The green flag flew on the 2019 Touring Car America racing season this weekend, and a six-car contingent of Honda Civic Si drivers – all making their professional racing debuts this weekend – showed its strength over two days of racing at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.
Taylor Hagler celebrated her first professional race weekend by leading the six-car X-Factor Racing squad with a podium finish in her #77 Civic Si on a chilly Sunday in Texas. Just one year removed from participating in NASA Pro Racing’s HPDE to Racing Program, the Texan fought off the Mazda of Jose DeSilva to earn her first professional podium.
X-Factor Racing leader Chris Haldeman paced the Texas-based squad in Saturday’s opener, taking fifth place while Hagler came home one spot behind in sixth. But a mild Saturday gave way to much colder temperatures on Sunday, as teams dealt with temps that never quite reached the 50-degree mark.
Hagler shook off the cold to earn the podium while Danny Soufi and Haldeman chased each other to the flag to claim the sixth and seventh spots, respectively. Cole Ciraulo bounced back from a tough opener to earn a top-10 run in Sunday’s nightcap, placing ninth.
The 2019 Touring Car America championship now moves from central Texas to the west coast of Florida for a second consecutive weekend of racing, as part of the March 8-10 Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.