BRAINERD, Minn. – Fred Emich (Touring Car) took his first win of the 2014 season while Ernie Francis Jr. (Touring Car A) and Johan Schwartz (Touring Car B-Spec) doubled up in Sunday’s Brainerd Int’l Raceway brought to you by Kia Round 12 of the Pirelli World Challenge season.
Emich’s win is the first of his career while Francis Jr. earned his 10th win of his career, and third this season. Schwartz’s second straight win is also his second in his career.
In TC, Emich in the No. 30 Emich Volkswagen Volkswagen Jetta GLI started third but was already up to second by the end of the first lap. A move for the lead on polesitter and round 11 winner Karl Thomson in the No. 72 CTF.org/Touge Tuning/Racing4Research Honda Civic Si on lap two.
Never challenged from there, Emich led the final 23 laps in the 24-lap, 40-minute race and won over Thomson by 2.319 seconds.
“It’s awesome, couldn’t feel any better,” said Emich. “I did want to get the race done about half way through, I was nervous. Thomson was chasing me and charging hard. There was no room for a mistake, dicing through the TCB traffic, it was difficult. I’m elated.”
“We had a motor that went out in testing that we had to replace,” added Emich. “We had a fire in the electrical harness. We came out yesterday and we were fast, but we had a tire go out. I can’t give my crew enough credit for putting the car back together.”
Ray Mason in the No. 71 Grand Alarms Honda Civic Si finished third in TC in the second Compass360 Racing entry. Mason made the pass for the final podium position on Lap 21, getting around Michael Pettiford in the No. 42 Go4It/Hawk Brakes Pontiac Solstice.
TCA was also a straightforward affair with Francis, in the No. 98 Breathless Performance Mazda MX-5, completing his second straight dominant drive from class pole. Francis started fifth overall and finished in the same position, and first in TCA with a margin of victory of 23.853 seconds.
“Had a real good weekend and a real good race today,” said Francis. “Just tried to get a good start and not look back. I was able to pull a nice gap and keep it going out front. The team did a great job getting the car running good and handling on rails all weekend.