Nunez Nets Another IMSA Lites Win at Utah Grand Prix

April 30, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Tristan Nunez has three wins, three speed records, and leads the IMSA Prototypes Lites championship—at age 16. (James Fish/The Epoch Times)
Tristan Nunez has three wins, three speed records, and leads the IMSA Prototypes Lites championship—at age 16. (James Fish/The Epoch Times)

Tristan Nunez continued his domination of the IMSA Prototypes Lites series with a pole, a win, and a new track record at the series’ third and fourth rounds at Miller Motorsport Park Sunday. He would have swept the weekend save for a mechanical failure.

Nunez had never raced at the Toole, Utah facility but said before the race he thought the high-speed, high-downforce track would suit his abilities. He proved to be right. He led 12 of 15 laps of the first race before being sidelined by engine failure, setting a new track race lap record, and won the second race by nearly half-a-minute after leading every lap.

This gives the 16-year-old South Florida phenomenon a record of three wins in four races with one DNF for his first full season in IMSA Lites.  

Nunez qualified on the pole for the first race and was leading by 13 seconds when Lamont Harris in the #65 Acadia Racing car spun off track. While lapping under caution, the engine of Nunez’s #16 Performance Tech Elan stalled and wouldn’t restart.

“It seems that in low RPMs the engine would just shut off,” Nunez said in a press statement. “We tried to get it fired back up again, but it just wouldn’t catch. It’s okay though, because we proved to the field we had a car that could win; we broke the track record.”

The second race gave Performance Tech’s teenage star a chance to make up for the first, and he used it to the fullest. Nunez started from the pole and simply drove away from the field, gaining five seconds on the first lap and adding to his lead with every circuit. His car ran perfectly—there were no cautions, luckily—and he took the checkered flag unchallenged.

“Words can’t describe how happy I am over this finish, especially given this morning’s results and the fact that I have never been to this track before,” Nunez told Prototypelites.com. “Performance Tech gave me one hell of a car and I think we showed that during the race. Now I am just excited and looking forward to the next race.”

Along with three wins, Nunez now holds three IMSA Lites speed records, as well as being the youngest Lites winner in history. He leads the championship and has led every lap he has completed in every race so far this year. He has every reason to be eager for the next two Lites events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on May 10-12.

Lites will qualify on Thursday and race on Friday and Saturday. Also at Laguna Seca that weekend are the American Le mans Series and the IMSA GT3 Cup series. Tickets are available through the Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway website.