Lexington, Ohio, (June 15, 2013) - Thirteen minutes under caution made it difficult for drivers to find a rhythm in Race One at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Pole sitter Sean Rayhall led the field through the first and second yellow flags, but Performance Tech's Ryan Booth was on his tail and capitalized when Rayhall had a mishap.
The first yellow flag came out after Michal Chlumecky went into the gravel in Turn 9 on lap seven. Six minutes later, the course went green only to go yellow less than one minute after. Another eight-minute caution kept the field tight.
With less than five minutes to go at the 2013 Diamond Cellar Classic, Rayhall and Booth entered Turn 2 when Rayhall's brakes locked up and Booth took advantage of his line. The little wiggle by Rayhall was enough for Booth to take the lead in the No. 18 L1 Élan DP02 2.0L Mazda. From there, Booth led to the checkered flag to claim his second win of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda 2013 season.
"It was nice to actually race instead of Sean (Rayhall) just walking away the whole race," Booth said with a smile. "Congratulations to him. We had an awesome race and he's hard to keep up with. The full-course cautions helped a lot."
Mid-O Booth's fastest lap of 1:19.780 was enough for a new track record at the 2.258-mile facility. The record was previously held by current Masters Championship driver, Gerry Kraut, who posted a time of 1.20:661 in August of 2011.
Rayhall was able to hang onto second place after an issue with brakes.
"Hats off to Ryan (Booth)," Rayhall said. "He drove a great race. He was consistent and just waited for a little mishap to happen and was right there when it did. He got by me and and from there there wasn't really any catching him because we had braking trouble."
Coming into round five of the 2013 season, Comprent Motor Sports' Rayhall was the overall points leader after back-to-back wins at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Now, Booth and Rayhall are knotted at 76 points a piece.
Performance Tech finished with two drivers on the podium as Booth took the title and Daniel Goldburg finished third for his third podium-finish of the year.
"I didn't have the speed of Ryan (Booth) and Sean (Rayhall) throughout the week so I qualified third, finished third and I'm happy," Goldburg said. "We got a first and a third here for Performance Tech and our guys did a great job here."
For Lites 2 driver Brian Alder, the 13-turn permanent road course was familiar territory, but driving the course was not. Before taking the track the Ohio-native jokingly said he wasn't out to break any records. Instead, he posted a qualifying and new race lap record during his time at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The BAR1 Motorsports team owner finished first in Lites 2 and posted a time of 1:24.728 to break the previous record held by Michal Chlumecky.
L2"There was a big learning curve coming into this weekend," Alder said. "Our main goal was to win but also bring a car home so we can race again tomorrow. Hats off to all the crew guys at BAR1 Motorsports. We had a blast out there and are looking forward to tomorrow."
Race Two at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course starts Sunday, June 16 at 12:40 p.m. for a 45-minute sprint.
Eurosport Racing's Jon Brownson garnered his second win of the season at the 2013 Diamond Cellar Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Brownson started in fifth position overall and finished there, hanging tight with the youngsters in the front of the pack. Brownson's win bumps him up to first in the Masters Championship points standings.
The bright red No. 34 L1 Élan DP02 2.0L Mazda was trailed by Gerry Kraut of JDC Motorsports, who finished second in the category. Kraut started out in seventh position overall and climbed to sixth before finishing the 30-minute sprint.
Brownson's teammate Joel Janco joined him on the podium in third place after jumping from a 10th place starting grid position to eighth overall. Janco earned his second podium finish of the season.