"It's my first time at this track, so it was a little tricky getting used to it. But we found our pace pretty quickly. The car that Performance Tech put under me had a lot to do with that. The whole team was fast all weekend. It showed on the start; we were all right up there in the front of the field. Luckily I was able to keep the car on track and stay up there. This Prototype Lites field is really competitive, though. That was a tough race."Pole sitter Hayden Duerson was sent spinning into the wall when he and points leader Mikhail Goikhberg collided on Lap 1.
"I got a great start. It was looking like a good race for the Performance Tech No. 39. Mikhail (Goikhberg) got a good draft on me going into Turn 8. I drove a little bit defensive, and then he got around me on the outside, and we both made contact and backed it into the wall. It was sad that it was on Lap 1 and we were leading, but we will be there tomorrow."
Duerson's father, Craig Duerson, fought from fifth to the lead. But he spun in another competitor's oil in Turn 8 and hit the tire barrier while out front with eight minutes left in the 30-minute session.
"The team has been great this weekend. They really put together a good car for me. It was a shame it went to waste. I was out in the lead when I hit oil on the track and spun. I think they needed to throw a flag; I was looking for one. Excited to see Hayden on pole and Robert on podium, though. It's great for the team to see them succeeding."
Joel Janco also spun with just two minutes left in the race.
"We had a new engine today, and for some reason it just shut off. Then it went back on, and I moving back up on the field. Then I hit some oil as I was passing somebody and that was it. So we're looking forward to tomorrow."
Team Principal Brent O'Neill made time to celebrate at podium with Alon and Hayden Duerson for their accomplishments. Then he returned to the paddock to assess the work he and his crew need to perform to ensure each of the four Prototype Lites cars are ready for Round 8, a 45-minute race which starts at 9:50 a.m. Sunday.
"We'll have a little work to do tonight," O'Neill said. "It was a shame to see Hayden out on Lap 1. Mikhail tried to pass Hayden on the outside, and it just didn't end up working out for either of them. That's racing, though. Joel ended up having a little spin in Turn 5 and got center-hung on the curb with a few laps to go.
"Craig spun and hit the fence. It was a rough race for the guys, but Robert made it to the podium. Robert did an awesome job again. He just kept working toward the front, led the race for a couple laps. We'll look forward to a different outcome tomorrow."