2012 Honda Challenge 2 Champion Jeremy Croiset could have made his life easier if his car didn’t make so much power. Twice during the qualifying races leading up to the Sunday’s race, Croiset was penalized for making too much power. So when they lined up to start the Honda Challenge 2 Championship race, Croiset was gridded second from last.
NASA National Chairman Ryan Flaherty sat on pole, followed by Shane Croiset in second and in third Manny Coats, who has two Honda Challenge Championships to his name.
“The start wasn’t great,” Croiset said. “I went just a split second late on the launch, but I didn’t get the wheel spin that the other cars did ahead of me so I was able to go around on the outside and just squeeze by Marcel into Turn 1. Then I tucked in behind my brother (Shane) and I followed him up to Turn 7, then set him up at the exit of 7 because the H1 car was holding him up a little bit, and set him up for a textbook over-under.”
That put Croiset in the lead, followed by Flaherty and a battle for third between Coats, Benny Pecqueur and Marcel DeKerpel. Pecqueur ended up getting the better end of his competitors and finished the race in third.
“It was very fun. We broke my engine Friday morning first session, I blew up my race engine. So we found a junkyard engine with 130,000 miles,” said Pecqueur, adding that the first engine delivered to the track was wrong. “We put it in Friday night and Saturday morning.”
Flaherty ended up running in second place by himself for the majority of the race, but found himself fighting to keep the second step on the podium in the closing laps.
“On the start, Jeremy must have rockets on the back of the car because he passed from last to first by Turn 2. He just checked out and kept the rockets on and kicked ass,” Flaherty said. “The other guys came charging through the pack, and I got to have a little race with Benny and Marcel at the end of the race and had a photo finish with Benny. So it was a great time. The Toyos worked unbelievably well. Royal Purple kept my engine nice and cool and lubricated, and with my Hawk brake pads, not a single issue.”
Croiset finally got his power dialed in, and the win — and a second Championship — stuck.
“We got the win, which is what we came for,” he said. “I’ve got to thank Toyo Tires for making a great tire. The RR was consistent throughout the weekend, and from beginning to end I could run the same lap time.”