCA, pole sitter Wolfe, in the No. 36 Wolfe Trucking Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup took the lead through turn 1 over second on the grid Patrick Seguin, of Ottawa, Ont. In the No. 39 helpkevinproject.com Team Ost Racing Honda Civic Si. Through lap 1, Wolfe’s teammate Kris Wright, of Pittsburgh, Pa., in the No. 34 Wright Automotive Group Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup, who had started seventh on the TCA grid rocketed up to third. Wright earned the Optima Batteries Best Start Award for gaining four positions off of the start.
In TCB, pole sitter Nixon, in the No. 58 LaptopScreen.com/ClubRacing.com/Nixon Prosports/HPD Honda Fit took the lead through turn 1 with class points leader Johan Schwartz, of Huntersville, S.C., in the No. 25 Tech Sport Racing/ZERO Cancer Chevrolet Sonic who started third, battling with Andrei Kisel, of North Vancouver, B.C., in the No. 57 Racing.ca/LaptopScreen.com MINI Cooper, who had started second. Schwartz passed Kisel for second on lap 2.
With one lap in the books, pole sitter Ernie Francis Jr. of Davie, Fla. in the No. 98 Breathless Racing Time4Learning Mazda MX-5, moved back up to challenge for the lead into turn one. Fergus defended which allowed Kozarov to further close on the lead pack.
On lap three, it was a three-car fight for the lead also including Welch, and a lap later, Kozarov moved on Francis Jr. for second.
On lap five, Kozarov passed Fergus for the race lead, while John Weisberg of Webster, N.Y. in the No. 50 Berg Racing REDCOM Laboratories/Red Line Mazda MX-5 joined the battle at the front of the field.
In TCA, Wolfe had gained a two-second lead over Seguin, while Seguin gapped Wright by six seconds. Nixon, Schwartz and Kisel were nose to tail in TCB.
On lap six, Tony Rivera, of Vista, Calif., in the No. 86 Tiburon Motorsports Brass Monkey Racing Scion FR-S, who had started fourth on the day, moved back up to pass Wright for third.
Kozarov started to gap the field by lap seven, having pulled out a three-second lead in two laps, while Francis Jr. used a lapped car as a pick to get around Fergus for second position. Welch followed in his VW, moving to third and demoting Fergus to fourth as Weisberg moved in on the Porsche driver. Welch was awarded the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race for his move around Fergus.
By lap 11, Weisberg moved around Fergus, while Kozarov managed a 3.5 second race lead. Two laps later, Francis Jr. turned up his pace, and started to take time out of the Nissan’s margin.
In TCB, Schwartz ran side-by-side with Nixon through turn 6 and the Witchcraft section of the track finally making the pass for the lead through the Attitudes and turns 16, 17 and 18. Schwartz was awarded the Cadillac ATS-V Move of the Race for the pass. In TCA, Wolfe maintained his lead over Seguin and Rivera.
Soon after, Schwartz’s Sonic suffered a mechanical issue and he dropped back allowing Nixon to regain the lead. Van Svenson, of Hyde Park, N.Y. in the No. 2 Hack Racing Chevrolet Sonic moved into second with Nixon’s teammate Wei Lu, of Richmond, B.C. in the No. 58 Racing.ca/Nixon Prosports/LaptopScreen.com/Miniusa.com MINI Cooper moving into third.
By the final lap, the TC lead margin was down to 1.3 seconds, with Kozarov winning over a charging Francis Jr. by .411 seconds. Welch would complete the podium in third, with Weisberg and Fergus following.
Wolfe completed the flag-to-flag win never being challenged, while Nixon took the win in TCB.
Of note, Nixon won the StopTech Brake Late Finish First Award, while Canadian Samantha Tan of Gormley, Ont. in the No. 38 Kinetic Motorsports Kia Forte Koup won the VP Racing Fuels Hard Charger Award for gaining eight positions during the race.
“It was a pretty run today and Ernie (Francis Jr.) was really coming back strong at the end,” said Kozarov. “We expected the tire degradation with the front wheel car. But it was good race and I had come through some traffic early on the start. But it went pretty clean. We don’t have that much straightaway speed, so the key to get away at the start if possible. We’ll be tuned up Saturday for the standing start now. We’ll make it happen.”
“I got a good start and then I tried to manage the tires,” said Wolfe. “I wanted to be consistent. That was important. This is really a fun track. It’s so much better than the west track. On the rolling start, the Civic (Patrick Seguin) was right with me on my door and then I was able to open it up a bit on him. Now, on Saturday, we’ll have a standing start and I’m usually pretty good on those. So I’m ready for it.”
“Johan (Schwartz) had a gearbox problem at the end,” said Nixon. “We had a very good race and it’s a fun track. I’m very happy for Wei (Lu in third) in getting his first podium of the year. We had a good draft going with Andrei (Kisel) but we got split up with traffic. It was good race for points and we hope to have another one on Saturday. Then we’ll have a fighting chance going into (Mazda Raceway) Laguna Seca. My start was good but I hoping that my teammates would have been in there a little closer at the start. I was hoping to have drafting partners today but that didn’t work out.”
Results are provisional until posted final. TC, TCA and TCB drivers now get set for Round 14 on Saturday scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Mountain time. Kozarov had the fastest lap in TC during the race and will start on pole, while Jason Saini, of Chicago, Ill., in the No. 23 Tech Sport Racing Mazda Mazda RX-8 had the fastest time in TCA and will start first on the grid in class. Svenson will start on pole in TCB after having the fastest lap in class.
TOOLE, UT – Results from Friday’s 19-lap 57.912 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship TC/TCA/TCB Round 13 race, part of the Ford Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park presented by VP Racing Fuels, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. TC, (7), Vesko Kozarov, Elkhart Lake, Wis., Nissan Altima, 19.
2. TC, (1), Ernie Francis_Jr, Davie, Fla., MAZDA MX-5, 19, -.411.
3. TC, (3), Alex Welch, Englewood, Colo., Volkswagen Jetta GLI, 19, -18.045.
4. TC, (5), John Weisberg, Webster, N.Y., Mazda MX-5, 19, -21.211.
5. TC, (2), Corey Fergus(R), Columbus, Ohio, Porsche Cayman, 19, -30.800.
6. TC, (9), Lara Tallman, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nissan 370Z, 19, -1:01.447.
7. TC, (6), Steve Burns(R), San Antonio, Texas, Ford Mustang V6, 19, -1:02.431.
8. TC, (4), Austin Snader, Sealy, Texas, Mazda MX-5, 16, -3 lap.
9. TC, (8), Adam Poland, Mt. Vernon, Texas, Mazda MX-5, 1, -18 laps.
10. TC, (10), Jeff Altenburg, Ellicott City, Md., Volkswagen 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., Volkswagen Golf, 0, DNS.
13. TCA, (13), Jason Wolfe, Mt. Vernon, Ohio, Kia Forte Koup, 19.
14. TCA, (14), Patrick Seguin, Ottawa, Ontario, Honda Civic Si, 19, -3.226.
15. TCA, (19), Kris Wright(R), Pittsburgh, Pa., Kia Forte Koup, 18, -33.189.
16. TCA, (22), Samantha Tan(R), Gormley, Ontario, Kia Forte Koup, 18, -33.449.
17. TCA, (21), Paul Whiting, Pahrump, Nev., Honda Civic Si, 18, -44.650.
18. TCA, (17), Emilee Tominovich(R), Clarksville, Md., Honda Civic Si, 18, -59.979.
19. TCA, (20), Ron Yarab, Youngstown, Ohio, Honda Civic Si, 18, -2:02.122.
20. TCA, (15), Tony Rivera, Vista, Calif., Scion FRS Coupe, 17, -2 lap.
21. TCA, (16), Jason Saini, Chicago, Ill., Mazda RX8, 11, -8 lap.
22. TCA, (18), Steve Kohli, Iowa City, Iowa, Honda Civic Si, 7, -12 laps.
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, (25), Glenn Nixon, Mission, British Columbia, Honda Fit, 17.
26. TCB, (29), Van Svenson(R), Hyde Park, N.Y., Chevrolet Sonic, 17, -.372.
27. TCB, (28), Wei Lu(R), Richmond, British Columbia, MINI Cooper, 17, -2.290.
28. TCB, (26), Andrei Kisel, N. Vancouver, British Columbia, MINI Cooper, 17, -4.143.
29. TCB, (27), Johan Schwartz, Huntersville, S.C., Chevy Sonic, 17, -17.286.
30. TCB, (32), Jason Fichter, Jupiter, Fla., MINI Cooper, 17, -34.644.
31. TCB, (31), Tom Noble, Medina, Minn., MINI Cooper, 17, -36.160.
32. TCB, (33), PJ Groenke, Toronto, Canada, MINI Cooper, 17, -44.792.
33. TCB, (34), Ted Hough, Farmington, Minn., Honda Fit, 16, -58.648.
34. TCB, (30), Marc Sherrin(R), Lucas, Texas, Ford Fiesta, 3, -14 laps.
35. TCB, (35), Joey Jordan, Fallbrook, Calif., Mazda 2, 0, -17 laps.
Time of race: 40 minutes, 56.541 seconds.
Average speed: 84.868 mph
Margin of victory: .411 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-3, #00 Corey Fergus(R); laps 4-19, #3 Vesko Kozarov
Fastest race lap: #3 Vesko Kozarov, 2:07.941 (85.764 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #3 Vesko Kozarov, 2:06.162 (86.973 mph)