While Eric Wagner’s 1340 championship was in the bag, the 1500 and Masters classes were still undecided heading into the final round, with the latter a four-way fight between Judd Miller, Jim Booth, Terry Olson and Will Lin.
The caliber of the Masters field was further bolstered this weekend by two RXCs driven by Charlie Ferer (Paradise Greens / ATALSOL) and Conrad Park (Esses Racing), the international pairing of Mark Crader and Alex Mortimer as well as Porsche GT3 Cup winner Riley Dickinson.
Jim Booth (McDonald’s / WISKO Racing) appeared to be the strongest of the championship contenders during Thursday’s wet practice sessions, but it was young-gun Dickinson who claimed first bragging rights, qualifying on pole. Race 1 also looked to be his, with the Moorespeed driver setting the fastest lap while leading during the opening laps before a brake issue took him out of contention. A few laps later Booth suffered the same fate, which was a huge blow to his championship hopes.
Meanwhile points leader Judd Miller was having a change of fortune. After skipping qualifying to focus on fixing an issue, he carved his way back up through the field in a drive showing how deserved he was of the class championship. With just laps to go, the Esses’ driver passed Will Lin (Radical Northwest / Cameron Racing / RISE) for the Masters class lead and then Jordan Missig for the outright lead to take his seventh win of the season¬. Mark Crader completed the Masters podium, while Terry Olson also recovered from the back of the grid to be fourth in class.
Lady luck continued to abandon Dickinson in race two. As the field received the green, the polesitter had his drivetrain let go. This left Miller to lead every lap, with the win all but sealing his crown. He was once again joined on the podium by Lin (second) and Crader (third).
With two strong results Lin was now in reach of second place in the Masters drivers’ championship, and perhaps more importantly his team Radical Northwest had the ability to overhaul WISKO Racing for the team championship. This outcome looked certain on the opening lap of Race 3 when Booth was sent into a spin through the esses, however with moments to go an alternator issue left Lin sidelined and secured the Booth second in the drivers’ championship and WISKO the team championship.
Alex Mortimer put in a solid opening stint to hand teammate Mark Crader the lead during the round of mandatory pit stops. However with just laps to spare Dickinson claimed the top spot. After an outstanding race, which included miraculously making up 24 positions on the opening lap and circulating over a second a lap faster than his Masters class rivals, series debutant Riley Dickinson claimed his first Radical Cup win.
On the final tour Mark Crader found the gravel trap, but Terry Olson still gave Radical’s Texas dealer Moorespeed a one-two finish, while Conrad Park (Esses Racing) claimed third. And while Judd Miller may have finished just off the podium, the points haul was more than enough to secure him the drivers’ championship to the delight of a huge crowd of friends and family.
After taking victory in all three races at Sonoma, 1500 driver Jordan Missig came to COTA determined to make up the points deficit to Antoine Comeau. While possible, the Team Stradale young gun would need to do everything right, and have everything go wrong for his rival. Missig took the class pole in qualifying but Comeau managed to jump ahead at the start of Race 1. However Missig immediately went on the attack and dispatched Comeau on the second tour. Clearly a man on a mission, Missig’s pace meant he led outright for much of the race and he claimed his fourth win in a row. Finishing second Comeau moved one step closer to the championship, while WISKO Racing’s Gustavo Rafols continued his strong season with a third-place finish.
The fight between Missig and Comeau raged again in Race 2, but this time it was Comeau who came out on top. Rafols completed the podium once more, while George Kurtz (Crowdstrike / One Motorsports) was the best of the rest after a great race with Indy Al Miller (Blue Marble Cocktails / One Motorsports) and Louis Schriber (Shorewood Development / Team Stradale).
The victory sealed the 1500 class title and outright drivers’ championship for Comeau, however the battle between Turn 3 and Team Stradale for team honors was still very much alive.
Race three started disastrously for a number of the 1500 drivers. Alan Metni (Esses Racing), Tad Cusack (Moorespeed) and Philip Berber (Esses Racing) came together on the front straight, before Missig was turned around in Turn 1. However, aided by a strong pitstop he stormed back into contention and by mid-race was on Comeau’s tail. On the penultimate lap with Missig swarming behind, Comeau went into a spin. It was unclear whether the pair had touched, but Comeau was convinced they had. In any event Missig was the winner. Indy Al Miller capitalized on Comeau’s demise to finish second, and the albeit bittersweet third place for Comeau clinched Turn 3 the Team championship. Rounding out the top five in the 1500 class were Crowdstrike / One Motorsports teammates George Kurtz (4th) and Gerhard Watzinger (5th).
In the 1340 class it was up to Ron Keith (Radical Canada East, MBRP) to collect enough points to topple an absent Chris Souliotis (Bite Racing) from second place in the championship. However in qualifying it was Team Stradale’s Mike Anzaldi, who claimed the point for class pole. Keith’s teammate Kevin Poitras (Radical Canada East, Post Plastics) took charge during the opening lap and went on to win Race 1 to the dismay of Anzaldi, whom after the race conceded he’d never realized he’d been passed. Keith meanwhile sustained significant pressure from Eric Wagner (Turn 3 Motorsport / Eastern) to secure third place. John Rante (Team Stradale) and Raffi Nalbandian (Radical Canada East /emzone) completed the top six.
Poitras continued his winning ways in Race 2, fending off Rante, with the gap just 1.6 seconds as the checkered flag flew. Keith again completed the 1340 class podium, while rookie Brandon Davis (Radical Canada East) impressed with a top six finish.
Heading into Race 3 Ron Keith had to place first or second to finish as the championship runner-up. After the pitstops Keith came out behind teammate Poitras but, perhaps with team orders playing a role, Keith piped Poitras at the line to take the win, and more importantly second in the championship. 1340 class champion Eric Wagner finished on the podium in a fitting end to his solid season. His Turn 3 team also secured the class team championship.
The celebrations continued late into Saturday evening at the Night of Champions awards banquet, held at Chef Tim Love’s Colorado Lease in the heart of Austin. Long time Radical team-owner and supporter of the series Jeff Shafer (One Motorsports) was honored with the prestigious Jeff Green Memorial Award, while Radical Northwest’s Kyle Welch received recognition as Crew Member of the Year and Ron Keith picked up Rookie of the Year.
The Blue Marble Cocktails Radical Cup was also well represented in the 24H Series race with Greg Gorski (Smoke Buddy / One Motorsports) winning the SPX class driving a Lamborghini Huracán with Leipert Motorsport.
Results can be downloaded from https://getraceresults.com/Results/organisator/2019?evenement=24H+Series&race=Hankook+24H+COTA+USA+2019
Watch the full coverage of all three races again on Radical's YouTube channel at:
- Race 1 https://youtu.be/rXYJqnYYcXw
- Race 2 https://youtu.be/MQwKqLGfT8k
- Race 3 https://youtu.be/C6vP-sTYQ4E
or by clicking on the video panes below.RADICAL CUP NORTH AMERICA