It almost sounds like a made-for-TV movie: Engine breaks, crew works day and night to install a new engine helping the driver bring home another championship.
Writing the script was Jon Van Caneghem who won his fourth consecutive championship in NASA with his latest victory coming in Super Unlimited.
“We had problems with the motor all week, and the guys at 7’s Only Racing worked day and night for four days to get me a new motor,” Van Caneghem said. “They got me out here. I was excited to be able to go racing.”
With three cars racing in the Super Unlimited class, Van Caneghem put it away early. His best lap time (1:41.41) was more than 18 seconds faster than his closest competitor Thomas Johnson.
But that didn’t matter to Johnson, who was seeking his first podium finish in a national championship race. Johnson’s first national championships race at Sonoma Raceway in 2014 was cut short by an oil leak. The following year Johnson’s car burned down so he rebuilt it to race this year at Buttonwillow Raceway Park. Third time was the charm to enjoy the champagne celebration on the podium.
“I stayed away from everybody because I was the only guy in my class basically,” Johnson said. “The other car was 20 seconds-plus faster, so I just had to finish the day and put it in the trailer in one piece.”
Roman Vaisman took third but retired after two laps.