For the month of April, we entered Sprint Series Round 4 on the Classico CCW configuration, our first time back on the counterclockwise direction all year. The course would reward any drivers with the patience to approach the several tougher corners of this layout; and come checkered flag in the mains, it would show that this season’s championship is now beginning to take on truly exciting form…
As temperatures heated up during morning practice, drivers in the 3rd practice group began laying down fast lap after fast lap. Although we saw certain drivers consistently pulling off pole early in the season, this go-around in the CCW direction would prove different, making this a first career pole for Mike Gonzales by a slim 3/1000ths of a second over Tony Wika!
Qualifying Top 5
The top 3 in heat 1A kept things tight lap after lap. Pole sitter Gonzales would be constantly under fire from fellow Dark Horse teammates (albeit championship rivals), Evan Lawrence and James Lieser. 3 laps in, Lawrence would have the lead while the other pair took to minimal dogfighting, still within striking distance for a potential win. At the checkered however, Lawrence kept a strong grip, winning the first heat of the day over Gonzales 2nd and Lieser 3rd.
Heat 1A Results
The pair of Super Series Grand Masters rivals Tony Wika and John Rice happened to start off heat 1B, with Rice taking command at the green flag. Meanwhile, Jeremy Aldridge began picking off driver after driver to head towards the top pack from his P7 start. Between the top 2, Rice would go on to win heat 1B followed by Wika, with Aldridge promoting to a P3 finish after a post-race penalty on a driver ahead of him.
Heat 1B Results
The last heat of the day began with Tommy Haake, Leo Ovtcharov and Denis Shakovskii leading the pack. With each passing lap, there was little to no breathing room as each driver maintained near perfection just to keep their spots. While there was hardly any change in position in this front group, the checkered would end with the drivers in the same order, showing just how tight the championship is developing for 2021.
Heat 1C Results
The C-Main was filled predominantly with drivers in the new SE subcategory and this round was no exception. At the green, leader Zach Swinford came under fire from Nicholas Descamps and Jack Breuker, the latter taking over the lead by lap 2. Breuker maintained the lead for several laps until Descamps took it back at the halfway mark. Breuker kept close, and at the checkered flag, the pair would be close but it would just not be enough as Descamps scored the win and transfer into the B-Main.
|1)||Nicholas Descamps [SE]|
|2)||Jack Breuker [SE]|
|3)||Zach Swinford [SE]|
|4)||Shane Leistner [SE]|
|5)||Luke Lofaro [SE]|
Chris Fox started the B-Main but would certainly not have an easy time of it thanks to Jeff Latimer hounding him in second. No less than perfection would be required lap after lap and meanwhile, we’d be seeing a good run from Ayden Vaillancour, who cut down several drivers to finally reach 3rd behind Latimer with 2 to go. Fox went on to win the B-Main ahead of Latimer and Vaillancour.
Round 4’s A-Main proved extremely exciting to watch– we’d first see Tommy Haake leading a huge hornet’s nest of drivers before Lawrence stole P1 from for the first half. It would be constant battling in the top group until a chance opportunity midway through saw Aldridge jump a staggering several positions to steal the lead after having started all the way in 9th. There would be much nail-biting from here on out as the top group began shuffling with last month’s winner Ovtcharov also jumping into the fight. Lawrence kept close to Aldridge and in a very exciting move at the final complex of corners, made it a drag race to the finish between himself, Aldridge and Ovtcharov. Lawrence landed the win by 5/100ths of a second in front of Aldridge, making this a perfect points day for him, now the current leader for the 2021 Championship!
As things go, Lawrence may too score the Winter Subchampionship for the year but Haake is hot on his heels with a much stronger drop that is certainly capable of closing the gap– only 1 round to go so we’ll have to wait and see what’s in store for Round 5…
New for this year is the Sportsman Experience subcategory in the Sprint Series– as of this round, the leaders for this category are still Frank Chen and Ethan Chen…
Sprint Series 2021 Current Points Standings
Sprint Series 2021 Winter Points Standings