Western Conference, E Production
Gary Gist, of Del Mar, Calif., said his 2013 Western Conference E Production Championship means a lot to his up-and-coming team. They were able to make a statement that they will be around for a while as a force to be reckoned with.
“The Majors Championship means a lot to our team, as they worked very hard to perform well in all eight races,” Gist said. “To me, personally, it is a validation that we have arrived as a team.”
Gist was one of four Western Conference drivers to compete in each of the eight conference races in 2013. He recorded top-fives in each race, including a win a Pacific Raceways and Portland International Raceway. Gist also recorded two second-place finishes at Buttonwillow Raceway Park and Pacific Raceways, a third at Auto Club Speedway and PIR and a fifth-place at Auto Club Speedway and Buttonwillow. Gist was the polesitter once, at Auto Club Speedway.
For Gist, driving the K&G Racing Mazda RX7, his win at Pacific Raceways was a highlight of the season. A gamble to run on slicks in damp conditions paid off.
“It was a classic battle of a car on wet tires versus a car on slicks in drying conditions,” said Gist. “It was a call our team made in the pits. We started last and won just as the track was becoming completely dry.”
Gist wanted to give much of the credit for the strong season-long performance to his crew chief, Kevin Leffler, and engine builder, Craig Stevens.
The high-profile nature of the Majors program attracts some of the best racing talent from North America, making the competition difficult. However, Gist felt very pleased with the hard work he and his team put forth to take the championshiop.
“The biggest challenge was getting to every race with the best car,” Gist said. “It took a lot of work and perseverance to finish well in each race.”