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Utah: Ben Crosland race report

No Place Like Home For Ben Crosland Tooele, UT-5 October, 2010--Less than one month after taking a win and a second-place finish at Miller Motorsports Park in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Series double header finale, 17-year old Ben...

No Place Like Home For Ben Crosland

Tooele, UT-5 October, 2010--Less than one month after taking a win and a second-place finish at Miller Motorsports Park in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Series double header finale, 17-year old Ben Crosland of Salt Lake City was back in fast form this weekend as he scored a strong runner-up finish in the World Challenge event with the Interbank FX Ford Mustang FR500S.

The race marked yet another accomplishment for the young racer, who has quickly emerged as a driver to watch no matter where he races.

The race was Crosland's third in the category, which utilizes a different rules package from the Mustang Challenge series he has gained so much experience in to kick off his career.

One rules change includes equipping the Mustang with Toyo Tires, but two of the biggest differences in World Challenge competition include the use of standing starts and a three-class structure for every race. Fortunately, Crosland relishes both.

After starting from second on the grid, Crosland timed his start perfectly and shot off into the lead. It was a viewpoint he knew well, having taken the final race win in Mustang Challenge history last month on Miller Motorsports Park's 3.0-mile "outer loop" track layout.

But that clear view out for the first 12 laps the front belied the busy view out back, as six-time champion and category win leader Peter Cunningham eventually tracked him down and took the point to score the win.

"I think the standings starts are fun because you can make up for a bad qualifying with a good start when the lights go out, so that is a fun way to start the race--popping the clutch and trying to have your revs just right to get going," said Crosland. "The Mustang is rear wheel drive and has all that torque, so I had an edge (over Cunningham) early on. But it is also heavier than his car was, so I had a lot less tire under me later in the race so there wasn't really anything else I could do to hold him off. He has so much experience with these cars--I really wanted to win again but I also learned a lot racing around him."

Running with three different classes, with his Ford Mustang set in the middle GTS class, also gave Crosland a little something extra to think about during the race, although he was quite pleased with how the mixed-class racing played out.

"The guys in the faster cars really seemed to respect that we were fighting for the lead so they didn't just go diving in and expect you to move out of the way so I thought that was pretty impressive," said Crosland. "We did the same thing when going through the pack of TC Class guys as well. You just don't want to ruin their race. But it does add something else to the race, having to keep a eye up front as well as behind. It also makes it more interesting when it comes to passing, because you can use the traffic to get ahead. Of course, the other guys, can too! So you have to just be smart about it. But it was a great weekend, and I can not wait to get back into the car."

Crosland will have to wait a while yet as he works to determine his racing future, but will have plenty to keep him busy in the meantime as he stays busy with everything that any high school senior does. Even a winning race driver has to do homework.

-source: sgm

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Series PWC
Drivers Ben Crosland