Laguna Seca Race Report

RACE REPORT - - Laguna Seca - - Round 12 (28 laps/62.664 miles over the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course) 4:50 p.m. - - 31 car field pulls away for two "reconnaissance" laps - skies are clear, sunny, and temperatures have warmed into the mid...

RACE REPORT - - Laguna Seca - - Round 12

(28 laps/62.664 miles over the 2.238-mile, 11-turn road course)

4:50 p.m. - - 31 car field pulls away for two "reconnaissance" laps - skies are clear, sunny, and temperatures have warmed into the mid 70s.

4:55 p.m. - - GREEN FLAG - #32 BARRON maintains his lead through turn one, followed closely by #19 GIDLEY - #4 LAZZARO attempts an inside pass of #32 BARRON entering turn one and the cars make side-to-side contact - #4 LAZZARO suffers right rear suspension damage and retires from the race - #32 BARRON continues.

4:58 Lap 2 #29 MONTGOMERY pulls behind the wall in turn five and retires from the race.

5:00 Lap 3 #74 HARYANTO spins off course (drivers left) in turn five, then continues after a brief delay.

5:01 Lap 4 #33 GODIN returns to pit lane with a flat left rear tire.

5:03 Lap 5 The top-five order is #32 BARRON, #19 GIDLEY, #66 TAGLIANI, #35 POOK, and #3 DAVID.

5:05 Lap 7 #95 SMITH is contacted by another car in turn 11 and suffers right rear suspension damage - brings out a local YELLOW - #95 SMITH forced to retire from the race.

5:09 Lap 10 The top-five order is #32 BARRON, #19 GIDLEY, #66 TAGLIANI, #35 POOK, and #3 DAVID.

5:10 Lap 11 #97 TICHENOR loses control entering turn one and runs off course, stopping near the outside wall - car retires from the race with mechanical damage.

5:14 Lap 14 #19 GIDLEY passes #32 BARRON in turn six to take the lead

5:15 Lap 15 The top-five order is #19 GIDLEY, #32 BARRON, #35 POOK, #3 DAVID, and #66 TAGLIANI.

5:19 Lap 18 The gap between front-running #19 GIDLEY and #32 BARRON has increased to over eight seconds.

5:23 Lap 20 #19 GIDLEY slows through turn 10 and returns to pit lane - driver retires from the race with a broken gearbox - #32 BARRON again assumes the lead.

5:26 Lap 23 The top-five are #32 BARRON, #35 POOK, #3 DAVID, #66 TAGLIANI, and #96 SCHROEDER . . . the gap between first and second place is 7.51-seconds.

5:30 Lap 26 #66 TAGLIANI passes #3 DAVID exiting turn one for third place.

5:33 Lap 28 CHECKERED FLAG

#32 ALEX BARRON, of Vista, Calif., wins the 1997 KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC CHAMPIONSHIP and his FIFTH CAREER ATLANTIC race in only his 12th career Atlantic race start in the Lynx Racing-Victory Circle Racing/Red Line Oil Ralt RT-41.

#35 DAVID POOK, of Long Beach, Calif., equals his career best Atlantic finish with second place in the B.D.J.S.-HYPE Energy Drink/Budweiser Ralt RT-40. Pook also finished second place at Milwaukee. #66 ALEXANDRE TAGLIANI, of Lachenaie, Que., earns his fifth podium finish of the season in the Player=92s Forsythe Racing Team-Player=92s/Indeck Ralt RT-40. Tagliani has wins at Long Beach and Trois-Rivieres.

MARGIN OF VICTORY: 5.853-seconds WINNER=92S AVERAGE SPEED: 99.357 mph TIME OF RACE: 37 minutes, 50.484 seconds LAP LEADERS: Alex Barron 1-13; Memo Gidley 14-20; Alex Barron 21-28. FASTEST RACE LAP: Alex Barron at 1:19.355 =3D 101.528 mph.

* * * By virtue of running the fastest race lap, BARRON wins the "MCI Fast Pace Award" and a $1,000 bonus. BARRON wins an additional $1,000 bonus award for being the "KOOL Rookie Challenge" winner - a bonus presented to the highest finishing Atlantic rookie driver.

BARRON is a five-time winner of the "KOOL Rookie Challenge" in 1997

By virtue of today's victory, BARRON collects a total winner's purse of $20,000 from the posted purse of $85,000.

MICHAEL DAVID collects $2,000 in bonus awards including $1,000 for being named the "KOOL Move of the Race" award winner for craftily moving from his 11th place starting position into a fourth place finish, and $1,000 for winning the "Yokohama Now You=92ve Got Control Award."

ALEX BARRON scored a maximum 22 points over the weekend including 20 points for the victory, one bonus point for winning the pole, and one bonus point for leading the most laps. His championship point total of 178 points betters his closest challenger GIDLEY by 42 points, 178-136. TAGLIANI finishes third place in the Atlantic championship with 123 points, followed by GODIN with 121. MONTGOMERY rounds out the top five final points leaders with 100.

C2 Race Winner: Michael Simpson, of Apple Valley, Calif., in the Simpson Motorsports-prepared Maaco Autobody-Pik A Part Swift DB-4. ALEX BARRON, by virtue of being the highest finishing rookie driver in the final season point standings will be recognized as the KOOL "Rookie Challenge Winner" at the Atlantic year-end awards banquet and will be awarded $15,000 in bonus prize money.

In special recognition of the 1997 KOOL/Toyota Atlantic Champion, KOOL will bestow the KOOL "Series Cup Award," a $10,000 bonus, to ALEX BARRON during the 1997 Awards Banquet in Monterey, Calif. The "Series Cup Award," combined with the KOOL "Rookie Challenge Winner" awards, guarantees BARRON a $25,000 bonus award pay-out.

ALEXANDRE TAGLIANI is the winner of the 1997 KOOL "Racing Challenge," which recognizes the highest finishing non-rookie points leader competing in the Atlantic Championship. A $15,000 year-end bonus will be presented to him at the year-end awards banquet.

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Memo Gidley , Alex Barron , Mike Simpson