Fifteen HC2 drivers took the standing start in what promised to be a close battle. In the field were podium finishers from past Championships. Spencer Anderson, Karl Kondor, Erik Olson and Jeremy Hopps all had top three finishes in the last couple of years. This was going to be good — but it wasn’t going to be easy.
Kondor had scored pole position, followed by Brian Casella, Anderson and Robert Paszkiewicz, who had logged the fastest lap of the weekend in HC2.
The standing start was clean and Kondor was first to Turn 1 in a Honda Accord that once belonged to his mother. Early on, Paszkiewicz sneaked past Kondor who was defending against Anderson. The three mixed it up as they broke away from the rest of the field until the double-yellows came out when Honda Challenge 2 driver Helen Nester car and a Performance Touring entry got together in the entrance to the Uphill Esses and slid off into the Armco on the outside. That brought out the safety car for about 10 minutes.
On the restart, one of the PTB cars dropped some fluid in the braking zone to the Bus Stop, bringing out surface-condition flags and on the following lap, the white flag flew. At the checkers, Spencer Anderson had passed Paszkiewicz and made it stick. Jonathan Baker, who started from second to last, finished third.
“I slowly picked off everybody and tried to catch up the leaders,” Baker said. “We had a lot of double-yellow. Eventually I saw the white flag and I got into third and came around and took the checkers and that was pretty much it. But I moved up 11 spots in maybe eight green laps, so I’ll take it.”
Anderson, who ran the race in second and third for most of the race, got up front when it counted most.
“When we got the yellow, and the back markers started catching up, I thought I was actually done after that because I figured they’d motor right by me,” Anderson said. “Then Karl blew the Bus Stop, and I figured, ‘OK, it’s me and Rob.’ Then Rob ran a little wide in 6, and I’d capitalized on it and we went back and forth a couple of times, but I made it stick on the last two corners on the last lap.”
Paszkiewicz, who finished second, exhibited true sportsmanship to the driver who passed him on the last lap for the win.
“Spencer got me on the inside,” Paszkiewicz said. “I go to try to pass him and he moves over a little bit, you know, not blocking, just being defensive. He took the inside, I got the outside on the third to last corner and that was it. I couldn’t get him, but it was a lot of fun. I’m happy for him that he won. Thanks to him I’m in Honda Challenge doing what I’m doing.”