MotoIQ Pacific Tuner Car Challenge Round 4 – The Finale at Buttonwillow II
By Justin Banner
If there is one thing that has been proven in any motorsport it's this saying, “You have to be in it to win it.” Many can misinterpret this to mean you have to be all out, as usually when you are “all in,” you're pushing until you break. Most would assume that if you weren't leading by a ton of points or not within a couple of points in the final, you aren't going to be “in it.” Really, the MPTCC proves that it's not any of this, but instead being at every round of the 2012 championship is what will put you into the final fight for the Big Trophy.
Edik “Edo” Stepanyan was leading by a considerable margin, winning nearly every event in the MPTCC in 2012. Round 1, Race 2 was his only loss. Well, it was until Round 3 where he had a technical loss and gave his points to Michele Abbate in Round 3 Race 1 and Steve Rockwood in Round 3 Race 2 when it was discovered that his engine was making more power than it should due to a distributor failure.
This meant that Edo was now behind Michele Abbate, but only just, as it was only a mere 7 points between them. Doesn't sound like a lot, but her situation would have been precarious if Steve Rockwood had shown up in Project G20. Well, he didn't. He was actually not even in the country for Round 4. However, that still didn't clear Michele as a last minute driver in a familiar car showed up.
|The family car was the Blue, White, and Yellow Acura TSX that won Round 1, Race 2 at Buttonwillow I, but it would be James Landry behind the wheel. He actually purchased the car a week after Buttonwillow I, but it came with a small catch, in order to get the horsepower low enough for Honda Challenge H2, many parts had to be swapped out. This, in turn, blew up the engine and he had to swap a completely new engine into the car. The car was still deemed to be too fast for H2 and he was supposed to race in H1 by himself. That didn't fly and he graciously asked if he could enter into the MPTCC. How could we say no? Insert maniacal laughter here.|
|If that wasn't enough, Michele Abbate in the Scion Racing/Gruppe-S/Dynamic Autosport Scion tC was also battling engine woes during Race 1 practice and qualifying. Buttonwillow seems to have something against our rookie. She did however make the best of it.|
|Now, just because Michele was having problems doesn't mean that Edik Stepanyan in the MFactory/JE Pistons/SavOnDriving.com Acura Integra wasn't either. In order to race this weekend Edik had to borrow a set of slicks. The fronts came off after four full sessions of use and the rears had over three. He also suffered a suspension mishap in the form of a cracked front control arm. With no time to fix the problem between sessions Edik dealt with it as best he could.|
|It wasn't just our championship nor was it just a NASA only event at Buttonwillow this past weekend. These tykes were out there racing on the go kart track. Looked like they were having a ball, too. I couldn't resist getting a few shots of them. I mean, look at them. You have to start them pretty young even in motorcycles now.|