Though the sun never quite poked through and light showers fell intermittently through the afternoon, seven race groups ran 30-minute timed races on Saturday at GingerMan Raceway for round seven of the SCCA Northern Conference Majors Tour.
The day began with qualifying for each of the Runoffs-eligible classes and drivers in attendance, giving way to an afternoon of racing.
Group 1: The afternoon of racing opened with the Production category, along with B-Spec, with Joe Moser pulling his No. 63 Hoosier/King Motorsports/Moser Racing Honda Prelude away from the field for a flag-to-flag win. Moser pushed his orange Honda through traffic with a right rear tire locking up under braking, which got especially treacherous with two laps to go when a light rain started to fall. Moser kept control to the end.
Michael Sturm’s F Production win came following a battle with the Walker family. Joe Walker’s No. 5 Walker Racing Lotus Super 7 went around Sturm’s No. 48 Sturminator Design/Hoosier Mazda Miata on lap 12 for the lead after starting near the rear of the field. Walker abandoned the lead and pulled to pit lane just three laps later with a stuck throttle.
Sturm thought he was in the clear at that point, then suddenly discovered the No. 9 Walker Racing MG B driven by John Walker, Joe’s son, in his mirrors. Back in race mode, Sturm picked up his pace, and the younger Walker tried to go to the outside of a turn for a pass. Walker ran off course and ended his day three laps from the checkers, and Sturm finally had his win.
Defending H Production National Champion Lawrence Loshak’s brand new race car made its debut this weekend at GingerMan, and it now has a perfect record after one race. While Loshak admitted the No. 1 ETE Reman/HYPERformance/RWM/Hoosier Honda CRX wasn’t flawless, it was good enough to walk away with the class win. John Heinricy’s No. 37 Matlick Chevrolet/Hoosier/Hawk Chevrolet Sonic used traffic to ease away for the B-Spec win, despite the slickness at the finish and the rain causing his front windshield to start to fog up.
Group 2: Fabio Castellani won overall in the wings and things group, taking Formula Atlantic on a track that started wet and slippery. Drying out as the race went on, Castellani worked his No. 97 Hoosier/ABRO/Pro-One Swift 014/Toyota through the lapped field and ticked off fast laps to the finish. Tyler Thielmann’s No. 6 SO Bright LLC JDR-012 and John Gyann’s No. 47 Gycor International Stohr WF1 finished second and fourth overall for class wins in Formula 1000 and Prototype 1, respectively.
The closest battle of the race came in Formula Mazda, where Dale VandenBush had a year’s worth of racing incidents condensed to the 30-minute race in his No. 12 Lake Effect Motorsports Formula Mazda. VandenBush had built an eight second lead early on, but saw that evaporate when he ran off track through turn two, and made contact with a Formula Enterprises machine in a separate incident trying to go by.
With VandenBush’s radiator screen covered in grass, Jason Vinkemulder’s No. 10 Vinkemulder Financial Formula Mazda closed to his gearbox. Though Vinkemulder hounded him for several laps and with VandenBush’s temperatures starting to climb, he could not find a way by, and VandenBush still was able to celebrate a win.
Scott Rettich, already leading the Formula Enterprises race by several seconds after he started on rain tires, got radio communication to back off and save the tires on his No. 17 Alliance Autosport/PDI Communications Formula Enterprises machine. Rettich gave the ok, then turned his fastest lap of the race on lap 13 to seal the win. As the track dried, Rettich slid down the overall charts, but kept his FE win by more than 40 seconds.
Group 3: The Spec Miata race went to a full course caution on lap six, with Voytek Burdzy’s No. 41 Advanced Autosports Mazda Miata leading Michael Novak’s No. 9 Roush/Caldwell Race Prep Miata and the No. 68 Dynomax Exhaust Miata of David Bednarz third.
Both Novak and Bednarz pushed hard on the first lap after the restart, with Bednarz going hard in the braking zone for turn one just after the first full lap. Bednarz didn’t get by, but the three were the fastest cars on course.
Novak was the leader as the field saw the one to go board. As they raced through turn 10, Novak and Burdzy touched, disrupting Novak’s rhythm as he tried to stay in the lead. The two raced down the back straight to the final corner and back to the checkered flag with Bednarz in tow and also looking for a way to the front. Following the drag race to the three-wide finish, Burdzy stayed in front by 0.098-second, with Bednarz in third and only 0.193-second (about half a car length) behind.
Group 4: Scott Rettich earned his second win of the day, this time in Spec Racer Ford, drawing away from the field with a steady stream of fast laps in the No. 17 Alliance Autosport/Springboro Car Wash Spec Racer Ford.
Behind Rettich was Scott Goolsbey’s No. 79 Lindell Motorsports machine, who settled in during the middle stages with a gap on either side of him after losing touch with Rettich. Goolsbey had an issue with the valve stem on his left rear wheel, and put extra air into the tire to start the race, anticipating a very slow leak. The tire held, however, leaving him with too much pressure in the tire. That, of course, lessened the grip available on right hand corners, and had a charging Jeff Beck in his mirrors at the finish.
Beck’s No. 31 Lindell/Ryan Spec Racer Ford ran out of laps at the end of the race following a tight battle for third with Adam Gottlieb’s No. 7 Spec Racer Ford. Beck finally got free of Gottlieb, but couldn’t finish running down Goolsbey and finished third.
Group 5: Jonathan Start led the way early in the No. 51 Kalin Construction/Hoosier/Carbotech Dodge Viper, but Tom Patton’s No. 50 Red Line Oil/Hoosier Tires Sunbeam Tiger moved around him through turn two on lap 16, then held on for a 1.306-second victory on Saturday in GT-2. Patton set a new track record, besting the existing mark for the second time in as many weeks (including the BFGoodrich Tires Watkins Glen Super Tour).
Start spent the early part of the race with Patton’s Tiger on his tail, but as the tires started to fade in the Viper, was a sitting duck. Patton never created much of a gap, but had enough to get to the finish.
Paul Young (No. 79 Young Racing/Hoosier Tire Ford Probe), Tom Stanford (No. 20 Pote-Stanford Reporting Chevrolet Camaro), and William Moore (No. 33 MSports/Swift/Backstreet/Mom Chevrolet Camaro SS) won GT-3, GT-1, and Touring 2, respectively.
Group 6: Andy McDermid’s No. 24 WeatherTech/Felice Perf Engines/T&A Shocks Ford Mustang ran away and hid from the American Sedan field for the overall win, but three class battles behind him were wheel to wheel.
David Daughtery and Mark Boden were head to head early, with Daughtery’s No. 05 Nissan/Hoosier/Carbotech/Enkel Nissan 370Z leading the opening six laps, and Boden’s No. 4 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 taking over on lap seven.
On lap nine, the two tried to get through a corner at the same time and made contact, sending Boden into a spin and bringing Daughtery nearly to a stop. Both continued, with Daughtery several seconds in front for the win. Boden climbed back around the No. 18 Kaplan Racing Systems BMW M3 of Aaron Kaplan to finish second.
Rich Walke held on to Super Touring Lite in his No. 61 Creative Technology Mazda RX-7 after a race-long run with Bruce Anderson. Anderson’s No. 73 Senson Racing/Auto Tchnik Racing Mazda Miata chased Walke, pulling in front of Walke through turn 10 and down the back straight. Walke caught back up down the straight, and the two went side by side through the corner and around a lapped car, with Walke holding on for the final lap to take a 1.8-second win.
A similar scenario played out in Touring 4, where Greg Vandersluis’ No. 93 Carbotech/BFGoodrich Tires/Ford Racing Ford Mustang led the entire race, but got pressure from Dan Bender for the final 10 minutes. Bender’s No. 10 Bravo Trailers/BFGoodrich Tires/Autobarn Mazda Mazda Miata dove hard on the brakes into turn one, just after the one to go board was displayed, but Vandersluis kept him from getting by with the wider arc through the left hander.
The two went side by side through the next two corners, with Vandersluis emerging in front. The Mustang stayed in front the rest of the way, including the drag race out of the final corner to the checkered flag, for a 0.224-second win
Group 7: The Formula 500 battle for the overall lead was the one to watch, as James Weida’s No. 22 Weida Apartments/Formula X-1 Scorpion/W-1 Rotax and Clint McMahan’s No. 2 Formula600Racing.com/Satellite Racing Scorpion FDS slugging it out early. McMahan’s two stroke motor appeared to have the edge out of the corners, but McMahan’s top end put him back in the lead. That battle ended when McMahan spun on lap five, recovering to set his quick lap on lap seven but losing touch with the leaders.
Though Weida initially had space, Brian Novak picked up where McMahan fell off, turning the fastest lap of the race in 1:34.843 on the second to last lap in his No. 19 Metalloid/Hoosier/AIM Scorpion F600. With sponsor Metalloid just over an hour away from the track and dozens of associates on hand to watch, Novak dove deep into turn one on the final lap to try to steal the lead.
That pass attempt didn’t stick, and Weida pulled out a gap through the middle of the track. The gap closed again going into the final corner, but Weida kept in front for a 0.280-second victory.
Russell Ruedisueli kept his No. 20 Van Diemen in front of Mark Davison’s No. 91 Hardly Davison Swift DB-1 early, and inched away for the Formula F win. Michael Varacins started on the Formula Vee pole and marched away throughout the race for the win in his No. 65 Speed Sport/Veetech/Hoosier Speed Sport AM-5.
Round Six of the Northern Conference Majors Tour continues Sunday morning with 21 lap races beginning at 8:30 a.m. EDT at GingerMan Raceway. More information from GingerMan, including results, can be found at SCCA.com/GingerManMajor
s. Live timing and notes are available throughout the day on Sunday at SCCA.com/SCCALive