This story started what feels like a year ago at the season opener at Homestead-Miami Speedway, for the opening two rounds of the 2017 GPFour season! After getting a bit of a late start the team really worked well together to get the cars prepared and ready to be on track.
The weekend started with a quick practice session that the team was pleased with. We had done no testing prior to this event and had to rely on old notes an instincts to get the cars to the pointy end of the grid. The first race of the weekend had a very exciting start as our driver, Becker Reardon, was headed to the front very early on. A slight mistake resulting in a spin caused Becker to stall the car and he could not get it re-fired, ending his day early. Austin McCusker had a great first race placing 5th and gaining some good information for the team to use to make valuable improvements. Becker knew his car was capable of winning, as did Austin, and they were both ready to prove that point on Sunday for the final race of the weekend.
The 2nd and final race of the weekend began a lot like the first with very aggressive moves throughout the field as everyone tried to capitalize on everyone being so close before other classes caught the pack and made things more difficult. After a few laps of very intense racing the leaders encountered some traffic and got tangled up with each other allowing all three Primus Racing machines to work into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. The green flag flew for the restart and the Primus teammates were being smart, staying in line and using each others drafts to gain some room between themselves and the rest of the pack. Justin Gordon, driver of the Primus Racing #2, made a slight mistake while trying to move forward and fell into the clutches of the hard charging second group where he would fight and defend for the remainder of the event. All eyes then turned to the front where Becker and Austin were batting it out for the lead, swapping position multiple times per lap. Unfortunately, this allowed for the pack to catch up and Paul Schneider to slip by and take the win with Austin McCusker in second and Becker Reardon in third. Justin Gordon fought his way back to sixth and was happy to have learned a lot of good information for the team. The team was happy with the results but knew we had our work cut out for us as the series was expected to grow a bit for the next event at Sebring.
Just a few short days later the team arrived for setup day in Sebring. A change in the driver lineup was to take place so the team worked to fit Flinn Lazier into the Primus Racing #6 entry. Everyone worked very hard and methodically through the test and practice days leading up to qualifying and Round 3 on Saturday afternoon. After the morning qualifying session it was discovered that the #16 car of Becker Reardon had encountered a critical gearbox failure that would not be repairable for the balance of the weekend. Becker and the team were naturally not happy about this but were pleased that before the failure the #16 was on the pace and looking poised to take the fight to the front of the pack. The #6 of Flinn Lazier qualified second and the #2 of Justin Gordon qualified 6th after just having a new engine installed due to an engine failure on Friday.
The first race of the weekend (Round 3) was a thriller to say the least. After some good battles for the first half of the race a full course yellow came out giving everyone a very good opportunity to make up some ground they may have lost. With not much time left in the race this would be the pivotal moment of the race. The green flag was called and Flinn emerged in the lead with Justin in third. Both Flinn and Justin drove a great final stint and managed to keep both cars on the podium giving Primus Racing its first win and double podium of 2017, a great result for everyone on the team!
The final round of the weekend, Round 4 for the season, was sure to be an exciting race as well. The field took the green and fanned out down the front straight, Kerry Jacobson who started on pole was forced to the inside of the track to defend as everyone behind tried to work their way forward. Flinn took his #6 to the top of the track to get the best approach possible into turn 1 and was able to pull off the move and emerge into the lead! Headed into turn 1 just a lap later a suspension failure would end what looked to be his race to win. A few laps later a red flag was thrown due to some damage on course, bringing all the cars to pit lane. Justin Gordon was able to keep his streak of coming through the field alive and was stopped in the 4th position when the red was thrown. When the cars rolled off of pit lane there was still plenty of time left for Justin to continue his excellent drive. After another excellent restart he was able to hang on to 3rd position giving him two podium finishes for the weekend.
It was definitely a crazy start to the 2017 season for everyone. If these races are any indication of how the rest of the 2017 edition of the GPFour championship will play out we are all in for a very exciting year! The series has a bit of time off now but will resume in March at Road Atlanta! Be sure to stay tuned, you won’t want to miss this!
For more information on the GPFour championship be sure to visit www.gpfourinfo.com!