HPD Blog

Friday, September 9, 2011

Spec: RaceAtom Presented By Honda Racing/HPD Hits the Twisty VIR North Course


The Spec: RaceAtom series returned to action on August 20/21 on the VIRginia International Raceway North Course. This was the third new-course configuration that the series has raced on in as many events. The North Course provides a stark contrast to the fast and flowing full-course layout, where the series ran in July. The North Course provides tight, technical, and blind corner-approaches, keeping the drivers on their toes.

Saturday saw clear skies, and hot weather conditions that left many drivers searching for grip on course. Competitors worked throughout the practice sessions to maximize the grip from their Hoosier R6 tires. The race was scheduled for 4:45 p.m., so only time would tell if changes made earlier in the day would pay off during the race.

With the drop of the green flag, and the sound of Honda engines accelerating up to 8200 rpm, it was apparent that it was going to be a fantastic battle, and that the cars of Aaron Elsner, Tyson Bytzek, Jim Taggart, and Ben Sinnott were not going to be content to sit back and watch. Elsner, Taggart, and Sinnott were able to jump to the inside of Bytzek and push him wide. Bytzek dropped to the fourth position.

After 10 clean laps of racing the checkered flag was thrown with Elsner, Bytzek, and Taggart taking the podium positions while Jim Osborn had his best race of the season, finishing fourth.

Sunday morning brought new challenges as the weather looked unsettled and the possibility for a rain-soaked race seemed real. Practice sessions were run under dry conditions, however the qualifying session was hit with rain drops just past halfway. Many drivers were unable to get a fast qualifying lap in prior to the rain, meaning that some quick drivers would be starting further back than accustomed.

A short delay in the schedule of track events proved to be a blessing, as dry conditions prevailed before it was time to race.

Consistency proved to be the key for Aaron Elsner as he added another win to his season with consistent laps from start to finish; however he was chased very heavily on-track by Tyson Bytzek, who would set the fastest lap of the weekend during the race. It was a mere 3.1 seconds at the line separating first from second. Jim Taggart grabbed the final podium spot, with Ben Sinnott close behind in the 4th position.

Races #7 and #8 will take place September 17/18 on the Full Course at VIRginia International Raceway.

For more information on the series please contact:
Mark Swain - TMI AutoTech, Inc.
mswain@arielatom.com
434.822.9130 x303

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