Monrovia, California (Wednesday, March 22, 2017) – 13-year-old Steven Aghakani scored a podium finish in his first attempt at head-to-head racing at this past weekend’s NASA event at Willow Springs International Raceway. The Southern California native, who began testing with US RaceTronics last year, became the youngest participant to score a podium in the NASA Series.
NASA officials required Aghakani to compete in time trials so that they could observe the youth in an open passing atmosphere before granting approval for him to race on Saturday. Aghakani qualified second in a field of 22 and went on to finish second after driving a flawless race in the first of the two weekend races.
Aghakani again qualified second for Sunday’s race, improving on his previous qualifying time by 0.7 seconds. After a great start, he was running in second behind the faster IMSA Lites Prototype and had pulled out to a 12 second lead of third place before deteriorating track conditions resulted in Aghakani spinning in Turn 3. With a quick recovery, he was able to rejoin in third place which is where he finished despite having begun closing the gap on second place at over 1 second per lap.
Bryce Miller, Aghakani’s driver coach, was impressed with the youngster in his first true door-to-door racing experience and is looking forward to the next round of competition at Buttonwillow Raceway Park.
“This was a fantastic performance by Steven and the entire team this weekend,” Miller said. “It was a lot of firsts for all of us. Steven maintained his composure and brought home some really impressive results for his first time in this type of competitive atmosphere. I am super proud of how far he has come in such a short amount of time and look forward to the rest of the season!”
Aghakhani was pleased with the weekend’s results and thankful for the support of the US RaceTronics’ team.
“The first race was an awesome experience and I couldn’t have asked for better support from the team,” Aghakani said. “I made a small mistake during the second race on Sunday, but it happens to the best of us. Just need to collect yourself and keep digging. Apart from that, it was a great weekend as I ended up scoring podium results both days. Really fun experience!”
Team owner Shane Seneviratne was impressed with how well Aghakani performed throughout the weekend.
“I was most impressed with how calm and collected Steven remained throughout the race weekend,” Seneviratne said. “He handled the pressure really well and performed exceptionally for his first NASA race weekend. He had all his sponsors present and yet I think he was the calmest out of all of us! We are looking forward to getting him back on track next month at our home race at Buttonwillow.”
Congratulations to Steven Aghakhani and US RaceTronics for such a successful race weekend, and a continued thanks to Sada Systems, RX Unlimited, LPA Lighting, Steamers Cleaners, Magic Laundry Services, Reflective Strategy, Protective Film Solutions, Forgiato Wheels, turnkeyx.com, LF Illuminations, Shift Sector, Pro Automotive, and Tax and Business Consulting Group for their support.
|About US RaceTronics
US RaceTronics (USRT) originated in 2005, was founded by Shane Seneviratne to compete in the Atlantic Championship. The team finished 5th in points its first year and continued its success during the succeeding years, ultimately amassing a total of 21 podiums, 7 poles, 5 race wins and finished 3rd in the 2009 Atlantic Championship. Seneviratne played a consultant role in Indy Car from 2010 to 2013, winning the 2013 Indy 500 with Tony Kanaan as part of KV Racing Technology. In 2015 Seneviratne received an invitation to manage the O’Gara Motorsport entries in the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North American Series. The team won the Team Championship, Dealership Championship, Pro Championship with driver Richard Antinucci, and Amateur Championship with Ryan Ockey. The success of 2015 reignited Seneviratne’s passion for racing and he relaunched US RaceTronics to compete in the 2016 Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North American Series where the team earned a combined 17 podium finishes, won the Amateur Championship with Damon Ockey, and finished third in the ProAm Championship with Brian Thienes. Drivers Steven Aghakhani, Richard Antinucci, Patrick Kujala and Yufeng Luo also piloted cars for US RaceTronics in 2016 helping the team exceed the goals they set at the beginning of the season.
To follow all of the 2017 Series action and the US RaceTronics team, make sure to follow the official Twitter account @usracetronics for live updates along with Facebook.com/usracetronics and Instagram http://instagram.com/usracetronics. To become a driver, learn more about the series, or attend a race, visit www.usracetronics.com for more information.