The fabulous Ark Valley Race Group hosts this weekend’s Hoosier Racing Tire SCCA Super Tour from wonderful Hallett Motor Racing Circuit (HMRC) in Jennings, OK. Taking place April 23-24, 2022, this is the sixth of 10 events on the Hoosier Super Tour calendar this year.
HMRC’s 1.8-mile, 10-turn circuit -- run in a counterclockwise direction -- is again the playing “field” for Hoosier Super Tour’s visit to the rolling Osage Hills of Northeastern Oklahoma. Saturday morning opened with cloudy skies, intermittent showers, and gusty winds for the first couple qualifying groups. But the weather soon settled down and the majority of competitors were greeted with dry conditions for their 20-minute qualifying sessions. Those results set starting positions for 25-minute races held in the afternoon under dry and windy conditions.
A Great Unknown: Weather shortened Spec Miata’s (SM) morning qualifying Saturday. So, there were lots of unanswered questions as to who might have the upper hand when the field took the green flag in the afternoon. Polesitter Travis Wiley led the way at the start, but it was Logan Stretch who settled into the lead for the first portion of the race.
Behind the front two was Matt Reynolds in the No. 74 Reynolds Bros Racing /Hoosier/ESR /Vintage Connection/G-LOC Brakes Mazda Miata, who was being hounded by Grayson Farischon. On lap six, Reynolds got by Wiley for second, and Farischon put Wiley down another spot on the following lap.
For the next seven laps, Reynolds bided his time until an opportunity arose, and he moved to first. Stretch fought back, but soon fell down the order. Farischon and Tyler Quance, however, stepped up and kept the pressure on Reynolds. But it wasn’t quite enough as Reynolds claimed the victory by 0.263sec over Quance, and Farischon came home third.
“I had a decent start coming from third position, and I was able to get around Travis early and just follow Logan around,” Reynolds said. “I could tell Logan’s transmission or something was going off, so I was playing it safe and just trying to get a gap on the other guys behind. Finally, Logan’s transmission blew, and I was able to get around. But Tyler then gave me everything I could handle. It was a great race.”
Comeback Competitors: The second race group of the day included a couple of challengers in the Formula Enterprises (FE2) and Formula Atlantic (FA) classes. In FA, Paul Ravaris and his Pro Formula Mazda appeared strong. Running second to Ravaris was Nathan Byrd in the No. 98 Arrive Drive Motorsports/TILSON/Signing Day Sports/BYRD Racing Elan Pro Mazda.
Byrd started the race on unscuffed tires, and the car was a handful at times. But he eventually claimed the FA lead with a couple laps remaining, and went on to victory.
“I wasn’t able to hold my lead at the start. In turn two, Paul was able to outbreak me on the inside and took the lead,” Byrd said after the race. “My car was loose, but I was eventually able to track him down over five or six laps. Then I was able to pass him going into turn four. From there I had my head down, just kept on going and tried to lower my lap times.”
Behind the FA duo, a battle was brewing between FE2 drivers Whitney Strickland and Charles Russel Turner. Timing issues encountered during damp morning qualifying forced Turner to start at the rear of the field. That gave Strickland a fairly good advantage early on. Lap after lap, however, Turner and his No. 47 PCS FE2 machine ate into that lead. He captured first place 16 laps into the race and went on for the win.
“This is my first time at this track, and I’m having a good time and like this track,” Turner remarked after accepting his first-place trophy. “It took me several laps to get through some of the slower cars. I just kept the pace up and finally caught up to Whitney. I wasn’t actually attempting to pass him at the time, but he made a little mistake, and I was able to get around him at that point.”
Rarely Far Away: Spec Racer Ford Gen3 (SRF3) is a class where the racing is awfully close 98 percent of the time. And after morning qualifying, that was again true as the first six cars were separated by only 0.162sec, with David Ogburn grabbing pole. But at the start of the race, Denny Stripling’s No. 41 Lightspeed Motorsports SRF3 jumped to the front of the 30-car field.
An incident on the first lap brought out a full-course caution. The race went back green again after only a couple laps, and Stripling went off uncontested to claim the checkered flag with a winning margin of 2.054 over Gary Glanger.
“There was a little bit of dicing behind me,” Stripling noted. “If you’re in the lead, the best thing you can ever see in your rearview mirrors is the front of two cars looking at you. I saw that view three or four times, and that gave me just a little bit of a gap.”
Turns out Stripling really needed that gap. The gusty winds blowing around the track at times made SRF3 cars a challenge to drive.
“The blustery, crazy, windy conditions … made it so you had to drive just under the ‘limit’ today,” Stripling added. “If you go over the limit, the wind shoves you out into the dirt. It happened to me a couple times, and it’s challenging. I had to hit my marks consistently today with the crazy winds, and it was not easy.”
All In the Family: Charlie Peter, in the No. 66 Phenix Label/Red Line Synthetic Oil BMW M2, had a pretty easy go of it on his way to a Touring 2 win. His father, Hans, also won. However, his victory in the No. 66 Phenix Porsche GT3 Cup car was a bit more difficult after starting on pole in the GT-2 class.
“I got caught up at the start behind a red Corvette GT-1 car. Then there was just a freight train of cars that went by on my left side. I went from fourth in the race to, like, eighth,” said Hans, who previously raced in the FA class. “I slowly picked through them all and ended up second overall, but first in GT-2. Pretty good deal considering this is a new car for us. We don’t have any tools for it, we’re still learning it. It’s quite different from Formula Atlantic to GT-2, but I’m liking it so far. I think it will be good towards the end of the year once we get it sorted out.”
HMRC saw another family affair Saturday as brothers Stephen Johnson and Bill Johnson both won their races. Bill grabbed Formula Continental’s top spot in the No. 42 Portable Work Tools Van Diemen RF01-2, and Stephen claimed victory in Super Touring Lite driving the No. 4 Mazda Miata.
In fact, the Johnson family actually came within 0.135sec of pulling off a “hattrick” on the day, but sibling Cliff Johnson came up just short in the Formula F race, finishing second in class behind Matt Boian’s’ No. 14 Piper DF-2C in what was a fantastic contest to end the day.
Sunday’s Schedule: A second day of action from HMRC opens Sunday at 8 a.m. Central Time with 15-minute qualifying sessions for each of the seven race groups. A second set of races then begins at 10:30 a.m. with 35-minute or 27-lap contests. Follow the excitement live online at SCCA.com for enhanced timing and scoring, the Super Tour Radio presented by Hoosier Racing Tire broadcast supplied by Performance Motorsports Network, and multiple trackside video feeds.
Saturday Race Winners: Below are provisional race winners from Saturday’s Hoosier Super Tour at HMRC with Class: Name, Hometown and Car. Full results can be found online at the HMRC event webpage.
American Sedan: Phillip Waters; Grand Prairie, TX; Chevrolet Camaro Z-28
B-Spec: John Phillips; Sealy, TX; Toyota Yaris
E Production: Jesse Prather; Topeka, KS; BMW Z3
F Production: Eric Prill; Topeka, KS; Mazda Miata
H Production: Jack Schulz; Monett, MO; MG Midget
Formula 500: Timothy Friest; Leavenworth, KS; KBS mk VII
Formula Atlantic: Nathan Byrd; Goodyear, AZ; Elan Pro Mazda
Formula Continental: Bill Johnson; Leawood, KS; Van Diemen RF01-2
Formula Enterprises 2: Charles Russell Turner; Montpelier, VA; SCCA Enterprises FE2 Mazda
Formula F: Matt Boian; Lumberton, TX; Piper DF-2C
Formula Vee: Rich Richardson; South Pekin, IL; Protoform P3
Formula X: Billy Smith; Prosper, TX; Formula Mazda
GT-1: K.Dane Smith; Fayetteville, AR; Chevrolet Corvette
GT-2: Hans Peter; Olathe, KS; Porsche GT3 Cup
GT-3: Brian Haupt; Spring Hill, KS; Mazda RX-7
GT-Lite: Edward Nicholson; Kansas City, MO; Nissan 200SX
GT-X: William Coffey; Carrollton, TX; Maserati MC GT4
Spec Miata: Matt Reynolds; Fair Oaks, TX; Mazda Miata
Spec Racer Ford Gen3: Denny Stripling; McKinney, TX; Spec Racer Ford Gen3
Prototype 2: Jack Donnellan; Chickasha, OK; Lola B07/90
Super Touring Lite: Stephen Johnson; Stilwell, KS; Mazda Miata
Super Touring Under: Matt Blehm; Rosharon, TX; Scion FR-S
Touring 1: Michael Pettiford; Louisville, CO; Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Touring 2: Charlie Peter; Olathe, KS; BMW M2
Touring 3: Michael Pettiford; Louisville, CO; Pontiac Solstice GXP
Touring 4: Sergio Zlobin; Houston, TX; Mazda MX-5
Photo: Charles Russell Turner drove hard and earned victory in the Formula Enterprises 2 class during Saturday’s Hoosier Super Tour at Hallett Motor Racing Circuit.
Photo by Tim Turner @ HallettFotoShoppe