STC in Wine Country
- Monday, 27 June 2011
- Written by Ryan Cornes
The picturesque venue of Infineon Raceway provided the backdrop to a hotly contested round four of the Street Touring Challenge. With Sonoma concluding the first half of the season, there would be no time for anyone to sample the offerings of Napa Valley….
In the GS class it was Jonathan Diclemente grabbing pole position, however both Kevin Parrish and Russell Kao were snapping at his heels less than .2 of a second behind.
At the start of the race it was Jonathan and Kevin taking an early lead with Mitchell Weirich getting around Kao into third. That would set up a tremendous race long battle between the three drivers that wouldn’t relent until the checkered flag finally fell.
Lap after lap Diclemente was under intense pressure as Parrish tried repeatedly to make the pass. As the two drivers braked hard into turn 2, Parrish would falter, sliding the car to the inside of the track, allowing Mitchell Weirich to move into 2nd.
With the pressure eased on Diclemente, he decided to be the first to pit on lap 14 with a group of MX5’s looming ahead. The following lap saw Parrish pit, with Weirich. The lap that Weirich led was enough to keep him there, once the pit stops had settled.
The battle would wage on, lap after lap, until finally Parrish was able to get by Diclememte for 2nd place. Then with a move in the final haipin he got inside Weirich, who would try to counter, only to light up the rear tires on the exit of the corner, nearly spinning. Parrish would hold on for the win, with Weirich grabbing 2nd and Diclemente 3rd.
In the ST class it was Mike Kelley taking pole by just over a tenth from Eric Palacio with the rest of the MX5 field all within a second of pole. At the start it would be Palacio taking the lead, with Kelley slotting in close behind. After 3 laps the top 6 cars were all running within seconds of each other.
On lap 11, Palacio had a strong run on Kelley and was able to get to the inside in turn 1. As the two went side by side into turn 2, they made contact under braking, resulting in Kelley getting out of shape and Palacio taking the lead.
As the pitstops were settled it was Palacio leading Gordon, Kelley, and Green, with Gooderson only a few seconds back. With the laps winding down Kelley would get a run on Gordon entering the first hairpin, passing him for 2nd with only two laps left.
As they came to the final hairpin, Gordon and Kelley got together sending Kelley around. In the end it was Palacio winning over Jomar Green in 2nd with an excellent performance from Andy Gooderson coming home 3rd.
With the first half of the season completed, the Street Touring Challenge heads to the hills and valleys of Mid-Ohio. With the championships in both classes already extremely tight, the pressure will certainly be on every driver to do well.Last Updated on Monday, 27 June 2011 23:54