|July 11, 1998 - Pikes Peak International Raceway - Round Seven (50 Laps)|
Newest Oval Master
Joey Hand, of Elk Grove, Calif., really had to work hard to beat a stellar field of Star Mazda racers, including Stacy Suspension System teammates Ian Lacy, who claimed the pole and early race lead and Sara Senske, whose third-place performance was the first podium position for a female driver at Pikes Peak. The rest of the top five finishers consisted of series veterans and another S3 driver, Kevin Jenkins, who challenged Hand relentlessly, and Valley Motor Center's Jim Hall II, whose race fast lap was 0.102sec quicker than Lacy's pole-setting qualifying time.
Hand, who qualified seventh in the 30-car field, fought every driver's temptation--changing the car's set-up for the race. "Everyone talks about a qualifying and race set-ups," said the seven-time Grand National go-kart champion, who works as an instructor for the Emmick Driving School. "Heck, we just left it alone, which I thought would net us a top five car, but not a winning car. Luckily, it just got faster and faster in the race. In fact, I ran a lap that was four-tenths quicker than my qualifying time."
It was a good, clean start with the top five-Lacy, Jenkins (up from third), Senske, Hall and Hand-jumping out front, pulling Bruno Lambert, Michael Potekhen, Taylor Fletcher and Mikel Miller along until the fifth lap when the yellow came out for an incident involving 18th-fast qualifier Will Hill. Lacy held the point when the green came out again, but Hand had blasted by Jenkins and Senske into second. On lap 14, Jenkins re-claimed second-albeit briefly while Hall, Senske, and especially Hand, kept the pressure on.
Some of that pressure was temporarily relieved when the yellow came out for the second time when Brian Willman touched the wall in Turn Four. Hand took this break in the action to formulate a strategy, which he put into action when the green flew and he got by Lacy on lap 28 to lead to the checker on lap 50. There was one more short yellow condition, however, before the end of the race for Potekhen, who was running sixth when he made contact with the Turn Four wall (fortunately, all the drivers involved in on-track incidents were not injured), but Hand defended his position.
Behind Hand, however, Senske had worked her way back up to third, claiming the position from Lacy on lap 42. Hall rounded out the top five with Taylor Fletcher turning in a very impressive sixth-place run after a disappointing last outing on an oval-at Phoenix Int'l Raceway for the season opener. Nick Steele ran as far back as 15th, but worked his way back up to seventh at the checker. Fellow Valley Motor Center driver Daniel Muniz was eighth with Jason Storace coming from 15th on the grid to finish ninth and Lambert rounding out the top 10 finishers.
Top 10 Pont Standings (After 7 of 13 rounds):
1. Lacy, 179; 2. Miller, 168; 3. Hand, 146; 4. Hall II, 145; 5. Jenkins, 141; 6. Bucknum, 139; 7. Muniz, 136; 8. Senske, 126; 9. Steele, 121; 10. Snyder, 96.
Top 5 Master Series Point Standings (After 7 of 13 rounds):
1. Hatle, 112; 2. McCormick, 76; 3. Hill, 71; 4. Weyland & Mabey, 67.
|5th||Jim Hall II|
|Time of Race: 45m58.651s
Race Average Speed: 87.909mph
Lap Leaders: Lacy 1-27; Hand 28-50
Fastest Lap: Hall II, 27.933 (128.881mph)
Margin of Victory: 2.012sec