Sixty-two-year-old Bill Okell of Victoria sets a new track record in NASPORT Lite Class
© Copyright - 2016 - Victoria Sports News
The 28 year wait was worth it for Victoria’s Bill Okell as he raced to a win at California’s U.S. Auto Club Speedway this past weekend. Back in the mid-80’s, Okell made four attempts at the SCCA’s Pacific Coast Road Racing Championships, with no better than a fourth place class finish. This year was different as he took his 1964 MGB to a NASPORT Lite class win at the NASCAR owned facility, just outside of Los Angeles. In doing so, he set a new track record for the NASPORT Lite class at the combined high banked oval and road course.
Okell told Victoria Sports News, “I just got back in town today, yes we did win the championship while also setting a new track record.”
The Sunday morning, PCCRC championship event, pegged at 19 laps long, was a challenge for him as he missed the Saturday afternoon qualifying race, and would have to start at the rear of the field of 23 cars. Off of the green flag, he wasted no time getting to the front of the multi-class field of cars, and was in third overall by lap six. As the checkered flag fell, 40 minutes later, he would finish third overall, 1st in the NASPORT Lite class race. Okell was the only Canadian of the 150 entrants from seven different western states, to win a championship. There were 43 other titles on the line.
Okell will now set his sights next year on qualifying and competing at the Sports Car Club of America’s U.S. National Championship at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in late September. He will be back at U.S Auto Club Speedway in early January, 2017 for the first round of the SCCA’s US Majors Tour for the Western States Championship, also a qualifying race for the National Championship. Okell will be behind the wheel of one of San Francisco based, Huffaker Engineering’s MG or Austin Healey line-up of race cars, as the decision of which car is un-decided at this time.
Huffaker engineering provided Okell with an Austin Healey in 2016, and of the six US Majors Tour races , he logged three, 2nd place finishes and two, 3rd placing’ with one DNF.