IRVINE, Calif. (April 9, 2013) – The Tire Rack SCCA ProSolo season opened last weekend with the first of three consecutive events, and for the fifth time in six seasons got the season underway at El Toro Airfield. Jonathan Lugod, of Oceanside, Calif., escaped the weekend with his first ProSolo Super Challenge victory.
The popular Southern California site uses the abandoned runways of the decommissioned Marine Corp Air Station, combined with the taxiways, for flowing, fast courses. That continued in 2013, with many classes running laps comfortably under the 45-second target.
Lugod, fresh off a narrow defeat in the Tire Rack Championship Tour event a week prior, rebounded for a Street Touring R top qualifying effort, and slid into the Super Challenge as the 12th of 32 qualifiers in his OS Giken/Ankeny Racing Enterprises Honda S2000.
Lugod toppled Gary Thomason’s ProParts USA Dodge Viper in the opening round, marking the first time the defending STR-class Tire Rack National Champion had advanced into the second round in his limited ProSolo experience.
The challenge monkey off his back, Lugod dispatched Scott Fraser’s C Street Prepared 949 Racing/Ankeny Racing Enterprises Mazda Miata and Steve O’Blenes Ankeny Racing/Tripoint/Hankook Mazda RX-8 in back to back rounds to advance to the semi-finals.
The toughest test would come in that round of four against Ryan Otis’ Super Stock Chevrolet Corvette. Lugod made mistakes on the right side of the two-run elimination, falling behind by 0.7-second. Knowing now that a perfect, hard run was going to be a must, Lugod pulled off the comeback and advanced to the final.
The 25-year-old Lugod squared off in the final against a wily ProSolo veteran, the 19-year-old Jon Clements. Clements, of Alta Loma, California, became the youngest Super Challenge winner in ProSolo history with a win at 16 years old, and was back in the finals three years later. Clements C Modified Mondiale Formula Ford couldn’t keep the pace with Lugod, and Lugod captured his first Super Challenge title.
Morgan Trotter, who fell to Clements in the semi-final round, drove his Street Touring Compact C2 Motorsports/The RacersStore.com Honda Civic Si to a third-place finish over Otis in the consolation round.
Joining Lugod on the top of the podium was Ladies Challenge winner Nicole Nagler, of Moorpark, Calif. Nagler drove her Street Touring Compact Toyo Tires/ProParts USA Honda Civic Si to a final round win over Meredith Brown’s Plastic PP Racing/Mid-Atlantic Motorsport Chevrolet Corvette.
The win was the first for Nagler, a two-time runner-up – including at the same event a year ago.
The Tire Rack ProSolo season continues this weekend in the middle of the country at the Mineral Wells ProSolo, deep in the heart of Texas, April 13-14. From there, the series continues on to MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands, New Jersey, April 20-21.
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