Photo Credit: Anthony Porta
The 2015 Tire Rack Crows Landing Championship Tour, the second west coast stop on the national slate, finished up on Sunday for close to 250 competitors. The racers enjoyed warm weather and ample time to test and tune on the grippy, flat surface that most resembles nationals in Lincoln, Nebraska.
On day two, the runway course offered a wider track to start, but tightened up near the end with multiple slaloms and off-sets. Times were on average about three seconds faster on Sunday than on Saturday, and provided some day-one leaders the chance to claim top honors while also giving those trailing the opportunity to rally from behind.
The overall PAX champion for the weekend went to BSP winner Steve O’Blenes, followed by Ron Bauer in D Prepared and Anthony Porta in BSP. O’Blenes and Porta duked it out for the win in their six-person class, with O’Blenes ultimately claiming a four-tenths advantage.
Bauer won his class comprised of eight racers by a cool six and a half seconds. He wasn’t the only guy winning by large margins, though—there were 13 others that won their respective classes by three or more seconds.
Neil Alexander with a real "Yaw Moment"
There were also some close contests to go along with those wide margins of victory. In A Street ladies, Jami Olerich had a half a second advantage after the first day but saw Lacey Otis go four-tenths faster on the second day. Otis fell just short, however, as Olerich held on for the 0.080 win. It was a similar story in Street Mod, as Dallas Cutler led Michael Yanase by almost six-tenths on Saturday, with Yanase getting the better time on Sunday by almost five-tenths. Cutler had enough left over to win, edging his competitor by a mere 0.142 seconds, with Kit Gauthier taking third in the eight-racer class.
Two more classes that were tight saw the winners vault into the top trophy spot. In D Street, John Tritsch was back two-tenths to Justin Moore after the first day, and ran five-tenths faster on Sunday to pull it out and win by 0.339 seconds. Joseph Sim, who was in third following Saturday’s three runs in STX, edged day-one leader Justin Tsang by a slim 0.090. “It came down to being brave while not taking any unnecessary risks,” Sim explained. Justin Tsang and brother Mack collected second and third place trophies respectively, while Karlton Lew, Catherine Train, and Charly Spyksma earned the three remaining trophy spots in this 20-person class.
The new "Tsangmobile"
The battle for first in STU came down to the third run, as Jonathan Lugod held on to the four-tenths advantage after Jeff Stuart coned his run away. Both drivers are continually developing their cars, and what has so far been a great rivalry this season will continue to wage as nationals gets closer.
Matt Ellam in B Mod finished fourth overall in PAX for the weekend, and showed that sportsmanship is still alive after not seeing a cone call show up on the results, went back into the motor home to self-report it.
C Mod provided dramas on day one with two cars breaking down, but the troops were back in action on Sunday as Jonathan Clement earned a 1.927 win over Eric Clements. Anyone who talked with Steve Ekstrand on Friday knew the drama he went through to make it to the event: while filling up his truck Thursday night, he realized that he was not, in fact, pumping diesel, but regular gas. After comprehending his mistake, he had his mechanic drop the tank to save the 25 gallons of soon-to-be-parts cleaner, and hit the road later than expected Friday afternoon. Just goes to show that it’s possible to overcome any obstacle thrown your way, as the "cone mangler" Ekstrand won the 11-person STS class by almost half a second.