In PTD, fans witnessed the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat as brought on by acute mechanical failure. Sonny Watanasirisuk had earned pole position by 25 points and had lap times nearly three seconds quicker than John Matthew, who is lead instructor for HPDE3 in the SoCal region. John Magnuson started in third. Last year’s PTD National Champion Joshua Allan had logged the second fastest lap times in qualifying, but due to penalties, he was relegated to last place.
At the start, Watanasirisuk jumped out to a big lead and added to it with each lap. A National Championship was all but in the bag when the positive terminal on his alternator broke, causing the car to lose all electrical power on the last lap. Watanasirisuk limped around the track, watching the second- and third-place cars become first- and second-place cars. Watanasirisuk finished third.
Josh Allan, who worked his way through the field, finished second.
“I drove all the way from 10th place to second. That’s an awesome result,” he said. “I wanted the win and I thought I had it in the last corner, but he just edged me out.”
John Matthew finished first in his BMW M3. He and Allan rounded the last turn side by side.
“I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” he said. “I got a great jump on the start, which I always do because of the torque, and I raced John Magnuson for three laps. I was wide open for a while and Josh Allan, he was coming. He is an awesome driver. I knew I had my work cut out for me and if I could just hold him off, we had some really good racing going into Turn 1 for two or three laps, and then on the last lap, we passed the leader who broke in Turn 4 and at that moment I thought I could actually win the race, so it was all I could do to keep Josh away.
“He got me on the outside of the last turn and all I had was motor on him, and I probably won by 4 feet,” he added. “It was the most amazing race I’ve ever had in my life. And what better place to have it than the National Championships.”