San Clemente CA (May 8, 2006) - In his first drive in a front wheel drive race car, Billy Johnson's outstanding 4th place finish in a field of 29 cars, was the highest position of any of the 10 Acuras in the ST class, and the best result for...
San Clemente CA (May 8, 2006) - In his first drive in a front wheel drive race car, Billy Johnson's outstanding 4th place finish in a field of 29 cars, was the highest position of any of the 10 Acuras in the ST class, and the best result for Kensai Racing this year.
Billy's top five practice times and great performance in an unfamiliar drivetrain layout continues to show that Billy is one of those rare young talents that can be on pace in an unfamiliar car right from the start.
For the race, Karl Thomson qualified the No 76 Kensai Racing/Compass 360 Acura RSX in 12th position and advanced the car into 8th before turning the car over to Billy about 50 minutes into the race. The pit call was made by Race Strategist Alex Bassi and turned out to be an excellent one. Billy exited the pits sandwiched between Will Turner's No 95 BMW 330i and Sylvain Tremblay's No. 70 Mazda RX8.
Billy moved steadily forward to second place behind the No. 68 Mazda RX8. Billy had quite a battle with the Mazda over the next few laps, which resulted in several lead changes. Billy finally got well clear of the Mazda (which still had to make a driver change) when a GS BMW M3 hit him in turn 10 dropping him back to second. A bit later Billy dropped down to 6th place when a GS Porsche ran him off course in dramatic fashion in turn 5. The Porsche was later penalized with a drive through for avoidable contact. Billy was able to pilot the RSX up to a 4th place finish but unfortunately after the two hits from the GS cars, the handling on the Acura was never quite the same making it impossible to compete with the race winning Cobalts.
According to Billy:
This was one of the toughest races I have ever driven. The competition was very close with some great drivers, great teams, and great battles up at the front of "ST". This was also my first race in a front-wheel drive racecar so driving technique was a bit new. What made this race even harder was that the top ST cars were faster than a good portion of the GS cars. The GS cars seemed to be making a lot of questionable moves causing cars to bounce off each other all day long. In spite of all that "Kensai gave me an awesome car this weekend and Karl did a great first stint. It was really fun driving with Karl again this weekend, we had some great races together last year. Karl and I came in shooting for a top 5 finish and if it weren't for the two hits by the GS cars we should have taken the win.