R.J. Lopez 2nd, Amy Ruman 3rd in wild finish at Daytona finale
In the dash for victory, # 06 R.J. Lopez from the DR and 2-time champ # 23 Amy Ruman tangled up on a green-white restart, kind of like a NASCAR finish.
The above photo confirms the outcome.
David Pintaric in his # 57 Caddy slipped through the melee for his first win in 55 starts. To say he was elated would be an understatement.
This race was a shocker for # 4 Tony Ave. Started from pole, ran away from the field only to suffer a broken axle on a re-start just short of the finish. Instead of celebrating his 50th birthday in victory lane he was forced to settle for 5th in class. Tony was a late substitute for Tim Adolphson, a west-coast racer, scheduled to drive the potent # 41 Corvette that Vinnie Allegretta raced last year.
# 04, 20 year old Natalie Decker in her 4th TA start finished 8th ahead of # 59, 56 year old former champ Simon Gregg. From Go Carts at age 4 to ARCA, Natalie’s career is on the rise helped by family and friends like Tony Ave.
# 44 A.J. Henricksen was 7th in the 29 lap 100 mile TA race in the same car he raced in the HSR Classic 24 grind last year.
# 69 Shane Lewis, a name familiar to many, dropped out on lap 10 in the Derhaag Corvette previously raced by Mary (Micky) Wright.
# 53 Larry Hoopagh in his first year in TA dropped out on lap 11 in this beautiful C6 he got from Tony Ave.
# 33 Joe Moholland, the only TA3 Corvette did not start.
At season end, Amy Ruman (# 23 Corvette 235 points) is the only one driving the marque to make the top 5. The Corvette’s splitter has finally been extended to run with the better handling of the Mustangs, Caddys and Camaros.
Ernie Francis Jr (# 98 Mustang 279 points) repeated as series champ having amassed a lead where all he had to do was show up. Lawrence Loshak (# 2 Camaro 252 points) is second. Chris Dyson (# 21 Mustang 246 points) is third. David Pintaric (# 57 Caddy 242 points) is fourth.
As the photos thanks to Larry VanScoy and Chris Clark bear out, there is no better circuit to watch the action than Daytona - a stadium with unobstructed views of its high banks, long back straight and abrupt infield turns.