BUTTONWILLOW, Calif. (April 29, 2012) – The 2012 Southern Pacific edition of the BFGoodrich Tires SCCA Super Tour ran Sunday under sunny skies and warm temperatures. Twenty-five drivers took home class wins, completing the first step of a potential Super Sweep award, earning valuable SafeRacer SCCA National Racing Series points and garnering the kudos that come with the spotlight event victory.
Mike Miserendino, of Bakersfield, Calif., led flag-to-flag to win the opening race of the day for Spec Racer Fords, but it was anything but easy, with T.J. Acker never more than a car-length behind. Starting from the pole, Miserendino benefited from a little bump at the green from third-starting Paul Marino to help shove him into the lead in Turn One. From there it was a two-car breakaway, with Miserendino taking the 0.421-second win, reversing the finishing order from the 2011 event.
Acker set a new class track record with a 2:05.313 (89.057 mph).
The Group Two race for GT and Super Touring® U and L started with a missing man formation, honoring the memory of 55-year SCCA member, leader and championship racer Andy Porterfield, who passed away last week. Defending GT-1 National Champion Michael Lewis led all the way for the win, and he remembered Porterfield in victory lane as well. Instead of standing atop the podium, Lewis placed the remembrance card from Porterfield’s memorial on a bottle of champagne and placed it on the top step.
Like Lewis, Miserendino had dedicated the race to Porterfield, who preceded Lewis on the SCCA Board of Directors representing Area 12 (Southern Pacific) and served as Chairman for SCCA Enterprises, manufacturer of the Spec Racer Ford.
“I ran every lap hard today in honor of Andy,” an emotional Lewis said after the race, despite being the only GT-1 entrant.
Behind Lewis, an intense battle waged for GT-3. Mike Henderson, of El Cajon, Calif., got out to an early lead in his Mazda RX-7, but Wolfgang Maike, of Santa Barbara, Calif., caught and passed him. It wouldn’t hold though, as Maike spun for the second-straight day, allowing Henderson past to cruise to the victory.
Super Touring Lite was a battle between Spec Miata racers Elliott Skeer, of Vista, Calif., and Grant Westmorland, of Chula Vista, Calif. Skeer started first, but it was Westmorland who took the win in his 1999 Mazda Miata. Marc Hoover, of Shingle Springs, Calif., Erich Joiner, of Torrance, Calif., and John Bower, of Granada Hills, Calif., took the STU, GT-2 and GT-Lite wins, respectively.
In the day’s third race, Lee Alexander, of Las Vegas, Nev., built a huge lead in his Stohr D Sports Racing car, breaking the overall SCCA track record at Buttonwillow for this configuration with a 1:41.012 (110.482 mph), but with two laps to go, he lost a coolant line and had to retire, handing the lead and subsequent win to the Stohr of Henry Botkin, from Jamul, Calif.
The best class race in Group Three was in Sports 2000. Polesitter Ted Guenther, of Paradise Valley, Ariz., led all the way, but caught traffic on the final lap, allowing Joe Moran, of Laguna Hills, Calif., to pull alongside several times. Despite getting loose coming off the last corner, Guenther was able to put his Swift to the finish line 0.462-second ahead of Moran.
Joseph Schifini, of Henderson, Nev., won C Sports Racing, with Chris Emanuel, of Huntington Beach, Calif.; Michael Manning, of Dinuba, Calif., and Steve Brown, of Ontario, Calif., taking the top Formula Atlantic, Formula Continental and Formula Mazda trophies, respectively.
For the second-straight day, Spec Miata (Group Four) put on one of the best shows, with a pair of teenagers leading the way.
Seventeen-year-old Tyler Vance, of Ladera Ranch, Calif., led from the pole, but on lap four, Clement Lee, of San Diego, went from third to first under braking into the Grapevine turn. Lee led the next handful of laps, with Vance bump-drafting him as the two tried to break away from another 17-year-old, Saturday’s winning driver Elliott Skeer. The lead duo never could shake Skeer, and on lap 10, Vance and Skeer both made their way by Lee.
The three stayed bumper-to-bumper for the final four laps as they moved in and out of traffic. They finished in that order, with just 0.557-second the gap from Vance, in first, to Lee, in third. The top two reversed the finishing order from Saturday, and it was Skeer’s second runner-up finish on the day.
Ed Erlandson, of Burbank, Calif., was the lone Formula F car, but was motivated enough to set a new track record of 1:55.397 en route to the overall win in Group Five. After a first-turn incident eliminated Mark Edwards and dropped Ron Wake to the rear of the field, Dennis Andrade, of Brush Prairie, Wash., dominated Formula Vee, scoring a 25-second win over early leader Brian McCarthy.
The sixth, and final, group of the weekend was won by Chuck Matthews, of Westlake, Village, Calif., in his Chevrolet Corvette, taking the Touring 1 and overall honors. Early in the race, Jim Tway, of Yorba Linda, Calif., applied plenty of pressure with his Corvette before he spun back to third. Matthews looked to be on cruise control until the closing laps, when Roy Benedetti, of Laguna Niguel, Calif., came charging. Despite feeling his car had “gone off,” Matthews held on to a 1.282-second win.
In Touring 2, Tom Wickersham, of San Ramon, Calif., ran uncontested to a win in his Honda S2000, as did Matt Staal, of Torrance, Calif., in Touring 3. Aaron Bailey, of Shasta Lake, Calif., captured American Sedan in his Pontiac Firebird.
Aaron Downey, of Rossmoor, Calif., had to change an engine after breaking on Saturday but cruised to the E Production win in his Mazda RX-3. Likewise, Hermosa Beach’s Brian Linn recovered from Saturday mechanical issues to win F Production in his Mazda Miata. Jason Isley, of Coto deCaza, Calif., won H Production for the second-consecutive day in his Toyota Yaris. X-Games star Jamie Bestwick, of Port Matilda, Pa., brought his Yaris home second.
Lee Niffenegger, of Santa Clarita, Calif., drove his Honda Civic Si to the Showroom Stock B win after flying from Miami to California last night following a professional race at Homestead. Finally, Ali Naimi, of Morgan Hill, Calif., drove his MAZDA3 to a 15-second victory in Showroom Stock C.
As part of the BFGoodrich Tires SCCA Super Tour, cash prizes were raffled at the Saturday night BFGoodrich Tires Event party. In random drawings, GT3 driver Scott Graham won $500 and volunteer workers Paul Parsons, John Dillon, Bob Jardine, Lisa Jones and Tracy Cain each won $100.
The next BFGoodrich Tires Super Tour event is at Summit Point Raceway in W. Va., for the Northeast Super Tour May 5-6. For more information about the BFGoodrich Tires Super Tour, visit www.scca.com/supertour.
Attached: Mike Miserendino leads T.J. Acker in Spec Racer Ford (D.E. Baer Image)
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BUTTONWILLOW, Calif. – Class winners from Sunday’s BFGoodrich Tires SCCA Super Tour from Buttonwillow Raceway Park as hosted by California Sports Car Club with class, driver, hometown and car.
American Sedan, Aaron Bailey, Shasta Lake, Calif., Pontiac Firebird
C Sports Racing, Joseph Schifini, Henderson, Nev., Stohr
D Sports Racing, Henry Botkin, Jamul, Calif., Stohr
E Production, Aaron Downey, Rossmoor, Calif., Mazda RX-3
Formula Atlantic, Chris Emanuel, Huntington Beach, Calif., Star Pro Mazda
Formula Continental, Michael Manning, Dinuba, Calif., Van Diemen
Formula F, Ed Erlandson, Burbank, Calif., Swift
Formula Mazda, Steve Brown, Ontario, Calif., Star Mazda
F Production, Brian Linn, Hermosa Beach, Calif., Mazda Miata
Formula Vee, Dennis Andrade, Brush Prairie, Wash., Vortech
GT-1, Michael Lewis, Poway, Calif., Jaguar XKR
GT-2, Erich Joiner, Torrance, Calif., Porsche 911 GT3
GT-3, Mike Henderson, El Cajon, Calif., Mazda RX-7
GT-L, John Bower, Granada Hills, Calif., Nissan
H Production, Jason Isley, Coto deCaza, Calif., Toyota Yaris
Sports 2000, Ted Guenther, Paradise Valley, Calif., Swift
Spec Miata, Tyler Vance, Ladera Ranch, Calif., Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford, Mike Miserendino, Bakersfield, Calif., SCCA Spec Racer Ford
Showroom Stock B, Lee Niffenegger, Santa Clarita, Calif., Honda Civic Si
Showroom Stock C, Ali Naimi, Morgan Hill, Calif., MAZDA3
Super Touring L, Grant Westmorland, Chula Vista, Calif., Mazda Miata
Super Touring U, Marc Hoover, Shingle Springs, Calif., Mazda Miata Turbo
Touring 1, Chuck Matthews, Westlake Village, Calif., Chevrolet Corvette
Touring 2, Tom Wickersham, San Ramon, Calif., Honda S2000
Touring 3, Matthew Staal, Torrance, Calif., Honda S2000