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Cal speedway race report

Tony G

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California Speedway


>Gentlemen, start your engines! The 2003 Camaro-Mustang Challenge season

>opened with a bang in Fontana. With heavy rains in Socal just the week

>before, it looked like the weather on race weekend would be anyone's guess.

> But it appears the weather gods must be race fans, and CMC fans at that!

>Warm temperatures and clear, sunny skies greeted an eager field of CMC

>racers ready to test their skill against the massive California Speedway

>oval and infield road course. Although the crowds were a bit less than the

>140,000 normally present for a NASCAR weekend, the CMC drivers sure put on

>a show of clean, close racing.


>Friday morning racers began to arrive for a day of practice and tuning.

>Many made long drives from Norcal and were still in good spirits and full

>of optimism. Newcomers Brad Simpson, Scott Gregory, Al Fernandez, and

>Erick Van Wagenen took full advantage of the track time to get accustomed

>to their new CMC cars. It certainly took some getting used to leaving your

>foot in the gas going into the turn one banking at 140 MPH! This was a

>totally new experience for all and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the variety

>this track offered. No less than fourteen CMC drivers were on hand and all

>pitted together in the huge garage area. Many returning and veteran

>drivers were seen giving advice freely to the new drivers. This is a great

>testament to the friendly, helpful nature of CMC drivers. Many drivers

>took advantage of the wonderful facilities and camped at the track.


>Saturday morning saw a bustling paddock gearing up for an eventful day of

>racing. CMC series director Tony Gauglione was still suffering from the

>flu he'd had the last few days but managed to put on a brave smile and was

>busy making sure racers were set to go. If anyone should ever question

>Tony's dedication to this series, they need look no further than the fact

>he drove from Norcal with a fever of 102 degrees to make the opening race

>weekend a smooth one for all racers. Thanks Tony.


>Saturday's practice and qualifying found some new names up front. Erick

>Van Wagenen, Greg Robinson and Perry Kincy found themselves among the

>fastest in practice. Van Wagenen showed he could be fast in last year's

>championship winning car and Robinson was enjoying a fresh motor with the

>proper amount of horsepower. Kincy wowed everyone with his fast fourth gen

>Camaro. Qualifying ultimately saw a fast Nick Steel take the pole with his

>freshly painted #45 Camaro followed by Greg Righetti, Perry Kincy, Erick

>Van Wagenen and Tony Guaglione rounding out the first five on the grid.


>As the green flag flew on the main straight, the V8 thunder of CMC sprang

>to life! By turn one, Nick Steel and Tony Guaglione were neck and neck but

>were closely hounded by Greg Righetti, and Greg Robinson. Nick Steel

>turned into turn two a little wide to find Guaglione taking advantage of

>the open door which put him in first place, but it was not to last very

>long. By the third lap Righetti, Guaglione and Robinson were out all due to

>mechanical failures. This would be an omen for the rest of the weekend.

>After a great battle throughout the pack, the checkered flag flew for Nick

>Steel with his first win! Newcomer Erick Van Wagenen placed a strong

>second followed by Perry Kincy who was Dq'd for being under weight, Dave

>Morin, Mike Plum, Frank Little, Tim Bullock, Per Helldin, Brad Simpson,

>Steve Sparklin, Al Fernandez, Dave Adams, Scott Gregory, Pat Stone. It

>seemed the sustained high RPM an the long speedway section may have played

>a part in the mechanical failures.


>True to form, Tony Guaglione was able to secure a second race on Saturday

>afternoon and this one would have an inverted starting grid. Pat Stone

>preferred not to take the pole so that responsibility fell onto Scott

>Gregory's shoulders! Gregory lead Dave Adams, Al Fernandez and Brad

>Simpson and the rest of the field to the green. These drivers did a great

>job with their first start up front. Massive passing was the name of the

>game for the first few laps. A strong charging Nick Steel quickly worked

>his way through the field. A scary moment for all quickly changed the tone

>of the race. Perry Kincy, while letting faster BMW drivers go by, found

>himself just a bit out of shape while exiting a turn and just clipped a

>tire barricade. This minor contact sent his Camaro over onto it's roof in

>the blink of an eye. The race was black flagged for the clean up. All

>thoughts were for Perry's well being and it was certainly a good sign to

>see him climb out under his own power.


>Saturday evening proved to be entertaining with an impromptu carne asada

>BBQ complete with margaritas provided by the Robinson family and crew.

>Some of the tall tales from the drivers present actually had something to

>do with racing! We all learned a lot about our fellow competitors in a

>casual setting.


>Sunday's qualifying saw the familiar front runners leading the pack with

>one twist. Dave Morin took the pole followed by Erick Van Wagenen, Nick

>Steel, Frank Little, Per Helldin, Tim Bullock, Steve Sparklin, Brad

>Simpson, Scott Gregory, Pat Stone, Al Fernandez, Mike Plum, and Dave Adams.

> By race time almost every competitor had performed some sort of repair

>over the weekend! After the green flag Nick Steel charged to the front but

>it wasn't easy. Dave Morin was very strong and the two looked very evenly

>matched for several laps. Great racing from the mid packers as well with

>close battles between Al Fernandez, Tim Bullock and Pat Stone. Final

>results showed Dave Morin with the win after a strong consistent

>performance. Nick Steel nursed his ailing Camaro into second place

>followed by Erick Van Wagenen who later was Dq'd for tapping the rear of

>Steels car, Frank Little, Pat Stone, Al Fernandez, Tim Bullock, Steve

>Sparklin, Dave Adams, Mike Plum, Brad Simpson, and Per Helldin.


>The weekend's mechanical problems would ultimately effect nearly everyone.

>This is absolutely unheard of in CMC racing but all of those involved

>promised to be back to action soon. CMC is growing and growing and getting

>better and better. Look for more new drivers and cars coming into the

>series along with some veterans considering returning to the fray in 2003

>and beyond. A big thank you to all who made the weekend a success.

>Without your dedication and willingness to make the trip to Socal and

>support CMC, this series would not be as great as it is. CMC looks forward

>to another great showing at Thunderhill on April 5-6.

Please sign up now ! See you at the



>Greg Robinson

>CMC #12 Mustang


Tony Guaglione

CMC #55


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