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May 10, 2014 - 06:20 AM
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Exclusive Autosport Off To Strong Start In 2014
Posted by: newsla on May 10, 2014 - 06:17 AM
Support Series News
Exclusive Autosport Off To Strong Start In 2014


Exclusive Autosport, the North American Spectrum factory team, burst on to the Canadian Formula 1600 racing scene in 2013 with an impressive four-car entry winning multiple Canadian championships. The opening rounds of the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship took place this past weekend (May 2-4) at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. Exclusive Autosport returned to defend their 2013 Toyo Tires F1600 Championship with a solid four-car driver line up. The team collectively captured four podiums, two pole positions and 8 top ten finishes in the opening two rounds of the championship series. Exclusive Autosport drivers are sitting first (Tristan DeGrand), tied for second (Jeffrey Kingsley), fourth (Max Hanratty) and seventh (Jayson Clunie) in the A-class championship standings after two races.

 

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Team veteran, Tristan DeGrand (Eureka, MO) in his #93 Exclusive Autosport / Spectrum / Honda topped the time sheets in every practice session and showed the field that despite a break from driving of over seven months, he is a 3championship contender. Conditions over the weekend were less than ideal, wet and cold – miserable for most. Not for Tristan, who thanks to years of experience karting is a master in the rain. He captured the pole position for both Race 1 and Race 2 and went on to lead the field from flag to flag during Saturday and Sunday to capture back-to-back wins and an early lead in the championship.

“It was great getting back in the Exclusive Autosport Spectrum Honda and back on track. I am really happy with the results this weekend. I really couldn’t have done much better, two poles and two wins. We have started the season off in the right direction, great seat time and points in the championship. I would like to thank Exclusive Autosport and the crew for everything. The crew works incredibly hard to give not only me, but my teammates also the best cars possible. I would also like to thank my parents and family for their support and sponsors and partners, Exclusive Autosport, Exclusive Management Inc., Spectrum, Sparco, Honda HPD and Pro-Am Golf,” said Tristan DeGrand.

Max Hanratty (Hartland, WI) in his second year of open wheel racing is also an Exclusive Autosport veteran. Hanratty in the #91 Juniper Networks / Exclusive Autosport / Spectrum / Honda started the weekend off on the right path with a strong performance in opening qualifying session. Unfortunately there was an incident on track that brought out a yellow flag in turn 1. He wasn’t able to react in time and was handed a penalty for passing under yellow. He started the race from the rear of the field for Race 1 and moved through 12 cars up to 8th position in only a few laps. Time racing under the green flag was limited and he wasn’t able to advance further than 8th.

For Hanratty, Saturday was a tough day - he was disappointed in his results. Sunday was a new day and a determined Hanratty set out on a mission to find the podium. He qualified in 6th position for the start of Race 2 in wet conditions. At the drop of the flag Hanratty began his charge and moved through fifth, fourth, third and second positions in the first two laps. He began to build a gap between himself and his teammate Jeffrey Kingsley who held third position. At the checkered, Hanratty was second (behind DeGrand) and captured his first podium of 2014. The positive momentum that was created during this opening weekend will be used to Hanratty’s advantage for rounds three and four of the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship as well as the opening round of the Formula 1600 Super Series at CTMP May 13-15.

“Having already driven CTMP multiple times I came into the weekend confident. Friday was a solid day for us as we were able to get reacquainted with the track and put down some quick times. As the rain rolled in Saturday I struggled to find good pace, but worked hard to adapt to the conditions and further my experience in the rain. Due to an on-track incident in qualifying I had to start from the rear of the field. In race one I was able to drive through the field to an 8th place finish. Sunday mornings qualifying for race two was on a damp track and I struggled to put down solid times and ended up 6th on the time sheets. I came into race two Sunday hungry for a better finishing position and was able to make multiple passes and finish on the podium in 2nd place. The #91 Juniper Networks / Exclusive Autosport / Spectrum / Sparco / Exclusive Management Inc. / Honda was incredible all weekend. It was a huge learning weekend for myself as I was able to get more seat time in wet conditions. I want to thank the entire Exclusive Autosport team and crew for all their hard work all weekend. I also want to thank my sponsor Juniper Networks for the support and making all this possible, “ said Max Hanratty.

15-year old rookie driver, Jeffrey Kingsley is making the transition from karts to open-wheel cars this year and is already turning heads. The opening rounds of the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship marked Kingsley’s first weekend competing with Exclusive Autosport in Canada. Kingsley ensured that each minute on track was used to familiarize himself with the track as well as adapt to the conditions. He had a strong first qualifying session putting his #92 Exclusive Autosport / Spectrum / Honda F1600 on the third row in 5th to start the opening race. In his first open-wheel race in the rain, Kingsley drove confidently up to 3rd position where he took the checkered flag.

He continued to progress on Sunday starting on the front row in P2 beside his teammate Tristan DeGrand. In the opening laps of the race, Kinglsey was passed by teammate Hanratty and slid into third position. The on track battle between the third though seventh pack of cars was intense. Kingsley was in the thick of things, exchanging positions within the pack numerous times as the race went on. When the white flag flew to signal the final lap, Kingsley had his #92 sitting solid in third position. It appeared it was going to be an all Exclusive Autosport podium. He got held up in turn 9 by lapped traffic. Another competitor slid past him in turn ten - Kingsley finished just off the podium in fourth.

“This weekend was the first round of the Toyo Tire F1600 Championship Series and we finished with strong results. The team and I picked up solids points, which will help me in the championship. This was my first time at CTMP in a Spectrum, on Toyo Tires and in the rain. I wasn’t sure how things would play out, however I used my karting knowledge (of racing in the rain) to my benefit. Track conditions changed throughout each session and throughout the weekend, which added a level of difficulty. We will continue to work on consistency and get some wins! Overall it was a great weekend where I learned a lot and got a lot of seat time in my #92 Exclusive Autosport / Spectrum / Sparco / Exclusive Management Inc. / Honda Racing HPD / Whitby Toyota Scion F1600. I'd like to say thanks to Michael Duncalfe, Remi Lanteigne and the rest of the hard working Exclusive Autosport team. I can't wait till the first Super Series race in two weeks at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park!” said Jeffrey Kingsley.

Jayson Clunie (Prince Albert, SK) driver of the #90 Exclusive Autosport / Spectrum / Honda F1600 knew he had a big weekend ahead of him as the opening rounds at CTMP also marked his first appearance at the track and on the spec series Toyo Tires. For the past two season, Clunie has been competing full time in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC). He is making the transition from sports cars back into open-wheel racing. Clunie had the pace in the dry, however struggled in the changing track conditions. He qualified in eighth position during Saturday’s wet qualifying session. He advanced a position during the race to finish seventh. For Race 2 Sunday, Clunie qualified in 11th and drove up to eighth position. Clunie ended the weekend with two solid top ten finishes and solid championship points.

“The cars and team were once again a pleasure to work with. I had never been to CTMP before, so learning the track, combined with ever-changing conditions was the challenge that I had to overcome. I should have pushed harder in qualifying and been able to start a little closer to the front in the races. The other thing I need to work on at the start of the races is that this is sprint racing, not endurance racing like I have been doing in CTSCC, and my aggressiveness needs to be amped up at the start! All in all I am happy with the weekend results and am looking forward to getting back in the car at CTMP in two weeks,” said Jayson Clunie.

Exclusive Autosport returns to Canadian Tire Motorsports Park May 16-18 for the second and third round of the Toyo Tires F1600 Championship as well as the opening rounds of the Formula 1600 Super Series.

Follow the Exclusive Autosport team and drivers on Twitter and Facebook.

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