2020 Season Finale at VIR (Oct 10-11)!
There were some who cancelled early due to the threatening weather forecast, but we did have 11 V8RRS members show up by Friday. A number of folks turned laps during Friday's test day and we were looking for some good racing, but unfortunately the bad weather originally predicted for late Saturday showed up twelve hours early. As a result half of our folks opted out, but that did nothing to detract from the weekend's excitement. This weekend proved once again that you only need two horses to make a great race!
Champions had already been determined in four of the six V8RRS classes contested this year, but GT2 and GTA were still up for grabs going into the weekend. In GT2 Al Rowland and Danny Lowry were separated by three points while the margin was even slimmer between Michael Munley and Chris Durbin in GTA. Both Danny and Chris would have to finish ahead of their respective rivals in both races in order to be champions, but both scenarios were certainly possible based on prior 2020 events.
Al & Danny talked on Friday (while it was still dry) and decided that neither of them were willing to risk their cars in the rain, but Michael and Chris were more than ready to battle the elements (and each other) for the GTA championship. And what a show they put on!
The grid order after Saturday morning's 20-minute qualifier (in the rain): . 1st GTA (2nd OA) - Chris Durbin, Hawk Performance Impala SS: 2.32.789 . 2nd GTA (3rd OA) - Michael Munley, Gutterman Services Monte Carlo: 2.36.472 . 1st SPO (4th OA) - Jim Smith, Budweiser Monte Carlo: 2.59.175
We had originally planned to perform a fairly comprehensive compliance effort after the first qualifier, but with so many opting out of qualifying that was restricted to "just" running all the cars across the chassis dyno that we'd contracted with for the weekend. Todd and Daniel from Dyno on the Go had obviously done this before, and all ten sessions had been completed by lunch time. If a driver/owner wanted to share theirs that was up to them, but Series Administrator Jim Creighton is the only person to see ALL the numbers. Jim reports that everyone was "within tolerance", and now that we've established such an activity is practical expect to see the chassis dyno show up randomly in the future.
Tyler Wilson and I watched Race #1 (still raining) from the Uphill Esses and were surprised to see Gerry Hudson in his #03 Panoz come by at the back of the field on the pace lap. Gerry needed the race to satisfy SCCA's participation requirement to keep his license so he figured he'd just make laps and stay out of everyone's way, and with only five other cars on track that was pretty easy to do. Tyler and I did hoop and holler when Gerry passed the Datsun 240Z on the last lap, however! In GTA Chris jumped to an early lead but Michael never really let him get away as the gap varied between one and four seconds the entire race.
At the checkers the order was: . 1st GTA (2nd OA) - Chris Durbin, Hawk Performance Impala SS: 2.28.705 . 2nd GTA (3rd OA) - Michael Munley, Gutterman Services Monte Carlo: 2.28.949 . 1st SPO (4th OA) - Jim Smith, Budweiser Monte Carlo: 2.56.538 . 1st GT2 (5th OA) - Gerry Hudson, Hudson Racing Panoz: 3.23.526
During Saturday evening's social we ate pizza, drank adult beverages, told lies, handed out some awards, and set the stage for Sunday's final showdown (whoever finished first between Michael and Chris would be the 2020 GTA Champion). We also introduced the V8RRS Rookie of the Year trophy, which was (retroactively) given to Jared Hincher for 2019 and awarded to Michael Munley for 2020. At the conclusion Ricky Sanders also drew Danny Lowry's name as the winner of the 2020 PitBoxes.com $2500 gift certificate.
It was still raining on Sunday when the big bore cars rolled off Grid just after 12:00. Saturday's overall winner chose not to start, so the field consisted of Chris and Michael on the front row, Jim and the 240Z on row two, and Tyler Wilson (using Randy Walker's rain tires) rolling off in fifth overall. I was watching from the back straight and Chris again had about a two second lead on lap one while Tyler moved past the Z-car and Jim for third overall, but Jim got back by Tyler a couple of laps later. The gap between Chris and Michael stretched and shrank over the next twelve laps, and it seemed to me that Michael would close the gap when the rain was harder and Chris would stretch it back out when things lightened up. According to Race Hero there was less than a second between them as they started the last lap, but when the leaders came back into my view Michael was all alone! It ends up Chris had gotten into Turn 1 "just a little too deep" and spun off the outside of the track. Chris did rejoin to finish second overall, but Michael Munley would have another trophy to add to his collection - 2020 V8RRS GTA Champion.
At the checkers: . 1st GTA (1st OA) - Michael Munley, Gutterman Services Monte Carlo: 2.27.589 . 2nd GTA (2nd OA) - Chris Durbin, Hawk Performance Impala SS: 2.26.680 . 1st SPO (3rd OA) - Jim Smith, Budweiser Monte Carlo: 2.45.023 . 1st GTSC (4th OA) - Tyler Wilson, Revolution Electric Grand Prix: 2.51.767
Thus concludes a very challenging 2020 V8 Road Racing Series season. Planning is already underway for the 2021 season (first event will be at Sebring currently scheduled for Feb 12-14), but as we learned this year all that is tentative at this time.
In the meantime, congratulate our 2020 V8RRS champions: . GT1 - Steve Magowen, University Volvo Camaro . GT2 - Al Rowland, Superior Trailers Impala SS . GTA - Michael Munley, Gutterman Services Monte Carlo . GTSC - Tyler Wilson, Revolution Electric Grand Prix . SPO - Andy Trought, Winfield Farms Camaro . T1 - Chip Bozeman, Pearl Collison Mustang
See y'all at the track...