BARRON CAPTURES FOURTH KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC VICTORY IN WET ROAD AMERICA RUN ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Alex Barron, of Vista, Calif., jumped from his third starting position to the lead in a wet and wild start to the KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship...
BARRON CAPTURES FOURTH KOOL/TOYOTA ATLANTIC VICTORY IN WET ROAD AMERICA RUN
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. - Alex Barron, of Vista, Calif., jumped from his third starting position to the lead in a wet and wild start to the KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship race, and led the entire rain shortened event at Road America Sunday, August 17. He took another big step toward his first Atlantic championship after 10 races in the 12-race series. Barron, 27, a four-time winner in 1997 with additional victories at Nazareth, Milwaukee and Mid-Ohio, toured Road America's 14-turn road course in the Lynx Racing-Victory Circle/Red Line Oil Ralt RT-41 at a rain and caution-slowed average speed of 65.838 mph. He crossed the finish line 0.725-seconds ahead of Joao Barbosa, of Portugal. Steve Knapp, of Salem, Wis., finished third. Polesitter Chuck West, of Sonoma, Calif., who had set a new track record of 117.89 in qualifying, moved slowly from the race's standing start in his World Speed Motorsports-Red Line Oil/Martini Sunglasses Harvest Group Ralt RT-41, giving Barron the opening he needed. "On the start, my car seemed to hook up pretty good with no wheel spin, so I was able to go between polesitter Chuck West and the wall," said Barron. "Getting into first was the key to my race because when you're behind someone in the rain, you can't see. It also helped me on the re-starts. Midway into the race, it started to dry out a little bit, and the line kept getting wider and wider. The team put a great setup on my car, just before we pushed it onto the grid and it felt really comfortable to drive in the rain. My battery warning light came on during the final yellow flag so it was a good thing the race ended when it did." Anthony Lazzaro, of Acworth, Ga., who was running third on lap 2, slid on the wet course, allowing Knapp to take the position. Lazzaro also lost positions to Bertrand Godin, of St. Hyacinthe, Que. and Memo Gidley, of San Rafael, Calif. David Cutler, of Medina, Wash., spun off course in turn 13, bringing out the first caution of the race on lap three. When racing resumed on lap eight, Barron maintained command of the field, pulling out to a three car-length lead. West, wasn't as fortunate, as late in the lap he slid off course between turns 12 and 13 and made heavy right front contact with the wall, bringing out another caution. Barron led the rain soaked field across the finish line under caution. Barron took home $20,000 of the $85,000 posted purse and earned the $1,000 "KOOL Rookie Challenge" award and the $1,000 "MCI Fast Pace Award" for running the quickest lap of the race with a speed of 92.190 mph. Godin 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." Barron continues to lead the point battle with 142. Gidley lost ground, but maintains second with 114 points. Godin stays in place with 110 and Tagliani is fourth with 107. Barbosa moved up to fifth with 94 points. Howie Liebengood, of Vienna, Va., was the race winner in the C2 class for the second consecutive race. Joaquin DeSoto, of Miami, Fla. captured the C2 class season championship with a second place finish. DeSoto leads James Irvin, of South Miami, Fla., 159-86. ESPN2 will broadcast the KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship race, Saturday, August 23, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.