Big Team Effort Brings Podium for Bucknum and 4th Place Finish for Tally at VIR in SRO
Determination and perseverance, not to mention teamwork at its best, marked LA Honda World Racing’s (LAHWR) performance this past weekend at Virginia International Raceway in Rounds 7 and 8 of the 14-round SRO TC America Series.
After a disastrous effort on Saturday in Round 7 (Race 1 of the two-race weekend event), drivers Spencer Bucknum and fill-in pilot William Tally bounced back in outstanding fashion in Sunday’s Round 8 (Race 2 of the weekend).
Bucknum, driver of the brand new, state-of-the-art No. 5 Honda Civic Si FE1, was quickest in the TCA class field in both of Friday’s practices (best lap of 2:10.549 in Practice 1 and best lap of 2:11.722 in Practice 2), and continued his frontrunner status by taking the pole position in Saturday morning’s qualifying at 2:08.191.
But on Lap 2 of the weekend’s first 20-lap race on Saturday, Bucknum’s car went crashing hard into a tire wall, sustaining significant damage and ending his day after just one lap, finishing last of the nine TCA entries.
The LAHWR team located most of the parts for the car at a local Honda Dealer, with the remaining parts coming in from the home dealership as they were flown in on the red-eye from Los Angeles to Charlotte by one of the dealership crew. With the help of Coach Ryan Eversley driving for hours to collect all of the items the team worked late into the night to repair the damage and when it came time for Sunday’s race to begin, Bucknum’s car was once again in top shape, ultimately finishing second, a testament to the resilience of both the driver and team.
“It’s hard to bounce back after a tough Saturday like the one we had,” Bucknum said. “But having a group of hard-working people backing you is a huge motivating factor to put the past in the past and focus forward.
“For Sunday’s race, I approached it with a clear mind and just looked for opportunity when it presented itself. Because of the team’s amazing efforts, we were able to secure another podium finish!”
Bucknum came into the weekend leading all TCA drivers in the No. 5 Honda Civic Si FE1 point standings, and was expected to hang onto the top spot following the two-race weekend event at VIR.
As for the team’s other car, with Kyle Loh having left the organization after the previous event, William Tally was tasked to fill in behind the wheel of the No. 73 Honda Civic Type-R TCX for the event at VIR.
Things looked promising for Tally, who had never driven the No. 73 before. In Friday's two practice sessions, Tally was fourth quickest in Practice 1 with a best time of 2:01.895 in nine total laps, and a few hours later was sixth-quickest in Practice 2, running an extended lap total of 14, with a best lap of 2:02.615.
In Saturday’s qualifying, Tally scored seventh on the starting grid with a time of 2:01.215.
After getting through the first half of the 20-lap Race 1 unscathed, Tally ran into trouble, hitting a curb hard, causing one of the shock absorbers in his car to fail, finishing last of the nine TCX entries, five laps off the pace.
But as was the case with his teammate Bucknum, after lengthy repairs were made Saturday night, Tally also rebounded in Sunday’s Race 2 of the weekend, finishing fourth among all TCX entries.
“The weekend was a lot of fun and a big learning experience,” Tally said. “The sprint SRO vs endurance IMSA races require a change of mindset. My job was to get every ounce of performance out of the car and not look at the long term. That was a fun challenge. I’m very proud of the team and the car they put on track. We punched above our weight this weekend.”
This weekend marked the mid-point of the SRO TC America season of the 14-race season. The series takes a two-month break with Races 9 and 10 slated for the August 18-20 weekend at Road America in central Wisconsin.
Part of the HRC program, L.A. Honda World Racing is the official race team of L.A. Honda World, a factory-authorized Honda dealership in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, CA.
About L.A. Honda World Racing
L.A. Honda World Racing is an in-house professional racing team based in Southern California and participates in the SRO / TC America racing series exclusively racing touring cars built by HRC. They are also a factory authorized Honda dealer for American Honda Motor Co. www.lahondaworldracing.com
About Honda Racing Corporation US
Honda Racing Corporation US, (HRC), has a rich heritage creating, manufacturing, and supporting Honda Racing and Acura Motorsports customers. From pinnacle racing in Formula 1, INDYCAR, and IMSA Sports Cars to commercial racing programs, HRC powers the dreams of professional and amateur racers from age 4 to 40+. HRC leads all of Honda and Acura's high-performance racing programs in North America. HRC specializes in the design and development of powertrain, chassis, electronics, and performance parts, as well as technical and race support. HRC offers parts and race support to Honda and Acura amateur and professional motorsports racers and is continually expanding its palette of racing programs that make Honda racing products available to all racing styles, from karting and Quarter Midgets to the highest levels of pro racing. For more information, visit hondaracing-us.honda.com