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Final 2003 Race Report from Infineon


Tony G

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November 8/9th 2003 CMC Round 8-Infineon Raceway

 

The 8th and final round of the Camaro-Mustang Challenge 2003 season returned to Infineon Raceway to settle once and for all the season championship. The point battle has been close all season long with Dave Morin, Nick Steel and Erick Van Wagenen all within a few points of each other. It would come down to this last event to sort it all out.

 

The weather was unpredictable, and due to circumstances beyond our control, there was no practice on Friday. Dark clouds threatened nearly all weekend but did allow some breaks for great dry track racing. Saturday’s first race had the grid determined by each competitor’s point standing thus far. A second race would follow immediately after the first, with all cars staying out on the track and gridding in inverted order. The track was mostly dry for the races although most drivers elected to go with a rain set-up. The newly repaved course was super smooth and fast. Everyone enjoyed the extra grip especially in turn 11.

 

The now infamous CMC standing starts were used and the crowd certainly had a treat as they watched and listened to the spectacle of thundering V8 sedans launching in a collective cloud of noise and tire smoke. Early drama in Race #1 had Don Trask, Greg Robinson and Tim Bullock all trying to occupy the same real estate going into turn 7 with Robinson as the meat in the sandwich. All would continue on to finish the race however. Strong performances from Mike Plum, Tony Guaglione, Dave Morin and Nick Steel put them at the front of the field. Nick Steel and Tony Guaglione finished within inches of each other which decided first and second place.

 

Race #2 also used the standing inverted start and saw tons of usual passing, but rookie driver Brady Flaherty came up with a fantastic win! Mike Donahoe took 2nd followed by Plum and Righetti and Rookie Jim Griffith rounding out the top five.

 

Saturday afternoon was spent enjoying the company of our fellow racers and their families at the CMC indoor BBQ bash. This really turned out to be cold sandwiches due to the rain, but no one seemed to mind. A season’s end meeting was held and proposed changes for next season discussed. Mike Plum and Greg Robinson were named to the CMC Board of Directors for 2004. Awards for some unsuspecting drivers were also handed out. Specifically, Tim Bullock was awarded the “Most Improved Driver†trophy for a superb performance all season long. Tim has been showing steady improvement and progress in his abilities and promises to be running up front next season. Dave Morin received the “Most Consistent Driver†trophy for a season that had him up front in the points battle thanks to super consistent finishes at every event. A surprised Al Fernandez accepted the trophy for “Rookie of the Year.†Al’s attitude has been fantastic all season no matter where he placed or what his on or off-track excursions may have been. Al represents what CMC is all about: fun and friendly competition with a great attitude. Lastly, but certainly not least, is the trophy for “Best Team Effort†to Steve Graves and Per Helldin of Team Esse’. These two drivers absolutely busted their tails to make every event and their never-say-die attitude should be an inspiration to all of us. Congratulations to all trophy recipients. The afternoon was capped off with a birthday celebration for Mike Plum who turned 39, again, and again. Happy Birthday Mike.

 

The rains came in hard on Sunday and those that had full tread depth rain tires were certainly glad they brought them. The grid was formed with numbers being selected out of a hat. You just never know what to expect from CMC! Greg Robinson had the pole along side James Griffith but as the rain was falling and the green flag flew on this rolling start, Robinson clearly, and rather brutally, realized that old practice tires just don’t have much grip! Nearly the whole filed passed the #12 Mustang in the first lap. Ed Varon put in a great effort on his rain tires and came in with a well-deserved win.

 

The 2003 season results showed Nick Steel with the overall championship win, his first in three seasons of CMC competition. Congratulations Nick! Nick put in a huge effort this season and his perseverance and tenacity certainly paid off. Also a big thank you to last year’s champion, Don Campbell, for being on hand to hand over the perpetual CMC Season Champion â€John Force†Trophy. A well-deserved 2nd place goes to Dave Morin and a great 3rd place finish for Mike Plum. Erick Van Wagenen ended the season 4th in points followed by Tim Bullock in 5th. The rest of the top ten finished as follows:

 

6 Greg Robinson

7 Helldin/Graves

8 Tony Guaglione

9 Ed Varon

10 Julie Bergman

 

 

The 2004 season looks to be great with even more new cars and drivers coming into the series. The returning veterans promise to make everyone feel welcome and make the next season our best yet. Thanks to everyone for a great season of racing!

 

CMC looks forward to seeing you at the races in 2004!

 

 

Greg Robinson

Tony Guaglione

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