Miller Motorsports Park
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Herbert, Marie Win Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car/Touring Car-B from Miller
TOOELE, Utah -- Redeeming a hard luck weekend with a run from the rear of the field to the checkered flag, Tristan Herbert, of Reston, Va., took an overall and Touring Car class win on Sunday at Miller Motorsports Park at the Privacy Star Utah Grand Prix Presented by Bondurant. Sage Marie, of Huntington Beach, Calif., grabbed the third Touring Car-B race of the weekend.
Herbert blew a motor in his No. 33 Brimtek/GermanAutoParts.com Volkswagen Jetta GLI earlier in the weekend, relegating him to last-place finishes in both races of Saturday’s doubleheader and forcing him to start Sunday’s 40-minute race from the back of the field.
The team pulled the engine out of a Volkswagen Beetle Turbo street car, swapped it out on Saturday, and got the No. 33 machine into what they hoped was race condition. Herbert picked off the field one-by-one, and took the checkered flag by 4.360 seconds, averaging 78.338 mph over the 24-lap, 52.8-mile race on the track’s 2.2-mile West Course configuration.
It’s the second Pirelli World Challenge Touring Car win for Herbert and first since the season opener at St. Petersburg in 2011. The race was also a near sweep of the special awards for Herbert, who was the Sunoco Hard Charger for improving 10 positions, the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start for his opening lap, the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race for his pass for the lead over Michael Cooper on Lap 22, and the Kia Turing Point of the Race for his climb through the field.
Herbert also turned the fastest lap of the race, running a 1:39.246 (79.801 mph) once he was on a clear track at the end of the race.
“This was a really tough weekend for us,” Herbert said. “These are new cars, it’s to be expected and we’re fighting new car blues. We’re trying to get through it, and we’re looking for a really good weekend at [Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca] even though it’s a one-race weekend.
“I came into it with the same strategy as St. Petersburg. We started in the back. It was just take your time, don’t burn the car down, and let the guys in the front fight and eventually let them come to you and pick them off one by one. It was really easy to go out there and you could feel it around the turns starting to cook the tires, and I knew those guys in the front fighting were going to do it. It was just a matter of time before we were going to catch up to them. It’s a 45-minute race, that’s a lot of time. It’s a real big mistake to go out there and start hammering on the tires right off the bad. It was a good weekend for us – a good end.”
The early stages of the race saw Championship leader Michael Cooper pace the field in the No. 03 Atlanta Motorsports Group MAZDASPEED3, getting a jump from his second starting position and leading the opening 21 laps of the race. By lap 19, Herbert had caught up to the tail of the Mazda and the two ran side-by-side until Herbert got the lead for good.
With Cooper fading, Compass360 Racing teammates Todd Lamb and Ryan Winchester followed Herbert around Cooper to podium finishes.
Lamb completed a podium cycle during the weekend with a runner-up finish, following a win and a third-place on Saturday in the No. 71 National Karting News/HPD Honda Civic Si.
“It definitely was a testament to perseverance, fighting for every tenth we could get on every lap, knowing that it might come back to us,” Lamb said. “It’s one of the toughest races to run because you’re out there just cruising and cruising, and the turbo cars are driving away from you. It’s really frustrating to watch those guys just drive away with lots of horsepower, but eventually the cars are wearing the tires off of them so that gave us an advantage at the end of the race and we were able to close up the gap.
“If the race was 10 minutes shorter, we would have been in big trouble, but maybe 10 minutes longer we would have been in great shape.”
Winchester, whose weekend at St. Petersburg was marred by a crash in the opening round, earned third place in the No. 72 Ligon Industries/HPD Honda Civic Si. The polesitter earned his third podium finish of the weekend following a pair of runner-ups during Saturday’s races.
“Starting off today, I thought I got a pretty good jump and my teammate got a better jump than I did,” Winchester said. “Going back to the hairpin I knew he had a run and I made it pretty easy and let him go by and just tried to hang. I knew we had to be patient and let those guys try to run away, use up some of their stuff and hope by the end they came back to us. Fortunately, they did, and we were able to get by one and not the other. That’s the way it goes sometimes.
“I created a big hole [at St. Pete], and fortunately this weekend I was on the podium three times. I felt like the Compass360 team gave me a really good car – after rebuilding it, it ran perfect all weekend so it made my job easier. And with a lot more room here than on a street course, people can make mistakes and not cost you so much. Overall, it was a great time and I can’t wait to do it again.”
Cooper held on to fourth position and the Championship lead, followed across the stripe by Shea Holbrook’s No. 67 TrueCar.com/Lucas Oil/K&N Filters Honda Civic Si, the third Compass360 car in the top-five. Holbrook started third but bogged down on the standing start, falling as low as 11th in the opening corners before working back through the field.
The Touring Car-B battle was a four-car scrum for much of the early part of the race, with Marie’s No. 45 Honda Racing/HPD Honda Fit trading the lead with Craig Capaldi’s No. 86 CapaldiRacing.com Ford Fiesta every other lap for the first four.
With the battle joined by Jonathan Start’s No. 00 Fiat USA/SRT/Carbotech Fiat 500 and Dan McKeever’s No. 09 MMP/Ford Racing High Performance Driving School Ford Fiesta, the four cars began battling for second.
The battle for second allowed Marie to steadily pull away, driving off to a 3.354-second margin of victory and Honda’s first Touring Car-B win.
“It’s good for HPD, it’s good for Honda and it’s good for the class,” Marie said. “All the difference in the world today with some fresh tires up front and some pressure changes, the Pirellis worked much, much better today for us and it made it much easier to balance the car and put down some good, consistent lap times. I watched those guys battle behind me, the three of them, and I loved watching them battle back and forth because I was just notching away the tenths of a second with each lap. I’m very happy.
“It’s amazing right out of the box how close these cars are. The first time, you can’t get much better than that. Everybody raced clean and I have to thank my fellow drivers out there for some good racing.”
Conner Ford joined the back and forth battle for second in the No. 93 Honda Performance Development Honda Fit, eventually taking the top spot to give Honda a second podium finish.
Craig Capaldi finished third, followed by Start, who took the two wins on Saturday. Jeff Lepper finished fifth in the No. 92 Xtreme Indoor Karting/Gunther Kia Rio.
With three wins in five races on the season, Cooper holds the Touring Car Drivers’ Championship lead with 671 points over Lamb’s 609. Winchester (457 points) sits third, followed by Gustavo Michelsen (396), who finished seventh. Tristan Herbert is up to fifth with 368 points. Honda leads the Touring Car Manufacturers’ Championship, 39-34 over Mazda. Volkswagen has closed the gap with Sunday’s win, up to 17 points.
In Touring Car-B, Start holds the Drivers’ Championship lead after the three weekend races with a 389 to 335 advantage over Marie. Capaldi (327) sits third in the Drivers’ Championship. Fiat holds the Manufacturers’ Championship lead with 22 points, followed by a tie between Mazda and Ford with 16. Honda has 15 points, while Kia has scored 3.
TOOELE, Utah - Results from Sunday's 24-lap, 52.8-mile Pirelli World Challenge Championships Touring Car Round 5, Touring Car-B Round 3 race, part of the Privacy Star Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).
1. TC, (11), Tristan Herbert, Reston, Va., Volkswagen GLI, 24.
2. TC, (4), Todd Lamb(R), Atlanta, Ga., Honda Civic Si, 24, -4.360.
3. TC, (1), Ryan Winchester(R), Mason City, Iowa, Honda Civic Si, 24, -5.206.
4. TC, (2), Michael Cooper(R), Syosset, N.Y., Mazda 3, 24, -8.206.
5. TC, (3), Shea Holbrook, Groveland, Fla., Honda Civic Si, 24, -8.991.
6. TC, (6), Michael Pettiford, Louisville, Colo., VW Jetta, 24, -16.048.
7. TC, (7), Gustavo Michelsen(R), Lima Peru, , Honda Civic Si, 24, -28.055.
8. TC, (9), Tommy Boileau, Monument, Colo., Mazda RX-8, 24, -1:02.938.
9. TCB, (16), Sage Marie, Huntington Beach, Calif., Honda Fit, 22, -2 laps.
10. TCB, (18), Conner Ford, Carson Cithy, Nev., Honda Fit, 22, -2 laps.
11. TCB, (14), Craig Capaldi, Richmond, Mich., Ford Fiesta, 22, -2 laps.
12. TCB, (15), Jonathan Start, Caledoina, Mich., Fiat 500, 22, -2 laps.
13. TCB, (20), Jeff Lepper, Vavaville, Calif., Kia Rio, 22, -2 laps.
14. TCB, (13), Shaun Bailey, Newport Beach, Calif., Mazda 2, 22, -2 laps.
15. TCB, (19), Dan McKeever, Grantsville, Utah, Ford Fiesta, 21, -3 laps.
16. TCB, (17), Russell Smith, Hamilton, Bermuda, Kia Rio, 20, Mech.
17. TC, (10), Patrick Seguin, Clarence Creek, Ontario, Volkswagen GTI, 19, -5 laps.
18. TC, (5), Karl Thomson, Toronto, Ontario, Honda Civic Si, 9, Mech.
19. TC, (8), Robb Holland, Denver, Colo., Volkswagen GLI, 5, Mech.
20. TC, (12), J D Mobley, Castle Rock, Colo., Mazda RX-8, 2, Mech.
21. TC, (21), Jan Heylen, Clearwater, Fla., Volkswagen GLI, 0, DNS.
Time of race: 40 minutes, 26.388 seconds.
Average speed: 78.338 mph
Margin of victory: 4.360 Seconds
Lap leaders: Laps 1-21, #03 Michael Cooper(R); laps 22-24, #33 Tristan Herbert
Fastest race lap: #33 Tristan Herbert, 1:39.246 (79.801 mph)
Fastest qualifier: #72 Ryan Winchester(R), 1:39.080 (79.935 mph)