ROOKIE BARRON GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE WITH QUICK RESTARTS AFTER STARTING ON THE POLE NAZARETH, Pa. - Rookie Alex Barron, of Vista, Calif., sprinted wire-to-wire from the pole in his Lynx Racing-Victory...
ROOKIE BARRON GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE WITH QUICK RESTARTS AFTER STARTING ON THE POLE
NAZARETH, Pa. - Rookie Alex Barron, of Vista, Calif., sprinted wire-to-wire from the pole in his Lynx Racing-Victory Circle Racing/Red Line Oil Ralt RT-41 to capture his first career KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship race Saturday at the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix presented by Toyota. While Barron led comfortably in only his third career Atlantic start, Case Montgomery, of Salinas, Calif., Alexandre Tagliani, of Lachenaie, Que., and Steve Knapp, of Salem, Wis., battled for the runner-up spot in the closing laps of the 60-lap event.
The late-race shootout was set up by a caution caused when Joaquin DeSoto, of Miami, Fla., lost control in turn four of the one-mile oval on lap 45 and contacted Greg Harrington, of Suwanee, Ga., before hitting the wall. Neither driver was injured. Harrington was able to continue.
When the green flag fell on lap 52, Barron pulled away while the Microsoft/Wall Data Ralt RT-41 of Montgomery challenged the Player's Indeck Ralt RT-40 of Tagliani for second. Knapp soon joined the battle in his Miller Milling Co./NTN Bearings/Manheim Auctions Ralt RT-41.
Knapp was able to pass Montgomery and Tagliani in turn two on lap 58. But Knapp got loose in turn three and Montgomery swept past both drivers to claim second place.
"Steve got super loose, almost sideways, but he saved it," said Montgomery. "Tagliani had to check up for him and I just kept my foot in it and got around."
Barron was able to hold his lead during restarts in a race that was slowed four times for incidents.
"The restarts were challenging," said Barron, about the one-mile track that goes uphill as cars approach the start-finish line. "I'm a little inexperienced on restarts. We had to keep the momentum going."
The first caution of the race flew on lap seven when Stuart Crow, of Dallas, Texas, made hard contact with the wall entering turn four.
When the green flag flew on lap 15, Barron was followed closely by his teammate, rookie Memo Gidley, of San Rafael, Calif., who had made it an all-Lynx Racing front row in qualifying. Tagliani, Knapp, and the Platinum Sound/BG Products Ralt RT-41, of Anthony Lazzaro, followed the lead duo.
On lap 23, Mark Tague, of Laguna Hills, Calif., dropped down the track in turn one as Robert Sollenskog, of Antioch, Ill., moved to lap him. Tague moved to avoid a collision, but lost control and spun backwards into the wall.
On the ensuing restart on lap 33, Lazzaro, of Acworth, Ga., moved to the outside to pass Gidley and made contact with the right front wheel of Gidley's car. Lazzaro got loose and spun into the infield in turn one. Gidley stopped with a damaged suspension after making light contact with the outside wall in turn one. Barron's margin of victory over Montgomery was 3.7739-seconds. He took home $20,000 of the $85,000 posted purse.
Montgomery was awarded a $1,000 bonus for winning the "KOOL Move of the Race" and $1,000 for winning the "Yokohama Now You've Got Control" award. Barron earned the $1,000 "KOOL Rookie Challenge" award.
Tagliani holds a five point advantage over Montgomery, 43-38. Lazzaro drops to third with 36 points, followed by Knapp and Joao Barbosa, of Portugal, with 36 and 28 points, respectively.
Greg Harrington, the race winner in the C2 class, moved into second in the C2 season standings with 32 points. Joaquin DeSoto, of Miami, Fla., takes over the C2 leader board with 36 points.
The Nazareth Atlantic race will be aired on ESPN2, Saturday, May 3, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.
# # #