Brian Lock wasn’t happy with his car’s setup after a second-place finish in Saturday’s qualifying race, but he knew that the weekend of the Western States Championships wasn’t the time to make any dramatic changes.
His instinct was correct as Lock took the checkered flag to become Champion of NP01, a new car and class that made its debut this year.
“I made a mistake at the last event at Sonoma (Raceway) and this weekend I decided to leave well enough alone,” Lock said. “We were near the front or at the front, and it was kind of ours to lose all weekend, so I didn’t want to make a change with the limited track time and be off pace.”
Six cars started the race but only four NP01 cars were left after seven laps. The remaining drivers’ skills were put to the test with strong winds and a crash on the back stretch involving three cars from other classes.
Andy Lee came into Championships figuring his car was the one to beat, but Team Stop Tech had to fix an electrical failure and started at the back of the grid. Despite the electrical issues, Lee almost ran down Lock but ran out of time and finished second.
“We were good from the moment we unloaded other than the little issue,” said Lee, who lives in Phoenix. “I knew we had the speed. It was just a matter of working through traffic with so many other classes out there. As long as you can get through the other cars, you’re good.”
Tyler McQuarrie was confident, too, going into the championship race that his car had enough to win it. Starting second, McQuarrie got caught in traffic and watched as Lee got past him. The two traded positions over the 17 laps, but Lee had just enough to make sure McQuarrie stayed in third place.
McQuarrie described the track conditions as “super greasy” and he had to adapt to adapt to the changing conditions. The team was chasing the setup and had some fuel problems, but McQuarrie wasn’t using that as an excuse.
“We came here to win,” said McQuarrie, who turned the fastest lap in Friday’s qualifying with a 1:56.51 time. “In testing we were fast, we started on pole for the first race and then we just dealt with these car issues. I think we had enough to win but not this time.”