Madison, IL - Round five of the SSC Pro Shifter Series at Gateway International Raceway saw the drafting techniques of a Winston Cup event utilized as eventual winner, Todd Jurs, drafted by Clayton Prater off the last corner to take his first Pro...
Madison, IL - Round five of the SSC Pro Shifter Series at Gateway International Raceway saw the drafting techniques of a Winston Cup event utilized as eventual winner, Todd Jurs, drafted by Clayton Prater off the last corner to take his first Pro victory of the year on July 29.
Qualifying and the race for the SSC Racing Pro Shifter Series were held on Saturday, instead of the normal Sunday schedule for this event. The morning qualifying session saw Todd Jurs (Birel/Honda) sitting on pole for the second race in a row followed by Clayton Prater (Trackmagic / Honda), Marc Miller (TonyKart / TM) and Tim Koutney (Fox / Honda) would line up alongside in fourth.
The start saw the field battle for position in the draft as Jurs took the lead and drivers jockeyed for position behind him. Prater held second while Koutney, leading the series points heading into this event, moved into the third position. That would only last until lap 3 when Koutney suffered a bog exiting the hairpin and dropped back a few positions, handing Miller the third position. Kountey's luck did not get any better as he was black flagged for a lost neck brace, forced to put for a new one putting him a lap down.
The lead pack consisted of Jurs, Prater, Miller, Jon Kettlewell, Erik Winberg, Chris Wright and Lance Lane. The top three drivers would begin to pull away however, and by midway point, Jurs, Prater and Miller had a sizable lead. On lap 15, Jon Kettlewell experienced a severely blistered tire and was forced out, with that being the only DNF.
Where the previous race at Putnam Park came down to attrition, the Gateway Int'l race was all about drafting and outright speed. The racers that worked the best together seemed to be able to pull away and rarely battled for position up front. Further back in the pack, every time a different driver made a move to lead the pack, they fell further behind and by the end of the 25-minute event, the top three were over 24-seconds clear of the rest of the field.
Jurs, having lead most of the race was being followed closely by both Prater and Miller, each of the lagging drivers waiting until the end to make their move. Jurs, knowing that if you are leading off the last corner your chances of victory are minimal due to the draft decided to make an interesting move to make Prater lead. With a wide entrance into the infield right-hander and heavy braking, Clayton Prater was forced into the lead. Miller stayed behind Jurs to have a better run coming onto the last corner. On the last lap, Prater could only duck down as low as possible, yet Jurs had enough steam to get by and took the victory by a narrow margin of .004 seconds. Miller, who had run a flawless race knowing that with Koutney out he had the chance to capitalize on his quest for the championship, finished within a tenth of a second back and was happy with a third place.
Miller has taken over the points lead by a narrow margin over Koutney, with a very consistent Clayton Prater moving into third on the strength
The SSC Pro Shifter Series next event will be back at Gateway International Raceway, in Madison, IL on September 1-2 for Round #6 of the series. The racing action will again come down to attrition and the ability to pick the right timing in the draft. For more information, check out www.championshipenduro.com.
<pre> OFFICIAL RESULTS:
POS: DRIVER: CHASSIS/ENGINE/ENGINE BUILDER/TIRES: QUAL: FASTEST RACE LAP: 1 Todd Jurs Birel / Honda / Barros / MG 1 1:06.034 2 Clayton Prater Trackmagic / Honda / Bellew / MG 2 1:06.023 3 Marc Miller TonyKart / TM Moto 125 / PSL / MG 3 1:05.740 4 Erik Winberg P.C.R. / Honda / Northstar / MG 8 1:06.270 5 Lance Lane Trackmagic / Honda / CKT / MG 6 1:06.254 6 Chris Wright Trackmagic / Honda / ShiftwerX / MG 7 1:06.246 7 Tris Gour Trackmagci / Honda / SwedeTech / MG 9 1:08.420 8 T.J. Koutney Fox / Honda / Rocket / MG 4 - no time - 9 Jonathan Kettlewell G.P. / Honda / Bellew / MG 5 1:06.039