While the rest of the country has been feeling the winter chill, NASA Arizona’s Honda Challenge race group spent February 8th and 9th getting busy with their second event of 2014 at Chuckwalla Valley Raceway. The H2 class featured 8 starters for the first race of the weekend. Andy Hope’s Circuit Monsters clad CRX took the pole position in qualifying, followed closely by Team KIT (P2) and Team LBR (P3). When the green flag dropped, Hope’s CRX looked like he would run away with an easy victory. Hope had a quick off and on in lap 3 which left the door open for Mervin Tan’s, Team LBR, civic hatchback to take the lead. Tan and Hope would duke it out for 14 laps and 4 different lead changes. With one lap to go, Hope’s CRX made a surgical pass in the corner that feeds the front straight away which allowed Hope to claim first place when the checked flag dropped one lap later. Mervin Tan from Team LBR followed closely in 2nd place, with Team KIT finishing in 3rd place.
Sunday’s H2 class race start looked much different with some new faces charging hard in the qualifying session. Leland Forbes’ “Green Machine” Integra posted the fastest time in qualifying, followed by Eric Dayton’s DC2 Integra in 2nd and Team KIT’s DC2 Integra in 3rd. When the green flag dropped for the race, Eric Dayton wasted no time hustling into the 1st place position on the opening lap. For the first few laps Dayton had his hands full defending his position against Forbes. Andy Hope missed qualifying and started in last place due to some transmission woes his car was experiencing. Hope sliced and diced his way through the field and presented a new problem for Eric Dayton by the middle of the race. This race would prove to be a nail biter with Hope and Dayton playing cat and mouse for the remainder of the race, but in the end Hope’s CRX would again emerge victorious taking the check flag at the end of 14 hard fought laps.
The Arizona region has seen a surge in H2 drivers teaming up to leverage time, money, and strategy. The 12 drivers spread over 9 cars that participated in the weekend’s racing enjoyed some of the closest, most exciting racing the Arizona Honda Challenge series has seen in years!