The draft at Auto Club Speedway can work in your favor or very much against you. When NASA SoCal Spec Miata driver Ryan Pond took the white flag, he was in the lead on the front straightaway, but because the two cars behind him bump-drafted to catch up to Pond, his lead evaporated in the infield.
Biding his time, Pond watched the two new leaders battle each other and used the time-tested strategy in the last series of turns to get around them and take the win in a photo finish at the line.
“I didn’t really want to be in third. My goal would have been to be in second, but first and second were battling too hard, so they were side by side in the last three corners onto the main straight,” Pond said afterward. “My only chance was if I pulled back and I tried to get my best exit onto the main straight. And I had enough. I thought I was going to have to push someone into the lead, but I just went for it. I went the long way. I wasn’t sure it was going to work. I thought, ‘I’m either going to come in first or third.’”