Morse Win Keeps Him in Sprint Championship Lead
While Eagleton and Evans Prevail in Endurance Series.
Pro driver Viso takes Sprint Series Race 1 win in EXR Racing Series
visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
MONTEREY, CA – The EXR Racing Series made a visit to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, California for the seventh and eighth rounds of the Sprint Series and the fifth race of the Endurance Series on June 24-25. IndyCar and GP2 driver Ernesto Viso of Venezuela along with NASCAR driver Peyton Saxton joined 12 other drivers to form one of the largest ever EXR Sprint Series fields.
Sprint Series Championship leader Henry Morse took his fifth win of the season, and now leads David Perisset by 29 points. Meanwhile, Bill Hynes teamed with Ernesto Viso in the Endurance Series race and their fourth place finish was enough to keep him atop the overall standings.
Both Sprint Series races took place on Saturday afternoon. In the first (round 7), Viso passed pole-sitter Morse at the start, and wouldn’t relinquish the lead for the next 11 laps to take the win by a single-second gap. Behind, there was a furious battle for the remaining two podium positions among Morse, Romain Thievin and Saxton. Despite setting the fastest lap of the race, Morse slipped to third place less than half a second behind Thievin who snatched the runner-up position. Saxton settled for fourth place. Thirteen year-old Tomas Mejia shadowed the leading quartet to close out the Top-5.
For the second Sprint Race, Morse would get his revenge over Viso, taking advantage of a last-lap mechanical issue on Viso’s car to finally make the pass for the win. Until then, the two had dueled intensely for the lead, even making contact in Turn-2 mid-race. Viso had taken the lead at the start, but Morse was relentless in his pursuit. It paid off for his fifth win of the season, made all the sweeter by eclipsing a seasoned, international pro driver.
This time around, Saxton shared the podium finish he missed out in the first race of the day by finishing in third place. Once again Mejia shadowed the race leaders, going one better to finish in fourth place ahead of Christian Roche in fifth place.
The 1-hour Endurance Series race took place on Sunday with a typical early June fog hanging low over the track. Eight cars with two drivers each made the start.
From the second row of the grid, Thievin in one car and Viso in the other made best getaways of the bunch. Thievin came out on top to take the early lead, but close behind were Viso, Mejia, and Roger Eagleton.
Viso eventually made his around Thievin to take over the race lead in the early going.
Unfortunately for Mejia, he missed the mandatory pitstop and driver change, so he was charged with a 30-second penalty. Saxton was also penalized one place after the race due to contact with Viso on lap 19.
After the driver changes, it was flat-out to the finish, and fastest of all was Greg Evans who had taken over the driving duties from Eagleton. The hardest pass of all was the one for the lead around Franck Mechaly, teammate to Thievin. After 28 laps, the hour expired, and at the finish, Evans held on to take the win in a photo finish by a remarkable 0.027 seconds over Mechaly for the closest win in EXR Racing Series history.
Third place, and the Hard Charger Award, went to the driver pairing of Enzo Prevost and Fred Johais. The pair drove a consistent and mistake free race during their climb from the last row on the grid to the podium.
Saxton and Bell were classified in fourth place following their penalty while closing out the Top-5 were Viso and Hynes.
The EXR Racing Series returns to action on August 4-6 at the Utah Motorsports Campus just outside of Salt Lake City. Rounds 9 and 10 of the Sprint Series leading up to the longest Endurance Series race of the season. Teams will battle over what will sure to be an epic six hours of racing.
Cleo Premat, Director of Communication