Popow and van der Zande Land Second Place at Laguna Seca
Alex Popow started the No. 8 ORECA FLM09 in 3rd position, and in his first-ever PC qualifying session at Mazda Raceway, Mark Kvamme qualified 7th. At the start, Alex gained a position to race second, staying close to the race leader for the majority of his stint. He completed his drive time and handed the wheel to van der Zande in 3rd, and by excellent pit stop work, the No. 8 car left the pits side by side with the race leading No. 52 car, with the race series giving the lead to the 52. The battle for the top spot on the podium continued on and came down to the final lap, with the No. 8 Starworks car finishing just 1.736 seconds behind the leader. The No. 88 of Kvamme and Ashley Freiberg had a clean race, but lacked speed, finishing in 7th place.
Renger van der Zande
I just want to win, and we were second today. I’m happy, and it was a cool race and a real fight. We had the leaders beat in the pit stop, but in the end, we had to give the position back. Otherwise, it would have been a win, but that’s not an excuse. I lost a position to Stephen Simpson on the restart, and I was a bit unlucky there. It was a shame, otherwise I could have challenged Tom Kimber-Smith in the 52 from the beginning. I had to burn up my tires to pass Simpson and get close to Tom again. We should be happy with a 2nd place, but we’re hungry for that win. Winning is fun, so we’re working on that for next time.
Another sweet and sour finish today. It’s sweet because we got a second place finish, but that’s not what we’re here for. We’re here for a win. We were fastest in every practice. In qualifying, I couldn’t make it better. We fought the car a little bit everywhere. At least we’re leaving here closer in the championship. Now we’re just two points away, and first and second are tied for the lead. We arrived here in second place, and now we’re in third, but only two points away. The championship is getting even better. We still have a lot of races to go in this championship, so we’ll see what happens.
I had a lot of fun. I did my fastest laps of the weekend during the race. I still have a lot to learn. The team did a great job setting up the car. The most important thing is I had a ton of fun.