JENNINGS, Okla. (April 6, 2013) – A hometown winner and close racing highlighted Round Three of the SCCA Mid-States Conference Majors Tour on Saturday from Hallett Motor Racing Circuit, just outside of Tulsa, Okla.
A hometown racer provided the thrills in the opening group race. While Matt Reynolds was driving his Reynolds Brothers Racing/Jesse Prather Motorsports Mazda Miata away from the E Production field for his third win in as many Conference chances, John Saurino was stalking the F Production class leader.
Saurino, from Tulsa, fell behind class polesitter Sam Henry’s No. 73 Sprinfield Dyno/SafeRacing Mazda Miata by more than 10 seconds early in the race. Though it looked like Henry was pulling away, Saurino drove his No. 56 Goodyear/Red Line Oil MG Midget around Henry’s Miata on lap 18 and immediately created a gap. The hometown win was the first Majors victory this season, made extra sweet when he was joined on the podium by his son, third-place finishing Nigel Saurino.
CJ McAbee, of Topeka, Kan., matched Reynolds in Group 2, gathering his third win of the season in Formula 500. McAbee led the second wave of starters in the group’s split start, weaving through the Formula F field and the Formula Vee traffic to take the overall win in the No. 15 AJ’s Import Garage/Hoosier AJ’s 2012/Rotax machine.
Denny Stripling, of McKinney, Texas, unofficially gained the Mid-States Conference point lead with his second win of the season, sprinting to a 12.833-second victory in the Spec Racer Ford class. Stripling’s No. 34 Lightspeed Motorsports machine left the entire field, including second-running Keith Verges’ No. 69 Apex Driving Academy Spec Racer, in the Oklahoma dust on his way to the checkered flag.
Group Four mixed the Spec Miata field with the Touring Car category. While Andy Wolverton’s No. 86 Raw Racing/Hooiser Tires/Werks Performance Pontiac Solstice was winning Touring 2, Spec Miata point leader Jim Drago, of Memphis, Tenn., had a mirror full of his competitors. Drago’s No. 2 East Street Racing Mazda Miata led the first lap as he and the No. 73 Complete Dent Repair/X-factorracing.com Miata of Chris Haldeman tried to sneak away.
A three-car battle between Charlie James’ No. 40 SafeRacer Miata, Craig Berry’s No. 29 Berry Marble and Granite/EAST STEET RACING/Granite Remnant Store Miata, and Reynolds’ No. 74 Reynolds Brothers Racing Miata just behind the leaders created a gap, helping Drago gradually inch away for his second win of the season in the Mid-States Conference. Berry won the second battle to claim the final podium position, behind Haldeman.
Late in the day, the GT-1 class battle was a nail-biter for the final 15 laps. Tom Smith’s No. 62 USA Metal Recycling Chevrolet Camaro led early, but for the final 15 laps the No. 05 Fershtand Race Prepared Chevrolet Corvette of David Fershtand filled the mirrors off Smith’s Camaro. Fershstand followed Smith’s tire tracks for 15 laps, getting alongside Smith with two laps to go on an outside move exiting the final corner. Smith’s Camaro didn’t make a mistake, however, beating the Corvette to turn one on that lap and holding on to cross the line just 0.301-second ahead of Fershtand for the win.
As close as Smith’s win was, he almost didn’t get the chance to earn it. The Camaro hit the tire wall late in the morning’s 20-minute qualifying session. Racer’s tape and hard work had the car ready for the race and the win.
The Formula Mazda battle in the Mid-States Conference is shaping up to be the can’t miss class three races into the 10-race season. Saturday’s race at the twisty Hallett circuit didn’t disappoint. Darryl Wills’ No. 23 Hillenburg Motorsports Formula Mazda led early over the No. 19 machine of Timothy Reger, joined with 10 to go by a hard-charging Alan McCallum. McCallum’s run to the front was boosted by a track record 1:14.005 in the No. 1 Alan McCallum Racing Formula Mazda.
With the three running nose-to-tail and racing hard, Reger and Wills touched – spinning Wills off-course and stranding Reger. Wills continued, but the day’s only full course caution was called out to retrieve Reger’s stopped No. 19.
That yellow erased the gap that McCallum now enjoyed, but the restart with three to go was just a formality as McCallum pulled away for the win.
Round Four of the Mid-States Conference Majors Tour will be held on Sunday, beginning with qualifying for each of the six run groups at 8:00 a.m. (CDT) at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit. Following the 20-minutes sessions to set the grids for another 25-lap race.
Follow along with live notes, timing, and audio from the circuit at www.scca.com/SCCALive. More information on the SCCA U.S. Majors Tour is available at www.sccamajors.com. Follow SCCA on Twitter @SCCAOfficial, or like the Club on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SCCAOfficial.
JENNINGS, Okla. - Provisional race winners for Saturday’s Mid-States Conference SCCA Majors Tour Round Three at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit. Drivers are listed by Class: name, hometown, and car.
American Sedan: Jim Wheeler, Lenexa, Kan., Pontiac Trans-Am
B-Spec: Charlie James, Joplin, Mo., Mini Cooper
Formula 500: C.J. McAbee, Topeka, Kan., AJ’s 2012/Rotax
Formula 1000: James Michael, Fort Worth, Texas, Stohr/Suzuki
Formula Atlantic: Gaston Kearby, Cresson, Texas, Star Pro Mazda
Formula Enterprises: Curt Harrelson, Owens Cross Roads, Ala., Formula Enterprises/Mazda
Formula F: Tim Webb, West Fork, Ark., Swift DB-6/Ford
Formula Mazda: Alan McCallum, Houston, Texas, Formula Mazda
Formula Vee: Bill Johnson, Leawood, Kan., FV Vortech/VW
GT-1: Tom Smith, Springdale, Ark., Chevrolet Camaro
GT-2: Mike McGinley, Overland Park, Kan., Chevrolet Corvette
GT-3: Jim Speights, San Antonio, Texas, San Antonio, Texas
GT-Lite: Kent Prather, Wakarusa, Kan., Mazda Miata
E Production: Matt Reynolds, Fair Oaks, Texas, Mazda Miata
F Production: John Saurino, Tulsa, Okla., MG Midget
H Production: Chris Albin, Maryland Heights, Mo., Volkswagen GTI
Spec Miata: Jim Drago, Memphis, Tenn., Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford: Denny Stripling, McKinney, Texas, Spec Racer Ford
Sports 2000: Mark Mercer, Aurora, Colo., Lola 90/91/Ford
Super Touring Lite: Bob Schader, Longmont, Colo., Mazda Miata
Super Touring Under: Tom Kraft, Des Moines, Iowa, Mazda Miata
Touring 2: Andy Wolverton, Papilion, Neb., Pontiac Solstice
Touring 4: Stan Czacki, Truth of Consequences, N.M., Acura RSX-S