ATLANTA'S VASSIAN WINS LITES 2 AS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD CHANGES HANDS, GIBSON TAKES LITES 1 BRASELTON, GEORGIA (September 30, 2010) Atlanta's Eric Vassian started the race from the back of the field and overcame a week full of car troubles when it...
ATLANTA'S VASSIAN WINS LITES 2 AS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD CHANGES HANDS, GIBSON TAKES LITES 1
BRASELTON, GEORGIA (September 30, 2010) Atlanta's Eric Vassian started the race from the back of the field and overcame a week full of car troubles when it counted to take the Lites 2 win, while Gary Gibson came out on top of a race-long battle with Anthony Nicolosi in today's 20-lap Round 14 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship at Road Atlanta
Vassian, owner of Buford-based West Race Cars and driver of the #10 West Racing WX10, and John Weisberg (#75 BERG Racing/REDCOM) were the stories of the Lites 2 race, with Weisberg holding the lead from the start. Vassian, with car troubles that only added to the pressure of competing at his hometown track, started at the back of the pack but found at the start that he suddenly had a race car under him.
"I think we were in the paddock when they started this race," said Vassian. "We barely made it to the end of the field. I have to thank my crew, they put the car together and made it run and it was great in the race, it just all came together. I was a man on a mission - the car was handling great, so I just tried to stay calm and make my way through the field. I got behind John, pulled some time in turns one and four and got a really good run on him out of seven. We were dicing all the way down the backstretch and I was able to swing left when he swung right and I just out broke him going into 10 - it was home free after that. To win is unbelievable."
Weisberg would have preferred the winner's points, but happily takes the three point lead in the championship with him into tomorrow's Round 15.
"I had a good lead on Eric the whole race until the caution," said Weisberg. "I got caught up in lapped traffic on the last lap and it held me up just enough for him to get around me going under the bridge. But we did well in the championship and that's what counts today."
The Lites 1 adventures began right at the start, with polesitter Charlie Shears (#21 CORE autosport/US Builders) finding himself overrun by teammate Gibson (#13 CORE autosport/Perfect Pedal) and Nicolosi (#8 Performance Tech/Medical Connections). Nicolosi got Shears and Gibson on the first lap, but Gibson came back at him on lap 11.
"It was a really good race," said Gibson. "I think I had the best car in the top three, it was an absolutely perfect car. It's always tough to get around people here, but Charlie made a mistake in turn six on the first lap, I got a run on him and got around for second. Nicolosi made it really hard to get around him for the lead I was almost in the grass but we made it.
"Gary and I were dicing from the start," said Nicolosi. "At the start, I wanted to keep my line and stay behind Charlie as much as I could going into turn one and got by Gary. Then I got a nice tail on Charlie going down the backstretch and made the pass in turn 10. But I got caught up in traffic and Gary got a tail on me in turn 10 I tried to defend my position, he took the shot and went in and I ended up in third. That's racing."
The Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship features racing between two sports racer prototype classes, Lites 1 and Lites 2, presenting a dimension of competition as drivers must be aware of classes with distinctly different speeds as they navigate the race track. This is the same challenge faced by the drivers of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
The 2010 season concludes with Round 15 on Friday at 2:30 pm. Follow along on the race weekend at www.litestiming.com, on Facebook and Twitter and visit www.prototypelites.com for the latest schedule and updates.