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Cooper Sweeps TC, Francis Jr. and Davis Split TCB at Mid-Ohio
Posted by: newsla on Aug 04, 2013 - 11:10 AM
Sports Cars
Cooper Sweeps TC, Francis Jr. and Davis Split TCB at Mid-Ohio


For the second race weekend in a row, Michael Cooper, of Syosset, NY, swept the Touring Car doubleheader in Pirelli World Challenge. Three weeks ago it was north of the border on the Streets of Toronto, and on Saturday, it was at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Rounds 9 and 10 of the TC class season, at the Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio presented by StopTech Brakes.

 

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In Touring Car B-Spec, Ernie Francis Jr. took the Round 9 win, and Robbie Davis the Round 10 win. Francis Jr. took home his fifth win of 2013, with Davis winning his third race. The battle between these two at the top of the championship intensified with Francis Jr. having a fraught Round 10.

Round 9

Cooper, driving the No. 1 Atlanta Motorsports Group Mazda 3, started from the Motul pole position and enjoyed a race-long battle with Tristan Herbert, of Reston, VA, in the No. 33 Revo/GermanAutoParts/Brimtek Volkswagen Jetta GLI.

On Lap 7 of the 16-lap, 25-minute race, Herbert made a pass on Cooper to take the lead. But on Lap 12, after closing back on him as the leaders cycled through TCB traffic, Cooper retook the lead into Turn 4 on the inside. The latter move netted Cooper the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race, en route to his third win in succession. Cooper won by 0.888 of a second at an average speed of 82.773 mph.

"It was a really good battle with Tristan in the first race," said Cooper. "We were faster in different places. He took advantage of that on one lap. Then a few laps later I was able to get him back, and was able to hold him off. He got some pressure for behind and had to defend."

Herbert scored his first podium finish of the season in his first Pirelli World Challenge race start since the opening tripleheader weekend at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin in May.

"I have taken on a different role in motorsports, but my home will always be Pirelli World Challenge," said Herbert. "I really enjoy coming back and racing with these guys."

Brett Sandberg, of Allendale, NJ, took third place in the No. 70 C360R/GearTie.com/HPD Honda Civic Si, "best in class" of the four Compass360 Racing entries and best Honda of the seven entered in TC.

"It was a good first race; our car was really fast, and it got better in the second race," said Sandberg, who finished fourth in Round 10. "On the start of the second race, I got shuffled all the way to the back, a little bumped around. I thought something may have broke on the car, but then it seemed ok, and I worked back to front. Overall we'll take it."

Compass360 teammates were fourth and fifth in Round 9. Remo Ruscitti, of Vancouver, Canada, was fourth in the No. 71 C360R/Ultimate Racing/HPD Honda Civic Si ahead of Ryan Winchester, of Mason City, IA, in the No. 72 C360R/Ligion Industries/HPD Honda Civic Si.

Jon Miller, of Orlando, FL, finished sixth in the Shea Racing No. 68 Titan Motorsports/Loudbasstard Honda Civic Si. Miller, no stranger to exciting moves this year, captured the Optima Batteries Best Start Award by gaining four spots from ninth to fifth at the start.

The TCB race behind them was nothing short of dramatic. Joel Lipperini, of Pittston, PA, led the opening laps in the No. 81 RaceLabz Honda Fit. Any of the top seven cars in class, from four different manufacturers (Honda, Mazda, Chevrolet, MINI) could have been covered by a blanket.

But eventually the door opened for Ernie Francis Jr. to sweep through. Francis Jr., of Davie, FL, in the No. 98 Festivals of Speed/Breathless Performance Mazda 2, and his father Ernie Sr., also of Davie, FL in the No. 2 Hydraulic Jeans Mazda 2, passed Lipperini in succession in the waning laps. The move netted Francis Jr. the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award.

"It was a good race; I had to wait for my opportunity to get past the Honda in front of me," said Francis Jr. "When I got past him it was clear sailing, and I never looked back."

Lipperini fell to third place. Tyler Palmer, of Oceanside, CA in the No. 24 Blackforest Porsche/Discount Tire/Mobil 1 MINI Cooper finished fourth with Peter Schwartzott Sr., of White Plains, NY, fifth in the No. 4 Peter Schwartzott Racing Chevrolet Sonic. Palmer, who gained two positions from his grid spot, took home the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.

Round 10

Cooper's run to the TC win in Round 10, his fourth in succession and fourth of 2013, was less eventful than in Round 9. He got the jump from pole, which he earned as a result of winning Round 9, and never looked back after an early-race restart. It was a flag-to-flag victory for him in the 15-lap, 25-minute race, at an average speed of 77.627 mph and a winning margin of 2.566 seconds.

"The Compass guys looked like they got a really good start and held (Tristan) up a lot, and then we had the yellow almost off the start," said Cooper. "I didn't see behind me on the restart, but within two laps I was pretty clear. From there I stopped looking in my mirror and was able to get him into a rhythm. I knocked off a bunch of laps until we caught the TCB cars. I think I hit a B-Spec car; I was a little worried, but we made sure the car was OK."

The battle was for second. Winchester held off Herbert, after passing him on Lap 9, to score another podium finish. The pass was the Cadillac CTS-V Move of the Race. With second, the TC class points leader now has nine podium finishes in 10 starts this season.

"Yeah it was a little tough. I had some contact with my teammate, which is never good," said Winchester. "We got going after the restart and got up to second. I tried to run down Cooper, but the way it is right now, it wasn't going to happen. We still got second which was a good day."

Herbert nearly caught and passed Winchester on the final lap, attempting passing maneuvers through the final two corners, but had to settle for third.

"The second race was close, too," said Herbert. "I thought I was going to catch Ryan there right at the end, with the B-Spec traffic."

Sandberg was fourth and Ruscitti fifth. Sandberg secured the Invisible Glass Clean Pass of the Race Award after passing teammate Ray Mason, of Columbus, Ohio, in the No. 76 C360R/Columbus Truck/HPD Honda Civic Si on Lap 7.

In TCB, a first lap chain-reaction accident altered the outcome of the race. The two dominant drivers from Round 9, Francis Jr. and Lipperini, were caught up in an accordion effect of contact that ended with Lipperini's car damaged and Francis Jr. stuck in the Turn 4 gravel trap. P.J. Groenke, of Toronto, Ontario in the No. 66 MulliganGold/Tundra/Verax.Ca Honda Fit was among the others caught up in the mess.

Francis Jr. explained what happened from his perspective: "To be honest, I'm not really sure what happened. Cars were flying everywhere; Lipperini flew into the side of my car, and I was off the track."

Lipperini added, "The second race, I got a decent start. But when I went down into the turn, unfortunately someone got in the back of me and it started a chain reaction. Unfortunately I think it bent something in the rear end, the car drug the whole race, and I had no straight speed. We got hit pretty good."

The chaos promoted Davis, of Dallas, TX in the No. 37 MINI of Charleston Racing MINI Cooper, from seventh to the lead in class. Palmer was second and hounded him most of the race, after the restart.

Despite Palmer using nearly every inch of the road to try to pass Davis, he was unable to pass the similar MINI. Davis won by 0.286 of a second.

"It was close and crazy!" said Davis. "The second race, I stayed out of trouble, and then I got right through the pack of trouble. I blinked and I was leading! Have to give big thanks to MINI of Charleston; I couldn't be happier to be here."

Palmer was able to capture his fourth podium finish in five Pirelli World Challenge TCB starts this season.

"The second race, on the start, we started in the middle and people were passing around me, and I thought, 'Well, just do what I can,'" said Palmer. "But I went to the outside in the grass, came back on in second place, went on from there. We almost had him. I can't thank everyone at Blackforest Porsche/Discount Tire/Mobil 1 Mini, my crew and my dad enough, Scott Kuhne let me borrow his car, everyone thankful for their support."

Dave Rosenblum, of Langhorn, PA in the No. 18 Leo's & Tommy Mens Shop/VAC Ford Fiesta finished third after passing Lipperini for third on the 13th of 14 laps. He gained nine spots from his starting position to secure the Sunoco Hard Charger Award.

"This goes to my buddy Paul Hacker, I got his ashes," said Rosenblum. "He was a great Showroom Stock driver. He won a million races between Lime Rock and here. I said I would take them to the race with me."

Lipperini was fourth and Shea Holbrook, of Groveland, FL, emerged fifth in the No. 67 TRUECar/Hendrick Honda/Lucas Oil Honda Fit.

Jack Murray, of Montgomery, TX in the No. 11 Fiat by Executive Fiat 500, took home the Optima Batteries Best Start Award after gaining 11 spots on the first lap. Murray was classified 17th.

Through 10 of 14 races, Winchester leads Sandberg in the TC points standings by 231 points, 1164-933. Ruscitti is third with 874. In TCB, the margin is razor thin as Francis Jr. leads Davis by just two points, 1036-1034. Lipperini lost ground and is third on 948.

The races from Mid-Ohio will be broadcast August 18 at 2 p.m. (EDT) on NBC Sports Network. The next races are at Sonoma the weekend of Aug. 22-25.

Results from Saturday's Round 9, 16 lap 36.128 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship Pirelli World Challenge TC/TCB Round 9 race, part of the Honda Indy 200 presented by StopTech at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).

1. TC, (1), Michael Cooper, Syosset, N.Y., Mazda3, 16.
2. TC, (3), Tristan Herbert, Reston, Va., Volkswagen Jetta GLI, 16, -.888.
3. TC, (2), Brett Sandberg, Allendale, N.J., Honda Civic Si, 16, -1.781.
4. TC, (5), Remo Ruscitti(R), Vancouver, Calif., Honda Civic Si, 16, -8.944.
5. TC, (4), Ryan Winchester, Mason City, Iowa, Honda Civic Si, 16, -14.852.
6. TC, (9), Jon Miller, Orlando, Fla., Honda Civic Si, 16, -17.213.
7. TC, (7), Ray Mason, Columbus, Ohio, Honda Civic Si, 16, -17.504.
8. TC, (6), Fred Emich, Denver, Colo., Volkswagen Jetta GLI, 16, -22.109.
9. TC, (8), Sarah Cattaneo, Scottsdale, Ariz., Honda Civic Si, 16, -26.293.
10. TC, (11), Russell Smith, Bermuda, , Kia Forte Koup, 16, -42.487.
11. TC, (12), Bob Roth, LaCrosse, Wis., Honda Civic, 16, -1:17.546.
12. TC, (10), Nic Jonsson, Sweden, , Kia Forte Koup, 13, Mech.
13. TC, (13), Patrick Gallagher, Thornville, Ohio, Mazda MX-5, 10, Mech.

1. TCB, (14), Ernie Francis_Jr(R), Davie, Fla., Mazda2, 15.
2. TCB, (16), Ernie Francis(R), Davis, Fla., Mazda2, 15, -.290.
3. TCB, (17), Joel Lipperini, Pittston, Pa., Honda Fit, 15, -.681.
4. TCB, (19), Tyler Palmer(R), Oceanside, Calif., BMW Mini Cooper, 15, -2.104.
5. TCB, (15), Peter Schwartzott_Sr, White Plains, N.Y., Chevrolet Sonic, 15, -2.690.
6. TCB, (21), Jonathan Baker, Hollywood, Calif., Honda Fit, 15, -2.952.
7. TCB, (18), Robbie Davis, Dallas, Texas, Mini Cooper, 15, -3.192.
8. TCB, (20), Chase Pelletier, Brampton, Ontario, Honda Fit, 14, -14.073.
9. TCB, (24), Shea Holbrook, Groveland, Fla., Honda Fit, 14, -17.792.
10. TCB, (23), Dave Rosenblum, Langhorn, Pa., Ford Fiesta, 14, -18.419.
11. TCB, (25), P J Groenke, Toronto, Ontario, Honda Fit, 14, -18.868.
12. TCB, (26), ED Magner, Portage, Mich., Mini Cooper, 14, -36.689.
13. TCB, (28), Chris Capaldi, Armada, Mich., Ford Fiesta, 14, -39.455.
14. TCB, (27), Peter Schwartzott(R), White Plains, N.Y., Chevy Sonic, 14, -39.896.
15. TCB, (22), David Alejandro(R), Pembrook Pines, Fla., Mazda2, 14, -40.272.
16. TCB, (30), Jack Murray(R), Montgomery, Texas, Fiat 500, 14, -54.722.
17. TCB, (29), J.G. Pasterjak, Palm Coast, Fla., Ford Fiesta, 14, -55.203.
18. TCB, (32), Jim Cleveland(R), Queensland Australia, , Fiat 500, 14, -56.907.
19. TCB, (31), Fernando Seferlis(R), Panama, , Honda Fit, 14, -1:10.801.
20. TCB, (33), Brian Fowler(R), Weston, Fla., Ford Fiesta, 4, Mech.
21. TCB, (34), Johan Schwartz, Denmark, , Mini Cooper, 0, DNS.

Time of race: 26 minutes, 11.288 seconds.
Average speed: 82.773 mph
Margin of victory: .888 Seconds (TC), .290 Seconds (TCB)
Lap leaders: Laps 1-6, #1 Michael Cooper; laps 7-11, #33 Tristan Herbert; laps 12-16, #1 Michael Cooper (TC), Laps 1-12 Lipperini, 13-15 Francis Jr.
Fastest race lap: #33 Tristan Herbert, 1:35.293 (85.303 mph) (TC), #37 Robbie Davis, 1:48.424 (74.972 mph) (TCB)
Fastest qualifier: #1 Michael Cooper, 1:33.933 (86.538 mph) (TC), #98 Francis Jr. 1:48.380 (75.002 mph) (TCB)

Results from Saturday's Round 10, 15 lap 33.87 mile Pirelli World Challenge Championship Pirelli World Challenge TC/TCB Round 10 race, part of the Honda Indy 200 presented by StopTech Brakes at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, with finishing position, class, starting position in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, laps and reason out (if any).

1. TC, (1), Michael Cooper, Syosset, N.Y., Mazda3, 15.
2. TC, (5), Ryan Winchester, Mason City, Iowa, Honda Civic Si, 15, -2.566.
3. TC, (2), Tristan Herbert, Reston, Va., Volkswagen Jetta GLI, 15, -2.738.
4. TC, (3), Brett Sandberg, Allendale, N.J., Honda Civic Si, 15, -7.284.
5. TC, (4), Remo Ruscitti(R), Vancouver, Calif., Honda Civic Si, 15, -8.111.
6. TC, (7), Ray Mason, Columbus, Ohio, Honda Civic Si, 15, -13.226.
7. TC, (8), Fred Emich, Denver, Colo., Volkswagen Jetta GLI, 15, -17.323.
8. TC, (9), Sarah Cattaneo, Scottsdale, Ariz., Honda Civic Si, 15, -17.634.
9. TC, (6), Jon Miller, Orlando, Fla., Honda Civic Si, 15, -20.537.
10. TC, (10), Russell Smith, Bermuda, , Kia Forte Koup, 15, -26.059.
11. TC, (11), Branden Peterson, Breckenridge, Colo., Honda Civic, 15, -41.123.
12. TC, (12), Nic Jonsson, Sweden, , Kia Forte Koup, 0, DNS.
13. TC, (13), Patrick Gallagher, Thornville, Ohio, Mazda MX-5, 0, DNS.

1. TCB, (20), Robbie Davis, Dallas, Texas, Mini Cooper, 14.
2. TCB, (17), Tyler Palmer(R), Oceanside, Calif., BMW Mini Cooper, 14, -.286.
3. TCB, (23), Dave Rosenblum, Langhorn, Pa., Ford Fiesta, 14, -14.271.
4. TCB, (16), Joel Lipperini, Pittston, Pa., Honda Fit, 14, -14.726.
5. TCB, (22), Shea Holbrook, Groveland, Fla., Honda Fit, 14, -16.709.
6. TCB, (15), Ernie Francis(R), Davis, Fla., Mazda2, 14, -16.859.
7. TCB, (26), Chris Capaldi, Armada, Mich., Ford Fiesta, 14, -22.390.
8. TCB, (25), ED Magner, Portage, Mich., Mini Cooper, 14, -22.526.
9. TCB, (21), Jon Krolewicz(R), Concord, N.C., Honda Fit, 14, -23.051.
10. TCB, (19), Jonathan Baker, Hollywood, Calif., Honda Fit, 14, -23.617.
11. TCB, (18), Peter Schwartzott_Sr, White Plains, N.Y., Chevrolet Sonic, 14, -23.721.
12. TCB, (24), P J Groenke, Toronto, Ontario, Honda Fit, 14, -24.208.
13. TCB, (32), Fernando Seferlis(R), Panama, , Honda Fit, 14, -27.271.
14. TCB, (27), Peter Schwartzott(R), White Plains, N.Y., Chevy Sonic, 14, -33.235.
15. TCB, (30), J.G. Pasterjak, Palm Coast, Fla., Ford Fiesta, 14, -45.166.
16. TCB, (28), David Alejandro(R), Pembrook Pines, Fla., Mazda2, 12, Crash.
17. TCB, (29), Jack Murray(R), Montgomery, Texas, Fiat 500, 12, -2 lap.
18. TCB, (14), Ernie Francis_Jr(R), Davie, Fla., Mazda2, 11, -3 lap.
19. TCB, (33), Brian Fowler(R), Weston, Fla., Ford Fiesta, 8, Mech.
20. TCB, (31), Jim Cleveland(R), Queensland Australia, , Fiat 500, 0, Crash.
21. TCB, (34), Johan Schwartz, Denmark, , Mini Cooper, 0, DNS.

Time of race: 26 minutes, 10.731 seconds.
Average speed: 77.627 mph
Margin of victory: 2.566 Seconds (TC), 0.286 Seconds (TCB)
Lap leaders: Laps 1-15, #1 Michael Cooper (TC), Laps 1-14, #37 Robbie Davis (TCB)
Fastest race lap: #33 Tristan Herbert, 1:34.662 (85.871 mph) (TC), #11 Jack Murray, 1:48.482 (74.932 mph) (TCB)
Fastest qualifier: #1 Michael Cooper (TC), #98 Ernie Francis Jr. (TCB)

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