Performance Tech survived multiple yellow flags to pick up three podium finishes in Round 9 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda Saturday at Road America.
Hayden Duerson finished third for his second podium finish in his rookie season. Duerson led the race and briefly started to pull away from the field before his progress was halted by two back-to-back yellow flags.
“It was a great race,” Duerson said. “We started 3rd. After the first lap we were leading and I maintained the lead for most of the race throughout what was very hectic as there were accidents almost every turn. After the first restart we were still first. Another accident happened on that lap and Mikhail was able to get me in Turn 1 and Christian got me in Turn 5 after that. I got a little ambitious and tried to pass and it didn’t work and by then they were able to gap me. We finished third and that’s very good for us and we hope to be there tomorrow.”
Craig Duerson, Hayden’s father, led the L1 Masters Championship (Drivers aged 40 years and older) and finished fourth overall.
“I didn’t get a great qualifying yesterday because I had some engine issues,” Duerson said. “But I had a good handling car so I knew going into the race I should be fast. I’ve had some experience here so I just paced myself and picked off people as I could. The full course yellows didn’t help a lot. There was quite a bit of banging going on out there that somehow we need to stop. Overall the front-runners ran a very clean race. Hats off to Mikhail (Goikhberg) and Christian (Potolicchio) and Hayden (Duerson) and (Andrew) Novich. We all drove each other clean which made for a good clean race.”
Joining Duerson on the Masters podium was teammate Joel Janco, with his first podium of the season, finishing P3 in L1 Masters.
“The race was very exciting today in Road America,” Janco said. “We’ve worked very hard all year at Performance Tech Motorsports, and we finally got our first podium today! There were many on-track incidents today, and I definitely had some contact out there. Luckily it didn’t cause any lasting damage and we were able to finish.”
Not too far behind Craig Duerson was Robert Alon, with a sixth place overall finish, picking up some valuable championship points.
“First of all I have to say Performance Tech put a great car under me,” Alon said. “It felt super solid out there. We definitely had a podium car. It was an interesting race to say the least. I started in ninth and we made it up to sixth but that is only half of the story. There was so much passing and re-passing going on out there. It was just a really fun race.”
Rounding out the Performance Tech lineup was Jon Brownson, who finished 18th in L1 after going wide in Turn 7 and hitting the tire wall.
“I was starting at the back so I thought I would have a lot of passing opportunities and I wanted to take advantage of those,” Brownson said. “As the race unfolded I dropped two wheels off of Turn 7. I was going through there around 120 mph and I know that is a corner infamous for turning you around and putting you into the inside wall. So I kept the wheel straight but it didn’t do any good. I ended up getting turned around and went into the inside wall. I was lucky to hit the tires and not the cement wall. That’s racing, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it. We hope to do better tomorrow.”
Team Principal Brent O’Neill is happy with his team’s fight during the race, despite having little green lap time to work with.
“It was crazy,” O’Neill said. “It really wasn’t even a race; it was more of a drive around under caution. You know, Hayden (Duerson) did a good job and went right to the front. It’s racing. They were racing hard and it ended up being a two or three lap shootout to the finish. But it was a good day.
“Joel (Janco) finished P3 in Masters and he had a great race. To have four guys in the Top-10 is always a good day. Jon (Brownson) had a little mistake in seven but we’ll see if we can fix it for the next race. Tomorrow we’re just going to do the same thing and go try and win a race.”
The second race of the weekend, a 45-minute sprint, will start at 7:55 a.m. tomorrow. Sunday, August 10. Follow live timing and scoring at scoring.imsa.com/prototype-lites/ and also follow the action live at @IMSALive on Twitter.
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