HPD Blog

Friday, April 22, 2011

Team Honda Research-West Completes Round Two of the SCCA National Championship Campaign at Thunderhill with 6 Podium Finishes

March 26-27, 2011

In less than ideal weather conditions, THR-W drivers Lee Niffenegger, Sage Marie and Matthew Staal completed the second round of the SCCA National championship series with two race wins, three second and one third place finish.

Lee Niffenegger, running his always consistent Honda Racing/HPD Honda Civic Si, shod with BFGoodrich R1 tires, drove to two uncontested race wins in Showroom Stock B class. Sage Marie had a competitive battle with the Honda S2000 CR Tom Wickersham throughout the first race settling for second place in the T3 class, driving his Honda Racing/HPD Honda S2000 CR. Starting the second race of the weekend in 3rd place, Sage capitalized on a strong start to move quickly to 1st in class ahead of Tom Wickersham, and the Mazda of Dan Cooper. The battle remained strong until a missed shift by Sage cost him the lead and resulted in a 2nd place finish.

The competitive and popular STU class featured eight entries for the weekend. For Saturday’s race Matt was able to qualify his HPD Acura RSX Type-S a solid 3rd position behind Wilkersham’s Honda S2000 and the Mazda of Marc Hoover. Upon the green flag, Staal was able to stay in the hunt by moving up to 2nd place in front of Wilkersham. However, on the 3rd lap, Staal experienced a 4th gear failure causing him to drop back to 3rd in class. While traveling at a slow pace to assess the condition of the transmission, Staal realized he could still continue in the race by using only 3rd and 5th gears. Despite this substantial disadvantage, he was able to pick up the pace and slowly reel in Wickersham’s S2000 and succeed in passing him on the last lap to regain 2nd place. For Sunday’s STU race, Staal opted out of qualifying to preserve the transmission. Starting at the back of the field, Staal was able to pick off STU competitors one by one to settling into 2nd place despite being hamstrung by the lack of a 4th gear.

Team Honda Research West would like to thank their sponsors (Honda Racing/HPD, BF Goodrich tire) for supporting our team in its quest for the championship title at the SCCA National Championship Runoffs this September at Road America.

Next Stop: Buttonwillow Raceway, April 30~May 1, 2011

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