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Buttonwillow Race Report

Tony G

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October 2003 Camaro Mustang Challenge

Round 7 Buttonwillow Raceway


The Camaro-Mustang Challenge arrived at Buttonwillow Raceway outside of Bakersfield ready for another weekend of super close racing. As usual, many competitors arrived on Friday to practice the great circuit. This particular configuration had a little of everything: off camber corners, fast straights and a few super slow turns mixed in. Most drivers found the track a bit difficult to get just right.


Tim Bullock, Erick Van Wagenen,Tony Guaglione, Nick Steel and Mike Plum showed good speed early on in practice. In particular, the low-key Bullock showed his speed with smooth fast lines. This would be a harbinger of things to come.


New drivers also joined the mix this weekend. Brady Flaherty, Jim Griffith and James Griffith all shared the same excitement to get out on the track with the CMC regulars. Brady Flaherty had recently purchased a Camaro and the father and son Griffith’s brought a very welcome pair of Mustangs into the series.


Saturday’s qualifying had 19 CMC competitors on the track as Tim Bullock set a blistering pace for the others to try and follow. His pole winning lap time was 1.4 seconds ahead of the second place car! Congratulations Tim!


Saturday afternoon’s activities came to an abrupt halt however after a solo car accident in the ASC race. The race was red flagged and rescue crews went to work immediately. A helicopter was landed on the track and despite everyone’s best efforts, the driver had passed away as a result of his injuries. Competitors wouldn’t learn of this news until the next day, but the mood around the paddock was subdued immediately. The entire CMC family wishes to extend our deepest sympathies to the Bill Blauvelt Family. He will be missed.

Race number one saw Tim Bullock, Erick Van Wagenen and Tony Guaglione up front with the fastest qualifying times. The race was mixed up with the FFR group which turned into quite the challenge. The CMC cars were geared for the advantage and at the start the FFR cars were sitting ducks as the CMC cars drove right through the beautiful roadsters.

After things started to spread out, Tony Guaglione was on a mission and took a huge lead and was battling the FFR group the entire race. It was hard because these guys had great power in the straights but the handling was obviously not as good as the CMC cars in the corners.

The final results saw Tony Guaglione’s SN 95 Mustang coming in first, followed by Nick Steel, Tim Bullock, Mike Plum, and rookie James Griffith rounding out the top five.

Fastest race lap was a 214.826 by Guaglione


Saturday evening most all of us went to dinner as usual to discuss the days events, basically safety, and what we can learn from the days tragedy.


Race number two:

Sunday would see the classic CMC inverted race that put Rick Santos on the pole, and all the fast guys to the back.

Inverted races are really the most fun thing any group could ever do, as your adrenalin is running faster than ever.

The standing start would prove to be as important as ever as many of the back markers would try to get the best jump possible.

After 20 minutes of more passing than I have ever seen, Tony Guaglione had advanced 17 places to almost catch Rick Santos for the lead, but ran out of time which saw Santos taking the checkered flag for a win, followed by Guaglione, James Griffith, Greg Robinson, and Brad Simpson rounding out the top five once again.

Fastest race lap was a 214.489 by Mike Plum.



Race number three:

Qualifying for race showed Mike Plum, Guaglione, Morin, Bullock, Robinson, and Griffith on the first three rows.

A standing start was once again in order and Guaglione with his past drag racing experience jumped out in front of Plum early on, but in turn 6 he over shot the corner and Plum flew by only to over cook a corner just seconds later to let Guaglione by once again.

The constant battle was going on everywhere, but Guaglione never looked back and took the win over hard charging Nick Steel who took second. Rookie, and super fast James Griffith took a great third followed by Bullock, Morin, Van Wagenen, Plum, Varon, Robinson,Helldin, Simpson, Gregory, Stone, Griffith, Heim, Arnheiter, Santos and Flaherty.

Fastest race lap was by Plum at a 214.274


Next and last CMC race of the year at Infineon on November 8/9th.

See you at the races.


Greg Robinson

Tony Guaglione

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