to second when he tripped the scoring system with seven laps complete.
He was more than 3 seconds behind the leader at that point but he cut that margin to just 0.783 of a second by lap 13 with about 17 minutes remaining. He was forced to back off a little later when he thought he may have cut one of his ADVAN ENV-R2 Yokohama tires, but the tire held up and he was still able to finish a solid second. Pena placed second to Henrique Cisneros in the overall Platinum Cup point standings last year too.
Two of Pena's teammates - Kuhlman and Johnston - had a see-saw battle among themselves for fifth and sixth early but Johnston vaulted from fifth to third on lap seven when D. Bryce Miller spun and Johnston was able to pass Michael Mills. Mills got third back on lap 12 and held that spot until the end, but Kuhlman passed Johnston on lap 19 to regain fourth place with 19 laps down and that's how they took the checkered two laps later.
Pena started third on Friday but he vaulted into the lead at the start right before a full-course caution waved for Seth Davidow and Scott Tucker, who had gotten off course.
"It probably looked more complicated than it was," Pena told the series' officials afterwards. "On the start, before I realized it, I found myself very close to the wall. At that point my job was to keep the car inside of him [Michael Mills] and just drive it. I want to take this chance to acknowledge Wright Motorsports and the cars they have given us. We have two out of the three cars on the podium and that speaks to the talent and knowledge of the team. They've been unbelievable this weekend."
The green flew again on lap six, and so did Pena. He held off Mills masterfully until Mills finally snuck by on lap 11. Mills went on to take the checkered flag on lap 17, but Pena and Johnston were in hot pursuit to share the other two podium positions.
Johnston was third behind Pena and Tim McKenzie on that restart but McKenzie passed him on lap nine with about 28 minutes remaining in the race. Johnston got third back by repassing McKenzie on lap 14 with only about 4 minutes remaining.
"[Tim] McKenzie made a small mistake, and I was able to get alongside him going into 17," said Johnston afterwards. "He came right around the outside, and we were both skidding towards the barrier. It was absolutely