Pastrana and Martell Break Through in Utah

Vermont SportsCar’s campaign in Nitrocross’ all-electric Group E class continued last weekend as the series returned to its birthplace, the Utah Motorsports Campus.

It was a weekend in which the team experienced the highest of highs, as well as the lowest of lows. There were certainly more highpoints, with Travis Pastrana scoring the team’s first win of the season and Conner Martell enjoying a breakthrough performance in Round 2. Round 3, however, proved to be more problematic.

Round 2 on Friday started off with Martell dominating the morning. He secured his first-ever Top Qualifier position after a beautiful over/under pass on both Andreas Bakkerud and Oliver Erikkson in the first corner of the deciding race, a lead in which he didn’t relinquish. 

He was equally dominant in his semifinal race, while Pastrana also won his semi, having failed to join Martell in the Top Qualifier contest earlier on. The semifinal victories gave both a direct route to the final where they locked out the front row of the grid. 

Expectations were running high – however, a power failure took Martell out of the running at the first turn on the first lap, leaving Pastrana to carry the VSC flag alone. He duly stepped up to the plate. 

After a first lap coming together between the other drivers, Pastrana – who had taken the slower joker on lap one – grabbed an early lead and went on to control the race from the front. Martell got going again after putting his car through a power cycle, but an almost-certain win was traded for a seventh place finish.

Round 3 on Saturday presented the team with an opportunity to make up for Martell’s pain on Friday night, and keep the positivity going on Pastrana’s side of the garage. Unfortunately Lady Luck had her way once again.

After locking in automatic transfer spots early on in Round 2, both drivers had to fight their way through the preliminary rounds in Round 3. Sadly, a mechanical failure halted Pastrana’s progress in the Last Chance Qualifier, and while Martell did make the Final, he was slowed by a power steering failure and ended up sixth overall. 

It was a tough end to what had looked to be a landmark event for the team. Nevertheless, both cars showed they had race-winning pace. The series continues at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix on November 10-11.

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