Two of the fastest Prototype 1 cars in the country make their homes in the Western Conference, and Saturday’s race didn’t disappoint from the drop of the green flag.
Lee Alexander sat on the pole in his No. 48 Factory 48/APE Raceparts Stohr WF-0, and as the pace car pulled to pit lane led the field onto the banking very slowly. The field bunched up closely, and when the starter displayed the green flag, Chris Farrell got the jump on the outside in the No. 58 C&M Manufacturing/ GDR Engines/Hoosier Tires/Stohr Cars Stohr WF-1.
Beginning on lap four, Alexander moved to the outside through the banking on three consecutive laps before finally getting around Farrell and into the lead. Farrell came back quickly, moving in front on lap 10, but Alexander held the inside line and reentered the infield section of the road course still in front.
With two to go, the pair encountered heavy traffic from other classes, and Alexander was able to gain some breathing room. The traffic again came into play on the final lap, with Farrell backing out to the finish and Alexander winning by a misleading final tally of 32 seconds – setting up a sure showdown during Sunday’s race.
The GT class battle focused on GT-2 and GT-3 in the early stages.
GT-2 featured two very different machines, with the power of the No. 47 Apartments247.com/RVParks247.com/StorageRentals247.com SRT Viper ACRX of Michael Von Quilich taking the early lead over the No. 01 Main Straight Racing/Michelin Porsche GT3 of Tom Wickersham. Wickersham pulled into the lead on lap eight, then kept his Porsche in front for the rest of the way to the checkered flag.
In GT-3, Mike Henderson’s No. 21 Mazda/Red Line Oil/Goodyear Mazda RX-7 led early on, but faced a stiff challenge from Wolfgang Maike’s No. 15 Toyota/Red Line Oil Toyota Paseo. Maike shadowed Henderson, and on lap 12 tried to take advantage and move to the lead down the backstraight. Maike spun in the transition from the right to the left hander, which Henderson just avoided, and Henderson was able to continue to the checkered flag unabated. Maike recovered to finish second.
In the Touring group, William Brinkop led the field from the Touring 1 pole and held the early lead in the No. 78 TC Design/Synergy Motorsports/Abel Chevrolet/Hoosier Tire Chevrolet Corvette, powering around the banking and through the infield portion of the course through the race’s early laps. Just past halfway, Jim Tway’s No. 08 P.A. Construction/Alvaka Networks/Valerie Schluter Realty Chevrolet Corvette slid past Brinkop and into the overall and class lead. The two ran in tandem and equally spaced to the checkered flag, but Tway had enough to keep Brinkop in his mirrors and take the win.
That same group gave Wickersham his second win of the day. His Touring 3 No. 4 Main Straight Racing/BFGoodrich Tires Honda S2000 was challenged on a couple of occasions by the No. 8 BF Goodrich Tires/Knight Transport/Specialty Vehicle Logistics Ford Mustang of Scotty White, but each time White closed the gap, Wickersham turned up the wick to climb back in front.
Jesse Heitman won the F Production race in Group Seven, taking the lead in the No. 47 Maz-Toy Auto Recycling/Jesse Prather Motorsports Mazda Miata with a brilliant pass in traffic. Heitman was running third overall and second in class when overall leader Rylan Hazelton’s No. 49 Driving Ambition/BFGoodrich Tires/HPD/Comptech Honda S2000 and then FP leader Rick Harris’ No. 8 Jesse Prather Motorsports/Hoosier/V8 Roadsters/Miata Cage Mazda Miata came up on a lapped car on lap seven.
Hazelton checked up moving around the lapped car, and Harris went into the back of Hazelton. Heitman seized the opportunity and swung past both cars and into the overall lead. Hazelton eventually moved back to the overall top spot, and Heitman got breathing room in class when Harris fell out of the race with mechanical difficulties.