Saturday of the 2017 College Station Champ Tour began in darkness, with a line of early risers in tow vehicles, motor homes, and competition vehicles outside the gate waiting to gain access the bounty of concrete the Texas A&M Riverside Annex has available. Drivers began prepping their vehicles by the light of their cell phone, and as the sun began to light the sky, they gazed upon not only clear skies and expansive concrete but also lingering puddles from Friday’s rainstorms.
Event chair Todd Farris wasted no time, attacking the puddles with a street sweeper that would likely be classed in A-Mod. He knew that 211 drivers (a College Station Champ Tour Record) would be wanting dry runs. First heat was left with a damp but drying track with the occasional small puddle. By 2nd heat the course was dry and times normalized
Robert Lewis might be going to sleep Day 1 with nearly one second lead over Wayne Adkins, if it wasn’t for Mark Madarash’s ECU issues. He can also be glad Chris Cargill coned his last run which would have put Cargill in 2nd and reduced Lewis’ lead to a scant .015. The top 5 are separated by around 1.5 seconds so expect some movement on Sunday but the class appears to be Lewis’ to lose.
The much-anticipated match up of 2016 CS National Champion Daniel McCelvey versus Tom O’Gorman fell victim to an unanticipated schedule change. Despite the absence of O’Gorman and car owner Andy Hollis, CS was still a hotbed of exciting racing. McCelvey held the early lead after first runs followed by his co-driver Andy Neilson. But after 2nd runs Tyler Kvetko slotted into second place, thanks in part to cones by Nielson and Kenneth Baker. In the 2016 season, Kvetko finished 3rd to McCelvey’s 1st twice at Champ Tours and was hoping bring home second. Andy Neilson help with a dirty 3rd run despite raw time for second place. But Baker cleaned up after starting with two dirty runs, posting a 70.971 (0.436 behind McCelvey) and bumping Kvetko to 3rd. McCelvey invites O’Gorman to join CS at Spring Nationals but until then will be looking to extend his lead over the College Station CS field on Sunday.
David Whitener was in control of STS from run 1, but as is typical with STS the gaps between positions are quite small. First through 4th is separated by just a hair over a second. Gerry Terranova , Ron Williams and John Clark, were spaced evenly behind Whitener after Day 1. Each will attempt to get their Civics ahead of Whitener’s ’92 Miata on Sunday.
After this weekend, Michael Willman can be assured his STR S2000 CR has the speed after co-driver (and course designer) Vivek Goel bested Dixie winner Ricky Crow on Saturday. Nathan Gordon followed Crow, and Landon Thompson took time away from Googling “lamprey” to register an excellent 69.507 (just .065 out of 4th).
In SSM, the battle of the gazillion horsepower GTRs is being led by Erik Strelnieks. Strelnieks leads long time Godzilla jockey, Eric Hyman by 1.202 seconds. Troy Dudley, Hyman’s co-driver, rounds out the trophy positions in 3rd. Strelnieks has more National Championships but Hyman has competed nationally in the GTR for many years. Look for him to try to close the gap on Sunday.
A few drivers can rest easy tonight. Jeremy Foley leads BS by a whopping 3.264 seconds. If this is the last season for STF, then David Hedderick is going out with a bang. He not only leads PAX after Day 1 but also leads STF by 3.607 seconds. Zach Sober showed the speed that got him 2nd in XP at Nationals last year. He leads his class by 3.619 seconds.
Sunday promises to be and exciting day filled with position changes. Be sure to stay tuned in.