Brooks Beats Weather and Competition at Sebring
Before Race 2 on Saturday, heavy rains saturated parts of the 17-turn track, creating uneven racing conditions. The full 26-car field started on Hankook slick tires with sunny skies setting the stage for the start. Blanco started on point with Car starting off pole. Porto and Leist lined up in Row 2 with Brooks and Gold in Row 3. Car immediately challenged Blanco on the start. The pair went two-wide, tussling into nearly every turn until Blanco finally held off the hungry Australian driver to keep the lead. Soon after the session went green, sunny skies rapidly turned overcast with rain clouds moving in. Rain fall added an extra layer of difficulty to the already technical and bumpy Sebring raceway, causing a couple back-to-back yellows to group up the cars. Excelling at wet-weather conditions, Brooks made up three positions on the restart, charging from fourth to first. Using his Rally Cross skills, Brooks glided around the corners, defending Blanco until the Crosslink/Kiwi driver finally caught Brooks off guard. Entering into the Hairpin, Blanco made a pass on the inside. However, the No. 32 Art-Draft Authority machine took the turn too wide, allowing just enough space for Brooks to recapture the lead. Meanwhile, Alliance Racing sponsored by Gas Monkey driver Dylan Tavella went wheel-to-wheel with several drivers, flying from an eighth place start to third. “This race was just crazy,” Tavella said. “The rain conditions going from dry to wet when everyone was on slicks, was so much fun and went to show who’s the best driver.” With rains ramping up, the session was abbreviated, finishing under full course yellow as a safety precaution. Brooks claimed his second win of the season, with Blanco finishing second and Tavella securing his first podium of the season. Car and Goughary rounded out the top-five with Horton in sixth and Porto in seventh. Charging from a last place start after a mechanical issue ended his Race 1 prematurely, Peixoto finished the round in points-paying position in eighth. Bogle and Yoder completed the top-10. Dodging incidents on the way to his best drive of the season, Jay Howard Driver Development rookie Hayden Bowlsbey finished 11th after starting 25th.
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