Race Day Report (2/24/19)




Spec Miata class winner decided by 0.2 seconds


Keith Williamson defeats Jason Bergstrom via fastest lap tiebreaker


Wire-to-wire finishes were the story of the day Sunday at the Atlanta Motorsports Park as all but one race saw the pole-sitter lead every lap from start to finish.


That one race, however, produced the most exciting result of the day. In the Spec Miata class, Jason Bergstrom won from the pole position in Race 1, a race that lasted only 10 laps due to Ernie Cole spinning out in Turn 1 on the second lap which brought out the only caution of the day.


After three caution laps, Bergstrom picked up were he left off. He got a good jump on the restart and no one was able to catch him although Ty Young gave it his best shot in his Spec E30 car to finish second in Race 1 of the Spec Miata/E30 class. Young charged hard through the pack passing car after car but ran out of time falling a second short of Bergstrom.


Race 2 is where things got interesting. Bergstrom utilized his pole position to lead the first five laps and it looked like it would be a repeat of Race 1, but Keith Williamson was hot on his tail as the two built a huge gap on the other competitors.


Lap 6 was the first lap all day where someone other than the pole sitter crossed the start-finish line first as Williamson was able to make the pass on Bergstrom, but Bergstrom wouldn’t go down without a fight. He tried to make a move on Williamson is Turn 1 on Lap 7, but Williamson shut the door. On Lap 8, however, Bergstrom was able to outbreak Williamson in Turn 1 to make the pass and regain the lead.


The two battled it out all over the race track, neither one able to gain more than a second of advantage over the other. On Lap 10, Williamson was able to make the pass on Bergstrom down the backstretch, the same place he made the pass on Lap 6.


Bergstrom again battled trying to outbreak Williamson so much that his breaks locked up several times over the last three laps, but Williamson was able to hit his marks leaving no room for Bergstrom to make the pass.


Williamson took the checkered flag on Lap 13 and due to his second-place finish in Race 1, tied Bergstrom in points on the day. The winner would come down to who had the fastest lap of the day. Bergstrom posted a fastest time of 1:35.6. But Williamson posted a 1:35.4 to take first place overall over Bergstrom by just 0.2 seconds. Mark Pombo finished third in both races to round out the podium.

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Ty Young has dominate day in Spec E30 class


Ty Young had a less eventful time in the Spec E30 class defeating the next closest challenger, Jeff Tyrrell, by more than 15 seconds in Race 1 and Race 2 wasn’t much closer with Tyrrell coming in second again.


Young was so dominate on the day that despite starting a half lap behind the nine Spec Miata cars, he was able to finish second and fourth overall in the two races respectively. Joey Townsend finished third in the two races in the Spec E30 class to earn the final podium spot.

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Nelson Canache’s exit clears path for Mathias Soler in Downforce class


The Downforce class saw the pole-sitter lead every lap for the win in both races although it was a different pole-sitter each time.


In Race 1, Nelson Canache got off to a good start from pole-position to build a lead on the field, but Mathias Soler was slowly chipping away at Canache’s lead and by Lap 8, Soler was right on Canache’s rear bumper.


By Lap 10, Canache and Soler had separated themselves from the field. It was a two-person race with neither driver giving an inch. Once the white flag waved on Lap 14, Soler knew it was now or never.


On Turn 3, Soler made a dive bomb to try to get under Canache’s car on the inside. The two almost touched, but Canache went wide and Soler was unable to complete the tight turn with enough speed to overtake Canache. Canache held on to win by a mere 0.119 seconds.


Race 2, unfortunately, was far less exciting as Canache’s car had mechanical issues during the pace laps and had to pull off into the pits and out of the race.


Soler took advantage of Canache’s absence and gapped the field for a convincing wire-to-wire win with very little competition the entire 15 laps. In fact, every position had a significant gap over the next closest car except for the battle for fourth place.


Michael Gatto spun out trying to overtake Eric Vassian on the last lap in Turn 3, the same place Soler tried to make his move on Canache the race before.


Soler took first place on the day with a second and first place finish, and with Canache unable to compete in Race 2, Dan McBreen finished second overall with a fourth and second place finish respectively while Jake Bailey captured third place with two third place finishes on the day.


McBreen and Bailey tied for points for McBreen won the tiebreaker with a fastest lap of 1:21.966 to Bailey’s 1:22.316. Soler’s fastest lap was 1:21.264.

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Author: Colin Ochs, Sports Writer for Forsyth County News


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