Eversley Wins in Touring Car Debut at Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio – Ryan Eversley, of Atlanta, Ga., recorded a World Challenge Touring Car Championship debut victory Saturday, winning the first half of the Optima Batteries Mid-Ohio Grand Prix Presented by GameStreamer at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Jason Saini, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Eric Meyer, of Indianapolis, Ind., completed the top three.

After starting third on the grid in his No. 20 Maxwell Paper Products Mazda RX-8, Eversley waged a race-long battle with polesitter and defending race Champion Saini’s No. 03 Team MER/Sparco/SafeRacer MAZDASPEED3. The two ran side-by-side many times, swapping the lead until Eversley took the point for good with two laps remaining.

Eversley’s effort of holding off Saini earned him the MTM Special Ops Best Move of the Race.

“That was my first standing start, and it was pretty crazy,” Eversley said. “Cars were parked on the front straight and I think I was in the grass more than I was on the pavement. Jason [Saini] and I got through it and took off and it was a really fun first lap. We were able to get a gap on the guys that were third and fourth. The Maxwell Paper guys gave me an awesome car today, and it was really fun.

“We swapped the lead a few times today because of traffic. In fact, I didn’t want to let one of the GT cars through because I knew I’d lose a lot of time to Jason, and the same guy that got by me made a really aggressive move on Jason. He went really wide, and I just followed the traffic and we were side-by-side through Madness. It was awesome.”

Saini finished second, but will start Sunday’s race from the pole. Meyer started last after missing qualifying while changing his transmission, but worked his way to the podium in his No. 32 XOWii/Samaratin’s Feet/Delvira Mazda RX-8. Meyer earned both the Optima Batteries Best Standing Start for advancing eight positions on the opening lap and the Sunoco Hard Charger Award for picking up 16 positions overall over the entire race. Meyer also turned the race’s fastest Touring Car lap, a 1:38.079 (82.880 mph).

Point leader Robert Stout finished fourth in his No. 18 DG-Spec/Scion/TRD/Lucas Oil Scion tC. Montreal’s Nick Wittmer finished fifth after recovering from a stop-and-go penalty for moving prior to the standing start in his No. 93 HPD/Honda Racing/RealTime Honda Civic Si.

Stout maintains the most commanding Championship lead in Touring Car at 147, 899 to 752 over Meyer. Brett Sandberg is third, with 521, followed by Dan Gardner (500) and Sheal Holbrook (368).

Scion also continues to hold the manufacturers’ Championship lead in Touring Car, with 57, to Volkswagen’s 38, Mazda’s 36 and Honda’s 30.

Today’s race will be broadcast Saturday, Aug. 28 at 4:30 p.m. (Eastern) on Versus.

Sunday’s Round Nine race will make its standing start at 11 a.m. To follow live timing and lap notes, please visit www.world-challenge.com.

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