LEXINGTON, Ohio – Thirteen minutes under caution made it difficult for drivers to find a rhythm during Cooper Tires Prototype Lites race one at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Saturday.
Pole sitter Sean Rayhall led the field through the first and second yellow flags, but Performance Tech’s Ryan Booth was on his tail and capitalized when Rayhall had a mishap.
The first yellow flag came out after Michal Chlumecky went into the gravel in turn nine on lap seven. Six minutes later, the course went green only to go yellow less than one minute after. Another eight-minute caution kept the field tight.
With less than five minutes to go at the 2013 Diamond Cellar Classic, Rayhall and Booth entered turn two when Rayhall’s brakes locked up and Booth took advantage of his line. The little wiggle by Rayhall was enough for Booth to take the lead in the No. 18 L1 Élan DP02 2.0L Mazda. From there, Booth led to the checkered flag to claim his second win of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda 2013 season.
“It was nice to actually race instead of Sean (Rayhall) just walking away the whole race,” Booth said with a smile. “Congratulations to him. We had an awesome race and he’s hard to keep up with. The full-course cautions helped a lot.”
Booth’s fastest lap of 1:19.780 was enough for a new track record at the 2.258-mile facility. The record was previously held by current Masters Championship driver, Gerry Kraut, who posted a time of 1.20:661 in August of 2011.
Rayhall was able to hang onto second place after an issue with brakes.
“Hats off to Ryan (Booth),” Rayhall said. “He drove a great race. He was consistent and just waited for a little mishap to happen and was right there when it did. He got by me and and from there there wasn’t really any catching him because we had braking trouble.”