ALTON, Va. (April 20, 2014) – Bright and sunny skies finally showed up for the first time during the race weekend, for Sunday’s Round Eight of the SCCA Eastern Conference U.S. Majors Tour from VIRginia International Raceway, part of the SafeRacer National Club Racing program.
Eight race groups took to the newly-paved VIR circuit during prime weather conditions for their feature races at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn permanent road course. The 27 Runoffs-eligible classes were slated for races lasting 16 laps or 40 minutes, whichever came first.
The opening race group, Spec Racer Ford, produced some very spirited racing. Brian Schofield, of Lakeland, Fla., completed the sweep in his No. 61 PM Racing Spec Racer Ford. However, the best racing was right behind Schofield.
The cars of second-place finisher John Greene, third-place finisher Bruce Myers and Andrew Charbonneau were involved in a three-way battle for second while working to stay close to the leader. Charbonneau dropped out of the battle early on, following mechanical issues with his machine. Myers picked up the fight, but was unable to get around Greene, and crossed the line in third.
In Group Two, the small-bore formula cars took center stage. For most of the 16-lap race, the Formula Vee race was nip and tuck among Donnie Isley, Jonathan Weisheit and Stevan Davis. Isley, of Fletcher, N.C., came away with the win, but it wasn’t clear that would be the outcome until the final two laps.
Faster Formula F traffic sliced through the top three in class as the laps wound down, allowing Isley to break away in his No. 30 Agitator by Brookshire Formula Vee. Jonathan Weisheit and yesterday’s winner, Stevan Davis, were left to sort out second and third on their own. Weisheit finished with the upper hand by crossing the line second, just ahead of Davis.
Additionally, Michael Brent (No. 47 Hoosier Tire/QRE Invader QC1), of Bethel, Conn., was able to pull off the doubleheader win in Formula 500.
With Spec Miata, close racing is the expected norm and Sunday’s 16-lap feature race did not disappoint. Alex Bolanos, of Hialeah, Fla., brought home the second-day win at VIR. Bolanos (No. 57 Autotechnik/Momo/Apex Alignment Mazda Miata), Dillon Machavern and Andrew Carbonell spent the first 15 laps of the race looking for open real estate. It seemed as though no one wanted to lead until the last lap, and Bolanos was in the catbird seat when the field was shown one-to-go.
Machavern made a hard challenge for the lead as the front pack approached Turn 14. He attempted the same outside move that was made on him when he held the lead during Saturday’s closing lap. Again, the results were the same. Bolanos had the inside line through the downhill right-hander, allowing him the edge through the resulting left-handed Turn 15, which proved enough to secure the win.
Group Four spotlighted the production classes, and B-Spec was the closest class finish of the group. Once again, it came down to Travis Washay (No. 30 Indian Summer Racing/Northern Cross Mini Cooper), of Milford, Conn., who duked it out with teammate Ryan Hall. At the line, Washay beat Travis to the line. The weekend sweep is Washay’s second in the Eastern Conference this season.
Warren Montague (No. 32 TRD/Toyota Motorsports/Pella Toyota Tercell), of Manakin Sabot, Va., and Michael Miller (No. 64 Sports Car Salvage/App Race Tire Austin Healey Sprite), of Walhalla, S.C., also completed sweeps in GT-Lite and H Production, respectively.
The big-bore formula and prototype cars featured a trio of close races for class wins. In Prototype 1, Jacek Much, of Laval, Quebec, Can., doubled up on the weekend at the controls of his No. 07 Phoenix-innotech/Mazda JMS06CP Mazda. He finished up front in the back-and-forth P1 battle between himself and Garrett Kletjian, while Gaston Kearby (No. 56 GK Motorsports Swift 016), of Corpus Christi, Texas, brought home the Formula Atlantic win just ahead of his son Connor.
Glenn Cooper, of Roswell, Ga., scored the narrow Formula 1000 victory over Alex Mayer. While he never got in front of Cooper, Mayer was driving in the tire tracks of Cooper’s No. 43 Ralph Firman Racing/Hoosier Tire/Horseloversgifts.com/WRD/Hell No Kitty RFR F1000 for the entire 16-lap race waiting to pounce on any error made by Cooper.
On the heels of the big formula cars was the ground-pounding big-bore class. Four winners were able to complete the sweep, including George Winkler, of Frederick, Md., in Touring 1. Driving the No. 27 Winkler Automotive Service Center Ford Mustang Boss 302 S, Winkler weaved his way to the class lead around Preston Calvert early in the race.
As the field strung out, Winkler was able to open a gap back to Calvert but that didn’t last for long once Winker got into lapped traffic. As the 16-lap race wound down, Winkler started to see Calvert’s Red Corvette in his mirrors. As a result Winkler picked up the pace, which propelled him to the win.
The Three remaining drivers able to rack up weekend sweeps in Group Six were Tony Ave (No. 04 Beebe Racing/PME Engines Chevrolet Corvette), of Maiden, N.C., Chad Bacon (No. 18 FedEx Ground/Goodyear Tires/Toyota TRD), of Kingsport, Tenn., and Daniel Richardson (No. 15 Performance Auto Works/Hayworth Racing Chevrolet Camaro), of Derwood, Md., in GT-1, GT-3 and American Sedan, respectively.
In Group Seven, Thomas McGregor, of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Can., took the Formula Continental win in his No. 93 Exclusive Autosport/Dairy Queen/Sparco Spectrum 014Z. Early in the race, McGregor was gaining on overall leader, and eventual winner, Scott Rettich until he lost third gear at the race’s midway point. McGregor took home some valuable lessons about the circuit that he will put to use later in the year, as he will be back at VIR in June to race in the SCCA Pro Racing-sanctioned F2000 Championship Series.
Doug Piner, of Chapel Hill, N.C., cleaned up in Prototype 2 as he took wins on both days in his No. 00 Sirius Computer Solutions Dauntless MX-1.
The final group of the day consisted of the touring classes. While Kurt Rezzetano (No. 36 Phoenix Performance/Ford Racing/Hoosier Tire Ford Mustang), of Phoenixville, Penn., completed the Majors Touring 2 double from VIR, Sage Marie captured the Sunday win in Touring 3.
Marie, of Huntington Beach, Calif., was able to jump to the class lead in his No. 64 Honda Racing/HPD/BFGoodrich Tires Acura TL shortly after the drop of the green flag. During Turn 17 of the opening lap, Marie’s machine jumped sideways which killed his momentum onto the long front straight. The bobble allowed his class competitors, Rob Hines and Kevin Boehm, to get around him. Marie spent the remainder of the race regaining the positions he lost at the start. By the end of the 16-lap affair, Marie was back up front and beat Hines to the line by 0.5-second.
The next stop for the Eastern Conference SCCA U.S. Majors Tour will be at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Rounds Nine and 10 of the conference season are scheduled for June 6-8.
Full results of the VIR Majors can be found at www.scca.com/VIRmajors.
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