SKIP BARBER RACE SERIES/WESTERN REGION IMMEDIATE O'Brien Wins Formula Dodge Race Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Breaks Track Record LAS VEGAS, NV, October 26 - Never was there a happier driver whose car was hit on the first...
SKIP BARBER RACE SERIES/WESTERN REGION
O'Brien Wins Formula Dodge Race Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Breaks Track Record
LAS VEGAS, NV, October 26 - Never was there a happier driver whose car was hit on the first lap of a race than driver Joe O'Brien. At least, he was happy about it when the race ended.
The Advanced Digital sponsored Formula Dodge car of driver Joe O'Brien started the race on the outside of the second row. When the green flag dropped, the field headed cleanly through turn one. As the field started to round turn two, car #56 driven by Brendan Gaughan tried an ill fated inside pass on O'Brien. Car #56 began to spin in front of O'Brien and ended up clipping O'Brien's right rear wheel causing his car to spin as well. With the field so close together, the incident caused a multi-car accident with most of the field of cars either having contact or going off course.
"I really thought we would do well coming into this race. We were fastest in all of the practice sessions and the car felt really good. I was pumped up and ready for the start," O'Brien recalled. "At the start, everybody went through turn one without much passing. As the field headed into turn two, a car tried to pass me low on the inside. I could see he was going to have trouble making the pass and he immediately started to spin right in front of me. He locked up his brakes and started to spin to the inside of the turn, so I went wide and put my foot back into the gas. I was watching him spin to the inside when all of a sudden he came off his brakes and it immediately launched his car backwards towards me. I had no more track left to go wider in the turn but I thought I was clear of him anyway and then all of a sudden, BAM, he hit my right rear tire and sent me spinning. I couldn't believe it. It doesn't take much contact to break the suspensions of these open-wheel cars but as I drove the car back to the pits I couldn't sense any suspension damage at all. When I pulled into the pits, the mechanics scoured the car looking for damage but couldn't find any. It was then that I learned the officials had decided to restart the race since it was red flagged before a full lap had been completed."
When the race restarted, car #56 sustained enough damage that it couldn't rejoin the field for the restart so O'Brien was able to move up to the third starting position. On the restart, heading into turn one, O'Brien passed Alex Whitman to move into second place. Coming out of turn nine up the front straight, O'Brien then drafted pass Al Longtin for the lead. After exchanging the lead several times, O'Brien then regained the lead for the final time on lap 9. O'Brien led for the rest of the race and ended up finishing first with a convincing margin of victory of 3.862 seconds over second place finisher Alex Whitman. Third place went to Al Longtin.
During the race, O'Brien not only had the fastest lap of the race but also broke the track record putting in a blistering fast lap of 1:22.275.
"It was unbelievable!," exclaimed a tired but happy O'Brien. "To finish first on Sunday and then to also end up breaking the track record, couldn't have made me happier! I'm looking forward to Phoenix and I expect that we will do well there."
Next race: Rounds 3 and 4, Phoenix International Raceway, Phoenix Arizona November 22,23.