HC 2014 Recap – January WHPE

The Arizona Honda Challenge 2014 season got kicked off with a bang last weekend at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park!!  With a fresh crop of new drivers having recently completed competition school at the conclusion of last season, seasoned drivers and rookies alike were looking to stake their claim on the podium on the East track.


Saturday’s qualifying session was exciting to watch with Team LBR jumping out to early lead in the session with Mervin Tan laying down a blistering time in the mid 1:05’s.  This put Team LBR on the pole for the race later that day.  With the rest of the field within a second of that time, the race was sure to be a close one to watch.

Team LBR jumped out to an early lead and looked like it would cruise to victory, but a full course caution to remove a disabled vehicle brought the safety car out and bunched the field up around the halfway mark.  When the green flag dropped, Team KIT’s black Integra GSR roared to the front and beat the LBR Civic to first corner.  Team KIT never looked back and was able to secure a first place podium finish with hired gun Robert Rose at the helm.  Not bad for the car’s first outing in race group!  The rest of the podium was rounded out with Team LBR in 2nd, followed by the return of Leland Forbes in the “Green Machine” finishing a very respectable 3rd place.

02 1st Place – SaturdayTeam KIT
03 2nd Place – SaturdayTeam LBR
04 3rd Place – SaturdayLeland Forbes

* photoscourtesy of Justin Muir Photography – www.justinmuirphotography.com


Sunday’s qualifying sessions and race proved to be just as action packed as Saturday’s. With many of the Honda Challenge competitors teaming up with other drivers, it was time for the co-pilots to take the wheel. Leland Forbes edged out Eric Dayton in qualifying for the coveted inside position going into the Sunday race which would feature a standing start. Leland’s Green Machine launched out of the hole like a rocket for the first few corners, going through the carousel it looked like Leland’s car began to spin, but he corrected the slide and went on to lead for the first half of the race as they made their way through race traffic. That is until Eric Dayton’s 2 liter B20 flexed its muscle coming out of turn 10 to slingshot him into first place. It looked like Eric Dayton would cruise to victory, but a pass late in the race by Leland regained the lead position, one that he would hold onto until the checker flag dropped at the 30 minute mark. Sunday’s podium finishers: Leland Forbes in 1st place, Eric Dayton in 2nd place, and Team Ramrod with Ravi Tomerlin working the pedals late in the race to protect 3rd place.

Here’s a video with front and rear footage of the first lap of Sunday’s standing start race. http://youtu.be/es7rU2diZcE

05 1st Place – SundayLeland Forbes
06 2nd Place – SundayEric Dayton
07 3rd Place – SundayTeam Ramrod

Overall, a great weekend to start out the 2014 season.  Toyo Tires doled out $800 in Toyo Bucks over the course of the weekend, which was spread out over all five cars that took the green both days.  Honda Performance Development awarded $450 good towards Honda OEM parts to the 1st, 3rd, and 5th place finishers on Saturday.

Rookie Racers
Congratulations to our rookie racers for taking the green flag for the first time: Stephen Busler who co-drove the silver Integra for Team Ramrod and Kevin Gay who co-drove the black Integra for Team KIT  We have three more new rookie racers (Steven W., Taylor W., and Markos M.) who barely missed finishing up their cars up for this event.  Get those wrenches turning so you can join the HC circus in February!

Next Event – Chuckwalla
Speaking of February….our next event will be here in just 3 short weeks.  This will be a crossover / points event for NASA SoCal’s Honda Challenge group as well, so expect to see a few new faces on grid.



This will be the last event where the RA1 tires will be allowed and will also be the debut event for the new spec tire, the Toyo RR.  The rumor mill is buzzing that these tires are about a second faster at most tracks, with similar wear characteristics as the RA1.  Track record holders beware….



/Arizona Honda Challenge10


1 27 28 29 30 31 94