Lites: Primetime Race Group Road Atlanta summary

FEINBERG CLINCHES 2009 IMSA LITES DRIVERS CHAMPIONSHIP After a strong fourth season in IMSA Lites, Joel Feinberg and his Primetime team have found their way. Feinberg who competes back to back in the American Le Mans series logged 9 podium ...


After a strong fourth season in IMSA Lites, Joel Feinberg and his Primetime team have found their way. Feinberg who competes back to back in the American Le Mans series logged 9 podium finishes including 5 wins, 3 pole positions, and 215 championship points on his way to his first ever drivers championship.

Coming into the final event of the season, Feinberg's championship lead was a comfortable 27 points ahead of his nearest competitor, Matt Downs. This meant that Feinberg only needed 14 points during the double header weekend at Road Atlanta. As it turned out, the outcome was decided after round 13 when Feinberg outperformed his rivals and clinched the championship by 37 points with one race remaining. This marked the first series championship for Feinberg after only four years in the sport.

The quest began nearly 10 months ago at the Sebring winter test when Feinberg came out "guns blazing" and shattering the IMSA Lites track record by a staggering 2.4 seconds thus raising the bar for the 25 car field of his competitors. When the season began in March Feinberg would return to Sebring and dominate once again in round one with the fastest lap of the week and team's first win of the season. Unfortunately a tire blowout would hinder back to back wins in round two, however after dropping back to dead last in pit lane, Feinberg would maneuver his way back up the field into a respectable 13th position under the circumstances.

The teams other 3 drivers Anthony Nicolosi #8, Jarrett Boon, #9, and Johnny Meriggi #11 would use Feinberg as a benchmark throughout the year in hopes raising their own performance and filling the podium with team colors. Admittedly, it wasn't always Feinberg leading the field at every race as this season would prove to deliver the most competitive field since the series began in 2006. The five car team of Eurosport led by three brothers (Matt, Lucas, and Antonio Downs) would be a thorn in the side of Feinberg and the two teams would have a great battle ahead of them.

Feinberg and the Downs family would go on to share the podium at nearly every event trading the top step from track to track. As the season progressed Nicolosi, Boon, and Meriggi would find their grove and follow the pace and direction set by Feinberg who came back with wins in rounds 6, 7, 9, and 10. This string of domination would ultimately propel him into a substantial 31 lead in the championship entering the final four rounds at Mosport and Road Atlanta. In rounds 11 and 12 the field would see a different side of Feinberg as self discipline kicked in and a "no mistake" approach was substituted in place of his usual "kill mode" driving style.

"Mosport does not forgive the greedy" said Feinberg when asked of his strategy in rounds 11 and 12. "I've worked hard all year to get to this position and sometimes you need to bite your lip and think of the bigger picture". Feinberg would only give up 4 of the teams' hard earned points and leave Canada with his car fully intact. One month later Primetime hit the track in Atlanta for the final two events of the season with plenty to think about, race wins are not easy to come by and season championships are even harder. Feinberg would have to balance his drive to win races with the thought of also winning the championship. This would prove to be Feinbergs most intense rivalry in dealing with his own emotions.

The outcome in rounds 13 and 14 were not what Feinberg would hope for on a single event basis and left a bittersweet taste of victory. "As a highly competitive person in every aspect of life, I really wanted to win these last two and leave my mark on the season which would have meant the team championship as well as my driver's championship", said Feinberg. "Unfortunately my emotions got the best of me as I pushed hard early in both races to get the lead and I made a few mistakes that cost me the two wins. Now that I look back at the season and see what the team accomplished over a ten month period, I'm truly grateful for every point we earned as a team. Anyone can win a race, but only a winner can win the championship".

"I would like to thank every member of my team for their hard work, dedication, and always giving me the best car on the track. Most importantly, I'd like to thank Brent O'Neill and Frank Parzych for giving me the opportunity, knowledge and ability to do what I love", said Feinberg. "I'd also like to thank all my sponsors, Louis Moinet Timepieces, Bryan Mark Financial, Speedware Motorsports, Motul, Chase Cam, K &N Air Filters, Braille Battery, and Popular Science Magazine for all of their support.", added Feinberg.

As a diverse team with roots that reach into many levels of racing, Primetime's has already begun planning their 2010 season with the hopes of a transition in their ALMS effort from the GT class and into prototypes. Following the Petit Le Mans where the team campaigned their GT2 Viper, Feinberg and teammate Nicolosi participated in the unveiling and testing of the new American Le Mans Series LMP Challenge car which the team plans to purchase and campaign for next year's season. "The challenge car is a perfect transition for our team", said team manager Brent O'Neill. "We've spent the last few years preparing ourselves in ALMS and dominating in IMSA Lites, this is where we take it to the next level", added O'Neill.

-credit: prg

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About this article
Series IMSA Others
Drivers Johnny Meriggi , Joel Feinberg , Antonio Downs , Anthony Nicolosi , Jarrett Boon