LA Honda World Racing Sweeps the Top Step of the Podium at Nola
Nothing in racing comes easy. But for the LA Honda World Racing team (LAHWR), being in New Orleans – aka “The Big Easy” -- this past weekend, things looked relatively easy, indeed.
In one of the most successful race weekends that LAHWR has ever enjoyed, the organization dominated the two-race SRO/TC America Powered by Skip Barber championship event at NOLA Motorsports Park in suburban New ‘Awlins.
LAHWR drivers Kyle Loh and Spencer Bucknum were virtually unbeatable in their respective classes on the 2.75-mile, 16-turn circuit. Loh won both ends of the TCX class – Saturday's Race No. 1 and Sunday’s Race No. 2 – while Bucknum also swept both ends of the TCA class, as well.
Driver of the No. 73 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Type-R TCX, Loh is unquestionably the hottest driver in TC America right now, having three wins and another podium finish in four races thus far (the season opener at Sonoma a month ago, and now NOLA).
And Bucknum, a third-generation racer, had an equally outstanding weekend in TCA in his No. 5 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Si FE1.
Let’s break down how the weekend played out for all three LAHWR drivers:
Loh took the pole position during Saturday morning’s qualifying with a flying run that grabbed the No. 1 spot by just 0.093 seconds over No. 2 qualifier, Japanese drift driver Daijiro (Dai) Yoshihara.
Loh won Race 1 in TCX by a comfortable margin of nearly 1.5 seconds over runner-up Yoshihara, a massive winning margin by anyone’s standards. But it wasn’t exactly as easy as it sounds, as Loh had to expertly dodge several other cars that made contact late in the closing laps.
"My mind is blown, I can barely think right now,” Loh said after taking the Race 1 checkered flag. “I feel gutted for Colin (third-place finisher and Loh’s friend, Colin Garrett). He works really hard every weekend. But I work just as hard and I’m excited to get this win.”
While he was able to keep the victory, Loh and the LAHWRD team were penalized by race stewards for a Race 1 issue, forcing Loh to start Race 2 on Sunday from the back of the field. But rather than that being an obstacle to the northern California racer, he used it as motivation, roaring through the field of Race 2 to take the checkered flag once again.
Loh overcame a four-second deficit with a half-hour remaining to early race leader Daijiro Yoshihara, continually clicking off faster lap speeds and slowly and methodically working his way to the front, the lead and ultimately the win.
And unfortunately for Yoshihara, he suffered a late-race mechanical failure that saw him drop to a last-place finish in TCX.
“I’m super excited for the team, we had some obstacles to overcome but we kept our heads down and got it done” explained Loh. “This whole weekend has been so exciting and our time here in NOLA was a real dream come true.”
Not to be outdone by his teammate, Bucknum, driving the No. 5 LA Honda World Racing Honda Civic Si FE1, swept both ends of the weekend’s races in the TCA class.
Bucknum started by earning the pole, besting runner-up William Lambros by 0.296 seconds.
Then in Race 1 on Saturday, and like Loh, Bucknum had an equally stout winning margin of over 1.4 seconds over runner-up Lambros.
“The Honda Civic ran great the whole race,” Bucknum said. “I can’t say enough about the LA Honda World team. I want to thank my sponsors who do so much for me. This win was great. I hope we can do it again tomorrow.”
And indeed, “tomorrow” -- namely, Sunday – brought about an equal margin of success as Bucknum, starting from the second position, handily got to the front and held on for the victory like a child holding on to a new prized Christmas gift.
“This weekend has been so special,” Bucknum said. “To win Race One and then be able to back it up with another win today is amazing. I’m so happy to bring home another victory for LA Honda World HPD, this team works so hard.
“We’ve picked up a very solid haul of points, and we’ll be doing everything we can to bring this momentum into the next round at COTA (Circuit of the Americas).”
LA Honda World Racing team owner Mario Biundo got into the fun as well in his No. 7 Honda Civic Si.
After being the second- and third-quickest driver in Friday’s two practice sessions behind Bucknum, Biundo had difficulty in Saturday’s qualifying, ending up last of the eight cars in the TCA field.
In Race 1, Biundo, finished seventh in the TCA class. He improved slightly on Sunday in Race 2, finishing sixth in his class.
Next up for LAHWR, the two-race third round of the seven-round TC America Powered by Skip Barber championship will take place at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas on May 19-21.
Part of the Honda Performance Development 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 and IMSA racing series exclusively racing touring cars built by Honda Performance Development. They are also a factory authorized Honda dealer for American Honda Motor Co. www.lahondaworldracing.com
About Honda Performance Development
Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD), has a rich heritage creating, manufacturing, and supporting Honda Racing and Acura Motorsports customers since 1993. From pinnacle racing in INDYCAR and IMSA Sports Cars to commercial racing programs, HPD powers the dreams of professional and amateur racers from age 4 to 40+. HPD is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and leads all of Honda and Acura's high-performance racing programs in North America. HPD specializes in the design and development of powertrain, chassis, electronics, and performance parts, as well as technical and race support. HPD 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 www.hpd.honda.com