Remo Ruscitti completed the most successful day of his young racing career Saturday by winning Round 7 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda season at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. The 20 year-old driver from Burnaby, British Columbia, earned the victory in the No. 4 8Star Motorsports entry from the sixth position on the grid in his first career start in the series. The win came just 3 ½ hours after he drove to victory in the ST class with teammate Adam Isman in the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race.
"I'm a little speechless," Ruscitti said. "We started sixth, and it was my first weekend in the car, so I wasn't expecting to be on the top step of the podium at the end here. We had really good pace toward the middle. A couple of people dropped out, and we were able to take advantage and pull away.
"It was a really good race," stated Potolicchio. "We made a change to the car for the race, so we weren't sure how it was going to work, but we are happy because it worked really well. I had a podium here last year, as well, so I am really proud of the team and all the work they have put in this weekend after my crash on Thursday."
Lamont Harris rounded out a dominant performance by 8Star Motorsports, finishing fifth overall and as the first Masters driver (age 40 and older) in the team's No. 65 car.
"So far, it's been an awesome weekend," commented Harris. "This is my third year here, and I am really working on trying to be flat in (Turns) 1 and 2. It's such a great track and a great venue, and it's really fun to come up here to Canada. There were a lot of great battles out there despite the fact that the track was really greasy at the end of the day. My goal is to just get faster tomorrow."
Ruscitti prevailed after a wild 30-minute race on the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit. He took first place for the first time - and for good - when leader Craig Duerson spun off course in Turn 8 in his No. 27 Performance Tech Motorsports car with eight minutes remaining.
Pole sitter Hayden Duerson and series leader Mikhail Goikhberg didn't finish the first lap after a collision between them resulted in hard contact for both in Turn 8, giving Alon the lead.
Craig Duerson passed Alon for the lead halfway through the race but lost the top spot two laps later to Matt McMurry, 16, with 12 minutes remaining. But Duerson and Ruscitti passed McMurry two minutes later when McMurry slowed quickly due to a mechanical problem that reportedly caused fluids to leak from the rear of the No. 20 JDC Motorsports entry.
Then Duerson spun two minutes later, handing a lead to Ruscitti he would not surrender.
Brian Alder, from Marysville, Ohio, was the top finisher in Lites 2 in the No. 22 BAR1 Motorsports car after a rugged duel for most of the second half of the race with Jerome Mee in the No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing entry.
"We had great pace through practice and qualifying," Mee said. "Coming into qualifying, 13 minutes in the pits really didn't do us any favors. I never really got a clear lap, so we got bumped on P1. We started the race off clean, and Brian (Alder) and I had a fantastic race. Best race we've had. I finally got him on (Turn) 8, only to realize it was under yellow, so I gave it back to him. Almost got him again in (Turn) 10 on the last lap, and he took the right line and I jumped the curb and spun. But I was on his tail the whole time, and you couldn't ask for a better race than that!"
Mee ended up second in the class, and Todd Slusher was third in the No. 62 ONE Motorsports car.
"It got off to a slow start with the early caution, but after that, it was Jerome (Mee) and I battling it out for the last 15 minutes of the race," Alder stated. "And he drove a great race; he was all over me. He actually got me once, but unfortunately it was right into the yellow flag, so he had to give the spot back. It was a tough race. I was watching in my mirrors the entire race, so it was good to have a great race out there, bringing the BAR1 Motorsports home on top."