ROOKIE BARRON GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE FOR SECOND RACE AS HE CLAIMS VICTORY FROM POLE AT THE MILWAUKEE MILE WEST ALLIS, Wis. (May 31) - First year Atlantic driver Alex Barron, of Vista, Calif., sprinted ...
ROOKIE BARRON GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE FOR SECOND RACE AS HE CLAIMS VICTORY FROM POLE AT THE MILWAUKEE MILE
WEST ALLIS, Wis. (May 31) - First year Atlantic driver Alex Barron, of Vista, Calif., sprinted wire-to-wire in his Lynx Racing-prepared Victory Circle Racing/Red Line Oil Ralt RT-41 to capture his second consecutive and second career KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship race Saturday at The Milwaukee Mile. While Barron led comfortably most of the distance in only his fourth career Atlantic start, the remainder of the top-ten wasn't decided until the checkered flag fell on the 60-lap event. "The car had a bad push at first, but then the tires came in, and I was able to balance it with the bars so the car was really good in the race," said Barron. "The first green was so long that I was a little happy to have a few yellows so that I could rest. I'm surprised and happy to have won two races in a row from the pole, but there are still a lot of races to go, and our philosophy is to take them on at a time." Barron was challenged early by outside pole sitter, Tony Ave, of Indianapolis, Ind., in the Olsson Engineering-Fisher Dynamics/Schuler Design Ralt RT-41. Ave, however, soon had his own challenges to fend when David Pook, of Long Beach, Calif., sneaked from his fourth place starting spot into contention. Pook piloted his B.D.J.S./HYPE Energy Drink/Budweiser/Atomic Clothing Ralt RT-40 into second place on lap 20 following a multi-lap dual with Ave. Posturing among the 29-car field was the mode of the day. The PPI/MCI Telecommunications Ralt RT-41 of Jeret Schroeder battled Phillips Motorsports driver Anthony Lazzaro for fifth place throughout much of the early laps. The pair, led by Lazzaro, moved past the Player's Forsythe Racing Team/Indeck Ralt RT-40 of Bertrand Godin, of Lachenaie, Que., on lap 12. Lynx Racing's Memo Gidley, of San Rafael, Calif., also squeezed past Godin and joined the battle for fourth after starting 11th. The race was slowed on lap 34 after Sergei Szortyka, of Sinking Spring, Pa., made nose-to-tail contact with Howie Liebengood, of Vienna, Va. Szortyka, spun and continued. Liebengood drove to the pits, but was unable to continue. Despite the battles for fifth place among Lazzaro, Schroeder, and Godin, the winner for the spot turned out to be Chuck West, of Sonoma, Calif. West improved 13 positions from his 18th starting position in his World Speed Motorsports-prepared Ralt RT-41. His fall from fate occurred lap 54 when Michael David, of Corona, Calif., spun between turns three and four and made hard contact with the wall. David was uninjured, but West's hopes for catching Ave and earning fourth place were dashed. "Tony had just slipped coming off four and I had him, but the yellow flew," said West. "It was a great race for my second oval. I passed cars high and low in the same lap." The race finished under caution with Barron crossing the finish line 4.077-seconds ahead of Pook. Barron's results brought him a $20,000 winners portion from the $85,000 posted purse. Gidley was awarded a $1,000 bonus for winning the "KOOL Move of the Race" and $1,000 for winning the "Yokohama Now You've Got Control" award. Barron earned the $1,000 "KOOL Rookie Challenge" award and took the lead in the Rookie of the Year standings. Alexandre Tagliani holds a three point advantage over Lazzaro, 49-46. Barron moves to third with 44, followed by Gidley with 39. Case Montgomery, of Salinas, Calif. dropped to fifth with 38. Joaquin DeSoto, of Miami, Fla., was the race winner in the C2 class. He continues to lead the C2 class standing 57-32 over Greg Harrington, of Suwanee, Ga. The race will be aired on ESPN2, Saturday, June 7, from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET.
# # #
(Blair Hefty/ 5/31)