Mid-Ohio & Charlotte, Back-to-Back
Mid-Ohio - May 31 thru June 2
We had five V8RRS members pre-registered, but Andy Trought bailed out at the last minute so we had four drivers representing the series. If Mark signed up any new members at the event I'll add them later.
Thursday was a track-sanctioned test day, Friday morning started with a practice session followed by Q1, then Saturday had a second qualifying session followed by a 25-minute race. I don't have the combined grid so I don't know the overall positions, but at the end of qualifying: . 1st GT2 - Jeff Wood, Wood Racing Challenger; 1.30.890 . 1st GTA - Chris Durbin, Hawk Performance Monte Carlo; 1.31.890 . 2nd GTA - Randy Walker, Walker Properties Camaro; 1.33.008 . 2nd GT2 - Dick Ruckh, Technical Compressor Services Camaro; 1.33.388
I do know Randy had been getting faster as the Flying Wrechez crew tuned on the car, but their progress was stymied during Q1 when the shift lever broke off in his hand. With assistance from Dave Pintaric's crew they had the Walker Properties Camaro back in action for Q2.
I tuned into the SCCA broadcast about halfway thru Saturday's race and Jeff Long has already dropped out at that point - I found out later the cool shirt box had come loose inside the car and knocked the AEM ECU out, but he was running well until then. There's also been a fair amount of "discussion" about the 100# that was added to the TA2 cars running in GT2, but it sounded like there was a pretty good battle for the GT2 win between Pete Peterson's "traditional" GT2 Toyota vs the TA2 cars of Barry Boes and Aaron Quine.
Hopefully Mark will add more details later, but here's how our guys ended up in Race #1 on Saturday afternoon: . 1st GTA (7th OA) - Chris Durbin, Hawk Performance Monte Carlo; 1.31.059 . 2nd GTA (11th OA) - Randy Walker, Walker Properties Camaro; 1.31.466 . 1st GT2 (14th OA) - Dick Ruckh, Technical Compressor Services Camaro; 1.34.264 . 2nd GT2 (28th OA) - Jeff Wood, Wood Racing Challenger; 1.31.466
Mark mentioned they'd made a number of changes to Randy's Camaro before the entire V8RRS crew adjorned to Buck's for dinner and adult beverages, but they did not get to evaluate those changes during the hardship warm-up on Sunday morning due to a water on the course following severe storms on Saturday evening. Other than having a green track for today, however, the weather has been dry all weekend.
I listened to Sunday's race on SCCA.com and while the announcers didn't mention V8RRS I was still able to keep up with things pretty well.
A couple of cars got together as they entered the Keyhole on lap 1, but that didn't involve any of our guys. On lap three they did go FCY for a couple of laps to retrieve one of the involved cars from a precarious position, which bunched the field up for the restart. The rest of the race our guys had some battles for position but kept it on the track while others fell off the pavement and/or had mechanical issues. New member Jeff Wood did a good job to finish fourth overall and get the bronze medal in GT2, so hopefully he'll weigh at least 2930# when he goes across the scales during Impound.
At the checkers: . 1st GT2 (4th OA) - Jeff Wood, Wood Racing Challenger; 1.30.542 . 1st GTA (6th OA) - Chris Durbin, Hawk Performance Monte Carlo; 1.31.353 . 2nd GTA (11th OA) - Randy Walker, Walker Properties Camaro; 1.32.752 . 2nd GT2 (17th OA) - Dick Ruckh, Technical Compressor Services Camaro; 1.32.254
Charlotte Motor Speedway - June 8,9
Heading into Central Carolinas Region SCCA's June 7-9 weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway there was a very real chance it could be the best-attended V8RRS weekend ever. We had 16 of the 35 drivers pre-registered in the Big Bore group, and with Jacek Mucha running his P1/ASR car with the Wings & Things that would have given us 17 total drivers. Mother Nature had other ideas, however, and about Tuesday of race week I started getting calls/emails from folks asking me what the weather was going to do. My standard answer was, "I'm going to Charlotte this weekend, but I'll understand if you'd rather not."
It ends up a number of folks bailed, but the four that continued to text me over the weekend deserve special commendation since their interest/concern probably helped keep the rains away on Saturday. So those that DID attend can thank (in no particular order) Mike Attaway, Jay Gomer, BJ Holley, and Danny Lowry for those dry sessions!
I drove though some terrible storms in downtown Charlotte and got to the track around 3:30 Friday afternoon, but the folks who tested that day did manage to get some dry sessions earlier in the day. I figured out where everyone was paddocked and met some of the new folks in attendance, but the obvious discussion centered around what it was going to do the rest of the weekend. Oh yeah - the 2019 Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour was also in town that weekend which made finding a motel room near the track rather pricey, so I ended up staying in a No-Tell Motel closer to town.
The track was dry as the 24 cars in big bore group (Group 3) took to the track, but the 20-minute session was black-flagged after about three laps when an over-enthusiastic stock car driver (not a V8RRS member) attempted to rearrange the tire wall between turns 4 & 5 in the infield section. That took about ten minutes to clean up, so there were right at five minutes left on the clock when everyone got rolling again. The times pretty much reflected who go a clean lap vs. being in traffic the whole time, but afterward our drivers lined up thusly: . 1st GTA (2nd OA) - Al Rowland, Superior Trailers Monte Carlo SS; 1.15.635 . 1st GT1 (7th OA) - Ron Fariss, Hall's Garage / Mark's Paint & Body Corvette; 1.22.340 . 2nd GTA (9th OA) - Bob Davis, AquaPros / Prestone Impala; 1.22.945 . 2nd GT1 (10th OA) - Larry Hoophaugh, Hoophaugh Grading Corvette; 1.24.982 . 1st SPO (14th OA) - Jim Smith, Budweiser Monte Carlo; 1.28.218 . 3rd GT1 (17th OA) - Chris Evans, South Bend Limestone / American Racer Camaro; 1.30.785 . 3rd GTA (25th OA) - Randy Sampson, Rowland Racing Camaro; no time
Others I'll mention as part of my effort to recruit them to our ranks: . 1st OA, GT1 - Tony Ave, Ave Racing Corvette; 1.11.666 . 5th OA, GTA - Michael Munley, Munley Motorsports Monte Carlo; 1.19.546 . 13th OA, T1 - William Wallace, Hoosier Tire / Hawk Performance Corvette; 1.27.636 . 22nd OA, SPO - Capt Bob Gomer, Winged Shelby Cobra; 1.33.189 . 26th OA, GT2 - Steve Kent; Kent Auto Group Mustang; no time
During the lunch break I checked out the place Jim Smith and friends were renting in the Turn 1 condos and figured out logistics for our Saturday evening V8RRS social. After lunch I joined Scott & Ed Conway in the PA booth to provide color commentary for Race #1, and mentioned it would be interesting to see how quickly things sorted out as people got clean(er) laps than they did in qualifying. Despite dire forecasts the weather was still dry and most everyone got some good racing in. Unfortunately Capt Bob got taken out by a GT3 car braking for Turn 1, then William Wallace brought out a FCY when he blew his engine (only the third weekend he'd driven the car), caught on fire, and then spun in the oil and backed into the wall on the inside of NASCAR Three. Randy Sampson and Ron Fariss both came in early with mechanical issues while Al Rowland ran a measured race. I didn't realize it at the time, but Steve Kent charged from the back to finish fourth overall. At the checkers: . 1st GTA (5th OA) - Al Rowland, Superior Trailers Monte Carlo SS; 1.17.526 . 2nd GTA (7th OA) - Bob Davis, AquaPros / Prestone Impala; transponder issues . 1st GT1 (11th OA) - Chris Evans, South Bend Limestone / American Racer Camaro; 1.24.578 . 2nd GT1 (18th OA) - Larry Hoophaugh, Hoophaugh Grading Corvette; 1.19.074 . 1st SPO (21st OA) - Jim Smith, Budweiser Monte Carlo; 1.28.183 . 1st GT1 (23rd OA) - Ron Fariss, Hall's Garage / Mark's Paint & Body Corvette; 1.23.863 . 3rd GTA (24th OA) - Randy Sampson, Rowland Racing Camaro; 1.34.011
As alluded to before, the V8RRS members and invited guests adjorned to the Turn 1 condos for pizza and beverages, and watched the 90-minute Enduro that was run under the lights (and in the rain). A good time was had by all, and thanks to Jim, Lou, and Bob for allowing us to invade their accomodations.
The rains that been forecast all weekend arrived mid-morning on Sunday, so Sunday's Race #2 was a mess. It was raining as our group rolled to Grid and got worse as the session went on, so it was mainly a battle of survival and MANY people either chose not to run or came in early. Jim Smith did manage to run the entire race even with his windshield fogging up, to which he credited his spotters (Bob and Lou). At the checkers there were six cars still on track, and the official results were:
. 1st SPO (4th OA) - Jim Smith, Budweiser Monte Carlo; 2.24.065 . 1st GT1 (8th) - Chris Evans, South Bend Limestone / American Racer Camaro; 3.22.963 . 1st GTA (13th OA) - Al Rowland, Superior Trailers Monte Carlo SS; 3.02.452 . 2nd GT1 (14th OA) - Ron Fariss, Hall's Garage / Mark's Paint & Body Corvette; 2.58.062 . 3rd GT1 (19th OA) - Larry Hoophaugh, Hoophaugh Grading Corvette; 3.21.153 . DNS - Bob Davis, AquaPros / Prestone Impala; no time . DNS - Randy Sampson, Rowland Racing Camaro; no time
I do want to mention Steve Kent and Michael Munley even though they're not (yet) V8RRS members. Michael ran consistently in the top four before finally pulling in one lap prior to the checkers and I KNOW he couldn't see much out of his ASA Monte Carlo. Steve Kent took first overall and set fastest race lap with a 1.50.201, but what impressed me the most was his track awareness. When the pace car (truck) came out for the second FCY (this one for a car in the wall on the front straight) it missed picking Steve up. Rather than making the race officials wave everyone around to pick up the correct car, Steve stopped just off the track between Turn 3 & 3A to wait for the pack to catch him, then slotted in where he was supposed to be. Even though they never went back to green it was a heads-up move and I noted it to my co-announcers at the time.
Finally, Jacek Mucha took first place in ASR (4th OA) both days. On Saturday his best time was a
1.15.321 while on Sunday he had a best lap of 1.25.199.
Next up is PittRace the weekend of July 12-14.
See y'all at the track...