|HUERTA TAKES IRONMAN R5; MYERS CLINCHES CHAMPIONSHIP|
This past weekend saw yet another great round of Ironman Enduro racing as up and comer Chris Huerta captured victory after 50 straight minutes of nose-to-tail racing with a last lap pass for the win, edging longtime standout Jon Kimbrell in the process. Ultimately, it was a strong P3 finish for veteran Bill Myers in the feisty 21 kart field that would clinch him the 2013 Championship with still one round to go.
Huerta would start the day strong out of the box, as he would grab pole position in the 10-minute session by just over a tenth of second on rookie Andrew Lemons. Jon Kimbrell, Bill Myers, and Justin Tolman would round out the Top 5. Myers’ main rival in the championship hunt, Steve Spring, would have his work cut out for him as he would line up 9th on the grid, having tied Vince Burke with a 1:04.412 best time, but losing out on the tie-breaker of second best lap.
With the grid now set, the field would have their first attempt at the two-by-two rolling start waived off by track officials as the speed to the green was deemed too quick. Things would come together nicely on the second pass and the race would go green as both rows navigated their gingerly through the first few corners before settling in. Bruce Allen would be the first driver to dive for pit lane on lap one to complete the mandatory drive thru, but would quickly find himself as the only person with that game plan, leaving him draft-less for much of the early going. Up front Kimbrell, Huerta, and Myers would trade time at the point as they tried to sort things out between them. Ultimately it would be Kimbrell leading the train for much of the race with Huerta, then Myers, falling in line to work the draft.
With the lead trio now working closely together clicking off lap after lap, the battle for P4 thru P8 would begin to develop into an intense one as Spring, Tolman, Lemons, Burke, and Chris Carter all found themselves in contention as pit stops started to shake out. Back up front, Myers would be the first to peel off for the pit lane after loosing a bit of ground to his rivals, leaving Kimbrell and Huerta as the last two needing to do so. With just a handful of laps remaining, Huerta would make his stop, Kimbrell following suit just a couple laps later. Kimbrell would rejoin just a hair ahead of Huerta as the two now had lap traffic to deal with. Both would weave their way thru unscathed, setting up a battle for the win.
With the white flag signaling the last lap of the race, Kimbrell would have just .7 of a mile left to hold off Huerta for the win. No move would come thru the first half of the lap, as Huerta sized Kimbrell up for an all to familiar last corner pass, however he would throw a curveball at the multi-time champ as a bold move would come several corners early. Huerta would dive to the inside of Kimbrell upon entry into the famed ‘Horseshoe’ corner, catching the veteran by surprise. Huerta would take the advantage into the final corner and onto the front stretch, not allowing Kimbrell the chance to counter, claiming his first win in the series, with Myers crossing in an uncontested P3 podium position.
Further back, the battle was far from over in the five-way battle for P4. Spring, sitting P2 in the points, would cap off a nice run by besting the group, as Lemons, Tolman, Burke, and Carter all crossed the stripe within half a second of one another in a thrilling finish. The excitement would be short lived for Lemons in an unfortunate turn however, as he came up just a half pound light on the post race scales, disqualifying him from the official result after a nice drive on the day.
OFFICIAL TIMING RESULTS: http://www.mylaps.com/en/classification/2787953