• Guest, RaceDepartment is now on Discord!  Join Here

ATCC Round 2 @ Edmonton - Race in Review

Rhys Gardiner

Jul 8, 2008
It was Friday night - though strangely it was pure daylight - and Little Billy and his parents had arrived at Edmonton Airport for their flight to California. They were really looking forward to seeing their cashed-up relatives in Los Angeles.
But to their surprise and disbelief, the airport was closed. Aeroplanes were replaced by team trucks and lines on the runways were replaced by crash barriers and piles of tires. There wasn't a soul present, except for some excited race drivers and a headache-stricken Adam Vaughan lying just outside the doors.
"Mommy! Daddy!" Little Billy whined. "Where are all the planes? And why are there dinky little Touring Cars lining up on the runway? ...And who's that weird Welsh guy?"
"I don't know," his Father said. "None of this is making any sense. We need to complain to the management!"
"No point, mate!" A quaint, but slurry voice called from the entrance. "This is the ATCC League. There's no stoppin' it... not even for a bloody plane ride!"
With that, the disgruntled family left to see if they could refund their tickets. They had no idea what they were missing.

ATCC Round 2 at Edmonton Airport continued the amazing action and awesome racing that the last round at Mosport provided - and then some. The track is a temporary circuit, made using the runways of Edmonton City Airport, that was used for the Champ Car and Indycar series from 2007. It retains the high speeds of Mosport, but is completely flat, with barriers and surface changes everywhere. It was set to be a cracker of a race from the very start.

Race 1 got off to a great start. Brandon Lawson, the polesitter, pulled away instantly as the field got cleanly through turn 1. Of note was Keith Barrick - the championship leader pulled to the side at the start to let the field by, due to a feeling that his requalifying after a disconnection was not fair on other drivers.
Turn 2 was where the action started. Willie Watt and Bob Luneski came together at turn 2 while ahead of them the same thing happened between Michael Carver and John Sydenstricker. This sent cars spearing off in all directions. Barrick immediately moved up to 18th while later on, Jim Lee crashed his Honda into a wall. Other than that, the first lap was clean.
Some laps later, Marty Pierce and Rhys Gardiner were involved in a spot of contact, with Pierce moving down the field becase of it. The race's first casualty was Johan Bergqvist, whose Chevrolet Lacetti coasted off the track, its engine engulfed in flames. Barrick, who had moved down to P20, slowly started fighting his way back up the field. It was quite a sight to see the fastest man in the league battling with backmarkers for positions like 14th and 15th.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the field, Lawson was untouchable, taking a dominant victory.
The final shot of excitement in race 1 was when Eric Nelson ran out of fuel due to miscalculations before the race. Since he was running 6th at the time, his retirement left room for Gardiner to move up to 8th, and so take pole for Race 2.

The start of the second race was somewhat hairier than that of the first. The front end of the field got through cleanly, but in the lower positions things were heating up. Eric Nelson accidentally hit Michael Carver and was sent spinning into Bob Luneski, paying a small visit to the wall at T1. Nelson limping on, the first lap stayed clean.
Keith Barrick had, by the halfway point of the race, moved into the top 10. Ryan Callan passed Will Marquez and Abdul Ahmed, moving into P3. However, the next lap would prove to be a disaster for the Team Redstone driver. Having run a bit too close to Gardiner's biggest challenger at the time, Vincent Kan, Callan and the latter took a trip through the grass, with Ahmed becoming a sitting duck as Callan slid across the track. This left room for Michel Salvador to put the pressure on Gardiner, pulling a fantastic overtaking move in him at turn 1.
By this time, Brandon Lawson, testament to his skill, had inexplicably moved up to the top 3 and was creeping up on Salvador and Gardiner. Lawson would eventually take P1 and the race win, cementing his round victory. Rhys Gardiner had a great turn-around after his horrible round at Mosport, taking P2.

The next round in the championship is at a track which is vastly different from the last two the ATCC circus has visited. Mugello, Ferrari's personal test track and host of the Italian MotoGP, is a circuit that is very high speed, with elevation changes, long-radius hairpins and smooth chicanes aplenty. And with cars lapping at around the two-minute mark, it's sure to be quite interesting.

Congratulations to Brandon for his dominant victory, and good luck all at Mugello!

Video recap of Race 1 by Ryan Callan: http://blip.tv/file/2681183

NOTE: If you find any inconsistencies and/or errors contained in this article, please do not hesitate to contact Rhys Gardiner through RD's private messaging system.

Follow @racedepartment