Okell on right side of podium

Bill Okell/Christopher Kelsall

Post-race video interview with Bill Okell.

The goal was simple for three local area drivers, go to Buttonwillow Raceway Park in southern California last weekend, get good race finishes and then qualify for the Sports Car Club of America’s National Championship in late September, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mission accomplished.

For Bill Okell, Gavin Aitken and former Victoria resident Mitch Egner, the results were very different for each.

Okell topped the ladder with a third-place finish in Saturday’s race and then followed that up with a first place, and a new track record driving the San Francisco-based Huffaker Engineering’s Austin Healey. This was Okell’s second career SCCA US Majors Super Tour victory.

The win and record were especially rewarding for Okell, who ended the 2016 season with performances not representative of his ability.

West Kelowna’s Mitch Egner finished in second and fourth place in both of the Formula C races while Saanich’s Gavin Aitken had difficulties and finished 8th and 13th.

Both drive Van Diemen open wheel cars. All three drivers have now qualified for the national championships, Okell is the only one fully confirmed as going at this point.

The next two races in the SCCA’s Western Conference Hoosier racing tire, US Majors Super tour moves into the northwest in late May at Portland International Raceway and then winds up in early June in Washington at the Ridge Motorsports complex, for the final pair.

For Okell, Aitken and Egner, it looks like they will head south in early June to compete at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on the Monterey Peninsula in southern California for continuing SCCA regional racing series for the Pacific Coast Formula C series and Okell’s Nasport Lite championship.

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