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Infineon Race Report


Tony G

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Camaro-Mustang Challenge Round 7 Infineon Raceway

September 11-12 2004

 

Highlights:

 

· Largest field to date—29 cars entered!

· Fantastic weather

· AI/AIX/CMC run group

· New faces, new cars

· Hard hits for Fernandez and Scheller

· Huge Saturday BBQ

 

Saturday:

 

The morning turned out to be fairly quiet in the paddock and was not nearly as crowded as most expected. Nearly all CMC competitors were able to pit together with AI and AIX nearby. New faces and cars were on hand and the drivers were made to feel welcome in typical CMC fashion. Practice started early at 8:20AM under clear sunny skies. Veteran Tony Guaglione had the fastest time with Bullock, Plum, and Griffith following closely. The shortened course configuration was new to all and took some getting used to. The “short†turn 7 was dubbed by some as the “turn of death†as it was sharp, uphill to the right, and had a blind exit--all this immediately as drivers exited the carousel! But, CMC drivers showed everyone just how good they are by stuffing sometimes two and three cars wide into the turn and coming out cleanly upon exit.

 

Race #1 of the weekend featured a grid based on an inversion of the season points total to date, with the exception that first timers would start at the back of the pack. CMC points leaders Guaglione/Robinson, of Team Hi Line Motorsports, were relegated to the rear of the field. Back markers in season points were encouraged to use the opportunity of starting up front to their advantage both in gaining experience and to try to hold off the faster cars as they worked their way through the pack. It would be a standing start as only CMC does so well. Confusion on the part of some of the newer drivers reared its ugly head in the form of a “jumped†start. Although specifically instructed to wait for the second green flag, three drivers went on the first flag with AI/AIX and were subsequently disqualified. The starting grid was an awesome sight to see with 24 CMC cars poised for battle. CMC just keeps growing and growing!

 

Jeff Bernard did a great job running up front until finally passed by James Griffith and Tony Guaglione. It was good to see Jeff back out on the track running so well after taking a few events off. Pat Stone also ran strong with his new 3rd Gen Camaro. Greg Righetti showed why he is always entertaining to watch, putting his car in an opposite lock, four wheel drift almost every time through turn 10. Al Fernandez tried to take advantage of a slight mis-shift by Mike Plum and attempted to overtake him on the outside of the Carousel, but ended up sliding into the dirt and losing several positions. Mike Donahoe had a spectacular spin through the high speed turn 10 and miraculously didn’t hit anything or anybody and was able to continue on without losing much ground. Such was not the case for Carson Scheller as he hit the wall hard after spinning off in turn 2. Carson was able to hit with the rear of his car, but the damage was significant and would end his weekend prematurely. Carson was unhurt and everyone in CMC is grateful he was able to walk away. Brad Simpson had the best view of the incident as he was behind Scheller going into turn 2. You can always replace the car but not yourself, so once again safety should always be your first priority! Remember we all do this for FUN! The battle for the lead was shuffled back and forth between Griffith and Guaglione until the last lap. Guaglione led Griffith into turn 7 where Griffith stuck his nose in tight to the inside and came out in the lead down through the esses and into turn 11. As Griffith went wide into turn 11 he tried to put the power down just a little too early and lost traction. Guaglione, who was hounding him closely, was able to get the jump up the inside. It was a drag race to the finish line but Gugalione’s momentum and experience as a drag racer prevailed and rewarded him with the win in the closest finish of recent memory—less than 3 feet!

 

Results:

 

1. Team Hi Line-Guaglione

2. James Griffith

3. Jeff Bernard

4. Pat Stone

5. Don Trask

6. Brady Flaherty

7. Mike Donahoe

8. Mike Plum

9. J.R. Luster

10. Tim Bullock

11. Team E-Volution

12. Righetti

13. Simpson

14. Fernandez

15. Sciuto

16. Sparklin

17. Spurgeon

18. Hamilton

19. Bledsoe

20. Team BAF

21. Heim-Fun Run

22. Scheller-DQ

23. Team G & H-DQ

24. Perry Kincy-DQ

 

Saturday’s race was finished in time for lunch provided by Sam Stowell of Team BAF, Tony Guaglione of Hi Line Motorsports and Maximum Motorsports. Nearly 80 people enjoyed a fantastic BBQ with all the fixings! This is what makes CMC so great—fun on and off the track. Big thanks to all who helped with food preparation!

 

 

The Shootout-Camaro vs. Mustang:

 

The eagerly anticipated three lap Shootout between Richard Pryor and Tony Guaglione took center stage at 2:00PM. Pryor borrowed J.R. Luster’s 3rd Gen Camaro to try to show once and for all that not only was he the superior driver but also that a Camaro could easily beat a Mustang. Things got interesting before the green flag even dropped on this standing start. It seems that Pryor must have been concerned about getting dropped at the start so he kept creeping his Camaro forward in anticipation of the green flag! Guaglione made quick work of Pryor’s Camaro however and had the lead by turn 4. The lead would swap back and forth for the entire race with Pryor doing his best to keep Guaglione within sight. These two cars were never more than a few car lengths away from each other. It came down to a drag race up the final straight culminating in a dead heat photo finish. Upon post race review it was determined that it was just too close to call and therefore ruled a draw. As to be expected, Pryor came into the pits claiming victory. But, when shown the photographic proof of a tie, Pryor immediately claimed the photos had been “doctored.†The saying “old age and treachery will always overcome youth and ability†never seemed more appropriate. A gracious Tony Guaglione offered Pryor his hand in consolation and the matter was settled: a good driver can win in either a Camaro or a Mustang!

 

Sunday:

 

Again an early practice session at 8:20AM had the thundering V8’s of CMC tearing up the track. James Griffith had the fastest lap time followed closely by Greg Robinson driving for Team Hi Line only .05secs behind. For Race #2 the grid was formed using the qualifying times and then halved and inverted. This meant that a mid-packer was now on the pole and the pole sitter went to the middle of the field! You just never know what to expect in CMC which keeps this series so fresh!

 

Another standing start was employed and the action started early when a rookie AI driver decided to try a dive bomb, late-breaking pass into turn 11 making it three cars wide. Apparently running out of brakes and talent, his car spun out which sent CMC cars scrambling in avoidance of contact. Jeff Bernard pulled off the track early with transmission problems. Out front it was Tim Bullock in the lead with Griffith on the prowl and just as things appeared to settle down, Al Fernandez, who was running 4th, spun heading into turn 2. Again the field avoided any contact with Al’s 4th Gen Camaro-a testament to great driving and heads-up thinking. Fernandez’s spin may have been caused by a leaking oil line because he would go off on the same lap through turns 9 and 10 in spectacular fashion and hit the tire barrier hard with the rear of his car. Again, Brad Simpson had the best view as he was right behind Al when the incident occurred. With nearly identical damage to Scheller’s car, Fernandez was also done for the weekend. So too was his chase for the Championship where he was currently in 4th place in season points. Tim Bullock ran some very quick laps to keep ahead of the field. Even though Griffith passed him in the end, Tim still finished his career best 2nd.

 

The race was double yellowed with oil on the track which ended the session early.

 

Results for the top 15:

 

1) Griffith

2) Bullock

3) Team BAF

4) Luster

5) Flaherty

6) Team Hi Line (Robinson)

7) Donahoe

Plum

9) Righetti

10) Stone

11) Sciuto

12) Sparklin

13) Kincy

14) Hamilton

15) Bledsoe

 

Race #3 of the weekend saw the typical inverted start from the finishing results of Race #2. Everyone kept a sharp eye on the flagman to avoid a repeat of the jumped start from the day before. The field got away cleanly and went two wide through turn 1. Guaglione was ripping through the field straight down the middle until Griffith boxed him in going up the hill to turn 2. That would only be the beginning of his troubles though, as erratic ignition forced Guaglione to retire early. Pat Stone and Team E-Volution-Fretwell pulled out to an early lead while the field gave chase. Mike Plum, Brady Flaherty, Greg Righetti and Mike Donahoe were having a great battle in the mid pack for several laps until they sorted out their running order. Brady Flaherty was black flagged for excessive oil smoke, a likely sign of an expiring motor. James Griffith worked his way through the pack to take the lead in the closing laps. Pat Stone ran a fantastic race, adding a 2nd place finish to his earlier 4th. Considering this is Pat’s first weekend back in several months and in a brand new car, this is surely a sign of strong finishes to come from this veteran driver. Mike Donahoe ran consistent, smooth laps to eventually make it up to 3rd, while Team E-Volution posted a strong 4th place finish despite having intermittent brake issues and competing in their first race weekend with CMC. CMC welcomes new drivers Anderson/Fretwell of Team E-Volution, Bledsoe and Spurgeon.

 

Results for the top 10:

 

1. Griffith

2. Stone

3. Donahoe

4. Team E-Volution

5. Plum

6. Bullock

7. Righetti

8. Spurgeon

9. Luster

10. Sciuto

 

 

CMC will return to Infineon Raceway for Round 8 on October 23rd. Only 22 points separate the top three drivers with just six more races to go. CMC’s large fields of 25+ cars and the uncertainty of racing means this year’s Championship is still very much up for grabs. Stay tuned!

 

Season Points Top Ten:

 

1. Team Hi line

2. Mike Plum

3. Brady Flaherty

4. James Griffith

5. Tim Bullock

6. Brett Sciuto

7. Al Fernandez

8. Brad Simpson

9. Carson Scheller

10. Ed Varon

 

 

Greg Robinson

CMC Editor

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