VIR Cup Series – Race #1 & #2 brings multiple lead changes and blistering track records.

Sunny and clear skies greeted the drivers for the first round of the VIR Cup Spec:RaceAtom series presented by Honda Racing/HPD.  Temperatures in the mid-60s were present for the first practice session of the year just past 9am on Saturday.  This quickly changed with the mercury rising to just below 90 degrees for the rest of the day.

2 practice sessions allowed the drivers to get acquainted with the new Hoosier R7 spec tire prior to a 20 minute qualifying session around the twisty, undulating VIR South Course.  Qualifying took place in the heat of the day around 1pm with the race scheduled to take a green flag shortly after at 2:20pm.  Craig Reynolds in the #65 set the pace during qualifying with a time of 1:13.067; a time already under the Spec:RaceAtom race record.

Race #1 for the 2015 season took the green at 2:23pm and continued non-stop for 18 action filled laps.  Multiple lead changes occurred with Tyson Bytzek, Craig Reynolds, and Richard Thomas all taking a turn at the front of the grid. As the checkered flag was thrown it was Tyson Bytzek who took the win followed by Richard Thomas and Drew Heffring to round out the podium.  Bytzek bettered the previous race record he had set in 2013 to a time of 1:12.947.

Top 10 – Race #1

1.       Tyson Bytzek
2.       Richard Thomas
3.       Drew Heffring
4.     John Williams
5.     Peter Heffring
6.     Steve Gugenheim
7.     John Won
8.     Bryan Yates
9.     Kris Gustafson
10.   Craig Reynolds

Hot conditions again were present for Race #2 held on Sunday, yet with slightly cloudy skies blocking the sun early in the day.  Qualifying took place at 12 noon with another 20 minute open session available to drivers to log their fastest lap to set the grid.  Bytzek and Reynolds were again quickest, however swapping sides of the front row from the previous day.  Peter Heffring made a great lap to put him in third starting position for Race #2.

Bytzek and Reynolds led the field to the green flag and quickly engaged in a back and forth battle swapping the led on numerous occasions.  Lap 2 saw contact between the #36 of Drew Heffring and the #87 of Steve Gugenheim which ultimately ended the day for Gugenheim with right front damage.  With the race re-started the lead changes continued to occur between Bytzek and Reynolds, while just behind that Thomas, Heffring, and Chip Huff battled for the final podium position. 

After 18 laps the top 3 were Bytzek, Reynolds, and Thomas.  Craig Reynolds bested the lap record set the previous day by Bytzek dropping the South Course record to a blistering 1:12.710.

Top 10 – Race #2

1.      Tyson Bytzek
2.     Craig Reynolds
3.    Richard Thomas
4.    Peter Heffring
5.    Chip Huff
6.    John Williams
7.    John Won
8.    David Davidian
9.    Bryan Yates
0.   Drew Heffring