HPD Blog

Friday, June 17, 2011

Spec: RaceAtom Presented By Honda Racing/HPD Inaugural Race Weekend Is a Huge Success




Spec: RaceAtom Presented by Honda Racing/HPD is officially in full swing with the completion of the inaugural race weekend. As the checkered flag dropped on Sunday afternoon, June 12, it concluded a race weekend that saw two action-packed races with very close competition.

Thirteen identically prepared Honda K20 powered Spec Race Atoms were on hand for the weekend of racing on the challenging South Course at Virginia International Raceway. The twists and turns of this exciting racetrack were not the only elements the drivers had to contend with, as heat was also a factor, with temperatures in the mid-90s.
Saturday provided three practice sessions, a qualifying session, and a 20-minute sprint race. Aaron Elsner and Ben Sinnott traded fastest laps throughout the practice sessions.

Qualifying was no different, as Elsner and Sinnott battled for the top spot, with Elsner eventually grabbing the pole position by a mere .081 seconds.


The race proved to be equally exciting, with Sinnott and Elsner pressing hard from the drop of the green flag. Racing was tight throughout the field with a great battle for fourth position between Jim Lewis and Rob Veschi. After 17 laps of racing, Elsner took the victory with Sinnott, Tyson Bytzek, Veschi, and Lewis rounding out the top five finishers. All 13 cars completed the race.


Sunday brought a new race day, and a repeat of the practice, qualifying, and race sessions. The drivers once again faced hot temperatures as they suited up for the day’s event. The temperatures did not slow the drivers down, however, as lap times dropped with every session.

Close lap times once again made for an exciting qualifying session. Aaron Elsner captured his second pole position of the season while an intense battle was going on for the second and third grid positions. Tyson Bytzek edged Ben Sinnott for the second starting position by a mere .001 seconds!

Sunday’s race began under the threat of rain, with drops beginning to fall as the Honda Civic Si Pace Car led the 13-car field out of pit lane. Fortunately, the rain stopped and the track stayed dry for the duration of the race. Early race excitement occurred as the #90 of Sinnott locked a wheel going into Turn 4, resulting in a brief off-track excursion. Sinnott would rejoin at the tail of the field and drove a hard race to 4th finishing position. In the process, Sinnott also set the fastest race lap.

At the front of the field, meanwhile, Elsner and Bytzek engaged in a great battle, with Bytzek pushing Elsner hard right to the finish. At the finish, it was Aaron Elsner grabbing his second victory of the season, with Bytzek in the runner-up spot. Jim Taggart drove a smart and consistent race to come home on the podium in third. Sinnott and Jim Lewis rounded out the top five finishers. As was the case on Saturday, all of the 13 starters took the checkered flag!

With the first two races in the record books, the competitors look forward to the next event, which will be held July 16-17 on the Full Course at Virginia International Raceway. The size of the field is expected to grow to 18 cars for these races.

For more information on the series please contact:

Mark Swain - TMI AutoTech, Inc.
mswain@arielatom.com
434.822.9130 x303

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