July 30, 1998 Hill Wins First Russell/USAC Triple Crown Race Lynx Driver Senske takes first Pro Podium - Sets Race Hot Lap. Sonoma, CA - Stephen Hill of Los Gatos, CA won the first race of the 1998 Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro-Series ...
July 30, 1998
Hill Wins First Russell/USAC Triple Crown Race
Lynx Driver Senske takes first Pro Podium - Sets Race Hot Lap.
Sonoma, CA - Stephen Hill of Los Gatos, CA won the first race of the 1998 Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro-Series presented by Yokohama at Sears Point Raceway during the NASCAR Winston Cup weekend. Hill earned 20 points for his first place finish plus an additional point for starting from the pole. The victory netted him two checks: $2,000.00 for the win and the "Pole to Checker" award of $300.00.
"Driving these cars on the new track layout was a great experience," said Hill. "I'm looking forward to the next race and the opportunity to test my skills on a unfamiliar track."
Niklas Loven of Vaxjo Sweden took the lead on the first lap with a gutsy pass on Hill in Turn 7 coming out of the new "Chute". Loven held P1 working hard to keep Hill at bay until lap 14 when he and Hill touched in the chicane causing Loven to spin. Loven recovered to stay in second but finished 7.8 seconds back of Hill. Loven competed in last year's Triple Crown finishing third in the standings with a win and two top 10 finishes.
Taking her first professional podium and setting the race's fastest lap of a 1:17.542 was Sara Senske. Senske, from Kennewick WA and a member of the Lynx Racing driver development team started eighth. "My first professional podium means a lot to me. It's given me a great boost of confidence for the second half of the racing season."
The Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro-Series is a three event series sanctioned by USAC racing at West Coast tracks. Cash awards are presented to drivers finishing each race. The champion of the series attends the annual USAC awards banquet to receive his or her national championship trophy. The champion also receives $5,000 in prize money and a testing session with a KOOL/Toyota Atlantic team courtesy of Yokohama Tires. Russell Racing provides a testing session with a US F2000 team plus a special testing session is arranged in England with a Formula Opel team as well. The next race is August 1 at Thunderhill Raceway in Willows, CA. Rafael Navarro won the "Pro-Mechanix Award" presented by Mechanix Wear for preparing the winning car. Navarro, who graduates from the Russell Mechanics Training Program this week, receives a $250.00 gift certificate from Mechanix Wear for his efforts.
Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro-Series Presented by Yokohama Round One of Three June 27, 1998 Sear Point Raceway, Sonoma, CA Pos Driver Hometown Points 1 Stephen Hill Los Gatos, CA 21 2 Niklas Loven Vaxjo Sweden 15 3 Sara Senske Kennewick, WA 12 4 Todd Oppenheimer West Lake Village, CA 10 5 Tyler McQuarrie Walnut Creek, CA 8 6 Peter Ponder Pistor Manhattan Beach, CA 6 7 Max Toy Danville, CA 4 8 David Farley Yorba Linda, CA 3 9 Chris Pettet Napa, CA 2 10 Sal Lombardo Brooklyn, NY 1 11 Patrick McDowell San Mateo, CA 12 Jim Graber Los Altos, CA 13 Ken Snyder San Andreas, CA 14 Michael Morris Dallas, TX 15 Brent Sherman Midwest City, OK