FORMULA 600 CHALLENGE SERIES:  2021 ROUND #3 AT PITTRACE

Pittsburgh International Raceway (PittRace) is a new track for our Series so there was learning to be done by some of the drivers.  Several drivers (weather forecast?) chose not to make this race and the rest of us found out how cold (mid 30’s) it can get in late April when you are 100 miles south of Lake Erie.  On top of the cold temperatures, it was windy most of the weekend AND rain on Friday so the lap record would not be challenged this weekend.  PittRace is narrow with many corners and only short straights so the trap speeds were slower at around 115 mph.  This proved to be very challenging with many shifts every lap.

For qualifying on Friday, rain ruined any chance for a good lap but Calvin Stewart did get down to a 2:01.573, way faster than anyone else (but he gas-fouled his plugs, cold wet weather, and did not have any spares); several chose not to go out in the rain the whole day.  Saturday morning qualifying saw dry but cold and windy.  Jeremy Swank in George Bugg’s F600 (Jeremy’s F600 is being built) went on the track for his very first time in George’s car and set the pole time of 1:55.337.  Calvin would be second but he does not race on Saturday’s (his Sabbath) so the rest of the grid was Russell Strate, Jack Walbran and Cory McLeod, who had no time.  For the race, Jeremy had to pull in on the pace lap due to a front brake leak.  Russell took the lead with Jack close behind and Cory learning the track for the very first time and closing up on them with his fastest lap of 1:57.872.  Then, the race got complicated – First, Jack over revved down shifting (remember that you shift a lot at this track) and hurt the motor slowing him down with two laps to go.  Cory gets past Jack and is now behind Russell.  Second, on the checkered flag lap on the last corner before pit entrance, Russell got tangled up with two FV’s and it was either hit them or be forced off into the pit entrance so Russell took the pit lane to cross the finish line.  This allowed Cory to get by and “win” the race as he crossed it before Russell did in the pits.  Third, Jack also took the checkered flag in the pits with his hurt motor behind Russell.  Fourth, somehow, T&S did not record Russell’s transponder crossing the finish line in the pits BUT did record Jack’s transponder in the pits.  And, finally, unlucky Cory got busted for passing under a double yellow (he missed the flags drapped over the front of the previous worker station (the flags were NOT perpendicular to the track) and the worker station was a good distance from the track, making it hard to see).  This puts Russell and Jack back to first and second, you would think, but the race officials state that the T&S data has to be correct in spite of an eyewitness (Jack) stating otherwise.  We will go with what really happened and it will be Russell in first, Jack in second and Cory back to third, sigh, after driving a strong catch-up race during his very first time on the track.  Cory McLeod wins the Hyper Racing Hard Charger award.

The grid for Sunday’s race, based on each driver’s best lap time up to this point was as follows:

  1. Jeremy Swank 1:55.337
  2. Russell Strate 1:56.638
  3. Cory McLeod      1:57.872
  4. Calvin Stewart 2:01.573 (in the rain on Friday)
  5. Jack Walbran (his backup car)

In the Sunday race, it got complicated, yet again, right off the start as Calvin Stewart (expected to win) was way off the pace after a couple of laps due to his used spare plugs also not working so he came in; then, right after, while leading the race, Jeremy Swank retired with a warped front brake rotor(s).  Russell improved his time down to a 1:54.552 to win the race and, this time, with only one issue – During the race there was a full course yellow but Russell also saw a black flag next to the yellow flags and came into the pits while leading.  Immediately realizing his mistake Russell came back out but now was in last place.   With everyone running behind the pace car, Russell was not far behind the other F600’s so at the green he was able to work his way back up to first to win.  Cory came in second, dropping his time to a 1:54.222, not bad as his car was acting up.  Jack finished third in his backup car with a steady drive.  Russell Strate wins the Hyper Racing Hard Charger award.

For the weekend, the Series points are as follows:

  1. Russell Strate 24
  2. Cory McLeod   22   Tie breaker - faster lap
  3. Jack Walbran 20
  4. Jeremy Swank 18
  5. Calvin Stewart 16

Series points standings are now as follows:

  1. Cory McLeod 60
  2. Jack Walbran 54
  3. Clint McMahan 48
  4. Russell Strate 46
  5. Calvin Stewart 37
  6. Jeff DeLong 36
  7. Ryan Mayfield 30
  8. George Fox 23
  9. George Bugg 22
  10. Jeremy Swank 16
  11. Jay Beckley 14   Tie breaker – faster lap
  12. Austin Morvik 14
  13. Carl Maier     9
  14. Aaron Fitzsimmons 0

 

We are very thankful for our valued sponsors who have made this series possible:

Hoosier Racing Tire ( www.hoosiertire.com )

Pegasus Auto Racing Supplies ( www.PegasusAutoRacing.com )

Hawk Performance ( www.hawkperformance.com )

Winding Road Racing ( www.WindingRoadRacing.com )

MPT Industries ( www.mptindustries.com )

Design Engineering, Inc. ( http://www.designengineering.com/ )

Hyper Racing ( www.hyperracing.com )

The Formula 600 Challenge Series was developed to help promote an affordable open wheel formula car class to showcase talent without large financial race budgets.  There are no paid staffers and one hundred percent of all sponsorship monies and product goes directly to the drivers in our series mostly as a tow fund payment for each race.   The Formula 600 open wheel cars use a 600cc motorcycle engine and a six-speed sequential transmission revving up to 15,000 rpm with speeds in excess of 140 mph. The sound of these cars is likened to F1 cars.

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For more information, please contact:

Jim Murphy

jdmurphy47@aol.com

Fred Edwards

f.edwards@metalloidcorp.com

Carl Maier

wetfrog2@yahoo.com