Three Drivers Claim Six U.S. Majors Mid-States Conference Championships
TOPEKA, Kan. (September 11, 2017) – The SCCA® U.S. Majors Tour® Mid-States Conference brought to a close its racing calendar in August after a 14-race battle that took place at five different circuits. Just over 300 competitors were up for the conference challenge in 2017, but only a handful earned a Mid-States Conference Championship.
The Mid-States Majors were seeing double this year as three individuals each brought home two conference championships utilizing two different cars. In Touring 1, Michael Pettiford piloted a Chevrolet Corvette Z06 to the top spot, besting runner-up Ronald Hugate and his Ford Boss 302 Mustang by 37 points. Then in Touring 2, Pettiford took his Pontiac Solstice GXP to the championship, with Natha Waldbaum following 22 points behind in a Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Next it was Spec Miata driver Max Nufer who scooped up the conference championship over John Harms by only 10 points based on the strength of six wins on the season as compared to Harms’ four victories. Nufer also walked away with the GT-2 conference championship in his Chevrolet Monte Carlo GTA by gathering up 176 points against the 131 points earned by Mike McGinley in a Chevrolet Corvette.
In the open-wheel classes, Larry Howard proved himself a force with which to be reckoned. Driving two different Formula Mazdas, Howard skillfully garnered the Formula Atlantic and Formula Mazda conference championships. In FA, Howard bested James Wright, driving a Swift DB-4, by 39 points; and won out in FM over Brad Yake by 21 points.
An incredibly tight fight emerged this season in Super Touring Lite®. Mazda Miata driver Joe Smith had a solid performance across eight races, gathering up 149 points. However, he came up one point shy of Cliff Ira and his Acura Integra GSR. On the strength of six straight Mid-States Majors wins to start the season, Ira took the STL conference championship with 150 points. Another Mazda Miata driver, James Stinehelfer, took third just one point behind Smith.
The Spec Racer Ford class also produced an interesting battle during the racing season. Winning a total of three races across six starts, James Tibor Jr. claimed the Spec Racer Ford conference championship by only four points over Neil Killey. With just as many wins as Tibor, Killey had a strong showing -- but a fourth-place finish at Pueblo Motorsports Park left him a little short on points
The U.S. Majors Tour Mid-States Conference opened its schedule in April with a Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour weekend at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Jennings, Oklahoma. The 14-race season then moved on to Round Three and Round Four at Circuit of St. Louis. In May, the conference held an event at Heartland Park Topeka in Kansas for the first time in several years, followed by a weekend at Colorado’s Pueblo Motorsports Park before taking off the month of June. When July rolled around, conference competition resumed at High Plains Raceway in Deer Trail, Colorado with Round Nine and Round Ten. Return visits were then made to both Heartland Park Topeka and High Plains Raceway to end the season in August.
Conference points are awarded to the top 20 finishers in each class. Winners earn 25 points, and 21 points go to second. Points are then doled out to others starting with 18 and descending to a single point for the 20th finisher. Only the best eight races count towards a driver’s point total. Below are Mid-States Conference Champions with Class: Name, Hometown and Car.
-American Sedan®: Jim Wheeler; Lenexa, KS; Pontiac Trans Am
-B-Spec: John Phillips; Sealy, TX; Honda Fit
-E Production: Bill Miller; Weston, MO; Mazda RX-7
-F Production: Samuel Henry; Republic, MO; Mazda Miata
-H Production: Ralf Lindow; Bellevue, NE; VW Golf
-Formula 1000: David Mirk; Colorado Springs, CO; Phoenix F1000
-Formula Atlantic®: Larry Howard; Kansas City, MO; Star Mazda
-Formula 500: David Vincent; Leavenworth, KS; KBS MK VII
-Formula F: Bill Kephart; Colorado Springs, CO; Vestal Crane o1 15AB
-Formula Mazda: Larry Howard; Kansas City, MO; Formula Mazda
-Formula Vee®: Mark Felsen; Denver, CO; Vortech FV
-GT-1: Mike Kapp; Erie, CO; Chevrolet Camaro
-GT-2: Max Nufer; Glencoe, MO; Chevrolet Monte Carlo GTA
-GT-3: Brian Haupt; Spring Hill, KS; Mazda RX-7
-GT-Lite: Jonathan Goodale; Conifer, CO; Mazda Miata MX-5
-Prototype 1: Kirk Kindsfater; Eaton, CO; Speeds RS11
-Prototype 2: Bill Johnson; Leawood, KS; SCCA Enterprises Sports Racer
-Spec Miata: Max Nufer; Glencoe, MO; Mazda Miata
-Spec Racer Ford: James Tibor Jr.; Silver Plum, CO; Spec Racer Ford
-Spec Racer Ford 3: Grayson Strathman; Jennings, OK; Spec Racer Ford Gen3
-Super Touring® Lite: Cliff Ira; Kansas City, MO; Acura Integra GSR
-Super Touring® Under: Anthony Simmers; Boulder, CO; Volkswagen GTI
-Touring 1: Michael Pettiford; Louisville, CO; Chevrolet Corvette Z06
-Touring 2: Michael Pettiford; Louisville, CO; Pontiac Solstice GXP
-Touring 3: Robert Schader; Lafayette CO; Nissan 370Z
-Touring 4: Jeff Jensen; Monument, CO; Acura RSX-S
The U.S. Majors Tour is one pathway to the 2017 SCCA National Championship Runoffs® being held September 25 through October 1 on a road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana. U.S. Majors Tour drivers qualify for the Runoffs by participating in three U.S. Majors Tour weekends and starting at least three U.S. Majors Tour races in the same car class over the course of the season.
The Sports Car Club of America®, Inc., founded in 1944, is a 67,500-member motorsports organization that incorporates all facets of autocross, rally and road racing at both club and professional levels. With headquarters in Topeka, Kansas, the SCCA annually sanctions over 2,000 events through its 116 Regions and subsidiary divisions. Much of the SCCA’s activities are made possible with support from the following Official Partners: Chevrolet, the Official Truck of the SCCA; Hawk Performance, the Official Brake Products of SCCA; Mobil 1, the Official Oil of SCCA; Sunoco, the Official Fuel of SCCA; and Tire Rack, the Official Tire Retailer of SCCA. To learn more, please visit www.scca.com.
Photo: Michael Pettiford earned two Mid-States Conf. Point Championships driving two different cars.
Photo Credit: Mark Weber