MILLVILLE, N.J. – Three drivers added to their 2014 Pirelli World Challenge win totals with victories in round five of the Touring Car, Touring Car A and Touring Car B-Spec season at New Jersey Motorsports Park Saturday.
In TC, Michael DiMeo made it five-for-five wins. Shea Holbrook took her second win of the season in TCA, while Brian Price won his fourth TCB race in five starts. Saturday’s win is the third of Holbrook’s career, and for DiMeo and Price, their season win totals match their career numbers.
DiMeo’s win Saturday in the No. 71 Grand Alarms Honda Civic Si did represent one first – it was the first time in five races this year he has led flag-to-flag en route to victory. He started from pole and controlled the race to score the win by 9.944 seconds, and was the only driver to break into the 1:29 range during the race.
“The car was really hooked up from the start of the weekend,” DiMeo said. “We put down some good laps. Even though it’s my first time here, we kept the pace ahead of everyone else. We were a little worried coming into qualifying and we got a pretty good start, going into corner one,” he added. “No one really tried to pull a move going into corner one. That was my biggest worry. I knew I had the pace, but I didn’t want to risk anything. Once I was clear of corner one, I started running qualifying laps and ran good times.
“It feels awesome. I never could have imagined this would have happened.”
Behind him, two first-time 2014 starters enjoyed a scrap for the final podium positions with DiMeo’s teammate and Compass360 Racing team principal Karl Thomson. After starting second, Kevin Anderson finished in the same position in the No. 23 TechSportRacing.com Mazda RX-8. Anderson fell to third early but made it past Randy Hale, of Haddam, Conn., in the No. 83 TransAero Mazda MX-5, for second on Lap 18.
Hale was seeking a podium on his return to the series for the first time since Lime Rock Park last year, but contact between he and Thomson, in the No. 72 CTF.org/Touge Tuning/Racing4Research Honda Civic Si forced Hale to pit. Thomson made it home in third for his second straight podium finish, ahead of series debutante Emilee Tominovich in the No. 19 Emich Racing Volkswagen Jetta GLI. Tominovich, the Mazda MX-5 Cup graduate, drove a clean race in her debut.
In TCA, the Shea Racing team had a 1-2 run going for most of the race with Jason Cherry who led early in the No. 13 Autism Society of America/Avpro/Purposeful Architecture Mazda MX-5. Cherry had a stellar start, gaining five positions from his starting position to secure the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start Award.