Performance Tech Motorsports had a spectacular qualifying effort followed by a Race 1 filled with mixed emotions at Road Atlanta in Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda competition.
Joel Janco in the team’s No. 25 car celebrated on the Lites 1 Masters podium with a third-place finish. He finished sixth overall from a ninth-place starting position, his best qualifying effort this year.
Janco gained two positions at the start by maneuvering around other competitors. He chased and passed McKay Snow with 10 minutes left in the 30-minute race to finish sixth overall. Janco accomplished this while fighting the car, which was shutting off through the race.
“It was really a great race,” Janco said. “It’s fun to be back on podium, and I’m happy that I’m with Performance Tech. They really do a great job.”
Janco was pleased with his performance, but Team Principal Brent O’Neill sought a little more from his cars so his drivers could enjoy the view from the top step of the podium.
“Not the race we wanted overall,” O’Neill said. “Joel has been fast here since Tuesday when we tested; he had a great race. We should have finished higher with him. He was fighting with the car; it kept shutting off on him. He had to reach down and just restart it as he went. But he overcame it, finished sixth, and that was a good finish for him.”
Robert Alon in the No. 9 car did not fare as well as his teammate. Alon, who will finish his first season in Prototype Lites this weekend, had an inspiring run at the start of the race. He took the car from fourth to second with smooth passes that would convince any spectator he was no rookie.
As Alon reeled in leader Matt McMurry, his car suddenly became imbalanced. The right front wheel was no longer touching the ground, and he was forced to pit immediately, ending his race early.
“We had been fast all week,” Alon said. “Performance Tech did a great job with the car. It felt great going around the track. The car was really in tune with how the track flows. Road Atlanta has a lot of sweeping corners, and I enjoy tracks like this more. We got up to second place, but then we had an issue with the back left pushrod, and that was that. We’ll get at it again tomorrow.”
O’Neill hoped to see his rookie Alon earn his first win.
“The situation with Robert, you know he was fast, but I don’t have a crystal ball to predict a pushrod fail. It’s unfortunate; it could have been driver error or possibly the car. He was doing really well, and I think he would have caught McMurry had that not happened.”
Race 2 will take place at 9 a.m. (ET) Friday, Oct. 3. It’s the final race of the season.
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