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Jul 13, 2014 - 06:51 AM
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Ruscitti Completes Perfect Day With Win in First Series Start
Posted by: newsla on Jul 13, 2014 - 06:50 AM
Sports Cars
Ruscitti Completes Perfect Day With Win in First Series Start


Remo Ruscitti completed the most successful day of his young racing career Saturday by winning Round 7 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.

 

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Ruscitti, 20, from Burnaby, British Columbia, earned the victory in the No. 4 8Star Motorsports entry from the sixth position on the grid in his first career start in the series. The win came just 3 ½ hours after he drove to victory in the ST class with teammate Adam Isman in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race.

"I'm a little speechless," Ruscitti said. "We started sixth, and it was my first weekend in the car, so I wasn't expecting to be on the top step of the podium at the end here. We had really good pace toward the middle. A couple of people dropped out, and we were able to take advantage and pull away.

"It was awesome, and I can't thank everybody enough. It's sweeter that this was my first time in the car and with the fact that I won earlier today in my ST car, so it's a great day."

Robert Alon, from Encino, California, finished second in the No. 9 Performance Tech Motorsports entry, 2.095 seconds behind the winner. Ruscitti's Prototype Lites teammate, Christian Potolicchio of Hallandale Beach, Florida, finished third in the No. 2 8Star Motorsports Élan DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine, rallying from a crash in practice Thursday.

Andrew Novich, from Novato, California, finished fourth in the No. 61 Comprent Motor Sports entry. Lamont Harris rounded out a dominant performance by 8Star Motorsports, finishing fifth overall and as the first Masters driver (age 40 and older) in the team's No. 65 car.

Ruscitti prevailed after a wild 30-minute race on the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit. He took first place for the first time - and for good - when leader Craig Duerson spun off course in Turn 8 in his No. 27 Performance Tech Motorsports car with eight minutes remaining.

That was one of many incidents throughout the field, especially up front.

Pole sitter Hayden Duerson and series leader Mikhail Goikhberg didn't finish the first lap after a collision between them resulted in hard contact for both in Turn 8, giving Alon the lead.

Craig Duerson passed Alon for the lead halfway through the race but lost the top spot two laps later to Matt McMurry, 16, with 12 minutes remaining. But Duerson and Ruscitti passed McMurry two minutes later when McMurry slowed quickly due to a mechanical problem that reportedly caused fluids to leak from the rear of the No. 20 JDC Motorsports entry.

Then Duerson spun two minutes later, handing a lead to Ruscitti he would not surrender.

Michal Chlumecky, from nearby Windsor, Ontario, was the second-finishing Masters driver in the No. 31 Eurosport Racing entry. John Falb finished third in Masters in the No. 77 ONE Motorsports car.

Brian Alder, from Marysville, Ohio, was the top finisher in Lites 2 in the No. 22 BAR1 Motorsports car after a rugged duel for most of the second half of the race with Jerome Mee in the No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing entry. Mee ended up second in the class, and Todd Slusher was third in the No. 62 ONE Motorsports car.

Round 8 of the season, a 45-minute race, is scheduled to start at 9:50 a.m. (ET) Sunday. For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter.

ROUND 7 POST-RACE QUOTES:

REMO RUSCITTI (No. 4 8Star Motorsports, winner): "I'm a little speechless. We started sixth, and it was my first weekend in the car, so I wasn't expecting to be on the top step of the podium at the end here. We had really good pace toward the middle. A couple of people dropped out, and we were able to take advantage and pull away. It was awesome, and I can't thank everybody enough. It's sweeter that this was my first time in the car and with the fact that I won earlier today in my ST car, so it's a great day."

ROBERT ALON (No. 9 Performance Tech Motorsports, second): "It was a good weekend. We were fast all weekend. Performance Tech just put a great car underneath us. The whole team was fast all weekend. My two teammates ran into some problems on the track. It was definitely an interesting race, but we came out and got a good finish. It was my first time at this track, and it's a really fun track and really fast."

CHRISTIAN POTOLICCHIO (No. 2 8Star Motorsports, third): "It was a really good race. We made a change to the car for the race, so we weren't sure how it was going to work, but we are happy because it worked really well. I had a podium here last year, as well, so I am really proud of the team and all the work they have put in this weekend after my crash on Thursday."

LAMONT HARRIS (No. 65 8Star Motorsports, first, Masters): "So far, it's been an awesome weekend. This is my third year here, and I am really working on trying to be flat in (Turns) 1 and 2. It's such a great track and a great venue, and it's really fun to come up here to Canada. There were a lot of great battles out there despite the fact that the track was really greasy at the end of the day. My goal is to just get faster tomorrow."

MICHAL CHLUMECKY (No. 31 Eurosport Racing, second, Masters): "My day was great. What a great start at the beginning. The guys did such a fantastic job prepping the car all weekend. The car was just wonderful all day. Unfortunately a mishap during the practice session cost us some valuable training time, but I really have to thank Eurosport and Cooper Tires. The track was fantastic, it's a great venue, and I love being here. I am just thankful that for my second opportunity to be racing this season I am on the podium. This is a real drivers' track, and you just have to hang on!"

JOHN FALB (No. 77 ONE Motorsports, third, Masters): "It's a great track, and this is the first time I've been here. It's really intense and a lot of fun. We had some very close racing, and I just kept my head down and was able to make it up to the third step of the Masters podium. So I'm very happy about that. Turn 8 should be flat and I've done it a couple of times, but particularly in the race there was some oil down there, and we're going really fast, so I was just lucky to get through there. The tires were great. They lasted the whole time; rock solid."

BRIAN ALDER (No. 22 BAR1 Motorsports, first, Lites 2): "It got off to a slow start with the early caution, but after that, it was Jerome (Mee) and I battling it out for the last 15 minutes of the race. And he drove a great race; he was all over me. He actually got me once, but unfortunately it was right into the yellow flag, so he had to give the spot back. It was a tough race. I was watching in my mirrors the entire race, so it was good to have a great race out there, bringing the BAR1 Motorsports home on top."

JEROME MEE (No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing, second, Lites 2): "We had great pace through practice and qualifying. Coming into qualifying, 13 minutes in the pits really didn't do us any favors. I never really got a clear lap, so we got bumped on P1. We started the race off clean, and Brian (Alder) and I had a fantastic race. Best race we've had. I finally got him on (Turn) 8, only to realize it was under yellow, so I gave it back to him. Almost got him again in (Turn) 10 on the last lap, and he took the right line and I jumped the curb and spun. But I was on his tail the whole time, and you couldn't ask for a better race than that!"

TODD SLUSHER (No. 62 ONE Motorsports, third, Lites 2): "The race was great. It was very, very demanding for me. It was the first time I've driven this particular engine, this particular car. It was a lot of fun, very exciting. Very exhilarating for me, but also a little frustrating. I was hoping to do a little bit better, but I'm not complaining. I finished the race, and I'm happy."

Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda

The two classes of competition in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda series take drivers and teams down unique, exciting roads of prototype sports car racing. Nimble, high-tech, purpose-built Lites 1 machines pack in the power with a 230-horsepower, 2-liter Mazda engine designed to prepare aspiring professionals for prototype competition in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Equally capable and affordable Lites 2 machines offer world-class competition for semi-professional drivers. Both formulas take competition to the next level, producing thrilling, high-speed action at premier venues across North America.

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