Wilden Sweeps Trans-Am Weekend at Mosport to Score Victory on Home Soil BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (May 23, 2010) -- One week ago, Kenny Wilden, of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, had no idea he'd be driving in the SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series...
Wilden Sweeps Trans-Am Weekend at Mosport to Score Victory on Home Soil
BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, Canada (May 23, 2010) -- One week ago, Kenny Wilden, of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, had no idea he'd be driving in the SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series race that closed out the Victoria Day Speedfest at Mosport International Raceway this afternoon.
However, he got a call from long-time friend and team owner Jim Derhaag on Tuesday, offering him a seat in the No. 99 Drivewise Canada Chevrolet Corvette, and Wilden jumped at the chance. After all, Wilden and Derhaag celebrated in Trans-Am Victory Lane once before -- at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 2000 -- and the Canadian driver knew he'd have a good shot.
Sure enough, Wilden threw down the gauntlet in Friday's promoter test day with several unofficial laps quicker than the track record. He made it official this morning in qualifying with a pole time that was more than two seconds quicker than the previous Trans-Am qualifying track record and broke the one-year-old record for the fastest Trans-Am race lap this afternoon.
And when all was said and done, Wilden and Derhaag were once again celebrating in Victory Lane.
Wilden did have one brief scare on the opening lap of the race. His car began to fill up with smoke as he was working through Turn 5, which he later suspected was the result of low tire pressures. He backed off for a moment, and that was enough to allow outside polesitter Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., to take the lead in the No. 4 Tony Ave Racing/Pro Motor Engines Chevrolet Corvette.
But Wilden quickly got back after it and bided his time, finally taking the lead from Ave heading into Turn 1 on Lap 7 of the 37-lap race. He was never challenged from that point on and went on to win by 19.324 seconds over RJ Lopez.
"It's just a great sense of accomplishment," Wilden said. "I started racing here in '88 and I always watched the Trans-Am race here on May 24. I was able to race in it a couple times and didn't have very good luck. My first race, I think, was '92 and running against Ron (Fellows) and (Dorsey) Schroeder and all the big guys. We were running fourth and we broke a sway bar under a yellow, which was unimaginable. This is awesome. This is the best weekend for me racing in Canada on May 24. It sets up the whole year and hopefully we'll turn it into some more stuff."
For Lopez, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, the runner-up result was his second consecutive in the No. 6 Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette. It was also more than enough to move him into the Trans-Am Series.
With two of 10 races now in the books, Lopez has a five-point advantage, 226-221, over defending series champion Tomy Drissi, of Hollywood, Calif. Drissi fell out of the race after just one lap today with electrical problems in his No. 5 THE A-TEAM: THERE IS NO PLAN B Jaguar XKR.
"It's just great," said Lopez. "I was so happy to come to Mosport. It's a track I always wanted to drive, and to finish second is just absolutely awesome. To finish second to Kenny Wilden, I mean, Kenny was just untouchable, so to finish second is like a win, really. I'm just ecstatic. We're leading the Trans-Am points, we're on our way to Utah, and we're going to go after it."
Lopez was sandwiched on the podium by a pair of Canadians, as Blaise Csida, of Stouffville, Ontario, provided another feel-good story in bringing his No. 07 Spectra Holdings/Gateway Racing Chevrolet Corvette home in third place. It was the best result of Csida's Trans-Am career to date, and came in his first start of the season.
"I can't describe it," Csida said. "I've been working towards this for 10 years. As an amateur, we have such limited resources and to be standing beside somebody like Kenny Wilden and RJ, for me as an amateur club racer, it's unbelievable. All I can say is I highly recommend it to any amateur racer who wants to step up and learn something from these guys. This is the best series to try to improve your skills."
Though he ran up front early on, it seemed that the exhaust note coming from Ave's engine soured slightly in the latter stages of the race. Nevertheless, the veteran racer managed to bring the car home in fourth place to take home valuable championship points. He remains third in the season standings, but he is just three markers behind Drissi and eight in arrears of Lopez.
Simon Gregg, of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., made it two Derhaag Motorsports Corvettes in the top five with a fifth-place run in the No. 59 Chevrolet. It was Gregg's best run of the season, topping his sixth-place run at New Jersey Motorsports Park two weeks ago.
-source: scca pro racing