Lightning struck twice for popular sports car driver Michael Valiante.
The North Burnaby professional racer scored a never-before-done double, winning two Grand American sports car series races on the same day.
Valiante scored his first checkered flag of the season, anchoring the front-wheel-drive Honda of America No. 93 Civic to first place in the Continental Tire series, winning the street tuner class at the EMCO Gears Classic in Lexington, Ohio on Saturday.
Later in the day, Valiante started second on the pole grid in the Rolex series Daytona Prototype class before combining to lead 87 of the 111 total laps with teammate Richard Westbrook on the Mid-Ohio course for the Spirit of Daytona Corvette's second win of the season.
With the double wins, Valiante joined a select few Grand Am drivers who have ever won two races on the same track in the same day.
Last year, Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana won a Rolex grand touring event, as well as the GS class in the Continental Tire series. Terry Boucheller and Forest Barber also achieved an elusive double back in 2003 at Mid-Ohio, winning both DP and GS II races.
However, Valiante is the first to turn the double in a street tuner vehicle.
"It's a big adjustment between the two cars, but I was able to get a fair amount of laps in them both this weekend, so it wasn't too bad," said Valiante in a Grand Am press release. "It's great to be competitive in both series."
With just two hours to celebrate the HART team's first victory since 2006, Valiante then got behind the wheel of the much faster Chevrolete Corvette and helped position the No. 90 car for a chance to win.
Valiante fell to third at the start, but regained second place by the fifth lap and began to pressure the leader.
With 12 laps behind him, Valiante took over the lead and built a 12-second advantage ahead of the pack before pitting and giving up the seat to Westbrook.
"It's really tough because the time goes by so slowly. We can monitor everything in the pits, but in Detroit (last week) we were taken out by a GT with the race all but won," Valiante said Sunday after returning home.
"It's tough to watch, you're just counting down the minutes down."
Since joining the Grand Am series in 2008, Valiante has driven for two other teams, capturing three poles and four podiums, including two second-place finishes, with Sun Trust Racing.
He also finished on the podium twice and scored four fastest laps for Michael Shank Racing in 2009.
Valiante saw just limited duty with Shank racing in the last two seasons.
With rides in three separate races series this year, Valiante can be excused if he secretly wishes that his star continues on the rise.
The 32-year-old Valiante started the 2012 race season with JDX Racing and a third-place finish in a Porsche GT3 in the American Le Mans Series.
Last weekend with 60 laps to go at Lexington, Valiante took over the pole-sitting Honda in ninth place after a slow pit stop, but roared into the lead in the following 30 laps before leading the rest of the way.
"It was a huge deal for the team," said Valiante, who was brought on board to help bring the mid-pack car into the winner's circle.
"Not in a million years did I think we can pull off both wins. You just never know," said Valiante. "I've been in the position to win, but it had not worked out. I was speechless. I was really happy."
Valiante's next ALMS race is July 6 and 7 at Lime Rock Park in Connecticut.