With successful sister series already running in the UK, throughout Europe, Australia and even the Middle East, the world's largest racing car manufacturer, Radical Sportscars, is after the coveted title of creating the largest single make series in the USA.
To ensure this happens the national Radical Cup series has been created for the company's highly successful SR3 and SR8 prototype sportscars, in association with the North American Road Racing Association, Monticello Motor Club and Spring Mountain Motor Resort and Country Club.
Cars took to Miller Motorsports Park, just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah for qualifying and Round 1 of the season on Saturday.
Ecstatic to take the inaugural SR8 pole position, Watzinger (SR8, #32) divulged his demon tweak.
"I'm pretty happy I'm the [first] pole sitter. I went out with actually a lower tire pressure and I think this was the secret sauce for the qualifying."
First and second in the SR3 class, John Falb (#77) and Tony Bullock (#12) were singing each other's praises.
Bullock commented, "We needed to find a few tenths [in qualifying] which was pretty amazing, so my hat's off to P1 [John Falb], while Falb responded, "Tony's got really fast, really quick, but we all push each other to go even faster."
Perhaps qualifying's biggest surprise came from the father and son camp of Randy (SR8, #85) and Ryan Carpenter (SR3, #05).
"Usually I am faster," exclaimed Ryan realizing his father had out qualified him by less than eight one-hundreds of a second, before Randy made it clear he'd be rubbing it in.
"I give him a lot of crap for everything- I try to beat him down while I can [laughing], but honestly if I do well it's a win for me, but if he does well I'm even happier. I've very proud, proud of him. If I'm going to lose, I'd rather lose to him."
As for his gap to SR8 pole sitter Watzinger, Randy commented, "I've just got to put in a little more effort, and get something done."
The action came thick and fast as the historic first green flag flew over the field. Barreling down into turn one, dust flew as drivers went three wide and Falb and Bullock jockeyed for position.
"It was tricky having the SR8 in front and Tony behind me," commented Falb, and while he retained the class lead, the fight was far from over. Bullock never gave up and the pair traded times throughout the race, with Bullock claiming the fastest SR3 race lap of 1:51.887.
Impressively his time only two tenths shy of Watzinger's V8's best of 1:51.606- also a new race lap record. Both drivers received a bonus point for their effort.
Meanwhile Randy Carpenter's plan of pushing harder to catch Watzinger had already unraveled as he looped his SR8 in the final turn, making light contact with the wall.
Therefore the task of keeping Watzinger honest was left to Falb and Bullock, whose battle for the SR3 win did just that. And while only 2.729 seconds separated the class winners as they crossed the line, Watzinger's grip on the first outright and SR8 Radical Cup USA win in history was never threatened.
Adam Merzon (#7) and Randy Carpenter completed the SR8 podium.
The fight for final step of the SR3 podium was also close, with Ryan Carpenter (#85) under hot pursuit from fourth placed Ron Fletcher (#19) in his black and gold 'bat mobile'.
Bruce Jones (SR3, #17) claimed the race's unofficial hard charger award, impressively redeeming himself after a spin on the opening lap dropped him down the order.
Finding a further two seconds on his best time in qualifying, Jones hunted down and dispatched Adam Merzon (SR8, #7), John Thompson (9th SR3, #48) and Todd Slusher (8th SR3, #2).
Further progress was only impeded by the checkered flag- much to the relief of Ron Eckhardt (#93) and Mark Allan (#36), the fifth and sixth placed SR3s. Only two seconds covered the trio as they crossed the line.
However the man with the biggest grin was SR3 race winner John Falb, who celebrated his victory with his biggest fans, and shared his excitement for the series and the season ahead.
"The Radical platform has such great world wide success, and [it's] a proven formula, so it's nice to know we'll be looking back a decade from now at my name in the history books along with a whole lot of guys who are having fun.
My goal is always to win and to be at the top of the qualifying sheet, and I certainly hoped and did everything to achieve that.
I've got the whole family here, except one of the older son's. We're even expecting the Easter Bunny to show up. I think there will be a few eggs lying around that may get found by more than the little ones. It should be a good Easter.
I love the setup. These cars, the professionalism, [and] the schedule. I'm really excited for the entire season, and [hope] to continue to do well."
Second placed SR3 driver Bullock has other ideas.
"We're going to make some tweaks and adjustments so that's not an easy repeat for him, that's for sure."
The pair, along with the rest of 2013 class, will get their next chance at 1:10pm MST today when Round 2 of the Radical Cup gets underway at Miller Motorsports Park. The race can be followed via live timing via at motorsporttiming.com.
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2013 NARRA Calendar (
Radical Cup in red)
Feb 15-17 Texas World Speedway - College Station, TX
Mar 29-31 Miller Motorsports Park - Toole, UT
Apr 12-14 Road Atlanta - Braselton, GA
May 17-19 Watkins Glen International - Watkins Glen, NY
June 7-9 New Jersey Motorsports Park - Millville, NJ
June 28-30 Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca - Salinas, CA
July 12-14 Virginia International Raceway - Alton, VA
July 26-28 AutoBahn Country Club - Joliet, IL
Aug 16-18 Pitt Race (formerly Beaver Run) - Wampum, PA
Sep 6-8 Monticello Motor Club - Monticello, NY
Oct 2-5 American Le Mans Series at VIR - Alton, VA
Nov 22-24 Sebring International Raceway - Sebring, FL