Gary Joseph came from behind, then diced with Eli Villa to take the win and the PTF Championship.

Gary Joseph’s 1994 Toyota Celica went head to head with Eli Villa’s 2014 Kia Rio in a battle of attrition in PTF at the 2016 NASA Western States Championships at Buttonwillow Raceway. The pair proved that in spite of being the slowest class of the weekend, there could still be close, hard fought, and intense racing at any speed.

“It was fantastic,” said Joseph. “The dust came up a couple of times and I had to decide whether I was going to go through it or stop. I slowed down a couple times and it was like a brown-out. I couldn’t see anything. The racing was fantastic. These guys with the fast cars will tell you, it doesn’t matter, fast or slow. You drive the same and it’s the same feeling. It’s racing. As long as you have somebody to race with. I had Eli to race, and that was really great. I had some guys in PTE to race, too. The other thing is the fast guys gave us a lot of respect. We were racing, they were racing. It was really good.”

Taking the early lead, Eli Villa pulled out a gap on Joseph, but as the race progressed Joseph was able to reel Villa back in and eventually make a move after many laps of dicing to take the victory.

Traffic played a role in Eli Villa giving up the lead to Gary Joseph, and he ended up finishing second in PTF.
Traffic played a role in Eli Villa giving up the lead to Gary Joseph, and he ended up finishing second in PTF.

“It was really good,” said Villa said. “I got the momentum going and it was great. I had fresh tires and it was going really good, and then all the other cars got in the way and they shut my momentum down. Then Gary showed up and we were dicing left and right. It was awesome.”

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