|June 26 , 1999 - Pikes Peak International Raceway|
Enoch's Oval Dominance Continues At Pikes Peak
Picking up where he left off at Phoenix International Raceway in May, Tim Enoch added a third win to his 1999 Star Mazda resume and climbed to the top of the point standings for both the West Division series and the six-race Best Western championship.
"This was the most exciting race I've had all year," said the Mission Viejo, Calif. resident, whose first Mazda win came at Road Atlanta in April. "We may not have been the quickest car, but I had the best overall car. It worked everywhere, which made it easy for me." Enoch, in fact, set the sixth fastest lap in the race with Sara Senske posting the quickest lap time.
Having a cooperative race car is especially important at Pikes Peak, where the one-mile oval configuration challenges even the most savvy drivers and knowledgeable crew chiefs. "I was struggling with a little push, so we took off the Gurney flaps for qualifying," said Enoch, who drives under the Valley Motor Center canopy. "Then, it was too loose, so we put them back on for the race."
Enoch certainly didn't coast to the finish unchallenged as post-race reports from drivers described wheel-to-wheel racing throughout the field, especially up front among Enoch, Sports Car Ltd.'s Mike Potekhen and Stacy Suspension Systems' (S3) Senske.
"I was side-by-side with Mike for a long time and then Sara came up to challenge both of us," Enoch said. "It was really something else out there for a while."
Qualifying on the pole was S3's Joey Hand, who was gobbled up by seventh-fast qualifier Potekhen and fifth-fast Enoch by lap three. With Hand still holding onto third, Senske blasted forward from sixth, temporarily displacing Brandon Peterson and Bruno Lambert from the top five. But, all this movement was slowed by an early yellows, first for an incident involving Dick Downs, Dan Weyland (on lap three) and then for Matt Beardsley, whose solo spin brought out the caution on lap 14.
On lap 20, with Potekhen out front, the race went green for good. Enoch, though, was putting pressure on Potekhen as the pair swapped the lead numerous times. Enoch finally got ahead on lap 30, holding onto the top position to lap 50 and the checkered flag.
"Even behind Mike when I was worried about the air flow over the front wing, the car was still good," Enoch said.
Potekhen reported he didn't get the kind of breaks in traffic that Enoch did. "My car was really good for the race, but I got stuck in traffic a couple times when Tim got through," said Potekhen, who impressed all with his seventh- to third-place blast to the front on the start. "I caught the traffic, but I stayed with Tim. The car was working better alone, which is why I would have preferred to be out front by myself!"
The six-car train that composed the front pack--Enoch, Potekhen, Senske, Peterson, Jeff Bucknum and Hand traded positions throughout the closing laps of the race. Enoch, however, pulled out a slight lead over Potekhen around lap 41, just as the battle for the final podium position was just heating up. Senske, who had gotten by Potekhen for second, lost the position back to Potekhen and then had to defend third from Bucknum and Peterson in the closing laps.
In the Star Mazda Series Best Western Championship points race, Enoch now leads Hand 121 to 115 with Bucknum third at 112. Fourth in points is Potekhen with 101, followed by a tie for fifth between Lambert and Senske at 96.
In Star Mazda Series West Division Championship point standings, Enoch is also in the lead with 156 points. Second is Hand at 155 with Potekhen third at 144. Bucknum is fourth with 132 and Senske rounds out the top five at 128.
This race is scheduled to be televised on espn2 on Friday, Aug. 20, at 6:30 p.m. EST, with a second air date of Aug. 24. Please double check your local listings to confirm dates and time of broadcast.
The fourth round of the Star Mazda Series Best Western Championship is slated for July 24 at Sears Point. The fifth round of the Star Mazda Series West Division championship will take place July 17, at the new Irwindale oval in Southern California. For more information about either the Star Mazda Series Best Western Championship or Star Mazda Series West Division Championship, please contact series administrator Gary Rodrigues at (818) 909-5319. -Jane Anderson
Best Western Championship Top
10 Point Standings
West Division Championship Top 10 Point Standings
|17th||Joe Brandise Jr.|
of Race: 32m27.772s
Race Average Speed: 92.413 mph
Lap Leaders: Hand 1-2, Potekhen 3-21, 23-29, Enoch 22, 30-50
Fastest Lap: Senske, 28.032
Margin of Victory: 1.457 secinds