Sarah Cattaneo Wins NASA PTC National Championship

Discussion in 'MINI News and Articles' started by Nathan, Sep 12, 2011.

  1. Nathan

    Nathan Founder

    Mar 30, 2009
    Short North
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    LEXINGTON -- For Sarah Cattaneo, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course could be a 2.25-mile long book shelf.

    At one end is the national title she earned Sunday during the NASA Championships presented by Toyo Tires. At the other end she hopes to win another championship during Saturday afternoon's Grand-Am Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge.

    "I get to go into next week being a NASA national champion. It can only add fuel to my fire," she said on following her overall win in the Group J race that included four performance touring classes.

    The 25-year-old from Scottsdale, Ariz., got her start in racing with NASA five years ago, climbing the ranks in the National Auto Sport Association from its entry level classes to a national championship contender in the Performance Touring C class.

    "I've been working with that car for the last three years to win a championship," she said of the No. 111 Mini Cooper S she drove to victory and a new track record for the class with a sub-1:39 lap. "This looks like my year, so I'm going to work hard and put my head down and fight for it."

    She did just that in dominating the 21-lap race with more than 30 competitors in the field.

    "I caught up to the back of the field so there were plenty of cars to pass and hang out with," she said of leading from the drop of the flag. "It's a nice feeling being out front."

    It's a feeling she'd love to have six days later.

    Cattaneo and co-driver Owen Trinkler stand in third place in the Street Tuner class standings of the Grand-Am Continental Tires Sports Car Challenge, but just nine points away from the leader Nic Jonsson and six points from second-place Ryan Eversley.

    The two won the last time out at New Jersey in the No. 198 Mini Cooper S for RSR Motorsports. That victory was the first in the series by a woman since Belinda Endress did so in 2003.

    In fact, Cattaneo is trying to make history by becoming the first female season champion in Grand-Am racing.

    She's not focusing on the enormity of being a pioneer. Her mind is on the task ahead.

    "It's been a struggle all year. We've had nothing handed to us. We've just been working so hard and fighting and fighting every time we go out," she said. "It's almost a blessing just to be here in the end."

    Consistent results have been fleeting. While they were sixth at the season opener in Daytona and posted a third at Homestead and a fourth at Road America before winning in July at New Jersey, they also had an 11th at Barber, 19th in Montreal and a 25th at Lime Rock sprinkled into the schedule.

    With a season championship on the line and upwards of 70 cars on the track from the ST and Grand Sport classes, getting to the checkers will be a chore, let alone winning the race.

    "Being the last race, it's going to be crazy out there," she said. "There's a few who are in the hunt. They're all going to go all or nothing. It's going to be crazy, so (I need to) keep it clean, stay out of trouble and do whatever I can to hand the car to Owen in good shape."

    She'll enter the race with plenty of seat time. She's been in Lexington since last Monday, competing in three different classes in NASA. While Cattaneo's been to Mid-Ohio a couple of times in her career, she relished getting out there in the rainy weather over the weekend.

    Being from Arizona, she rarely sees wet tracks; and since the Grand-Am finale is in Ohio, where the weather can change by the hour, it's good to have that kind of knowledge available.

    "I've gotten a ton of track time all week. We've done pouring rain, misting and sunny. We've done it all," she said. "It was definitely hard for me to get that rain line down and even understand what the car does in the rain because I've never experienced that. I've learned a lot and hopefully it will transfer to next week."

    She'd like nothing more than to bookend her first national championship with a second one at Mid-Ohio.

    Source - Cattaneo hopes to put two titles on her shelf | Mansfield News Journal |
  2. N2MINI

    N2MINI MINI of the Month

    Dec 4, 2009
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    Winston-Salem, NC
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    Great news and good luck in the coming race!!!

    CHKMINI Club Coordinator
    Lifetime Supporter

    Sep 1, 2009
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    I can't wait until this weekend....good luck Sarah, we'll be there in full support!
  4. Jan

    Jan Well-Known Member
    Motoring Alliance Sponsor

    May 16, 2010
    +382 / 0 / -0
    congrats glad it all worked out!!!!!!!
  5. minimark

    minimark Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2009
    Winston-Salem, NC
    +1,302 / 0 / -0
    Great news and congratulations Sarah!!

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