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ButtonWillow race report

Tony G

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Event Summary


-2 practice sessions, 2 races, 1 qualifying session, 1 points paying qualifying session

-Huge field! 23 cars entered!

-Shared race group with BMW

-Mechanical problems for some

-Great Saturday evening BBQ

-Racers helping racers

-Lots of new Rookies


Friday Practice


Many showed up throughout the day on Friday to take advantage of half or full day testing. This turned out to be quite crowded as the raceway simply divides practice into two groups: closed and open wheel. After a few sessions with nearly 60 cars in closed wheel, the raceway split this group into two subgroups which made practice safer and more productive for everyone. This configuration (#1 CW) took some getting used to and those who participated were glad they did! This was one of the best attended test days of recent memory. This is a testament to how CMC is growing and why our drivers keep getting better and better.


Saturday Practice/Qualifying/Race


The morning practice session had some of the newcomers showing good speed. Brett Sciuto and Jeff Bernard looked solid. Kevin Hall was working the bugs out of his Camaro and Team Search was doing the same. Unfortunately, Steve Sparklin and Scott Gregory broke bad enough for their weekend to be over. Sparklin was unable to remedy an electrical problem and Gregory appeared to have yet another engine failure. Tony Guaglione, driving the #12 Mustang for the first time this season, had a misfiring engine to deal with.


Qualifying saw Ed Varon put his #24 Camaro on the pole in a great effort. Ed has had his share of mechanicals this year and this is surely proof of his determination and dedication. Top Ten qualifiers:


1. Ed Varon

2. James Griffith

3. Team Hiline

4. Team Trask

5. Mike Plum

6. Brady Flaherty

7. Tim Bullock

8. Jeff Bernard-R

9. Jim Griffith

10. Julie Bergman


Due to this being a NorCal/SoCal crossover event, CMC would have but one race on Saturday. Julie Bergman and Brad Simpson began a back and forth duel that would continue throughout the weekend. These two passed each other several times! Al Fernandez, Jim Griffith and Brad Simpson had some spectacular moments late in the race when Griffith went off in the last turn causing Fernandez to take evasive action. Fernandez overcorrected slightly and went off himself. Griffith was able to keep ahead of Fernandez while Simpson was watching the whole event unfold before him. Simpson caught up to Fernandez just as the yellow flag came out. To make the point that he could have passed Fernandez, Simpson finished side-by-side with Fernandez. Simpson was only .001 sec. behind! Fernandez had a great race charging from 18th to an 8th place finish. Good, clean racing among CMC and the BMW’s. James Griffith took the win and continues to show his speed and talent. Top Ten Finishers:


1. James Griffith

2. Ed Varon

3. Brady Flaherty

4. Mike Plum

5. Tim Bullock

6. Don Trask

7. Jim Griffith

8. Al Fernandez

9. Brad Simpson

10. Brett Sciuto-R



Saturday BBQ


The Robinson family and crew again provided a BBQ dinner for all CMC drivers and crew complete with the requisite margaritas! This was great chance to unwind after a long day and visit with everyone. Brady Flaherty and Brad Simpson were both busy doing repairs but found time to relax with a burger and a frosty beverage! It was great to see so many spouses and family members attend as well. Racing is certainly a family effort. Hot Rod Magazine editor Matt King joined the CMC group and was seen having a good time as well.


Sunday Practice/Qualifying/Race


Normally, CMC has 3 races per weekend but this weekend had limited options due to the large number of racers in all classes. In order to pay points for 3 sessions over the weekend, CMC would invert the field for qualifying based on the finishing order from Saturday’s race and pay points. This gave those at the back of the pack a chance to get some clear track time and turn in a few good laps before faster cars worked their way through. Trouble came late in the session when body contact occurred between James Griffith and Brady Flaherty. As a result, James Griffith was moved to the back of the field for the afternoon’s race and placed on probation for at-fault contact.


Sunday’s points paying qualifying had Al Fernandez with top honors. The inverted field worked well and gave some up-front experience to rookie Carson Scheller. Top Ten Points were given to:


1. Al Fernandez

2. Team Trask

3. Jim Griffith

4. Brett Sciuto-R

5. Brady Flaherty

6. Mike Plum

7. Ed Varon

8. Team Hiline

9. Tim Bullock

10. Carson Scheller-R


Sunday’s race had the field spread out amongst the BMW’s. The field quickly reassembled itself after the pole sitter Brady Flaherty began having problems with grip and began fading back. Ed Varon showed everyone this was his home track with a fantastic drive to the front. James Griffith also put on quite a display in a superb drive from last to 3rd. Tim Bullock had front brake problems but still managed to finish a well-deserved 6th. Team Hiline continued to suffer from engine problems and had to keep it below 4,000rpm but managed a 9th place finish. Many used the BMW’s as “picks†in order to complete passes. All in all, there were absolutely no problems with the BMW group all weekend. Top Ten finishers:


1. Ed Varon

2. Mike Plum

3. James Griffith

4. Team Trask

5. Al Fernandez

6. Tim Bullock

7. Jim Griffith

8. Brett Sciuto-R

9. Team Hiline

10. Brad Simpson


Community Involvement


In the racing “community†of CMC we still see racers helping racers at every event. After experiencing differential failure, Al Fernandez replaced his entire rear-end assembly—recently loaned to Ed Varon at CalSpeedway—with the help of Team Hiline crew Byron Mathieu and Chuck Best. Per Helldin helped Brad Simpson replace a leaking transmission seal and assisted Kevin Hall with a torque arm replacement. Brady Flaherty gave front brake pads to Tim Bullock. Greg Robinson gave front brake pads to Mike Plum. Mike Plum helped Brady Flaherty with front brake line repairs. Thanks to everyone who helped out throughout the weekend; you make CMC what it is!


Hard Luck Award


The Hard Luck Award certainly goes to Scott Gregory who lost another engine this weekend. This has done little to dampen his enthusiasm for the series though! Scott promises to be back soon.




CMC will not tolerate avoidable, at-fault contact between competitors. As such,

James Griffith was placed on a four race probation for at-fault contact and moved to the back of the field for Sunday’s race.


Rules reminder: all competitors must have all required documents in their possession every race weekend (log book, tech form, dyno sheets, comp lic., etc.). If the CMC rules don’t specifically allow it, it’s not allowed. If in doubt, ask a Director for a ruling.


Season Points


The 2004 season is shaping up to be a close battle! Only 53 points separate the Top Ten! The Top Ten are as follows:


1. James Griffith-485

2. Mike Plum-474

3. Brady Flaherty-473

4. Ed Varon-468

5. Al Fernandez-463

6. Team Trask-463

7. Team Hiline-462

8. Tim Bullock-453

9. Jim Griffith-452

10. Carson Scheller-R-432


For complete points info see www.camaromustangchallenge.com/points-04.html


Round 3 is at Thunderhill on May 1-2, 2004. See you at the races!


Greg Robinson

CMC Editor

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