ShootOut at CMP

I left the BK Racing HQ in St Marys GA at 0430 on Saturday and arrived at Carolina Motorsports Park just south of Kershaw SC just as the Big Bore group was setting up on the grid. There was a bit of a delay as the South Carolina Region SCCA workers cleaned up the track after it got oiled down thru the fastest section of the track during the previous session, so I was able to walk down the line and check in with all our racers.

V8RRS ended up with ten of the 17 total entries (which the host region appreciates since it's twice what they had in 2018) in Group 4 on Saturday. After the 15-minute qualifying session our field lined up as follows: . 1st GT2 (1st OA) - Dave Bryson, Monte Carlo; 1.40.334 . 1st GTA (3rd OA) - Jay Gomer, Restorative Solutions Monte Carlo; 1.43.237 . 2nd GTA (5th OA) - BJ Holley, BJ Holley Race Cars Impala SS; 1.46.219 . 3rd GTA (6th OA) - Joe Hartsell, My Hip Pocket Monte Carlo; 1.46.264 . 4th GTA (7th OA) - Randy Walker, Walker Electric Monte Carlo; 1.46.333 . 2nd GT2 (8th OA) - Mike Attaway, ATCO Demolition Camaro; 1.46.699 . 3rd GT2 (9th OA) - Danny Lowry, PitBoxes.com Mustang; 1.49.862 . 1st T1 (10th OA) - Chip Bozeman, Schrader Performance Mustang Cobra; 1.50.666 . 1st SPO (13th OA) - Jim Smith, Budweiser Monte Carlo; 1.56.869 . 5th GTA (15th OA) - Greg Burgess, Dodge Challenger; 2.01.513

During the break between qualifying and the afternoon's race I went around to visit everyone and "encouraged" Shane Doles and Mack Gouge in the Team 7 GT2 Camaro to join the series, and while they already have their 2019 season mapped out they are VERY interested in running with us starting with the 2020 season - particularly after I told them the class winners all get a call from someone claiming to be with Roger Penske Racing.

At the green to start the afternoon's 14-lap race Dave pretty much checked out followed by Bill Porter in his GTA car, who was then closely followed by Jay, BJ, Randy, and Joe Hartsell. Joe was the first to retire on lap 5 when a bolt that mounts the oil pump bracket to the block broke, which ended their weekend. Jay maintained contact with Porter while Randy got around BJ for fourth overall, second in V8 GTA. About lap 8 Porter spun under braking for Turn 14 (the right-hander onto the front stretch) which let Jay, Randy, and BJ by, then he (Porter) pulled into the pits on lap 10 with a flat LF tire.

Jay, Randy, and BJ were having a serious battle for what was now second overall when Jay spun in Turn 1 and the two chasing him got by. Jay later say he was watching for Randy in his mirrors, looked up and realize, "Oh Sh!t - I'm at the '3' marker and I haven't hit the brakes yet!" :) He collected things and eventually got the bad smell out of the cockpit, but his race for the class win was over.

Randy and BJ continued to battle, and from where I was standing on the front straight I could see about half of each lap. At least twice the two came down the front straight side-by-side but Randy had the inside line for Turn 1 and maintained the lead. Finally on lap 12 (of 14) BJ got a good run through the Carousel to get inside Randy entering Turn 14, which allowed him to exit onto the front straight in the GTA lead. They maintained those positions to the checkers with the final order being: . 1st GT2 (1st OA) - Dave Bryson, Monte Carlo; 1.40.606 . 1st GTA (2nd OA) - BJ Holley, BJ Holley Race Cars Impala SS; 1.43.786 . 2nd GTA (3rd OA) - Randy Walker, Walker Electric Monte Carlo; 1.43.747 . 2nd GT2 (5th OA) - Danny Lowry, PitBoxes.com Mustang; 1.45.341 . 3rd GT2 (6th OA) - Mike Attaway, ATCO Demolition Camaro; 1.44.396 . 3rd GTA (7th OA) - Jay Gomer, Restorative Solutions Monte Carlo; 1.43.624 . 1st T1 (8th OA) - Chip Bozeman, Schrader Performance Mustang Cobra; 1.48.128 . 4th GTA (14th OA) - Greg Burgess, Dodge Challenger; 1.57.907 . 1st SPO (16th OA) - Jim Smith, Budweiser Monte Carlo; 1.53.746 (broken fan belt) . 5th GTA (17th OA) - Joe Hartsell, My Hip Pocket Monte Carlo; 1.45.513 (oil pump bolt)

So seven of the top eight finishers were V8RRS drivers, which speaks well for our program. At the after-party Randy & BJ were both talking about how their tires were toast the last five laps yet they still managed to run pretty much door-to-door for four laps without touching. It was a tremendous race to watch all around!

For Sunday Joe was out and Dave went home (he had only planned to run Saturday all along). At the end of the morning qualifying our heroes lined up thusly: . 1st GTA (1st OA) - Jay Gomer, Restorative Solutions Monte Carlo; 1.43.289 (Jay's first pole ever) . 1st GT2 (3rd OA) - Mike Attaway, ATCO Demolition Camaro; 1.43.995 (with almost no brakes!) . 2nd GTA (4th OA) - BJ Holley, BJ Holley Race Cars Impala SS; 1.45.081 . 2nd GT2 (5th OA) - Danny Lowry, PitBoxes.com Mustang; 1.45.194 . 3rd GTA (7th OA) - Randy Walker, Walker Electric Monte Carlo; 1.46.113 . 1st T1 (8th OA) - Chip Bozeman, Schrader Performance Mustang Cobra; 1.48.849 . 1st SPO (9th OA) - Jim Smith, Budweiser Monte Carlo; 1.51.114 . 4th GTA (11th OA) - Greg Burgess, Dodge Challenger; 1.57.340 . DNS - Joe Hartsell, My Hip Pocket Monte Carlo; no time

As predicted based on qualifying times, Sunday afternoon's race was indeed a barn-burner. After careful consultation with his driving coach, first-time ever pole-sitter Jay Gomer executed a perfect start to lead into Turn One, but behind/beside him BJ Holley misjudged his braking point and turned outside pole-sitter Bill Porter, which scattered everything behind Jay (BJ went right up to Bill in impound and apologized profusely). Jay built about a two-second lead over Danny Lowry and Mike Attaway's GT2 cars with BJ and Randy Walker running nose-to-tail for second in GTA (2020 recruit Shane Doles was also in the mix in his TA2/GT2 Camaro).

About lap 3 we noticed Jay was fading and the GT2 cars got by with Mike Attaway actually leading overall for half a lap until he ran out of talent entering Turn 5, handing the overall lead to Shane followed by Danny. Danny was coming to grips (so to speak) with things and was running second overall, first in V8-GT2 on his first visit to CMP until lap 10 when he got a bit too aggressive in the Kink and spun at about 140 mph. I wasn't sure he was EVER going to stop sliding, but while he kept it out of the tire wall his afternoon was done. Jay continued to lead GTA with the BJ/Randy show on his tail, then Randy made a bold move starting lap 10 to take both of them under braking for Turn 1. Jay backed off from there with what he later described as axle-hop under braking, but made it to the checkers on the lead lap. BJ and Randy were never more than half a second apart but unlike Saturday, Randy was able to bring home the class victory. A bit further back Jim Smith has a good battle with Wayne Cabaniss until Wayne finally pulled enough on the front straight to make the pass stick. Jim also had a bit of a moment when the Randy/BJ show came up on him in Turn 14, but they all made it through ([b]three wide![/b]) and continued. Chip Bozeman again took first in T1 while Greg Burgess went faster all weekend in their first real road race event in his Challenger (he only made one session at Roebling Road last November). All in all it was a good day of racing for our V8RRS drivers.

At the checkers on Sunday: . 1st GTA (2nd OA) - Randy Walker, Walker Electric Monte Carlo; 1.45.559 . 2nd GTA (3rd OA) - BJ Holley, BJ Holley Race Cars Impala SS; 1.45.352 . 1st GT2 (4th OA) - Mike Attaway, ATCO Demolition Camaro; 1.44.798 . 3rd GTA (5th OA) - Jay Gomer, Restorative Solutions Monte Carlo; 1.45.530 . 1st T1 (7th OA) - Chip Bozeman, Schrader Performance Mustang Cobra; 1.50.694 . 1st SPO (9th OA) - Jim Smith, Budweiser Monte Carlo; 1.54.053 . 4th GTA (10th OA) - Greg Burgess, Dodge Challenger; 1.56.342 . 2nd GT2 (5th OA) - Danny Lowry, PitBoxes.com Mustang; 1.45.951 . DNS - Joe Hartsell, My Hip Pocket Monte Carlo; no time

Next up is the first event of the "Northern Tour" at Summit Point, April 6,7.

See y'all at the track...

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