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Tony G

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Camaro Mustang Challenge




Event Summary


-Attrition, ugh!

-Hot weather!

-CMC Challenging and beating some AI cars!

-Team Hi Line Motorsports sweep!

-Lap times down to 2:05!

-New faces!

-CMC hats and shirts for all!

-Clean side-by-side racing

-Saturday night dinner




A few drivers took advantage of testing but trouble would come quickly in the form of mechanical failure for Rookies Fretwell and Anderson, who brought their new bright yellow Mustang, and suffered head gasket problems which meant they were done for the weekend. Tim Bullock spent the afternoon working on and correcting his front brake problems.


Saturday Practice/Qualifying


Tony Guaglione, behind the wheel of the #55 Mustang for Team Hi Line, laid down a blistering 2:05.8 in qualifying. This was faster than some AI cars! The temperature was just cool enough for good track conditions. Mike Plum continued his consistency with a great run putting him into 2nd on the grid. Al Fernandez was 3rd , followed by James Griffith.Mike Donahoe in his first appearance this season, qualified 5th, and Julie Bergman was a very strong 6th. The Top Ten qualifiers were:


1. Team Hi Line

2. Mike Plum

3. Al Fernandez

4. James Griffith

5. Mike Donahoe

6. Julie Bergman

7. Ed Varon

8. Tim Bullock

9. Brady Flaherty

10. Jim Griffith


Saturday Race #1



The standing start was a thrill to watch as CMC was gridded 100 feet behind the AI cars which were all released on the same green flag. CMC seemed more accustomed to the standing start as was evidenced by the CMC field closing in on AI from the beginning. Turn 1 saw cars three wide! Team Hi Line began passing AI cars and settled in for an uncontested run to the checkered flag. Some AI drivers were wondering just how a CMC car could not only keep up, but beat some of them! Mike Plum missed a shift early and was forced to make up ground lost in the resulting melee. Normally smooth and consistent, Mike made a rare error and ended up going off and suffered a flat tire thus ending his run towards the front. Al Fernandez had a great view of Plum’s spectacular off in Turn 8 on his way to a solid 3rd place finish! Plum would find a cracked windshield and two tires in need of service as a result. Brady Flaherty helped Plum get the damaged tires ready for the next race--a great display of sportsmanship. Julie Bergman slipped but one place enroute to a superb 7th. The Top Ten Finishers were:


1. Team Hi Line

2. James Griffith

3. Al Fernandez

4. Mike Donahoe

5. Ed Varon

6. Tim Bullock

7. Julie Bergman

8. Brett Sciuto-R

9. Steve Sparklin

10. J.R. Luster-R


A late call on the PA system meant a quick scramble to get the CMC cars to the grid on time. As result of the confusion, Brady Flaherty was held on the grid erroneously by NASA officials. He was unable to take the green with the CMC group and finished a disappointing last after completing one lap. All CMC competitors are reminded to get to the grid early to avoid such a circumstance from happening again. Additionally, remember that you will receive last place points just for taking the green. If at all possible, complete as many laps as you can because you never know when someone will retire from the race early! To start up front for a subsequent inverted race you must complete at least half the laps.



Saturday Race #2


A rolling start was used for this typical CMC inverted race run together with the BMW’s. This race would be a short 7 lap sprint in part to give those up front a chance to experience leading the pack and to give all drivers a break from another long, hot race. The turnaround time between Race #1 and #2 was just an hour and gave precious little time for both the car and driver to cool off adequately. Ben Pfaff, running just for fun, led the CMC group down to the green flag. Ed Hamilton-R and J.R. Luster-R did their best to hold off a hard charging field. Team Hi Line and James Griffith cut through the field to a close finish with Team Hi Line scoring their second win of the weekend. The Top Ten Finishers were:


1. Team Hi Line

2. James Griffith

3. Ed Varon

4. Al Fernandez

5. Mike Plum

6. Tim Bullock

7. Brady Flaherty-R

8. Jim Griffith

9. Julie Bergman

10. Steve Sparklin


Post-race Inspection


In keeping with CMC rules, a specific section of the rules was randomly selected (caster/camber plates) and the Top 4 finishers were checked for compliance. No issues were found.


Saturday Dinner Gathering


The CMC Directors hosted a pizza bash for all CMC competitors and family/crew that had everyone eating way too much food! This is part of what your annual CMC dues goes toward. It was nice to enjoy the air-conditioned comfort and many were sporting their new CMC shirts. Thanks to Tony Guaglione for the new CMC Challenge T shirts and great looking caps.


Sunday Practice/Qualifying


Morning practice would find Greg Robinson behind the wheel of the #55 Mustang for Team Hi Line for the first time this season. Julie Bergman continued to show good speed as well as Tim Bullock. In qualifying, James Griffith put his Mustang on pole followed by a great effort by Mike Plum. Team Hi Line qualified 3rd followed by a great effort by Julie Bergman in 4th. The Top Ten Qualifiers were:


1. James Griffith

2. Mike Plum

3. Team Hi Line

4. Julie Bergman (career best!)

5. Tim Bullock

6. Al Fernandez

7. Brady Flaherty-R

8. Mike Donahoe

9. Jim Griffith

10. Brett Sciuto-R


Sunday Race


Another standing start with the AI cars was utilized with similar results to Race #1. Both James Griffith and Team Hi Line jumped out quickly to pass some AI cars! Mike Plum again struggled with the start, this time spinning the tires after being caught off guard by the starter. It seemed that the starter used some different “body English†to drop the green flag! Al Fernandez found himself behind an AI car as he attempted to chase down Team Hi Line. Halfway through the race the yellow would come out for an AI car that lost its motor in spectacular style in Turn 1. The field bunched up for the restart but things stayed the same up front with Griffith, Team Hi Line and Fernandez who put in a hard charge still trying to get around an AI car. Mike Plum worked his way up to a solid 4th after experiencing a high rpm misfire. Official results would be decided after post-race inspection however.


Post-race Inspection


In post-race inspection the randomly selected rule (rear axles/diff) was checked on the Top 4 cars. James Griffith’s Mustang was found to have an aftermarket aluminum diff cover with bearing cap supports and received a DQ. Additionally, Jim Griffith passed under the yellow flag and received a DQ. As such, the official Top Ten Finishers were:


1. Team Hi Line

2. Al Fernandez

3. Mike Plum

4. Brady Flaherty-R

5. Tim Bullock

6. Mike Donahoe

7. Julie Bergman

8. Steve Sparklin

9. Ed Hamilton-R

10. J.R. Luster-R


Community Involvement


Ed Varon once again suffered mechanical problems but stayed until the start of Race #3 in case he could donate any parts to Al Fernandez who developed a misfire. Ben Pfaff and others helped Ed Varon and Team Search to no avail. Mike Plum and Al Fernandez checked timing and fuel pressure for Ed Hamilton and the list goes on and on. Way to go guys.


Hard Luck Award


This weekend’s hard luck award could be shared by many. Some showed up and broke early on Friday and some missed the weekend altogether due to mechanicals. One team stands out however for this dubious distinction: Team Search. Don and Addison Lee suffered terminal engine failure in the form of a melted piston on the Team Search Mustang. We all hope to see them back in action soon.




Super clean racing throughout the weekend and aside from the issues in Race #3, no major problems. Thanks to all competitors for a super weekend.


Season Points


The Team Hi Line sweep of the weekend vaulted the team from 7th to 1st in season points. The Top Ten in season points are:


1. Team Hi Line-763

2. Mike Plum-752

3. Al Fernandez-748

4. Brady Flaherty-R-739

5. Tim Bullock-727

6. James Griffith-680

7. Ed Varon-655

8. Jim Griffith-625

9. Team Trask-552

10. Brett Sciuto-R-529


For full points standings see www.camaromustangchallenge.com/points-04.html.


Next race is June 5-6th at Buttonwillow. See you at the races!


Greg Robinson

CMC Editor

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