MPTCC Round 4: Buttonwillow 2013 Season Finale
by Martin Gonzales
After six hard fought races the teams of the MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Championship presented by Motul entered the final race weekend of the season with a couple of season championship positions up for grabs. As in any form of motorsport, season championships depend on more than just fast lap times. They require experience, consistency, reliability, strategy…and a little bit of good luck.
Only 14 points separated Edik Stepanyan in the M-Factory DA Integra and Justin Taylor in the Rockstar Garage/Buddy Club S2000 for the top position in the Tuner Under class, but that wasn't the only battle brewing. Right behind Edik and Justin were Michele Abbate in the Scion Racing/Dynamic Autosports tC and Steve Rockwood in the MotoIQ Project Infiniti G20 which were in their own battle with only two points separating them for the third position of the 2013 season.
Would Edik's FWD Integra be able to hold off the ever improving Justin, or would Justin's S2000 find the speed necessary to spoil Edik's championship hopes? The stage was set for an exciting weekend at Buttonwillow Raceway. This would be the first time the MPTCC visited Buttonwillow since the end of the 2012 season, and this time the amazing team at NASA would be throwing in a special twist. The usual configuration everyone has become accustomed to driving or that time attack records are set on is CW13, but this weekend the MPTCC would be racing it backwards! Yes, it's still the same track and all the turns are the same, but driving a track in a completely different direction is just not that simple. Entry speeds, turn in points and braking points are all different. These changes are that much more significant when you take into consideration that the MPTCC drivers are dealing with more than just track conditions, they also need to navigate through race traffic! This is where the experience of racer's like TU points leader Edik Stepanyan can be a significant advantage.