DOWNS EARNS SECOND LITES 1 WIN OF THE SEASON, BARTUSKA TAKES FIRST LITES 2 VICTORY ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN (August 22, 2010) Antonio Downs turned a disappointing Saturday into a terrific Sunday, starting on the pole and finishing in the Lites...
DOWNS EARNS SECOND LITES 1 WIN OF THE SEASON, BARTUSKA TAKES FIRST LITES 2 VICTORY
ELKHART LAKE, WISCONSIN (August 22, 2010) Antonio Downs turned a disappointing Saturday into a terrific Sunday, starting on the pole and finishing in the Lites 1 lead, while Rick Bartuska earned his first Lites 2 victory in Round 11 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship at Road America,.
Downs, driving the #4 Eurosport Racing/Lamex Foods Elan DP02, finished 15th in Round 10 on Saturday after a spin on lap one sent him to the back of the field. But that one lap was the fast lap of the race, so Sunday found him on the pole position, still hoping for a Downs brothers podium, with Matt (#12 Eurosport Racing/Hormel Bacon Bits car) starting ninth and Lucas (#79 Eurosport Racing/Sam's Club) starting second.
But before Antonio Downs could get to the podium, he had to survive three restarts following full course yellows, with the pack sticking close behind - led first by brother Lucas, then by Championship leader #21 Charlie Shears (CORE autosport/US Builders). The Downs brothers, from Minnesota, were hoping for a good finish at the track they consider their home circuit and for a while, it looked pretty good. That is, until Antonio Downs looked around at the finish.
"I wanted a Downs podium and I held up my end of the deal, so Matt and Lucas have some explaining to do," sighed Antonio. "The biggest challenge I had was trying to keep Lucas behind me early on. It scared me to have everyone bunched up behind me on the yellows, but it also gave me some room between me and the lapped cars. But on the restarts, I just kept it clean."
Lucas Downs lost three positions after a bold move at the last restart by Johnny Meriggi (#11 Performance Tech/Great Expectations) that saw Meriggi go from fifth to second in turn one. But as it turned out, it was too bold a move and Meriggi was penalized 20 seconds for jumping the start. That put CORE autosport teammates Shears and Gary Gibson (#13 Perfect Pedal) in second and third position, with Matt and Lucas Downs rounding out the top five.
In Lites 2, Bartuska, driving the #07 Clueless Racing/MK Industries West WR1000, was happy with his first win in only his third start.
"It turned out to be a great race," said Bartuska. "We had mechanical problems at the beginning; the automatic shifter wouldn't shift so we lost some spots. I tried different things to make it work and finally, the last two laps, it worked. With the double yellows, we caught up with everyone and I was able to get around Lee Alexander (#23 Factory 48 Motorsports/ACE Raceparts) in Canada Corner."
The Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship features racing between two sports racer prototype classes, Lites 1 and Lites 2, presenting a dimension of competition as drivers must be aware of classes with distinctly different speeds as they navigate the race track.
The Championship continues next weekend, August 27 29, with Rounds 12 and 13 at the Mobil 1 Presents the Grand Prix of Mosport. Follow along on the race weekend at www.litestiming.com , on Facebook and Twitter and visit www.prototypelites.com for the latest schedule and updates.