Jonathon Gomez Nets 11th Place finish in First Road Course Event Eventful Afternoon Allows Gomez to Close Point Gap SONOMA, CA (June 19, 2010) Jonathon Gomez of Twin Falls, Idaho learned a lot of lessons in the 64-lap Thunder Valley Casino...
Jonathon Gomez Nets 11th Place finish in First Road Course Event
Eventful Afternoon Allows Gomez to Close Point Gap
SONOMA, CA (June 19, 2010) Jonathon Gomez of Twin Falls, Idaho learned a lot of lessons in the 64-lap Thunder Valley Casino Resort "200" at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, CA Saturday afternoon. Gomez qualified his Century Boatland Chevrolet in the 12th position and ran as high as third before being shuffled to the tail of the field late in the event. Gomez battled his way back to finish 11th in his first ever NASCAR K&N Pro Series road course event.
The plan for Gomez was to simply log laps and stay on course. Over the first ten laps he followed the script and allowed the traffic to sort itself out. The first of six caution flags flew on lap 13 for an incident in turn 3A and several of the leaders opted to pit for fuel. Gomez stayed out and improved his track position to inside the top ten. Gomez then etched his way closer to the lead working his way up to the third position by lap 20.
Team crew chief Craig Raudman made the call to pit on lap 21 for fuel. The team performed the stop flawlessly and got Gomez back out at the tail of the lead lap. The next caution flew on lap 26. Several of the front runners pitted for tires allowing Gomez to move up to the 14th position for the lap 28 restart.
Over the next twelve laps, Gomez raced the track and moved up to the 10th position battling among the leaders. In the tight pack of cars several drivers ahead of him jockeyed for position and tangled right in his path. The result was a spin and left front fender damage. He maintained his position on the lead lap but lost all the track position he had gained.
Gomez pitted twice for repairs and a fresh set of four tires. At lap 50, Gomez had made his way back up to the 20th position on track and was clicking off laps times as fast as the leaders. On lap 52, Gomez was back up to the 15th position and was waging a spirited battle with Luis Martinez Jr. through the esses and the two made contact. Gomez lost ten positions back to 25th.
Over the final 14 laps, Gomez was able to work his way back through many of the cars he had passed on several occasions and crossed the finish line in the 11th position.
"I pretty happy with the finish considering all the issues we had," Gomez said. "I really think we had a top five car but I needed to avoid some of the carnage out he there. I learned ton that I will be able to apply going into the next road course race at Portland. I had a lot of fun even though I had two wheels off (in the dirt) more than I had the four wheels on the pavement."
"Patience is a big thing I learned," Gomez continued. "Once I started just racing the track and not worrying about anyone else the better I seemed to do out there."
Gomez is in the fourth position in the point standings after five races but has closed the gap to within seven points of third place. The next NKNPS event for Gomez is Saturday, July 3 at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, CA.