Birmingham, Ala. (April 21, 2017) – There comes a time in a race where winning is all that matters.
Late in Friday’s International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) Prototype Challenge race, Kris Wright was faced with a decision: go for the win or settle for second. The 22-year-old from Pittsburgh, Pa. chose the former, and while things didn’t work out the way he wanted to, he refused to second-guess his decision.
As the 45-minute race headed into its final lap, Wright found himself in second place, right on the bumper of leader Kyle Masson. As the two worked their way to the final corners of the 2.38-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park circuit, Wright saw and opening and the opportunity for the win, so he drove hard into Turn 15 in an effort to get Masson under braking.
The move didn’t work out, unfortunately, as several cars got moved past Wright and the driver of the No. 7 JDC Motorsports’ Élan DP02 car finished the day in seventh place, but being in the mix at the end of the race was all he wanted.
“We didn’t come here to finish second, I was going for the win,” Wright said. “In Turns 15/16 I tried to brake hard and go inside and the car locked up. Still, I’m going to take a lot of confidence from this race into Race 2 on Saturday afternoon.
“We were right there, and you can’t ask for any more than that.”
Wright, who was looking for his second podium finish in three races on the season, led three laps in the early part of the race and completed 28 total laps. He will start in the second position in Race 2, another 45-minute tilt that begins at Noon (CDT).
The race marked the end of a long day for Wright, who is pulling double duty this weekend as he’s also driving the No. 34 MasterTech/PPG/Wright Automotive Group machine for John Cummiskey Racing in the USF2000 series.
In a 30-minute race USF2000 race, Wright completed all 19 laps and finished in a career-best 13th place in only his third race in the Tatuus USF-17 open wheel car.
“We’ve really made some great strides when it comes to finding the balance in the car this weekend,” Wright said. “The USF2000 car was quick in the race, it was just tough to pass in the middle of the field. If we can have a good qualifying effort on Saturday, I know we have a potential Top 10 car.”
All told, Wright spent almost two hours on track Friday on a day that saw the ambient temperature top out at 86 degrees and the track temperature reach 130. More of that will be in store Saturday, but no complaints will be coming from the Wright camp.
“Getting laps and getting even more experience is why we are here,” Wright said. “It was a pretty exhausting day, but I got over 100 miles of racing in and that is what’s important. I learned a lot every time I was in the cars, and we’ll look to improve on our performances Saturday.”
Qualifying for the USF2000 Race 2 will start at 9:25 a.m. (CDT), with the race going off at 4:45 p.m. (CDT).