Brad Austin Wins at Fontana
Brad Austin, driving the TNI Racing Mazda MX-5 finished first in round 2 of the USTCC at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA. Brad had a great qualifying time and took pole position by 0.182 seconds over P2.
Saturday practice was a bit slow as this was Brad's first time driving the Miata at this track. So the learning process begun Saturday morning and by the afternoon the car was pretty dialed in on everything but the tires. The tires they were running turned out to be practice tires from the previous season that had very little grip left. Luckily it was time for the qualifying which meant the Hankook slicks went onto the car and the day could be ended seeing how the car should behave during the race. The Miata was able to narrowly squeeze out a pole Position in qualifying over Michael McColligan. Sunday morning the practice tires were gone so it was time to go easy on the car, change out for the Hankook race slicks and wait until later in the day for the race to start. Unfortunately for a few other racers during the last practice session before the race, mechanical failures meant they would not be able to join the race. Brad's car was still running great luckily.
The MX-5 had a terrific start of the race and moved onto the oval and into the turn 1 chaos cleanly still in P1. After settling into the race pace, the pack had begun to spread out and when coming out of the infield and back onto the oval again, Danny Milburn in his Acura RSX was able to pass Brad on the outside and held onto the lead going into turn 2. But Brad wasn't going to let him keep it very long, he used his Miata brakes to outbrake the RSX going into the turn and get by him on the outside, and set himself up for the next turn to take back P1. Going into the next corner, he passed another car from a different class and was able to get a run on the last of the cars in the pack. Next was Brad's teammate Ken Kurz driving the Lexus IS300, Ken had a small slide going into turn 7 and Brad was able to pass Ken on the inside and then it was nothing but clear track the rest of the race. Brad left the pack behind and never looked back. TNI Racing took first place in Sportsman class and second place in Touring Car class, giving them the Top Team award for the weekend.
Next race is at Sonoma raceway May 29th and TNI will be there with the goal to take the lead in the points championship.