MONTECALVO EARNS FIRST COOPER TIRES PROTOTYPE LITES CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY TOOELE, UTAH (July 10, 2010) The fun of a development series is watching the progression of young drivers through the system, getting better and becoming even more ...
MONTECALVO EARNS FIRST COOPER TIRES PROTOTYPE LITES CHAMPIONSHIP VICTORY
TOOELE, UTAH (July 10, 2010) The fun of a development series is watching the progression of young drivers through the system, getting better and becoming even more competitive. Such was the case today, as 19-year-old series rookie Frankie Montecalvo took his #66 Gunnar Racing/Bayshore Recycling/Manther MusK DP02 in Lites 1 to his first victory at the Larry H. Miller Dealerships Utah Grand Prix at Miller Motorsports Park.
Montecalvo, starting 10th, raced through the field on the first lap, following spins by #13 Gary Gibson (Inspire Motorsports/Perfect Pedal) and #8 Anthony Nicolosi (Performance Tech/Medical Connections). Before long, he was reeling in polesitter Jonathan Bennett, driving the #54 Inspire Motorsports/Composite Resources DP02. The differential that was 1.5 seconds at six laps was 0.2 seconds by lap 11, when Montecalvo saw his chance.
"We didn't have a great qualifier this morning, I just couldn't get the car through the corners," said Montecalvo, "so we made some changes for the race. On the first lap, I just tried to keep it clean and avoid the carnage! I worked my way up and was fourth by the end of the first lap. I out-broke Jonathan going into the Clubhouse turn once I got up on him, I just tried keeping it there. Then once I had the opportunity, I took it and it stuck. After I got the lead, I just tried to keep it clean and not make any mistakes and bring it back.
"I really wanted my first win and I've been trying for it I've learned a lot in the series."
Bennett was happy with second, having decided not to risk the car in a fight for the lead toward the end of the 17-lap, caution-free race.
"I had a good start and a super good car and was trying to click off the best laps I could," explained Bennett. "Frankie was really strong and got a good run on me and I thought, maybe this isn't the time to start shedding bodywork. I didn't want to crash us both. I did want to get to the end and mount a second attempt on him, but he was just a little faster today."
In Lites 2, the field was missing several regular contenders, leaving Lee Alexander in the #23 Factory 48 Motorsports West WX10 as the last man standing when #42 Jim Garrett (WEST Racing/SpeedPromo West WR1000) fell by the wayside with mechanical issues.
"Unfortunately, we had a really small field today," said Alexander, "so I had to beat the one guy that's hardest to beat sometimes yourself! I had to just keep it on the track, stay consistent and stay out of the way of the L1 leaders."
Race two of the weekend and Round 8 of the series will take place at 12:45pm MDT on Sunday. Join us for live timing at www.litestiming.com, with results, standings and news at www.prototypelites.com and check us out on Facebook and Twitter.