Rain Fails to Dampen High Spirits from Hallett
JENNINGS, Okla. (April 6, 2014) – Sunshine and cool temperatures in the morning gave way to rain that held off until the final two run groups at Sunday’s Safe Racer National Race Program SCCA U.S. Majors Tour Mid-States Conference event at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit.
Trailers, competitors and racecars filled the paddock of Hallett. Many braved the cool morning temperatures and late afternoon rains to complete the two-race weekend held at the 10-turn, 1.8-mile permanent road course.
Group One saw three drivers complete the Hallett sweep. Cliff Johnson, of Stilwell, Kan., drove the No. 4 Alpine Lotho-Graphics/Farley Engines Piper DF-5 to victory in Formula F. The dual wins will put Johnson in fourth place in the season-long conference point standings.
Timothy Friest, of Leavenworth, Kan., will vault into the lead of the Formula 500 Mid-States Conference point standings after two victories. This was the third win in 2014 for Friest in the No. 86 Hoosier/XTRacing/Rod End Supply KBS Mk. VII.
Charles Hearn lengthens his point lead in Mid-States Conference standings with his pair of wins. Driving the No. 8 Noble Racing/Hoosier Tire/Hearn Contractors Protoform P-2 FV, this is Hearn’s third consecutive conference win following his Sunday victory at Eagle’s Canyon.
Group Two produced some top-notch racing action for participants and on-lookers, alike. Jonathan Goodale, of Conifer, Colo., was the GT Lite winner, once the dust settled following a fierce three-way battle for the lead.
Kent Prather was able to move to the lead around initial GTL leader Roy Lopshire by lap 13. Goodale took advantage of the move and followed Prather, slotting into second. On lap 18, Goodale put his No. 04 MAZDASPEED/Hoosier/JoeApex.com Mazda MX-5 into position to get around Prather and made the pass stick.
Eric Prill was the first to see the checkers in E Production. In the early laps, it looked like Saturday’s winner, Nigel Saurino, had the field covered. However, Prill kept himself in contention and was able to take advantage as Saurino’s machine began to give out. In the No. 7 Super Max/Jesse Prather Motorsports/Hoosier Tires Mazda Miata, Prill made the pass around Saurino’s faltering car and cruised to victory.
A heated battle between defending Spec Miata National Champion Jim Drago and Matt Reynolds ensued during Group Three. Drago would take the win in his No. 2 East Street Racing Mazda Miata, but it was not easy by any means.
Reynolds was fast all weekend and showed he could match Drago’s pace, step for step. Before starting lap seven, Reynolds and Drago had traded the lead twice at the line. Reynolds made a final push for the lead, sparking a late-race lead exchange. However, Drago proved he was up to the task, regaining the top position and taking the win, despite the best efforts of Reynolds.
The ‘Wings and Things’ classes produced a trio of two-day winners. Alan McCallum, of Houston, Texas, led from wire to wire in Formula Mazda. Driving the No. 9 Alan McCallum Racing Formula Mazda, McCallum pressed hard in the opening laps to put pavement between himself and Moses Smith, who finished second both days. The plan worked as McCallum was able to finish with a sizable lead.
Doug Stout (No. 19 DS Masonry/Front Range Motorsports Van Diemen RF 05), of Pueblo, Colo., and Jay Messenger (No. 59 Jacob’s Ladder/Hoosier Tire Carbir CS2), of Muleshoe, Texas, doubled up in Formula Continental and Prototype 2, respectively.
Group Five was made up of the high-horsepower, big-bore classes. In GT-1, Tom Smith, of Springdale, Ark., took Sunday’s win after losing out to David Fershtand by 0.011-second on Saturday. Driving the No. 6 USA Metal Recycling/Go Hogs Go! Chevrolet Camaro, Smith took the lead into Turn One and outdrove Fershtand just enough hold the lead.
Robert Prilika (No. 25 Porsche of Colorado Springs Porsche 997 GT3 Cup), of Castle Rock, Colo., and Jim Wheeler (No. 20 Hoosier Tire/Wilwood/KC Raceware Pontiac TransAM), of Lenexa, Kan., flexed their proverbial muscles, taking back-to-back wins on the weekend.
Rain began to fall by the start of Group Six and played a significant role in the finishing order. Michael Pettiford, of Louisville, Colo., took the overall, and Touring 2 class, win driving his No. 42 GO 4 IT Racing Schools/Hoosier Tire/Hardbar USA Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
As a slight rain began to fall, Pettiford got the jump on the start over polesitter Natha Waldbaum. Pettiford had the setup that worked well as the track became more slick; however Waldbaum began to take huge chunks from Pettiford’s lead when the rain let up for a couple laps. The reprieve from rain was short lived and Pettiford took advantage by driving away from the field.
Jason Ott (No. 09 BMW Z4 Coupe), of Littleton, Colo., and Brian Laughlin, of Tulsa, Okla., also took well to the changing weather conditions by completing the weekend sweep. In the No. 09 BimmerHaus/Hoosier Tire/Alpine Motorsports BMW Z4 Coupe, Ott took the win in Touring 3, while Laughlin (No. 25 Tulsa Radiology Associates/Mazda Mazda Miata) double-dipped in Super Touring Lite.
In Spec Racer Ford, Keith Verges showed what it takes to drive in the rain. He made his No. 69 Apex Driving Academy Spec Racer Ford dace around the rain-soaked course, allowing him the dual victories during the weekend.
The next stop for the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour Mid-States Conference is scheduled for May 3-4, at High Plains Raceway in Byers, Colo.
Results, grids and more information from Hallett can be found at SCCA.com/HallettMajors.
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