ALTON, Va. (April 19, 2014) – Slick conditions and cool temperatures affected all eight race groups that took to the track to contest Round Seven of the SCCA Eastern Conference U.S. Majors Tour at VIRginia International Raceway, part of the SafeRacer National Club Racing program.
Add one part water to the unseasonably cool temperatures from Friday, and those were the conditions that greeted 246 racers on Saturday morning as a result of overnight rains that continued through the four warm-up sessions at the 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit. By the time racing action began, the rain had stopped falling. However, the track and surrounding runoff was still soaked, and never completely dried due to high humidity and temperatures that barely cracked 60 degrees.
Spec Racer Ford was the first class to take to the drenched racetrack. Brian Schofield, of Lakeland, Fla., led tape-to-tape in the nine-lap race. In the No. 61 PM Racing SRF, Schofield got the jump heading into turn on the very slick track.
The new pavement that was so nice in the dry was treacherous in the wet. Schofield found that out, first hand, as he had a big wiggle under braking for Turn Two on his first green-flag lap. From that point on, Schofield ran a comfortable pace which allowed him to stay out front.
Some drivers deeper in the field were not as lucky. Lee Hill made heavy contact with the outside tire wall in the climbing esses. Lee was cleared from the medical center, but his car was not as lucky. As a result of the impact, a short pause was needed to make repairs to the wall.
The small-bore formula cars were the feature of Group Two. Stevan Davis, of Danielsville, Ga., took home the win in Formula Vee which featured a very tight battle at the front of the class. Davis and Mitchell Ferguson traded the lead several times throughout the race, playing cat and mouse to determine where each had the advantage over the other. On the final lap, Davis sealed the win with a good exit out of Turn 17 in his No. 80 Hoosier Tire/Butler Engine/Roxannes Heads Racers Wedge Volkswagen.
Spec Miata took center stage in Group Three. Dillon Machavern, of Charlotte, Vt., notched the sprint race win after a tough scrap at the front. Driving the No. 24 Heritage/Panic/T-Speed Mazda Miata, Machavern was the leader in the closing laps of the 25-minute race. However, Andrew Carbonell made a strong challenge for the lead on the final lap.
Under braking on the approach to Turn 14, Carbonell dove to the Machavern’s left. The move put him on the outside of the downhill, right-hand curve. Carbonell’s momentum carried him off course through Turn 15. The short off-course excursion allowed Machavern to seal his victory.
After the lunch break, Group Four hit the track. The race started with some unwanted excitement as the overall polesitter, Kevin Leigh, lost control and collided with the wall at Turn Four, on the opening lap. Leigh was uninjured, but Patrick Crider, of Leesburg, Va., assumed the lead and never looked back. He cruised to the overall win in his F Production No. 89 Hoosier Tire/Jesse Prather Motorsports Mazda Miata.
In B-Spec, Travis Washay, of Milford, Conn., took home first-place honors in a close battle with teammate Ryan Hall. Driving the No. 30 Indian Summer/Northern Cross Mini Cooper, Washay stayed one step ahead of Hall for the entire 25-minute race. Toward the end of the race, Hall was starting to gain on Washay due, in part, to a difference in tire compounds. However, the advantage wasn’t enough to allow Hall the win during the short-form race.
Group five consisted of the big-bore formula and prototype classes. The initial start was waived off as polesitter Jacek Mucha, of Laval, Quebec, Can., was not the first to the flag stand. Once underway, Mucha took the overall win in the No. 07 Phoenix-innotech/Mazda JMS06CP Mazda, while a battle in Formula 1000 raged between Glenn Cooper and Alex Mayer.
Mayer, of Harleysville, Penn., would come away with the win in the No. 77 Mayer Motorsports JDR, even though Cooper crossed the line first. Mayer was the proverbial shadow to each move made by Cooper while under green-flag conditions. Following the race, it was determined Cooper had committed a pass while a local yellow was being displayed. As a result, Mayer was promoted to the win and Cooper lost two class positions.
Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., showed why he has the reputation as such a top-notch driver, in race Group Six. Driving the No. 04 Beebe Racing/PME Engines Chevrolet Corvette, Ave scored a dominating GT-1 win in his first Eastern Conference Majors race of 2014.
Scott Rettich, of Camden, Ohio, proved to be the class of the field in Group Seven, as he took the overall win in his No. 17 Alliance Autosport/PDI Communication Systems Formula Enterprise. Rettich drove hard and completed 14 laps before the 25-minute clock expired, finishing 33 seconds clear of second-place finisher Paul Schneider.
Robert Noell, of Cary, N.C., extended his Eastern Conference winning streak to three after capturing a Saturday win at VIR. Driving the No. 27 Guest Concepts/VIPER Formula Mazda, Noell did himself a big favor when it comes to the conference point standings, by keeping his winning streak alive.
The Touring classes in Group Eight ended the first day of racing action from VIR. Following a clean first corner, carnage broke out. Michael Scornavacchi dropped both right-side tires off the pavement at the exit of Turn Three, and spun. Having no way to avoid the situation, Conor Flynn made contact with Scornavacchi’s car. Three more cars tried to take evasive action, but got off course and hit the tire wall. During a full-course caution to clean up the wreck that lasted over 20 minutes, Scornavacchi and Flynn climbed out of their cars while the other three drivers continued the race in their damaged machines.
Kurt Rezzetano, of Phoenixville, Penn., was credited with the provisional win in his Touring 2 No. 36 Phoenix Performance/Ford Racing/Hoosier Tire/Hawk Performance Ford Mustang. Pending official review, final results from this race will be released Sunday morning.
Round Eight of the SCCA Eastern Conference U.S. Majors Tour is slated to begin Sunday at 9:00 a.m. (EDT) with feature races for the 27 Runoffs-eligible classes. The eight run groups are set to run 16-lap or 40-minute races, whichever comes first.
Live Timing, lap notes and audio streaming of the public address for Sunday’s races can be found at www.scca.com/sccalive. Live timing, using Race Monitor, and lap notes, @SCCALive on Twitter, are also available separately. Additional information on the VIR Majors Tour event, including Saturday’s results and grids for Sunday’s races, can be found at www.scca.com/virmajors.
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