- 20 April 2019
April 20, 2019
The start of race one was delayed for track repairs and that delay was just enough to let the rain, albeit light, catch up with the racing activities. Not heavy enough for wet weather tires but just enough to change the hue of the asphalt, the conditions certainly were dubious.
As the rain gained intensity, all competitors were shod with slick tires, the newly damp conditions claimed two drivers before the green flag even flew. Misha Goikhberg found himself beached in turn 10a and had to be rescued by track services. Dave Weitzenhof suffered a similar fate, unfortunately his luck was not as good and he was reported as safe but Dave climbed over the wall and out of the race.
The race, still under pace car conditions, the clock had been started. Despite a lack of race conditions these laps behind the pace car counted against race distance.
Finally, with the track clear the single file start was green. Dixon held a firm lead through turn 1 but by the time he reached 10a Davis Durrett had demolished his lead. The two went side by side, with Durrett inside. Durrett then went for the outside-inside maneuver through 10b and the two raced side by side over the crest and towards the front straight. Durrett took the lead and at the completion of the second green flag lap had accumulated a near three second lead at the end of the third lap. Dixon followed in second, the once third place of Megan Gilkes had disappeared on the backside of the course handing the position to Steve Jenks. Peter Gonzalez and Robert Wright held positions four and five respectively.
With the race at half distance Durrett’s lead was growing at nearly two seconds per lap, the rain still dropping but only at a slow rate. The track still clearly damp, no dry line forming, the race was being dictated by adverse condition as much as it was by individual competitors. Despite this, all drivers continued to tighten the screws and lap times were falling by seconds each lap.
Dixon, adjusting to the conditions had clawed back the overall fastest lap and the gap to Durrett was starting to fall. Jenks, Gonzalez, and Wright well out of the picture for the top two spots assuming no disasters strike at this juncture. Still, the lap times fell in conjunction with the ever present rain. For the top two it was a game of bravery. Who dare push the limits the most? At the moment, Dixon continued to slightly outpace Durrett, but Durrett was at the point.
Fourth and fifth place went at it closely as well, only fourth tenths of a second between the two, they too continued to better their pace. At the front, Dixon had a look down the inside of Durrett but decided patience was the wiser decision and gave way to Durrett once again. The two leaders nearly matching each on time and continually improving their pace. Even in these damp conditions they were now approaching similar times to that of qualifying.
Into 10a, once again, Dixon dogged Durrett hard. Durrett took the defensive line forcing Dixon to the outside. Dixon again conceded the lead to Durrett. Lap times again fell for both drivers. Dixon with the outright advantage in pace, but Durrett with the advantage on track. Dixon however finally completed the transaction, only three laps remained for Dixon to defend the lead. Now it was Durrett’s turn to dog Dixon.
While Jenks held third without any drama, Wright and Gonzalez changed spots for fourth and fifth. At the front, Dixon now wielded that pace advantage with effectiveness, the lead grew to greater than a second. It would be smooth sailing for Dixon, the win was his. Durrett and Jenks would follow. Gonzalez wasn’t satisfied though and he regained fourth overall from Wright, this also secured third place in master’s for him.