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Long Beach: K-PAX/3R Racing race report

Pobst and Galati finish K-PAX/3R Racing Porsches 2nd and 4th at Long Beach Long Beach California (Sunday, April 20, 2008): Randy Pobst and Michael Galati finish their K-PAX/3R Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars in 2nd and 4th positions in Round...

Pobst and Galati finish K-PAX/3R Racing Porsches 2nd and 4th at Long Beach

Long Beach California (Sunday, April 20, 2008): Randy Pobst and Michael Galati finish their K-PAX/3R Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars in 2nd and 4th positions in Round 2 of SCCA Pro Racing's SPEED World Challenge GT Championship here on the street course at Long Beach California.

Randy Pobst, of Gainesville Georgia, started on the outside of the front row and made several attempts to wrest the lead from pole winner and race winner Brandon Davis but Davis' powerful V-8 Mustang wasn't to be denied as Pobst spent much of the race all alone in 2nd. Except for the first part of that race that is.

"My crew chief Will Moody put a great shine on my K-PAX Porsche and it was it was the best it had been all weekend for the race," said Pobst. "It would have been a boring race for me if it hadn't been for that first turn."

"I got one of the best starts of my life and those great Toyo R-888 tires just dug in and I out dragged Brandon to the first turn," Pobst recalled of the standing start to begin the race. "I was going flat out into turn one and just didn't get it slowed down enough!"

Randy, who oh so briefly held the lead slid wide and brushed the wall lightly. Although the contact was slight Pobst fell back to 6th as a result of the mistake which didn't go unnoticed by his crew chief Moody!

"The course went yellow immediately and there I was stuck behind all of those cars on a street course where it is always so very tough to pass," lamented Pobst. "And then Will comes on the radio and tells me, 'That was a rookie move' and I said 'Yeah, you're right'."

On the subsequent restart due to a disjointed restart Pobst was able to make up most of the ground and would after but one green flag lap be back in second position.

"We were slowly going around and then all of a sudden the cars in front of me just left me," said Pobst of the first restart. "It is a long way from the acceleration cone to the starting line so I got on the gas and going through the gears and I was in forth gear when the green came out so I was able to get past Daskalos, Marziale and Sofronas and even Galati.

"I dive-bombed Andy (Pilgrim who was in 2nd at the time) going into turn 6 and when I went past the pits I was back in 2nd so I gave Will Moody my best Jack Nicholson impression saying 'I'm baaaaak'."

Davis led every race lap and any hope Pobst had for a late race push ended as Randy and his No. 1 Porsche helplessly followed both Davis and the pace car under the checkered flag as the race was completed under caution.

"Brandon drove a strong race and he and that Mustang had me covered," said Pobst. "Even if I had gotten past him on that first lap I doubt it would have taken him long to get back past me.

"Actually it was Pilgrim that I was worried about because as the longer it went green the stronger Andy got. Fortunately there were a lot of yellows because my Porsche was stronger for the first few laps when we went back to green and that was what kept me in front of him!"

Michael Galati, of Olmstead Ohio, had a strong car at the start as he got up to 3rd and challenged Pilgrim's Cadillac for 2nd but fell to 4th when both Pobst and Andy Pilgrim slipped past after the first restart in the early going. For the rest of the race Galati was under constant attack from the Porsche of James Sofronas and the Dodge Vipers of Ritch Marziale and Jason Daskalos as he nursed a long brake pedal to the finish.

"Early on I got a run on Andy (Pilgrim) and was getting up along side of him but it looked like Randy brushed the wall so I backed off to give Randy and Andy some room," Galati said of the early laps. "On the restart some of the guys behind us fell back to get a run and as I was making another move on Pilgrim I saw this car coming up on the outside.

"It was Randy so I had to back off again to give Randy some room because if I hadn't it would have been a mess down there. Then the brake pedal started getting soft and I couldn't keep pace with them anymore. Early on I could but when I started having brake troubles all I could do was fight off Sofronas."

"Michael had a real battle going on out there, it was fun to watch," said Jim Haughey of K-PAX Racing.

Marziale's Viper would succumb to mechanical difficulties before the half way mark while Galati and Sofronas would drive side by side exchanging positions lap after lap with Daskalos and the Mustang of Mike Davis lurking behind.

Sofronas and Galati toured Shoreline drive at high speed and side by side on more than one occasion and Sofronas took the position briefly as he got along side Galati through turn 11 and out dragged Galati to the timing line but the wily Galati dove past Sofronas going into turn one to regain the 4th position.

"In turn 11 he bumped me a little bit and we raced side by side all the way to turn one," Galati said. "It was pretty good and pretty clean really. All of those yellows actually helped me cool off the brakes so when it went back to green I could get back at it again."

All of this action allowed the Cadillac of Andy Pilgrim to open up a gap on the group to finish all alone in 3rd with the Porsches of Galati and Sofronas streaming across the line in 4th and 5th with Daskalos and Mike Davis settling for 6th and 7th.

"It was a pretty good finish considering," concluded Galati. "The K-PAX/3R guys gave me a good car for qualifying and my K-PAX Porsche was great for the start of the race but I don't know what happened to the brakes. At least the cars are in good shape and we both finished well so that is a good thing."

Randy Pobst's strong 2nd place finish was enough to keep him in the Drivers' Championship lead as Randy has 220 points 10 ahead of Long Beach race winner Brandon Davis who moved up to 2nd with 208. Michael Galati is 4th in points with 182.

By finishing 2nd and 4th the K-PAX/3R Racing 911 GT3s kept Porsche in the lead for the Manufacturers' Championship as they now lead Cadillac 16 points to 12 with Dodge in 3rd with 3.

-credit: kp/3r

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Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Randy Pobst , Michael Galati , James Sofronas , Brandon Davis , Jason Daskalos , Ritch Marziale