MILLFIELD, Ohio (May 30, 2016) - The Husqvarna-backed Coastal Racing team went 1-2 on Sunday to dominate the XC2 Pro Lites podium at the John Penton GNCC. Craig DeLong edged out his teammate Layne Michael in a close battle to the finish, where he captured his first-career victory in the XC2 Pro Lites Class.
It was Michael who grabbed the holeshot aboard his Husqvarna FC250, with DeLong close behind in 4th as they entered the woods. DeLong, racing aboard a Husqvarna TC250, made his way into the lead on the opening lap but Michael got back around him just before the duo crossed the finish for the completion of lap one.
Michael upped the pace on lap two where he was able to create a 50-second gap on DeLong in the 2nd place position. DeLong pushed to close the gap on the leader but he was soon joined by Mike Witkowski, who challenged him for the 2nd place position. DeLong briefly dropped into 3rd before making a big push to reclaim 2nd place around the halfway point.
From there, DeLong continued to push his way up to Michael, where he applied great pressure in the final laps of the three-hour race. Michael led the way into the final lap of racing and the teammates went head-to-head for the win. However, DeLong made his move in the woods and rode on to capture his first-career victory, winning by a 25-second margin over Michael. DeLong's impressive ride was enough to capture 5th overall for the day, which is a feat in itself.
"This is such an unbelievable feeling, I can't even describe it," DeLong said. "I'm really happy that I was able to hold on for my first XC2 win. After coming so close in Indiana it feels good to finally get it. I've been working all season for this day and I can't thank everyone on the team enough for their support."
After seven rounds of racing DeLong sits in 2nd place in the XC2 Pro Lites Championship Standings, where he continues an impressive five-race streak of podium finishes.
After leading all six laps of the race, Michael finished 2nd in the class and 6th overall for the day. Michael's solid performance brought him up to 3rd place in the XC2 Pro Lites Championship Standings.
"I tried to ride smooth laps all afternoon and I felt okay but never great," Michael said. "Craig kept chipping my lead down little by little and he caught me at the two-lap card. It's a bummer to lead every lap except for the last one but we have those days and we'll be back stronger."
Next Event: Odessa, New York - June 12, 2016
Results from the John Penton GNCC - Sunday, May 29
XC2 Pro Lites Results
- Craig DeLong (HSQ)
- Layne Michael (HSQ)
- Michael Witkowski
XC2 Pro Lites Championship Standings
- Trevor Bollinger (171)
- Craig Delong (159)
- Layne Michael (120)