For most racers, the Western States Championships presented by Toyo Tires offered their first opportunity to stand on a Championship podium. For some others, it was an opportunity to notch another championship in 2014. And still for other drivers, the Western States Championships presented a second shot at glory.

For instance, NASA Southeast’s Sandro Espinosa and a couple of buddies towed three cars all the way across the country to the Championships at Sonoma Raceway. Fresh off an Eastern States Championship at Road Atlanta, a season points championship clinched at Virginia International Raceway and another win at Daytona International Speedway just the weekend before, Espinosa came looking for one last victory in 2014.

It didn’t go as planned for Espinosa, but for NASA Florida’s Eric Powell, the weekend at Sonoma proved to be worth all the effort it took to get here. Powell, who has made it clear his goal was to go to the Mazda Club Racer Shootout, didn’t fare well enough at Road Atlanta to get an invitation, so he shipped his car west to take another shot. You can read how that turned out in the race report, but suffice it to say Powell didn’t go home empty-handed this time.

In fact, no racer went home empty-handed, really. Each racer who competed at the Western States Championships presented by Toyo Tires went home richer for the experience of having competed at this level, and at this storied racetrack. Not everyone took home a trophy or a check or contingency prizes — but then again, if competing at this level were easy, it wouldn’t be as much fun.


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