WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (July 6, 2014) - The Eastern Conference SCCA Majors Tour has trimmed down to just one event remaining on the schedule after Sunday’s action at the BFGoodrich Tires Watkins Glen Super Tour.
Sunday’s eight group races for the 27 SCCA National Championship Runoffs-eligible classes made up round 12 of 14 on the season for the Conference, making each point all the more valuable.
Several races came down to the wire during the day, with races schedule for 15-laps at the 3.4-mile circuit.
Group 1: A fan could be forgiven for thinking Sunday’s Spec Miata race was a rerun, as, for the second day in a row, young hot shoes Andrew Carbonell and Dillon Machavern worked together to run away from the field and settle the race all on their own.
A stout field of Runoffs podium contenders and National Champions couldn’t keep pace with Carbonell’s No. 78 BSI Racing Mazda Miata with Machavern’s No. 24 Heritage/Panic/T-Speed Miata pushing, leaving the field behind both on the initial start, and again on the lap four restart after the safety team removed a stopped car.
Carbonell led the distance, and Machavern looked for a way around after the white flag waved to signal one lap to go. His final effort came out of the final corner and in the drag race to the checkered flag, where Machavern pulled alongside and to the door of Carbonell’s Miata, but couldn’t complete the pass before the stripe.
Group 2: Saturday, the overall lead in the Production group took shape on the first turn when polesitter and E Production leader Rick Kavitski put his No. 24 RDK Engineering Mazda Miata in front under braking in turn one and stayed in front to the finish. On Sunday, Chris Dryden reversed his fortunes with a similar attack, setting a new track record on his way to the win.
Kavitski’s Miata appeared to have the handling, but Dryden’s No. 02 Pay Pal/Carbotech/Team JBS BMW Z3 and Kevin Leigh’s No. 97 JBS Racing/Hoosier BMW Z3 moved in front on acceleration when the green flag flew. Leigh moved to the inside going into turn one, avoiding a repeat of yesterday’s start, and Kavitski was in third while Dryden pulled away.
With Dryden clicking off laps even faster than Saturday, including the aforementioned track record, and stayed just in front of a charging Kavitski to the checkered flag.
Patrick Crider finally had his No. 89 Hoosier Tire/Jesse Prather Motorsports Mazda Miata in full song for the first time this weekend, and used that to run away with the F Production win on Sunday. Kyle Disque repeated his Saturday feat, taking the GT-Lite win in the No. 92 Toyota/TRD/Hoosier Tire Toyota Tercel.
Jason Stine took advantage of a first turn incident to claim the H Production win in his No. 37 Austin-Healey Sprite. Saturday winner Ron Bartell’s No. 4 Hoosier Tire MG Midget and Mark Weber’s F Production No. 25 Goodyear/Red Line Oil/ESCP Mazda Miata came together in a very busy first corner, sending both toward the tire barrier and ending their days without a completed lap. The full course caution lasted three laps.
Group 3: Three full course cautions, including one that brought out the checkered flag on lap 13, marred the Formula Atlantic, Formula 1000 and Prototype 1 race on Sunday.
Chris Fahan’s No. 39 Hoosier Tire/MAZDASPEED Swift 016/Mazda led the way on each restart to take the overall and Formula Atlantic win, with Kirk Kindsfater’s No. 32 Ortho Center Rockies/K&N Filters Speads RS11 just behind for the Prototype 1 win. Jeremy Hill swept Formula 1000, and ran third overall, behind the wheel of his No. 00 Hoosier Tire Photon VD07.
Group 4: Simon Gregg once again led the way in the big bore group, charging away to a GT-1 and overall win in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette. While Gregg was pulling away, two very different GT-2 machines were battling behind him.
Joe Napoleon’s No. 91 Chevrolet Camaro moved around Tom Patton’s No. 50 Red Line Oil/Hoosier Tires Sunbeam Tiger in the race’s middle stages, but couldn’t pull away and had the Tiger in his mirrors for three full laps. Once Patton moved around, however, he pulled away for the win.
Behind that lead group, which included runaway GT-3 winner Joe Kristensen’s No. 4 Acura RSX, was a split start for the Touring 1 and American Sedan groups that brought out a full-course caution for an incident in the opening corner.
Saturday American Sedan winner Bill Baden’s No. 98 Van Winkle Baten/Marks ADR/Hoosier Hoosier Chevrolet Camaro and Philip Smith’s No. 54 Phil Harper Motorsports/Hoosier Chevrolet Camaro came together, spinning Smith and ending Baden’s day at the same time. Amy Aquilante, running just behind in the No. 5 TAR/Hoosier/Hawk Pontiac Firebird, stood on the brakes in an effort to miss the spinning car, just clipping it with her left front as it went around. The near miss and continue left her alone in front, and, after the lap four restart Aquilante zipped off to the win.
Amy’s uncle Joe Aquilante was in the midst of an intramural battle between three Phoenix Racing teammates in Touring 1. David Sanders’ No. 73 Phoenix Performance Chevrolet Corvette led early, but Preston Calvert’s No. 77 Phoenix Performance/Hoosier Ford Mustang took the class lead after the restart. Calvert held the lead, with Aquliante’s No. 32 Phoenix Performance/Hoosier Chevrolet Corvette moving to second with Sanders spun on lap 12, then catching up to Calvert going through the boot. Aquilante got the worst of contact with the outside rear of Calvert in a challenge for the lead on the same lap, slowing him down and helping Calvert march to a hard-fought win.
Group 5: Though the group featured a number of late lead changes on Saturday, Sunday’s mid-size open wheel machines took care of business early and often.
Dennis McCarthy went the distance as the overall leader in his No. 4 Jagermeister Van Diemen FC, keeping a steady gap to the second-running Douglas Rocco. Rocco was just 1.623-second behind in his No. 46 Jagermeister Van Diemen DP-02, but couldn’t pull close enough to mount a serious challenge for the lead.
Joe Sammut again moved his No. 7 Pencils Plus/Motion Dynamics Formula Enterprises machine around early leader Justin Huffman on lap eight for the Formula Enterprises lead, holding on in front of the No. 11 Jamison Formula Enterprises in the last half distance for the win.
On Saturday, Sam Ryan made a last lap pass to take the Formula Mazda win in his No. 70 machine. On Sunday, he made the race much less dramatic, joining Prototype 2 winner Jerry Bergman’s No. 22 Beasley B-2 as flag-to-flag class winners.
Group 6: A lap eight full course caution closed the gaps and bunched the field, giving some of the leading drivers a breather and leaving a couple of others as sitting ducks to the finish.
Restart or not, Preston Calvert’s No. 77 Phoenix Performance/Hoosier/Penske Ford Mustang pulled away for his third win of the weekend, and completed the sweep in Touring 2. David Brand took the Super Touring Under lead just before the caution in the No. 3 Krugspeed Racing Lotus, and then held on over Eric Lendrum’s No. 15 North Country Subaru Subaru STI after the yellow to take his victory.
Jim Drago and Brian Shanfield swapped the lead several times in Super Touring Lite, with Drago’s No. 2 East Street Racing Mazda Miata finally moving in front for good on lap 12, and then turning his fastest lap of the race on lap 13 to put the No. 66 Honda Racing/HPD Honda Civic Si away.
Kevin Boehm got revenge in his No. 9 Honda Racing/HPD/BFGoodrich Tires Honda S2000 in the Touring 3 class after just falling short of Sage Marie on Saturday. Marie had opened up a much-needed early lead in the No. 64 Honda Racing/HPD/BFGoodrich Tires Acura TL again on Sunday, only to see it all evaporate with the full course caution. With no cushion, Boehm hounded Marie, and the two swapped the lead twice through the boot on lap 14. Boehm emerged in front, however, and kept his S2000 there to the finish.
When Saturday winner Steve Lewis’ No. 68 Steve Lewis Subaru Ford Mustang fell out of the Touring 4 race on lap 10, it left the battle for the lead to be decided between James Place’s No. 138 Place Rentals/Hawk/Acura/BFGoodrich Tires Acura Integra and Christopher Collins’ No. 57 Meathead Racing/COCA Mazda MX-5. The only problem, of course, is that Collins didn’t know they were racing for the lead. It may not have mattered, as the two raced hard for the position, but the 82-year-old Place held on at the finish for a 0.396-second win.
John Heinricy kept his No. 37 Matick Chevrolet/Hoosier/Hawk Chevrolet Sonic to a win, holding on over the No. 44 Chevrolet/BFGoodrich Tires Chevrolet Sonic of Peter Schwartzott for the win after a three-way battle that included the No. 30 Indian Summer Racing Mini Cooper of Travis Washay.
Group 7: Scott Rettich took a “fast is steady” approach to the Spec Racer Ford race, ticking off consistent lap after consistent quick lap to first lose the majority of the field, and eventually challengers Robert Reed and Andrew Charbonneau late.
Reed’s No. 03 IceRace.com SRF led laps seven through nine, with Charbonneau’s No. 67 Skittles/Mountain Dew SRF taking an official lap led across the stripe for the fourth time. Rettich’s car was quicker from the bus stop through the toe of the boot (turns seven through nine), and continued to tick away laps until he broke the draft with just a couple of laps remaining and left the latter two to decide the podium.
Those positions swapped back and forth as well, setting up a final drag race to the finish. Reed and Charbonneau waffled through the side draft up the front straight, with Charbonneau edging his nose in front at the finish line for second place. The finish was so close that the electronic timing showed Reed in front, based on transponder position, but visual confirmation clearly gave the nod to Charbonneau.
Group 8: Heavy contact on lap 12 brought out a simultaneous yellow flag and checkered flag to end the day after three thrilling battles in Formula F, Formula 500 and Formula Vee.
The similar lap times, though pieced together in different ways, of the Formula F and Formula 500 machines left Formula F contenders Ross Devoe and Keith Joslyn and F500 competitors Jeremy Morales and David Lapham battling not only for class wins, but overall wins all at once.
Each class took its turn at the front, with Lapham’s No. 89 machine leading the opening two laps, Morales’ No. 110 Mitchell Racing Services/JWR Scorpion S1 leading laps three through six, and Devoe taking over in his No. 4 RED Racing Van Diemen RF-99 from lap seven to the finish.
Once in front, Devoe tried to use the traffic to lose the No. 50 ASI Signage/Trimark/Hoosier Van Diemen 98VD of Joslyn, but Joslyn continued to chase him. Joslyn got caught out trying to sneak by lapped traffic on lap 11, however, spinning, losing touch with Devoe, and falling out of contention in the incident that saw a Formula 500 make impact with the wall and bring out the checker. Joslyn recovered to hold onto third, with Devoe winning overall.
Morales was able to take his win when Lapham went off hard on lap nine. Clear of the challenge, Morales sat behind the Formula F battle, finishing second when Joslyn went off track.
Jonathan Weisheit pulled to pit lane early on Saturday, but escaped with a win on Sunday after “throwing the kitchen sink” at Roger Siebenaler’s No. 72 Autowerks/Hoosier Mysterian M2 on the way to the finish. The long-time competitors have gone back and forth in Eastern Conference action this season, and Weisheit used traffic to keep his No. 61 JK Technologies Inc JK Technologies/Volkswagen on the top of the class as the laps wound down. The 11 laps the Formula Vees completed featured six lead changes between the two drivers, but Weisheit held on for the final four to pull into Gatorade Victory Lane at Watkins Glen.
The Eastern Conference Majors Tour wraps August 1-3 at Summit Point Raceway. The next U.S. Majors Tour event is in the Northern Conference, at GingerMan Raceway, next weekend, July 12-13.
More information from the BFGoodrich Tires Watkins Glen Super Tour, including results, can be found at SCCA.com/WGIMajors.
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Provisional race winners for Sunday’s BFGoodrich Tires SCCA Watkins Glen Super Tour at Watkins Glen International, Round Twelve of the Eastern Conference Majors Tour. Drivers are listed by Class: name, hometown, and car.
American Sedan: Amy Aquilante, Phoenixville, Pa., Pontiac Firebird
B-Spec: John Heinricy, Clarkston, Mich., Chevrolet Sonic
E Production: Chris Dryden, New Freedom, Pa., BMW Z3
F Production: Patrick Crider, Leesburg, Va., Mazda Miata
H Production: Jason Stine, Medina, Ohio, Austin-Healey Sprite
Formula 500: Jeremy Morales, Indianapolis, Ind., Scorpion S1/Rotax
Formula 1000: Jeremy Hill, Toronto, Ontario, Photon VD07
Formula Atlantic: Chris Fahan, Redding Center, Conn., Swift 016/Mazda
Formula Continental: Dennis McCarthy, Hartsdale, N.Y., Van Diemen RF01
Formula Enterprises: Joe Sammut, Bayville, N.Y., Formula Enterprises/Ford
Formula F: Ross DeVoe, Middletown, N.J., Van Diemen RF-93
Formula Mazda: Sam Ryan, White Haven, Pa., Formula Mazda
Formula Vee: Jonathan Weisheit, Baltimore, Md., JK Technologies XP-1/Volkswagen
GT-1: Simon Gregg, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette
GT-2: Tom Patton, Hamilton, Ohio, Sunbeam Tiger
GT-3: Joe Kristensen, London, Ontario, Acura RSX
GT-Lite: Kyle Disque, Philadelphia, Pa., Toyota Tercel
Prototype 1: Kirk Kindsfater, Eaton, Colo., Speads RS11
Prototype 2: Jerry Bergman, East Amherst, N.Y., Beasley B-2
Spec Miata: Andrew Carbonell, Miami, Fla., Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford: Scott Rettich, Columbus, Ohio, Spec Racer Ford
Super Touring Lite: Jim Drago, Memphis, Tenn., Mazda Miata
Super Touring Under: David Brand, Syosset, N.Y., Lotus
Touring 1: Preston Calvert, Potomac, Md., Ford Mustang
Touring 2: Preston Calvert, Potomac, Md., Ford Mustang
Touring 3: Kevin Boehm, Marysville, Ohio, Honda S2000
Touring 4: James Place, San Antonio, Texas, Acura Integra