The Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour’s fourth race weekend of 2021 concluded Sunday evening at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, during an event hosted by SCCA’s Atlanta Region. Races were either 35 minutes or 19 laps in length.
Riding a Rainbow to Success: You can’t miss Touring 3 (T3) driver Richard Baldwin out on track. His No. 25 Hoosier/G-LOC Brakes/Baldwin Motors/RAD Marketing Nissan 350Z looks like it careened through a Skittles factory. With a base coat of gray covered by swaths of every color under the sun, the car certainly stands out. And it was a standout in another way this weekend outside of Atlanta as it swept the T3 class with wins both Saturday and Sunday, the first Hoosier Super Tour wins for that vibrant vehicle.
There are actually two colorful T3 Nissan 350Zs competing in the United States. As the story goes, Richard Baldwin had two Spec Racer Ford (SRF) cars, and his brother-in-law, Derek Kulach, had two 350Zs set up to race in the Touring class. The two men decided to swap cars so they had more toys to play with at SCCA races. So, one SRF was shipped out west to Kulach, and one 350Z made its way east to Baldwin. And as part of the exchange, the two racers also decided to mimic the same color scheme across all four cars, albeit with a bright yellow base coat on the SRF cars. And Baldwin’s paddock scooter shares the same psychedelic scheme, too.
Why go through all this trouble? Well, Baldwin and Kulach both have young kids who were having trouble spotting “dad” out on track. That problem has certainly been rectified. Now, Baldwin says he hopes the kaleidoscope of color becomes a “lucky charm that keeps working” as far as racking up victories in the future.
“Me” Time for Fowler: Thomas Fowler, who has been racing with SCCA since the ‘80s, can often be found hanging around victory podium celebrations at Hoosier Super Tour events. However, you usually don’t see him “on” the podium accepting a trophy and bottle off Mazza sparkling wine, the Official Sparkling Wine of Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour. As co-owner of OPM Autorsports, Fowler is usually there to support his racing drivers/clients in any way required.
At this weekend’s Hoosier Super Tour near Atlanta, Fowler is servicing 16 cars spread across a couple race groups. In all, there are about 40 race cars back in OPM’s stable located in Cumming, Georgia. So, Fowler is usually pretty busy. But in 2021, he is spending a little time on himself and has been competing at Hoosier Super Tour’s in the Touring 4 (T4) class.
Back in February, Fowler brought home his first Hoosier Super Tour victory at Circuit of the Americas in T4 during the Sunday race. This weekend’s Hoosier Super Tour near Atlanta, he won on Saturday in the No. 44 OPM Racing/Hoosier/X-Factor/G-LOC Brakes Mazda MX-5 racecar.
He couldn’t duplicate the feat Sunday, finishing second to winner Sergio Zlobin in the No. 118 Mazda/Hoosier/RPM Motorsports Mazda MX-5 car. But for a man who has supported so many on their road to the victory podium, it’s nice to see Fowler spend some time up there himself.
The Second GT-3 Challenge Weekend: The Hoosier Super Tour weekend at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta saw round two of the 2021 GT-3 Challenge presented by MPI. The series, which is boosting participation in the GT-3 class for a third year, is supported by Mazda, Max Papis Innovations, Penske Racing Shocks, Hoosier Racing Tire, Goodyear Tire and Ave Motorsports.
On Saturday it was previous GT-3 Challenge champion Jeff Dernehl and his No. 62 Roswell Outback Auto/Hoosier/Lucky’s Bar & Grill Mazda RX-7 that claimed victory after an eventful race where GT-3 class leader Tony Ave went off track late in the event.
“There were a lot of cars flying off and it got a little crazy,” Dernehl said after Saturday’s win. “Tony (Ave) lost it in Turn 3, and here we are with a win.”
Ave, however, came back strong Sunday and took victory in his No. 4 Ave Motorsports/Hoosier Nissan 240 SX machine.
“Yesterday, I had the lead. But they ran too many green flag laps for me and I spun off,” Ave joked while accepting his victory trophy Sunday.
The next GT-3 Challenge races take place April 30-May 2 during a Hoosier Super Tour event at Pittsburgh International Race Complex. Buttonwillow Raceway Park in California is also the site of a GT-3 Challenge event May 1-2, but a different configuration will be run from the one used earlier in the year. July 11-12 sees a GT-3 Challenge weekend at Road America before the championship event takes place Sept 25-Oct 3 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the SCCA National Championship Runoffs.
Stay tuned as organizers have said that due to high GT-3 engagement on the West Coast, additional events may be added.
Post-Race Winner Videos and Podium Celebrations: Didn’t catch video interviews with Saturday winners that posted to the SCCA Road Racing Facebook page? Or want to check out victory podium celebration interviews from Sunday? With one simple click you can find them all right here.
VIRginia International Raceway Next Up: With competition completed in Georgia, the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour slides north a bit for its fifth event of 2021 taking place April 9-11 at VIRginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia; followed a week later by the sixth race weekend scheduled for April 17-18 at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit in Jennings, Oklahoma.
Sunday Winners: On track Sunday were eight race groups, each completing 35-minute or 19-lap events on the 2.54-mile, 12-turn Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, the fourth Hoosier Super Tour weekend of the 2021 season. Provisional winners from Sunday are listed below, and an (*) marks those who swept both Saturday and Sunday races in a class.
American Sedan: Phillip Smith, Chevrolet Camaro
B-Spec: Frank Schwartz, Mini Cooper
*E Production: Jesse Prather, BMW Z3
F Production: Michael Kamalian, Mazda Miata
*H Production: Vesa Silegren, Honda CRX
Formula 500: Calvin Stewart, Novakar Blade F600
Formula Atlantic: Bob Corliss, Swift 014.a
*Formula Continental: Brandon Dixon, Citation F2000
*Formula Enterprises 2: Bailey Monette, SCCA Enterprises FE2/Mazda
Formula F: Mac Clark, Mygale SH13-H006
*Formula Vee: Andrew Whitston, Protoform P2
*Formula X: Austin Hill, Van Diemen USF2000
GT-1: Joseph Freda, Chevrolet Corvette
*GT-2: Tim Kezman, Porsche 991.2
GT-3: Tony Ave, Nissan 240 SX
*GT-X: Ben Johnston, Ferrari 458 Challenge
*Prototype 1: John Mcaleer, Elan DP02
*Prototype 2: Lucian Pancea, Stohr P2
*Prototype X: Jacek Mucha, Oreca lMPC
Spec Miata: Preston Pardus, Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford Gen3: Mark Snyder, SCCA Enterprises Spec Racer Ford
*Super Touring Lite: Danny Steyn, Mazda MX-5
*Super Touring Under: David Brand, Lotus Exige
*Touring 1: Mark Boden, BMW M3
*Touring 2: Tim Kezman, Porsche 996
*Touring 3: Richard Baldwin, Nissan 350Z
Touring 4: Sergio Zlobin, Mazda MX-5
More information on the Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour from Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, including full results, can be found at the event webpage.
Photo: Richard Baldwin drove his multi-colored Nissan 350Z to victory in Touring 3 on Saturday and Sunday during the Hoosier Super Tour in Georgia.
Photo Credit: Jeff Loewe