Nunez Hopes to Keep Winning in IMSA Lites at Laguna Seca

May 11, 2012 Updated: May 15, 2012
Tristan Nunez in the #16 "Dnt txt n DrV" Performance Tech Elan-Mazda has won the pole at every event so far in 2012, and has won every race the car finished. (James Fish/The Epoch Times)
Tristan Nunez in the #16 "Dnt txt n DrV" Performance Tech Elan-Mazda has won the pole at every event so far in 2012, and has won every race the car finished. (James Fish/The Epoch Times)

Tristan Nunez has won three of the first four races of the 2012 IMSA Prototypes Lites season, and plans to keep on winning at the series’ next two races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend.

“I feel very confident and relaxed heading into the race event at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca since I got my very first win in formula cars here with Skip Barber,” said Nunez in a press release. “That same season, I went on to win three more races in the Skip Barber Series. This is a great road course and I really enjoy getting to drive the challenging circuit.”

“Much like the last event at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, this track doesn’t have very much grip. I adjusted a lot better than I expected to the track conditions in Utah, so I am feeling really confident about this event.”

The young man’s confidence is backed up by results. After winning three pole positions and three races while setting three speed records, Nunez has only failed to win when his car failed to finish: he was comfortably in the lead in the first race at Miller when his engine exploded. Undaunted, he came back to win the second race.

He kept the trend going at Laguna Seca; he qualified on the pole 0.93 seconds faster than his nearest competitor.

16-year-old Nunez won his first two races as a full-time Lites driver at his home track of Sebring in March, then showed he could do it on a new track when he won again at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. Still, the youngest Lites winner in history is glad to be returning to familiar territory.

“I always enjoy returning to a track that I am familiar with and this place is particularly special to me with my first win coming here in Skip Barber. I look forward to getting in the car and making improvements throughout the practice sessions so we can have a strong machine on race day.”

Nunez uses his car and his status as a race driver to tell his peers, "Don't text and drive." (James Fish/The Epoch Times)
Nunez uses his car and his status as a race driver to tell his peers, "Don't text and drive." (James Fish/The Epoch Times)

When he isn’t breaking records on a race track, the South Florida teen spends his time telling teens “Dn’t txt n DrV.” Nunez is a national spokesperson for the Safe America Foundation, telling his peers about the dangers of distracted driving.

Between winning at Miller Motorsports Park and packing for Laguna Seca, Nunez participated in the Safe America Foundation’s 7th annual Safe Teen Georgia Driving Academy, the premier teen driving safety event in the southeast.

Held at Atlanta Motor Speedway on May 5, the driving academy taught precision driving skills to help teens and adults too how to operate their cars more safely. At the event, Nunez invited teens to take a pledge not to text and drive, signing his race car to seal the pact.

When Nunez takes the track at Laguna Seca, the #16 “Dnt txt n DrV” Performance Tech Elan-Mazda will carry the names of hundreds of teens who pledged to pay attention behind the wheel.

“I am honored to join an organization like Safe America to help put an end to distracted driving,” said Nunez. “The Safe Teen Driving Academy at Atlanta Motor Speedway was a wonderful event and I was able to encourage my peers to take the pledge to stop texting while driving.

“By having the participants sign my racecar, we were be able to take a stand together and we can remind others to join in our efforts. They will be able to follow my racing efforts and see up-to-date pictures of my racecar with their pledge on my Facebook page and Twitter.”

Nunez will contest two Cooper Tires IMSA Prototype Lites races this weekend, on Friday and Saturday.

The first race, a 30-minute timed event, starts at 10:05 a.m. PST, Friday, May 11. The weekend’s 45-minute feature race starts at 9:10 a.m. PST on Saturday, May 12. Fans can follow live timing and scoring through the IMSA Lites website.

The IMSA Lites events are part of the American Le Mans Series Monterey weekend. Tickets are available through the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca website.