BROOKLYN, Mich. — Recap by Race Chaser Online Managing Editor Jacob Seelman — LSRTV audio — Jacob Seelman/iRacing.com photo —
For Pedro Mojica’s first-career =RSR= Full Throttle Cup Series win at Talladega in May, it took the help of his teammates to get the job done in the draft.
For his second-career victory Monday night at Michigan International Speedway, it also took the help of one of his teammates — just not in a planned fashion.
Mojica led the final 15 laps of the Click It or Ticket! 180 and held off Anthony DeBaro on a green-white-checkered restart to take the win in the Irish Hills, his second FTCS victory of the 2015 campaign and his second win in the last five races, after an attempted pass by his teammate Chad Coleman allowed the No. 50 Toyota to break away from the field over the final four miles.
For the rookie driver, after having to qualify in on speed and then come back from a lap 31 pit road speeding penalty, just standing in victory lane was sweet — even if the final restart was “chaotic at the front of the field.”
“That last restart was really nerve-racking,” Mojica admitted. “I had a really good restart, but coming up through the gears it just went dead left and we almost wrecked. From there, I just had to play complete defense — DeBaro had a run on me, and he could have given me the bumper, but he ran me clean and I really appreciate it. That’s a class act and if the roles are reversed down the road I’ll have that in mind.”
“[I can’t believe] we made it [to victory lane], it’s good to be back. We’ve had a lot of mistakes with bad strategy or little things going wrong the past few races, even though we’ve had winning cars, but this makes up for all of that bad luck.”
Jeff Ward started from the pole and dominated the opening stages of the event, leading until lap 25 when he got into the wall off the exit of turn two and collected Chad Cole in the process, sending both cars down the track and towards the inside wall in a heap. The furious battle for the lead left both drivers dejected and with surprisingly similar opinions after their shots at victory were dashed.
“I was riding a little bit, and it was just close racing,” Ward said. “From my perspective, it looked like Chad had a nose to the inside of me and I tried to give him as much room as I could, but he came up so much that when I got into the wall there was just nowhere for either of us to save it. It’s frustrating because we’re both racing for a win and Chad’s still looking for a spot in the Chase, so I hate that it happened. Hopefully we’ll be able to move on and make something happen at Dover.”
“It stinks, he got loose and I just didn’t have enough time or room to react,” Cole added. “I was hoping we’d be able to settle [the race] between the two of us, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to happen. A win is coming. We’re finally getting to where I’m comfortable with the car, so I know it’s on the horizon. Just got to dig and push on to next week.”
The mess handed the lead to Mojica, who paced the next six laps before a cycle of green-flag pit stops broke out at the one-third point of the event. David Comstock, Matt LaCross, Nathan Little, Rett McBride, Scott Stenzel, Stefan Marinak and Doug Roth all led laps during the round of stops, but when the cycle concluded — Boomtown Sim’s Mitch Rollo assumed the lead over his teammate Corbin Himstreet after Mojica’s speeding penalty dropped him to 17th.
The first caution of the night flew at lap 54 when David Lanza looped his car on the backstretch and allowed the field to reset with a trip down pit road — on the lap 60 restart Rollo got into the backstretch wall and allowed Comstock by in the No. 14 Monster Energy Chevrolet.
Comstock’s lead would not last, however, as the caution would fly with 16 laps remaining for an incident that swept up Greg Evans and defending series champion Eric Brundies, among others, in the carnage. At that stage, Comstock would duck to pit road for four fresh Goodyear Eagles and restart eighth in his quest to claim the checkers in the Irish Hills — putting Pedro Mojica to the point.
His gamble would not pay off, however. On the restart, the No. 96 of Himstreet spun the tires in the outside lane and clipped Comstock as he came down the track, sparking a 15-car pileup on the frontstretch that collected both of those machines along with Matt LaCross, William Kempf, Marinak, among others.
That melee would shuffle the running order before a seven-lap shootout that saw Mojica get away on the restart before a spin by Johnathon Caddell set up the race-defining green-white-checkered run.
While Anthony DeBaro led the Boomtown Sim contingent with a career-best runner-up finish, the rookie was another driver who came back from an early-race penalty to post a solid result.
“I’m pumped up about this, great finish. That was an intense, respectful race and I can’t believe I was able to rebound from the speeding penalty early on to come home second,” DeBaro said. “Just that in itself was amazing. It would have been tough to get to Pedro, but we gave it our all and this is a huge night for me. As a rookie, I couldn’t ask for any more.”
Dwayne Vincent rounded out the podium in third, disappointed at the mayhem that ensued in the final laps but grateful to come away with another top-five result.
“That’s how these races go,” Vincent said. “You get a long green run…then chaos. [I] just stayed in the gas. That [multi-car crash] was scary — I was worried I was going to get a black flag — but I kept pushing and we made it through somehow.”
Dan Murray and Mitch Rollo rounded out the top five.
Chad Coleman faded to sixth at the checkered flag, but said after the event that he had a car capable of contending with his teammate for the win.
“It was a last-dash effort for us, but if I had the chance before net code put me in the wall on that last restart, I would have gone after him,” Coleman admitted.
Coleman also debunked the notion that he was protecting his teammate in the final two laps.
“Yeah, because he’s my teammate, I’m going to cut him more slack than anyone else, but I wasn’t blocking to give him the win. That’s not how I roll at all. He just beat me off two and that was that. It’s still great to see a We Dem Boyz car in victory lane, and I know our time is coming.”
In all, five cautions slowed the pace for 20 laps and the lead changed hands 13 times between 11 different drivers.
The =RSR= Full Throttle Cup Series returns to action on June 22 for the rescheduled Monster Mile 180 from Dover International Speedway.
For more information on Real Sim Racing, visit www.realsimracing.com.
Audio with race winner Pedro Mojica:
Audio with runner-up Anthony DeBaro:
Audio with third-place Dwayne Vincent:
RESULTS: =RSR= Full Throttle Cup Series; Click It or Ticket! 180; Michigan International Speedway; June 15, 2015
- Pedro Mojica
- Anthony DeBaro
- Dwayne Vincent
- Dan Murray
- Mitch Rollo
- Chad Coleman
- Nicholas Kohan
- Rich Jette
- Sean Casto
- C.J. LaVair
- Brennan Mercer
- Doug Roth
- Paul Nicholas Cooper
- Steve Gottschalk
- William Kempf
- Johnathon Caddell
- Glenn Campbell
- David Comstock
- Jose Gonzalez
- David Lanza
- Scott Simley
- Scott Stenzel
- Kevin Linden
- Nathan Little
- Brandon Peterson
- Chad Cole
- Matt LaCross
- Rett McBride
- Stefan Marinak
- Corbin Himstreet
- Greg Evans
- Nick Silver
- Thomas George
- Eric Brundies
- Christopher Hurlow
- David Camarra
- Jeff Ward
- Mark Bratcher