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James Walker jr. captures first podium in St. Petersburg on Saturday

James Walker jr. captures first podium in St. Petersburg on Saturday

12.03.2019: ... suffers crash in Sunday race SRO Motorsports America TC Series Texan James Walker, Jr. came to Florida ready to compete on the streets of St. Petersburg for the second double

... suffers crash in Sunday race



SRO Motorsports America TC Series


Texan James Walker, Jr. came to Florida ready to compete on the streets of St. Petersburg for the second doubleheader race weekend on the SRO Motorsports America TC America Series schedule, March 9-10.



 
After making his professional racing debut the previous weekend at Round 1 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Tex. with two fourth-place finishes in his No. 34 Risi Competizione/Hella Pagid Brake Systems Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR, Walker was raring to go as he made his street race debut in Round 2.
 


Walker qualified fourth in his Alfa Romeo Giulietta, following a pair of VW Golf GTI TCR teammates. In Race 1, the FCP Euro VW teammates tapped each other while battling mid-race after Walker was giving a good chase. He advanced and pushed hard to maintain his position for the balance of the 40-minute race, taking home his first podium finish in the TC America Series with a second-place finish, only one second behind the race leader at the checkered flag.
 


In Race 2, Walker, along with the VW duo, traded fastest lap times during an intense racing battle that ended when Walker made light contact with the high-speed Turn 9A apex just 12 minutes from the end. The front end of the Alfa Romeo bounced off of the concrete walls twice, bringing out the safety car and a caution period to clear the narrow street track. He gave a thumbs up as he exited the car before walking to the medical car unassisted. When the racing resumed there were just two laps remaining.



 

James Walker (far left) on the podium at St Petersburg TCR America podium on Saturday





"The race weekend started out great," said Walker, of The Woodlands, Tex. "Getting my first podium in just my third race was more than I thought we could achieve so early in the season. I'm thrilled about that progress. I'm learning every time out in the Alfa and on Saturday we had a good battle going that worked out great for me with a second-place finish. Sunday we had a good start to the race, but while fighting for position I touched the wall at the kink and it was not very forgiving. Unfortunately, that ended our day."
 



"James did a great job at St. Pete," said Risi Competizione Race Engineer Rick Mayer. "He continues to improve with each outing and is learning the nuances of the car and TCR racing every time out. He held his own on Saturday and was rewarded with his first podium, so we're all proud of him for that accomplishment.



On Sunday he and the VW drivers were all battling neck-and-neck, but he got too close and touched the wall, which bounced him around a bit. The front end of the Giulietta got pretty damaged and James had a good hit himself, which sent him to the hospital to be checked out. We're just glad he's okay. We've got some work to do on the Alfa, but we have some time before the next race in late April."
 


The next TCR America race will take place at VIRginia International Raceway, April 26-28 for the Round 3 doubleheader.


 


Barbara J. Burns- photos RISI

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/james-walker-jr-podium-st-petersburg-crash---187688.html

12.03.2019 / MaP

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