Honda Cup Heats Up!!!
With the season winding down towards the finish, Honda Cup has become a wild sprint to the finish. When we last updated you on the standings, Derek Stevens in his megabucks Civic looked like a lock to win the ’06 championship with Rylan Hazelton and Richard Laifatt in their S2000s, fighting it out for second. Well… it’s four races later and the fat lady ain’t anywhere near ready to sing.
With exceptional performances at Thunderhill and then again this past weekend at Laguna Seca, our very own krazik, with two wins in the four races, has pulled to within a mere seven points of the leader, and Richard, also with a win, has closed the gap as well.
At Thunderhill it was all S2000 as Stevens’ screaming yellow Civic had
fuel problems all weekend and didn’t finish either race. Rylan had
alternator problems on Saturday, and he too was unable to finish the
entire race. Laifatt easily dispatched the rest of the competition to
secure the victory. By Sunday, Hazelton had resolved his electrical
problems and managed to keep Richard in second and take the checkered flag.
At this point the standings had suddenly gotten much closer. Stevens’ whopping lead had shrunk significantly due to his mechanical problems, and Hazelton was now only eleven points behind. (with Laifatt just four points behind him!) Derek would need a commanding performance at Laguna Seca to re-secure his previous stranglehold on the ’06 series championship.
The weather was perfect for racing at Laguna that weekend, and fortunately, all the main competitors had managed to resolve their various mechanical difficulties, (including a brand new differential installed at the last minute by Laifatt.) The competition looked to be excellent, but there was a joker in the mix… Speed Vision World Challenge competitor Andrie Hartanto was there to compete on his best/favorite track in his lightning fast Acura powered Civic race car.
The usual Honda Cup crew was no match for the combination of Andrie and such a highly tuned race car; they fell into their usual order behind him with Derek finishing second, Rylan third, and Richard managed to make it back to fourth despite being punted in turn 11 by a careless competitor. (keep in mind… there are over 50 cars on track, so traffic is incredibly tight.)
Sunday would be a different story…
The highly tweaked motor in Andrie’s Civic couldn’t withstand a second day of competition and broke down early in the race. It looked like the yellow Civic would win again, but Rylan and his S2000 had something to say about that. Driving like a bat out of hell, Hazelton pushed his Silverstone to and beyond the limit… in the process, he shattered David Karner’s previous Honda Cup Laguna Seca track record by over a second, and proved once and or all that Setevns and the megabucks Civic could be beaten! Richard was right on Derek’s heels as well, driving to a third place finish.
We fed the available data into the S2ki supercomputer in Urbana Illinois, and by these precise calculations, the current Honda cup standings should be as follows:
Derek Stevens 173
Rylan Hazelton 166
Richard Laifatt 152
With two races to go in December at Willow Springs International Raceway, and 20 points going to the winner of each… it’s truly still wide open. Best of luck to the competitors!!!