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Reports from Nationals?


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Well, we are waiting




1. Chad Nelson

2. Gilbert Galle

3. David Leyvas




1. Alexandra Sabodos

2. Rick Barrett

3.Jeff Amos




1. Jay Matus

2. Gregory Dalgarn

3. Doug Grande





1. Vali Predescu

2. Brad Waite

3. Ian Cole



1. Charles Buzzetti

2. Christopher Allen

3. Scott Bove



Closest Margin of Victory for 1st. place in any class was 20 seconds in GTS4. Chad Nelson and Vali Predescu were the first to repeat as GTS Champions, though Vali's win last year was in GTS3, so GTS5 is the only class to have a 2 time Champion.


Hope that helps a little bit, while we wait to hear from the participants.



-Scott B.

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A limited overview


I spent the Nationals week in Utah as Brad Waite's crew (GTS2) while we, in turn, were garage-mates with Jeff Amos (GTS4) and Ralf Lindakers who was crewing for Amos. All four of us hail from the Great Lakes region and had gone West to see if we couldn't bring a few trophies back this way.


My focus for the week, obviously, was on GTS2 and GTS4. Here's how those classes progressed:




Coming into the week we expected our fiercest GTS2 competition would come from Vali Predescu in his California-based Spec Boxster and we were not disappointed in that regard. With a format for the weekend which included qualifying and then a qualifying race on both Thursday and Friday, the results of which were to be combined to determine the starting grid for Sunday's Championship race, there was ample time to learn the track and work out setup issues.


In Thursday's qualifying session Waite set what would turn out to be the fastest GTS2 time of the week, a smoking 2:14.155. He was followed by Predescu with a 2:15.873 and the rest of the GTS2 class who all posted 2:17.6 and higher times. A strong initial showing for the Great Lakes crowd.


In the race, a brief 20-minute, 8-lap affair, Waite led from the green flag until two laps from the end. One of the vagaries of 944s with ABS is that the anti-lock system will disable itself if the car goes over severe bumps. We had addressed this problem the day before by installing an ABS reset switch but somehow during the race the system became disabled without Waite's knowledge. Going EXTREMELY deep at the end of the 3500 foot front straight in an effort to fight off an outside passing attempt by Predescu, Waite went hard to the brakes only to have his car disappear in a cloud of white smoke as all four tires locked, the car spun (nearly hitting the guardrail) and tossed itself off the track and into the Utah dust.


Fortunately both he and the car were unhurt but his brand new tires were terminally flat-spotted. I'm talking about flat spots 3 inches wide by the width of the (285 series) tires and all the way down to the core. SERIOUS flat-spotting. He managed to limp the car home for a respectable but disappointing fifth (out of nine). Predescu and his Boxster won over Robert Maples and his AWD Audi A4, followed by GTS National Director Ian Cole in his Volkswagen Golf


Friday's qualifying saw Predescu on the class pole with a 2:15.228, followed by Waite, a mere .017 seconds back, then Maples at 2:17.624.


In the race, Predescu was caught sleeping at the start and dropped from first in class to fifth before the first turn. Maples and his Audi had the best start of the bunch and managed to lead the class in the early going, followed closely by Waite.


Predescu, not to be denied, started working his way back through the class. By the third lap he was back to 3rd behind Maples and Waite. On the fourth lap, he and Waite swapped positions. Both were clearly faster than Maples but the Audi's superior acceleration allowed him to keep both the Boxster of Predescu and 944 S2 of Waite at bay. Finally, three laps from the end, Predescu managed to make it past and then immediately posted the fastest GTS2 lap of the race, a record-breaking 2:14.190, before eventually pulling out a comfortable 9.9 second margin over Maples and Waite who never found a way past. They were followed by Dale Laushman in his Spec M3, followed by Cole.


All of this set up an interesting start for Sunday's National Championship race. By virtue of his two wins, Predescu was on the class pole, sitting 15th overall in the GTS field of 30 cars. Next to him was the Audi of Maples. One row back were Cole and Laushman and behind Cole, in the 19th overall position, sat Waite.


With the top five spots in GTS2 gridded in contiguous positions, it was shaping up to be a great race. At the start, Waite out-ran Cole's VW down the starting straight before working himself inside and then past Laushman's M3 at the apex of the fast first turn. He then took off in hard pursuit of Predescu (in the lead) and Maples (hot on his tail). Turns 2, 3 and 4 at Miller are very fast and Waite pushed his cold tires to the limit, giving him an edge on Maples on the first run down to the slow left-hand turn 5. Under braking, Waite shouldered himself inside the Audi, taking the turn and the position but Maples responded with a cross-over move and the two went side-by-side down to the slightly-quicker right-hander 6. On the exit of six the cars both went wide with Maples putting his left side tires in the dirt and having to lift. Waite, now clear, took off in pursuit of Predescu and the flying Boxster.


At the end of the fourth lap, in the tight 13/14/15 complex which leads onto the front straight, Waite managed to make it past Predescu and into the class lead but his joy would last only a single lap until Predescu, in a classic late-braking maneuver, managed to work his way back past Waite as they dove into the first turn at triple-digit speeds. From there, it was all Predescu as he pulled out what would eventually become a 29-second lead over Waite who finished a solid second, 11+ seconds ahead of Cole who, in turn, managed to pass Maples on the very last lap as Maples' Audi's shifter caused him problems.


As much as we would have liked to win, there was no denying Vali Predescu who won all three races leading up to and including the Championship race. Congratulations to him!




For most of the week, GTS4 looked like it was going to be a walk in the park for Jeff Amos in his 2004 911 GT3. If not, there was little question in anyone's mind that the competition would be Bill Woods in his yellow-and-green 1995 911.


In Thursday's qualifying Woods took the first shot, posting a 2:06.707 to Amos' 2:08.154. The next car in class was Alexandra (yes, a woman) Sabados' very pretty green 1974 911 RSR, a beautiful classic Porsche, which clocked a 2:13.003. Clearly, it was a class of two cars. In the race, Amos wasted little time moving into the class lead on the second lap and pulling out what grew to be a 14+ second advantage over Woods, followed by Sabados and Rick Barret in his yellow-and-black 1984 911.


Fighting mechanical issues, Woods missed both Friday's qualifying and race. Not surprisingly, with Woods out of the way Amos dominated both with a 2:08.458 qualifying run (over Sabados' 2:13.367) and winning the race handily by 31+ seconds over Barrett and Sabados who finished another four seconds in Barrett's wake.


Sunday, Woods was back but missing Friday's race put him at the back of the GTS grid, a place he wouldn't stay for long. By the end of the first lap he was up to 22nd overall. At the end of the second lap he was 12th. The next lap found him sitting 9th overall, second in class, and with just one car separating him from the hard-charging Amos. On lap 5 they were in contact and the race was on. For three laps the two ran nose-to-tail with Woods looking for a way past until, on lap 8, in the back of the track near turn 11 a mistake spun Woods off the track and out of the race.


Amos, suddenly freed from worrying about the looming 911 in his mirrors, was on a cruise to victory until, about four laps from the end, his car started leaking coolant. Eventually, just a few turns short of the white flag he was shown, instead, a black flag. In retrospect, he probably wishes he'd been...um...looking at his instruments...but Amos acquiesced and entered the pits, letting Alexandra Sabados and her RSR sweep past and into the lead for the final two laps. Ultimately Amos, heartbroken, ended up third in GTS4 behind Sabados and Rick Barrett.




It was a great and fun week of racing for all concerned. The facility at Miller is nothing short of spectacular and when they say $150-million was spent on it, well, it's not that hard to believe. Sunday's GTS race was run in 40-50 mph winds which made the driving interesting but did nothing to hurt the quality of racing. Congratulations to all concerned (including those in the classes I wasn't following) and we'll see you next year back at Mid-Ohio.

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Excellent recap Scott! Awesome!!! Congrats to everyone. Can't wait to see the videos and perhaps learn some serious racecraft from the best in the country!



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