Adam Poland was victorious at the first of three Touring Car rounds at the 2015 Pirelli World Challenge season finale held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend. Meanwhile, Jason Wolfe and Joey Jordan took the TCA and TCB wins.
From a rolling start, polesitter Ernie Francis Jr. led Vesko Kozarov out of the first hairpin, but a full course yellow came out following a multi-car collision at turn three on the opening lap.
On the restart, Kozarov took the lead from Francis, but a local yellow came out for a slowing TCB car. Both Kozarov and Francis Jr. were forced to serve drive-through penalties later in the race for passing under the yellow.
A lap later, Adam Poland managed to make his way around Fergus for third position, but he returned this position when Poland went into the dirt at the Corkscrew. Past the halfway point, and Kozarov and Francis Jr. still led Fergus and Poland, with the leading pair yet to serve their penalties.
Another full course caution came on lap 17, and on the lap 19 restart, the leading trio went three-wide at turn two, allowing fourth-placed Poland to make a bold pass for the lead when the others all went off-track.
At the chequered flag, Poland led Fred Emich, who had also taken advantage of his competitors’ misfortune. Behind them were Alex Welch, Austin Snader and John Weisberg. Kozarov, Fergus and Francis, Jr. finished seventh, 11th and 12th respectively.
“Winning today’s race has made for a much better mind set for the weekend,” said Poland. “We were all dragging our feet a bit after the past two tough race weekends. We had to do so much work between the Miller (Motorsports Park) event and here. We were disappointed in qualifying this morning.
“We weren’t really sure how the race was going to turn out today. And the race worked out perfectly for me, for what I needed to get closer in the drivers’ championship. Hopefully I can keep it clean throughout weekend and work on putting our Mazda up front.”
Touring Car A
Patrick Seguin led the field into the Andretti Hairpin, closely followed by Tony Rivera and Jason Wolfe. However, Wolfe soon passed his rivals to lead the class, and would do for the remainder of the race.
At the end of the race, Wolfe had a lead of just 0.419 seconds over Seguin and Rivera, and with this he takes his seventh win of the season. Paul Holton and Kris Wright completed the top five.
“Winning today definitely takes a lot of the stress off leading into the weekend now (in TCA Drivers’ Championship points),” Wolfe commented. “I will now focus more on driving smoothly and concentrate on finishing. I won’t be fighting for the lead as much now. My mind set for the rest of the weekend to stay smooth and don’t crash. My plan is to stay away from where the carnage is on the track. And then we should be right.”
Touring Car B
Andrei Kisel was the leader from pole position, whilst Joey Jordan, who had qualified on pole, was moved to the back of the grid due to a post-qualifying technical infraction. Kisel led the field for the first portion of the race ahead of Glenn Nixon and Jay Salinsky, until the leading two positions swapped on lap seven.
Mid-race, a hard-charging trio of Tom O’Gorman, Joey Jordan and championship leader Johan Schwartz slotted into second, third and fourth positions respectively, and Jordan managed to move post O’Gorman and then Nixon on lap 16 to take the lead through turn five.
Jordan completed his incredible last-to-first run to lead Nixon at the line by 2.8 seconds, whilst O’Gorman, Schwartz and Kisel finished next.
“I wanted to maximise more speed throughout the race and make the passes smoothly,” commented Jordan. “Coming from the back is never easy, especially here at Mazda Raceway. I definitely planned out how I was going make my moves for passing. I do have a good amount of experience here. This is one of my home tracks. I do think that played a role in my driving from the back of the field today. I knew some areas of the track that would helping me in passing the other cars.”