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May 15, 2017 / 0
Tyler Kicera sturggled on Saturday with grip and left rear mechanical problems. He managed to finish on the podium, but was disappointed afterward. He new that Sunday would present another shot and after making repairs, put his complete focus on the Sunday race. With too much mechanical grip being the problem, he bolted a set of older tires on for qualifying. The session ended up being damp and only a few drivers improved their times. Tyler was confident the old tires were the right call for the race.
Kicera jumped to second place exiting turn one on the start, and followed pole sitter Justin Hillie through the two-three-four complex. After getting a great run through the bowl, Kicera muscled past Hillie before the esses to take the lead. "I knew I needed to get past Justin as soon as possible so we didn't repeat Saturday" Kicera said of the start. He opened up a few second margin on the rest of the field by the end of the first lap. Mike Novak worked his way past HIllie, who continued to drop back. Novak managed to run down Kicera and the two engaged in a tenacious battle for the lead. They exchanged the top spot once every few laps in the beginning but once the race passed the halfway point, buisness started to pick up. Kicera and Novak started swapping each lap, and then sometime muiltiple times per lap. On one lap in particular, they swapped the lead three times in the span of three corners. A few mixed class B-spec cars did break up the battle momentarily but once they clear the slower cars, they picked right up where they left off.
Coming to take the white flag, the two were side by side. Kicera noted, "I tried to lay back into turn one again. I gave him the corner hoping to get a run up to turn two but couldn't do it. I knew I had two more shots after that." Kicera got a better run through the bowl and, just as he did with Hillie, made the pass heading into the esses. From there Kicera needed to create a gap to keep Novak at bay. He did just that heading entering the back straight and was able to maintain into turn seventeen. Kicera crossed the line 0.20 seconds ahead of Novak for the win. "It really could have gone either way", Kicera said. "Novak had a strong car and could draft back to me every time. I was lucky to create enough of a gap on the last lap to break the draft and hold on for the win."