The CalSpeed IronMan Series rolled through the fastest of the counter-clockwise layouts this past weekend, as the full field of 30 drivers took to the Grande CCW configuration for round #2 of the championship. The second event of the year sees the inverted start back in play for the rest of the season, and with 26 returning drivers from the season opener, there was plenty in the rotation.
Scott Milne would lead the field out of Kimbrell and down the front straight for the first lap around the circuit, but it would be Chris Carter from the second position leading lap one. His time at the front would be short-lived, however, as Paulo Franca scythed his way from ninth to take over the lead on lap 3. The reigning champ immediately went to work to gap himself from the field, proving why he was also the track record holder on the layout.
Franca may have gotten to the front in quick succession, but there was another driver on his way to the front in the opening circuits, and that was Michael Hazlewood, who put up some of the fastest laps in the early going. It may have taken him a little longer to get there, but by lap 6 he was in second, and started reeling Franca in, while simultaneously pulling away from third on back. Before lap 10 he was linked up with Franca, and from there it was a carbon copy of round #1 with Chris Huerta and Sean Fite. The top two clicked off fast lap after fast lap with Franca out front, but Hazlewood was able to snag the lead for a couple laps of his own, and with it, valuable bonus points towards his championship hopes. The two-horse race would be decided by the pit stops towards the end of the event, with Franca blinking first for stop one, while Hazlewood would elect to come in before his rival for stop two. Franca would stay out to the final lap on his second trip through pit lane, however, and would exit the pit lane with a safe margin to claim the win, with Michael settling for second.
Unlike round #1 where third place was an island of one, this time it was a three-driver contest for the final podium spot, comprised of Sean Fite, Andres Prieto, and Ariel Rubio. The former two would work their way up from deep in the field to join Rubio just after lap ten, and from there the three would be nearly inseparable. Through the pit stops and to the end of the race, the trio would mimic each other; typically, it would be Fite out front, but Prieto took his turn, while Rubio would clock the fastest lap of the race, just .008 off the track record. In the end, it was Sean Fite coming out on top to bring home the third and final hardware position.
Round #3 of the CalSpeed IronMan Series takes to the Grande track in about one month’s time on March 21st; spots are still available, so register today!
IronMan Series Round #2 Top 10
|10)||Jose da Silva|
Point Standings Top 10 (drop)
|9)||Jose da Silva||75||(63)|