WILLCOX, Ariz. (Feb. 24, 2014) – The fourth round of the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour Western Conference, part of the SafeRacer SCCA Club Racing program, is now in the record books after a long day of hard racing on Sunday.
Six race groups, consisting of 25 Runoffs-eligible classes, each ran 22-lap races around the 2.22-mile, 18-turn permanent road course at Inde Motorsports Ranch. The weather was cool, under mostly-cloudy skies, with the sun making selected appearances. Each Sunday race ran without a full course caution.
This event carried special significance to many at the track. The name of the race was changed to the Geno Petersen Memorial Arizona Majors, after Gene “Geno” Petersen, who passed away in January from complications related to cancer. Petersen was a long-time Club member who was known for helping anyone out who could use it. Petersen was named as SCCA Southern Pacific Division BFGoodrich Tires Worker of the Year just a year ago.
Spec Miata, a class known for good, tough racing, lived up to its billing by producing some of the most competitive racing action during the day. Joey Jordan, of Fallbrook, Calif., would emerge victorious in his No. 47 BFGoodrich Tires/Minxnails.com/Promotive Mazda Miata. However, it was a hard fought, well-earned win.
Jordan was part of an eventual four-car group that broke away from the remaining 13 entries in the class. Elliott Skeer, Steven Powers and Dean Busk were the remaining three drivers that were battling for the win.
Busk started the race off by taking the lead and trying to put as much time between himself and the rest of the pack. On lap five, Skeer had reeled Busk in by setting down some quick laps and made his pass stick coming out of Turn Two. On lap seven, Powers was in front of Jordan as they got around Busk. Jordan then put his head down, and got around Powers for second, determined not to let Skeer run away with a win.
By Lap 12, Jordan was on Skeer’s bumper, working to get a draft down the backstraight into turn three. Skeer had other ideas and was able hold the lead until Jordan made a daring outside pass in Turns 14 and 15. From there, Jordan ran consistent laps allowing him to maintain his gap to Skeer for the remaining 10 laps.
After an early checkered flag during Saturday’s race, the Spec Racer Ford drivers of race group two were eager to settle things at speed. Todd Harris, of Portland, Ore., came away with the win in his No. 24 Pro Drive Racing/HMS Spec Racer Ford.
Mike Miserendino was the polesitter and jumped to an early lead, setting the fast lap for the race at that time. On lap three, Harris and John Tipton got around Steve Fogg for second and third respectively. Harris started taking huge chunks out of the lead of Miserendino until he was around him by lap nine.
While this was going on for the lead, Tipton and Fogg were locked in battle for the final podium spot. By lap 13, Fogg had gotten around Tipton for third, and secured the position by stretching the gap back to the fourth-place car.
At the front, Harris was starting to get into lapped traffic. That allowed Miserendino to get right behind Harris waiting to make the most of any opportunity that presented itself. That opportunity happened on Lap 18 when Harris carried too much speed into Turn One and slid wide. Miserendino got up right beside Harris, but Harris had enough momentum to regain control and fend off the challenge from Miserendino.
Ethan Shippert, of Petaluma, Calif., proved he was the class of the field in group three. He drove his Formula F-classed No. 55 Jim Manning Dodge/Shippert Racing/Ivey Engines/Pro Pack Systems/Avon Tyres Crossle 45F to dominating overall victories on both days. Behind him, Stan Townes and Dave Zurlinden pleased the crowds with a great battle for second that lasted a majority of the 22-lap race.
Robert Neumeister, of Pueblo, Colo., repeated as Formula Vee winner after dueling with Dennis Andrade for the lead. By lap 12, Neumeister dispatched with Andrade and held the lead for the remainder of the race.
The fast formula and prototype cars were in the spotlight during group four. Jose Gerardo, of El Paso, Texas, repeated his flag-to-flag winning performance in his No. 14 General Labels and Printing, LLC Stohr F1000, taking the overall and Formula 1000 wins.
Winning both days in group four were Jeff Read (No. 18 Fantasy Junction/Edy Wood Realtor/Hoosier Tire/Quantum Consulting Services Van Diemen Formula Enterprise), of Vacaville, Calif.; Doug Nelson (No. 07 Raptor Motorsports/Hawk Performance Formula Mazda), of Tucson, Ariz., and David Ferguson (No. 75 Veracity Racing Data/Hoosier Tire Stohr WF1/Suzuki), of Paso Robles, Calif.
In group five, the production classes took center stage, accompanied by the GTL-class and overall victory of Joe Huffaker, of Petaluma, Calif. Driving his No. 77 Huffaker Engineering MG Midget, Huffaker showed off his skill which has helped him to become an eight-time National Champion. During the 22-lap event, Huffaker seemed to be running a qualifying pace as he kept lowering his best lap time with each circuit.
In STL, Clement Lee, of San Diego, Calif., took home his second Majors trophy of the weekend in his No. 3 RM Autosports Mazda Miata.
Lee Niffenegger, of Santa Clarita, Calif., swept the weekend in his Touring 4 No. 42 Honda Racing/BFGoodrich Tires Honda Civic Si. Gary Whittman (No. 33 Teodize/Venolia Austing Healy Sprite), of Costa Mesa, Calif., and Keith Gillespie (No. 23 Hasport Performance Honda Prelude), of Tempe, Ariz., also racked up double wins in their respective classes.
The big-bore cars of group six ended the day. Again Michael Lewis, of Poway, Calif., drove to a win in his No. 12 Goodyear/Cyclo/Redline Oil Jaguar XKR. Michael von Quilich, of Pahrump, Nev., also completed the weekend sweep winning the GT-2 class in his No. 19 Apartments247.com/RVParks247.com/StorageRentals247.com SRT Viper ACRX.
Also sweeping the weekend from group six were Michael Skelton (No. 10 Ford Mustang), of Albuquerque, N.M.; Kyle Kelley (No. 79 UPR.com/APEX Chrevrolet Corvette), of Huntington Beach, Calif.; and Al Camano (No. 27 Dtech Investigations Chevrolet Corvette), of Long Beach, Calif.
The next stop for the Majors Western Conference will be Rounds Five and Six at Thunderhill Raceway Park, April 12-13.
Results of the Inde Majors will be made available at SCCA.com/IndeMajors, as soon as possible.
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WILLCOX, Ariz. - Provisional race winners for Sunday’s Western Conference Majors Tour Round Three at Inde Motorsports Ranch. Drivers are listed by Class: name, hometown, and car. (*)Denotes wins both days.
American Sedan: Michael Skelton, Albuquerque, N.M., Ford Mustang*
B-Spec: Derrick Ambrose, Vancouver, Wash., Mazda2
Formula 1000: Jose Gerardo, El Paso, Texas, Stohr F1000*
Formula Continental: Michael Manning, Dinuba, Calif., Van Diemen DP08
Formula Enterprises: Jeff Read, Vacaville, Calif., Van Dieman Formula Enterprise*
Formula F: Ethan Shippert, Petaluma, Calif., Crossle 45F*
Formula Mazda: Doug Nelson, Tucson, Ariz., Formula Mazda*
Formula Vee: Robert Neumeister, Pueblo, Colo., Vortech JM*
E Production: Keith Gillespie, Tempe, Ariz., Honda Prelude*
F Production: Neal Frank, Santa Fe, N.M., Mazda Miata
H Production: Gary Whittman, Costa Mesa, Calif., Austin Healy Sprite*
GT-1: Michael Lewis, Poway, Calif., Jaguar XKR*
GT-2: Michael Von Quilich, Pahrump, Nev., SRT Viper ACRX*
GT-3: Mike Henderson, Alpine, Calif., Mazda RX-7
GT-Lite: Joe Huffaker, Petaluma, Calif., MG Midget*
Prototype 1: Dave Tweedlie, Riverside, Calif., Stohr WF1
Prototype 2: David Ferguson, Paso Robles, Calif., Stohr WF1/Suzuki*
Spec Miata: Joey Jordan, Fallbrook, Calif., Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford: Todd Harris, Portland, Ore., Spec Racer Ford
Super Touring Lite: Clement Lee, San Diego, Calif., Mazda Miata*
Super Touring Under: John Harms, Plano, Texas, Mazda Miata*
Touring 1: Al Camano, Long Beach, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette*
Touring 2: Kyle Kelley, Huntington Beach, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette*
Touring 4: Lee Niffenegger, Santa Clarita, Calif., Honda Civic Si*