Saturday, Nov 26

Can Mikhail Goikhberg be defeated in Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park?

Wednesday, Jul 09 1703

Going into Rounds 7 and 8 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda series from July 10-13 at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park, the rest of the field will attempt the seemingly impossible and try to defeat points leader Mikhail Goikhberg. Goikhberg has been almost perfect through six of 14 rounds this season in the International Motor Sports Association Development Series, dropping just two of 120 available points. He has won five races, with the only blemish a runner-up finish to Tony Bullock in Round 3 in early June at Kansas Speedway.

 That impressive march through a talented field could continue July 10-13 for Rounds 7 and 8 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario. It's the only Canadian visit of the season for the series. Goikhberg lives in North Vancouver, British Columbia, so a victory in Canada would be sweet in the No. 10 JDC Motorsports entry.

 Goikhberg, 27, finished a close third in the championship in 2013 and entered this season as the title favorite after series champion Sean Rayhall graduated to the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and runner-up Ryan Booth moved to the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires junior open-wheel series.

Goikhberg's closest competitor this season is Craig Duerson, 50, from Gulfport, Mississippi. Duerson has finished on the podium in four of six rounds this season but was scoreless in the No. 27 Performance Tech Motorsports entry at the last event, in late June at Watkins Glen. He is second in points with 68. 

Duerson boasts plenty of speed, as in early June he became the first Masters (age 40 and older) competitor to win an overall pole in the series since September 2012. This is Duerson's first season in the series, as he won the Platinum Masters (age 45 and older) championship last season in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama before moving this year to the open-cockpit Prototype Lites cars with his son Hayden Duerson.  

 Two Canadian residents besides Goikhberg will line up on the starting grid at CTMP, Canada's most prestigious natural road circuit, which features 10 turns on an undulating, fast, 2.459-mile layout. Veteran Masters competitor Michal Chumlecky, from Windsor, Ontario, returned to the series last month at Watkins Glen and will continue at his home track in the No. 31 Eurosport Racing entry. Guy Laporte, from Montreal, will make his third and fourth starts of the season in the No. 68 Quorum Racing/Performance Tech Élan DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine. Laporte made his season debut last month at Watkins Glen. 

2013 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama champion Madison Snow will continue in the series in the No. 29 car fielded by standout TUDOR United SportsCar Championship team Extreme Speed Motorsports after making his series debut last month at Watkins Glen. 

Snow, 18, from Lehi, Utah, climbed this season to the GT Daytona class of the TUDOR Championship after winning the Porsche GT3 USA title last season with seven victories in 16 starts. He created a magic memory in GT3 USA competition last July at CTMP, edgingAngel Benitez Jr. by .011 of a second for victory in one of the most thrilling duels in series history.

Rising young star Matt McMurry, from Phoenix, will drive the No. 20 JDC Motorsports entry as the teammate of Goikhberg. McMurry is 12th in the standings - just 10 points out of sixth -- after six rounds. He joined JDC last month at Watkins Glen. McMurry, 16, made history June 14-15 by becoming the youngest driver in the 91-year history of the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving an LMP2 prototype for British team Greaves Motorsport. 

The new ONE Motorsports team will expand to four drivers at this event. SCCA veteran Lee Alexander, from Las Vegas, will drive the No. 48 entry, joining Bullock, Masters title contender John Falb and Todd Slusher at ONE. 

Brian Alder, from Marysville, Ohio, has dominated the Lites 2 class in his No. 22 BAR 1 Motorsports entry this season, winning the first four rounds of the season. But Jerome Mee, from Bellaire, Texas, stopped that streak with a victory in Round 5 last month at Watkins Glen and will challenge Alder again at CTMP in the No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing entry. 

Practice starts at 9 a.m. (ET) Thursday, July 10, continuing at 9:45 a.m. July 11. Qualifying starts at 3:40 p.m. Friday, July 11. The 30-minute Round 7 of the season takes the green flag at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, July 12. Round 8, a 45-minute race, starts at 9:50 a.m. Sunday, July 13.

 

Adam Sinclair

Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.  

Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.

Be sure to tune in for his sports talk program, Thursday Night Thunder, where he discusses the latest in motorsports news with drivers, crew members, and fans. The show takes place (almost) every Thursday at 8:00 pm EST on the Speedway Digest Radio Network. 

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