Jack Shaia has taken his first win the TORA TCF TASCAR Series at the second round of the 2018 season, the Elkhart Lake 128 at Road America. The driver of the #24 Ax4x Geoff Jordan Chevrolet qualified on pole position for the race but had to fight back after early setbacks to take his maiden victory.
Allied Forces Racing affiliate drivers locked out the first two rows of the grid for the start of the race. On the run to turn one, the #658 car of Ritchard Mead managed to get up the inside of pole-sitter Shaia. The pair made light contact at the apex of the corner, which got Mead to the lead of the race. Shaia would then lose another two places when he went off track at the kink later on in the lap, with Robert Burley managing to capitalize on the mistake to move his #78 Toyota into second, with Jordan Groves in the #1 Chevrolet just managing to squeeze past the recovering Shaia.
Shaia soon managed to get back by the #1 of Groves and set about trying to get back on terms with the leaders. He managed to catch back up to the leading pair and soon found a way by Burley. However, Mead was proving harder to pass. As a result, Shaia opted to make his first pit-stop earlier than planned to try and get out in clean air and pull off the undercut when Mead pitted. Groves followed Shaia in, also opting for the alternate strategy.
Burley soon managed to catch back up to Mead and began to pressurize him for the lead of the race. The pair remained nose-to-tail for a while, but ultimately Mead would dip a wheel on the grass on the entry to turn two, sending him off track and costing him the race lead and another two places. This meant that by the time himself and Burley had pitted, Shaia had been quick enough in clean air to retake the lead of the race.
At the end of the first pit-stop cycle, Mead had fallen down to fourth place behind the #1 of Groves on the alternate strategy. Mead looked to have the quicker car than Groves as he managed to chip away at the #1 car’s advantage over the second stint of the race. When Ritchard got up to the rear of Groves, he was met with a stern defence in what would ultimately be the battle for the final podium spot. The pair’s battle allowed the #100 Kaido HCR Ford of Callum Hawkins to enter the fray too, with the Ford driver ready to pick up any spots he could if a mistake were made in the heat of battle.
In the end, after some contact during the race, Mead was able to prise the position away from Groves just before the final round of pit-stops. From there, Groves tried as hard as he could but was unable to keep pace with the Ax4x MDRacing Chevrolet of Mead, but he couldn’t get back on terms with him. After repelling a challenge from the HCR Ford of Hawkins, Groves began to pull away and the battle for third, fourth and fifth would settle itself before the chequered flag.
Up at the front, once Shaia retook the lead, there was no looking back. The #24 Ax4x Geoff Jordan Chevrolet driver made the most of the superb car underneath him to cruise home to his first ever TORA TCF TASCAR victory. Rob Burley would come home a few seconds further back to take second place, with the former champion scoring his first podium since making his comeback to the series.
Ritchard Mead would take his first TASCAR podium after his hard fight with both Groves and Hawkins. The latter two would follow in fourth and fifth respectively, with Hawkins in the #100 car now in the lead of the championship leaving Road America.
Former series champion Mark Brown Jr. scored his first top ten of the season after bringing his #8 Ax4x Throwback Racing Chevrolet home in sixth place. He was followed by Nick Linn and Rane Dandy who also took their first top tens of the season in seventh and eighth.
Adam Dlubak had been running up in the top six in the early stages of the race before a wayward strategy saw him fall down the field in the late stages. He would end up taking ninth place. The #99 Ax4x Total Nimrod Chevrolet of Adam Watson completed the top ten in the tenth position, with Daniel Pastor and Ben Williams finishing just outside in positions eleven and twelve respectively.
Further back, the winner of the season-opening Daytona 300, Cain Piotrowski had a tough race in the #359 Ax4x No Fear Toyota. Cain struggled with constant brake issues throughout the race and coasted the car home to thirteenth place. James Norman had been the fourteenth and final driver to qualify for the first lobby of the event, but he was unable to finish the race due to technical issues. This promoted the second lobby race winner, Ryan Butler, into fourteenth overall in the #19 Ax4x Throwback Racing Chevrolet.
The next round of the TORA TCF TASCAR Series takes place on March 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. If you’re interested in signing up for this championship, run on Forza Motorsport 7 for Xbox One, please visit The Online Racing Association for more information.
TORA TCF TASCAR Series – Elkhart Lake 128 – Top fourteen race results:
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