Rocky Moran Jr. got his first Toyota Atlantic Championship series win of the season in Montreal today with a late race pass of polesitter Jon Fogarty, just a week after his heart-braking loss at Road America. Moran had a great drive at the...
Rocky Moran Jr. got his first Toyota Atlantic Championship series win of the season in Montreal today with a late race pass of polesitter Jon Fogarty, just a week after his heart-braking loss at Road America. Moran had a great drive at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, his second impressive race in a row for the Team Sigma entry and engineer Jim Griffith. He got a great start, jumping from the third row to follow Fogarty from the very early stages of the race. He spent most of the race in a battle for second with Ryan Dalziel, the two of them exchanging positions several times while they kept Fogarty within reach. On the next to last lap, Moran drafted past Fogarty on the long main straight and pulled away to a convincing victory.
Fogarty's second place finish allowed him to shave some more points from Michael Valiante's points lead as the series heads for its final stop in the streets of Denver next week. Valiante now leads by only 6 points, and must finish within two or three positions of Fogarty in Denver to clinch the TAC title. Lynx Racing's lead driver, Valiante, finished seventh today after charging back through the field following a flat tire that sent him to the back in the early going. Valiante and Fogarty are now the only two drivers who can win the championship, having distanced themselves from the three other drivers who still had a chance coming into the Montreal round.
Dalziel, who finished third, was also impressive this week, his first ride in the Hylton Motorsports entry that had been driven by Roger Yasukawa earlier this season. Yasukawa's partial-season funding had run out, so Dalziel, a protégé of fellow Scot, CART star Dario Franchitti, has stepped in to finish the season with Hylton.
DSTP Racing's Joey Hand drove a clean race to finish fourth today, challenging Dalziel for third in the race's final two laps. Fifth and sixth were Fogarty's Dorricott Racing teammates Alex Gurney and Luis Diaz, two of the drivers eliminated from contention for the Toyota Atlantic crown this week. The third driver who had been in the running for the season championship, Dalziel's teammate Ryan Hunter-Reay, was out of it early, losing two laps in the pits getting his rear wing replaced after a lap one collision with Marc DeVellis. Hunter-Reay finished out of the points in 22nd place.
Caution flags slowed the race three times. Two were for cars that had spun into the Ile Notre-Dame track's gravel traps, DeVellis on lap 4 and Scott Lampkin on the 18th lap (of 27.) The other yellow flag period occurred on lap 8, when Stephan Roy slammed hard into the main straight wall after contact from Sepp Koster. The caution period was lengthy because the spray of pieces from Roy's car took a while to clean up, but fortunately Roy was unhurt. Another caution was avoided on the next restart despite a collision in the first chicane between Jonathan Macri and Aaron Justus as they fought for fifth place. Macri finished twelfth after pitting to replace a front tire and Justus was able to drive his damaged car to a safe parking place so the race could continue.
Valiante and Fogarty finish their season long battle for the Toyota Atlantic Championship at the Streets of Denver, next Saturday, August 31, at 3:30 pm Mountain Time. The race will be televised live on SPEED Channel at 5:30 pm. EDT.