RACE: Valvoline Runoffs: Bach leads FM from pole to checker

Jamie Bach sped away from the field at the start of today's Formula Mazda National Championship race and won by a large margin, despite struggling with a braking problem in the late laps of the race. Bach's big lead was helped out by a race-long...

Jamie Bach sped away from the field at the start of today's Formula Mazda National Championship race and won by a large margin, despite struggling with a braking problem in the late laps of the race.

Bach's big lead was helped out by a race-long battle for second place among Kevin Roberts, James Goughary Jr., and Douglas Peterson. Peterson got a good jump at the start to pass Goughary and slot in behind Roberts. Goughary spent the entire first lap trying to get back ahead of Peterson, pulling alongside on every straight and falling back behind for the turns.

Behind them, Melvin Kemper and Fabio Castellani were dicing for fifth position. Castellani passed Kemper on the second lap in turn 1, but Kemper returned the pass on the following straight. Their battle allowed Victor Seaber to close in, and Seaber took sixth from Castellani when the cars went down the back straight. A lap later Seaber put the same move on Kemper.

On the fourth lap, Kenny Price spun out of ninth place into the gravel at the entrance to Thunder Valley, and a full course caution was called to tow him to a safe place.

When the race restarted, Peterson passed Roberts for second place on the outside of the first turn of the esses, but he couldn't pull away from Roberts and Goughary stuck with them as well. Like before, Bach pulled out to a big lead ahead of the three battling drivers. Seaber, Kemper and Castellani also resumed their argument over the fifth position. Their race fell apart at mid-race though, as Seaber pulled ahead and caught up to the Peterson-Roberts-Goughary contest by lap 12, then Castellani got loose and spun in the first turn a lap later.

The order was then set for the finish. Bach's car was locking up the inside front wheel in most of the braking areas due to an imbalance that he couldn't dial out with the in-cockpit controls, making those following think they could have a chance to catch him. Peterson, Roberts, and Goughary then stayed in line and worked together to try to make up the gap to the leader. Bach had a big enough lead that he was able to back off a little to save his front tires, but the second, third, and fourth cars did pull away from Seaber and Kemper. The race finished in that order.

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Series SCCA
Drivers Kenny Price , Kevin Roberts , James Goughary , Melvin Kemper , Fabio Castellani , Victor Seaber , Doug Peterson