An action-packed first day of competition for the Pirelli World Challenge at Houston’s Reliant Park saw Ryan Winchester and Robbie Davis lock up the Touring Car and Touring Car B-Spec championships, respectively.
Winchester claimed his title simply by starting, but Davis and Ernie Francis Jr. went into yesterday separated by just one point in the TCB category. In the first lap of Round 13, Davis was forced to run wide while entering the Turn 1-2 chicane and then spun out, collecting Francis Jr. on his way into the wall.
The incident ended the race for Francis Jr., while Davis was forced to scramble to a 17th-place finish. That enabled Davis to take over the TCB points lead going into Round 14, which saw Francis Jr. take over the car of his father, Ernie Francis Sr., as his own machine was too damaged from the incident with Davis in the previous race.
Francis Jr. had to start Round 14 from the rear of the field but managed to rise from 18th to eighth in the first five laps of the event. However, that would be as far as he got, as Davis finished seventh – good enough for him to win the TCB crown by 30 points, 1382-1352, over Joel Lipperini, who secured runner-up finishes in both TCB races. Francis Jr. fell to third in points, 37 markers behind champion Davis.
“Consistency did it, and that was one of the biggest points of the season,” Davis said after the race. “…Continuing to finish on the podium at least once a weekend was how I did it. That was pretty much my goal. I knew I wasn’t going to be the fastest but ‘Can I finish every race and can I finish it well?'”
As for the races themselves, Compass360 teammates Brett Sandberg (Round 13) and Winchester (Round 14) triumphed in Touring Car, while Tyler Palmer (Rounds 13/14) pulled off a weekend sweep in TCB for his first and second career PWC wins.
You can watch the conclusion of the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge from Houston on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN.